Let’s see if you can guess my favorite musical instrument. I’ll wait a minute while you think. Okay, time’s up.
You’ll never get it: It’s the vibraphone.
This is not the same thing as a xylophone. For one thing, xylo means wood, and vibraphone bars are made out of aluminum. Both are hit with mallets, but the vibraphone has an electric motor that creates a vibrato you can’t get with a xylophone. It’s cool, ethereal, and jazzy. I am not particularly any of these things, but I love to listen to music that is.
A couple of months ago St. Bob surprised me with tickets to see the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet and I was absolutely giddy. The best thing is that he’s such an incredible musician. The baby boy of the famous Marsalis clan (you’ve probably heard of Wynton, Branford and others), he’s 37, but he looks about 25.
Okay the really best thing was that they performed in the smallest venue of the Harris Center in Folsom—Stage 3--, which meant it was incredibly intimate. We were sitting about 20 feet from the musicians. At one point they even took audience questions. My hand shot up. “How old are you guys?” I asked, “And whatever the answer is, that’s impossible.”
They played with the sophistication of guys in New Orleans who are in their 60s, yet here were young kids—KIDS!—knocking it out like guys twice their age. Jason (I like to think we could be on a first name basis, so I’ll call him Jason) was so unassuming and modest, so unlike the superstar he really is. And funny. The honestly best thing is that his latest album is called “In a World of Mallets.”
The next best thing is that they all wore shirts and ties. Thank you for respecting your craft, your instruments, and your audience. Bravo on that alone.
The almost best thing is that I wanted to have them over for dinner. And, with a husband from Louisiana, I know all the yummy things they probably long for when on tour. But I didn’t ask. Besides, they were only in town for one day. And I don’t want their memory of Sacramento to be of some stalker-woman-freako-fan inviting them to her house.
The evening was awesome. Here’s a review of their act from the New York Times: "His playing is eccentric within graceful boundaries, concerned with polyrhythm as science, history and gamesmanship, full of technique used to non-slick ends…Discipline and strategy are written deeply into the band.” I have no earthly idea what any of that means, but we don’t have to understand the chemistry of a great dessert to enjoy it, do we?
And Bob is now firmly back in Saint status. And truly, that’s the very best thing.
And here’s another best: Best deal on the internet—my hilarious books! Check ‘em out here. While you're there on my website, check out my Youtube Mom videos. And if you are Jason Marsalis, come over for dinner.