Those of us who have heard Ray Skjelbred play the piano will not be at all surprised that he is also a poet of words and images, captured at a different keyboard.
One day all the leaves blow away.
I have been worrying
about the wrong things.
Let those words take up residence inside you before moving on, in a southerly direction, to the rest of this post. You can read more of his poetry at the link above.
Ray has written a sketch of his development as a poet, starting as a boy who “got up early to listen to the birds in the courtyard of our apartment building,” which tells me more than a hundred pages of analytic prose by an outsider would.
A rare and deep fellow.
Most of us encounter Ray when he has settled himself on the piano bench and is ready to fill us with sounds and colors, as he did at the 2016 San Diego Jazz Fest. Here is my earlier presentation of music he created there on November 26, 2016.
And more. I will preface these selections by saying only that tenderness is so rare in life, and certainly more so in jazz played for audiences. Let Ray’s melodic explorations, gentle and whimsical, move into your house.
Joe Sullivan’s MY LITTLE PRIDE AND JOY:
“a tiny shred” of I AIN’T GOT NOBODY, with a beautiful ending that loops around to the opening phrase of the verse:
A version of THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT that has the quiet intent seriousness of a hymn at the start:
Ray told me that he thinks of Joe Sullivan or Ginger Rogers in this scene from SWING TIME — so if you haven’t seen it recently, you might want to steal three minutes from your day and dream into this world of lovely possibilities:
May your happiness increase!