Magazine article Guitar Player

The Zen Moment: When Everything Goes Right, Your Playing Can Zoom into the Mystical

Magazine article Guitar Player

The Zen Moment: When Everything Goes Right, Your Playing Can Zoom into the Mystical

Article excerpt

I WRITE THIS COLUMN FROM the restaurant onboard the Spirit of France, as I'm crossing the English Channel from Dover to Calais. My band--which features Stuart Harem on bass and Jason Smith on drums--has just played five shows in the U.K. Now, we head to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, and Greece. The entire tour will take seven weeks and log 42 shows.

Only a week into the tour, and we're already hitting our stride. The show in Belfast was at one of those venues where the acoustics on stage were perfect and all the stars aligned. I could hear every bass note, kick drum, and tom hit with clarity. Each instrument occupied it's own sonic space, and the vocal monitors made singing effortless.

It's nights like these when all the hardships of travel disappear, and the heartache of missing your loved ones back home fades for a few hours. In fact, there can be moments on stage--usually in the midst of a long improvisation--that I truly believe you play "outside your head." Two nights ago in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was one of those nights.

I've heard of Buddhist monks that spend many hours each day meditating, with an ultimate goal of transcending their earthly existence, and elevating their state of consciousness to another level. I'm no mystic, but I honestly believe I've been there playing music.

The first time it happened, I was in my 20s, and playing a small jazz club by the beach. …

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