• Nathaniel Keen

It's about thrills and adventure

Musician: Nat Keen (guitar)

Two residents that I'm always impressed and inspired by are The Two John's....

I've been visiting 're-emerging' artist JC for the last month with a particular focus on helping him express his creativity through story telling/song-writing. I'm always blown away by his affection for music and more recently his joy of telling stories in which he explores and creates imaginary worlds. Although his memory is shaky at times, his words flow freely while he's in the moment of creating something new. Whilst in this frame of mind he exudes happiness and energy which is very infectious to everybody around. It reminded me of a talk I'd seen with John Cleese in which he discusses the root of creativity and how essential 'play' is....how children have boundless imagination and creativity and how important this should be to all of us later in life.

After we played our first song I continued on from the previous week where I was asking him about the root of his interest in American country and blues music. Previously he'd mentioned visiting the cinema with his father to watch westerns and this week he told me about his first ever visit to a record shop in 1951 where he asked for Hank Williams. I went on to ask him...

NK: 'why do you love music'?

JC: 'I like American country music because it's about thrills and adventure'

Today we wrote two big hits, first a moody blues about a car thief called Jody and secondly a funky upbeat number called 'Tennessee Woman', a straight forward funky blues....

The second John (JS) is a natural performer. You wouldn't guess it from meeting him as his persona is fairly quiet and shy, however, as all of the Spitz team have witnessed first hand JS has an incredible ability to draw people's attention when he dances and drums. When he drums, he displays incredible musical sensitivity, naturally sensing changes in dynamics, phrase lengths, endings and conversing with other musicians through call-and-response. This musical sensitivity seems obvious when, in every day life you notice how diligent and empathetic JS is to other residents. He senses the right time to care for others and when to leave space for them.

Today I started up a bouncy chord sequence and JS seemed excited that it resembled early jazz (which he is very fond of). I asked him about where his love of Jazz began and he gave me an insight into his early years at private schools in Devon and Brighton and then his time working as a submariner, as an architect in Australia and listening to jazz in Shoreham on the south coast of England. Because of his impeccable timing and musical prowess I wondered whether he'd ever played in a jazz group in his youth, he assured me he hadn't....I don't quite believe him.

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