Albert Bellson

…was already an old man when I began studying classical guitar with him. It must have been around 1974-75. I’d auditioned for him, and been accepted—on condition of 2 1/2 hours practice daily—as a know-nothing 11 year old. I opted for baseball and basketball instead. Finally, years later, I was ready and we began weekly classes.

I was a cocky hot-shot electric guitarist with a nice career as “rockstar” developing. I liked to play fast and flashy. And LOUD. Mr. Bellson’s constant mantra, to me, at least, was “there’s always time for the music; always time for the music.” Huh? What?

40 years later, I think I understand what he was saying. Your speed of execution only has validity when each passage is clearly articulated and soulfully communicated. Along with your “sound” (su sello propio, in Spanish) nothing else matters.

Clearly, I’m a late bloomer.

(written on a bus, nearing San Salvador on 28 February, 2016)