Play It Again, Sam

Mention the film, Casablanca, and those are the words that spring forth
in mind. Four words, and a world.

David Amran, musician and composer for film and for full orchestra, has
these words to say:
“You move right along that path
and stay on that path,
whatever happens.
You’re aware of your surroundings.”

Later, Amran wrote:

“MIles Davis says there are no wrong notes in jazz.
By that he did not mean play anything.— he had he most beautiful
selection of notes imaginable. But he meant anything you have can move
to something else if you have a right path. When I was playing with Charley
Mingus, I was a 24-year-old hayseed in New York City playing with these
giants, I was in the middle of playing my French horn and the cash register
went to …. bo-la-la-binka-ding…. And I got confused.
MIngus said, “Come on, man, don’t pay any mind to that cash register.”
He said, ” Next time that happens, play off the cash register.”
I said, “What?”
He said, “Use that as part of the music. If you’re playing, the piano player
is going blokity-block,
the drum is going buckite-bucka-ding. Put that into the music and answer it.
Make that part of the whole experience.”

Thelonious Monk had a song called”Straight, No Chaser”, the same idea.
You move right along that path and stay on that path, whatever happens.
You’re aware of your surroundings. Every person is, at that moment, a
part of the situation, and you incorporate and tune yourself into that.

And when you do that, not just in jazz but in anything, including family
life, you can’t go wrong. Because anything that seems to steer you off the
path is only a different alternate version of MapQuest that might even be
better than the MapQuest we’re supposed to follow in life.”

……………………from the book, ‘Wisdom, Ideas’ by ANDREW ZUCKERMAN.

Right on. ( I have typed this in hunt-and-poke method, since one eye is not
yet in turne with the other eye. That will be remedied shortly by cataract
surgery and these ‘dailies’ will start getting more regular.)

always with love,

The Sounds of 2001

I’ve been sitting here for an hour, turning the pages of
a book of contemporary poetry, printed in 2001.
It’s now 2010 and the nine years in between have
occasioned another kind of poetry.

Funny how that happens. I’m not sure if it’s the editors’
choices or life changing how we hear. Let’s take a
look and see how 2001 sounded:


An instant sprang at me, a winter instant,
a thin gray panel of evening. Slanted
shadows leaned from a line of trees where rain
had slicked the sidewalk. No one was there —
it was only a quick flash of a scene,
unplanned, without connection to anything
that meant more than itself, but I carried it
onward like a gift from a child who knows
that the giving is what is important, the paper, the ribbon,
the holding of breath and surprise, the friends around,
and God holding it out to you, even a rock
or a slice of evening, and behind it the whole world.”


Having just now typed it on this page, I read it out loud to
myself. I looked back up to the title of the poem and saw
it had been written in another time of economic change.

These last few days we’ve had intimations of Spring.
Do I believe that Spring can bring in the whole world?
Of course I do. This pause between seasons is magic.

I can be taken by surprise. You, too.
Let’s undo the paper and the ribbon and be thankful.

always with love, Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette