The Magic’s In The Music

shootingstar.jpgKim Du Toit describes a moment when his band found the sweet spot, and made real music. He calls it “The Purple Patch”.

I understand that. I experienced that – and he’s right. The moment you and your bandmates discover that something great has just happened – that’s a moment you will not forget. It’s always up there in the top five of my list of favorite memories.

The band I was part of was (at the time) a bunch of 40-something wannabees (a very talented guitar player, an excellent singer, a “blues harp” -harmonica- who surprised, a decent base player, and me), plus a very young (still in high school) drummer. We were good enough, routinely, to do the bar circuit, but couldn’t because he was underage.

At first, young Johnny was struggling. In fact, I remember one night in particular when we all were. Steve in particular was frustrated, and really resisting one tune we wanted to add to the set. When Steve said aloud that we just weren’t good enough to do the piece, I went to the mic to be heard over the din, and without a hint of exasperation, said to young Johnny and everyone “Look – the magic’s in the music. We just have to get out of the way.”

I don’t know why, but it was the right thing to say at that moment. Johnny got it, for sure. Steve decided he could live with this piece even though he didn’t particularly like it, and by the end of the evening we had the piece down.

But that’s not the magic. It was the very next session when Steve and I both noticed that every single one of us was either dancing or moving or popping or something to that very same song. None of us could resist the urge, and the music literally moved us along with it. Even better, the music itself told us what to play – every lick was spot-on, every nuance was perfectly timed and the “ad-lib’ed” solos were exactly right and even innovative. Individually and as a group, we could do no wrong. The auditorium was full, the spotlight was on us and we were stars, desired by all the women in the world and envied by all the men, all in the confines of that basement.

That, my friends, is the magic.

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