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VIDEO: Joshua Bell stops by Jose Andres’ Bazaar to talk food

February 1, 2012 |  4:12 pm

What is one to say to a musician after a concert? Do you offer an analysis to prove you were paying attention? Do you smile and tell him it was even better than last time? Well, as it turns out, none of the above, according to violinist Joshua Bell. And he recognizes that’s not much help.

“It’s very hard to know what to say,” Bell admitted last week during a long lunch conversation at Jose Andres’ Bazaar restaurant. “Artists are really sensitive about what people say afterward. It’s terrible. But we’ve just been kind of baring our souls out there, and we’re very susceptible to criticism. It’s just not a good time for it.

“Sometimes people want to tell you just what they thought. Somehow they feel like it will make you respect them more. Not really. Basically you just want to hear good things. And not only good things. You want them to say you changed their life.

“I know it’s very hard to know what to say: Tell me, ‘I enjoyed this so much, even more than last time.’ And the first thing I think is: What didn’t you like last time? The only thing you can possibly say is: ‘I loved it last time and this time maybe even more!’ We’re really pathetic.”

That didn’t turn out to be a problem last week, as Bell’s impromptu serenade of the Bazaar kitchen staff after the meal was met with no comments, just resounding applause. Maybe the simplest answer really is the best.

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— Russ Parsons

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