listen up for joy

have you ever been at a show, either in the audience or on stage performing, when then energy level was suddenly lifted, elevated exponentially, and you just got out of the way and *let* some magic happen?

that’s a moment that i live for. and one that i listen for, too.

in writing press materials and just answering questions about my work, i have to go back into my past and think about musical experiences i’ve had in a different way. and i know that the singers and instrumentalists are ones who made music with a certain visceral joy in the act itself. Art Blakey comes to mind for me right away, as does Phoebe Snow. as a listener, you get sucked into their Present Moment, which, somehow, through time and space, becomes yours.

how does that happen, with sound? that space and time can collapse, so paradoxically?

John Coltrane. Mercedes Sosa. Sister Rosetta Tharpe. India Cooke. Chris Brown (the pianist, not the other one).

i’m calling it joy, but maybe it’s, more fundamentally, Presence.

i’d love to know if you know what i mean!

Alison Cecile Johns


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