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counterpoint


I went to see Frank Sinatra in a concert. This was about twenty years ago. His opening act was Buddy Rich. So Buddy Rich came out, and I wondered about him because Buddy Rich was in his sixties and he was playing drums. I know he’s a good drummer, but I’m thinking, now I’m going to sit here and listen to him drum for a while and twiddle my thumbs until Frank comes out. But once he started playing and then kept going and going and going, he transcended what I thought he was gonna do tenfold. And it became an experience.

He did things I’ve seen great ballet dancers do. It really took my by surprise, and not only me, but everyone else, too. Because in the middle of this riff, the entire audience stood up in unison and started screaming.

When Sinatra came out, he said, very simply, “You see this guy drumming? You know, sometimes it’s a good idea to stay at a thing.” Buddy Rich stayed at a thing. Not only did he stay at drumming all those years, but as he was playing that night, he stayed at it. It was like he was saying, “I went this far, lemme see if I can take it further and further.” And then suddenly it took itself. That’s why we do this. To find that place. But its not enough to have found it. You gotta keep going. What’s that saying? He who persists in his folly will one day become wise.


-- Al Pacino, via Esquire Magazine dated June 2002