like nobody else
Rahsaan Roland Kirk (tenor saxophone, clarinet, etc. [1935-1977]) and the Vibration Society (Dick Griffin, trombone; Ron Burton, piano; Vernon Martin, bass; Jerome Cooper, drums; Joe Texidor, percussion), live, Paris, 1970
yesterday, Oak Park, Ill.
All the people at the controls are opportunists or gangsters. The sweetness of reason died out of our public life with FDR. There doesn’t even seem to be a normal intelligence at work in the affairs of the nation.
—Tennessee Williams, letter to publisher James Laughlin, April 9, 1947
How about two minutes of joy?
Felix Quartet (Michael Moore, alto saxophone; Wolter Weirbos, trombone; Wilbert de Joode, bass; Michael Vatcher, drums), live, 2017
That gorgeous kite
from the beggar’s shack.
—Kobayashi Issa, 1763-1827 (translated from Japanese by Robert Hass)
Sometimes a simple melody can be more than enough.
Frank Lacy and 10³²K (FL, trombone; Kevin Ray, bass; Andrew Drury, percussion), “I’ll Be Right Here Waiting” (S. McCall), live, Troy, N.Y., 2016
from the mist
—Kobayashi Issa, 1763-1827 (translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue)
James P. Johnson (piano), Sidney DeParis (trumpet), Vic Dickenson (trombone), Ben Webster (tenor saxophone), Jimmy Shirley (guitar), John Simmons (bass), Sidney Catlett (drums), “After You’ve Gone” (T. Layton, M. Harris), 1944
Your actual experience is a complete flux.
—Robert Lowell (1917-1977)
MCOTD Hall of Fame
William Parker’s In Order To Survive (WP, bass, composition; Hamid Drake, drums, MCOTD Hall of Fame;* Lewis Barnes, trumpet; Rob Brown, alto saxophone; Cooper-Moore, piano), “Criminals in the White House,” live, New York, 2013
Today—his birthday—it’s all Ornette Coleman all day on WKCR-FM (Columbia University).
*With saxophonists Von Freeman and Henry Threadgill; trumpeter Lester Bowie; gospel singer Dorothy Love Coates; composer Morton Feldman; poets John Berryman, William Bronk, and Wislawa Szymborska; and photographer Helen Levitt.
MCOTD Hall of Famer—and, as of yesterday, Pulitzer Prize Winner.
Henry Threadgill’s Zooid
Live, Poland (Warsaw), 2011
Live, New York, 2013
Live, Washington, D.C., 2013
All music is classical music, you know. I don’t put up boundaries on music.
Of course I started out in an ethnic community, with the blues and church music and jazz. But that was just one place to start. You read fiction then you start reading nonfiction! You start reading biographies and scientific accounts. It doesn’t change where you came from. It just broadens it. That’s what we do, we keep building on the foundation where we come from. You don’t lose it, you just keep building on it.
I think we’ve gotten used to the dissonant, so it’s not even dissonant any more.
[W]e have no control over anything but what we do. I just try to stay hopeful: I don’t want to get too pessimistic about anything.
—Henry Threadgill, The Guardian, 4/18/16
the beat goes on
2,300 posts—and counting.
sounds of joy
Instant Composers Pool (ICP) Orchestra, “Lavoro” (S. Bergin, borrowing from “Moten Swing”), live, Amsterdam, 2013
Joyful? Yes. But sad, too. Pianist (and cofounder) Misha Mengelberg’s encroaching dementia, which has since sidelined him altogether, provides a poignant counterpoint.