Features » On the Turntable

“Peace Piece” — for musical escape

 

Bill Evans

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To understate the obvious, our world has not been the same since January 20.  Science has become fiction, democratic institutions are being threatened, global relationships that have been nurtured for generations are devalued and misunderstood, and our world is in complete turmoil.  Like Hillary or not (and God, how I liked her – her grace, intelligence, experience, resilience, strength, and compassion are all qualities we are starved for today), it is tough to argue with what is now clearly the most honest assessment of Donald Trump during the campaign, when she said, “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”  Alas, this most basic and obvious warning — which should have elicited a major national conversation before the election — got lost in the noise of campaign coverage more concerned with her oh-so-scandalous emails!  

So this is where we are, living on the brink of catastrophic war due to our man-child president’s narcissism, his endless lies, and his addiction to Twitter spats.  Where a cool head and diplomacy is required, we get inflammatory and impulsive rhetoric, cabinet members communicating competing messages, and a predictable reaction from an unpredictable and dangerous adversary who may be the only person on the planet more unhinged than Mr. Trump.

How to escape the madness?  A round of golf, maybe?  A trip to the movies?  A brisk walk in the park? Walk a Labrador? Hold a child? Turn off the news and meditate??

This morning, I found a worthwhile escape in the music of Bill Evans, particularly his sparkling piano solo “Peace Piece.”  This brilliant and meditative 1958 recording – an obvious flight from madness due to its title alone – came out of the introduction to Leonard Bernstein’s “Some Other Time,” that, while Evans played it, he said, “started to get so much of its own feeling and identity that I just figured, well, I’ll keep going.”  According to Evans biographer Keith Shadwick, the improvisation on “Peace Piece” “called on Evans’s detailed knowledge of the music of composers such as Satie, Ravel and – in parts – Scriabin.”  The piece also served as an inspiration to Miles Davis, who wanted to use it in his Kind of Blue sessions.

So…For almost seven minutes of sheer beauty, and an island of calm, click on the link below…

“Peace”