In the old joke,
the marriage counselor
tells the couple who never talks anymore
to go to a jazz club because at a jazz club
everyone talks during the bass solo
But of course, no one starts talking
just because of a bass solo
or any other solo for that matter.
The quieter bass solo just reveals
the people in the club
who have been talking all along,
the same ones you can hear
on some well-known recordings.
Bill Evans, for example,
who is opening a new door into the piano
while some guy chats up his date
at one of the little tables in the back.
I have listened to that album
so many times I an anticipate the moment
of his drunken laugh
as if it were a strange note in the tune.
And so, anonymous man,
you have become part of my listening,
your romance a romance lost in the past
and a reminder somehow
that each member of that trio has died since then
and maybe so have you and, sadly, maybe she.
This poem called to mind one of my favorite recordings (below) which has embedded in it some remarks/reaction and laughter from a lady in the audience which I feel is priceless and which I anticipate and enjoy hearing every time. It really puts you there. No, she wasn’t chatting up her date, but fully immersed in the experience she was having. I especially love her laugh around the 4:18 mark, and again at the end.
If you wish to purchase the book this poem appears in, here is the link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rain-in-portugal-billy-collins/1123721806?ean=9780679644064