20 January 2006

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Artist statement

“So that was what was going on at the turn of the century, that’s almost sixty years ago, say. So actually experimental prosody has been the main tradition in American and English poetry for the better part of the this last century. And so one may say that it is the “Tradition” that the younger poets in America are working on, it’s the “real tradition.” And the paradox is that these younger poets who were working in this tradition have been accused of being aesthetic anarchists, of not working in any “tradition” at all. Unfair! Ignorant accusation! And the problem was that most of the people in the academies, as Pound pointed out very early, were so backward technically, that they didn’t know what was happening to prosody, and naturally it was the poets that were inventing new forms, the academy didn’t catch up with them, the academy itself didn’t study hard enough to find out what was happening. And most professor-critics were not prepared, the ears in the academy were not tuned to recognize what specific forms were being used. So old formalists were not refined enough to be able to recognize and judge new forms and to hear them, much less analyze them, because academic types didn’t recognize anything as “formal” unless t sounded like a familiar nineteenth-century type of form-rhymed accentual quatrains.”

– Allen Ginsberg
from “Allen Ginsberg spontaneous mind: Selected Interviews 1958-1996,” (Perennial: 2002), edited by David Carter, pg. 112.

 

Started the performance work of 2006 collaborating with three of my favorite improvisers from the United States: Joe Morris, Luther Gray, and Pandelis Karayorgis. The first concerts took place in New York (Tonic, 1/10) and New Haven (Public Library [CHECK THIS AGAINST YOUR INFO], 1/11) with Joe on guitar and Luther on drums. I focused on only the tenor saxophone for a change. The day after the concerts we recorded in New Haven at Firehouse 12, a really fine studio that I had never been to before. The material we’re working with is focused on complete improvisation, an attempt to explore the idea of an “American” approach to the idea of spontaneous playing. We first got together last January (I can’t believe it was that long ago) to try the trio out, and in the rehearsals and on the concert in Boston it was clear that the music was really in sync. Initially, the plan was to try and tour in the States during May of 2005, but Joe tore a tendon in his arm and this put the project on hold until the next available period after his recovery. This time out the music really seemed to work almost in parallel. Layers of rhythm, melody, and phrasing were scattered between the instruments without any of us trying to take a conventional role, almost refusing to perform in a way based on traditional standards of group interplay. This process was a real challenge, and I think that the studio recordings will provide listeners with an in depth view of the range in the music that this trio is willing to explore. It looks like Joe will be releasing an album comprised from this session on his label, Riti, later this spring.

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