need @ 11:19 a.m.I just finished watching the documentary of the making of Herbie Hancock's 2005 album Possibilities. I spent most of it crying openly.
When I was in the middle of that part of my life, I never thought that there would be a time when I wouldn't be making music every day. The concept never crossed my mind. Watching the musicians create brilliant ideas on the spot made me weep with the sadness of my past and the future unrealized. Joss Stone creating amazing phrases. Annie Lenox and the rest trying to define the meaning of lyrics to "Hush, Hush, Hush" and finally having to call the songwriter (Paula Cole who is a huge Annie Lenox fan) who explained that it was the one thing they hadn't speculated: a song for someone she knew who died of AIDS and didn't have the best relationship with his father. Paul Simon showing up at the studio a day early to create an improvised rhythm section reminiscent of his Graceland work over a simple jazz ballad, then suggesting that they end up doing it in a minor key. Sting tearing up the vocals "Sister Moon" and impressing the hell out of Herbie. "You ripped it, man. I didn't know you could sing like that!" Sting: "Neither did I. Ha ha ha!" I spoke aloud: "Because when you surround yourself with talent, it raises you all up together." I remember that. I remember playing with people who breathed what they did and it made for some of the most superb sessions on which I've ever sat.
One night at a restaurant, I did a gig with a group of old players, guys in their 60's and beyond. I counted off the beat for a slow-ish groove of "Summertime" and they interpreted at half-time, meaning it became this aching plea of the funk-tinged blues which I'd never done before. But because of that, I ended up channeling a mix of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday and we rode that wave into a realm that I can't explain with just words. When it finally faded, aching and wistful, we just sat back and stared at each other in a bubble of amazement and quiet, breath-held satisfaction while the audience went wild around us. It was as if they weren't even there and we had experienced something of which we hadn't been even close to being in control. I even apologized to the listeners because I wasn't sure that anyone outside of our bubble felt the same about what had just happened. It was the perfect definition of what I define as "letting the music take you where it will". Like in a tiny place in my head I was running a dialogue: "remember this always. This is the kind of thing that can't happen twice. Oh my god, did you hear what the drummer just did? Answer him!", and something would just come out of me, unbidden.
I need to have this back in my life and I don't know how to get it.