The world faces major problems. I have decided, upon reflection and given the perspective of personal maturation, that the music of Eric Ewazen is not actually one of them.
Musician Patrick Higgins, interviewed by Jeremiah Cymerman on the 5049 Podcast:
“That’s what leads to great style…nothing to do with the instrument, particularly…it’s attitude, technique, and social application…[that’s] the shit that works.”
Charles Bowden, in Blue Desert, hiking Sonora’s Pinacate Wilderness in the 1980s:
“And I cannot stop walking. I want to keep moving into the country although all I seem to do is move through it. I fall each night into a dreamless sleep and wake each day in a dream. The landscape comes from the far side of the mind—black slopes, blue sky, burning sun.”
I listen to the recording over and over, until I can sing along with every note. Usually I lie on the floor for this part. Then I go to the piano, and figure out how to play what I’m singing.
In the process I am learning about what, exactly, a musical “idea” is, how large or small a unit (and a unit of what?). I’m learning about how memory works. I’m learning about awareness, about listening. This becomes an exercise in the alteration of consciousness.
Listen deeply enough, and any piece of music will cease to resemble in any way the conceptual ideas or verbal descriptions previously appended to it. Example: Bill Evans’ piano solo on “Solar,” from Sunday at the Village Vanguard. Heard fifteen or twenty times in a row, this three minutes ceases to be “jazz.” The word simply slides off, like the label from a can of tomatoes. I’m hoping that if I keep listening, its essence will continue to clarify until at some point the essence is all there is. This is not merely theoretical. At some point the solo might also cease to be “music.” At this moment both of us will be free.
You can’t un-check your email.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts