Festival Gram’Off / à l’ARSH On – 21/04/2012
I’ve been experimenting with an oddball iPad app called In C, that renders Riley’s iconic piece, but, as well, can be used as a programmable midi controller oriented to a minimalist pattern-making capability.
In which I learn that Robert and I have a lot of roots in common. This isn’t surprising, yet it is a pleasing and resonant confirmation of a sonic ethos I apparently share to a degree with Mr. Rich. He’s been an inspirational force in my musical outlook for over twenty four years.
The promise of synthesis was to produce any instrument sound you can imagine. However, if you’ve ever tried to play a convincing guitar, sax, violin, clarinet or cello solo on a MIDI keyboard, you’ve found it to sound static and lifeless because keyboards can’t do much more than turn sounds on and off at different volumes. LinnStrument takes a new approach, capturing each finger’s subtle movements in three dimensions for simultaneous fine control of note expression, pitch and timbre. With this level of expressive control, the promise of synthesis is finally a reality.
The Prophet-12 used to be at the top of the list titled, wish-to-have.
The Prophet-12 has now been replaced by the Pro-2.
Dave Smith Instruments Pro-2 Monophonic/Paraphonic Synthesizer Keyboard The Pro 2 was designed primarily as a super-powerful monosynth, but it’s also a true, four-voice paraphonic synth that allows you to control each of its four oscillators individually with their own envelope. This makes playing four-note chords not only possible, but very expressive. Package all of this power in a three-and-a-half octave, semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and channel aftertouch, add two backlit pitch and mod wheels and two location and pressure sensitive touch sliders, and you’ve got one of the most feature-rich, awe-inspiring synthesizers ever created.
Paraphonic mode is implemented by allowing each of the four oscillators to play a different note on the keyboard. So you can play four note chords going through one or both of the filters. That’s cool, but what’s really brilliant (and my favourite trick on the Pro 2) is that you can still independently set the oscillator’s waveform, pitch, modulation etc. So each note of your chord can be using a totally different waveform and pitch offset. Each “voice” also gets its own amp envelope, which helps to make it feel even more like a fully polyphonic synth. Throw the arpeggiator into the mix and you get these amazing, evolving, timbrally complex, melodically shifting sequences that sound like they’ve taken hours of painful editing to achieve. It’s a very cool thing and definitely not something you will find in many synths. Review at Rozzer
Terrific and wide-ranging interview with iconic Mr. Smith
Here’s a selection of some of the best Abdullah Ibrahim youtube videos. If you’re reading this, I hope you take 60 minutes of your valuable time to give a listen to the artistry of Dr. Ibrahim. For people who happen to be especially sensitive to, and receptive of, the sound the human spirit makes when it is channeling extrapolations of the eternal mysterious formulas, remember the insight of Inayat Khan,
There is nothing in this world which does not speak. Every thing and every being is continually calling out its nature, its character, its secret; the more the inner sense is open, the more capable it becomes of hearing the voice of all things. What we call music in our everyday language is only a miniature, which our intelligence has grasped from that music or harmony of the whole universe which is working behind everything, and which is the source and origin of nature. It is because of this that the wise of all ages have considered music to be a sacred art. For in music the seer can see the picture of the whole universe; and the wise can interpret the secret and the nature of the working of the whole universe in the realm of music. (Inayat Khan)
Torino Jazz Festival 2013
28 April 2013
Jazz Piano Festival, Kalisz, Poland
December 9, 1984
Abdullah Ibrahim (piano)
Carlos Ward (alto sax, flute)
Full concert set featuring Ekaya, from 2011
*horrifying ad to skip over at beginning*
1968 NDR-Hamburg (G), Abdullah Ibrahim (p) John Tchicai, Gato Barbieri (reeds) Barre Phillips (b) Makaya Ntshoko (d): Jabolani (= “Joy”) (poster) I guess there is no other known earlier TV-clip from Abdullah Ibrahim than this 1968 clip and wonder why it isn´t already uploaded. Same to be said about the following clips of general interest from Michael Naura´s German Jazz-TV series in the early 1980s.
Today, on my friend Abdullah Ibrahim’s 80th birthday, I commence bringing to this blog archival posts and essays from the Abdullah Ibrahim’s Mantra Modes blog (1999-2014.) That blog will be shut down and its contents will be integrated here under its own category.
