I can’t speak for everyone, but the fourteen-month period after mid-March 2020 felt for me like a) being locked in the basement with very dim lighting; b) a dinner-theatre production of RIP VAN WINKLE; c) induced coma with meals, phone calls, and my computer; d) a long undefined stretch during which I could watch uplifting videos here; d) all of the above.

But I feel as if spiritual Reveille has sounded, and the way I know that is that live music has been more out-in-the-open than before. (I mean no offense to those gallant souls who swung out in the parks for months.) I’ve been to see and hear the EarRegulars three times in front of the Ear Inn on Sundays (1-3:30, 326 Spring Street, Soho, New York City) and if the sun shines, I will be there this coming Sunday to say hello to heroes Jon-Erik Kellso, Matt Munisteri, Jay Rattman, and Tal Ronen; I am going to the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey, on Thursday, June 10, at 8 PM, to see Colin Hancock and his Red Hot Eight with Dan Levinson, Abanie Falletta, Arnt Arntzen, Vince Giordano, Mike Davis, Julian Johnson, and Troy Anderson (details here). On June 13 I am driving to Pennsylvania (thanks to the Pennsylvania Jazz Society) to see and hear Danny Tobias, Randy Reinhart, Mark Shane, Joe Plowman, Pat Mercuri, and Jim Lawlor (details here).

And, one week later, June 17 — Evan Arntzen and Jon-Erik Kellso, with Dalton Ridenhour, Tal Ronen, and Mark McLean, playing music from the new Arntzen-Kellso dazzler, the CD COUNTERMELODY. Details here. Important, rewarding, exciting.

First, Bennie Moten’s 18th STREET STRUT:

and this, with the verse, no less:

Now, some words of encouragement. Some of you will understandably say, “I live too far away, the pandemic is not over, and Michael will go there in my stead and bring his video camera.” Some of that is true, although I am taking a busman’s holiday and do not expect to video Evan’s concert, for contractual reasons. (And even Michael knows, although he does not wallow in this truth, that a video is not the same thing as being there.)

I know it’s tactless to write these words, but wouldn’t you like to experience some music that isn’t on this lit rectangle? More fun, and everyone is larger. And you can, after the music is over, approach the musicians and say, “We love you. Thank you for continuing on your holy quest where we can be uplifted by it. Thank you for your devotion.” If this strikes you as presumptuous, I apologize, and the Customer Service Associate will be happy to refund your purchase price plus tax.

I hope to see you out and about. We need to celebrate the fact of our re-emergence into the sunshine.

May your happiness increase!


  1. I rarely comment on my own posts, but this aberration deserves notice. Less than a minute after publication of this one, early in the morning, someone I did not know wrote in — and I quote — MOVE ON
    I replied to him that I was not about to post his two words without knowing more of his intent, and he wrote back, “Forget the past and move on. So tired of listening to how difficult it was for everyone this past year. You lived through it and it’s time to move on and stop whining.”
    I pointed out to him that had he read past the first paragraph, he would have found that we were in agreement, but that he was not encouraged to comment more.
    People: what a dazzling kaleidoscope!

  2. Mark Voitenko

    Sorry you won’t be able to record Evan’s concert for those of us who can’t make it there from the hinterland. I will just have to make due with his CD, which has been playing on a loop in my car for the past few days.

  3. petra van nuis

    Thanks for this important article and gentle nudge Michael! It’s been wonderful and heartwarming to see some old friends venture out to gigs again, but we need more! Artists and venues are still struggling for survival.

  4. One more: a well-respected musician, A.Nonymous (I didn’t make this up) wrote in to say, “People need to get out and get out NOW. It’s their civic duty in my opinion. They want to wait until they are ready. There’s a couple of clubs here that are on the brink of extinction. If people wait until they are ready, the venue may have closed by then. The artist may have to take another job because all places to play have dried up and the pay has gone down (which it sadly has…who knew it could get lower). In my opinion (and the CDC’s), once you are vaxed, you have very little to worry about, so get off your ass and get back out there.”

    Words to live by, says JAZZ LIVES.

  5. I enjoy posting videos as Michael does (but nowhere are dedicatedly prolific). For posterity and “the record”. But iive is so everlastingly vastly better. In highest def and double audiophonic. The math is pretty simple: no attendance = the music dies. Period. That would be, as Riley (Life of Riley) said, “a revolting development”.

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