Sunday, March 18, 2007

veterans hazed like rookies

Margaret Davis (Henry Grimes's manager) has written a damning comment to Taylor Ho Bynum's Cecil Taylor/John Zorn double-bill review. She accuses the J@LC staff of treating the musicians scandolously poorly, on purpose.

How dare somebody say that the "avant-garde" doesn’t need to play at Lincoln Center? (...) There’s a castle on the hill for King Wynton and his cronies, and there are huts in the valley for those (literally / figuratively) on the outside.

(...) I was there throughout the whole experience, and the place was very unwelcoming if not outright hostile to the musicians. Could ample foods and refreshing juices and herb teas and fresh coffee and maybe a bottle of wine here and be found by the musicians backstage? None of the above. (...) A hot dinner was brought into the Green Room in aluminum trays the first evening after the CT trio had already been backstage for four hours, along with the announcement that there would be no such dinner the second night. Why? Well, um... (...) It was bitter cold backstage; could the heat possibly be turned on? Of course, they were working on that right now, it would be on any minute now, and it never was. Is it good for 77-year-old and 71-year-old musicians to be freezing cold for hours on end, even with their coats on? Could they possibly get sick from this, even get pneumonia and die? (Now, dear…) Did the sound crew, at least a dozen in number milling about all over the hall with a huge array of state-of-the-art equipment at its disposal, manage to deliver good, clear, balanced sound for a mere three musicians in a supposedly acoustically perfect new hall? As we say in New York, fuhgeddaboudit

More light-heartedly, the widely-linked Cecil Taylor radio interview is notable for befuddling the interviewer, but much more for the part where Taylor tells the story about his first piano lessons with his mother. You could transcribe it and publish it almost verbatim. Maybe he's told that story a million times before, but I'd never heard him speak before. The sort-of-posh accent reminded me of Duke Ellington.