Friday, May 18, 2007

Evolution, Philosophy, and All That Jazz

The past two days have been something of a whirlwind for me. Things began with the annual philosophy department Philosophy Forum, in which we bring in a noted philosopher for two days of dialog, debates, and dinners. In past years we've had such luminaries as Hilary Putnam, Arthur Fine, Alasdair MacIntyre, and even Daniel Dennett. This year it was Michael Williams, and it was not a disappointment, even though he talked a lot about David Hume, my favorite philosopher next to Daniel Dennett.

Then, in the afternoon, I ran off to see Vincent DiMartino, who was in town for a School of Music shindig that, I guess, was the equivalent of the Forum, since he was here for several days playing gigs and giving master classes. For those who don't know who he is, he is one of the best trumpet players on the planet, with virtuoso skill in classical as well as jazz. He teaches at Centre College in Kentucky. At the first afternoon concert he played some baroque, 19th century, and jazz, and I was amazed at the sounds that came out of his horn. I couldn't decide whether it was something to aspire to or run away from in despair, but I suppose that for now I'll just keep playing my scales and etudes and hope that something works out.

After the concert I rushed home to meet the Darwins of DarwinCatholic fame, who happened to be in town visiting friends. And now I hope Lisa and I are their friends too, so they will come visit is again, because they are wonderful people and a delight to talk to. They also have three of the cutest little girls on the planet.

Then it was a mad rush back to campus to hear Vince DiMartino again, this time playing with the Ohio University Jazz Ensemble. My own teacher, B. J. Britt, plays trumpet in the Ensemble, and the group played for nearly an hour and a half that flew by as though it were just a few moments. It was like a glimpse of how the eternity of heaven is experienced by temporal creatures such as ourselves: a lengthy span of time appears to take no time at all because each moment is filled with an ineffable pleasure.

This morning it was more philosophy with Michael Williams, and then off to a master class on jazz improvisation with DiMartino, and then finally my very own trumpet lesson with B. J. If only I had been able to fit a round of golf into all of that, I really would have been in heaven, rather than just outside the gates listening to the Gabriels within.

1 comment:

John Farrell said...

You got to meet the Darwins! I'm jealous. I email Brendan a lot. But, in terms of Blog world, Boston might as well be in the arctic for all the chance I get to meet any of my fellow bloggers.