When I was going to school.... I was a little frustrated by my program. I mentioned to one of my professors, one who was more worldly than many of them. One who had been outside the 4 semi-square walls of Utah. I asked.... "Is there somewhere that does this better.". I had realized that my professors for the most part were jokes. Few of them took their courses seriously, and what classes I had... through my own course of self education, and effectively Aced before I even stepped foot in the classroom. I was looking for some kind of mentor... some kind of Indicator that "There was more out in the world than what I had seen.
The response I received was one of "Does what better?"
I said... "our program... this is silly what we do. It's like a kids game... Where does the real work get done?"
The only answer I ever received was... "I just don't understand, what you are asking.". I was someone challenged by the Low bar set by most of the people around me... always looking for some higher understanding.... Some kind of larger truth... There was something out there, something beyond Proper Nouns, that people were talking about... but nobody quite understood.
Tonight I heard Wynton say some things to the musicians, the learning musicians. "Love what you do, and work your ass off." Also that he is, and the musicians are the luckiest people in the world. My cousin... is in the band. His mother and my mother are very close. His mother came up from where she lives to hear her son play. My mother sort of turned it all into a big deal. Figured out how to escalate it all into a frenzie. Someone mentioned to me the idea that my mother would then use it to gain a little victim status. I suggested it was something else.
After the first set, Wynton recognized my cousin.... and then started talking about my aunt. A few weeks ago, there was a story in the New York times about the Chinese "Tiger mother", about the mother who beat their kids into submission... beat them with a ruler till they were perfect on the violin. My Aunt mentioned the opposite. She said "you have to do it because you love it... I can't do that for him". There he is blowing horn for probably the best touring Jazz band in the country. he is the Cream.... and "tiger mother" didn't get him there. As a first grade teacher, she knew better. He would follow his dream, where ever it took him.
This was where "Someone Did it better" where Wynton and his band knew what life was, Knew what Living art was, Knew some inner truths that most people don't. Knows what it takes to go night after night, keep it fresh. 15 some odd musicians having the time of their lives.... Keeping it very real. In love with music. Taking a few thousand audience members with them. Everyone sharing a love of art and music. An amazing and beautiful thing. This was "doing it all better". Not going through the motions, not just cashing a paycheck, not just trying to keep the juggling balls in the air until someone realizes you are full of crap.
As I sat there and listened to 15 or so musicians at the top of their game, Realizing that after years of my aunt helping her kids, and not only her kids but her grandkids. Being Teacher to all of them... There was my Aunt, Wynton Marselles talking about what an amazing mother she was. Abusive probable bi-polar Husband, raising One of the top musicians in the country. In her late 70's sitting in Kingsbury hall, getting her 15 minutes. Having one of those moments, that you hopefully remember you were there for.... Moments of a lifetime.... Of course, kind of instigated by my mother.
Me realizing, that in the not too distant future... she will be gone... my mother will be gone. I will tell stories about this.... I am telling a story about this already.
This was one of those amazing moments in someone's life.... and I was there to share it.... I lived it with them....
I could reflect on how; I didn't have a proper date, How nobody loves me, How I may never have kids of my own, My own failures as a son....
But honestly I'm a lucky man. I was fortunate to be in that moment, and to be with everyone when it happened.
Maybe tomorrow there will be more great moments, I'll be there for those....
.... I'm a lucky man.