I sent out a group e-mail to friends today, Easter Sunday, about how I was trying to cope with the social distancing and cleanliness in these trying and tragic times.
The more this day has progressed, the more blessed I feel, even cooped up at home, because several friends responded beautifully to my perhaps-oversharing email.*
One message, linked below, literally shouted out to me from my good old friend, the superb Milwaukee jazz trumpeter Kaye Berigan. Kaye leads a quartet that has played for a number of years at Ally’s Bistro on the far northwest side of Milwaukee, with a great bunch of musicians, Jack Carr on drums, Steve Lewandowski on guitar and George Welland on bass (pictured above). Do go see them when this madness subsides.
To be clear, his message wasn’t self-serving, as Kaye is not among these brass players in the YouTube video.
But in my morning email I had mentioned a curiosity occurring as I wrote the message. As I am manually disabled, I try to use voice dictation as best and often as I can. Today in the email, as I referred to the Coronavirus crisis, something striking and almost mysterious, happened.
I repeated the word “crisis” several times (the system usually corrects itself) but each time I clearly articulated “crisis” something else, um, arose. The name “Christ.” This was no joke.
I also struggled for a while at home, today. But since eating a late lunch, I’ve received my friends responses and it feels like shafts of light streaming down through full-chested cumulus clouds. And I’m hearing these inspired brass musicians, making brilliant use of their quarantine. If any instruments shout, it is brass ones, and here gorgeously.
I know in many quarters these days it’s not hip to use words like “blessing,” or to invoke or find solace in the meaning of Easter. But this is simply what has happened to me in the last couple hours. Life is far from easy for me now, as it is for many people everywhere. So we ought to be bleeding empathy for each other. I wish our leaders empathized pro-actively, much more, though some are doing very well for us.
And yet…I have sometimes described myself fashionably as “spiritual but not religious.” But that rings a bit false to me. I take pleasure and sometimes a slight sense of wonder in odd occurrences that feel like signifiers –like that slightly mysterious voice dictation this morning.
I’d also been watching a fine Sunday morning film noir movie, Fritz Lang’s Beyond a Reasonable Doubt on Turner Classic Movies. Odd fare for the holiday? Yet suddenly that title radiates, newly signifying.
No matter what you believe, or don’t, you gotta get your spiritual power from somewhere. So check out this brass fanfare. And maybe let me know how you feel.
(I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. My blog response is not working)
As for Kaye Berigan, he simply wrote, “Regards, Kaye.”
Thanks, my friend.
ps. Here’s another sort of “inspiration,” more down to earth. The message writer calls it “The Ultimate Pleasure Jail” : Guitarist Jack Grassel told me how he and his spouse, singer Jill Jensen, are actually making the most of our very tough virus situation. He let me quote him at length:
“Hi Kev, It’s weird times. Ayna? Jill and I were talking about this whole thing before we went to sleep last night. This situation reminds me of my time at a catholic high school my parents sent me to. Occasionally we would go on “retreats” and live in silence for a few days. I did that a few times at a monastery after I grew up, just to get away from the noise of everything. I would not talk to or see anyone for a week. I’d play and listen to music, read books and exercise in my little room.
- thanks Jack and Louisa Loveridge-Gallas!