June 11, 2005


What bothers me most about the loss of Mark Manetta -- and I've been trying to figure out why I'm thinking about him so much when I really shouldn't be, you know, using the relative scale of grief that I constructed for myself long ago -- is how much of a reminder it is of traumas past and future.

When someone who makes music dies, their sound disappears with them. And so much of their personality is wrapped into their sound, that it's almost a double loss. Well, no, not almost. It is a double loss. You lose the person, all of those things about them that make up your memories, and on top of that, you lose their sound - that other living being they create with their hands and heart.

Playing--the individual act of fingers on axe--is the thumbprint of the artist. Yes, we have recordings. I have recordings of my father too. But the energy behind the notes, the pain and the release--they take that with them. Jaco took it with him. Joe Pass took it with him. Miles took it with him. They all take it when they go.

There's no way to reconstruct the live-session self, the self that engages and interprets what others are saying in a completely unique way, at the moment of creation and into the future.

If painting were music, we would marvel at how the artist dips his brush in water, or mixes the right shade of blue on the palette -- we would dig all of the technique and vision involved during the creative process, before the piece is mastered. What we hang on the wall, that's the CD version of art. You see?

That's why music is special. That's why losing Mark so young just stinks.