Daily Archives: November 14, 2002

Plastic Pocket Harmolodics

Run down changeling boots the funk;
improve the shunned extractionary.
Stove, in traction, rips rough ready
pockets, not for inner sanctums.

Cherry cola coughs surrender:
queasy Compton did the mother,
freaking heat in slumber tumble,
x-ray eyelids slipped the winking.

Bop the Bird the sticky finger;
fallen anglos sin cojones
open quiet, quick and greasy
downtown and round wound up lounging.

Run down starlings, cop the mutants!
The groove pontificates for Shiva.
Flip the whip trip banned in Boston!
Coleman nation green and hunchbacked;

Cherry, copper coated, kicks
Mazaltov! and “Off the mother!”,
speaking shit in rumble mumble.
X the spot where Malcolm put it,

stop the word, the slippery jungle.
Pent up houses of the holy,
open skies bleed hard and humble.
Central busts the changes open.


On applying a philosophical otoscope to Life in general:

When in doubt of where to go, Musically, when questioning one’s ability to hear harmonic structures, to find the “in” groove or chord, or if just in need of a general aural cleansing, there is nothing that will substitute for Ornette Coleman. 

I first experienced Ornette’s harmolodics at Berklee, where often friends and I would spend late nights “with the double quartet of Coleman’s Free Jazz: A Improvisation by the Double Quartet barreling forth from the speakers like the Mongol horde” (a quote from my journals at the time). Now, when you want to learn about phrasing, you turn to Miles’ Sketches of Spain; when you want close-knit harmony that weaves in and out around the beat, I always like to put on The Gerry Mulligan Songbook; and when needing to hear just how much you can do in just two choruses (and how anything more than that is simply unnecessary, if you do it right), there’s nothing like Charlie Parker. Doesn’t matter what your instrument is, or what style you think you play. If you want to focus on these aspects of Music, here’s where the clues are.

But if you want to know the secret of space, to stretch your ears, to cut to the bare bones, there’s no substitute for Ornette Coleman. Just like James Brown can teach you, particularly on Love Power Peace (live in Paris, 1971) that there is nothing outside of a groove, Ornette can help you understand just how melodic the entire world is.

Ah…but I digress…did I mention that it makes great headphone Music?

Back to my wonderful cup of tea, a darkened room, and that plastic saxophone. I wrote this poem one evening in Memphis after listening to Ornette while discussing Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein over endless strong coffee.

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On Perception and Plausibility …

I’ve been thinking about the differences between my friends who are optically-oriented versus those who are aurally-inclined, and the variations in perception (a visual word) that result from that dichotomy. As a Musician, I have found that more often than not, I process the world based on what it sounds like, rather than what it looks like. A lot of other Musicians (at least the ones that tend towards inclusive, more positive works) also seem to be aurally inclined, whereas many artists tend to the visual (which seems to make some sense to me). In his book The Third Ear: On Listening to the World (which I have learned is unfortunately out of print), Joachim-Ernst Berendt talks about the differences between a world in which the truth as conveyed by the ear and one in which the primary information gathering device is the eye. One of the things that his research has found is that most of the words in our language (English) that relate to deception, misperception, illusion and doubt are eye-related words (words that find their etymological origin in vision metaphors), whereas there are few, if any, that are ear-based. In other words, the eye may lie, but the ear is much more unlikely to do so. He also indicates that the mechanisms for information-gathering are quite different – the eye takes us out into the world, while the ear brings the world into us. Another fascinating aspect is that the spectrum of light that we can actually see is a much smaller percentage of the whole than the audible range of sound that we can process. And so on.

Anyway, I thought I would take a poll of those who happen upon this entry to see what the consensus is.

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