Living as an expat, returning to the US just a month or two each year, do I risk being forgotten? Have to start from scratch when I move back for good some day? In the words of Robin & Linda Williams, “Don’t let me come home a stranger.” Or does absence make the heart grow fonder? Being based in Europe does seem to offer a certain cachet at times in the States. I should really work it. Pull out the old jazz trope, “They love me in Europe."
Audiences in Düsseldorf did seem to love my exuberant, American style–those who actually heard me; but two years wasn’t enough to make much of a dent in the Getting Heard department in Germany. But here in Florence things are picking up, I’m happy to say, and the joys of this beautiful, warm country where I now live far outweigh any setbacks. I was dying to play with people–anyone–those first few months, but suddenly I find myself rehearsing with three different projects. We’ll see what develops, but I am digging collaborating and hanging out with other musicians, after five months practicing and composing solo–(along with painting and writing, walking and running in the hills, and, as the envious would say, living la dolce vita).
I've been working hard at Italian; first an intensive 3 hours daily, 5 days a week class. When I couldn't afford to continue, my landlords hooked me up with their friend, who is a great, affordable tutor. I get by pretty well now, which makes life easier. Yes, yes, music is a universal language, but playing with others also requires a common vocabulary of working terms. In classical music, of course, the vocabulary is already tutto in Italiano (mezzoforte, allegro, tenuto, aria, cantabile, etc. etc.), but that doesn’t cover everything. Just a small sampling of words that didn’t get covered in Italian class: battuta (measure), tastiera (keyboard), spartito (chart/sheet music), prove (rehearsal).
Had a great trio rehearsal with drum set and contrabass squeezed into this space the other night.
Our house, a former poultry shed, stands alone (surrounded by six-story apartment buildings,
but nicely shaded from view). We can play into the night without bothering neighbors.
But while giving time for projects here to get off the ground, I've also booked a batch of gigs in New Hampshire for July and August, with my quartet and with The Buskers. So I won't be completely forgotten? The 2020 calendar will be up soon on craigjaster.com.