Month: April 2019

Open Letter to Bill Frisell

Dear Bill,

Your wife introduced us a few weeks ago, just after the Bill Frisell Harmony performance at the Big Ears Festival. I had just finished sobbing over the “We Shall Overcome” arrangement, so not at my most composed. I tried to express a sliver of what your work has meant to me, but it did not come out quite as clarion clear as I had hoped. You were gracious even as you seemed baffled by my prattling. read more

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Ask Your Doctor if Big Ears is Right For You

From the moment Big Ears announced their grand themes for 2019 – anniversary celebrations for the Art Ensemble of Chicago and ECM Records – it was clear that this year’s hullabaloo would occasion extended reflection on my not-yet-long-enough life of digging into music.

Add in my approaching 60th and the 35th anniversary of my betrothal to Stanwyck (still my best move ever). Now toss in the daughter graduating from university and the son off and away to same. Way too many milestones converging to avoid some deep recapitulation of where I’ve been and where I’m going, not to mention how the various wheel spokes and dangling strands have managed to, somehow, add up to something that looks like a coherent narrative. Despite the fact that the whole shebang has been something of an improvisatory tap dance all along. read more

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Art of the Improvisers

Springtime in Tallahassee offers a glut of high-caliber creative offerings that puts our little town, if only for a few weeks, on equal footing with the most celebrated cultural capitals. This weekend (April 12-14) , the Word of South Festival hosts its annual takeover of Cascades Park with a terrific lineup of music and literary heavies that I previewed for Tallahassee Magazine. The FSU School of Dance is kicking off a week-long celebration of the 100th birthday of the legendary Merce Cunningham. And just last weekend, the Tallahassee Film Festival mounted a well-attended series of films, panels, and performances that attracted broad notice well beyond anything their modest budget should have allowed. read more

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We Interrupt Regular Programming…

I promised daily posts from the Big Ears hoolie. I failed. I promised an all-encompassing roundup that connects the dots between Africa, Appalachia, jazz, and the Euro-derived sonic explorations of the likes of Lucier, Budd, &c. I failed. Mea culpa.

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner, but I’ve been busy having cancer.1I made a point of not posting this on April 1. read more

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