A couple of days ago I went on an adventure. Just thinking about it I’m giggling like a little kid…
I had a really crappy day, that started really early for work, moved on to more work, morphed into errands and running around, including the MTA subway on a sunday. So by the evening, my brain was fried, it was impossible to think of anything, and still had to meet my significant-other in the evening to work out some of the issues we’ve been having. Not good.
I was next to union square, so I figured i should go to a movie. The new X men was playing in about twenty minutes, so I grabbed something to eat nearby, left a way-too-big tip to recharge some karma and get my mood better, and headed back to the cinema. The movie was sold out. Bummer. I quickly decided to climb uptown, towards home, and stop at 86th st and check out the cinema there. It was also sold out. My spirits low, I started walking back to the train and remembered that the 1 train is only running till 96th st, about 6 stops too short. Bummer. The next option was to go to Central Park and take a C train, only C and A trains were going express to 125 and there was no B train cause F*ck you MTA. I almost started crying.
I sat on a bench outside Central Park. The weight of fumbling my relationship, of having worked that day to the point of being numb, of plans not working out was beginning to be too much. It’s always these small things that create what I like to call subject-crossing-depression - the domino of being depressed from one thing that leads you to be depressed about something completely different, till everything is depressing. Yes, 1st world problem, but it’s a real problem non the less, so calm down.
A bus was coming. I had no idea where it goes through but the last stop was 155, 5 blocks from home. Couldn’t be that bad, right?. I got on and fell asleep. Waking up at the last stop. To the right, A highway and the river, in the distance nothing but huge housing projects. To my left, housing projects. Again I was depressed - I’m always amazed how these things are planned as if to be devoid of hope of ever getting out of that system. Even on the horizon the only thing you see is more projects like your own. Even to dream of something else is a miracle.
I started walking up, thinking I’ll get to 160 soon enough. But the road actually goes around, and ends at the highway, closer to 165th. I tried to walk down, but the famed Washington Heights hill was higher. From my side, which is already behind a fence if you’re on the project side, there was a rocky hill that has no crossing. If you’re in that complex, even nature is against you. I kept on walking, I knew now that I could go down to 155, and cross all the way west, and then climb back up to 160th, defeated. But on the way there, I noticed a staircase.
The staircase was across the highway and behind a fence, but it seemed like the fence was already broken, so I could get in. I wasn’t sure exactly where it would lead me, but I ran across the highway, sneaked through the hole in the fence and was at the bottom of the staircase. It sounds so stupid, but the adrenaline was already starting to flow, I was getting really excited. This was something new, a place I did not know existed, a secret staircase. I started climbing up. When I got to the top of it, I realized the obvious. There is a fence on the other end too. This one had a sign on it - DO NOT ENTER. I snuck into somewhere I am not allowed? That might still be in construction? dangerous perhaps? I probably haven’t done anything like this since middle school. I was so proud of myself. It was beautiful too. With beautiful trees, and quiet. Like a hidden gem of nature in this urban jungle we call nyc.
But now what? The fence was too high to climb. Seemed like the only out was through the other side and the hole in that fence. Satisfied with finding this secret stairway, I started walking down, when I realized that if I jump off the staircase, and not fall from the side of this hill, I could go into some bushes, hold the fence from the outside, and get across to the street, through these bushes. It sounded like a crazy idea. Dangerous even. I am definitely not in shape, and was never good at climbing trees and such. But I was already in adventure mode. I already made it here, where I shouldn’t have been. I can do this.
I climbed back up some of the stairs, leaned against the rail, and slid to the other side. I was surprised how easily my body seemed to do it. I have definitely not did anything like this in about 10 years. I started walking on the hill. The angle was not comfortable at all. I misstepped. But could grab a tree. Readjust my balance. Walk some more. Towards the bushes. The angle of the hill was not agreeing with me. It did not like me doing this. But it was also so inviting. Accepting my mischief. I could jump and grab the fence now. One more step. My balance is bad now. I jumped.
Grabbing the fence from the outside, the only thing left was hold tight and walk through some bushes. I have gotten to the other side of the staircase. I was now in Edgecombe Avenue. A short walk from my apartment. I’ve made it. I’ve created a shortcut. It felt so good!
