Our man Trong pitched me Washington Post‘s “Pearls Before Breakfast” by Gene Weingarten over the weekend, but I didn’t get to read it until now. The Post hired Joshua Bell who is a virtuoso classical violist to perform at L’Enfant Plaza during the rush hour to conduct an experience. The outcome was that most commuters would just pass him by without showing any appreciation. The fact that people ignored him not because they had to move on with their daily jobs, but no one gives a damn about dead music.
The article does remind me of the street vibes in NYC. It’s the similar kind of street musicians and performers that gives the city its liveliness. I remember one late night I was coming back to Poughkeepsie from Grand Central, there was this old saxophonist blowing alone in the empty station while the train passing by. He was not a great player, but he had this really dark and raspy tone like Ben Webster. He closed his eyes and played John Coltrane’s “Greensleeves” in a very slow tempo with minimal vibrato. I didn’t stop and listen either because I had to catch the train or else I had to wait two more hours to catch the next one.