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jazz

Midnight Blue

off Midnight Blue by Kenny Burrell, 1963

Jazz Is The Color

Roy Hargrove Quintet

Out Of The Night


Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue
Joe Henderson – Out of the Night
Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder
Lee Morgan – The Rumproller
Lee Morgan – Night In Tunisia
Wynton Kelly Sextet – Keep It Moving
Blue Mitchell – The Thing To Do
Art Blakey – Soutful Mister Timmons
Clark Terry – No Problem
Art Farmer – Wisteria

Be YourSelf

as much smooth as you can be
Be Yourself, off God bless the child, 1971

Kenny Burrell‘s guitaristry is well-documented in his years with Oscar Peterson and on his first dates as a leader on the Blue Note label, but God Bless the Child, his only date for CTI in 1971, is an under-heard masterpiece in his catalog. Burrell’s band for the set includes bassist Ron Carter, percussionist Ray Barretto, Richard Wyands on piano, flutist Hubert Laws, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and drummer Billy Cobham. CTI’s house arranger, Don Sebesky, assembled and conducted the strings in a manner that stands strangely and beautifully apart from his other work on the label. Sebesky understood Burrell’s understated approach to playing guitar. Burrell didn’t belong with the fusioneers, but he could groove better than any of them. Sebesky built a moody, atmospheric soundscape behind him, one that was as impressionistic as it was illuminating of a player who could dig in and chop it up — as he does on his own composition “Love Is the Answer” and “Do What You Gotta Do” — and stroke it smooth and mellow as on the title track, the truly sublime “Be Yourself,” and Thad Jones‘ “A Child Is Born.” The Legacy CD remaster also includes the only three outtakes from the session, an alternate of the Jones tune, and two brief but gorgeous solos on “Ballad of the Sad Young Men” and on Kurt Weill‘s “Lost in the Stars.” This is Burrell at his level best as a player to be sure, but also as a composer and as a bandleader. Magnificent.

via God Bless The Child – Kenny Burrell : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic.

Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me

Sidney Bechet – Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me
Django Reinhardt – I’ll See You In My Dreams
Bing CrosbySweet Georgia Brown
Bing Crosby – Some Of These Days
Oscar Peterson & The Stephane Grappelli Quartet – If I Had You
Joe Pass & Ella Fitzgerald – Days of Wine and Roses
Joe Pass & Ella Fitzgerald – Blue and Sentimental
Nancy Wilson – Satin Doll
Billie Holiday – One for my Baby (And One More For The Road)
Dinah Washington – Drinking Again

Kung Fu

Chet and Halema – William Claxton

non resisto, si Chet, Let’s get lost, Let’s get lost una volta per tutte. Andiamo via, lontano, altrove. Ovunque vuoi tu.
Capitano anche a voi di quei momenti in cui ascoltate Since I fell for you della Simone, vi prende una certa malinconia e balza allo sguardo l’esatta visione del vostro futuro, uno squash nella devil’s kitchen di New York, una finestra a bocca spalancata nel buio della notte, un metà novembre di un giorno qualunque, una poltrona foderata di velluto viola, una bottiglia vuota di tamarindo, un gatto allampanato e nero appallottolato nel tappeto a scacchi, il ticchettio della pioggia e il braccio nudo di un fantasma coi bigodini, non Bettie Page in pensione, un fantasma abbruttito dalla solitudine, una sigaretta tra le dita e la foto del primo amore incorniciata e consacrata in un altarino, orchidee fresche, lucine a cuoricini, coniglietti bianchi di peluche, bigliettini rosa in carta riciclata. Lucky buiscuits. Vito, 14 anni, divorziato/defunto. Vito ti saluto e auguro ogni bene, ma perchè non hai mai voluto amarmi? E lo so che Martina aveva le tettine più grandi delle mie, ma io avevo solo 9 anni, come facevo ad avere le tettine a 9 anni, perchè non ti sono mai piaciuti i miei disegnini
Ecco, è in momenti come questo che bisogna avere in casa del buon whiskey, un pugnetto d’erba e la compagnia del disco giusto. Il vostro non è romanticismo, non è neanche nostalgia. O si tratta di isteria, è luna piena, aspettate il ciclo. O dovete darci un taglio, assumere la posizione del panda  e ascoltare Curtis Mayfield, in meditazione

Elefanti, a colazione

Va bene, ho capito, lo so. Sono al verde. Da quando m’è preso gusto a parlare con le carte non fanno che uscire denari a rovescio.
Ahi, que dolor
In compenso l’Imperatore, una figura compassata, paterna e all’occorrenza patrigna. Dev’essere Annibale. The Emperor, The Cat.
L’altro mattino l’ho incontrato in giardino. Miaow, mi fa. How miaow are you, Annibalotto?
Poteste ammirare l’imperturbabilità zen di questo gatto, que charme, que strafottenza, que furfanteria. Da non crederci. Lo smuove niente. Niente ma la colazione, il pane raffermo del giorno prima? Ehe The Emperor si nutre solo di prelibatezze da gourmet, altro que, vecchia birba.
Spiacente Annibalotto, caschi male, non c’è trippa per i gatti. Piove, governo ladro.
Certo lavoro non mi manca per niente e da disoccupati si sta che è una meraviglia, ho persino ripreso a dormire quasi regolarmente, m’è venuto un certo appetito.
Sveglia alle 3.30, caffè a letto, Art Blakey a colazione, quell’uzza del primo mattino, che non sa se imbronciasse (è così che dite voi romani?) o fare l’occhiolino, Annibale nel giardino.
C’è sempre di mezzo Annibale nel giardino, nell’uzza del primo mattino. Miaow.
Che dici, Annibalotto?
Elefanti, a colazione. In marcia, dice Annibale.

