Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014


April 22, 2014

Yesterday I wandered around Mono Records and purchased a Paul Chambers album “Whims of Chambers” and a Charles Mingus’ “Mingus Ah Um.” I found myself in the mood to hear bass, so it was the perfect moment at a record store.  I also found this old recording by the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and Benjamin Britten playing piano for the surviving inmates of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after its liberation in April 1945.    The recording is rough, but a very intense performance, and of course it came to mind that as a child, Menuhin lived with the Boris Vian family somewhere in the French countryside, during the depression that was hitting Europe at the time.   Also I knew the name of Britten, but never heard his music till yesterday.  Very sad, yet majestic.  



With the new music around me, I am struggling with a book I am writing, regarding Bette Page’s life after being used as a model.  It struck me that perhaps I’m not the right man to write such an intense life as Bette’s.  It is not the bondage images of her that I find attractive, but just her nude model shots that express a certain mood, and as I look at this image now, it is nice to have a soundtrack by Paul Chambers, whose bass playing skirts around the melody, and I feel I’m doing the same thing with Bette. 



As I get older I realize I have a strong melancholy attitude towards my life, and at times, I try not to think of it.  I focus on music or even literature, but of course, and with me, those two mediums are just a window to my soul.  One of the reasons why I like jazz so much is due to the foundation there, and the musician plays with the landscape to make it suitable for their temperament or pleasure.  I often hear a piece of music in my head, and I slowly eliminate certain instruments, where eventually I have just the skeleton of the melody that’s left over.  




Jack Nitzsche’s great score to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” stays in my mind as the perfect arrangement and the delicacy of the glass harp on the main theme is even more heartbreaking than the film.  I remember the grin on Jack Nicholson’s face, but nothing else in the film, except for the soundtrack, which remained with me for some reason.  I often find myself drifting into that gray cloud, and I’m watching down, and I think “surely there must be a better place.” 
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