From G.K.Chesterton, I think he had me in mind:

"A man must love a thing very much
not only to practice it without any hope of fame or money,
but even to practice it without any hope of
doing it well."


- From Josef Skvorecky, ”Red Music”, in The Bass Saxophone

That was when I wrote “The Bass Saxophone,” and I was writing about fidelity,
about the sole real art there is, about what one must be true to, come hell or high water;
what must be done to the point of collapse, even if it be a very minor art, the object of
condescending sneers.


(From International Cello Society web site)
"Here is an excerpt from Piatigorsky's book, in which he writes of an encounter with
Pablo Casals, that reveals Casal's prodigious memory, attention to minute detail, and
human warmth:"

My great wish was to hear Pablo Casals. One day my desire was
almost fulfilled and I met him. But ironically, it was I who had to
play. It was in the home of the Von Mendelssohns, a house filled
with El Grecos, Rembrandts, and Stradivarius. Francesco von
Mendelssohn, the son of the banker, who was a talented cellist,
telephoned and asked if he could call for me; they had a guest in
the house who would like to hear me play.

"Mr. Casals," I was introduced to a little bald man with a pipe. He
said that he was pleased to meet young musicians such as Serkin
and me. Rudolf Serkin, who stood stiffly next to me, seemed , like
myself, to be fighting his diffidence. Rudi had played before my
arrival, and Casals now wanted to hear us together. Beethoven's D-
Major Sonata was on the piano. "Why don't you play it?" asked
Casals. Both nervous and barely knowing each other, we gave a
poor performance that terminated somewhere in the middle.

"Bravo! Bravo! Wonderful!" Casals applauded. Francesco brought
the Schumann Cello Concerto, which Casals wanted to hear. I
never played worse. Casals asked for Bach. Exasperated, I obliged
with a performance matching the Beethoven and Schumann.

"Splendid! Magnifique!" said Casals, embracing me.

"Bewildered, I left the house. I knew how badly I had played, but
why did he, the master, have to praise and embrace me? This
apparent insincerity pained me more than anything else.

"The greater was my shame and delight when, a few years later, I
met Casals in Paris. We had dinner together and played duets for
two cellos, and I played for him until late at night. Spurred by his
great warmth, and happy, I confessed what I had thought of his
praising me in Berlin. He reacted with sudden anger. He rushed to
the cello, "Listen!" He played a phrase from the Beethoven sonata.
"Didn't you play this fingering? Ah, you did! It was novel to
was good...and here, didn't you attack that passage with up-bow,
like this? he demonstrated. He went through Schumann and Bach,
always emphasizing all he liked that I had done. "And for the rest,"
he said passionately, "leave it to the ignorant and stupid who judge
by counting only the faults. I can be grateful, and so must you be,
for even one note, one wonderful phrase
." I left with the feeling of
having been with a great artist and a friend.


Heavy basslines

My cousin Chuck tells this one.

Saxophonist Tom Creekmore was playing a steady hotel gig.

The bassist was slapping so loudly it was getting on Tom's nerves.

Each night, Tom would get a paper cup and fill it with sand from

the giant ash trays in the lobby.  Then pour it into the bass.

After a couple of weeks, the bass player says, you know it

seems I can't get the same pop out of this thing, do you notice?

No, no, I don't notice a difference.  Well, it was attached to a

stand & never got moved.  Finally when the gig was over,

he went to carry it out, & holy crap!