Monday, April 22, 2013

in the presence of true greatness

I have to write this, so I don’t forget, and because it’s bubbling inside me…

This past weekend gil dor and myself had the unbelievable privilege of spending time with Mr. Quincy Jones.

We have known him since 2000…i have been on stage in several events he has produced, coincidentally pregnant every time J (he calls it my baby bump J) , he attended our concert last year in Barcelona, we met with him in his home last year, and now he invited us to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in Los Angeles, where he was being inducted, and insisted we ride in his Limousine with him on his way to the red carpet.

It took an hour to get there, I sat beside him and listened to his stories about his childhood, his musical education, his experiences and insights…I had to pinch myself (again and again)

Did you know Quincy Jones was raised in a poor family in Chicago, son to a father who worked for the mob…young Q was on his way to becoming a mobster himself when at the age of 11 he had an epiphany of sorts while breaking into a community center and stealing Lemon Meringue pie…there was a room with a piano…he was drawn in…touched the instrument and knew his fate was calling him.

Music saved this man’s life, and he in turn has saved music: he has not only played and created it but excelled superbly in it, celebrated it, glorified it and spread it far and wide to the most remote reaches of the globe by the grace of his enormous talent and unmatched spirit.

The list of people Quincy has worked with is way too long to list here, from Ella , Miles and Sinatra to Michael Jackson and We are the World , with literally everything in between and beyond. The title Living Legend attaches itself naturally to his lapel. His curiosity is insatiable, his hunger for life and knowledge enormous. He cares about music and the world, the world and music. He’s always on the lookout for new talent.  He breathes music. He  travels the globe like a 20 year old learning about people and their habits, their languages and history (he says: “you gotta go to know!”), trying to unravel the grand puzzle of human communication and the seemingly unattainable dilemma of why peace is so often beyond our reach. He is involved in numerous projects aimed at bringing people to a better understanding of each-other through music and education. He cares about history, and the African American role in shaping it, from Pushkin to Samba and he’s been chosen to advise the president of the Republic of China in all things musical.  And that’s just the beginning. Quincy never stops, he has plans, he is a party animal and he’s just 80! J

So you ask yourself, how and why in God’s name does this man have the time and will to hang out with two relatively unknown Israeli musicians??

The night after the Hall of Fame bonanza, we were playing a few songs opening for an Iranian singer in a tiny room called the Edye at the Broad theater in Santa Monica LA, courtesy of the sweet Adam Fell, Q’s VP. Quincy came early and hung out in our dressing room like one of the guys, we talked about music and politics, played him songs, we laughed like old friends…and all the while I’m pinching myself…

Then he went up and introduced us before the show. He said the kinds of things that only in my most secret and whackout out dreams would I ever allow myself to imagine anyone saying about me and gil. And here was quincy jones saying them.

Then we sang. And it was magic. All the angels of song where there on my shoulders and I, the humble servant of the God of music, prayed in his temple with Gil at my side, the moments of grace we live for. Pure and simple, guitar and voice and the soul in between them.

And Quincy loved it and hugged and kissed us again and again and went on and on.

Quincy says:  "When you walk into the room, leave your ego at the door…"

And he practices what he preaches …(how many people really do??)

He also says:

"when musicians make music only  for money, God walks out of the room…."

Well, I don’t know about God, but gil and I have walked out of the music-for-money room over and over for 23 years, we have sacrificed fame and fortune on the altar of our intense dedication for  music in what we perceive to be its purest form. We deal with waves of frustration and career hardships, we are constantly climbing up that mountain, we have been criticized for our choices and our political activism , we’ve been banned and boycotted, blacklisted and picketed.  and the list goes on and on…

And here. God has given us a beautiful gift : the love and admiration of an amazing man, a living legend, a musician through and through and true and true.

Thank you, God , for walking into the room.

Thank you Quincy, for the amazing experience of your presence and wisdom, and the gift of your love.

Thank you Adam for making this all happen and for your beautiful soul.


Now I got it out of my system. J