Monday, September 03, 2007

so fall great trees

When great trees fall, it is wise, I think, for us to praise the ground they grew out of.
- Maya Angelou, from her eulogy for Max Roach
An image is still fresh in my mind of the shaven-headed black man in a dashiki whose technique I glommed, or tried to: he bent at the waist, snapped his fingers and shook his bright dome as if in a self-amused trance. His obliviousness to our regard was what I wanted for myself, was what I wished to hijack on behalf of my own craven pursuit of regard. I began immediately shaking my head, not yet capable of observing the finer details, how his head-shaking must surely have been driven by less ostentatious but completely authoritative movements through his feet and hips, zones I'd yet to learn to activate. But my ears were open, I wasn't deaf to the music, I know I was in the kind of bodily rapture-in-sound where all real dancing begins. Alas, I was trying to lead my dance with my head, like trying to play a song's bass line on a pair of cymbals, or a triangle. Somehow I made this my trademark - no one intervened to advise me otherwise - and so I built my dancing body from the head-shake downward, like a Cheshire cat begun at the grin.
- Jonathan Lethem, "We happy fakes"
[Rick] Rubin then invented a label, calling his company Def Jam ("Def" meaning great, and "Jam" meaning music)
- Lynn Hirschberg "The Music Man"
Christian Brun In Brooklyn vs. Don Cherry Complete Communion: inspiration, quote or theft? (and no, the former is not on Blue Note)