OFF!

10 Nov

7:00 PM     9 NOV 2012

Everything is off tonight. I don’t mean a cancelled date or the light is off kilter. Or my mood is “off.”

No – – – it is more joyous than that.

The cable system is off, broken, kaput. No TV, no phone, no internet.

Just the radio I had turned on.

And then it was basketball. I hate basketball. I mean I really hate it.

So I exercised the tuning knob expecting to hear heavy metal or something else I did not want to listen to.

But on my first attempt to find something better I hit a jackpot.

JAZZ PIANO!

I have no idea of who is playing or what they are playing but it is soothing and comfortable.

Two announcers – – – PBS – – – never thought I would enjoy PBS.

One man, normal speaking voice. One woman, overly affected. Apparently they both play piano.

Now they are exchanging colors. They tell each other what colors they see for the key of “C” or “B flat.”  Oh well. It is their show and their piano and their keys. So I wait and listen.

The man is playing now, very nice, easy music. Not sure if it is more relaxing or more romantic. Slow piano jazz for some reason takes me back to that special period. The period of my life between the end of high school and the end of my stint in the army.

It was the end of the 1950’s. A love had just been lost. It was a blue time; maybe even a dark blue – – – almost purplish. I buried myself in several places but kept on finding one reason or another to get up and keep on going.

Then I volunteered for the draft. The army almost rejected me due to a damaged trigger finger. They finally decided that if nothing else I would at least make good mortar fodder.

The beautiful music just stopped and the two of opposite sex are talking about how they come up with their music. Now they are going to do improv jazz.

I listen, it is OK. Not so great as to get me back in the mood of two paragraphs ago.

So I am going on auto-pilot. It would be nice to have some background music for inspiration – – – but no such luck at the moment.

I attempt to think back about the jazz I listed to in the army. The Jimmy Wisner Trio; “Sidney’s Soliloquy.” A beautifully haunting tune with half-notes here and there. The only copies remaining are a few wax discs selling for over $200 or a CD with Mel Torme doing the lyrics. Nice!  Carmen McRae sings for us on the same CD; “If You Never Fall in Love With Me.”

There would typically be four or five of us remaining in the barracks. The rest had gone out drinking or whatever. We would tune in the jazz radio station from Philly. It was jazz all night as we sat on our foot lockers smoking and exchanging small talk.

Tom from Boston, the Jewish kid from Manhattan, Bill from Wisconsin and Ernie the Native American from New Mexico. Sometimes John from Puerto Rico and The Bronx would be with us. All good men. All strivers, no slackers.

Then the music of “Sidney’s Soliloquy” would start. No one spoke. We all sat there in our own thoughts.

Boston Tom thinking about his wife back home, the Jewish kid thinking about what I will never know; but he did it in depth. Bill from Madison thinking about his college years at UW, Ernie – – – I am sure – – – thinking about the chasms, canyons and deserts that made up his home, John – – – also married to a very nice woman – – – thinking about her and his childhood in that wonderful place named “Borinquin.”

Me? I cannot remember if I was thinking about a lost love or my next conquest. They seemed to blend together after a while; especially if the thoughts were mixed with whiskey.

The two jazz piano players have just signed off. Now it is the jazz of “Fats Waller” back in the late 20’s and early 30’s. Nice but not the least romantic. Sort of dithyrambic if I may use that word. It does take me back to an era I never lived in except for the movie theater or a late night TV presentation of “The Sting.” Still – – – nice music if it takes your mind to another era or another place.

The music is good music from the stock market crash but it breaks my mood. I think about getting up and turning it off. Would the silence be maddening? I guess I will have to find out. I make the move.

Ah – – – silence again. It is funny – – – you know – – – the way I am hearing jazz but don’t want old-time jazz. I want jazz that takes me back to my time. The time of “Burnished Brass” and Dakota Staten.

Our U2 spy plane had just been shot down by Russia. My old high school principal and I sat in a local bar arguing about it. He said there was no way the USA would fly a spy plane over Russia. I disagreed. We never ran across each other again so that I could remind him of his stance on the issue.

It is now 90 minutes later – – – no TV, no phone, no internet and no radio; the radio is off because of my own choice. I push the button on the CD spinner on my PC, place the CD in position, close the drawer, and wait for Mel and Carmen to sing to me.

Track one: Mel – – – “We’ve Got the World on a String.”

Nope. Oh no. Another recorded PBS interview between Mel and Mr. ?.

How do I get to Track five; “Sidney’s Soliloquy” – – – Jimmy Wisner – – – ASCAP – – – Trajames Music Co.

THERE IT IS!

In some strange key, maybe even changing keys from time to time. Haunting – – – the words revealing:

“Listen to,

Sidney’s Soliloquy,

The most forlorn full, mournful melody you’ve heard.

If you’re blue, sample its remedies,

It takes away the blues – – – leaves you with a sigh,

Long ago when love was new,

And the love affair was spring,

It was all you could do,

To suppress an urge to sing,

Now that love is through,

And your heart beats out of neither,

Don’t let yourself become a bore and a drag,

Hey – – – lookin’ sound,

Maybe this little song will be,

The panacea you’re lookin’ for,

If you’re blue,

Sidney’s Soliloquy

Will take away the blues,

And leave you with a sigh,

MMMmmm – – – fly away,

Leave your troubles for another day,

And share with me,

Soliloquy,

A song for Sidney.”

 

Writing the words makes me see why I liked the soliloquy.

Here it is 52 years later and now I understand myself a little better.

Funny, huh?

Carmen is singing “Love For Sale”, the TV still is kaput, but I see five bars on my internet icon. I check the phone and there is a dial tone.

My mixed drink is mostly slivers of ice cube remnants and water.

I don’t feel any better or any worse.

Afraid to play “Sidney’s Soliloquy” again.

It is time to sign off.

Thanks for listening.

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5 Responses to “OFF!”

  1. cindy knoke November 10, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    What wonderful pieces, Sidney’s Soliloquy and your story!

    • Waldo "Wally" Tomosky November 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      Thank you Cindy, I wish I could set the tune up for people to hear. It existed on U-tunes about a year ago and then had to be taken down because of copyright ifringements. I have the CD but apparently can not share it. Thanks again for visiting my posts. Hope all is well in “The Holler’.

  2. gailytr November 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    my dad was an engineer who played jazz on the piano, still love that sound. so interesting to go back to old music or books and get another view of ourselves.

    • Waldo "Wally" Tomosky November 11, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

      Hi Gailytr, Your dad must have been interesting. Music talent is found in many engineers and mathematicians. I find it interesting. I finally found a copy of the music sung by Mel Torme. Give me a minute and I will see if I can relocate it for you.
      FOUND IT
      http://video.yandex.ru/users/musichub-ru/view/84/#
      Thanks for reading my posts.

      • Waldo "Wally" Tomosky January 4, 2013 at 12:07 am #

        Just found out that they stopped it again. Now a new version has been posted. I think this song is going to end up being a classic. They erase it, someone else posts it, etc, etc, etc. Here is an eastern European version that is pretty close to the original, sans lyrics.

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