Up Close and Personal

Let’s just state the lady’s preference – I want my music up close and personal. I want to see the player’s hands travel up and down the strings on the neck of the bass. Find the light that glints off the trombone as it slides. Note the way the musicians signal each other, to pick up at the bridge, take the next riff, close it out. Share the applause with the rest of the audience. Alive. Unscripted.


The capacity to record and produce music-on-demand is a modern indulgence. A century ago, the music we now play at whim was live – the privilege of kings and queens, the wealthy who could hire musicians of any style to entertain them and their guests. And for the common man, family members played a simple flute or a well strung fiddle, and they sang… and sang… and sang.

I dive into the pool of music-on-demand often and with relish. I love that. I live the life of a privileged queen as I listen to Anita O’Day sing I Cover the Waterfront when I am in a bubble bath. I cook while I listen to Placido Domingo sing Nessun Dorma, and the food tastes better. I relax by candlelight in the evening with Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan playing My Funny Valentine.

Recorded music is the fast food of our soundscape. Convenient. On Demand. Tasty. Widely available.

And NOTHING LIKE the fresh, gourmet, delectably seasoned meal to be had with live music. Assembled uniquely tableside. Organic. Each performance alive. I love that more. Which is why I will while away my weekend afternoon having a glass of wine at the Savoy Tivoli in San Francisco’s Northbeach listening to Mal Sharpe and the Big Money in Jazz Band. The venue and music feel like an afternoon spent in New Orleans with musicians that have decades of tunes, harmonies and riffs in their bones.

Want the organic experience? Join me… I will be the one with the satisfied smile on my face, enjoying my music up close and personal.

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