21 July 2017

Post 529: THE GOLD STANDARD - A RECENT CORRESPONDENCE

E-MAIL 1
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Hi I,
Just to set on record how much Barry, Bruce and I thoroughly enjoyed this lunchtime's jazz session at the D&G. What a splendid group of musicians, and all of you 'gelling' in the tunes you played. We agreed that it was the most enjoyable musical event we'd been to for a very long time. I hope the same group can be gathered again for another performance - it really was outstandingly good.
Goes to prove a theory I developed decades ago that the functions one thinks could be a bit 'dodgy' - you had warned me! - often turn out to be excellent.
C.
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E-MAIL 2
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Hi C,
Thanks very much for the kind compliments. I am glad you enjoyed the performance.
I thought we did well but that so much could have been better. I have been spoilt by frequent exposure to the playing of Tuba Skinny and The Shotgun Jazz Band. They are the Gold Standard. So, whenever I play in any band, I am all too aware of how our performance compares with theirs.
Always, I find us defective in many respects. I think we could improve our playing just a little if we had rehearsals and if we discussed and analysed our playing intelligently and critically.
But the truth is: we old guys are simply not good enough. We do our best and can be reasonably entertaining but we are many miles short of the top-quality stuff.
Best wishes,
I.
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E-MAIL 3
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Hi I,
I think we can all appreciate the Gold Standard whenever we come across it, whether it be in the arts, sport or any other field of human endeavour. That it's given to so few people to reach is what makes it special and admirable.
But if we all tried to reach that sort of standard in our chosen fields of activity, there would be much disappointment and the suicide rate would rocket!
We live in the English East Midlands, not in New Orleans, and I think we should treasure the talent that the region has to offer us - not least musically. OK, not Shotgun or Tuba Skinny, but I really don't think that matters at all - Thursday's outing to the D&G had three of us singing the band's praises on the way home.
Incidentally, the ride to and from the D&G in Bruce's new, automatic, 4-seater sports Mercedes was a treat in itself: the technology in that car is quite remarkable. It can do just about everything short of making a dry martini!
C.
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E-MAIL 4
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Dear C,
Thanks as ever for talking good sense to me.
I think if you want a Mercedes that serves dry martini, you need the 2017 E Class Coupé.
I don't feel 'suicidal' about my inability to play like the youngsters in New Orleans, though I am envious and frustrated.
Your comparison with sport is spot on. When, long ago (in 1988) I took part in The London Marathon, even though I finished 10956th, two hours behind the winner, I was on a high for days afterwards. It's the same with playing jazz: I feel exhilarated by the attempt, despite the frustrations.
Best wishes,
I.