The Professor Is IN
Adrian Cunningham muses on life in The Big Apple
Jazz musicians, or any artists for that matter, strive to live in the moment.
Living in the moment is a very vital part of making music. It means letting go of everything you’ve learnt and to trust in the “now.” From the first note that I play, all of my troubles of the day no longer matter, and it’s in these truly free moments that true creation is free to happen. Everything I was, and will be, ceases to exist; and it’s just me and my instrument, caught in the beautiful, even spiritual moment of creating music. After all, isn’t life’s journey just one eternal moment? I am at my best during those times when I’m lost from myself—and my instrument truly becomes a part of me.
Inevitably, the free spirit of the artist, lost in the eternal moment of creation, will lead to the philosophical question from one’s mother: “Adrian, what about your future?” Geez, Mum*, give it a rest. My future? I’ve got two $50 gigs next week, and I’ve found a good reed. The future is looking fine. I know she only wants the best for me, but she’s the one that bought me a bloody sax in the first place. If she’d bought me a calculator instead, by now I’d probably have a retirement portfolio and a boat.
Perhaps you, the reader, may also ask: “But seriously, don’t you worry about the future?” Let me answer your question with a question—will you people quit your nagging? Okay, let me put it this way: since I started playing music, plenty of my future has happened already; and that future went pretty well. I think I’ll keep going and see what happens in the next bit of future, thanks very much.
Now don’t get me wrong—I don’t want to come across as irresponsible and pretend it’s all hippie love and rainbows, and that nothing bad may happen. I am, after all, a role model for today’s youth. So here’s a tip for you young musicians out there. Instead of forking out for those exorbitant health insurance premiums, you can save money by going to Rite Aid, and getting some multivitamins, Advil, and Band-Aids. That should cover you for most adverse health situations.
And what happens when I get old, you may ask? I’ve got that covered as well. While the rest of you fools in the rat-race are slaving it out for your 401Ks, I’ve found a better way. And it’s two words. Sugar Mama. You know, one of those rich old Manhattanites hobbling around the Upper East Side walking those yappy little dogs (I always carry dog treats just in case I meet one). They’re gonna love me. I’m bloody charming. And I’ve got an inside advantage—I can play the tunes they grew up listening to. I’ll push the starving artist angle, buy some flowers, pat the dog and bam, I’m in like Flynn. I figure five years of awkward sex, and then I’m on easy street in my Manhattan penthouse (if anyone wants a free dog please email me). Just think of me as an Anna Nicole Smith but with smaller boobs.
In the meantime, you’ll find me somewhere on my journey; perhaps on stage lost in the spontaneity of creation, or perhaps wandering the Upper East Side with dog treats. Who knows what the future will bring, for any of us? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to be lost in the moment of having a beer.
Reedman extraordinaire Adrian Cunningham is the leader of Professor Cunningham and his Old School Jazz Band, based in New York City. Adrian Cunningham was voted in a 2017 Hot House Jazz Magazine readers’ poll the Best Alto Sax Player in New York. His most recent album is Swing It Out! issued on the Arbors Jazz label. Visit his both his sites on the world wide web: www.adriancunningham.com and professorcunninghamjazz.com.
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