‘If I had to be called something it should have been a folk singer’

Nina Simone photographed by Robinson Jack, via theworldofphotographers

Di Nina Simone si dice essere stata una musicista molto severa, puntuale, bad tempered, e di poche moine. Qualche tempo fa mi capitò leggere la sua autobiografia, ‘I put a spell on you’, che prende il titolo da uno dei suoi meravigliosi brani. Nel libro la Simone racconta della propria carriera, iniziata da piccolissima, al pianoforte della Chiesa locale, e conclusasi negli anni ’90 con un successo che l’ha resa famosa in tutto il mondo. Giusto nelle ultime pagine del libro la Simone fa riferimento a un episodio accaduto proprio qui a Londra, che segna la rottura con l’agente Sannucci e la cancellazione di una settimana di concerti al Ronnie Scott’s, un jazz club in Soho, dove la Simone era solita esibirsi intorno agli anni ’80. A causa della lite l’agente rientra in America da solo, la Simone si trattiene ancora in Europa, tra Liberia e Francia, Svizzera e Olanda, intanto esibendosi in concerti.
Il libro è del 1991, ed è nel Gennaio del’91 che la Simone partecipa in America a una parata per celebrare il compleanno di Martin Luther King; appena negli anni ’60 il brano Mississippi Goddam, contenuto nell’album ‘Nina Simone In Concert’, ricorda l’omicidio di Medgar Evers e il borbardamento nei pressi di una chiesa in Alabama  che costa la morte a quattro bambini neri; il brano viene recepito come una chiara denuncia al razzismo e segna un inizio nella lotta ai diritti civili portata avanti dalla Simone, che diversamente da Martin Luther King, però, invita i fratelli a ribellarsi alle armi, con le armi; anche per questo la Simone viene più volte allontanata dalla scena pubblica, sebbene nel libro viene solo fatto riferimento a un trasferimento nelle Barbados utilizzato come escamotage per non pagare le tasse e non finanziare lo stato americano, che negli anni ’60 va in guerra nel Vietnam.
Nel libro ci sono molti ricordi legati all’infanzia e alla Grande Depressione, alle ristrettezze economiche in cui versava la famiglia (otto figli), al duro apprendistato a cui prima che l’insegnante di piano sè stessa ha sottoposto attraverso rigide e ferree sedute di studio e totale dedizione alla musica;  il primo amore, la scelta di abbandonare casa per trasferirisi da sola in città, dove approfondisce gli studi di pianoforte, inizia a suonare nei locali, fa carriera come musicista e vive l’età adulta, tra palcoscenici, viaggi, casinò, champagne, antidepressivi, due matrimoni, una figlia, un divorzio, un amante ammazzato, e un’etichetta, quella della musicista jazz, che non sopporta, le rode il fegato, a tutt’oggi sono sicura farebbe impazzire, e di proprio pugno, in prima persona, nella propria autobiografia, tiene a chiarire. Un poco stizzita

‘After Town Hall critics started to talk about what sort of music I was playing and tried to find a neat slot to file it away in. It was difficult for them because I was playing popular songs in a classical style with a classical piano technique influenced by cocktail jazz. On top of that I included spirituals and children’s songs in my performances, and those sort of songs were automatically identified with the folk movement. So saying what sort of music I played gave the critics problems because there was something from everything in there, but it also meant I was appreciated across the board – by jazz, folk, pop and blues fans as well as admirers of classical music.
They finally ended up describing me as a ‘jazz-and-something-else-singer’. To me ‘jazz’ meant a way of thinking, a way of being, and the black man in America was jazz in everything he did – in the way he walked, talked, thought and acted. Jazz music was just another aspect of the whole thing, so in that sense because I was black I was a jazz singer, but in every other way I most definitely wasn’t.
Because of ‘Porgy’ people often compared me to Billie Holiday, which I hated. That was just one song out of my repertoire, and anybody who saw me perform could see we were entirely different, What made me mad was that it meant people couldn’t get past the fact we were both black: if I had happened to be white nobody would have made the connection. And I didn’t like to be put in a box with other jazz singers because my musicianship was totally different, and in its own way superior. Calling me a jazz singer was a way of ignoring my musical background because I didn’t fit into white ideas of what a black performer should be. It was a racist thing; ‘If she’s black she must be a jazz singer’. It diminished me, exactly like Langston Hughes was diminished when people called him a ‘great black poet’. Langston was a great poet period, and it was up to him and him alone to say what part the colour of his skin had to do with that.
If I had to be called something it should have been a folk singer, because there was more folk and blues than jazz in my playing.

