Happy International Jazz Day.
David Stringer, the vigilant celebrator of local music through the site SceneSC and the guy who oversees recording these “1 or 2” sessions, pulled together a performance to celebrate the occasion this week. It finds saxophonist Ben Eidson and drummer Michael Crawford performing an instrumental jazz rendition of the American standard “All the Things You Are” in front of one of the graffitied backside of one of Columbia’s most iconic pieces of public art, Richard Lane’s “Ra Obelisk.”
Art exists in the real world, and sometimes people do not-so-nice things to it. And while I definitely don’t support defacing local art, it’s strangely appropriate given the feel of this session.
Starting out with easygoing drum skitters and softly fluttering sax lines, the song builds and bustles, eventually becoming packed out with energy and motion, a comforting musical analog for the way days tend to escalate with tasks both expected and surprising. It’s a performance that can be felt as a purgative illustration of workaday stress or mounting excitement depending on your mood. And Eidson and Crawford play skillfully, without tilting the vibe one way or the other.
All the things we are change depending on the day, and how that day makes us feel. Good jazz music often leaves me pondering such intricacies of perception, and this performance is no exception.
The "1 or 2" socially distanced performance series was started in April 2020 to connect Columbians with local artists during the pandemic, and to give those artists a chance to get a paycheck when such opportunities have become more rare. Free Times remains grateful to our partners in this endeavor — One Columbia, Richland Library and SceneSC — for helping us keep it going.
To check out more "1 or 2" videos, all of which are freely accessible without an online subscription, head to free-times.com/1or2.
(SHOT AND EDITED BY DAVID STRINGER)