A Week Of Thanksgiving

December 4, 2001

A Merry Thanksgiving and Happy Holiday Season to All

We're soaking up the live music and holiday cheer lately. The week of Thanksgiving brought Brad Mehldau to the Village Vanguard jazz club. This is a pianist and his trio who we saw back in LA. Alex has wanted to see him perform at the Vanguard since he was here this time last year working on Vanilla Sky. Schedules would not permit it to be, so we've been watching the concert calendar since we arrived in Manhattan. He was performing all week, so we got tickets for as many shows as we'd be able to see. He did not disappoint.

His is a music neither one of us quite understand, but the trio's talent and passion are obvious. The music is elusive, like swimming in a midnight pool. It doesn't translate well into words on a page. It's more the language of images. There are whiffs of phrases that sound familiar. Bits of time signatures that shift and change like the reflection of a cloud on dark water. These three musicians listen intently to each other, while seeming in their own worlds. Their music somehow meets in the middle between them all. It's gently haphazard, a softly tumbling brook by moonlight. Rhyme and Reason were definitely present in the shadows, they just speak a different language that eludes and intrigues.

When they played standards the music was less amorphous. It really took flight. They did an amazing version of Radiohead's "Everything in its Right Place," as well as "Junk" by Paul McCartney, and "Still Crazy After all these Years," by Paul Simon. These guys are so fluent in a beautiful language that they speak to each other with proficiency. All you can do is to enjoy the music washing over, to sit and listen in the moment of its inception.

For Thanksgiving weekend we were invited out to Dick and Sandra Vaux's place in Long Island. After seeing a few minutes of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that started literally at the end of our block, we rushed to Penn Station to catch our train out of the city. We made it with about two minutes to spare, and sat back as the skyline receded behind us. The ride out to Huntington took about an hour. The Vaux's met us at the station and drove us out to their beautiful property near the Long Island Sound. Our adopted parents on the East Coast were the perfect hosts, making us feel right at home.

We were just two of a handful of misfits that they invite over each year. The house was filled with laughter and good conversation. The turkey was amazing, the games had us all grabbing greedily at white elephant gifts, and the assortment of pies had us stuffed to the gills. Tiffany baked a pumpkin pie that was a definite favorite. We stayed out there the weekend, soaking up the rural setting. It was a welcome relief from the hustle & bustle of city life. Seeing a movie… Eating at the "Pub"… Renting a DVD… Being able to breathe and not rush anywhere was just great. We fed the horses, helped put the boats at the beach away for their winter sleep and visited some Vaux family friends. We ate too much pie and ice cream but were fully satiated physically & emotionally. Sunday morning we headed back into the city.

To kick off the Holiday Season, our neighborhood puts on a Winters Eve Celebration. There was a tree lighting at Lincoln Center, live music throughout the neighborhood, and the restaurants opened their doors for samples. Wynton Marsalis was on hand to perform with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. We caught the Be Good Tanyas and the Wycliff Gordon Quartet. It was great to see so many people out and about enjoying OUR neighborhood.

The holiday season is officially here in full swing, though you wouldn't know it from the warm weather we're having. Record highs are being set this year. People seem at a bit of a loss when there's not a bite in the air. Maybe with all this festive cheer that's going around we can rouse Winter from his slumber.

We hope your Turkey Day was a good one this year, and that this season brings good times to your door.

 

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