i meant to do that

i have seen so much art in the last two weeks.  klimt, rodin, picasso, monet, manet, kandinsky, kubin, and my personal favorite paul klee!!!  there is so much detail in each of these paintings & sculptures, and many imperfections... or are they mistakes after all?  it is difficult to tell if the work itself is supposed to have an extra distress mark, another chunk of a hand, a blob on the face of the woman, or an abbreviated line that is out of whack with the other side of the painting. 

many mistakes in music are replicated and adored.  people love hearing ella make up lyrics to 'mack the knife', dig monk twisting around lines as he misses the bridge, are charmed by the keith jarrett trio when they blow form and try to find themselves artfully, cheer freddie hubbard as he bangs at the door of a big line before he breaks off a lick on 'soothsayer', and are infatuated with miles davis' career of fracking notes. 

the beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.  just like when pee wee went head over handlebars in his big adventure, lept to his feet, and declared that acrobatic move intentional.  gracefully hilarious.


studying abroad

here's what i stuck in my iPod touch for my european vacation

bjork - volta
black dub - black dub
boulez conducts stravinsky
brian blade fellowship - season of changes
charlie haden, lee konitz, brad mehldau - alone together
ches smith & these arches - finally out of my hands
chris batchelor - big air
chris lightcap's bigmouth - deluxe
chris potter - lift: live at the village vanguard
craig taborn - junk magic 
darcy james argue's secret society - infernal machines
dave douglas - charms of the night sky
django bates - like life: the jazzpar prize
dolly parton - little sparrow
drew gress - seven black butterflies
eivind opsvik - overseas II
envy corps - dwell
flying lotus - cosmogramm
gretchen parlota - in a dream
hakon kornstad - dwell time
halloween, alaska - champagne downtown; too tall to hide; halloween, alaska
jerry granelli v16 the sonic temple 
jonsi - go
kronos quartet - early music
liberty ellman - ophiuchus butterfly
martha argerich - live from concertgubouw
mary halvorson trio - electric fruit
michael formaneck - the rub and spare change
michael lowenstern - ten children
miles davis - 1964 concert/four and more
miles okazaki - mirrors
ornette coleman - the empty foxhole
pat metheny - 80/81
pete rock - soul survivor
rebecca martin - the growing season
sting - soul cages
the bad plus - never stop
the books - the way out
theo bleckman & kneebody - 12 songs by charles ives
tim berne bloodcount - memory select
tom rainey trio - pool school
tom waits - the heart of saturday night
trent reznor - the social network soundtrack
tyondai braxton - central market


pat boone debby boone

the timing couldn't be better.

my oldest son, simon, famously told a judge at his 6th grade solo and ensemble contest that he didn't like playing drums. he has thought for quite a while that we are making him stick with band, which is partly true.  we don't want him to up and quit something just because he doesn't like it, knowing that he (like any other 12 year old kid) (we hope) will pull that routine with any other insignificant obstacle that pops up in his way.  plus, i told him that if he quit band i'd make him be in choir.  he begrudgingly agreed to stay in band, but made it clear that it was against his will.  so dramatic.

during the past two weeks, simon has been learning to play drumset.  he is nuts about it.  he has been skipping his recesses in order to head to the band room and work on his groove.  i drop him off early in the mornings so he can get some time in on the kit before class begins.  mr. fair is suddenly the coolest, mrs. lekwa is still out of touch, and mr. moore (one of our isu student teachers, trumpet) is the best drummer simon has ever heard.

jennifer and sonja, simon's two moms, headed out yesterday and bought simon his first drumset.  they got a whale of a deal on craigslist, and simon approved of the color and feel.  he took his sticks along and tried out the rig before they bought it. he's into it so we're throwing our collective weight behind this musical whim.  we set it up today, and sonja and i spent about 45 minutes getting stumped by hi-hat assembly.  i helped simon position his drums and showed him some pretty terrible renditions of fundamental drum concepts, then prayed under my breath that he has more of an idea how to do this than i do.

that very same saturday, i had the opportunity to hear one of my musical heroes give a clinic/life coaching session.  dave king (the bad plus, halloween alaska, happy apple, buffalo collision, gang font) showed up at a drum shop in west des moines, thanks to the incredibly generous and faith-based personal investment in creative music by my good friend and musical cohort joel gettys.  king was incredible, talking more about the creative process and less about nerd out drum shit. anecdotes about joshua redman, bjork, radiohead, django bates, phil collins, tim berne, and jello pudding pops were as entertaining as they were insightful.  he talked in conceptual terms that resonated within me, further confirming to myself that i am on the right path.  he preached on the musical combination of intent and vulnerability.  he emphasized that playing with the notion of contributing to the greater good of the music is vital.  i needed to hear that again.

i called simon on the way home and told him that, if he wanted to get serious about drums, i felt like i could help him out. i told him that dave king was amazing, gave me some good ideas to chew on, and that i was excited about helping him learn to be a creative musical artist.  he plainly replied "okay, dad". i think he was watching kale play a wrestling video game while on the phone with me.

i have no idea who the boones are, but i love the word association that king attached to the classic drum fill.


square between the eyes

i have been perplexed ever since hearing sunday night from the prez that we had found and killed public enemy number one (nah flav, you're alright).  this resolution has certainly been a long time in the making.  nearly ten years have elapsed since bin laden made his most profound imprint on the u.s.  he changed the way we function, the way we interact with each other, the way we view the world.

i think that the terrorism he catalyzed is really shitty.  he needed to be apprehended, and i am proud of our soldiers and am astonished at their bravery in this manhunt of sorts.  i am impressed with our country's myopic focus on capturing and eliminating bin laden from the face of the earth.  i am sad for all those who have suffered loss and personal tragedy throughout this entire ordeal.  i am taken back by the crass and macho blasts people have taken at bin laden posthumously. i am puzzled as to why so many people would dance in the streets, celebrating of the death of someone.

the arts often fill a gap created by the world's unpredictable hardships.  reading keats (from a collection called 10,000 beautiful things) helps me find balance in the world. looking at klee allows me to appreciate the process and the final product.  hearing jarrett gives me balance and clarity. we've all got something that plugs those holes for us.  when i have a tough day, i might play along with rebecca martin or charles lloyd.  when i need some confidence i may spit back rhymes from rakim or bang out chords with bruce hornsby.  when i'm on cloud nine i lip sync some katie perry or revel in the bliss of prince's pink cashmere (yes - i'm talking to you...)

my grandma giles used to make these.  not this particular design.  much more conservative themes.
i'm a lover, not a fighter.  i'm the last guy you want defending you, unless it was a battle of smart-ass remarks (then i'm totally your guy).  i don't understand physical confrontation but do grasp the concept of self defense. why do people fight?  do we really need to knuckle up in order to settle something?  i understand getting pushed into a corner where the only real solution is to come out swinging, but geesh - do we really get anywhere from that type of response?

instead of weaponry, maybe we should hook up everybody with some records, a book of sonnets, and a painting to hang up in the bedroom.  maybe that would slow your roll and get you thinking out side of the box.  besides, making love is fun.