Friday, January 3, 2014

Thought for The Day - Upstream

The Beginning of... 18 x 24 pastels

Johnny Hartman. For the vast majority of the world, that name doesn't "ring a bell." A male vocalist of the Jazz era, with his most 'notable' work in 1963, when John Coltrane recorded an album of ballads featuring Johnny. Absolutely beautiful, velvet voice; smooth as butter creme! And this is where the "rub" occurs: with talent like that, why isn't he world renowned?

It's a mystery; there are people around us with great intellect, great talent, a great personality and yet, many with less of the former are carried on the shoulders of the media and adoring fans. People stand in lines, Google names of their favorite poets, artists, singers and the "great minds," to catch a snippet of their lives. Why? How does it change or affect their lives?

Each one, reach one. To the one you reach, the singular person who cant wait to read your words, hear your voice, you are a star. And be true to you, what talents and contribution you bring to the world. No one person is the center of the universe; we all have our place in it and play our part.

When I heard Johnny Hartman's recording of "Lush Life" some years ago, I couldn't get enough of his voice! I searched iTunes to find more of his music, but what I had at the time was the extent of his available recordings. In that song, there's a line where he says "I'll live a lush life in some small dive,  where I'll rot with the rest of those whose lives are lonely too." I imagined him performing in small clubs in New York, leaving the clubs just before dawn, sitting in a small diner, a cigarette in hand and hovering above a cup of coffee. He does this before making it to a small apartment and crashing until 1:00 in the afternoon. I imagined his life, the typical small-time performer, considering what 'day-gig' he could take up to make ends meet. I imagined there were those who showed up in the small clubs where he performed who just wanted to hear someone as lonely as they were and whose 'success' was as menial as his. I imagined the cigarette smoke hovering above the heads of the patrons like a dark cloud. But what I didn't consider was, here I sat, listening to his voice, loving every rise and fall of it, some 40 years after that recording. What I didn't consider is Johnny did what he loved and doing so, he reached "at least one."

Peace and Blessings