Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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mind’s ear

In one of his concerts Keith Jarrett disappeared into the high notes of the keyboard. Scientists have put musicians in the vaults of MRIs so they can record the brain switch between sight-reading and improvising, distinct as sawtooth from triangle, sine from ramp. When Glenn Frey of the Eagles died, I slid for a day inside the glass of a window. Told friends that parts of my body are made of his voice: Take it easy. Sound, the first and last to accompany us, fetuses with only hearing before everything powers up, hospice patients with only that after everything shuts down. Families sing songs to them as their eyes dim. Glenn Frey, unabashed, loudest backup singer in Bob Seger’s “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” pushed his voice to romp right off the track. Not from Cali after all but from the Motor City, including the rampant desire to roam. Where am I in all this? In my ear. To say there might be something to rambling, something to unscripted singing, to sensing that when there’s no better option there’s no better option. It’s a vast space in which I trust there will be music: take it easy.  

Note: The italicized quotations in the first and last lines are from Keith Jarrett, National Geographic, May 2017.

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