[Taken from I put a spell on you, the autobiography of Nina Simone, with Stephen Cleary, 1991]

Conoscendo la voce della Simone ho immaginato quella fra me e il libro una chiaccherata fra estranei che viaggiano nello stesso treno vuoto, scomparto fumatori, l’una seduta di fianco all’altra. Il tono di lei è severo, delle volte gentile, delle volte amichevole, quasi mai affettuoso; la Simone guarda fuori dal finestrino, lo sguardo fermo. Ogni tanto si interrompe, si schiarisce la voce, riprende a parlare. Delle volte polemizza, ci tiene a chiarire. Avverto è impacciata, preferirebbe starsene altrove.
Basterebbe interromperla un istante e chiederle di cantare per sapere cosa è davvero successo in tutti quegli anni di lunga carriera e fede incondizionata alla Musa. Sarebbe allora che la voce della Simone tradirebbe il mito e svelerebbe la donna, sola e vulnerabile, sincera finalmente e solo attraverso la musica.

Lost in Thought PlayList

Eric Dolphy – Warm Canto
John Zorn – The Rain Horse
Bar Kokhba Sextet – Zechriel
Bar Kokhba Sextet – Sother
Di Meola, De lucia, Mc laughlin – Orient blue
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Oh By The Way
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – In Case You Missed It
Curtis Fuller Sextet – Judyful
Ahmad Jamal – Boatride

Off Organism, by Jimi Tenor, 1999

La Notte scivola lenta su tacchi di vernice nera
un uomo ne spia l’ombra da dietro le tende
Miagola il gatto alla Luna

a kill-me-softly and mewing tune off ‘Jazz in Paris’ by Oscar Peterson & The Stephane Grappelli Quartet, 2000

מצדה

John Zorn‘s Track from the Album “Masada Vol.1: Alef, 1994
Apparently his early Spy Vs. Spy homage with Tim Berne wasn’t enough to satiate John Zorn’s Ornette Coleman jones. Masada, Vol. 1: Alef is the jumping-off point for his prolific quartet, clearly modeled on Coleman’s groundbreaking acoustic unit, and it’s the first sighting of trumpeter Dave Douglas, too. The rhythm section is equally crucial, with Greg Cohen ably tackling the thankless task of bass anchor and Joey Baron the unsung hero for maintaining the fierce, high-energy pulse dictated by Zorn’s punk sensibilities. The frenetic “Jair” sets a very Coleman-ish tone before the more measured “Bith Aneth” finds Douglas showing his range with muted squawks, growls, and broad lower-register tones that almost sound like a trombone. Douglas has to be consistently agile to handle the demands of foil for Zorn because the Masada norm doesn’t call for many solos with just the rhythm section. The second lead instrument is almost always playing countermelodies behind the principal soloist, which makes for densely packed music with lots and lots of notes. Luckily, Masada is a savvy crew, not just rip-and-run raiders, so those notes create an ample spectrum of moods and flavors.
via Masada, Vol. 1: Alef – Masada | AllMusic.

whiskey, Please

Off Baby Breeze, Chet Baker, 1964
‘After a five year European sojourn (including time in an Italian jail) cool jazz trumpeter Chet Baker returned to the States in good form to record this unusual date for the Limelight label in 1964. For starters, he was playing flugelhorn, an instrument he’d recently acquired to replace a stolen trumpet in France. Secondly, the date was produced by Bobby Scott, the English composer of “A Taste Of Honey,” included here as a bonus track. Baker sings the folk-like melody with conviction, accompanied only by Scott himself on piano. In fact, Baker’s plaintive vocals on this tune and others like Mel Torme‘s “Born To be Blue” and Ray Noble‘s “The Touch Of Your Lips” represent his best singing on record in a decade.

The session is smartly divided between these minimally accompanied vocals–the understated guitarist Kenny Burrell makes a welcome appearance on some–and straight-ahead instrumentals with full combo including the fine altoist Frank Strozier. The rich-toned flugelhorn suits Baker’s characteristic lyricism and he negotiates pianist Hal Galper‘s originals with aplomb.

A reissue of the mid-’60s Verve album that featured Chet on flugelhorn in place of his recently stolen trumpet! Bob James and Kenny Burrell are on hand, as are five bonus tracks, two unissued. Includes Born to Be Blue; I Wish You Love; You’re Mine, You , and more.

via Chet Baker – Baby Breeze  Album.

Muliebre, aggettivo qualificativo

La solitudine di una donna si misura per millimetri e calcola in proporzione alla lunghezza di peli nelle gambe, nelle braccia, nel pube, moltiplicato il numero di giorni che decorrono dall’ultima depilazione
+
-il numero di volte,compensative, in cui indulge ai peccati di gola
-il monocromatismo nello scegliere cosa indossare al mattino in abbinamento all’umore
-l’innumerevole quantità di libri (non letti), DVDs, CDs, riviste, manuali, accatastata sul comodino
-un certo appetito sessuale (fattore determinante)
=
Accidia, o anche SV, Sospensione Vegetativa. Nei casi peggiori, DF, Decadenza del Femminino (da cui femminino,secondo il dizionario:ciò che vi è di spiritualmente nobile e puro nel fascino muliebre sull’animo degli uomini [Segnare muliebre nella lista nera delle parole imbarazzanti da non dire assolutamente mai a un date]).
Nei casi senza speranza, Oblomovismo.
Se però alle serate fuori,inizia a preferirsi Oscar Peterson, allora non si tratta di solitudine ma di un bisogno estremo di grazia e armonia.
E’chiaro Oscar Peterson sta suonando per voi, perchè voi vi liberiate dalle fatiche del giorno e abbandoniate ai piaceri della musica.Oscar Peterson sa come suonare i tasti giusti e allora sarà come scoprire di avere un corpo, un corpo che vibra e gioisce di piacere. Questo io chiamo farsi del bene, e Girl Talk di Oscar Peterson un gesto estremo di grazia e armonia.
Off Exclusively For My Friends, 1992

