18.9.11

a-compaignier


etymology: accompany:
early 15c., from M.Fr. accompagner, from O.Fr. acompaignier (12c.) "take as a companion," from à "to" + compaignier, from compaign (see companion). Related: Accompanied; accompanying.

i do all kinds of accompanying. the one i rather like is accompanying minnow to the grocery store to pick up delicious things for dinner.  i wasnt aware until this summer, but i also like accompanying my friends in happy occasions like weddings and long hikes.  i may even prefer my job title to be 'accompanist', not a 'collaborative pianist,' as the second title is very specific and somewhat restricted in my head- though the use of such term came from the misunderstanding of the word 'accompanist,' which simply came to mean 'someone you can blame for bad performances and must to exactly what the employer musician dictate, including such minor details as high or short heeled shoes and weirdly coloured shirt.'  i suppose i just like being with people and doing stuff we like. how sophisticated is that (NOT)

last year spring, i put up some silly poster for gigs.  and i do get rather specific calls- i suppose i did put them up in a music university.  most of it concerns professional musicians or music students; i do consider music students professionals anyway- if you ask them, on their credit card application, i bet at least 75% have checked 'occupation-student' option. then their occupation is student! a music student.  a professional. just on the other side (paying for training vs. paid for being trained/apt)

but once in awhile there are more unusual and interesting projects.  currently there's one that's very dear to my mind: mr. max.  max is not a professional musician. but he is a musician. he studied the double bass back in greece and at certain point, he picked up a new professional activity- he works in a science-related firm, i think.  but you see, that never stopped him from being a musician.  he listens, plays, enjoys, cares , practices and loves  double bass-tradition-diverse disciplines-electric bass- new things, i mean you name it.  it is so inspiring for me to get to know someone who is so open and alive, even at the tender young age of- well, i never asked him his age, but let's say his hair is silver coloured.

he initially contacted me to accompany him for a vivaldi sonata, so that he can record it. i wondered: how old are you, what is this for, what is your commitment and how would you like me to work with you: dictator? together? collaboratively? zero preference?  the first meeting, i was very curious. in fact, i was a bit taken aback about how little i know of this person and how different he could be, as i dont usually get to play with non-professionals.

we still meet on sunday mornings. i, in fact, missed him quite a bit while i was away in uk, as these sunday meetings are really valuable for me.  he comes, sets up his instruments and recorder, gets his score out and i, usually panting, running into the room, simply 'play.'

what's so remarkable?

well, he really cares. he records the entire session.  he listens to them through. he archives the sessions. and he gets better. this week, he really blew my socks off. it was just SO MUCH BETTER! what did you do?! you play better than most of these kids who play the bass as 'pre-professionals!!'

he simply said: well, im trying to incorporate what we work on. i went to the piano to check my intonations before i played my bass. i looked up the notes, etc...

whoa.

the man spoke with such humbleness and open mind.  and what he did was a perfect practice model.  and he not only practised, but he played. every single time. he never stopped being a musician in that whole week.  he lives a quite an active life, in fact, he's playing with his greek band for a wedding next wk (so there'll be no sunday session for us, boo) and it is so clear that he is a simply a happy man.

i wonder how long we will play together and what kinds of things we'll end up doing.  i wonder what he will keep from the experience of working with me.  i wonder if he's enjoying it as much as i do.  i dont wonder about whether he'll get better. he will.

simply because he loves it.
what would be 'it?'
i think his 'thing' is 'life.'

there are many others who i love playing with.  people who i love playing with so much that i would simply be happy to be one of their accomplices.  and this man, max, is quite special. especially because he is a non-professional musician. of the best kind: the real, genuine, living and open human being.

thanks max, for brilliant sunday mornings.


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