In the previous review, I was talking about my first class with our master Moacir Santos.
Well, we spent all day together, we talked about music, life, human relations, everything! I cooked for him, rice, beans, collard greens, trivial “Brasuca” (Brazil’s nickname) food, which he ate sparingly because he was on a diet.
We went to where the piano was and asked Maestro to correct some things in my way of playing certain songs of his. I was going to start my first record and would undoubtedly include one of them.
At that time there was no written material available, such as song books or official scores published in Brazil, which, as always, was delayed in this and in many other cultural and artistic aspects. Patience…
I played one, then another, he directed me to play right. At that moment I took a risk: “Maestro”, would you have any new song, unknown, more recently composed? The squeaky wheels get the grease, I thought.
The baritone sax replied, “Look, I don’t have anything new … yesterday I was thinking about Stan Getz at the piano, and there was a curious melodic reason that had the shape of a palindrome. It went like this”. And he played the melody, already in harmony, but the chords only came around the seventh or eighth measure. Before that, it was counterposed exclusively by a bass line which referred to Bach for his perfection!
I got excited by previewing, or rather, “pre-listening to” it already recorded and sounding wonderfully like everything he had written so far! Suddenly he interrupted running it and said, “Yeah, but I’m missing the bridge, I still haven’t finished this part … there was something like this here, let’s see …”
He began to remember what he had imagined and ended there a theme he called “Stanats”, playing with the name Stan Getz (Stan is nuts – Stanuts – Stanats), a word that represented the palindrome, something that reads in both directions and has the same sound.
So, if we analyze the melody, we will see that is exactly what happens, its construction is palindromic!
Frank suggested, “Why don’t we record it now?” He had one of those four-channel cassette recorders and that’s what we did! We recorded “Stanats” for the first time! Moacir to the piano and me to the double bass, in a wretched cassette that later, unfortunately, was lost in time and space.
Our class continued until the evening. We talked about music, of course, and of subjects more complex to my understanding and very little studied by me until then, as theosophy, philosophy, quantum physics – it was not easy to maintain a prose with him! – when we said goodbye at the door of my house, promising to see us again soon. “God willing!”, said the Master.
From then on, we became not only master and disciple, but good friends. A friendship like the one you feel towards your father or grandfather, full of admiration and respect especially on my part.
Back in Brazil, I showed the subject to my little bro Naylor Azevedo, our Proveta, and I suggested for him to make an arrangement of the theme that was presented to Maestro at the Campos do Jordão Winter Festival in 1994, where we were all together teaching during the month of July.
The curious thing is that he no longer remembered the composition and I had to teach him to play it again …
Yes, my dear ones! Paraphrasing Guimarães Rosa, who is for Brazilian literature like Moacir Santos is for our music: “The running of life wraps everything up. Life is like that, it heats up and cools down, it tightens, and then it loosens, it calms down, and then it becomes restless, being that is beautiful. What she wants from us is courage.”.