The Man With The Movie Camera

The movie, Dziga Vertov, by David Abelevich Kaufman, 1929
The tune, The Man With The Movie Camera, by Cinematic Orchestra, off Man with a Movie Camera (album), 2003

The Bi-Play List


Sapete la Musica è una di quelle a cui non dovete dire nulla che ha già rollato una manciata buona d’erba e creato l’atmosfera. La musica è un amore sempre leale, di quelli sinceri e schietti. Bara mai e sa sempre cosa vi ci vuole
Siete in fase Petra Von Kant e sul punto di sbroccare? Desert Sessions, Volume 1. A voi la scelta dello strumento da suonare
Siete dell’umore ‘ti ricordi quella volta che mi hai bucato l’orecchio con la sigaretta mentre mi baciavi’? Speak Love, Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass
Vi sentite che ‘quasi quasi glie la do, ma anche no’? He was a big freak, Betty Davis
Vi sentite dell’umore di Miles quando ha saputo che Betty lo ha tradito con Jimi? Bank Robbery, John Lee Hooker & Miles Davis
Siete bipolari? Vi beccate questa

AC/DC – Baby Please Don’t Go
George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue
The Slits – Ping Pong Affair
Miles Davis & John Coltrane – Kind of blue
Betty Davis – Anti Love Song

certi giorni, certa musica
un pensiero di pace alle donne del Sudan,
alle donne che lottano
alle donne che amano
un pensiero di pace a tutte noi, donne
Off Crystal, Ahmad Jamal, 1987

The old pond A frog jumps in The sound of water. Matsuo Bashō

Like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and their groups, Dave Brubeck and his first great quartet were among the first jazz musicians after World War II to travel diplomatically in the service of peace throughout the world. Armstrong released Ambassador Satch in 1955, and Brubeck released The Real Ambassadors, with Armstrong, Carmen McRae, and others, seven years later—helping, maybe, to thaw the Cold War.
From “Tokyo Traffic” to “Koto Song,” the album captures the range of lifestyles and rhythms of modern Japan, both urban and rural. The pastoral seems to appear more, with Paul Desmond’s sweet alto taking on flutelike inflections and coaxing some of Brubeck’s most delicate lyricism, though he does not neglect the piano’s more percussive possibilities. In the latter, Brubeck is kicked along by the masterful Joe Morello on percussion, the shining star of this date. Using virtually all components of the drum set—particularly the tom-tom, floor tom-tom, Chinese and Turkish cymbals, woodblock, and temple blocks—Morello evokes the spectrum of Japanese musical traditions alluded to by Brubeck in his compositions. Check Joe out on “Tokyo Traffic,” especially.
via Dave Brubeck Quartet | Jazz Impressions of Japan.

