“We look at most of the sculptures without incident. But, when we come to the scooter bird, the publisher whispers in my ear: ‘Don’t bother to photograph it. It’s more an object than a sculpture.’ Picasso, who hears and understands everything, whom nothing escapes, suddenly turns toward him, and, pointing to The Bird, says sharply: ‘I absolutely insist that this sculpture appear in my album!’ When the publisher leaves the studio an hour later, Picasso is still seething.
‘An object! So my bird is just an object! Who does that man think he is, to tell me, Picasso, what is or is not a sculpture! He’s got some nerve! I just might know more about it than he does. What is sculpture? What is painting? Everyone’s still clinging to outdated ideas, obsolete definitions, as if the artist’s role was not precisely to offer new ones.’”
from “Conversations With Picasso,” (University of Chicago Press: 1999), by Brassaï and translated by Jane Marie Todd, pg. 69.
Sorry for this late posting, was hoping to send Notes for July and August, but too much happened too quickly to keep up to date. So while having this minute while on vacation preparing for the upcoming SONORE tour in North America and the next TERRITORY BAND material, I thought I’d send this recap of the final work in the first half of 2004 and let you know about the first projects for the second half of this year.
Most of June and half of July was focused on the VANDERMARK 5 tour with ATOMIC in the United States, gigs in Canada by the V5 at the end of that tour, and the recording with Bob Weston at Semaphore in Chicago at the conclusion of that road work. The trip with ATOMIC was pretty incredible. Starting with the first concerts in Chicago on the 11th and 12th of June, each band would play a set, then a third set would take place with various combinations of musicians taken from both groups. In two weeks of shows neither band performed the same program, and in the third combinative set the lineup was never repeated- a ton of different music was heard on those nights by the members of the groups and the few audience members that could make more than one show. The VANDERMARK 5 focused on playing compositions from the new album, ELEMENTS OF STYLE/EXERCISES IN SURPRISE, and brand new pieces in order to prepare for the next recording (which took place on the 10th and 11th of July). Since the V5 had three weeks to tour the group played in a number of new places, particularly in the Midwest, which was fantastic- always great to bring the music somewhere different. Unfortunately, ATOMIC couldn’t stay for the whole tour, finishing in Baltimore on the 26th. To be on the road and listen to that band play every night will be something I won’t forget. Their music was open and exhilarating, and really inspired me. Everybody in that band, Haavard Wiik, Fredrik Ljungkvist, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Paal Nilssen-Love, and Magnus Broo, played their hearts out at every performance. And to be honest, Magnus took my head off EVERY night- so amazing to hear trumpet attacked like that. ATOMIC means soul!
The first half of 2004 meant a lot of work for the V5, a long tour in Europe in March, a long tour in North America in June/July, recording Roland Kirk material in Chicago during February, recording live in Krakow in March, recording a new album for Atavistic in July. I brought in demanding compositions and arrangements that asked a lot from all the members of the group, and as usual they delivered music of the highest order both in their interpretations of the scores and in their improvising. Thanks to all of them: Jeb, Tim, Dave and Kent. We have three shows in August, one in Chicago; one in Mulhouse, France; one in Groningen, Holland; and that’s it for at least a year- the biggest break in the band’s existence. I can’t say that I look forward to it, but we’ve got to do it. The band’s recording session with Bob Weston at the board felt like it was the most successful time we’ve ever spent in the studio. Almost every composition was a first take, the tour meant the band was incredibly prepared and we weren’t burned out, the music was kinetic and inspired. I am not sure how the music will be released, too much successful music was caught on tape for one cd: two versions of ROAD WORK, one each of CAMERA, PIECES OF THE PAST, VEHICLE, THAT WAS NOW, SUITCASE, BURN NOSTALGIA, CHANCE. Maybe a double cd?
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