Sunday, November 28, 2010

Footnote to Certain Glimpses

We remain interested in Alma Thomas, in part because of her particular genius, and in part because she's attached to the Broken Diamond's art scene in a durable way.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pictures of Invisible Man, #2

It's actually Gordon Parks quoting Dostoevsky.

Pictures of Invisible Man

Still on the digging.

Glimpsed While Digging Ralph Ellison's Crates

Wild blues -- a propos of Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk or Ghostface Killah. Add it up.

The Photographic Education of Ralph Ellison 1

We started looking for pictures taken by Gordon Parks in conjunction with Ralph Ellison for his unpublished Harlem chaos feature. We haven't found it yet, but we have found a.) "Harlem is Nowhere," Ellison's interesting later piece that burns the paradox of identity and postwar disintegrating historical consciousness into the soul of our literature, and b.) photos by Roy DeCarava. See above. Chaos. Identity disintegrating.

We'll keep working this. On and on and on and on.

The Literary Education of Ralph Ellison 2

And the interview from The Paris Review. A necessary primary source.

Tell Old Pharoah

There is no better metaphor for the struggle than this from the end of Sullivan's Travels, so intensely dialectical our head still spins when we see it.

We began thinking on this when we heard Charles Lloyd's understated version over @ his house, Mirror. We'll be sembling up some bigger post for the bluelight in the next couple of days, but we wanted to throw this signal in your direction as we worked.

What We're Hearing

We moved the post, which we longer in its breathing than the usual over here @ the red light, on to the blue. But we're rolling deep w/ Pops and can't stop thinking about how powerful he is.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Outside in the cold distance...

...the conjureman appears. We witnessed Cecil Taylor (@ the French Embassy of all places) in his recent stopover here in the Diamond. His magic was most powerful that night in the form of spellcasting spoken words, which was not what we expected.

As a man he has diminished some, though he never took the form of a giant. We might have perceived it wrong then, but not now. This was a simple recital and our senses did not play tricks on us.

He worked the piano, mainly from left to right, tempting us to think about form and improvisation. Those temptations were fair, earned and fulfilled. That's the way he has worked from the start. He could inhabit a form with force and tear it up from the inside, then tear his way back into it. And that is the way he played the piano.

But the remarkable moment in the night's show occurred when he took up a notebook in one hand and the mic in the other. He mumbled, reiterated and stuttered, thissed his thats (like a Gorgon, fosho), and shuffled the small stage like Monk looking for his drink @ the Bluenote. He held the mic like a wand, and rarely put it to his lips, because he understands the importance of amplification as a variable and the importance of variation when calling up the spirits.

We're recalling. The show is behind us a couple of weeks, now. And in hindsight, it's our view that what he's really doing is working on his own age now. The audience expects caterwaul @ when Cecil Taylor takes the stage, and he took the stage with plenty. There is plenty of that. We found, though that within the ruckus is a steady mumbling, the occasional syllabification, calling forth youth from age and age from youth. That's how he's working these days. Small, distant and able to make his presence known.


No need to tell you any more. Points the way, though.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What We're Hearing

We graduated to a shorter and tighter version of "The Hard Blues." Though we miss Baikida Carroll's presence in the earlier, more deeply breathed version, we find the story here to be one where jazz historicism meets and makes a thoroughgoing intersection at the crossroads of Ellington and Mingus. And it does so w/out a rhythm setchen. Tally ho, kings and queens.

On and on and on and on.

What We're Hearing

We're working out this AM w/ Brova Hemphill's second slab. Fidna travel back and spend some time w/ Dogon A.D. as well.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What We're Hearing: You Gotta Smoove

I think the VV piece on Greg Nice pointed us down this road. Isn't it funny how a cairn can create a new direction. There isn't much more than a shared word coincidence. Much more to say, but for now we are interested in "Old to New" and T.R.O.Y." There's a riot going on in that mix.

The Sculptural Education of Ralph Ellison, #2

We have much to learn about the body of thought that jumped forward from a well-tempered and high-minded nationalism (see Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony) to the fierce and impatient work that followed. The before and after version is not satisfying. We need some devilin' on the details of modernism. Cue DJ Albert (Murray)?

In the meantime, let's just post some visual footnotes from the work of Richmond Barthé because there is not telling when you read R& exactly where Ellison came from, just hints that he came from everywhere.

Crossroads Blues

Where all of the masks come off, the true faces are revealed, the promises are made, the deals are concealed.