Mavis Staples, “I Like The Things About Me” (R. Staples & M. Stubbs), One True Vine, 6/13
Language, no matter how much it’s used, never seems to get used up. Take this sentence, for instance, which opens Donald Ray Pollock’s story collection Knockemstiff: “My father showed me how to hurt a man one August night at the Torch Drive-in when I was seven years old.” Not one of these words is unusual, nor is the syntax. But this particular set of words, in this particular order, never existed before. How improbable is that?
The improvising pianist Cecil Taylor, a pioneering, influential and highly experimental musician and a longtime Brooklyn resident, is one of this year’s recipients of the Kyoto Prize, awarded each year by the Inamori Foundation in Japan, the foundation announced on Friday. Mr. Taylor, 84, is this year’s laureate in the category of arts and philosophy; different fields across technology, science, art and philosophy are considered on a rotating basis, and there has been a recipient in music every four years. (The last musician laureate in 2009 was the conductor and composer Pierre Boulez.) The prize comes with a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately $510,000), to be given at a ceremony in Kyoto in November. This year’s other laureates are the electronics engineer Dr. Robert H. Dennard and the evolutionary biologist Dr. Masatoshi Nei.
Live (solo), Germany (Berlin), 1991 (The Tree of Life)
musical thoughts: following yesterday’s post
With live music, you’ve got to be ready when it is. Last night, after looking forward to an evening of Ethiopian dance, of saxophones and drums, at the Hideout, I just wasn’t in the mood. Instead I listened, in my living room, to something else—Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor for solo violin, played by Nathan Milstein. On another night that would have seemed as foreign to me as this kinetic dance music did last night. But we can only hear with the ears we’ve got, which, like the rest of us, are ever changing, often in ways we neither anticipate nor understand.
Stevie Wonder, “I Won’t Complain,” Luther Vandross’s funeral, New York (The Riverside Church), 2005
(Originally posted 10/11/09.)
I hear new news every day, and those ordinary rumours of war, plagues, fires, inundations, thefts, murders, massacres, meteors, comets, spectrums, prodigies, apparitions, of towns taken, cities besieged in France, Germany, Turkey, Persia, Poland, &c., daily musters and preparations, and such like, which these tempestuous times afford, battles fought, so many men slain, monomachies, shipwrecks, piracies and sea-fights; peace, leagues, stratagems, and fresh alarms. A vast confusion of vows, wishes, actions, edicts, petitions, lawsuits, pleas, laws, proclamations, complaints, grievances are daily brought to our ears.
The Miracles (AKA, beginning in 1965, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles), live (TV shows), 1960s
“You Really Got A Hold On Me”
“Ooo Baby Baby” (AKA “Ooh Baby Baby”)
As life proceeds, and the long journey is recognised for what it is, the look that is cast back unconsciously falsifies. That there were winters is a fact which is discarded, seemingly forgotten. And the longing for more summer, more life, intensifies as the dark days wear on, as if light and life have become interchangeable, as perhaps they are.