Post-Concert Postscript

Writing about improvised music means transcending a language barrier somewhat like, but not the same as, moving analog sound to a digital format. Each process necessitates some sort of converter. In writing about music, the converter is multileveled. The filtering begins with the ears; it is also accompanied by human sensibility, knowledge of the subject at hand, innate human penchants, and a human psychology that manifests predilections towards sound that is organized. I know that to describe music means finding words that bring to mind what is heard perhaps in a way that is purely onomatopoetic, but not necessarily so. There are many words that are commonly used to talk about music. Read enough in that context and one is sure to run across them many times. However, I believe that improvised musical sound can be heard in terms of relationships: that is, one line to another, one note to another, from one instrument to another, as if they were talking to each other, which in fact they are. I cannot write about discrete units,i.e. notes, unless they are quite outstanding and overshadowing the notes that precede and follow them. Then I am talking about relationships again.

How many ways can this writing about avant garde jazz be explained? Words are not the same as music. John Cage made words into music that is highly, carefully crafted, but by no means improvised. Improvised music starts with an idea and goes with that idea in an unpredictable (to the listener) sequence whose structure maps itself out as it flows. For the musician, the music has direction from the beginning just not the specifics yet because the sequencing device is hidden deep with the musicians heart and being.

The truth is that there is no way of knowing what I will write about, what I will hear, what will be played at a concert. What I do know is that I can leave a jazz session hopefully inspired and fulfilled with hours worth of being in another world. I need to go to the concert with a completely open mind. No distractions. Only a focus on the musical moments and the passions that make them. Because that is all that there is.

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