WABC radio, Birdland 1953
"And it sure does move." Corny announcers. This music - I haven't appreciated and heard the sound with as much enjoyment until after watching a couple interviews with the man, Miles Davis. Dick Cavett and 60 minutes are two great interview examples. He said jazz is an attitude. He teaches me how to listen a certain way, and I only realized recently, it is by how he speaks and what the fuck he says. And I've read his autobio, but I feel closer to it now. The way he can move a conversation with just a simple question or statement similar to how he directs his round and often sensitive trumpet sound. This audience listened. In the band, the pianist Larry had told me of: Wade Legge. One of the few recordings I've heard of him too, and I've even seen his written charts. Gone before his time, incredibly talented, from Buffalo/Rochester area I think. Candido Camero was insane on this percussion too. Larry and perhaps just a few others I've heard had that old bright fresh jazz era spirit to their playing. He learned all his tunes by ear, we used the fake books. If you really listen to it, it makes sense. And it really is so different! But it's not me or my generation, even though I love it and grew up with some of the tunes. It's great to feel some sense of breakthough as a musician. Don Menza was speaking with me at the house which gave me pause for reflection when I went home. I cannot rely on ear alone (those words carry weight and work ethic) and have no preconceptions, no nothing! Surely I wouldn't view it only as a historical but a living (and for the personal vision as it pertains to me, he spoke them to me) advice regarding necessity and manifestation.
It's like learning to speak again. With a computer. Not just to be heard, but just to speak. Child-like even. Saying something. Making sound. I feel as if I don't even know what I sound like! That's alright! Sit down with it. Find it, or have it find you.
This is considerable where I had always thought I felt focused on music but didn't really do my homework (thanks for that lesson Ron, and as I still do...). No way I'll lazily put myself in a box, but have been unreceptive to changing my thought patterns. A major upheaval. It's like Larry told me, you know how to play, you need to learn how to play music. Any my serious musician peers would probably laugh at me for my lack of prowess and knowledge, touting curiosity, but I don't care anyway, I just didn't know how to listen. I still feel I don't, but it's growth, and learning to listen to my self. Not only listen, but actualize it. My musical instinct. Trust in what you're saying both life and music.
I reach toward a vision for my fucking self, fix my attitude, and broach the surface. Deciphering sincerity.
I can understand why Larry and Don and those guys felt this was IT when listening to these recordings. And the concerts! They saw Bird and Dizzy and sat at the bar for two hours afterwards and didn't say a word to anybody, not even each other. Silence. Music will always have that same inner effect, actualized, and even hypnotized. When was the last time you heard a billboard song that stunned you into silence for two hours? I realize Bird wasn't "main" but he was and is later on, and top 40 certainly isn't sounding "new," with the lyrics "do you ever feel like a plastic bag." Will they hold up to history? We are in a new century music friends. Each century usually brings with it a new sound, but music essentially never dies.
We (my peers) are perennial students of this art, and this timestamp. We can have our own thing though. This 120 bpm modern homogenous madness can be gone thanks.
And the sincerity with which Don spoke to me regarding my current rock band path and about his son Nick denote this inward journey as necessary. His aorta burst on the bandstand at the baked potato at age 43, but Don was coming through with the wise palpation of a sage sussing my youngass out! Frank Strazzeri told me everybody plays their own time. That's it. Man it's easy to get caught up in the want to learn things, and skepticize your own vision, and not actually learn things.
Not every artist is born exactly the way they are. Obviously I respect and adore these old giants. I cannot rely on my ear alone, I must give it everything.
I need to go in a cave and draw and play some bone flutes or something. With an occasional hang seasoned about.