Sight-reading through cello-piano possibilities for an upcoming memorial service. Next up is a sparse, jazzy, transparent little arrangement of “Wondrous Love.”
  • Robert: (listens to piano intro… makes weird face… glares at me over his reading glasses) We don’t have time for your spontaneous hymn parodies.
  • Me: (continues smoky intro: a la Dave Brubeck) I swear, I’m playing exactly what’s on the page.
  • Robert: (starts playing cello part… it’s the familiar hymn tune, like a thin frost on top of my blue harmonies) Well, this puts a new spin on the crucifixion, doesn’t it?
  • Me: (still playing along) Yeah, man. Smooth and cool, baby. Like Jesus is just hangin’ out up there on the cross wearin’ sunglasses with a black beret, and there’s a half burnt cigarette danglin’ from his parched lower lip.
  • Robert: (playing molto espressivo) He starts swigging cheap bourbon straight from the bottle while listening to Miles Davis.
  • Me: (still playing) Oooooh yeah! All we need is the repentant Centurion sittin’ on the ground, layering in some mournful, understated bongos. I think I can manage to snap on 2 & 4 with one hand or the other during this part… (starts snapping)
  • Robert: (doubled over laughing, tears in his eyes, trying to continue) If we play this arrangement, I’m pretty sure we’ll be next in line!
(for those who are curious — we did NOT make it to the end — ROTFL)