Playing Real Good For Free
One quick break from theocracy to comment quickly on Gene Weingarten's boneheaded article about Joshua Bell playing for free in the DC Metro. The article is everything others have said it is, condescending, elitist and obnoxious. But let's not stop there. The idea that a world-class musician would forgo the proscenium stage and the snoots is a great one.
Accordingly, I propose divorcing the idea from Weingarten's pomposities. Let's get other great musicians play in public spaces anonymously and unannounced. It's what the Beatles did in Liverpool. It's what Bach did every Sunday, and at the coffee-house Collegium in Leipzig. Branford Marsalis, Zakir Husain, Rory Block, Leila Josefowicz, my God, there are so many great ones! Let's get this music-making in front of people, so it becomes part of their lives. The problem isn't with people's ability to understand anything but the most insipid music around. The problem is that great music is too hard to find, too hard to learn about, too hard to hear live.
Great musicians performing in such a place as to be literally integral to a community's daily life - man, now that's a great idea.