Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Experiment 6

Music For Murder..

page 41

Music For Murder...

I was talking to a guy once in the common room, at least i was listening to him...he was explaining to me, his girl, and the room in general that the essence of jazz improvisation was the use of such chords as the sixth, the diminished fifth (which is attributed to Fats Waller on account of his touching devotion to the fifth of gin), and other such crap. When I pointed this out to him, his girl friend intervened. She was a classical musician, that is, she spoke English like an educated Dutchman. Naturally she was familiar with sixths etc., as all Dutch settlers would know the meaning of the word "cheese". She said that at her Sunday School they had told her that jazz was rooted in degradation...this probably meaning that the musicians visited brothels, took drugs, and drank themselves to death. If they hadn't lived as they did they would probably have turned into mass murderers, with characters like this girl marked men.

I've decided that I like listening to Gerry Mulligan...anyway I enjoyed collecting the record off the person that lent it to me. This guy with his sixth theory would probably like it...a pianist once told me that he liked Andre Previn...I think Previn's got a mind similar to that of the guy who writes the "Inside Column".

If you play an instrument for long enough, there comes the time when you want to write something. Bach used to go up to his attic (to get away from his kids I suppose), Wagner to his bed, and Dameron to his needle. If you play the piano you will probably find that that is where you will end up. I always hide any Mulligan records that are lying around...might start writing a bop version of the "dixieland onestep". West Coast jazz has gone overboard...too polished, like a pet skull, grinning and empty.

(And now at the age of 18 years 9 months I have decided that one day I will become a great jazz pianist, and have my name written in cigarette butts across the floor of every recording studio in town ... the two of them).

Monk is inspiring, also Mingus, Teddy Charles. Listen to them for a while...play with them...sounds like a commercial...you too can be --, if you... One girl told me that to write a tune she used to shut her eyes and make wild blobs on her manuscript paper. The nearest I got to this was to use a telephone number. The result was surprisingly good...maybe her idea was the best.

page 42

Yesterday I nearly collapsed, or, as our doctor put it, "folded up"...exhaustion, physical mainly. I like to think it was also mental but I'm not sure, at least I wasn't until I started playing a Mozart sonata this morning, and used the pedal. ("But this 'jazz' is so exciting dear; it makes you want to tap your feet. Of course, they say it is rather primitive...") No wonder so many people dislike it so intensely. I used to think that they were being unreasonable, but now I see that the dislike was personal...they didn't want to be trapped by something that was alive, something they couldn't understand. A guy who is not reading music has time to think, to create, to fail. It is far easier to hide behind a piece of manuscript, semi-conscious, dying a painless death.

What does Stravinsky think of the characters who play his music? I'm probably wrong, but I can see them packing up and walking out if he told them. He is asking for a new world, and then some stupid bastard wants to know if perhaps Mr. Stravinsky has left out a page of his score !

("It's a pity that Parker was so uncompromising", comes the voice of New York box offices. Dizzy keeps one of his four eyes on the box; if he didn't have four eyes he'd be another Previn or Manne.)

Only lately have I realised that there is no compromise between jazz and classical. I don't mean that musicians and composers cannot try their hand at both (Waller and Garner wrote ballets which were flops), but that the concept of each is so far apart that there can never be a bridge.