When I met…..

When I was in elementary school, I liked MGM Musicals. I didn’t know MGM back then but TV stations Japan used to have a program of American movies at night. I often watch those shows and many of them were musicals from early 30s to 60s. I always liked the music from the movies. Among them, though not MGM, I was so into West Side Story. The music was sometimes very intricate but so striking to me. I tried to play some piano reduction (orcjestra scpre re-written to play on the piano) version, but some parts were too difficult for the kid to play.

(I started piano at the age of 3 but never been a virtuostic genious, and in the first place, I don’t know why my parents had that particular sheet music…)

One day around New Years celebration, my parents gave me some money. We have a custom for the parents to give some money to their kids. With that little money I decided to buy a LP record of West Side Story. Grabbing that money smiling, I went to the recorde store and immediately found the West Side Story LP.

Nothing was more surprising at that time when I played that LP and the music that came out was so strange and surprising; that music was similar to what I knew from West Side Story but cleary different. It was the album, “West Side Story” by great Jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson. Of course I didn’t know what in music called “arrangement” or didn’t know such music called Jazz.

So, the very feeling I had at that moment was, “I was cheated!” (LP jacket was a picture from the real West Side Story movie!!)

However, a few moments later the even more strange thing happened. I was totally into Oscar’s music and that music struck me so hard that since then and until now I am in this music called Jazz, now professionaly.

I have met some ledgendary Jazz musicians in my life but never had an opportunity to meet Mr. Peterson.

Although I never met him, his music spoke to me at that moment in such a clarity that actually set the course of my life.

This simply tells that he communicated with me through his music.

We say, “We learn music. We learn the instrument” (and I teach in the college!)

But the music and all the other art is simply a tool for the communication.

Whenever we see, hear, feel the arts, it is speaking to you.

What a wonderful tool for the communication!!

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