LEFT: Pee Wee Russell — RIGHT: Pee Wee Russell, Muggsy Spanier, Miff Mole and Joe Grauso, Nick’s (Tavern), New York, circa June 1946. (Wikipedia)


This is another personal post, the kind of post readers seem to like more than all the others. Since I did not have anything better to do, I will inflict one more personal post on all of you. I promise I won’t get into the habit. Although I may get one day in the Carmelite habit but that’s not the kind of habit I was talking about.

The fall season, my favorite time of the year, is finally here. golden leaves have made their appearance and the typical Buenos Aires drizzle is as present as ever. Sunshine comes and goes but yesterday we had a glorious dry and sunny autumn day. To celebrate … I visited Dr. Gabriel, my dentist who proceeded to practice a double root canal that was very needed due to a cracked tooth. Tooth had a battle with a military grade almond. Tooth lost and thus the need for the root canal. That is where the rubber meets the road or rather when the dentist’s drill meets the tooth. I have been blessed with those Roman teeth, plump roundish, hard with huge roots. What were those ancient Romans eating to develop such roots? I do not know. My guess is Carrara marble.

The bad news is that the full treatment will last about four more weeks and that kind of messed my plans. In any case, the mild weather, the light of the fall season, and some other small things contribute to offset the dental pain. One of those small things is that I am beginning to master (for the second time) an old forgotten piece in the nylon-stringed guitar. It is a lovely composition that sounds like a fast rondeau. After that one is incorporated to my rather short repertoire, I plan to return to my interrupted foray in Brazilian music. Here is a little sampler (by a much admired young guitarist from Brazil) please take a minute to enjoy it. Diego Figuereido is a guitar genius with excellent taste and a penchant for gardening it seems.

What Diego is playing is called a choro (cry) a hauntingly beautiful kind of popular music originated perhaps near San Salvador or Rio de Janeiro. I hope I can master that kind of music before I take leave of this sad planet.

I will end this post counting my blessings and thanking God for so much undeserved kindness: thank you for the gift of those who read this blog, for those who have helped to sustain it over the years. I also thank God for the gift of music, such a mystery has to come from God and all He does is designed for a purpose. I am very grateful for music because now I can finally appreciate and understand how music saved my life. Years ago I got in touch with one of the sons of Wes Montgomery. I was able to thank him for his father saved my life back in the day when I was a young kid, barely 14 years old. At that time (1969?) I found one of Wes’ albums in my local music store. It was love at first hearing and soon I was copying his licks in my rickety guitar made of pine composite. What a wonderful time that was.

From that experience I learned that a degree of joy and happiness can inhabit a tiny corner of our lives. It is not necessary to have everything organized and all the knobs turned to “happy”. I wish everyone could have a happy corner given the generally unhappy state of the world. In my case, all I have to do is grab the guitar and recall a tune from the Bossa Nova era, or crank up the stereo to hear the nearly apocalyptic sound of Pee Wee Russell. There it is … happiness.