A PERSONAL APPRECIATION (2003; updated 2014)
I came to Abdullah Ibrahim’s music out of a giant love and regard for the music and artistic kingship of Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and, especially, Thelonious Monk. Although I was quite certain about the pantheon those geniuses inhabited, and the meaningfulness of the gifts my long, abiding , engagement with their music had brought to me, instantly, in the aftermath of hearing Abdullah Ibrahim for the first time around 1976, he became my personal favorite musician.
Much later I would strike up an association with A.I. and his family that proved more than meaningful…it proved to be a fortuitous, life changing experience. We eventually would even develop a loose professional association, sharing ideas about the business implications of what he termed peoples’ music. I was grateful to spend many moments with Abdullah and his wife Sathima. The memories abound!
Still, there was a time when it didn’t make much sense to me. Without a doubt, I took our relationship for granted. (How many persons are so fortunate to even meet their favorite musicians?) Despite the accrued hours of listening accumulated over more than twenty-five years and my exposure to tens of musics and hundreds of musical artists, it wasn’t until 1988, while I sat with Abdullah Ibrahim at a table in the student center at Middlebury College in Vermont, amidst the bustle of both lunchtime and my own ignorance, that I would be given the opportunity to comprehend just how it was a particular musical arrow made its way into a particular heart, my heart.
Abdullah took out a felt tip pen and, after unfolding a paper napkin, proceeded to draw profiles of the earth’s continents in a rough projected map. Then he began to quickly note the similarities in harmony, instruments, and approach of a wide variety of folkloric musics until he had identified multiple “centers of musical science,” (as he put it,) at which point he began to tell me of the migrations of various peoples, their musical knowledge, and other kinds of knowledge, over vast ocean and land distances. These routes he called “paths of transmission”. He explained to me how this led to both a cross-pollination of musical science at the same time such transmissions guaranteed the “sound basis” for each tradition remained rooted in the sublime simplicity of “the original musical science”. He added, “This history is not commonly known! Very soon the napkin was a tangle of centers and routes. It looked like some sort of plant self-organizing along seemingly random tendrils to birth additional offshoots.
Abdullah didn’t upset this metaphor when I brought it up, he only realigned my consideration to encompass the web so drawn within the image of a “vast system of rivers” along which the “verbal and nutritional and sound and color and healing and herbal and movement sciences” travelled over eons. I became struck with a startling comprehension of how the river system provided necessary nourishment and harmonization which served to vitalize the propagation of the human spirit. We sat in silence, no further speaking was necessary, nor did it ensue.
Later, I came to understand something about my sensitivity to sound.
Abdullah recounts his first meeting with Thelonious Monk in the early 60’s, a meeting at which, after Abdullah’s introducing himself to his forbearer, he was thunderstruck by Monk’s “being one of God’s ancient scientists, an ‘African King'”
Never will I forget walking out of a movie theatre in Montpelier, Vermont, on a brisk July night in 1988 having just viewed the movie Straight, No Chaser with Abdullah and our friend Deborah. As we hit the sidewalk Abdullah did a Monk-like dance down the street. As we stopped at the corner, he was reminded of the difficult construction and harmony of “Brilliant Corners”. Right then and there he sang it to us. He sang more ‘proper’ melodies of certain Monk songs by way of explaining how often musicians ‘unable to really deal with Monk’s music,’ would simplify Monk’s compositions. Silence: Abdullah seemed to get very somber.
It’s a lifetime’s work to deal with Monk.
Just as suddenly Abdullah brightened and turning to Deborah, also a pianist, he told her,
To play Monk you must dance!
Abdullah once told me there were three levels of his music: (one) “there is the ensemble music…very powerful and being expressed for the peoples of the world;” (two) “there is solo piano…which demands much more attention and won’t provide its rewards for everybody;” (three) “finally, there is our singing ‘unit’ which is by invitation only, may be perilous for the unprepared, and, is the connection!”
I asked him if he got nervous before performances.
“Afraid? Always. I never know what message I will be asked to deliver.”
The Ancestral Relation May such inspiration impact the reconciliation and healing of
South Africa, Africa and, the COSMIC AFRICA (source of ‘all’)
that has at its center the Original Mountain out of which flows the One Creative River that formulates a Spiral
and describes the Timeless Circular Ocean
out of which the Human Spirit is able to sip and taste
Nobility, Majesty, Truth and Beauty.
