At Oga’s one of the sushi chefs is cutting cucumbers. Not chopping them into pickle-shaped rounds, but cutting them as you would peel an apple, slowing winding around and around creating a long, thin sheet of cucumber paper. The chef is perhaps 50 years old. How many cucumbers has he peeled this hour? How many in his lifetime? And yet he is serene, completely and skillfully engaged in his task. His concentration reminds me of – what?
Ah. The bass player. A very good “modern vintage” singer called Miss Tess played an event I attended in Rhode Island; her backing band was drums, guitar and upright bass. All the (few) jazz bass players I’ve seen have the same expression. The bass player looks neither at the instrument, nor the singer, nor the audience, but off into some space, focused on some thought or impulse in her own mind. What does she see? A harmonic structure? A beat? Sheet music?