Sunday, November 15, 2009

Too close to the fire

"Music is the healing force of the universe."

--Albert Ayler

In answer to a request for jazz listening suggestions on a guitar message board, I recommended Albert Ayler to someone. Talk about diving into the deep end of the pool...

I won't go into the sad, crazy tale of Mr. Ayler here, but his is a story of someone who could not separate art from life. And when the music in question sounds like a New Orleans marching band on acid, living that art all the time must have been overwhelming.

Ayler's music has a funny way of insinuating itself in your brain. A deranged form of joy. I know it is going to appear on my next album, which is amusing in the context of the mega-fusion piece I'm currently preparing.

I am absolutely stoked about where my music is going, and I need to mix up a teaser piece for your listening pleasure. It's all sitting unmixed in the recorder at the moment. I am such an idiot when it comes to self-promotion.


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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Inspiration returns

I spent yesterday working on a free-funk improvisation. It's the first real musical work I've done in several weeks. I barely even picked up a guitar over that period.

Why does inspiration come and go so quickly? Some people, like Frank Zappa, seem permanently inspired to play and create. Zappa was notorious for staying awake for days on end doing nothing but writing little musical dots on the page. John Coltrane's recording career lasted only about 12 years, and yet he recorded a ridiculous amount of music. I'm not like that consistently, for whatever reason.

I was starting to feel old and used-up as a musician. When you've been a rock musician for 20+ years, it's hard to watch yourself get older and realize you really can be "too old to rock 'n roll, too young to die," as Jethro Tull memorably put it. That describes me pretty well, now. I've become less fond of all the posturing and bluster of rock music. Can any event where you need earplugs to participate be described as particularly musical?

My transition to quasi-jazz musician has helped, but not completely. Sometimes, I stop and realize that I'm now two years older than Coltrane lived to be. The difference is, I haven't achieved my "Giant Steps" or "A Love Supreme" yet. Hopefully, I'm a late bloomer.

A couple days ago, however, the positivity switch was activated. I finished up everything at my day job by staying late on a Friday night, and I felt a burst of life--I'd have the entire weekend to make music and desperately wanted to do just that. I was on such a high when I got home from work that my wife thought I'd been drinking.

I've been floating ever since. Maybe I'm musically bipolar.

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