I think we all look for auspicious signs around the time of the New Year–signs of good fortune to come, signs of disasters to avoid, signs of hope. Indeed, there are many rituals from many cultures intended to tilt the cosmic game in one’s own favor. For the start of 2011, I did nothing more profound nor bizarre than to turn my radio dial to 91.5 WUNC as I drove down to Pittsboro to check on the latest progress of my construction project. Suddenly I found myself listening in on a conversation with John McLaughlin about spirituality in music. Having seen John and his band play in Raleigh just a few months ago at the Lincoln Theater, hearing him talk about A Love Supreme was like music to my ears. And I’m still jazzing strong about his latest release, To The One, which was nominated for a Grammy award last year, and which totally deserves to win it this year. Continue reading “A spiritual beginning to 2011”
Jazz, of course, is open source all the way — it’s the ultimate freedom machine. Once you’ve grasped the melody line and basic chord structure of any song, you’re on your own, encouraged to take the author’s initial inspiration anywhere you wish. A jazz musician isn’t judged by the faithfulness of his rendition but by what he codes at the musical keys.
Even the legal underpinnings of jazz are different, at least in the trenches. No one who is really serious about jazz goes out and buys, say, an Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis or Mahavishnu John McLaughlin song book, setting down note for note what the great musician played. How could you? They played it different every time.
Page counts and advertising revenues may be down at our local newspaper, the News and Observer, but we still subscribe because it still brings us a lot of good news, reporting, and commentary. This morning I read a particularly inspiring article about John Heitzenrater, an expert in South Asian instruments.
The article begins by noting that Heitzenrater’s roots are Swedish, his accent American, “[but] when John Heitzenrater fiercely strums the sarod, the music resonates, transcending geographical and ideological boundaries.”
It turns out that Heitzenrater was inspired by one of the great boundary-trascendents, John McLaughlin…
Last month I had the opportunity to read Power, Passion, and Beauty, the story of the Mahavishu Orchestra, published by AbstractLogix. As many of you can imagine, I’m a huge fan of John McLaughlin, and as a fan, the book did not disappoint. Meticulously researched the book’s organizing structure of a timeline lets history tell the story without the author getting in the way. And what a history it was…
The DVD of my dreams has just been released by Abstract Logix, and I’ve already started buying it by the dozen: John McLaughlin’s Meeting of the Minds, the making of Floating Point. It is my hope that when Manifold Recording opens and The Miraverse comes into existence that we will be hosting musicians and archiving such creativity and experiences as the Meeting of the Minds DVD captured.
I’m a big fan of John McLaughlin’s music and musicality. When he came to Durham last year, I was lucky enough to procure 4 tickets to his Fourth Dimension concert so close to the stage I could touch it. At that time we had already received zoning approval for the studio complex, but we had not yet received a building permit. I went to that concert at the Carolina Theater of Durham both as a fan and as a prospective producer. How would his live concert measure up to what I believe could be an even better experience–an opportunity to see and participate in the creative process with a musical genius like John?