Yesterday, Sunday, I played at the two churches that I lead music at. One’s an Episcopal church in Sausalito, and the other is a Baptist church in San Lorenzo. So on any given Sunday I get to experience the “high” church liturgy of a very white congregation, and then move to the diverse Baptist congregation where I get to play gospel piano a’la black church. My little white hands have had a tough time hanging with the drummer at the Baptist church, but last night I had a little bit of a break through. I was able to rock it a little bit harder than I had ever rocked it before and when one surprises onesself like I did last night than one ought to know that one is onto something. So I decided to take the risk of beginning to play with the pastor last night as he preached. I hadn’t really tried to do this yet as I felt that my ear needed more training to find the right chords quickly enough. But last night as soon as the pastor got up, he began to sing a song. As always, my ears perked because he has one of the most fantastic voices that I’ve heard in a quite awhile. And as my ears perked, I began to feel the pull of his music and if you’ve ever let yourself get swept away in the beauty of a song, then you know what I’m talking about. But as a musician, when music moves me I almost always feel that I have an obligation to play along if the situation is appropriate. So I began to get the sense that he was in the key of Bb minor. It’s a wonderful key for gospel piano. As he sang, I let his music lead my fingers and we were able to create some beautiful harmony.
So that was yesterday.
Today was hanging out at the cafe that I love most dearly in Oakland. One of my cafe acquanitances was there so we were able to catch up a little. I told him that “I was going to be busking at the Montgomery bart station if he wanted to stop by.” We parted and I ran home to grab my guitar. I caught the next bartrain into San Francisco and got off at the Embarcadero station, I was pleased to hear a sax player playing a Fats Waller tune called “Aint Misbehavin.” I stopped and listened for a little while. As he finished I gave him the change in my pockets (karma). And like a classy musician, he finished his phrase and then stopped to ask me how I was doing. We then had a little conversation about Fats Waller, and I swear this guy pronounced it “Fats Wahwah.” I had to bite my lip to not laugh at him when he said it. At the end of our conversation he told me his name was Jazzman and we shook hands and I made my way to the Montgomery station.
Money: $6.73 which at least covered the cost of the bart ticket…
About an hour into the music, my friend from the cafe earlier in the day showed up. So that was a real treat. He had brought his guitar too, so we jammed for a bit. I’m thankful for that as well.