I don’t like the concept of “talent,” and I think everyone is “creative.” But if there’s anything to the idea of living life particularly as an “artist,” I think it has to do with believing at every moment, on some level, that the answer might be just around the corner.
(Chris told me the story of Cy Twombly revealing, in an interview, that he’d discovered the secret to a great painting: “Brown.”)
Secondarily, for continuity: it has to do with realizing that there are no ladders, only chutes. So there’s no other choice, really, but one square at a time. (In this metaphor, the work is the board. (The work is not the mountain. The work is the trail. There is no mountain. We walk.))
One other thing about Sunday at the Village Vanguard. I came up listening to CD reissues of classic jazz albums, which often, like this one, contain additional takes not included on the original LP versions, and often, like this one, stick those extra takes in the middle of the album, so if you’re listening straight through, you keep hearing the band play the same tune twice or even three times in a row. I have come to dislike this practice, as it seems to imply the music is something to be studied rather than enjoyed—it seems to assume its listener is a specialist. The approach seems designed to repel the casually curious. But actually, when I was an eager kid and small-group jazz form and composition was terra incognita, this was not my reaction. Rather, a piece followed by the same piece played differently seemed a beguilingly counterintuitive structural gambit. Humbly I accepted the suggestion that there may have been something, the first time around, that I’d missed. I suspect that, in the specific case of my experience with this particular album, the alternate takes might have been part of the mystery.
I have to try and remind myself, every day, that the Industrial Revolution was not really my fault.
Sometimes people at classical music concerts, trying so assiduously to keep the silence, seem to behave like they think music is a terribly fragile thing, like if they’re not careful they really might break it.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts