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Monday, May 02, 2011

A Momentous Day, But I Want to Think About Music - Gary Valente, God's Trombonist

I listened to President Obama announce the killing of Osama Bin Laden last night. This is momentous and it was a necessary and just act of violence. I can't dance in the street over this, however. It seems like a time for reflection. Human history seems to be a cycle of the strong groups controlling weaker groups, then the weak figuring out how to strike back with brutality, and the strong reacting to that attack and so on and so on and so on. Will killing Bin Laden break the cycle or strenghthen it? I have a hard time thinking about this, to tell the truth.

So I will think about music instead. Guess I am a coward.

When I am feeling troubled and I need to sooth my soul, I turn to Gary Valente, one of the world's greatest trombonists. He is passionate. He is skillful. And he is LOUD. Gary started playing with Carla Bley in the early 1980's and was featured on Carla's "Live!" album in 1982. His work on "The Lord is Listenin' to Ya. Hallelujah!" is stunning; I think of Gary as God's trombonist. This is the song I tee up when I feel the need for solace. Here is a link to a YouTube video of Gary's performance.

Gary is about 57 years old now. He is a big name in the NYC Latin jazz world. He still plays with Carla, I think. His trombone work grabs my heart. He helps me to remember that humans have outstanding qualities. We kill each other, and we create beautiful music for each other. I am trying to believe that the part of our souls that creates the music will eventually overcome the part of our souls that wants to kill.

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