identity crisis ... already?

please tell me i'm not the only one that feels this way....

i love so many types of music.  i love to play in a multitude of different settings.  i like leading and like being lead, learning to convey my musical thoughts yet taking others idea hook line & sinker.  i guess my issue is - i'm not sure what type of music i want to play predominantly.  am i jazz guy? an 80s pop guy?  an experimental soundscape guy?  a funk band horn guy?  a big band saxophonist?

and furthermore ... do i need to commit to one particular thing?  i saw this video of dave king talking about bands and projects and making it as a performing artist.  he really is making it, as far as i can see.  i am lucky enough that, at the time being, my mortgage and health insurance and loans are being tackled by my teaching gig at iowa state university. this affords me the latitude to not need to be stretched out seven different ways, but does it play into my uncertainty and indecisiveness when it comes to musical taste?

part of the issue pertains to the organizational side of projects (hell, that's ALWAYS the rub.)  if i want to do an electro-acoustic thing, i probably need to lead it.  who do i want to play in it?  who wants to?  where is the material?  do i need to write it all?  where can we play?  will this music get butts moving, compensate the venue in drink sales, or attract a buzz amongst the artsy fartsy?  

or... do i chase these opportunities that others may or may not provide?  should i really bone up on the history of jazz saxophone (bleh), work on my doubling, listen to a bunch of blue note shit and hang out on the proverbial stoop of working big bands and jazz combos, waiting for an opening that's not already spoken for?  and do i really want to do this anyway? i don't profess to be a saxophone junky or a jazz head.  i don't gobble up every last morsel of jazz history and rifle through patterns in my head all afternoon, and i don't necessarily want to talk with people about that kind of stuff either (i can't contribute to the conversation and lose interest quickly).  i'm far more interested in keeping my head open and understanding the process of preparation required for high-end real time composition and coloring.  do those things transfer into conventional ensembles that contain saxophone?

man... lots of questions i have for myself.  the natural inclination is to not turn down any gigs, for fear of somebody else swooping in and claiming them from hereon out.  but... i love the idea of a band;  a book of material, recognizable characteristics, continuity musically, commitment (or so you would think), the benefit of being multi-faceted, a following. the trick here, as i have learned, is to get those involved to be okay with the due-paying trials of ensemble progress and growth, patiently waiting for the good money days and the artistically satisfying music.  do i want to be a sideman?  no way.  am i good at hustling work for projects?  sort of.  am i willing to throw myself into something?  absolutely.  am i willing to push people a bit in an effort to encourage them to fish or cut bait?  kinda.

i am reminded of my quandry when i throw my iPod on shuffle. here's what was blasting through these klipsch buds while i was organizing my thoughts:

* dave douglas "the great schism" - freak in.  really cool tune, impressive that dave has so many people at his ready for his gazillion projects (count me in too, dave...)
* tortoise "djed" - millions now living will never die.  great band.  my first record of theirs.  i bought the triple disc set back in '06.  i would love to be involved in something like this, and could see myself putting together a band like this sometime.  the tunes feel right, not too heady.
* vampire weekend "cousins" - contra.  i took a chance on this during a download promotional period on amazon.  different than what i usually check out.  refreshing in some ways.
* chris batchelor & steve buckley "bracken" - big air.  i had never heard of these two dudes, but love myra melford and jim black (both on this record) and was intrigued by oren marshall's tuba work.  sounds cool, doable.
* trent reznor & atticus ross "intriguing possibilities" - the social network soundtrack.  this is my first exposure to reznor.  i saw an interview with justin timberlake, who appears in the movie, and he was saying that the music was incredible.  i really like it.  not sure how to spearhead a sound like this - a bit electronicy for my head, but i like to practice improvising over stuff like this.
* jimmy smith "the christmas song" - christmas cookin'.  i don't really listen to organ, because i usually think it's just way too busy.  jimmy has his moment here, but this is pretty swinging.  big band in the back is holding it together.
* kurt rosenwinkel "our secret world" - heartcore.  this track is nice.  man, kurt is something else.  really changing the game.  not sure many rave about this album, produced by q-tip.  kurt's approach is incredible.  the designs of his lines and scope of his tunes are thrillingly comfortable.
* sting "when we dance" - all this time.  this guy is timeless.  i rarely listen to this album.  he's so good live, earning all of my respect.  i think this concert happened on 9/11.  pretty moving when you have that backstory.
* kneebody "break me" - kneebody.  fresh fresh sounds.  i finally got around to checking out this band.  would love to see it live and observe their communication.  i love another record by these guys, doing ives tunes with theo bleckmann.

i'm ready to sprint, but am unsure as to which direction i should go.  today is new year's eve, a traditional day of reflection and reinvention.  i wrestle with this head game a lot.  something in my core is thirsting for another artistic fountain.  it starts with me - i know this.  good thing, because i will reap the most of this work and can control my involvement directly.

1 comment:

  1. It's like you're inside my brain...I've had many of the same thoughts lately. Why the heck do you have to be in Lames instead of Iowa City? Keep searching, and keep doing what you need to be doing to make stuff happen.