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· Soul Music of the Night ·

I'm sorry if recently I've been a Phantom here. Up with paper grading and down with some necessary spam control, I've neglected posting, though I have not been totally styleless. In two weeks I have improved my time by haunting theaters and listening, both high and low, to some near Soul Music of the Night.

Just two weeks ago now, I heard the classical pianist Vassilis Varvaresos at Olympia's Washington Center, in a concert featuring Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, Rachmaninoff's The Corelli Variations, Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin, and Liszt's Hungarian Rapsody No. 1. Should you think I'd somehow not quite heard soul music, maybe recalling my own Sweet Sound of Silence, that would be untrue, since I've heard darker, soulful sounds, too.

Take last Saturday night. I saw the new Taylor-Hackford film Ray, the Hollywood bio-pic about Ray Charles's satisfying "all night long." Recall, perhaps,

Well, tell me what'd I say, yeah
   Tell me what'd I say right now
   Tell me what'd I say . . .

Well, "it doesn't get much better than that now," does it? — unless, say, you'd heard Bob Milne (just days before) bring down the house. For Bob can get low-down and high-flown, too, and when I heard him in a concert of stride, boogie, barrelhouse, and ragtime, I knew in my heart of hearts that, even here, Bob Milne's deft left hand also prolongs the pleasure.

But midway in Milne's performance, when he started talking about a player named "Blind" Boone, whose long career included having a standing bet of nearly forty years — playing six nights a week, ten months a year — that nothing high or low was really beyond him, classical or modern (and Boone never once lost!) — well, I thought you should meet him.

So, everyone, imagine Franz, Maurice, Sergei, Ludwig, and Ray — all looking up now to John William "Blind" Boone.



Posted by
John on November 24, 2004 10:20 PM

Music of the night? Theater? Soul?

"That's all I want from you," as the Opera ingenue sings.

"More, please!" cries Oliver.

And, with Ray, "That's whut a say raight now."

Do continue! Until you maybe leave your 'bloggin' "heart in San Francisco" — "Arrivederci, Roma!" and Latinate rhetoric, Styles!

Posted by Loretta Markle on December 8, 2004 02:34 PM

You're right. It's American rhetoric I'm after — like jazz sideman Stanley Crouch's, whose bass line nicely extends my point:

The ultimate truth of humanity is fairly simple [a recent review, Color Blind, has Crouch quoted there as saying]: No qualities of any sort that have to do with intelligence or will or spirit can be assumed on the basis of our favorite lines of demarcation. Color, sex, religion, class, and point of geographic origin are just more blanks that, even at close range, don't leave powder burns on the target board of Americana.

Of course, perhaps other soul music rings also in that clearly Latinate sound.

Posted by Styles on December 8, 2004 05:51 PM

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