J. B. BLOG

My debut album THEN/NOW is available on bandcamp

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So, I’ve been thinking…

March 5, 2021

Have you ever just sat and stared at the instrument you’ve chosen to be your life’s work? Whether the result of grand elation or head-in-your-hand despair…you really sat…and stared. Maybe wondering why it’s so terribly difficult and emotional, yet heartwarming and inspiring all at the same time. How this instrument, in any number of different hands can make music in any number of different ways. Maybe even asking yourself why (WHY!) have I decided to take this plunge and join the lineage of greats who came before, the greats who are here now, and the trove of greats guaranteed to come in the future. Your instrument has history on it’s side and on a daily basis reminds you that it’s in charge. 

But please remember that without your talent your instrument isn’t an instrument at all; It’s a paperweight. It needs to be activated; It needs engagement. It needs a partner. 

And this is why you’re here. This is why you’ve taken to this calling. And this is why you sweat the necessary emotion which inevitably leads you back to that moment where you find your only defense is to sit…and stare. 

Never forget that your instrument is sitting and staring, too. It wants you as much as you want it. It wants to be engaged and activated, and it will accept the emotional winds that guide you through your life. 

It’s telling you that this street is a two way street. Because this relationship is truly a partnership.

February, 24 2021

When I began to conceive of this recording project, circa 2002 in Boston, MA, I was doing so because I needed to find my place in a field that, quite frankly, was going to be fine without me. I was searching to find a sustainable path and responded by doing the only thing I’ve ever really known.  I walked into a practice room; I closed the door; I set-up some drums; I began to play.  That piece was She Who Sleeps with a Small Blanket, and it is the first track on THEN/NOW.  I needed more music, so I dug through old boxes in my studio and came across Links and Link No.2. I threw those up on the stand and began to get slammed with 1970’s avant-garde solo vibraphone music. Next was Patchwork, a marimba piece that was introduced to me in my undergraduate studies and whose language matches my priorities as a performer. This work allows the marimba to speak and be featured, not the performer.  The performer is only the vessel. These three works saved me.  They showed me that our priorities aligned.  They told me that I was in the company of a larger and greater good. But best of all, they showed me that they’d be here for me whenever in my life I need them.  I needed them THEN. And I need them NOW.  

Reuniting with these old “friends” after all of this time is better than any random “Hey, I know you!” at some conference where it’s far too cold on the street to properly reunite.  I’ve had time to grow personally and professionally and now show them what I’ve learned over the past 20+ years.  I’ve introduced them to my new recordings of Links, Links No. 2 and Links No. 3. as well as Hop by Paul Lansky.  These new works fit right in with the old.  It was not a friendship I could have conceived of when I was 23.  It’s a friendship that occurred because I played the long game.  It’s a friendship I’m proud to share with you. 

One thought on “J. B. BLOG

  1. Jon – how wonderful to read your story! I share so much of your experience with some repertoire that is just as special to me – Time for Marimba, Conversation (Miyoshi), Rebonds, and others, amongst them most particularly the music of Bach… I visited the Cello Suites for many years before recording 3 of them back in 2006 and I go back to them even today. Music is a powerful link to our yesterdays and certainly a big motivator for our tomorrows. Thank you for sharing your story! I look forward to getting and listening to your CD!

    Liked by 1 person

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