Rendered Fat Content


The small venue jazz club featured a performance space in back and a dining room up front, with little separating the two. Sure enough, as Pizzarelli began a fine scat version of Emily, some group in the dining room started celebrating VE day, accompanied by the obligatory piercing intern cackle and the four shot-fueled guffaw. About half the audience began searching their pockets and purses for their rusty pig gelding knives while looking over their shoulders with murder in their hearts. John seems unperturbed, seasoned from ten thousand similar experiences in his life so far. This venue was clearly not the Carlyle.

As a performer, I never managed such sanguinity in the face of such bold incivility, even though I knew any animosity I might generate could only inhibit my performance. Jesus H., man, have you no manners? No culture? No humanity? How can you spill your supper down your shirtfront in the company of one of the pre-eminents of the jazz world? Denver must really still be a cow town.

No such interruptions appear on the fine autographed CD, for artists carefully edit the content recorded onto CDs to omit this sort of real-world distraction. In the real world, though, distractions reign more or less supreme. I hear the neighbor kids batting around their basketball, and even feel comfortable integrating this 'noise' into my writing sanctuary. Just part of the deal.

Most of us have now imprinted on media that has accomplished the seemingly impossible. Television without the snow. Radio without the squawk. Movies absent flicker. Music without the accompanying restlessly coughing audience. Ambient perfection. Human creation with pretty much all of the humanity excised. This we think of as normal, perfectly normal.

Normal seems to have traveled far from his original digs. In the normal world, the masterful jazz artist coughs with a dry throat during the set, excusing himself between licks. In the normal world, at least in the one I seem to inhabit, there always seems to be a tableful of cretins cavorting in the back of the sanctuary. I'm losing my original coping skills, reconditioned by the severely modified authenticity media brings.

The flawless might seem particularly special, though nothing really starts that way. Once conditioned to flawlessness, who could avoid despair when attempting to create anything? The first iteration comes out crappy, the second, little better. Baby steps bring it closer to the originally-envisioned ideal, but only many hands will erase the originally disfiguring birthmark. The artist, of course, must learn to somehow hold this creation until it's created, not discounting the first awful iteration but not settling for it, either; self-esteem intact. This demand seems more difficult to fulfill than talent, genius, or the mere persistence originally bargained for.

©2016 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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