The Imaginists theater collective) that are digital collages juxtaposing odd assortments of images taken from various sources--everything from the Rubik's Cube to old paper tags appear as elements in the little worlds Mr. Salazar creates. I was mostly deeply impressed, however, by the music I heard.
As I walked down to Jeremiah's Photo Corner to say hello to Jeremiah I did the aural equivalent of a double take as my brain made the connection between the deeply authentic blues I was hearing and the man folded around a guitar, playing on the corner there (Dave Burke). At first I thought I was hearing a recording--"Cryin' Won't Help You." The quiet but relentless beat behind the guitar produced with a bass drum pedal working against an old suitcase and augmented by a foot-operated tambourine immediately reminded me of the likes of Jack Owens and Eugene Powell--and later, R.L. Burnside, when Burke launched into "Old Black Hattie." The real blues are gone, despite the knee-jerk protestation "the blues will never die" that the old bluesmen seemed to fall back on when asked to say something about their art. The deep blues Robert Palmer wrote about, in particular, was the product of a society in America's Deep South that no longer exists. A lot of blues musicians today think they know what they're doing, but few seem to approach the balance of raw feeling, technical skill, and driving forward motion that makes real blues music compelling. Remarkably, Mr. Burke comes very close to achieving the feat. The whole evening would have been worth it just to hear this music. But there was more.
In a back corner of the gallery buildings an unlikely ensemble fronted by two women playing trombones and a man in a hat playing a giant, bleating saxophone (a bass saxophone maybe?) created an entirely different mood. I never found out who these people were. Shortly afterward, as I was about to leave the event, I heard the sound of Klezmer music coming from South A St.--an accordion, a wistful fiddle played by a dark-haired beauty, a clarinet, and a soprano sax there were weaving magic. A small crowd had formed. Some were dancing in the street. Passersby good-naturedly danced as they slipped through the people who stood listening or, just as often, they stopped and momentarily became part of the crowd themselves. The accordion player switched to stand-up bass and the young man playing the sax ducked under a battered sousaphone as a new tune began. For a while, he played both instruments. There was soulful ballad-singing in a raspy voice. There was a song sung in French. There was singing in Russian or Yiddish. I ended up staying until the end.