I wrote my “Sightings” column with the windows wide open, accompanied by the sound of chirping birds. When I was finished, I drove over to Hosmer Mountain Bottling Company to pick up a case of soda, then returned to my country retreat to eat dinner and watch TV with the friend at whose farmhouse I’m spending the week. Among other things, we watched Grand Illusion and Patton (which make a perfectly complementary pair, unlikely as that may sound).
We also looked at the episode of Legends of Jazz in which Jim Hall and Pat Metheny chat with Ramsey Lewis and play three tunes, one solo apiece and a duet version of “All the Things You Are” accompanied by Christian McBride and Antonio Sanchez. It was my first viewing of PBS’s only regular jazz program, about which a fellow blogger recently expressed mixed feelings. I saw what he meant: the camera work was slickly, obtrusively busy, the interview segments superficial. On the other hand, my friend listened closely and attentively to Hall’s performance of “My Funny Valentine,” at the end of which she said, “Oh, wow! He’s fantastic!” Any show that allows a great jazzman to play long enough to evoke that kind of response from a non-musician must be doing something right.
If you’ve never heard Jim Hall & Pat Metheny, by the way, I suggest you stop reading, click on the link, and order one of the most beautiful jazz guitar recordings ever made. I wrote about it five years ago in a profile of Metheny published in Time:
“Jim Hall & Pat Metheny” (Telarc), released last year, teamed the two friends for a bewitching program of unaccompanied duets. “It encapsulates the love and respect I have for Jim,” Metheny says. Best of all is a magically spare version of “Farmer’s Trust,” a tender waltz originally recorded by the Metheny Group in 1982, which leaves no doubt that despite his love of ear-popping electronic effects, he is above all a wonderfully fluent spinner of simple yet indelible melodies.
On the way to the Hosmer Mountain Bottling Company, I drove past a sign that read as follows: FIRE DEP’T WATER HOLE. My cell phone doesn’t work out here and I’m using a dialup connection to post these words. All this will give you some idea of how far off the beaten path I am.
I plan to spend Wednesday working on Hotter Than That, with time out for an early-afternoon picnic. In case you were wondering, I like it here–a lot.
See you later, maybe.