Some Of Those Days

La Musique des Pucese by Robert Doisneau

-Madeleine, if you please, play something on the phonograph. The one I like, you know: Some of these days.
Madeleine turns the crank on the phonograph. I only hope she has not made a mistake; that she hasn’t put on Cavalleria Rusticana, as she did the other day. But no, this is it, I recognize the melody from the very first bars. It is an old rag-time with a vocal refrain. I heard American soldiers whistle it in 1917 in the streets of LaRochelle. It must date from before the War. But the recording is much more recent. Still, it is the oldest record in the collection, a Pathe record for sapphire needle.
The vocal chorus will be along shortly: I like that part especially and the abrupt manner in which it throws itself forward, like a cliff against the sea. For the moment, the jazz is playing; there is no melody, only notes, a myriad of tiny jolts. They know no rest, an inflexible order gives birth to them and destroys them without even giving them time to recuperate and exist for themselves. They race, they press forward, they strike me a sharp blow in passing and are obliterated. I would like to hold them back, but I know if I succeeded in stopping one it would remain between my fingers only as a raffish languishing sound. I must accept their death; I must even will it. I know few impressions stronger or more harsh.
I grow warm, I begin to feel happy. There is nothing extraordinary in this, it is a small happiness of Nausea: it spreads at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time—the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain. No sooner than born, it is already old, it seems as though I have known it for twenty years.
There is another happiness: outside there is this band of steel, the narrow duration of the music which traverses our time through and through, rejecting it, tearing at it with its dry little points; there is another time.
“Monsieur Randu plays hearts..and you play an ace.
The voice dies away and disappears. Nothing bites on the ribbon of steel, neither the opening door, nor the breath of cold air flowing over my knees, nor the arrival of the veterinary surgeon and his little girl: the music transpierces these vague figures and passes through them. Barely seated, the girl has been seized by it: she holds herself stiffly, her eyes wide open; she listens, rubbing the table with her fist.
A few seconds more and the Negress will sing. It seems inevitable, so strong is the necessity of this music: nothing can interrupt it, nothing which comes from this time in which the world has fallen; it will stop of itself, as if by order. If I love this beautiful voice it is especially because of that: it is neither for its fulness nor its sadness, rather because it is the event for which so many notes have been preparing, from so far away, dying that it might be born. And yet I am troubled; it would take so little to make the record stop: a broken spring, the whim of Cousin Adolphe. How strange it is, how moving, that this hardness should be so fragile. Nothing can interrupt it yet all can break it.
The last chord has died away. In the brief silence which follows I feel strongly that there it is, that something has happened.
Some of these days You’ll miss me honey
What has just happened is that the Nausea has disappeared. When the voice was heard in the silence, I felt my body harden and the Nausea vanish. Suddenly: it was almost unbearable to become so hard, so brilliant. At the same time the music was drawn out, dilated, swelled like a waterspout. It filled the room with its metallic transparency, crushing our miserable time against the walls. I am in the music. Globes of fire turn in the mirrors; encircled by rings of smoke, veiling and unveiling the hard smile of light. My glass of beer has shrunk, it seems heaped up on the table, it looks dense and indispensable. I want to pick it up and feel the weight of it, I stretch out my hand..God! That is what has changed, my gestures. This movement of my arm has developed like a majestic theme, it has glided along the song of the Negress; I seemed to be dancing.
Adolphe’s face is there, set against the chocolate-coloured wall; he seems quite close. Just at the moment when my hand closed, I saw his face; it witnessed to the necessity of a conclusion. I press my fingers against the glass, I look at Adolphe: I am happy.
-Wow
A voice rises from the tumult. My neighbour is speaking, the old man burns. His cheeks make a violet stain on the brown leather of the bench. He slaps a card down on the table. Diamonds.
But the dog-faced young man smiles. The flushed opponent, bent over the table, watches him like a cat ready to spring.
“Et voila!”
The hand of the young man rises from the shadow, glides an instant, white, indolent, then suddenly drops like a hawk and presses a card against the cloth. The great red-faced man leaps up:”Hell! He’s trumped.”
The outline of the king of hearts appears between his curled fingers, then it is turned on its face and the game goes on. Mighty king, come from so far, prepared by so many combinations, by so many vanished gestures. He disappears in turn so that other combinations can be born, other gestures,attacks, counterattacks, turns of luck, a crowd of small adventures.
I am touched, I feel my body at rest like a precision machine. I have had real adventures. I can recapture no detail but I perceive the rigorous succession of circumstances. I have crossed seas, left cities behind me, followed the course of rivers or plunged into forests, always making my way towards other cities. I have had women, I have fought with men; and never was I able to turn back,any more than a record can be reversed. And all that led me—where? At this very instant, on this bench, in this translucent bubble all humming with music.
And when you leave me
Yes, I who loved so much to sit on the banks of the Tiber at Rome, or in the evening, in Barcelona, ascend and descend the Ramblas a hundred times, I, who near Angkor, on the island of Baray Prah-Kan, saw a banyan tree knot its roots about a Naga chapel, I am here, living in the same second as these card players, I listen to a Negress sing while outside roves the feeble night.
The record stops.
Night has entered, sweetish, hesitant. No one sees it, but it is there, veiling the lamps; I breathe something opaque in the air: it is night. It is cold. One of the players pushes a disordered pack of cards towards another man who picks them up. One card has stayed behind. Don’t they see it? It’s the nine of hearts. Someone takes it at last, gives it to the dog-faced young man.
“Ah. The nine of hearts.”
Enough, I’m going to leave. The purple-faced man bends over a sheet of paper and sucks his pencil. Madeleine watches him with clear, empty eyes. The young man turns and turns the nine of hearts between his fingers. God! . . .
I get up with difficulty; I see an inhuman face glide in the mirror above the veterinary’s head. In a little while I’ll go to the cinema.
Jean – Paul Sartre, Nausea, 1938.