Arthur Blythe was born in 1940 in Los Angeles and grew up in San Diego. He took up the alto saxophone at the age of nine, playing R&B until his mid-teens when he discovered jazz. In the mid-1960s he was part of The Underground Musicians and Artists Association (UGMAA), west coast counterpart to Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) founded by Horace Tapscott, on whose 1969 The Giant Is Awakened, Blythe made his recording debut.
He made his big splash on the jazz scene after he moved to New York in his mid-30s and subsequently played with the Gil Evans Orchestra, Jack DeJohnette and McCoy Tyner. Renown for his ripe, passionate, vibrato-rich sound, Blythe recorded on Columbia Records through much of the 1980s and his most recent recorded appeared on the Savant label between 2000 and 2003.
He recently underwent a serious kidney operation, which affected his ability to walk and swallow foods. He is also struggling with Parkinson’s disease. While he’s slowly regaining strength at a rehabilitation centre in California, he needs financial support to pay bills and to get the help of a good neurologist.
Proceeds from this concert will be donated to Arthur Blythe to help him cover health care expenses. via Angel City Jazz
One of the greatest recordings of the New York loft scene, The Grip by Arthur Blythe, 1977, India Navigation Records.
In 1977 Arthur Blythe was 37, and I was 23. He was three years removed from his California roots and I was three years removed from Cleveland. I was trying to create a foothold for great Black music in the bins of The Vermont Book Shop and on the radio at WRMC-fm. I played the shit out of this record. Janet liked it. Buckeye gave it his seal of approval.
Heck, Blythe made a string of classic records for Columbia Records starting the next year. They remain some of the most startling music CBS ever issued!
But, poor health silenced Black Arthur by 2004. This robbed the improv scene of one of its most talented auteurs. Not only was Blythe a virtuoso alto saxophonist–think Sonny Stitt on acid–he was also a terrific conceptualizer of ensembles, and an innovative composer and arranger. He swung, was an avant-gardist, and he drew on the entire history of jazz going right back to jelly roll.
Arthur Blythe has Parkinson’s Disease. he’s been dealt a tough hand. You can help by shelling out a penny short of ten bucks to buy his record, Live at Yoshi’s. It’s been released for the purpose of giving you a chance to give him a hand.
Recorded December 2003 at Yoshi’s Jazz Club Oakland CA (Part of the Eddie Moore Jazz festival)
Performers of the Arthur Blythe quartet are:
Arthur Blythe (alto sax)
Gust William Tsilis (concert grand marimba)
Bob Stewart (tuba)
Eddie Marshall (drums)
All money will go to support Arthur in his fight against Parkinson’s disease. The production company Jazz in Flight donated the recording and all of the musicians are donating their work in support of Mr. Blythe. Please join us to help Arthur.
1 PEE WEE RUSSELL Pee Wee’s Blues 4:24
2 ORNETTE COLEMAN Check Up 10:08
3 CHARLIE HADEN Nardis 12:56
4 GERI ALLEN Blues In Motian 8:20
5 ORNETTE COLEMAN Song For Che 12:05
6 LIBERATION MUSIC ORCHESTRA Not in Our Name 7:16
7 LIBERATION MUSIC ORCHESTRA This Is Not America 10:52
8 ENRICO PIERANUNZI Distance from departure 6:46
9 QUARTET WEST Lets Call it A Day 5:53
compiled by Dub Collision – July 2014 noguts noglory studios – Cleveland Hts Ohio [download mp3]
“I’m always searching. It’s the reason I’m here. It’s not really about music, it’s about searching for meaning.” Charlie Haden (interview)
The original Mantra Modes blog, dedicated to the music and artistry of Dr. Abdullah Ibrahim, the greatest and most profound jazz musician the continent of Africa has produced over the past 40,000 or so years, was created in 1999 and attached to my original apk.net web site.
It’s third incarnation began in 2008. However, I have not been able to give it the care that its mission deserves. As a result, I am going to move, piece-by-piece, its content back into the structure of its second incarnation, here on the home blog of all my musical interests. Most of the pieces will be re-highlighted as blog posts.
I’ll keep the Mantra Modes blog up until the move is completed sometime in the next few months.
The South African Dr. Ibrahim’s own, very fine web site, is in its second incarnation. He turns eighty on October 9th. I am honored to highlight his artistry in any manner–after all he is both my favorite musician, and the instigator of some significant moments of rewarding personal learning during our rewarding intense encounter and association long ago (and sometimes seeming like yesterday too!)