In Luna listening to Money Jungle and reading about midcentury jazz in New York. A time of fire. Max Roach doing evil science behind Ellington while Mingus straddles the whole sea. Just unearthly bass on this album. Well the three of them of course. Then it's Sonny Rollins doing 'Round Midnight.' First real jazz I ever listened to was Coltrane, who made vibrato seem like a concession of some kind. It was a long time before I could hear tenor players other than Trane without getting defensive.
I love modern jazz speech. OK, not to generalize so much, I love the way Iverson talks about it, the language he's in tune with. Beat science. Doing math. Dropping knowledge. God is in the house. Vicious horn solos. Crackling cymbal lines.
Shit is progressive in here, as in go like a steam train, as in stop when you run out of country.
The 'jam session' lost its specific referent years and years ago; now anyone can get together and 'just play' and it counts as what once was a holy (by which we both know I mean nasty) mutual acclamation. If you're going to talk in jazz then do it, but talk your way back like you were taught. The past is with you right this instant like always. If you walk in this place be ready to play, if you play be ready to wail, if you wail be ready for the old fellas to share some knowledge. If you can hear then make it your mission to learn. There was this idea once that the only language you can hear is the one you're singing in, that learning is what you sing for in the first place. Our ancestors' songs kept them alive somehow, we owe it to ourselves and to their memories to reclaim the possibility and power of every song, or why sing, why be, why be anything at all...?
Calendar pages falling away like movie frames: 16-year-old kids working up tracks in Pro Tools on the same laptops they use to update the websites where they'll give those tracks away, some received Euro-American musical school prepping for the day the robots take over. Give me the old thing though. Rent parties, liquor with no ice, inescapable nearness, quieting as midnight comes, breath drawn across intuited skin. Four million square miles of nation offered up yet our sisters and brothers of every crying hue from every nation packed into exoskeletal cities that moaned, racketed, belched black fumes and upwelled, segmented like minor scales, regenerated by means of some alchemic involution. The first American filmmakers were criminals and our homegrown music is blue and green and always blue. The theater floor is grass and gold leaves. Creaking bones of the stageway arch are the elevated train going past: steam rises where rain hisses atop the proscenium. Lights down. Baby the nighttime isn't half as cool as you are. Wish you could taste what the piano player is doing. What your eyes hips lips do to the very idea of cool. This city is a whole country accumulated upward and it's going to fall in time, but not tonight. Look at you humming like a piano string: tonight the city only sways.