Someone asked me last week why I wore a Louis Armstrong button, and without thinking, I said, “He taught me how to live my life,” which I was proud of saying. I know that CABARET was written by Kander and Ebb, but I encourage you to take three minutes or so and listen — I mean listen — to Louis’s 1966 version (the one with strings).

That song, and Louis’ performance of it, has a special relevance for me at this moment.  Friends and family are devoting their energies to being afraid of the Coronavirus.  I hear of their buying masks and hand sterilizer, stocking up on food and water for when “the lockdown” comes, restricting their travel.  I can hear their voices over the phone, trying to mask their frightened disapproval, when I say I am getting on a plane in perhaps ninety hours to fly to Monterey for the Jazz Bash by the Bay, which begins March 5.  “You’re getting on a plane, Michael?  Well, be careful not to to touch your face.  You could wear a pair of gloves . . . ”

Their caution might be well-founded.  I could contract the virus, it could turn into pneumonia, I could die.  Or, I could get hit by a Range Rover as I cross the street, even when I have the light in my favor. I’m  not being facetious.  And I hear the voices of my loving over-cautious parents, “Be careful.  Be careful!”

But the opposite of Fear is Courage, and Courage has as its reward Joy.  If I stay home, I won’t hear these fellows play and sing:

So I’m on my way to Monterey on Thursday morning, and here‘s the schedule, a wondrous hot-jazz version of Ceres’ cornucopia.  You pick: stay at home with those books you’ve been promising yourself to read, and perhaps some takeout as a treat, or venture forth with plans to live joyously.  (I know some of you can’t fly to Monterey, but adapt my encouragements to your own neighborhood.)

Now I have to finish packing.

May your happiness increase!

17 responses to “FEAR, OR JOY? YOU PICK.

  1. Michael, please look forward to that trip. You will be fine. Can’t wait to hear your offerings when you return.Safe travels, Doug and Susanna Wayt

  2. Girish Trivedi

    The clip did not open.

    Louie started it all with his battered cornet and ALL the trumpet players after him followed him in one way or the other.

    Rest in Eternal Peace ‘King’.


  3. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Dear pal, please clarify?

  5. Michael,

    Thank you for this post. Much appreciated and needed for many. I’m closing in on Prez. Want to have it done by the election… enjoy Monteray. My best, Henry


  6. Doug Miller

    Words to live by.

  7. Why, thank you, Doug!

  8. There are other videos of Louis playing and singing CABARET on YouTube: keep trying. This is the one with strings.

  9. Pam Hirschhorn

    Great performance by Louis. Listening to him sing “Cabaret,” was a real treat.

  10. One possible rejoinder:
    “I’m going to enjoy it while I still can”.

    The Monterey area is one of the most beautiful on earth. I used to gig regularly there — and the Carmel Valley — back in the day.

  11. I pick joy, joy, joy down in my heart!

  12. There are still seats on the flight and at the Bash!

  13. Best wishes and good luck, Michael! I still have (and sometimes wear) the Louis badge you gave me at the Classic Jazz party a couple of years ago.

  14. Cynthia Angell

    Are you 90 years old? Sad to miss event that we absolutely love but 90 year olds need TLC and erring on the side of caution.

  15. Go for it – staying alive is what matters
    (but be careful – as always)

  16. Dear Erik, I had a hell of a good time at Monterey, and at Marty Grosz’s ninetieth-birthday party, and until they restrict me to my house, I will keep on going. I send love, because love is more powerful than any germ.

  17. The courage to be joyous. Thank you.

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