Sunday, September 2, 2018

Subway Musician 'Maestro D' Revives Frazzled Straphangers

He can’t make the 1 train arrive sooner. He can’t stop people from blocking the doors into the 2. But most every Saturday, Maestro D pulls off an even greater feat: Bringing joy to the 72nd Street subway station.

No toe can resist tapping to his repertoire. If a soulful bit of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” fails to seize your spirit, a boogie-woogie “Roll Over Beethoven”, funktastic “Rapper’s Delight” or bluesy “Let It Roll” soon will. Resistance is futile.

“This is what I call music!” a teenage boy shouts to his friends. “It’s different. It’s got that old-school flow to it.”

A five year-old totters over to the donation box perched in front of the electric keyboard, popping in what might be his first busker-supporting dollar. “God bless you, man,” says Maestro D, moving his ring-covered hands with a flourish.

Maestro D doesn’t do interviews. “I never wanted to be famous. I wanted to be good,” he tells WSR, declining to reveal more than his stage name.

But good is more than enough in these acrimonious times. And good doesn’t get much better than a Motown “My Girl” sing-along among strangers.

Originally published in West Side Rag on April 1, 2018