Tuesday, July 17, 2007

sonny likes him too

There are lots of ways to commemorate the 40th anniversary of John Coltrane's death. I'm leaving it up to everyone else to find good ones. Brett Primack has a video discussion with Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Heath and Paul Jeffrey, along with footage and sound clips from Rollins and Coltrane.


Wall of Sound has an interesting Gary Giddins quote that climaxes with "The 1960s avant guarde in clearing the slate of preconceived notions paradoxically opened jazz to a more generous involvement with its past." This of course completely stands the widespread "acoustic, historically-informed jazz was reborn in the '80s" theory on its head. Avant-gardism not as rupture but as a non-ideological embedding of the past into the present... that's a nice possible description.


Erik Friedlander feature in the New York Times. After seeing him with Bar Kokhba, I'm pretty convinced I should be checking out his own music. Any suggestions?


Speaking of that Barcelona show, Vanishing Signs has a nice post on Marc Ribot.

From Cuban dance music to punk skronk, cerebral film soundtracks to soaring interpretations of the Ayler hymnal - he plays it all with a rare authenticity.


Authenticity! Improvising Guitar is starting a series on post-modern guitar with a discussion of Mina Agossi and Bill Frisell (visionsong has a first stab at a response).

I don't know Frisell well at all, but I've been listening to a couple of recent sideman appearances, on Cuong Vu's It's Mostly Residual and Jewels & Binoculars' (Michael Moore/Lindsey Horner/Michael Vatcher) Ship With Tatooed Sails. Vu's album is excellent, and everything Frisell does on it is spectacular.


Somewhat related to what I think about when I hear guitarists like Ribot, Frisell or Nels Cline, is the textural issue David Valdez lays out.
So often Jazz devolves into a string of connected 8th note lines, with little change in the texture that is being created... Think like a sculptor or a painter instead of a musician once in a while.

How important are individual notes when the larger sound sculpture is bland and lame. Hip Be-Bop lines aren't enough to keep things interesting. Go ahead a make subtle shadings to individual notes! (Alternate fingerings and overtones are great for shading pitch and timbre)

You want to make your solos have a texture at least as complex and interesting as someone speaking a romance language.
Listening to Ellery Eskelin's Vanishing Point the other day, he's a great example of someone who manipulates textures and lines masterfully, well beyond the point of applying the former to the latter. Add in the clashing overtones of multiple bowed string instruments (including Erik Friedlander's cello, so maybe I haven't drifted too far off topic after all) and Matt Moran's vibraphone, and it's an ideally-suited immersive foamy textural wash that's quite different from his better-known trio with Andrea Parkins and Jim Black.


Eat your heart out, Domino Day!* A compilation of a Japanese TV show's great Rube Goldberg-inspired opening credits. [via Very Short List]

* Believe it or not, Domino Day is shown live on France's biggest TV station. It lasts hours. It's like watching paint dry, only, unlike the paint, it claims to be entertaining. Admittedly, watching the dominoes fall to reveal grotesque tableaux has a repugnantly hypnotic effect.