Apr 222002

Only three weeks until graduation. Four years of college and so much still remains unclear to me, so many questions remain.

Then it seems to just fall into focus.

In think all CSU students probably know the feeling: You’re staring at the sunset over the foothills behind Horsetooth Reservoir and amazingly you can make out the branches on a lone pine tree in the horizon that would’ve just looked like a purple blob a minute earlier. I’m no tree scientist or nothing, but I always find this phenomenon to be epiphany-like – realizing something so far away can suddenly become so focused.

And that’s how I felt Friday night at the Aggie Theatre, where the best concert venue in Northern Colorado has risen from the dead to illuminate the true power of music. You could say I fell off the wagon that night. Yeah, I got high Friday, ending the longest period of sobriety in my life.

With my eyes hypnotized on Maceo Parker’s saxophone, the Fort Collins music scene finally came into focus after almost a year of the Aggie struggling to bring desirable acts to town. That horn wailed, and told me a story about music.

“One good thing about music, when hits you feel no pain,” sings Bob Marley. “So hit me with music, brutalize me with music.”

Sure, Maceo’s fingers were dancing with that brass, and his lungs were breathing life into that sax, but it was the horn getting me high. It’s that horn that cries about sweet, moonlit Gypsy love, not Van Morrison; it’s that horn that funks up the soul goodgod now – hah, not James Brown; it’s those horns harmonizing melodic rhythm to Guru’s monotone ear, not DJ Premier.

I want to be like those horns. I want to bee-bop, bop. Yeah.

Most people understand that horns are designed – besides the occasional solo – to create the background. As the background, they provide support to the main event or character. But what became clear to me Friday night, what brutalized me so much I feel compelled to share it with you, is this: The beauty in horns is that you always know they’re there, and then you notice them, and you can’t, no, won’t, stop. Did-li-di-Bop.

This is why I want hum like those horns.

When I walk down that aisle wearing a draping gown and square hat with a little thing dangling off it in three weeks, I’m sure my mind will remain cluttered with a hundred thoughts and worries of the future: Lingering questions I hoped college would answer but only became more confusing, images of the real world, memories of my time at CSU.

But it would be better if I can get a song in my head – something with some horns – push play and let it drowned out the confusion. Maybe some Tribe Called Quest, Common, or some Toots and the Maytals, but no Miles Davis, Skatalites, or any of that jazz, because they make hearing the horns too easy, it’s not a challenge – you hear?

A college degree is in itself a foundation that can lead to many paths. Friday night, getting high with Maceo’s sax, I learned the path I choose is not what matters and trying to answer life’s questions is for the stiff-necked. The important thing is that I realize at any moment my backdrop can suddenly become my focus, and like my mentor horns, I have to remain myself in the dark and the spotlight – improvisational style.

Zeb’s column appears every Tuesday.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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