I don’t mean to encourage stereotypes here, but let’s look at rhythmic stereotypes for a minute. If some thing is totally not grooving, we say it sounds white. The culture that has produced the aesthetic that informs most classical orchestras is know for its lack of rhythmic authority. Is it any surprise that orchestras tend to be rhythmically loose. Latin and African descended cultures tend to be much more rhythmic, at least in stereotype, so it is no surprise that the Venezuelan kids can rock out. I played a concert under Carlos Miguel Prieto, and he seemed to pull the rhythmic reigns tighter than most, and the group grooved (relatively speaking). Maybe it is a latin thing. Prieto seemed to be having fun too, which brings on my next point.
The other thing about that video that got me was the amount of fun that was visible on their faces. These musicians are having a blast! We forget that in too many genres. Serious jazz artists can take themselves and their music way too seriously. I remember sitting in the Louisiana Philharmonic trombone section next to my college teacher. He was grumbling about something, and I said, “Dick, you don’t make enough money not to be having fun.” He didn’t laugh…or quit grumbling. Of course it is easy for me to have fun on that gig, I only do it once or twice a year, and maybe grumbling is how he has fun, but audiences react to smiling faces.
I love the Tomorrow Music Orchestra sticker that reads “Experimenting with the idea that music is really fun!” We should all do that more often.
Another student who received a settlement letter and avoided further litigation by paying the settlement fee voiced her frustration with the RIAA’s recent actions.
“I think this country has gotten completely out of control with personal property rights,” she said. “Music, art and literature should be about sharing an experience with as many people as possible. I think that real artists and inventors should be content to know that their music is so widely appreciated and admired. It has also been shown that music downloading and sampling has helped the music industry because people are able to test and try music before buying it. Music sharing is hardly a serious crime.”
Ok, I think that the RIAA’s approach to this is ridiculous. It does no one any good, except for the lawyers. The biggest problem however is that it leads to this sort of thinking. Again:
I think that real artists and inventors should be content to know that their music is so widely appreciated and admired.
When she grows up and becomes and architect, I want her to design a house for me so that I can tell her that a real architect should be content to know how much my family and I appreciate and love and admire the great house that she designed for us.
There has to be a balance point. Somewhere between the RIAA Nazi approach, and the idea that everything should be free, lies the rational space where the possibilities of the the internet to promote and evangelize good art don’t completely obliterate any revenue possibilities for the artists.
A number of discs by European artists have arrived in my mailbox recently, and I’d like to mention some of the good ones.
The internet really has made the world smaller in some ways, especially in our ability to make friends with people who have similar interests and dissimilar states (or continents) of residence. Austrian trombonist Robert Bachner is one such friend. Robert and I have been sharing CDs of our exploits for some time now, and Robert recently sent me an excellent bunch. All three are by fairly large ensembles. The disc by Robert’s own big band is called Moments of Noise, and it is full of very well played, pretty straight up modern big band stuff. The Vienna Art Orchestra 3 is a three disc set themed around visionaries and dreams. The third disc Robert gave me is Opium by the Flip Philipps/Ed Partyka Dectet. This one is full of interesting colors and resourceful writing. I get a little Gil Evans vibe from it, although there is a lot of other stuff in there too. The Dectet disc also has the coolest cardboard packaging.
Another interesting mailbox surprise has been a disc from Dutch saxophonist Tineke Postma, called A Journey That Matters. At times her playing reminds me a bit of Kenny Garrett. It’s a good disc that is worth exploring.
I’ve just added a new web album to my regular website. It’s about 45 minutes of music performed by Tim Sullivan, Brian Coogan, Matthew Golombisky, Quin Kirchner and myself. One of the pieces is a regular theme/solos/theme style piece, and the other three are improvisations. I have two different sizes of mp3s and Apple Lossless files, so you can find the right balance of fidelity and bandwidth. They are all free to share under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License.
I had a teacher once tell me that if I got in a cab in NY, the driver might be one of the best musicians I have ever heard. Well, I KNOW this bus driver is one of he best bass players you have ever heard.
I don’t want to turn this blog into an online musician obituary, but I also hate to fail to acknowledge the lives of great musicians that pass away.
I had been meaning to write about Paul Rutherford, but hadn’t quite found the right words. Therefore I direct you to Jeb Bishop’s concise and personal thoughts on Paul: the spit valve » Paul Rutherford 1940-2007
Earl Turbinton died this past week. Earl was a saxophonist whose personal style covered many spaces, from hard swinging bop lines, to soulful bluesy sounds, to some pretty out stuff. He was very active in New Orleans in the late 80’s, when I had just moved to town, and was soaking up lots of live music. I loved hearing Earl, and as I reflect on it now, I realize it was because he could (and did) go so many different places musically. It’s odd how sometimes we only realize how influential a musician was on our own concept much later than the original point of influence. At the time, Earl was very encouraging to us young guys. May he rest in peace, and be long remembered.
I just got a phone call on my home phone from someone who asked for me by name, and proceeded to tell me (in heavily accented and awkward English) how odd it was for him to contact me like this, since we do not know each other, but something has happened at his hospital in the UK, and his patient has named me as next of kin, and…
That is where I hung up. Unknown name, Unknown number, says the caller ID. Moments later the phone rang again. Unknown name and number again. I didn’t answer, he didn’t leave a message.
The internet scammers have come full circle, gone old school, reconnected with their telephone scammer beginnings. It is the circle of life scam.