Steven C Releases ‘Signature’

Writing about music is difficult. Actually, writing meaningfully about music is difficult. So if you don’t care to watch someone struggle in the effort, stop here.

For those of you still reading (and now I know who slows traffic just to look at a crash) let me say that some people do it very well. Stanley Crouch, for instance. has a gift for helping the reader feel the jazz in his words. I’m not talking about reviews of performances or events. That’s something altogether different.

Speaking about music is maybe a bit less difficult but only a bit. When doing so, you’ll likely get the sense of your audience’s understanding of music and the piece or artist under discussion. But a person is still constrained to the use of words that, musical though they can be themselves, at best only approximately describe the beauty of sounds using words. Also it’s best to avoid phrases like ‘tumty-tum, dah, dah, dah’ if you wish to be taken seriously. Again, those who do it well stand out clearly. Karl Haas and Leigh Kamman were two of the best at this.

Often the person best able to discuss the music is the composer/artist herself. You’ll know this yourself if you ever listen to Marian McPartland’s conversations with her fellow musicians.

Steven C does it well, too. Very well. Hosting a series of free concerts celebrating the launch of his new CD “Signature” over the weekend, Steven unwittingly showed his skills as a potential lyricist as he discussed the inspiration for his new work.

Playing to a full house on Sunday afternoon (Well, not nearly full, really. You should see the place – it’s  huge. But there were only as many people there as he would allow in), Steven spoke of inspirations – of his daughter Chloe dancing in circles; of Sunday evenings as the ‘compressed weekend’ of a busy performer; of hymns; of 114 years of life speaking to him through his house; of nature; of explorations; of journeys.

Nuance and emotion comes in the music as well as the words. The George Winstonesque ‘Deep Within’ is a lush and mellow tribute to musical roots. ‘Secret Circle’ managed to communicate the joy of family and a hint of melancholy. But ‘Signature’ is upbeat and suggestive of sunny afternoons.

The result of Steven’s inspirations is thoughtful and genuine. Think of it all as words, then music, by Steven C. But think of the whole thing as one delightful conversation.

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