We went with friends last night to the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth to see Marcia Ball and Allen Toussaint perform. Ms. Ball's blues-inflected feel-good music included liberal doses of her vivid, honky-tonk piano style, a killer saxophone and a real-live blue-eyed blues guitar hero. Mr. Toussaint approached the piano with a different flair, dropping in tags of classical, Cole Porter, and jazz and pop standards amid his interpretations of the many singles he has written for others over the years, ranging from "Working in the Coal Mine" to "Southern Nights". His saxophone player was also wonderful, but my favorite of his solos was a couple of great clarinet lines during a jazz segment of the show. One great song was an incredible 15 minute piano medley in which Mr. Toussaint merged dozens of disparate pieces into a single mash-up-now Chopin, now Cole Porter, now Dave Brubeck, now part of his extensive r & b catalog, now Rodgers and Hammerstein, now DeBussy. His style was so gentle and flowing that it all moved together seamlessly. This kind of thing can be cloying if done in a "show me" mood, but done with just the right playful pizzazz it all worked out great. He and Ms. Ball did a four-hand encore of roadhouse piano which was just the right level of madness, while his killer covers of a Paul Simon song and of Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans" hit me just in the right places.
Driving to Fort Worth and back on a very rainy Friday night proved a bit of a chore. I realize that I am no longer 23 when I get home from a Friday concert. Even the wonderful appetizers we ate quickly at the little Italian grill across from the hall did not fully compensate, nor even the entirely lovely waitress with the Lisa Loeb glasses, the 60s boots and the great 70s retro print dress. I did not require full compensation, however, and the partial compensation was nonetheless delightful, as were our crab cakes.
A woman with whom I went to high school (but did not know well) died this week. I liked her to the extent I knew her. She taught school in the little town in which I lived in my late teens. I remember when she came to my mother's funeral, and said hello. It is hard to think that now she has passed away. I hope her loved ones find comfort somehow in the ways she touched their lives.
Another fellow who was a year ahead of me in high school, a high school football star who worked hard in college to "make something of himself" academically so that he could have a career. I admired his drive, and I learned from him and a few others that work and discipline can compensate for talent in lots of ways. I wonder, sometimes, how often "talent" is a mistaken way of expressing "drive and hard work".
I went to J.C. Penney today to buy new suits. I found two that will work, but I need to get another suit or two. Everything is so inexpensive these days, which makes me sad because I hear the word inexpensive in a clothing context and think "sweat shop".
I have not done a clothes pruning in some time, and my wife graciously agreed to help me sort out what to keep and what to give to the thrift store. Many clothes I am now too thin to wear went to the thrift store pile. Others are a bit frayed here and there, or a bit tired looking. All are now ready for recycling. I am glad to get pared down a bit, though in some places I will need to shore up with clothes that do fit or work.
The rain barely let up today, but we were able to take our dogs for a park walk, which they loved. The little park pond featured a goodish few tame geese and wild wood ducks.
I made a nice recording of a four dollar ocarina I bought in Boulder, which makes for a good synthesizer sample. I want to do more original work and fewer remixes for a while. I need to make lots more sample recordings--little glass sounds and simple woodwinds and little notes or bells, which all work well for me.
I tried the new Cheddar's chain restaurant--simple, healthy food in a comfortable setting with good service.
I read a good sci fi. I stopped by the Book Rack bookstore in Plano, only to find it had closed. I will miss it.
My wife is playing "Peter and the Wolf" downstairs. It's a fun soundtrack to almost anything.