Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dancing About Architecture, and Recipes

"Talking about Jazz is like dancing about architecture."
-Thelonius Monk

I'm going to try anyways.

Mingus said something interesting about soloing, and how it's like a conversation. He said 'you don't walk into a room and say "AHHHHHH!" You say "hello."'


What do you say after that?

Three things scare the hell out of me right now. No, four. Well...ok anyways, some things scare me, and one of them is taking an improvised solo in front of people who know something about music. Until now I never considered it a disadvantage that nearly everyone at Oberlin knows "something" about music. Put another way, the house that I usually jam in is home to jazz majors. They have studied, played, and transcribed just about everybody, including Mingus. While friendly, they are extremely intimidating.

Look, Ma, I'm jumping in the pool with no floaties! I think I'll dog paddle for awhile. But there's big kids in here!

(Mom wouldn't say it exactly this way but the meaning would be the same: "Man up" or alternately "quitcherbitchin!")

I've been thinking recently about how intertwined everything really is, and how the things I do outside of music are not really outside of music at all. I'm not sure anything I do is really is. That got me thinking about how I might consciously bring my world to the practice room, the jam, the stage.

For instance, I've recently taken up yoga. Beyond the obvious strength and concentration benefits, yoga is all about using your breath constructively, and so is music. You have to breathe into and out of phrases, and with the motion of your body (especially with an instrument as physical as bass). Doris, my hot Austrian yoga instructor, often implores us to use breath to sink deeper into poses, to stretch longer, to hold firmer. Mr Sperl has given me similar advice, though he wasn't wearing a sports bra or balancing on his fingers/doing splits at the time.

How does your daily life inform your music?
Keep co-op healthy snacks:

Sweet potato spread:
Boil sweet potatoes until they are soft. When cool pull the skins off. Cut into cubes, spice with salt/pepper, curry, cinnamon, and whatever else you want. Add maple syrup. Puree in a food processor. Serve with bread/eat an entire bowl for breakfast before class.

Roasted Chickpeas:
soak and cook the dried chickpeas, or use canned. Toss with olive oil, salt, cumin, allspice, maybe cardamom, marjoram and/or whatever else you want. Roast in oven on baking sheet at 4:50 for about 25-30 minutes until crunchy and delicious.

Combine strong opinions, loose alliances, and sugar. Set aside. In another container combine logic, precedent, and common sense. Mix thoroughly. Slowly add the second group of ingredients to the first, stirring after each addition. Taste periodically and adjust ingredients accordingly. Put on heat until solid.

Earlier today I looked at my clock and it said 11:11. 11:11 is special to me, because when I was a kid I used to make wishes at 11:11, about everything from ghosts to boys to hoping mom wouldn't find out who broke whatever I'd just broken. I'm not a kid anymore, and the magical status of my worldview is in flux, but today, just because, I made a wish anyways. Later I realized that since I set my clock five minutes fast, 11:11 wasn't actually 11:11 at all, and I had wasted my wish. Another day this realization wouldn't have been worth writing about, it might even have been kind of funny, but not today. Today all I could think was that even when I know I'm fooling myself, I'm still fooled. That's when I decided it's silly to make wishes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hm hm.. that's quiet interessting but frankly i have a hard time determining it... I'm wondering what others have to say....