|2 surreal gigs in Canada|
|6/30/1997 - Just performed a couple of surreal solo piano gigs up in Canada. The first was in London, Ontario, at a converted church/concert hall I've played at before called Aeolian Hall. Of course, little did I know that the Queen of England was visiting London that day; all of London must have been lining the streets to greet her arrival, and consequently the 10 people in London who weren't big fans of Her Royal Highness made it to my gig. So a small, enthusiastic audience, but a little disappointing. Then the next day I appeared as the opening act for fusion guitarist John McLaughlin at a large outdoor venue as part of the DuMaurier Downtown Jazz Festival in Toronto, Ontario. Opening for an act which has really very little to do with what you're trying to do musically is fraught with perils; as expected, the audience, though largely positive and enthusiastic, really didn't come to hear solo piano, and so at one point some drunken guy yelled out something like "We want John McLaughlin!" Had never been "heckled" before, so I must say I found the experience very disabling. Thankfully, the other audience members chastised the guy severely, and, as I say, they were overall very warm and encouraging. |
But it really raised some issues in terms of who I'm trying to reach with my music. I've always had a concern about the potential elitist nature of jazz, about the tendency for it to be embraced by a severely minute minority who consider it "hip" to be fans of the genre. Part of me firmly believes that what I'm trying to do has the potential to actually touch many people, and not only just those already "in the know". But I suppose at moments like at the McLauglin double bill, one is reminded of the difficulties in sometimes reaching out to new audiences. Still, I can't help but maintain the notion that if I am honest and sincere in my expression, people will respond, perhaps sometimes even people who originally came to hear someone else; this has certainly been my experience for the most part thus far....