This piece of music, composed and performed on 12 string guitar and piano by Ralph Towner, and accompanied by David Darling on cello and Eddie Gomez on bass, has haunted me ever since I first heard it in 1979. I started this blog to share music that I find to be sustaining and soul nurturing, and this piece is Hall Of Fame to me. There are many versions of it out there, but this is the one I find to be definitive.
So far ahead of his time, Cherry was an original member of Ornette Coleman's Quartet in the late 50's. He co-led with John Coltrane on the recording (a must own): "The Avant-Garde". He recorded and toured with Sonny Rollins. He was a leader in the free jazz movement of the early 60's, collaborating with Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp and John Tchicai, and Gato Barbieri. He became a world traveler and explored world music long before it become a trend. In the 70's and 80's he kept a connection to his Coleman roots, playing and recording with Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, and Ed Blackwell in the band Old And New Dreams. In addition, he recorded and performed as a duo over the years with his close friend Blackwell. With Codona, Cherry, percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, and sitar and tabla player Collin Walcott, he furthered his world music expression.
He also explored the Rock world with Lou Reed and Talking Heads.
A wonderful profile on Cherry can be read here.
"Bemsha Swing" (w/Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter) here.
After so many conversations and debates about the "end of music" and the "stealing of music" because of the internet, I keep coming back to the thought that recorded music has only been with us for about 133 years ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_sound_recording ). A short blink of time compared to how long mankind and music have existed. So, for the much greater time that music was around before the medium of recording came to be, the only way one could experience music was to play it yourself or to listen to someone else play it in a live setting. Perhaps the "freezing" of music performance and turning it into a commodity for sale is an aberration of the true purpose of the art. The incredible growth of the music industry resulted in the dominance of a few corporate giants who controlled what music flowed into the general populace, like feudal lords. Now, while these "lords" reside in their castles, the shopkeepers outside their moats toil, trying to just make a living selling their musical "wares" at a modest increase from the greedy and unreasonable mark up the "lords" bestow upon them. But then, the internet arises and spreads like wildfire. Suddenly the overcharged "peasants" can grab everything for free. They storm the castle in a mob driven frenzy of revenge, focused only on the unjust lords who have controlled them all these years. Alas, the lowly shopkeepers, i.e the music retailers, find themselves in the way of the marauding consumers and are trampled in the process. The mob has no particular quarrel with them, they just happen to be in the way. So maybe, just maybe, nature is taking her course and restoring music to the path it was always meant to be on. A living can be had from the performance of the music that is a unique expression of the artist expressing it, whether it be original composition or interpretation of another individual's idea. But the concept of freezing it for financial gain may be an errant idea whose time has passed.
Admittedly I have a bias towards innovators, I do find that Dave Douglas is quite remarkable at creating original work, such as his Tiny Bell Trio, and at re-voicing the work of others, like Wayne Shorter and Mary Lou Williams. He has revisited the electric work of Miles and the free jazz of the 60's. These days, it is easy to feel that when it comes to jazz....nobody cares....but as far as I know this music is not recorded or available anywhere else but Youtube. i believe his own company, Greenleaf posted it.
Having just learned of the passing of Dave Geigerich, I wanted to share something of him. Dave was an extraordinarily gifted person with an incredible warmth, generosity of spirit, and beautiful sense of humor. He graced many of my tracks over the years, all with great ease and a wonderful musicality, often turning my "expected" ideas into original gems. He waged a heroic battle with cancer. The world is sadder without him,
but we are richer for having known him. This video shows seems a fitting remembrance.
"UNDER PARIS SKIES"
Minimalism certainly has caused a maximal amount of controversy, both for and against in the 50 or so years it has been around. It is, without a doubt,a music of movement and energy, so it is no wonder that choreographers and dancers are so drawn to it. It certainly is also capable of great emotional thrust . Steve Reich (website), for me exhibits a blend of austerity, spirituality, and rhythm that is African in essence without sounding African.
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (info) has created a beautiful series of dances to Reich's music. It is a chance to experience a seamless blend of two arts acting as one.
Another piece of music whose theme first appeared to me in a movie theater and went on to become a major staple of "ear food" was Schubert's Fantasie f-moll for two pianos in the film Madame Sousatzka. Shirley MacLaine gave a virtuoso performance of a grand diva immediately recognizable to anyone who's worked in the world of music and dance. Thanks to Maready whose original blog "The High Ponytail" was a great source of out of print rare performances. The mp3 of this performance comes from his flac upload. He continues now with "Avant cue j'oublie".