The world became a less interesting place the day Lester Bowie died.
Digable Planets with Lester Bowie (trumpet), Joe Sample (keyboard), Melvin “Wah-Wah Watson” Ragin (guitar), “Flying High in the Brooklyn Sky,” live
Part of the job of a musician is that of a messenger. If you ain’t ready to be a messenger, forget it. You need to get a job in the post office or somewhere. If you ain’t ready to travel, pack up your family, or pack up yourself and hit the road, you’re in the wrong business. Because that’s what music is about. It’s about spreading knowledge and education, and re-education. It’s about spreading. You have got to travel with it to spread the word. Like all the people in the past that have had to travel to spread the music.
It’s life itself that this [music] is about.
—Lester Bowie (in George E. Lewis, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music )
(Previously posted 10/28/09.)
I had to wait all day for the chance to listen straight through — what a find. Lester was at home in so many musical settings. “Plays well with others,” as they used to write on report cards.
Yes, plays well with others, indeed. To these ears Lester fits in here wonderfully well while, at the same time, retaining every ounce of his own extremely distinctive musical identity. That’s quite a balancing act.
If you haven’t already, you should check out the Brass Fantasy clips I posted a few days ago.
I think, thanks. I played his “Saving All My Love for You” back in the 20th century when I did two hours a week on the radio.
Oops — I did, thanks.