Monday, October 29, 2007

lessons learned and have yet to learn

Playing half a dozen gigs ain’t gonna kill me, but curating and co-organizing two-thirds of an event is really taking a lot of time and effort. The cautionary tales from AF and MP are echoing in my head (you don’t have to remind me). This blog has suffered from this administrative load, but, to remind myself that I still do musical things, here’s a short list of things I’m learning at the moment.

lessons learned

it’s okay to start in the same place (a lesson learned from listening, watching and following George E. Lewis)
The start point for an improvisation can be as significant or as arbitrary as you want. It is, after all, the journey (what you make of the situation) that we’re really interested in.

it’s okay to repeat yourself (from Keith Tippett and Julie Tippetts)
Let’s face it: even if you did exactly the same thing the context is going to be different. (That’s the reason trying to get the same effect as last night is going to end in disappointment.)

what i’m just discovering

sometimes the simplest interactive strategies are the most effective (from Cecil Taylor and Tony Oxley)
They are some of the hardest things to understand and the easiest to hear.

what i’d like to learn

take your time (from John Butcher)
It should be a privilege to experience the performance; why rush it?

something i’ve been trying to learn for over ten years

you don’t fill the spaces (from Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith… and Pauline Oliveros… and Morton Feldman… and Luciano Berio… and Miles Davis… and Noh… and Alfred Hitchcock)
I feel no closer to this than ten years ago: I have this terrible habit of filling up spaces.

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