Last night (April 18), we performed in the Jazz Gallery as headliner for the very first time, and we are very honored to play in the Gallery’s new home, 1160 Broadway, 5th floor.
To be honest I was a little touched when I found out that JG found its new home, after much fear of losing a place to sustain its awesomeness. I remember hearing the director or the manager going on stage to ask for any kinds of help regarding this matter during every show, when they were still in the old space. I, as a poor musician, couldn’t help much but to share the news and also contributed a small amount of money, hoping it will pull through. Thus playing in this new space is a joy for me personally, and I’m sure the other guys in the band feel the same way too.
We premiered 3 pieces, one by myself, “Get In Line”, which was beautifully performed by my colleagues; one by Gregor, “The Wollheim Quartet”; and one by Jeremy, titled “Heal”, which he dedicated to the victims of the recent Boston incident.
In the wake of yet another American tragedy, I found myself being very very calm, in contrary to the intense anger I felt after the Newtown massacre, and I didn’t understand why in the beginning. I even began to ask myself whether I was that much of a cold and heartless bastard, not being moved by such a tragic incident. It’s not until the next morning that I realized that deep down inside, I knew there are more important things that I, as a musician, could and should do other than feeling furious or sad. I realized that we, artists, writers and musicians, have a special ability that most others don’t, that is to stir people’s senses and emotion. Art, whether you see it as a hobby or a profession, a spiritual act or merely a way to vent your feelings, the thing that never changes is that it makes you find a balance in yourself. The sense of balance helps one to find comfort and peace within oneself. After the Newtown incident, I told my friends that if the shooter discovered free jazz before he discovered guns, the tragedy might not have happened. And I will say it again, if the kids who placed the bombs discovered music before they encountered bomb-making, they could both still be alive, well, happy, and loving, right now.
When I was playing Jeremy’s “Heal”, especially during my solo, I felt elevated somehow, and later, cleansed. It was a strange and wonderful feeling, I felt even more firmly that this is what I am going to do for the rest of my life — to play, move people, and decrease the violence in this world. And that only means I can’t and shouldn’t stop, and I hope all of my colleagues in the music circle wouldn’t stop either, and play more intensely than ever in the face of violence, as Bernstein would say, so that we can help changing the world we live in, bit by bit.
Having said that much, Sirius Quartet is going to play on, whether you like us or not.
See y’all at The Shrine, May 4, 6pm.
Thank you for reading, namo amitabha.
— Chern Hwei