Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Wonder That Is Daniel

Fans of Stargate SG-1 use the above phrase to describe Dr. Daniel Jackson. I think it's okay to co-opt it, just for this post, to describe Daniel Magazin, deranged ragtime piano player extraordinaire. :)

I'm back from Eugene, where the first round of sessions for Not Made of Stone went extremely well. Dan's piano part, which he contributed to the song "How Now Is Soon", really takes the tune to a new level, along with Violent Femmes-esque drumming provided by Jeff Davis and Jim Carr's bass line.

But back to Dan. We have known each other a long time. We were undergrads together at SF State, when I was a flute performance major and he was a composition, then a piano performance, major. We have a really similar sense of humor and an affinity for all that's twisted and goofy. We have compatible political leanings. We love good food and good coffee and great conversation and astrology. We both wish we could afford tickets to Le Grand Macabre.

I remember the first time I ever wrote a piece, which was back in 1989. I had never considered myself a composer. In the classical world, composers and performers are generally brought up separately and the two fields assumed to be mutually exclusive. (Nowadays, thank Goddess, that's not always the case.) The piece wasn't long. It only took about a minute and a half to play on the flute but I had written it. Given how I'd been trained up to that point, I hadn't thought it was possible, and I wondered why I wasn't struck by lightning on the spot.

So when I realized I'd come up with something original and written it down, and thereby become A Composer, I was kind of stunned and wigging out and I remember Dan was the first person I told, right there in the hallway in the music building. :) It was natural that I should tell him, because he actually was A Composer.

Nowadays Dan pays way too much for a studio apartment in the City, and we meet in the evening sometimes for coffee near Union Square, and he comes to my place to rehearse, and it's just been really cool to work with him. So all hail The Wonder That Is Daniel. :)

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