A New York Times article about jazz pianist Bill Charlap's return to live performing left me longing for the pre-pandemic days of open culture.
Charlap after canceling a full summer schedule decided to give a solo concert at the rustic Deer Head Inn, "the oldest continuously running jazz club in the country," according to its web site.
After initially declining to perform at the Deer Head Inn, Charlap decided to travel to the hotel in Delaware Water Gap, Penn., in the Poconos Mountains near the Appalachian Trail. The club, which has drawn a stellar list of jazz artists, boosted Charlap's career when he started out.
Charlap performed alone and wore a mask throughout his two sets. His audience was more than six feet from the stage, and practiced social distancing. But Charlap still took a risk in returning to live performance.
John Marhese's article stirred my nostalgia for the days when we could attend concerts, plays, movies and art exhibits without fear. In that now vanished era, my wife and I saw Charlap's trio perform at the Atlanta History Center in the spring of 2019 during the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival. Earlier, we saw Charlap's wife, Renee Rosnes, play at the Village Vanguard in New York City.
We also saw one of Charlap's most notable musical partners, Tony Bennett, in concert at Atlanta Symphony Hall in February, which turned out to be our last public gathering before the covid-19 shutdown. We had been scheduled to see Wynton Marsalis and the Atlanta Opera's "Porgy and Bess."
Such public events appear more and more distant as the virus surges across the country, and the Trump administration gives little hope of controlling the outbreak. The Times also had an article about the Boston Symphony's canceling of its Tanglewood summer concerts, a New England tradition.
Unlike in the United States, Western Europe has reopened without a resurgence of the coronavirus. Here, events like Charlap's Deer Head Inn performance appear increasingly endangered.