Bwog’s musical maven Roberta Barnett roomhops a very musical (and sturdy) John Jay abode.
It’s hard to resist investigating the sound of the light piano melody that often floats out into the hall of John Jay 9. Upon further exploration, the music isn’t simply a tasteful mix of WKCR and a personal collection of contemporary jazz, but rather the piano stylings of Sturdy Adams, CC ‘16.
Besides having one of the cleanest rooms in all of Columbia College, Russell “Sturdy” Adams, a first year in Columbia College likely majoring in economics, tastefully outfitted his John Jay single for his extra-curricular endeavors. Walking into the room, it’s impossible to miss the two keyboards, both a bright cherry red and accompanying speakers. “I’m a jazz pianist… I took last year off to transcribe for jazz artists and study and perform jazz piano in ensembles and solo piano…” he explained. “I record and transcribe music here.”
For those of you who haven’t taken (or slept through) Music Hum, transcription is (according to the trustworthy Wikipedia) “notating a piece or a sound which was previously un-notated, as, for example, an improvised jazz solo,” or “rewriting a piece of music, either solo or ensemble, for another instrument or other instruments than which it was originally intended.” If you’re more of an auditory learner, you can check out Sturdy’s music and transcriptions at http://sturdyadams.com.
As to whether the constant music escaping through JJ’s paper-thin walls is any sort of nuisance to his floormates, Sturdy “usually prop[s] the door open with [his] copy of the Iliad,” a truly apt use of alumni dollars. His floormates, who sometimes come by to listen to the music, have yet to complain.
Music aside, Sturdy put quite a bit of thought into making the small space home. The monumental blue and white flag that hangs behind his bed come from a boat that his father sailed in St. Tropez, while his bedding and lantern are from his parents’ marine travels in Tunisia. In addition to foreign treasures, Sturdy’s room is equipped for relaxation and hours spent reading. “The chair comes from ‘Nemain Tar-jay,’” he joked of the silvery moon chair that completes his lounge space.
If anything, Sturdy’s part-dorm room, part-studio is a testament to the resident himself. “I transcribed for Julian Lage…Terri Lyn Carrington…Taylor Eigsti,” he ticks off big names (all Grammy nominees or winners) in contemporary jazz without a hint of self-importance. Absolutely inviting, laid-back, yet completely awe-inspiring.