Saturday's concerts at the Kleylehof took place in the dark but cool hall across from the stone coliseum. I spent a long time in the attached gallery featuring the work of Franz Gyolcs, and was especially moved by the charcoal drawing of this body:
Improvised music, for those of us that really love it and pursue it and listen to it regularly, is often, perhaps surprisingly, a very private music. We often listen to recordings privately, and we have private experiences with the music. But this festival provides the opportunity to experience it publicly, with a large enough amount of people (300-400) to provide the perfect framing of attention and grandeur that the music challenges itself to conjure. Not only that, but enthusiasts like myself are given the opportunity to thank the musicians who make this music and who have devoted so much of themselves to it. That opportunity to give thanks to the people who do things you really care about isn't necessarily bigger than the experience of the music, but it does perfume the air of the Jazzgalerie with another layer of love.
People are the best thing about life. I don't know why it took me so long to learn; it's probably because I'm an only child from a small family and have always valued my independence, and a certain kind of solitude. But I realized that people, just simply interacting with people--sharing silliness and profundity and deep sorrow and ecstatic elation--are what truly make living not just tolerable, but redemptive and satisfying, soul-widening. I had that revelation driving back from the Kleylehof on the afternoon of the second day of the festival this year.