Here is a fact that's strange, but true:
Maybe its the artist in me, or let's face it, maybe I'm just a snob, but for as long as I can remember I've been in the habit of appraising real life, critiquing its composition like most people would a painting or a symphony. Am I the only person out there who does this? There has got to be others of you.
My criteria (if I could call it that) is simple enough: the more my regular life resembles the glossy, dream-like quality of a movie, the more it fulfills my urge for something bigger, deeper, more remarkable, the more satisfied I can be with living it.
Williamsburg suits me in this way, it fits -- the grit, the quiet loneliness that seems to permeate every street, the way it nearly topples with the weight of its history -- qualities that beg to be captured, that make something of this dream-life of mine real. And now, to top it off, there is the music...
I first noticed Saxbad, as he prefers to call himself, one afternoon while being carried along in the crowd of business folks exiting the subway at Graham and Metropolitan Aves. Tall, black, a saxophone resting at his mouth, he stood, twisting sentences, beckoning flirty notes at the passerby who came grumbling home from work as if trying to seduce them out of their seriousness. Like a modern day Dizzy Gillespie turned up on a street corner instead of a Harlem jazz club, Saxbad plays with an effortless joy that's simply contagious.
I certainly caught it that first day, when quite suddenly my Wednesday was swept up in the glory of 1940's film noir where the wind was suddenly not just wind anymore, but an angry wind and my coat was long because I was detective-like, braving the inclement weather because, well, thats what detectives do. Another day, a rendition of something summery made me feel like finding an iced tea and a Southern porch. Music can do that to you.
As it turns out, Saxbad started the sax in junior high over 25 years ago, and continues to play, he says, "to make a living and to make people happy." Now, he divides his time between street corners in Williamburg, New York housing projects, the city subways and at open mic nights and is working on releasing his first CD.
But in the meantime, you can find him just off Graham and Metropolitan Aves, orchestrating the afternoons.
PS. For more information about Saxbad, check out his Myspace page here.