Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Jazz Odyssey

Transferred all of the downloaded music from the past few weeks into a playlist (yeah, Windows Mediaplayer, real cutting edge 'round here) and up now is Julian Priester's "Love,Love." Large ensemble, great groove in 15, somewhat dated electronic effects (but charmingly retro-analogue, and damn it I adore the Fender Rhodes, one of the most underrated of all 20th Century instruments). Most of the downloaded music in my files is from the inestimably valuable and tasty destination-out.com. Surprising to see that the playlist totals more than 6 frikkin' hours.

Also up is some Tim Berne, sample mp3's from the lovely screwgun records site, and some Clifford Thornton with Jimmy Garrison and Joe McPhee as well as late '60s Brotzmann from a site called epitonic, that sadly seems defunct or something, despite having live downloadable complete tracks, some of which are quite long. Brotzmann's "Nipples," for example, with Evan Parker and Derek Bailey and a host of others. I keep meaning to digitize my FMP vinyl (and maybe about 50-75 other records) and I keep...not.

The unreliable narrator has offered some of her lovely server space for me to upload mp3's and I look forward to offering links to my own performances as well as music of others.

I'm planning a "jazz fusion" show for this week on KSFR, seeing as how The Zawinul Syndicate played at Lincoln Center last weekend. Like every genre in "jazz," so-called fusion is, well, a lot of different genres. Sadly, the wealth of great music boxed into the confines of "fusion" gets obscured by either the wanktastic proclivities of some who carried the torch for the genre just after the first vital wave (The formidable Derek Smalls composition "Jazz Odyssey" as performed by Spinal Tap, for parodic example), or by the wet kleenex smooth jazz approaches. It's particularly funny to me that Miles Davis gets blamed for creating the genre in the first place. It's clear to anyone with ears that Davis's most aesthetically challenging and prolific creative period was 1969-1975. It should also be clear that the music was a natural extension of what the "second great quintet" was up to, in combination with Davis's unbelievable ears. Hilarious to observe the jazz critics "re-evaluate" this period. (Reminded of the two-star review of On the Corner that ran in Downbeat when On the Corner first came out, containing the statement: "I hate to think that anyone is so easily pleased as to dig this record to any extent.")

Thank God for Windows Mediaplayer, now delivering the roiling, discursive, recursive John Coltrane solo from "Creation," via Ethan Iverson's blog, via Billy Hart.

Friday, October 27, 2006

pantheons and pandemonia

The Oct. 30th issue of the New Yorker lists Tomasz Stanko, Bennie Wallace and Cecil Taylor playing this week, among others. Then there's this blurb:

"Jazz at Lincoln Center: "Fusion Revolution." And so the barriers come down. With the appearance of The Joe Zawinul Syndicate within the hallowed confines of Jazz at Lincoln Center, fusion enters the pantheon."

In honor of these barriers coming down I'm rolling with Billy Cobham's Spectrum as I type.

I would love to interview Wynton Marsalis about this, but he's not giving interviews, at least not in connection with his appearance here in Santa Fe next week. I've only heard some of Zawinul's work prior to Miles and Weather Report, I think all of it with Cannonball Adderly. He plays extraordinarily well on a previously unreleased live 1966 recording with Adderly on Capitol, "Live at The Club;" the centerpiece is his own Requiem for a Jazz Musician. (It's a strange recording, as Cannonball was in the habit of handing out sticks to all of the audience members, and this loose "click track" makes for some odd moments).

There is a lot of meandering, self-indulgent live Weather Report up at YouTube, mostly posted by the Jaco groupies. This performance of Volcano for Hire from the later band at the Playboy Festival in LA is remarkable. It's great to hear Wayne Shorter stretching out some more, and the two-drummer setup (Omar Hakim and who?) is pretty wicked, except that the guy on the tom rack and percussion is often inaudible. Zawinul gets some twinkly synth solo time just before the break. The main line itself is pure Zawinul, much more sophisticated than what WR was doing on Birdland, etc. Victor Bailey's bass sound and attack is beautiful. I especially appreciate the odd, broken bop-like lines at about 3:20 that lead into the head.

here's to barriers coming down. And here's to Cecil Taylor tonight at Iridium on Broadway...CT, I hope you found American Spirit menthols somewhere in Manhattan.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

today's show

Reeling things in a bit today on KSFR, as some of the programming the past couple of weeks has begun to raise eyebrows again from the higher ups. (Long-suffering station manager to me after last week's show: "Another wacky show today eh?" He was mostly referring to the alto (Dudu Pukwana) and trumpet (Mongezi Feza) solos over the lush orchestrations of Brotherhood of Breath's Devashe's Dream. Perhaps the Muhal Richard Abrams tracks as well.)

