Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let's anchor the noise a bit

Charles Mingus Sextet in the early sixties. The amazing solo by Eric Dolphy on baritone sax begins at about 4:31. His playing makes sense because you know the tune when he starts and because he's actually playing the tune in a looped and fragmented way. Imagine watching this without the statement of the melody by the other players. You may think it was noise, even though it's completely structured and completely tonal.

UPDATE: The customer is always right -- even when the customer is a lazy dimwit... No more jazz -- just postings about the wonderful world of ham radio...

FURTHER UPDATE: I have been contacted with the suggestion that the phrase 'lazy dimwit' is offensive. Perhaps. In the spirit of the holiday, I will withdraw it in favor of the less provocative phrase 'The customer is always right -- even when the customer isn't --'

10 comments:

Christian Lindke said...

blah, blah, blah...Jazz...blah, blah, blah

I have yet to come to the age where I enjoy jazz. I can listen to it and appreciate when talent is on display, but I'm not a jazz man. To me listening to jazz is like collecting comic books. It takes a lot of time and effort to get a deep understanding of what's going on artistically and a large part of the enjoyment is the conversations one can have with fellow fans about the nuances of the art form.

Outsiders eyes typically glaze over in these situations.

At a young age, I chose comic books as my obsession. Having given those up, I now have a greater focus on role playing games. When I am older, I will likely have time for Jazz and Wine collecting, but those seem to take time and money. Two things I don't have a lot of right now.

Tulkinghorn said...

There are those who believe that the hormonal changes of age suddenly generate a love of gardening, furniture, and single malt whiskey. Add jazz to the list, I guess.

I had lunch with an older friend yesterday who held forth at length on the proposition that popular music died on VJ Day.

Patience with geezer obsessions is a sign of graceful youth.

Although one might point out that you are not exactly a spring chicken yourself (and David, of course, is much older than I am) and that all you have to do is click on the little picture and LISTEN for fuck's sake.

Generic said...

And then what, the scales will fall from our eyes?

Do you remember the comments about jazz of that all-time great geezer Philip Larkin? Faber pb of his criticl writing, probably available from amazon.uk.

Tulkinghorn said...

The opportunity for delight is rare and sometimes requires overcoming prejudices. If you prefer not, I'm certainly not one to complain.

Jest keep in mind that, depending on the company you find yourself keeping, opinions like "Baseball is boring." or "My kid could paint better than that." or "Tarentino's movies are too violent." or "I can't stand science fiction because I'm not interested in space ships." or "I don't watch movies with subtitles." or "Jazz just sounds like noise to me.", while valid expressions of one's personality, mostly seem lazy and uninteresting.

I own the Larkin book, which, if you remember, has some sound writing about the "divine" Gladys Mitchell, who is still one of the least-heralded of the Golden Age mystery writers

He basically thought that all jazz after swing was noise and a fake. His opinions about John Coltrane are not repeatable in these more racially-sensitive times....

Generic said...

Kind of a broad brush, don't you think? Care to reel it in a little bit?

Christian Lindke said...

I see that I have started a bit of a ruckus, which was not my intention.

My comments were with regard to the discussion of jazz, prompted specifically by the sentence, "You may think it was noise, even though it's completely structured and completely tonal."

The music is wonderful, I took the time to listen to it, but that is beside the point of my comment. Which was probably written more snarkily, or received more snarkily, than I intended.

My point was that a deep appreciation of jazz is a lot of work. I brought up comic books as a point of comparison, not to infantilize the enjoyment of jazz, because it is something that I have devoted a lot of time toward. Comic book fans have a vocabulary, jazz fans have a vocabulary. Neither is required for the lay person to find enjoyment in the art itself. That was my point.

That said, I've always enjoyed Benny Goodman more than Dave Brubeck...for this very reason. Once can enjoy Benny Goodman without being expected to know the vocabulary of Jazz. If one mentions Dave Brubeck, one often finds oneself wandering the woods of unknown vocabularies with a befuddled look.

This is something we should discuss over Macallan 30...okay just the 12.

Generic said...

By using the exhortative "let's" I assume Dennis meant to suggest that he agrees with you (with us) to at least some degree. Wandering off aimlessly, without leaving a trail of breadcrumbs, is the sort of thing that strikes me as easy to fake -- and I'm sure some fakes fool some people. (I know of at least one glaring instance in the realm of film criticism. Happy to share, etc.)

GoJoe said...

Some of us were enjoying the jazz posts though...

Tulkinghorn said...

Great!

If the customer is always right, and the customers disagree, I get to choose...

Generic said...

You have carte blanche, as far as I'm concerned. Although, if many more posts turn up about anus-constricting exercises I may be forced to reconsider.