About the Art Of The Novel


Invito Milan Kundera a uno shisha hour in una coffeehouse in Nowhere Street. L’appuntamento è alle diciotto, ma io mi presento in anticipo di mezz’ora; al mio arrivo, Kundera siede già al tavolo che ho riservato per noi, fuori in un Vasto Giardino, come piace a lui . Sorseggia maroccam mint tea, gioca a scacchi contro Il Turco. Un vecchio grammofono polveroso suona un pezzo di Lady Gogo.
Perchè so Kundera un appassionato di jazz, mi presento all’appuntamento con in mano un vecchio vinile dei Soft Machine. Seven, del 1974. Mi dico sorpresa di essere arrivata in ritardo, pur essendo in anticipo. Kundera sorride, si compiace della mia apprensione, e invita a sedere di fianco al Turco.
Chiedo a Kundera se al momento sta leggendo niente di interessante, e questi mi risponde ‘Smatrex M-788NK, Il manuale delle istruzioni’ (per chi non lo sapesse ancora, lo Smatrex M-788NK è un androide di ultima generazione, CGV di precisione, FVB 77 a raggi UV, KMb1 ad alta risoluzione, NGU2 termoregolabile, connessione YVeta a FGH78 e 678 uscite BX, che oltre a funzionare da apparecchio telefonico, stira, cucina, lava, e si ricarica nel microonde in appena un nano-secondo)
La provocazione è sottile e allude al catastrofismo teoretico mosso da Husserls e posto a dibattito da Kundera nel primo capitolo del saggio ‘The Art Of The Novel’ , del 1988.
In una celebre lettura del 1935, Edmund Husserl parla di una crisi dell’umanità europea che ha influenzato negativamente le arti. Secondo il padre della fenomenologia, questa crisi è iniziata nell’Età Moderna, con Galileo e Descartes, e l’acquisizione, da parte dell’uomo, di un primato sulla natura
“Once elevated by Descartes to ‘master and proprietor of nature’, man has now become a mere thing to the forces (of technology, of politics, of history) that bypass him, surpass him, possess him. To those forces, man’s concrete being, his ‘world of life’ (die Lebenswelt), has neither value nor interest: it is eclipsed, forgotten from the start.”
“The rise of the sciences propelled man into the tunnels of specialized disciplines. The more he advanced in knowledge, the less clearly could he see either the world as a whole or his own self, and he plunged further into what Husserl’s pupil Heidegger called, in a beautiful and almost magical phrase, ‘the forgetting of being’.
“Indeed, all the great existential themes Heidegger analyzes in Being and Time- considering them to have been neglected by all earlier European philosophy– had been unveiled, displayed, illuminated by four centuries of the novel (four centuries of European reincarnation of the novel). In its own way, throught its own logic, the novel discovered the various dimension of existence one by one: with Cervantes and his contemporaries, it inquires into the nature of adventure; with Richardson, it begins to examine “what happens inside”, to unmask the secret life of the feelings; with Balzac, it discovers man’s rootedness in history; with Flaubert, it explores the terra previously incognita of the everyday; with Tolstoy, it focuses on decisions. It probes time: the elusive past with Proust, the elusive present with Joyce. With Thomas Mann, it examines the role of the myths from the remote past that control our present actions. Et cetera, et cetera.’
Secondo Kundera, anticipatore dell’Età Moderna non è solo Descartes, ma anche Cervantes
‘Perhaps it is Cervantes whom the two phenomenologists neglected to take into consideration in their judgment of the Modern Era. By that I mean: if it is true that philosophy and science have forgotten about man’s being, it emerges all the more plainly that with Cervantes a great European art took shape that is nothing other than the investigation of this forgotten being.’
[3.]’As God slowly departed from the seat whence he had directed the universe and its order of value, distinguished good from evil, and endowed each thing with meaning, Don Quixote set forth from his house into a world he could no longer recognize. In the absence of the Supreme Judge, the world suddenly appeared in its fearsome ambiguity; the single divine Truth decomposed into myriad relative truths parceled out by men. Thus was born the world of the Modern Era, and with it the novel, the image and model of that world.
To take, with Descartes, the thinking self as the basis of everything, and thus to face the universe alone, is to adopt an attitude that Hegel was right to call heroic. To take, with Cervantes, the world as ambiguity, to be obliged to face not a single absolute truth but a welter of contradictory truths (truths embodied in imaginary selves called characters), to have as one’s only certainty the wisdom of uncertainty, requires no less courage.
What does Cervantes’ great novel mean? Much has been written on the question. Some see in it a rationalist critique of Don Quixote’ s hazy idealism. Others see it as a celebration of that same idealism. Both interpretations are mistaken because they both seek at the novel’s core not an inquiry but a moral position.
Man desires a world where good and evil can be clearly distinguished, for he has an innate and irrepressible desire to judge before he understands. Religions and ideologies are founded on this desire. They can cope with the novel only by translating its language of relativity and ambiguity into their own apodictic and dogmatic discourse. They require that someone be right: either Anna Karenina is the victim of a narrow- minded tyrant, or Karenin is the victim of an immoral woman; either K. is an innocent man crushed by an unjust Court, or the Court represents divine justice and K. is guilty.
This ‘either- or’ encapsulates an inability to tolerate the essential relativity of things human, an inability to look squarely at the absence of the Supreme Judge. This inability makes the novel’s wisdom ( the wisdom of uncertainty) hard to accept and understand.
[4.]’Don Quixote set off into a world that opened wide before him. He could go out freely and come home as he pleased. The early European novels are journeys through an apparently unlimited world. The opening of Jacques le Fataliste comes upon the two heroes in mid- journey; we don’t know where they’ve come from or where they’re going. They exist in a time without beginning or end, in a space without frontiers, in the midst of a Europe whose future will never end.
Half a century after Diderot, in Balzac, the distant horizon has disappeared like a landscape behind those modern structures, the social institutions: the police, the law, the world of money and crime, the army, the State. In Balzac’s world, time no longer idles happily by as it does for Cervantes and Diderot. It has set forth on the train called History. The train is easy to board, hard to leave. But it isn’t at all fearsome yet, it even has its appeal; it promises adventure to every passenger, and with it fame and fortune.
Later still, for Emma Bovary, the horizon shrinks to the point of seeming a barrier. Adventure lies beyond it, and the longing becomes intolerable. Within the monotony of the quotidian, dreams and daydreams take on importance. The lost infinity of the outside world is replaced by the infinity of the soul. The great illusion of the irreplaceable uniqueness of the individual- one of the Europe’s finest illusion- blossoms forth.
But the dream of the soul’s infinity loses its magic when History (or what remains of it: the suprahuman force of an omnipotent society) takes hold of man. History no longer promises him fame and fortune; it barely promises him a land- surveyor’s job. In the face of the Court or the Castle, what can K.do? Not much. Can’t he at least dream as Emma Bovary used to do? No, the situation’s trap is too terrible, and like a vacuum cleaner it sucks up all his thoughts and feelings: all he can think of is his trial, his surveying job. The infinity of the soul- if it ever existed- has become a nearly useless appendage.’
Non c’è grandezza nelle miserie della vita, nè possibilità di fuga dal mondo. La realtà manca di poesia, gli uomini di coraggio. Don Chisciotte è stato arrestato alla frontiera, K. processato in televisione, Winston Smith ingaggiato alla conduzione di un nuovo reality show. ‘How to make money’ figura ancora al primo posto nella classifica dei libri più letti in formato digitale.
Chiedo a Kundera che ruolo avrebbe la letteratura in tutto questo, quale sarebbe la ragione d’essere di un romanzo
‘The sole raison d’etre of a novel is to discover what only the novel can discover. A novel that does not discover a hitherto unknown segment of existence is immoral. Knowledge is the novel’s only morality.’
Kundera si prende sul serio.
Delle volte mi chiedo come sarà la letteratura del futuro ( non intendo la sci-fiction). Il linguaggio di ciascuno di noi si evolve ogni giorno arricchito di parole nuove, un vocabolario criptato a noi fino a prima di adesso del tutto sconosciuto e in alcuni casi ancora incomprensibile. La realtà muta di forma e sostanza, e noi con essa, in un processo di metamorfosi sociale e culturale, perpetua e incoercibile. Ci si incontra e innamora su internet, si comunica by email, si viene assunti su Skype, licenziati su Facebook, mollati su Twitter. Chiedo a Kundera come immagina la letteratura del futuro, quali i conflitti, le tensioni ideali rispetto al contesto storico, i dialoghi, l’atmosfera, i luoghi. Ma Kundera non mi ascolta neanche più, ha appena scoperto di avere Hungry Bird nel telefonino.
Quanto al Turco, sparito. Con la gynoid seduta al tavolo di fianco al nostro.

