May 13, 2008

mighty shredding machine
eating its meals of dirty deals

William DeBilizan, Coming to Fruition

* From a 1972 interview of Cannonball Adderley. excerpt:

Interviewer: What is your feeling about helping to continue jazz, by getting it to the kids - which I'm convinced is the only way it's going to continue?

Adderley: We're just organizing something in Los Angeles that we call the L.A. Bandwagon. We've got a committee of folks together who agree that music - not just jazz, but all kinds of artistic music should be made available to people who are not able to or old enough to go to night clubs or to colleges and universities - because of course they won't hear it anywhere else, the radio scene is a total disaster

Interviewer: Yes, the government is so sticky about who and what is on the radio, but they never screen people for good taste when it comes to music, or whatever they present.

Adderley: Well, the government doesn't have any taste. Who is going to screen it : President Nixon? Martha Mitchell? Because that's exactly who it would be if there were a screening committee. That would be the worst kind of censorship, I would never want to see a government agency designed to screen what was going out.

I wanted to set up some kind of amalgamation with the LA Bandwagon and Jazzmobile in New York, but Jazzmobile's employees seemed to think I was trying to take over, which was far from my intent, I don't want to be any kind of businessman, I don't want to be responsible for any community's music tastes; but I do feel that since I have some influence in the community where I live, so we formed a committee of which I am not a member, to organize, the LA Bandwagon, to take music all over the city.

As for jazz education, I do think it could be more comprehensive, to say the least, I've seen things such as: "Jazz Artist In Residence: Pete Fountain" which is criminal under the circumstances, I don't mean to cast aspersions on the musicianship of people like that: their technique, their knowledgeability or "the wonderfulness of their minds," to steal something from Bill Cosby. But to masquerade a program as "jazz" and then not have jazz people doing it there appears to me something sinful about that, It's like saying "we're going to have string quartet," and then putting in four guitar.
Interviewer: That approaches the question of today's free players; their music may be an extension of Ornette Coleman, and their music may be something new and important; but a lot of people wonder if they can really play, or are simply shocking.

Adderley: I don't know; I enjoy a lot of things that are being said by people who are so-called "free" players or "avantgarde" or whatever you want to call it, and I approach them like I approach any other art. You see a painting and it can be by Michelangelo; but if you don't dig it, it doesn't make any difference who did it. My point is, cults of personality have long been one of the problems of playing music. That is, once you become as important to the creative world as a Duke Ellington, the cult of personality says that because you are Ellington, whatever you have to say is credible. And it is not necessarily so. Duke is my all-time favorite musician, he's the person for whom I have probably the most respect in the history of our art form - but I don't like everything he does, and I don't think that I'm supposed to. Because if I did, I wouldn't have any discretion myself. The same thing goes for, for example, Joseph Jarman or Archie Shepp; Archie's done some things that I like very much, and some things I thought were horrendous. But that's just me. I'm sure there are people who like some of the things I do and cannot understand why I do some other things. I don't want everybody to like me because it wouldn't give me any dimension. I like to be able to have my beginnings and my endings and I'd like my listeners to have the same privilege, and if they don't like something, don't give up to it!

Interviewer: Do you think what Miles is doing now is important in breaking new ground in music?

Adderley: I don't know - but at the same time: I don't care. Miles is a lifestyle unto himself. There are people who emulate everything he does, so "breaking new ground" will mean that there are people who will emulate what he does, and maybe they'll get into other things. I don't care if a person is a revolutionary force, or whether he's perceived as so important that everything he's got to say automatically will be acceptable. I don't like everything he's doing now, but I think there are some great things in "Bitches Brew," and there are some other things that don't move me - but there again, that's me. There are people who love everything in it, and people who hate everything in it. My attitude to Miles is this: I like to hear him play his horn. I don't think he's particularly a great composer, but I like to hear him play anything, because he has a vitality and another dimension of communication in his instrument. And I'm going to like him even If I hate his band!

* Twofer Tuesday: Ed Sanders

-- Henry Kissinger

-- Shredding Machine

* "I define nothing. Not beauty, not patriotism. I take each thing as it is, without prior rules about what it should be." -- Bob Dylan


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