Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sleep talking

Okay, back to the spaceways...

Ethan Iverson put up a great post explaining Ornette and harmelodics as he understands them. This is the clearest explanation I've seen in fifteen years of grappeling with that music. Thanks Ethan. He also puts in a guest spot on Destination Out about the wonderful, criminally underappreciated Henry Threadgill. (I think Henry is going to get a lot of love at

I am reading "Future Jazz" by Howard Mandel right now. Or, I should say I'm reading the stuff that interests me; I have a hard time devoting an hour of my life to David Murray, or Roy Hargrove interviews. There's a conversation with James "Blood" Ulmer in there about harmelodics that's interesting, and revealing. Ulmer seems to be one of those few musicians who really grasped harmelodics as something that he could use. I will try to find more and report back.

One last thought on the Brubeck/Mwanji/Ornette strain of thoughts: I was taken back to a conversation in a jazz history class, where the teacher read a page of a very theoretical breakdown of a Louis Armstrong track from Gunther Schuller's Early Jazz, followed by a quote from Armstrong talking about his own music. To say there was a stylistic disconnect would be an enormous understatement; to me at least the Schuller, while accurate, sounded tremendously silly. It seemed to see all the veins on the leaves but miss the forest. I felt the same way about the Brubeck post. (And certainly, he's not alone in this by a long shot). If he had spent a little longer thinking about Ornette's larger method and intent, instead of getting hung up on if he plays sharp or plays the changes, then maybe we'd have something to talk about.

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