A dreamy child, I was given to extravagant fictions, imaginary journeys that scattered my mind and dimmed my perceptions. The benefit of these fanciful excursions was that I was never bored: there was always something fascinating to engage me in even the dreariest surroundings. The drawback: a tendency to drift, disconnected from the world of physical objects and human interaction.
But there was a sure antidote to my abstractions. I had the great fortune and lovely challenge of having big brothers – five, to be exact – who pulled me out of myself with their endlessly intriguing attributes. They had the courage to attempt things I found terrifying. They understood the world in ways that were hidden to me. They had muscles where I had rag-doll threads.
In short, they were intimidating, at times frightening, but always captivating. And, in retrospect, though I didn’t always realize it, they were a benevolent force.
Tomorrow night, music@watson is presenting a performance of my Big Brothers, a trio from 2004 that recreates that childhood dynamic. The first half is ambiguous, hazy, drifting. The second is more muscular, possibly a bit menacing, but ultimately cheerful, even boisterous, with a framing element of retro-funk.
The performers are old and new friends: John R. Beck on vibes, Robert Young on saxes, David Winkelman on piano. It’s part of a fun concert with mixed ensembles featuring percussion: in addition to my piece there is music by Christopher Cerrone, Kenneth Frazelle, Gene Koshinski, Ivan Trevino and Chuck Mangione. Details here.
Big Brothers is dedicated to my big brothers, and to all who find themselves providing an imposing, magnanimous influence on children.