The Big City

”The more susbtantial an individual’s aesthetic experience is, the sounder his taste, the sharper his moral focus, the freer—though not necessarily the happier—he is.."

Or else there’d be more musicians sitting around today.

COVID-19 killed more musicians this week, here are the losses that were most acute for me:

Hal Wilner (April 6, 1956-April 7, 2020). He hit the scene producing music, notably on Saturday Night Live, but he lives on with me through some of the most exceptional albums in my collection, compilations organized around a past composer or music maker interpreted by the kind of sensitive, informed, and inspired choices that separate a master from a dilettante. His tributes to Kurt Weill and Thelonious Monk as masterpieces, but out of print. Enjoy his Disney album, which is merely brilliant:

John Prine (October 10, 1946-April 7, 2020). I believe I first encountered Prine either from SNL or Austin City Limits. His death has sent ripples around the music world, because the influence of his songs on other musicians goes even deeper than the effect he had on the listening public.

Vincent Lionti. A member of the MET Orchestra viola section from 1987 to this season. Like Wilner and Prine, it’s the music making behind the headliners that made him so important, because everyone who makes music that goes out to other musicians is important. What makes this extra sad is that first the virus killed off the rest of his playing for this season, then it killed him.

Our moron President wished us all a “HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY!” today, so here’s some mood music for us, people who have thoughts and feelings:

P.S. Jazz bassist Andy Gonzalez has also passed, which is another damn shame, but don’t know yet if it was the ‘itis.

“He gets it! He knows music!”

Alvin Singleton

“George Grella understood exactly.”

Robert Ashley
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