Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Change IS Gonna Come...

Horrible week for U.S. politics. Pretty damn good one for live music in Buffalo, though: Tuesday night the house band for our little cabaret was the Dixieland Grifters, a Bflo-based instrumental outfit whose name pretty much tells you what they play. And it was perfect for the spirit of the evening: started out jazzy and hopeful, then turned dirgelike, and ended up jazz-funeral-style as the entire audience and cast transformed their sadness into one brief, hopeful dance.

Last night, as I've already mentioned, I saw the magnificent Andrew Bird. And then tonight I had the great treat of watching/hearing the Portland (OR)-based quintet 3 Leg Torso accompany David Greenberger (of Duplex Planet fame)in a live performance of their spoken-word-and-music collaboration "Legibly Speaking" (which is also available as a CD. The show took place in a beautiful, old church, which struck me as the perfect context for Greenberger's words, taken from conversations he's conducted with senior citizens over many years: stories and briefer vignettes about love, loneliness, illness, death, and cats. If that sounds sad, I've misled you; the centerpiece of the work is heartbreaking, but the rest is funny and quirky and full of hope.

Which is just what I/we need right now. The only music I've wanted to hear lately has been that which is quiet yet strong, soulful and hopeful. That's Bird, that's 3 Leg Torso, that's Aretha Franklin covering Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." And although I'd slipped a little off the Brazilian bandwagon in the delirium of the last month (because I've had to seek out dozens of songs to use in the show), I've been reaching for Vinicius Cantuaria and Joao Gilberto a lot again in the past 48 hours. There is rage in me along with sadness, and I'm sure some Atari Teenage Riot will hit my turntable/CD player sooner or later, but for now I'm going with soothing over seething.

And you? What sounds are getting you through these dark days? Post a comment and lemme know.

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