Writing this now, I realize how stupid the whole thing is. Basically I just got a bit lost on a bus I didn’t know a cut through some construction site I shouldn’t have been in. But the rush of doing something wrong was so strong. The sensation of discovering some secret. Perhaps a thing in the city that no one knows about, even though that’s impossible. The strength I got from creating a path for myself. Being wrong felt very, very right.
And for a few minutes, I got to feel like a 17 year old punk. A few years late, but damn it feels good.
When your friends show up to your dress rehearsal like this you know they got your back. #faith #love #friendship
Mr Andrew Hill
Hill’s style was marked by extreme chromaticism, complex, dense chords, flowing, legato phrasing, and frequent rubato. He would often play against the rhythmic pulse, or move into different time signatures. His main influences were Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell and Art Tatum. “Monk’s like Ravel and Debussy to me, in that he put a lot of personality into his playing, it’s the personality of music which makes it, finally,” he said in a 1963 interview with A. B. Spellman. Powell was an even greater influence, but Hill thought that his music was a dead end: “If you stay with Bud too much, you’ll always sound like him, even if you’re doing something he never did.” Hill referred to Tatum as the epitome of “all modern piano playing”
Hill created a unique idiom that utilized chromatic, modal, and occasionally “free” improvisation. Although usually categorized as “avant-garde”, Hill’s music bears little resemblance to the free atonality and extended improvisations of Cecil Taylor and others. Like his contemporaries Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, and Eric Dolphy, Hill was considered to be a cusp figure: too “out” to be “in”, but too “in” to be “out”. His earlier work, particularly the album Point of Departure, featuring fellow innovator Eric Dolphy, exhibits Hill’s desire to advance while remaining grounded in the traditions of his predecessors. Throughout, his skill as both composer and leader can be sensed as the band ventures into unknown territory while still remaining precise and controlled.
In May 2007, he became the first person to receive a posthumous honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music.
His piano intro on “Teeter Totter” from Joe Henderson’s our thing, Is entangled in so many of my memories from high school. I love it.
Also, this is #’ed in men’s fashion, which is really cool to me.
“A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn’t.” Tom Waits
@itamarborochov and I playing for our friends @theblondzz + @gilhassanchen, checking out music for the #ottawajazzfest
From a drunk Friday in the village:
1. Eden Ladin is an amazing musician with a real personal voice and phrasing on the piano. Don’t sleep.
2. Steve Wilson is probably the only alto player I know who can play complex stuff and really make it feel like a back yard BBQ in kensas city.
3. If you’re a young bass player in nyc and you’re not studying or following Ugonna Okegwo, you’re doing it wrong.
4. Two Boots has a HUGE eggplant pram sandwich that’s delicious and fit for two people or one tipsy greenstein.
why do i write?
well, the short answer is that I like it.
I remember being a kid, it was the 3rd or 4th grade, writing stories. Short stories i guess, but they felt really really long back then. I was into fantasy books and computer games, but my imagination wanted more. It was creating more. So I had to write, so those daydreams could have structure. I remember this urge to keep going with the story - almost as if i was a spectator to it - and this urge to write it down, to finalize it. And I liked it.
But there’s more to it.
There’s the cold-blooded, business-like view, where every blog or book about success as an artist today, every 10 step method tells you you HAVE to write. Your fans DEMAND it!. Even colder, some go so far as to say this is how you can EDUCATE your audience - as if them being your AUDIENCE does not make them hip enough. But yes, part of why I publish what I write has to do with these ideas, as much as i feel bad admitting - yes I want to be read.
But there’s more to it.
Why do I want to be read?
Well, the short answer is that I see what I write as an extension of my musical art.
It’s another way in which i can pour my life, feeling, thoughts and ideas into an artistic medium. It’s another way in which I can elaborate on what I do with music. Perhaps a way that is less abstract than Jazz improvisation. Even for myself - perhaps it’s a way for me to give structure to my thoughts. To be more cohesive. It is for myself but also for whoever listens to the music and wants to spend more time with this world I’m creating, who wants to join this journey, to dream with me.
Why do I write?
It’s simple. I like to tell stories.
So I can share more with you.