Mark Heard It First

On the Night Side of Mars

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I have a fond memory of going to the Blue Whale this past summer to catch a Josh Nelson and Graham Dechter duo performance.  As I rolled down Beverly Blvd. toward Second Street and Little Tokyo in my trusted silver Civic, I listened to what had become my favorite music of the summer, Josh Nelson’s “Exploring Mars.”  As Josh read from The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury it seemed to me that this was a rare instant when the music met the moment. “It was an evening in summer upon the placid and temperate planet Mars……..In the amphitheaters of a hundred towns on the night side of Mars the brown Martian people with gold coin eyes were leisurely met to fix their attention upon stages where musicians made a serene music flow up like blossom scent on the still air.”  I sat up close to the bandstand that night.  I don’t remember what songs they played.  I wasn’t taking notes.  I fixed my attention upon the stage, where musicians made a serene music flow up like blossom scent, and took in the improvised interplay between these two superb musicians and friends.  It was a perfect LA moment in time.  And I was glad I had made the trip.