Texts entirely taken from ‘The Art of the Novel’, Milan Kundera, 1988
Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 81, Milan Kundera.

Block, off Seven, Soft Machine, 1974

music loves me
02 Orient Blue, off Passion, Grace and Fire by Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucia, John McLaughlin (1983)

Dennis Stock

Paris, Cafe de Flore, 1958.Dennis Stock
USA. A couple with a child, 1952. Dennis Stock
James Dean, 1955. Dennis Stock
James Dean, 1955. Dennis Stock
Arthur Miller, 1956. Dennis Stock
Bill Crow with his bass, Times Square, 1958. Dennis Stock
Miles Davis, 1957. Dennis Stock
Thelonious Monk in performance at Town Hall, New York, 1957. Dennis Stock
San Diego coastline, 1968. Dennis Stock

USA. California. 1968. Venice Beach Rock Festival. Dennis Stock
California Trip, 1968. Dennis Stock
A surfer at Corona del Mar, California, 1968. Dennis Stock

“Art is a well-articulated manifestation of an aspect of life. I have been privileged to view much of life through my cameras, making the journey an enlightened experience. My emphasis has mainly been on affirmative reactions to human behavior and a strong attraction to the beauty in nature.”

Dennis Stock
[via Magnum Photo]

certi giorni, certa musica
Off Dedalo, Gianluigi Trovesi, 2002

Hermeto Pascoal: The whole world in his hands | Music | The Guardian

“Lots of artists of my age are stopping – I feel like I am just starting,” he says, in his distinctive north-eastern accent. “In my head, there is always more stuff. Wouldn’t it just be really tedious if a bunch of old guys from my generation all died or fell asleep on the stage? Our primary concern is innovation.”

via Hermeto Pascoal: The whole world in his hands | Music | The Guardian.

certi giorni, certa musica
Slippin’ Into Darkness
Off Pulp Fusion: Return to the Tough Side, The Ramsey Lewis Trio

London Jazz Festival 2011

E’ iniziato ieri il London Jazz Festival, nove giorni di concerti ed eventi dedicati al jazz e ai più grandi musicisti contemporanei; fra questi Matthew Halsall, trobettista inglese, di Manchester, che andrò a vedere in concerto lunedì notte, al Barfly.
Questi i links per seguire l’evento
Jazz, World and Contemporary Music • London Jazz Festival.
London Jazz Festival 2008.
questo il link del jazzwise, a british and cool jazz zine
Jazzwise Magazine.
Di Matthew Halsall,’Music For A Dancing Mind’, off l’album ‘On The Go’, di quest’anno.
Se c’è una cosa che più di tutte mi piace, del jazz, è l’umore- lunare. E il temperamento, impulsivo.
A tratti furioso, a tratti malinconico. Irrequieto.
Slancio di nervi e passione. Scatto d’ira, e gioia, e follia.
Come in questo pezzo.

