When I was in College out in StonyBrook, me and some other folk would trek into Manhattan every month to see Defunkt at the Knitting Factory. This group had a fantastic bassist (Kim Clarke) and I also got to witness her w/ the trio Bigfood, and was even lucky enough to chat w/ her and guitarist Bill Bickford at the bar between shows. I remember feeling like “Wow, I’m actually hangin’ out w/ Kim Clarke and Bill Bickford! How awesome is this”, even though I probably came off as some starstruck kid.

Last Thursday, it turned out that Kim Clarke was performing w/ the Agave Quartet not too far from where I live. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity (to see what looked to be a great show for no cover) and of course I was there. Debbie Knapper was the guitarist, and she had been kind enough to allow me to sit in at her jam at the Proper Cafe a while back. In the second set, the group started calling up folk to sit in, and as an upright bassist took the stage, Debbie asked me to come up and play guitar. I got to play some jazz w/ a couple of cats, and then, to my amazement, Kim Clarke came back up and I actually got to jam w/ this person who I’ve been listening to since I was around 17.

Afterward I thanked Debbie profusely for giving me this experience, and then proceeded to annoy Ms. Clarke by telling how much I admired her playing and how many occasions I’d seen her perform. She replied with “How kind” and then went off to do something more important that dealing w/ my praise (I would’ve done the same) and I realized that a couple of decades later, I’m still the same starstruck teenager.

But after a bit I thought: “Well, why not?”. I mean, would it be better if I’d turned out some jaded and bitter adult? And besides the fact that at least I still retain the passion for this music from my youth, I also think it’s good that this music and people like Kim Clarke (who I bet most of you have never heard of) have a champion that really believes that what they do is important and invaluable to this world. So maybe I come off as a bit geeky and annoying at times, but screw all of you. at least I live w/ passion, and can still get over-excited about a brush w/ one of my heroes.



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