ugh the blahg onward/ DM

Thursday, January 21, 2010, 3:18 AM

Now in post dramatic trip syndrome, trying to get some clarity on what happened, what I learned. Learned that there’s much more to learn performing w/ improvising musicians. Have always been unclear about how that works & if it does, what’s going on? I started reading poetry w/ jazz musicians in The Jazz Cellar in SF 1958. Did a weekly gig there for a year or more. Worked w/ some terrific musicians like Leo Wright, Frank Phipps, Max Hartstein, Bill Weisjahn, Sonny Wright, Pony Poindexter. Learned how write poetry head arrangements, i.e., brought in the skeleton of a poem & then improvised it , fleshed it out, as a soloist, making room for the other players to take their solos, & then often figuring out ways of trading fours. It still makes sense to me. But that didn’t happen on our tour. Instead we relied on set pieces — our “standards” — telling the musicians what the work intended & rehearsing w/ them usually the day before a gig. There’s an intrinsic kinship between poets & musicians; we share the margins together in terms of gigs & immense public support. But always it’s about how one hears & how that either becomes dialogic or disconnected. Working together or apart. I’ve done both & am still unsure about which form works best for me.

Other lessons learned or unlearned have to do w/ an increasing sense (or weight) of lived history, realizing the context I remember out of & speak to is alien to someone a decade younger. “Displacement” is often an accurate word to describe the dissonance of histories unmeshed. The same not the same, but still the same? Learned that Allen Ginsberg’s mantra “First Thought, Best Thought” is often wrong.

Learned how beautiful & sad & ruined USA is from the road. Have kvetched about that earlier.

Learned how remarkable & resilient & fierce couples are. Puts me into grief mode, missing Tina.

Learned how many remarkable people are involved w/ the arts in towns & cities across the country & how generous they are & compatible & irreplaceable.


Terri, More later


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