Sunday, July 18, 2010

Palma de Mallorca, Deutschland?

Written on July 14, 2010
I have just entered the Palma de Mallorca airport and am instantly reminded of the film "Man Spricht Deutsch," about a West German family that goes on holiday to an Italian beach town, which hosts only German restaurants, German tourists, and German street signs. The family becomes irritated with Italian tourists who don't speak any German. So when I was greeted in German and asked if I spoke Spanish, I began to second-guess myself: Did I miss some important bit of history? Is Palma de Mallorca somehow governed by Germany? Well, at least there's the Bier Garden in the main terminal case I get hungry for a Currywurst.

On publishing writing to the web...

July 18, 2010
It occurred to me in a Spanish airport a couple of days ago that perhaps it's time to jump on the social media bandwagon and start a blog. I've never really read blogs, and those that I have read struck me as self-indulgent, poorly-edited ramblings. So in the spirit of global, new-media sharing in an efficient, hopefully meaningful way, I am starting "If On a Winter's Night, A Traveler" (the title of an Italo Calvino book) to share:
1. a few remarkable/evocative/resonant moments from my travels
2. information on interesting projects I'm learning about or working on
3. music and cultural events that inspire me

My goal is to keep each post as concise as possible, and to keep the entries focused on the thoughts that seem only to be inspired by the wonders of travel.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

On the road with Joshua Redman in Spain: Guggenheim, paella, Dianne Reeves

There is truly nothing better than experiencing a city through a musical lens. Eating paella on the Mediterranean coast of Valencia, Spain by day, hearing Joshua Redman's band and Richard Bona by night.

The highlight of the trip was Vitoria in the Basque country. After enjoying a stellar performance of Joshua Redman's double trio (or, technically speaking, quintet) with Matt Penman and Reuben Rogers on bass, and Gregory Hutchinson and Bill Stewart on drums, I had the pleasure to experience the transcendent voice of the jazz vocal goddess Dianne Reeves.

And all the musical adrenaline that carried the audience and band members late into the evening lasted through the next day, when I visited the breathtaking Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. I was greeted by Jeff Koons' playful, enormous puppy, before entering into a maze of astonishing installations. Anish Kapoor's exhibition was scintillating, and drew me into an almost dream-like state of contemplating how a void is created through color and shape.

I fell in love with Spain and look forward to learning Spanish and returning again to explore more of this delightful country. Not that Spanish will help me navigate the Basque country...