Monday, September 04, 2006

Lack-of-Labor Day

This holiday weekend was exactly how I wanted it to be....slow. There's a lot of stuff going on during the rest of this month, so the opportunity to be a slug was welcomed.

Another thing that was welcomed? Rain. It pretty much did that all day today, but, considering the drought conditions of late, I was happy to trade the minor inconveniences of getting around for a healthier lawn. (But it is weird how it can go all this time without raining much, yet always strike on holidays; you may recall that our Fourth of July was wet as well.)

A lot of people get Labor Day and Memorial Day mixed up with each other, so I guess it's fitting that my Labor Day post includes a couple of memorials:

Dewey Redman. The tenor player best-known in recent years as "Joshua's dad" passed away on Saturday. Though overshadowed in recent years by his well-known son, the elder Redman carved his own place in jazz history through his work with Ornette Coleman, whom he met in high school marching band in Ft. Worth (imagine those rehearsals!). I became acquainted with his work through Pat Metheny's 80-81 album, and more recently, I got hold of a recording of Dewey and Joshua playing together, though that obviously won't be a combination I'll get to see in person now.

Steve Irwin. I'll admit that I've never seen a full episode of "Crocodile Hunter," but the death of Steve Irwin in a freak accident over the weekend was really shocking; I did quite a bit of follow-up reading on the story, a lot of that coming from the Sydney newspaper. When someone lives life on the edge as he did, there's always the chance that something like this could happen, but I'm sure that most people expected such a demise to come at the jaws of one of his famous crocs rather than the tail of a stingray. I've heard that many Australians were embarrassed by him, but to me, he seemed to embody the fun-loving free-spiritiedness that most people associate with the Land Down Under.

A new face on the horizon: I'll end this post by looking to the future. I saw an article in yesterday's paper about a classical composer who's already composed five symphonies had some of his works recorded by the tender age of 14. His name is Jay Greenberg, and one paragraph of a recent interview really struck me:
AP: Your Fifth Symphony seems operatic. The beginning has this mysterious motif, almost like John Williams' "Jaws." What were you trying to express?

Jay: I don't know if I was thinking of anything in particular. ... I was kind of bored, actually, to be honest. I was in the middle of a history class and we were basically supposed to be taking notes on something I already knew, so I was just sitting there staring at a map when suddenly I remembered that I had some music paper in my backpack. So I pulled it out and started writing the first page of Symphony Number 5 - in piano reduction.
You see, that's exactly how I wrote my very first composition in eighth grade--the one that won the Reflections Contest all the way through the state level. I was bored in history class, and, instead of finishing my report on the battles of Lexington and Concord, I set them to music instead. Sure, I've composed at a glacial pace since then, but at least I knew which broad field I'd be going into by the time I hit high school. It sounds like I've got a kindred spirit--on steroids, as it were--out there in Jay. I wish him all the best.

1 comment:

James said...

It's been amazingly huge here - regardless of what individuals thought of him in Oz, he was amazingly weel known, popular, and a fantastic export.

I've actually learnt quite a lot about him in the last few days - particulary about how *practically* active he is at his conservation - buying up masses of land in order to make it protected for the animals there. Awesome stuff.

I reckon when he first hit our screens here about 10-12 years ago, some of us cringed at his enthusiasm and over-the-top attitude to everything... he made me laugh :)

But the bottom line is that he was an amazing export for our country, and his passion and love for animals was clearly seen by all.

Tops bloke.