As you might have noticed, I rarely pass a busker these days without contributing something to their open case. In fact, I once asked a guitarist in the subway where his case was and it turned out he wasn’t busking, just practicing as he waited for the train. Oops.
But today I admit I had a moment of hesitation when I heard an elderly gentleman playing jazz saxophone on a downtown corner. Why? ‘Cause he was terrible … and I’m being kind.
My ears actually hurt from listening to his flat notes and sharp attempts at notes. He did have coins in his case but I half suspected they were bribes to get him to stop.
But my heart melted when I noticed people walking a huge arc around him to get as far away from his “playing” as possible. When I walked up to toss my coins in his music case I noticed he had some CDs stacked in there. I was surprised to say the least, and figured that maybe he’d once been pretty good and either hard times or hard luck, or maybe a hearing problem, had thrown him off-key.
I smiled at him as I walked over and he nodded a thank you and looked very happy to just have a place to play.
I guess that’s all any of us are really looking for ….
P.S. Here’s Canada’s Jane Bunnett (who also plays soprano sax 🙂 ). Enjoy!