Certain nights the Night
A few notes of wine
and a vinyl player
,whispering a tune only for you.
And you.

From the album Virtuoso, 1972
Stunning the album ‘Speak Love’ by Joe Pass and Ella Fitzgerald, 1983

In a Tuesday Mood PlayList


Ron Holloway & Gil Scott-Heron – Is That Jazz
Gil Scott Heron – Inner city blues
Shuggie Otis– Island Letter
Quincy JonesBody Heat
Tony Allen – Calling
Terry Callier – Ordinary Joe
Marlena ShawCalifornia Soul
Curtis MayfieldSuperfly
Maxayn- Check Out Your Mind
Betty Davis- Your Mama Wants Ya Back
Betty Davis – They say I am different
Funkadelic – Can You Get To That

Life can sound particularly good certain times

Love is being told such a soulful and kind tale
by Michael Kiwanuka, off The Isle of Wight Sessions,2011

Fourth track from Green’s “Talkin’ About” album, Blue Note Records 1964

l’ultima volta che l’ho incontrato tirava inverno,camminavo la notte vestita d’un sorriso di niente,un’orchidea tra i capelli; piovigginava, me lo ricordo, e dovetti percorrere il doppio degli anni per ritrovarlo perduto, sul ciglio della strada e abbandonato,un amore bello e malato,vagabondo e gitano,sacro e blesfemo,come quello
non conosci dell’Amore finchè non ti sorride negli occhi e ingenuo racconta la più dolce delle bugie,la più deliziosa e spietata delle verità

*Catherine Annette Hanshaw (October 18, 1901 – March 13, 1985) was one of the first popular female jazz singers. In the late 1920s she ranked alongside Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith and the Boswell Sisters in popularity and influence.
Her singing style was relaxed and suited to the new jazz-influenced pop music of the late 1920s. Although she had a low opinion of her own singing, she continued to have fans because she combined the voice of an ingenue with the spirit of a flapper. Hanshaw was known as “The Personality Girl,” and her trademark was saying “That’s all,” in a cheery voice at the end of many of her records”
*wikipedia

It’s Full Moon

Like Children – Jan Hammer/Jerry Goodman | Jazzbo Notes.

In a Sentimental Mood PlayList

Larry Fink, Little Brown Jug, 1997, gelatin silver print
  1. Ella FitzgeraldIn a Sentimental Mood
  2. Chet Baker-Let’s Get Lost
  3. Nina Simone-Since I fell for you
  4. Diana Krall-Peel Me a Grape
  5. Duke Ellington and His Orchestra-Satin Doll
  6. Thelonious Monk Quartet-Tea For Two(Take 9)
  7. Bill Evans Trio-My Foolish Heart
  8. Oscar Peterson & Count BasieSweet Lorraine
  9. Oscar Pettiford-Laura
  10. Alice Coltrane – Turiya And Ramakrishna

There are no wrong notes-Miles Davis
taken from the Bitches Brew sessions,1970

Herman Leonard

http://www.hermanleonard.com
Interview: Herman Leonard – JazzWax.

Lorraine Glover photographed by Herman Leonard

Old Fashioned PlayList

Michael Philip Manheim
  1. Annette Hanshaw -Lovable and Sweet
  2. Anita O’Day -Sing Sing Sing
  3. Billie Holiday-Summertime
  4. Marilyn MonroeI Wanna Be Loved By You
  5. Peggy Lee-Black Coffee
  6. Julie London-Misty
  7. Ella Fitzgerald – All the Things you are
  8. Nina Simone – I put a spell on you (especially for me)
  9. Betty CarterMoonlight in Vermont
  10. Sarah VaughanLullaby of Birdland

Sweetly floating rocked by the waves PlayList

Olivia Wright
  1. Blue MitchellHow Deep Is The Ocean
  2. Blue Mitchell Quartet – I’ll Close My Eyes
  3. Lee Morgan-I’ll Wind
  4. Yoshiko Kishino – The Island
  5. Herbie Hancock – Dolphin Dance
  6. Oscar Peterson – Wave (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
  7. Caribbean Jazz Project – One Step Ahead
  8. Wayne Shorter – Footprints
  9. Miles Davis-My Ship
  10. Miles Davis-Blue in Green

Following the Rabbit PlayList [Warning:Digging Deep Large Holes Here]

  1. Pink FloydInterstellar Overdrive
  2. King Crimson- Indiscipline
  3. Fusion Orchestra – Sonata In Z
  4. Hawkwind – Mirror Of Illusion
  5. Magma – Kobaïa
  6. Etna-Sentimental Lewdness(for me especially)
  7. Jukka Tolonen – Ramblin
  8. PSI – Horizonte
  9. Soft Machine – Moon in June (for me especially )
  10. Sweet Smoke-Darkness to Light (Amen)

Deal Bonus: Frank Zappa – Fifty-Fifty

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