Bagatellen: It Will Never Happen Again

Bagatellen: It Will Never Happen Again

Often enough, free improvisors play in a configuration more than once. If a person or group makes this sort of thing happen and we attend another performance by them sometime, we want it to happen again, but we have to be content expecting something sort of in the ballpark to happen, because plainly the incalculably large odds are that it will never happen again. It’s intrinsic to free improvisation. This knowledge may even feel like a faint blemish on that repeat encounter.

So here’s what actually happens on rare and memorable occasions. It happens again. The same people and sound tools making different sound events, but once again, it.

Married Couple Looks Like A Pie To Me

Any band that would call their album Looks Like A Pie To Me is all right in my book. Married Couple make great music as well. The San Francisco based quartet have eclectic influences that appear in both subtle and blatant guises. The trombone, tenor sax, acoustic bass, and drums instrumentation lends itself well to the freer side of jazz, which is where most of this music begins. There is some pretty overt grooving on the CD as well, and the starkness of the quartet setting is filled out by a wonderful ensemble concept that Married Couple maintains in both composed and improvised sections of the music.

It is obvious that improvisation is the focus of the music, but the compositions integrate seamlessly into the improvisations, and the improvisations are so coherent, that it can be difficult to tell the two apart. The music searches and stretches, but never really becomes noisy. It is easy to listen to, especially since every track is under 7 minutes. Some of my favorite moments include “Fold You Under” which features collective blowing from the horns with a nice relaxed yet crisp groove. “The Field” is interesting in that there are about three minutes of introspective and sparse improvisations before the melody (which is quite catchy) comes in to end the track. This is definitely music that deserves to be heard by a wider audience.

The band’s website seems to be dead, but you can hear clips and buy the CD at CD Baby.

Tone or technique

This quote from guitarist Jeff Parker in the Jan. ’06 Cadence Magazine struck a nerve in my trombone player mind. Different instruments…similar dilemma.

In some ways, that’s the plight of the modern musician – tone or technical facility.

Another Dave Douglas quote

I keep quoting these Dave Douglas postings. It just seems that every one of them hits me on some level.

Greenleaf Music

An active participant in a democracy takes responsibility for the choices of the entire body. That’s an idea that probably makes a lot of composers and dictators uncomfortable. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t happen very often.

3 Now (4)5 @ dba 1/02/06

There is a real joy and beauty in hearing wonderful improvisers, that know and appreciate each other, interact in an almost instinctive way. That is what I was treated to last night at dba in New Orleans, by 3 Now 5. The group is usually called 3 Now 4, but the added bonus of Scott Bourgeois’ presence made the band 3 Now 5 last night.

James Singleton (bass), Dave Easley (pedal steel guitar), Johnny Vidacovich (drums), Tim Green (tenor sax), and Scott Bourgeois (alto sax) ventured through the standard 3 Now 4 fare of Singleton compositions and improvised connective material. The music flowed continually, with new songs entering and exiting, some more subtlely than others. The band would shift and turn in perfect harmony. The communication seemed easy and natural between the musicians. Scott and Tim had a wonderfully complimentary flow happening between them, and Easley provided the masterful bed of colors and textures that is his trademark. Johnny V provided the propulsion and fire that we have come to expect from him, and James drove with his bass from his place in the middle of the stage. James has continued to develop his use of effects and loops to great musical success. Last night his electronics always seemed to serve the music in an organic way.

It is still a surreal experience to drive through the streets of New Orleans, but it was emotionally and spiritually fulfilling to hear 3 Now 5 last night.

New look and ads

I’m sure you’ve noticed a new look and some ads on the site now. I’m not going to go totally ad crazy, but I have put up some links to services that I use, and that you might find helpful. If you see something that interests you on the left hand side, give it a click. It will help support Scratch My Brain, and you’ll get good service from our affiliate sites.

In praise of … Shostakovich

Besides being the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart, 2006 is also the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dmitri Shostakovich.

Guardian Unlimited | Arts news | In praise of … Shostakovich

I recall being deeply moved hearing the New Orleans Symphony and later the Louisiana Philharmonic perform his music under the baton of his son Maxim.

Celebrate the centenary and listen to your favorite Shostakovich, or better yet, explore some of his music that you are not yet familiar with.

Boing Boing: Amazon’s author-blogs and the Age of the Conversational Artist

Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow has some interesting insights into the artist/reader(listener) relationship.

Boing Boing: Amazon’s author-blogs and the Age of the Conversational Artist

Today there’s the explosion of choice brought on by the Internet. All entertainments are approximately one click away. The search-cost of finding another artist whose music or books or movies are as interesting as yours is dropping through the floor, thanks to recommendation systems, search engines, and innumerable fan-recommendation sites like blogs and MySpaces. Your virtuosity is matched by someone else’s, somewhere, and if you’re to compete successfully with her, you need something more than charisma and virtuosity.

You need conversation.


Conversation with an audience recruits fans to choose, through evangelism and advocacy, which art will succeed and which art will fail. It changes the system where the sole arbiters of such decisions work at publishing or entertainment concerns.