Modern Jazz Quartet, Roy Haynes, Bud Powell, Brownie with Roach and Rollins, Pepper Adams, Erroll Garner, Holiday, JJ Johnson, Milt Jackson provide a panoply of safe yet tasty excursions in today's set list. The eyebrow raising is limited to Archie Shepp from Magic of JuJu (side B) Joe Harriott (Straight Lines) and Ornette (Enfant).

Fence sitting, "radio-friendly" (good lord) hybrid inside/out music is more rare than I realized, at least at this time in my library. One example in today's show is the wonderful quartet with Paul Bley, John Gilmore, Paul Motian and Gary Peacock (Ida Lupino). Two goals for building playlists for the future: 1. snag a lot more music from figures solidly in the tradition but that's odd or edgy in some way (late Duke has worked well for this, as has Herbie Nichols, some Mingus, actually quite a bit of Miles). 2. Find much more so-called "outside" stuff that is fairly easy aesthetically (so far some Art Ensemble, Ornette Coleman, several downloads from destination-out.com, etc.) The problem with the whole enterprise: my ears are so accustomed to the entire spectrum that I often hear something as aesthetically accessible that ends up freaking out my long-suffering station manager.

A third goal: get a lot more contemporary releases, from 1995-present. Funny that I get pigeonholed around here as an "outside" listener and musician when in many current circles my library is considered absolutely retro and stuffy.

anyway, I'm on from 1-3 Mountain Standard Time every Thursday streaming from www.ksfr.org.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

o tempora! o marsalis! (a.k.a. laces out!)

Call me obsessed, call me paranoid, call me misguided, but when The Outpost, formerly a rather adventurous presenting organization, brings first Branford Marsalis and now, Wynton Marsalis to the barren, windswept, cultural badlands of northern New Mexico, I start to freak out. Or at least get downhearted.

To be fair (and to increase a strange sense of the culture wars being played out at my doorstep) The Outpost helped bring Cecil Taylor here about 2 and a half years ago, and has some interesting stuff on the fall schedule, including the great Eddie Marshall.

Recent "jazz" bookings here included Jane Ira Bloom and Sophie Millman. Bloom is up to fascinating stuff, not entirely to my personal taste but independent and unique, fiercely conceived and instantly recognizable as original. Millman was so bad she actually generated letters to the editor protesting just how bad she was. Which surprised me.

There's The Southwest Jazz Orchestra, which just released its first CD. Some talented players and obvious investment in arranging (mostly by Jack Manno) but largely a repertory outfit. Manno's own piece, "Soaring," is his take on Pat Metheny's guitar lines, but doesn't stand up all that well next to Mulligan, Mingus, etc. The strangest cut is the 16 minute version of "A Love Supreme," (really just the opening section of Coltrane's piece) at too fast a tempo and with none of the meditative mystery of the original. In general, this is an excellent document of what passes for jazz in this part of the world, in that the music is unarguably crafted, mostly reverent, mostly familiar and ancient, not original, and encumbered by a stage band/recital mentality. The enthusiasm and love for the music is implied, but doesn't translate into very energetic or memorable performance. The technical facility and polish of the soloists is pervasive, the charts are workmanlike, the results bland, like jazz preserved in amber.

In other words, to my ears, completely and entirely unlike jazz. On the other hand, I suspect attending a live performance by The Southwest Jazz Orchestra would be a lot of fun. In particular it's rather rare to hear music by a large ensemble these days here. Most of the rehashing is in piano trio and sax quartet settings, mostly in dinner music venues. The big band sound remains one of my favorites, dating from my 10 year old obsession with Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Louis Bellson, Count Basie, and later Duke Ellington, David Murray, Muhal Richard Abrams and Braxton's amazing Creative Orchestra Music '76. Big band music also has perhaps the highest bombast/treacle/pretense quotient in all of jazz. A recent spotlight on Stan Kenton on KSFR here reminded me just how aesthetically bereft and tasteless some big bands could be. (In particular, a dirgelike and funereal version of All the Things You Are that utterly, completely stripped that lovely standard of every aspect of its worth).
In comparison, The Southwest Jazz Orchestra largely avoids embarrassing pitfalls and turns in steady, studied and staid (but at least inoffensive) performances.

And this would be one way to characterize what's on offer here most often, and what garners the most approval, support and attendance. Steady, studied, staid: familiar, polished, repertory-derived, inoffensive...and bland, a music locked, like an extinct insect, in primordial tree sap.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Also finding plenty of the usual internet cock measuring, posturing, and drive-by cheap shots at, in particular, bagatellen.com (see sidebar, check out the Bill Dixon birthday post and comments, Good Lord)-- sadly, as it's also a vital site that is perhaps the most lively. Another irony: a post to freejazz.org extolling the virtues of Ken Burns' Jazz by none other than Marc Edwards, CT's drummer on the epic Dark to Themselves (Edwards turns in a remarkable, passionate, incisive and brilliant performance there, in which I personally hear a lot of Andrew Cyrille influence). Which, in typical free for all internet fashion, has about six trillion responses representing a wide range of mentally interesting points of view.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Another discovery...looks like a fairly active forum. The sidebar keeps growing.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Freeing Jazz: A YouTube Artist's Tour (or, why I think The Jazz Police have no clothes)

Thinking more about the argument between traditionalists and innovators in any art form, but specifically music. What jumped up in my memory was a Cecil Taylor quote from one of his prickly interviews in the '70s, I think. Interviewers were always asking him about his technique. He'd always say something like "what does it matter?" He elaborated in a quote once by saying something like "anyone with the means can develop technique." I suppose he meant financial means, the resources.

So we have this concept of instrumental mastery, of theoretical mastery, of study and musicianship. The traditionalists more often introduce these terms into their discourse. Here in Santa Fe, especially, "musicianship" is thrown around like mad. (Well, when "playing changes" is still the be all, end all insignia of jazz "musicianship," as well as a very defined timbre, a very refined and gentle aesthetic...) (don't get me wrong, I love Paul desmond, no sarcasm whatsoever, I truly do).

So what makes a musician an artist? Going beyond their instrument, their technique, tone, going beyond being a technician. Individual voice and vision. You don't only instantly recognize their instrumental playing but you also are very glad to be there with them. "Beyond" might be the wrong word. Encompassing more than the physical relationship with the mechanics of producing sound.

But also encompassing more than an imitative or reiterative relationship with the sounds and styles of others. The Braxton stab at Impressions up at YouTube is one kind of example. Compare the melodic, scalar materials he uses, hewing close to the modal tonality, with the immediate departures in phrasing and temporal sense. The Dolphy influence is very clear to me, except that Braxton chooses something midregister without so many intervalic leaps. Taking off around 2:30 and 4 minutes Braxton plays with multiphonic and harmonic shredding, not to my ear from the gospel shout background from which some players' "screaming" seemed to emerge, but from a more abstract place. Fascinating to hear Corea, Vitous and DeJohnette playing very much in "the idiom," laying down a background over which one could imagine many different soloists. (Note that Braxton pulls a traditional jazz rabbit out of a hat by restating the theme at the end of his solo- re-emphasizing the essentially traditional nature of the performance no matter where he might take the solo in between.)

My friend Chris Jonas said once "I hate when Anthony plays those standards," referring more to the "In The Tradition" recordings with Pedersen and Tete Montoliu. Jonas studied with Braxton at Wesleyan and I assume he prefers Braxton unfettered by the tensions of traditional song form. I should ask him.

Then there's Cecil Taylor's One Night with Blue Note Tribute to Alfred Lion solo piano piece. part one,
part two

An interesting contrast is Mr. Taylor's solo performance in Imagine the Sound, captured a short time before. Listen for some of the compositional elements that are identical, in a somehwat pared down milieu.

How much Taylor brought to music by leaving tunes like Things Ain't What They Used to Be behind, by leaving those ensemble and solo ideas in his past (yet there are long sections of his Unit performances that are very much in that tradition as well). By the '80s, when this performance happened, Taylor had made a leap into a sort of 4th dimension that incorporated several melodic and harmonic themes that have yet to be properly analyzed and understood. The alternation between his articulated two-handed immaculately fingered runs and his drumming technique is particularly stunning. I hear the tradition in what he does but in dimensions that are difficult to explicate. As far as technique is concerned, it is beyond reproach, but how ridiculous would it be to hear this and ask "yeah, but can the guy play changes?"

I don't mean to harp on Wynton and Branford Marsalis, but here's CT in his own words on Wynton from an "interview" with Kurt Gottschalk up at allaboutjazz Taylor's take on "the jazz tradition" is very lovingly and acerbically articulated in that interview.

Is it any wonder that Ben Raitliff's "Listening" piece with Branford Marsalis calls Brandford Marsalis "The Jazz Police?" As I mentioned in a comment on the be-jazz blog, I'd gladly forget the Marsalis Factor altogether except that they have left an indelible mark not with their music, but with their revisionist and conservative history of jazz. I loved reading Dave Douglas on the Ken Burns "Jazz" documentary: "It made me want to throw a brick through my television." This was exactly my response for many reasons, yet at the time of its airing I was surrounded by people well-versed in "jazz" as well as neophytes who were orgasmic over the program.

George Russell, Robert Palmer and Ornette Coleman free-forming in conversation about intuition and the heart is part of the story. Interesting to hear one of the foremost technical theorists in jazz harmony and improvisation referring to "Third World Technology" (which could easily be misconstrued out of context)as a value represented by what we call jazz.

The remarkable Italian television performance by a kind of transitional Ornette Coleman group from 1974, with James Blood Ulmer, Billy Higgins and Sirone, says more. Theme from a Symphony, The Good Life, School Work, whatever you call it, there's something seemingly perversely primitivist about Ornette's melody, its repeated, cloying scalar simplicity, recalling Albert Ayler's Bells. (And the Art Ensemble's A Jackson in Your House). At this point Coleman is employing rhythm section ideas that are fairly close to traditional jazz strategy. Higgins playing time, Sirone and Ulmer covering some diatonic harmony. As soon as the solo section starts, what happens? I don't know enough about guitar to understand Ulmer's set up, tuning or technique, but his comping is impressionistically impressive. Sirone's walking chromatic bass lines in slightly more than double time are definitely intuitive, but draw from the traditional role of the bass during jazz horn solos. Coleman goes a lot of different places, but he does restate variations of a part of the theme to cue the end of his solo. Higgins' solo is as straight as anyone's playing here, but elegant and melodic and fitting. The return to the theme itself at the end is surprising and strange. An interesting exercise is to hum or sing the tonic of the theme statement throughout Ornette Coleman's solo, or just keep repeating the theme itself...perhaps it's my imagination but architecturally Coleman seems to accomplish a harmolodic miracle, jumping off of various scale tones of the original theme.

Braxton, Taylor and Coleman are perhaps the three artists from earlier extensions of "jazz" strategy who are most often cited as thorny, difficult, "not jazz," or even "charlatans." This seems particularly sad and unnecessary, exaggerated by traditionalists, both critics and musicians themselves. Some give a cursory nod to their work while citing some "lack of musicianship" and explicitly or implicitly, some lack of plain old cred. (Betty Carter on Cecil, paraphrased: "I don't know what Black Music has, but Cecil doesn't have it." Is it any wonder that a half-fond nickname Mr. Taylor uses for Carter is "The Beast"?) A critic of Ornette Coleman who raises the issue of his tone and intonation and unfavorably compares his playing to that of, say, Phil Woods or Branford Marsalis on the basis of sound production alone is stuck somewhere, in my opinion. Technical aspects of sound production go right past something ineffable about musicians who are also artists.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

ornette in his own words

Here's a link to an interview with Ornette Coleman from 1987 that I think says it all:

OC at the Ed Blackwell tribute

smooth or jarring?

we'll see...looking forward to the fade from Don Cherry's piece Brown Rice to Sassy doing Lullaby of Birdland.

which reminds me...have to go be on the radio.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

wtf? There's an Ornette Coleman debate??

Sometimes something so breathtakingly unexpected leaps out at you and you have to reconfigure your whole framework. Such is the case with a bunch of stuff on the web regarding so-called "outside" or "free" jazz.

I thought that people had become more comfortable with so-called "free jazz." Of course, I was wrong. "Free jazz" or "outside" or "avant garde" or whatever are themselves terms that are red flags for me. Why do you even have to say what it is? Why put a label on music that's been crucial to jazz evolution for almost 50 frikkin' years now? It's just great music. And who are Wynton and Branford? I heard "Blackzilla" on the radio today and it absolutely bored the everlovin' crap out of me. A sad, pale, thin, boring rip off of "that wild Trane stuff." Branford does better when he's playing new age riffs over sappy orchestrations. It's particularly revealing that Branford M continues to make proclamations about some sort of "ownership" of the music as a result of study and imitation of past masters (see the end of Darius Brubeck's essay).

Darius Brubeck's extremely odd essay about Ornette (on Jack Reilly's blog) doesn't really take a position. It seems clear to me he has not a clue what OC's compositional and theoretical approach is really about.

Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus takes a stab at a clearer and more cogent analysis of Ornette's methodology on his blog.

This still seems tangential somehow. And the truly ironic thing about the Great Ornette Coleman Debate of 2006 is it's nearly 50 years old. Where has everyone been?

HurdAudio posts an excellent rebuttal to Brubeck's "essay."

Still, it amazes me that Ornette Coleman's music and his presence in American life could still be cause for controversy. Perhaps it is a measure of the media success of The Marsalis Factor, this culture-war idea that jazz has to be "legitimized" as an art form, safe for repertory and the concert hall, as "worthy" of serious study as "classical music." The irony is (partly) that The Academy has supported probably far more creative composers and musicians than it has jazz traditionalists bent on "preservation." Well, there are a lot of ironies.

Another irony is that the musicians themselves, who have the least distinctive personal visions or voices, are the ones standing back from *sound innovator and manifest visionary* Ornette Coleman and talking the loudest. The strange aspect of jazz as a cultural product of legitimacy is it leaves behind the phenomenon of what Gil Evans called the "sound innovator." You put on a recording of Louis, Dolphy, Hawkins, Ayler, Threadgill, Bowie, Duke or Garner and you immediately know who it is. It's not about something that can be preserved or archived. And perhaps it is precisely because many so-called jazz musicians now have absolutely no identifiable sound and nothing recognizable as uniquely theirs in their vision that they have returned to "debating" the merits of musicians who make an indelible mark the instant you hear them.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

a problem with blogs

You feel oddly compelled to write something even when you suspect you have little or nothing to say.

Pinkbootathon tomorrow. Bing rehearsal today.

Destination-out.com still has “A Beginner’s Guide to Free Jazz” up. One of the things I’ve appreciated most about destination-out is that they have uploaded a bunch of stuff I have on flawed vinyl, or I used to have but no longer have. Such as Don Cherry’s “Brown Rice,” which was for a short time a sort of theme song at St. John’s (perhaps coincident with the influx of a huge brick of hashish and some extremely potent psilocybin mushrooms).

My student produced opera schedule is set: Thursdays from 3:45 to 5:00 at Nava, Fridays from 8:30 to 10:15 at Salazar. The best aspect this time around is I’m working with the same theater artist, Kathryn Mark, at both sites.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

3+4+3+4+3+4+3+3+4+3+4+3+4+3+3+4+3+4+3+4+3 without being able to hear. While another drummer and bassist are playing 3+4+3+4+3+3+4+3+4+3. Lock into 24 while the other drummer and bassist lock into 17. Then get ready for 16 bars of 4/4 then back to 24 against 17. Without being able to hear. Or try playing in 3/8 in a piece that's in 15/8 so also counting in groups of 5. Or find a pocket in 20/4 at a tempo somewhere between 60 bpm and 80 bpm. WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO HEAR. Compounded by one's natural desire to create organic sounding musical shapes that are not counting cleverness nor arid mathy stilted constipated mind games.

Such was recording with Jonas yesterday. If anything truly sparky and useable came out of those 6 hours it will be a miracle.

Question: how can a college spend out the wazoo on a state of the art recording studio and have the shittiest studio monitor headphone setup I've ever encountered? It's wrong of me to attribute this to Santa Fe idiocy in general but there it is.

Destination-out crafted a wonderful post titled "A Beginner's Guide to Free Jazz" and while I might not agree with the specific tracks in some cases it's an interesting idea. How do you introduce someone to creative improvised music? It's so contrary to music made for consumption, for life soundtrack or the reinforcement of sentiment. Or whatever. I think the most powerful experiences of collectively improvised music are in live concert settings. But maybe there are recordings that offer a sort of gateway.

Monday, October 09, 2006

stuck on a title

High Mayhem was definitely something. The experience changed for me after the performance Saturday with Rrake. In general, it’s a different feel when one is in the festival as well as a spectator. Random: so many drummers. Conceived a possible piece for 9 drummers for next year. Maybe with 9 drum kits, maybe with somewhere from 1-3 drum kits and multiple drummers on each, sort of like the bowed piano ensemble. Partly a humorous take on just how many drummers there are. But also an expansive approach to the sounds a drum kit can make. Obviously when you think about 9 drummers you think drum battle, bombast, volume. What I’m hearing is extremely sparse and mysterious, also perhaps a humorous parody of the whole concept of drumming itself. Perhaps the drum kits could gradually be assembled and taken apart during the performance.

Rude young people: behind me, during a quiet passage in the excellent (if slightly tentative) Hall Monitors set a young woman was yakking away loudly about Cadillac Ranch, of all things. I asked her to be quiet. She approached me in a break between pieces and under the thinly disguised pretence of apologizing accused me of being rude. I let her know in no uncertain terms that I would brook no such table turning. Whereupon she scurried about (after ascertaining my name) complaining loudly to a wide variety of High Mayhem personnel about what a Rude Person I was. Come to find out she was also highly intoxicated and rather incoherent in general (which I couldn’t pick up on in the brief interactions in the theater itself).

Deirdre Morris’s butoh-inspired piece: one of the highlights of the whole weekend for me.

The wonders of modern technology: Chris Jonas already has a DVD of the Rrake performance. Possible recording session for tomorrow at the College of Santa Fe to capture some stuff before Josh Smith heads back to Oakland.

Awake until 3:30 am. Not up until 11:30. Disorienting for a Monday.

Catalogue: two winter guide pieces, theater review, PA calendar, drum lesson, possible new drum student, opera meeting tomorrow, recording session tomorrow?, Miles rehearsal Wed. 6:30-8, radio and Nava Thursday, Bing rehearsal Saturday?, Pink Boot Sunday. What kind of week is that?

Saturday, October 07, 2006


First night of the High Mayhem Emerging Arts Festival was generally phenomenal as usual. The Brilliant Dullards launched with brooding, introspective ambient country/folk music that had an original edge, with references to Tom Waits, Bill Frisell, Radiohead, etc. Jeremy Bleich’s melodica and Milton Villarrubia’s subtle but energetic drumming made it really move for me. Steven M. Miller up next with cascades and washes of tripped out electronic music of the sort that provided a drug-free out of body experience. The highlight of the evening for me was Dino’s Out of Context. A large ensemble including spoken word and voice, OOC is an improvisational orchestra shaped in the moment by Dino’s conduction. He uses 40 different hand signals and was brilliant in his sound sculpting; the ensemble showed focus and prescience.

Another layer altogether provided by Damon and family outside drumming and hollering hilarious poetry through a megaphone. Also, the Anarchestra shack, this year streamlined with quieter instruments. Scary red curtains in a square little room. Reminded me of hell as depicted by David Lynch in Twin Peaks. No backwards talking dwarves were in evidence, however.

What I personally could have done without: a segment of the otherwise intriguing Simulate Sensual performance that included a smug asshole pseudo-shaman who sang lyrics like this: “I want to be enlightened but I’m too fucking frightened.” Go away kid, you bother me.

This evening’s highlight for me personally will be me personally attempting not to personally slaughter Chris Jonas’s intricate and fierce compositions.

The un noted a couple of days ago that High Mayhem is the only thing that has kept me from Friday night poker. Excepting the silent film gig months ago.

The un has generously offered her apartment to my niece Emily and her (what? Boyfriend? Partner? Another conversation with the un about the unsuitability of these relationship names. Maybe this is confirmation through linguistic analysis of The Sponsor’s general theory that relationships are an illusion. Maybe not) boyfriend, who are here for a wedding. This offer comes in the midst of some soul searching around who stays where when, so it is particularly generous. More on that later.

Monday, October 02, 2006

rio en medio

Went out for my annual exercise yesterday on a hike with the narrator up SF National Forest Trail 163, Rio En Medio. River in the middle. Unaccountably beautiful. Every now and then I start in on the old refrain, “I have to get out of here, it’s crazy to live here, people are nuts, this isn’t the right town for me.” Then there’s a day somewhere outside, in the middle of why I’m here in the first place and I find it hard to imagine living anywhere else.

Also discovered a three storey shopping mall right on the plaza that I didn’t even know existed. Ridiculous. Somehow right back to the feeling that this is a ridiculous town. When my sense of humor is intact I’m all right with it. Especially appreciate St. Francis Cathedral with its rose window and its formidable razor sharp spikes arrayed in dense clusters under other windows. St. Francis grieving over speared squirrels and birds. All they wanted was a ledge.

One surprise up the Rio en Medio trail was Pediocactus simpsonii which I thought only started popping up farther north.

Must…write…PA Calendar.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

what it must be, it is!

I play around sometimes with the automatic translators on the web. The following is a review of The Henry Grimes Trio, on Ayler records, with Hamid Drake and David Murray, transduced from the Italian:

From the null one Henry Grimes returns. The orecchie and the hairs are bristled. One that to a sure point of the life, after years sixty are confronted with the best jazzisti of the times (); it has decided to disappear for thirty years from the scenes. One that came considered you draw better bassisti in circulation then; one of more equips to you. It had sold its instrument, had cut every possible bridge; it did not know neanche that Ayler was died. Then its name, unexpected; to Los Angeles. Traced from a social worker. Nourishing cerchia of musicians adopts it ideally, encourages it. Then the time of New York arrives; of a new one low. What it must be; it is! Recorded in june 2004 during the Kerava Jazz Festival that is carried out in Finland, the Henry Grimes Trio reveals entusiasmante machine (free) jazz as little times are given to feel. Of it they make part the drummer Hamid Drake and the titanic one to incedere to sax the tenor of David Murray. Fantastic an incandescent lavica tap that one that is primed between the three, one to sprizzare continuous of sparkes; class and inventiveness to profusione. Us vision is found again in the presence of one/emanation connected directly to the several Ayler, Sonny Rollins. All of one surgical precision, the more complex passages and collectives; the solisti moments of one gold of moving classicità. One real, entusiasmante; epifania sonorous. The drumming often funk of Drake one meets with vibrates to you of Murray, to hold all the united one think the agile melodiche lines to us of Grimes; capolavoro. I detach then omicida of according to brano, assolo sweeping of Drake and the opening to bottom throttle and sax; the perfection! The perfect interpretation of the Ayler verbo in opening of the third fragment, dedication and ecstasy; God on the tip of the fingers that suggests that to keys and ropes and skins to strapazzare. What it must be; it is! Pure Trascendenza! One that had gotten lost is has been found again. The divinity induces ringraziare all that are known in closely alphabetical order. Immense! The Naked Lunch!

Which reminds me. Recurring state of agitated self-reflection in which I am weedy and ill-fitted, in combination with behind the curve and late for everything. On the one hand passionate about a few obscure things that I can’t often fully articulate. Sponsor: What is the purpose then of theater? Hmmmm: I dunno. Explorations even brief of the wealth of information out there on jazz now ranging from a tenor player named Javon Jackson who is visiting The Outpost in Albuquerque this week (really just sort of pale R and B funky nonsense that would never have been booked at The Outpost even a few years ago) to Swedish new music record labels (including a Jimmy Lyons Box Set that I didn’t even know existed or the personnel on Alan Silva’s Luna Surface which it turns out included Braxton, Shepp, Malachi Favors…a record I have owned for a long time but without the jacket so I never knew who was in the brew) to The Bad Plus which I somehow convince myself is a mirror for the apathetic, anhedonistical low affect 20-something chill cynics. To cactus info in response to members of the cactiguide forum wanting help with an ID and I set out fairly sure what something is and end up completely in the dark, really.

In theory, the new mantra “I don’t know the whole story and I don’t have to,” intended to make steps 1-3 bite size is something just fine by me. But when the rubber meets the road (oh strike that, no leave it in) and I touch on areas where I call myself an expert (“And you call yourself an expert? Hahahahahahah”) it’s a painful experience to come up against just how little I actually do know.

Then there is that weedy thing. I am out of place. This is the wrong town with the wrong people, the wrong artists and musicians. Second, third, fourth wave recycled by wannabes, approaches appearing cutting edge and radical here that have been deployed and abandoned decades ago elsewhere. The old arguments about “outside” versus “inside” that aren’t even taking place in my imaginary cities where everyone is very hip and knows who Karen Borca is. Where Cecil Taylor long ago moved from “radical” to “icon.”

I explain and defend here a lot and I imagine a magical place where *other people would bring shit to me that I did not know about* and where all of the explaining and defending would be over with. A group, too, not just one or two others. But that’s just my imagination. Runnin’ away with me.

I theorize that all of these discomforts are aspects of myself emerging rather than hiding in the background and pretending. Certainly a side effect of sobriety.