A Chat With Brian Charette

I went to see – well, to check out – a jam session in Studio City tonight. It was at one of the oldest clubs, and the oldest jazz club, in LA: The Baked Potato (I got the ham, corn and pineapple potato).

I went ahead and signed my name on the sign-up sheet. I was the first name on the list. I went outside and introduced myself to the keyboard player. His name was Brian. He lives in New York. He was very kind and approachable.

Brian turned out to be one of Keyboard Magazine’s top four… well, keyboardists. You can read an article he just wrote  (that I literally just found) here. He was one of these laid-back geniuses who seem totally avuncular – until they melt your face off.

As I was picking up my face from off the bar counter, I asked him some questions about practicing, about getting better.

“Well, what do you want to work on?” he asked me.

“Consistency,” I said.

“Ah, that’s big. It’s all in your body, and how you carry your body.

“Read the Tao De Ching,” he told me. “It’s all in there. That’s the Way. It teaches how you have to do all of these things with passion, but to forget about what you’ll get from them. That’s the thing – letting go of attachment.”

Yeah, letting go of attachment. Of course. How many times had I heard that one before?

“Getting better,” he concluded, “is not an adding-to. It’s a stripping away.”

Ah.

Now there’s something to ponder.

It makes sense. There’s a True Musician inside, a True Person even. And we all just want to get to it. So that’s what we’re learning. How to get to what’s already there.

“Just relax, man,” he said. “You’ll be fine. I can tell you, you’ll be fine.”

Well, Brian, OK. If you say so! Now, off to find a copy of the Tao.

And figure out this body thing.