Thursday, May 10, 2007

Alvin Baptiste

Before I post my journal about my weekend in New Orleans, I want to tell a little about Alvin Baptiste.

I had heard of Mr. Baptiste before, but I'm pretty new to all this jazz. If I've heard of a person, it's probably about as much as I know. But if I've heard of them, they're probably someone. Someone other people know. And Mr. Baptiste was known and respected by many people. At Jazz Fest on Sunday he was to perform with Bob French and Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr. as part of a tribute to himself.

He died that morning of a heart attack.

I've linked here an article about Mr. Baptiste's death and life. Here is information on an album released by Marsalis Music recently. As part of the tribute to him on Sunday, they sang some of his songs and celebrated his memory.

I enjoyed his music very much. I want to learn more about him, and regret very much that I will never see him perform. As part of the tribute to him, Mr. Baptiste's neice sang a song in his memory, with her brother, his nephew, on trumpet with her. It was the most beautiful part of the performance, the part that has stayed with me most vividly, and the first memory I want to share with you.

When I think of my first Jazz Fest, I think what I will always remember a beautiful woman in a white dress with a beautiful voice that was rich with love and grief (and managed somehow not to break), singing these words.

No complaints and no regrets
I still believe in chasing dreams and placing bets
And I have learned that all you give is all you get
So give it all you've got

I had my share, I drank my fill
And even though I'm satisfied, I'm hungry still
To see what's down another road, beyond a hill
And do it all again

So here's to life
And every joy it brings
Here's to life
To dreamers and their dreams

Funny how the time just flies
How love can go from warm hellos to sad goodbyes
And leave you with the memories you've memorized
To keep your winters warm

But there's no yes in yesterday
And who knows what tomorrow brings, or takes away
As long as I'm still in the game, I want to play
For laughs, for life, for love

So here's to life
And every joy it brings
Here's to life
To dreamers and their dreams
May all your storms be weathered
And all that's good get better

Here's to life
Here's to love
And here's to you

No comments: