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Showing posts from 2010

My Top Ten

If you have not seen my Top Ten anywhere else, here it is...Enjoy.New Releases:William Parker Quartet, Uncle Joe’s Spirit House (AUM Fidelity)Matthew Shipp, 4D (Thirsty Ear)David S. Ware, Saturnian (AUM Fidelity)Vox Arcana, Aerial Age (Allos Documents)Dave Rempis and Frank Rosaly, Cyrillic (482 Music)Joe McPhee, Dominic Duval, Jay Rosen and Mikolaj Trzaska, Magic (Not Two)Wadada Leo Smith, Ed Blackwell, Blue Mountain’s Sun Drummer (Kabell)Hamid Drake and Bindu, Reggaeology(RogueArt)Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys, Betweenwhile (AUM Fidelity)Odean Pope Ensemble, Odean’s List (In + Out)

Missing the Water

The form of water that has invaded the season is now snow. I do not mind snow. Because it is an insulator. What I do mind is missing the sense of flow that the motion of water conveys. Granted snow is a product of the flow of the weather and each snowflake changes with every second, especially in the melting of the crystals. But those changes are invisible to me on a microcosmic scale...as the grey days pass into sunny, bright ones and the wind gusts die down and the air is still.
Change seems to be invisible except as periods of time pass. I turned sixty this year. So far I feel the same as I did when I was fifty-nine, a day earlier than my birthday. Yet, in August of 2009, I had major surgery, which led me to the couch literally, for months. I could walk, yes; but I could not do as actively as I had before the surgery. So what happened was that over time, what would happen to any person happened to me. I gained weight and in all the wrong places.
My diet has been as effective as it ca…

Voice of the People: A Discovery

Not long ago, violinist Shem Guibbory introduced me to a recording which he produced through his project, Innovative Music Programs, Inc. Guibbory's intent is to bring attention to that which becomes hazy and under-recognized. Founder of the IMP in 2002, Guibbory used his organization to create a vehicle for music programming and to develop a network of venues and artists. "This network now [in 2007] empowers the Company in two ways: 1) to offer broad, powerful capacities to serve communities and organizations around the world, and 2) to help members more fully develop and express their own artistic and creative potential."
Consistent with the mission of IMP,Voice of The People,carries with it a theme common to members of every branch of the creative world such that deeply-rooted traditional culture can be revivified and translated into many forms in order to be appreciated within a present time context. That contemporary creative languages are easily accessible in a worl…

Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer

In the summer of 2010, Wadada Leo Smith asked me if I would like to do the cover art for a release of music that he recorded at Brandeis University in 1986 with drummer Ed Blackwell.
I said that I would be honored.
I did several drawings and sent the last image to him, thinking I had visually summarized the music.
But, he picked the very first one, which I had done off the top of my head, without really thinking about the music. It is called "Horn and Drums;" it was the most free and uninhibited image of all the drawings I created and has everything to do with the music.

copyright 2010 Lyn Horton

Time Has No Edges

It takes courage to get out of bed in the morning and realize that everything is going to be new, just as yesterday, everything was also new, but today, is in the past.
We may think the same thoughts that we thought yesterday, but within a different frame work. I may go to the grocery store today with the list I made yesterday. I may follow my morning routine, but eat and drink my coffee in an altered sequence from the one that I followed yesterday. I may sleep in the same bed I sleep in every night, but have a sore back this morning. I may want to write this blog entry now, whereas a few minutes ago, I had no idea that I was going to start writing. I may do another drawing using the same kinds of lines that I used on a drawing last week, but the drawing has another way of being, another circumstance for viewing.
Within the last six months, each Sunday, I have been accompanying a close friend of mine, who is a photographer, to places I never knew existed. These places ooze with spectacu…

The Impetus for Agglomeration

Language has different meanings for everyone. Everyone speaks his/her own individual language even though the spoken parts are the same. But not everyone translates one kind of language into another. From speaking language to a musical or visual one.
Generally, the sequencing of words is antithetical to thought. This is the reason that grammar no doubt was designed so that some kind of uniformity be imposed on the way in which words come out so that, when assembled, they could be understood by those who can understand.
But, poetry, art and music are not about sequencing necessarily; they arise from the whole mind without any rules: they originate automatically.
I like combining words and pictures. Not in the sense, that a picture means a thousand words, but that pictures, stationary or moving, imprint concepts in ways that words cannot.
Maybe the combination of words and pictures is really my work. And that continually separating them is causing unnecessary struggle both in my writing w…

Art as the First Course

Making visual art is easy for me. Writing is more of a challenge. I started writing when I began to immerse my life into music, because I was catapulted into solitude after my ex-husband left me, lo, these many years ago. My focal points had shifted. I turned inward. There was no one to talk to except myself.
Writing is a challenge because it is not my first language for expressing myself as visual art language is. That I have chosen to write mostly about creative improvised makes the most sense to me; it happened fortuitously.
That I would approach an art form that was relatively new to me and that required a real effort to become comfortable with is no surprise. My visual art is concerned with simplification-- boiling an idea down to its essence. Improvised music elevates that essence in clear view and expands on it within temporal, music-making parameters that are known only after the music is performed.
Every time I hear a recording or a performance from a musician I know or not, t…

Stepping

In creation, there are moments where the creator can see or hear that which has never been seen or heard before. These are types of epiphanies, I suppose. But at the same time, these moments mark measurements of growth that have occurred and, more importantly, the bases on which growth will spring.
Growth is a matter of change. No musician I talk with has ever not said that growing in the music requires listening to oneself and in a sense objectifying what is heard. I do not know how easy it is to turn music upside down, or sideways. I suppose it is done through knowing the musical language so well that inversions are easy.
One pianist I know turned around a piece of Chopin so that it was completely unidentifiable as Chopin's. The piece became a mystery and I appreciated it for how I heard it. Not knowing Chopin in every detail abetted my inability to recognize what the pianist had done in a tricksterish way. There is no doubt in my mind that such analysis and rebuilding of Chopin…

Savoring

Too often, one can plow through life believing, or not even believing, rather mindlessly thinking that being here, alive on earth, is a matter of fact, not for appreciation or awareness thereof.
That I have titled this blog The Paradigm for Beauty means that I want to write about the experiences that I appreciate in my life. I am also interested in the consciousness required to witness experience and see, hear, touch, smell and feel it.
Just because I write about creative improvised music and make visual art does not preclude the fact that my capacity for enjoying birdsongs is non-existent.
I think that being female contributes a lot to how I think and how I use my senses to invest experience with significance. That the birdbath on my terrace can be viewed from my dining room table offers the opportunity for participating in a natural world, albeit a limited one, one without jaguars and lions, whales, and seals.
In silence, sound is abundant. All winter long, when the windows are shut,…

Creativity As Life Tonic

Asking the question "where does human creativity begin ?" is silly.
It is like asking the questions "what is art?," "what is God?," "what is the origin of the universe?" Answers to these questions concern definitions, which require parameters, demand objectivity and possibly deep analytical scrutiny. Answers to these questions defeat the phenomena to which the questions refer. But, the latter statement can only be declared when all three questions have been answered by those who believe they can answer them and, in fact, do. I am guessing that the number of qualified artists, art historians, theologians, physicists, astronomers and phenomologists have offered innumerable answers to these elemental questions and will in the future.
If I am going to be creative, I am not going to take a course in "How To Be Creative." Doing creativity is an act of consciousness in the same realm of awareness that guides daily automatic activities.
In a co…

Grasping The Essential

On June 12, 2010, The International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, CT, began its eighteen-day long series of events. One of the first was a lecture by Jock Reynolds, the Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, on the work of Sol Lewitt, specifically focusing on the 25 year retrospective of Lewitt's Wall Drawings at MASSMoCA in North Adams, MA.
Aside from urging members of the audience to go to MASSMoCA to experience the three-floor installation of one hundred and five drawings spanning Lewitt's art-making life within 1969-2007, the year he died, Reynolds focused on the installation process. The process for every wall drawing is extremely basic, simple and systematized though arduous and detailed-oriented. For each drawing, there are few elements. How these elements are combined creates a finite number of possibilities. Sometimes the drawings have plans instead of instructions. The placement of every drawing is determined by the drawings in close proximity …

Is the Picture Big Enough?

Life poses many choices. I gotta pick something every now and again. Hopefully, the choice I make is the best one for the moment.
But, how am I ever to know? I cannot live in parallel universes or at least I do not think I can. Is multi-tasking a form of operating in parallel universes? Now, I am listening to music, writing this blog entry, drinking water, eating tamari-roasted almonds and trying to take care of my aching back.
A friend once impressed upon me that since I was alone and the world lay before me, I should take advantage of every second of every day. I don't know exactly how he saw me doing that. But he drinks a helluva lot of coffee and I don't, so maybe his perceptions are generally speedy.
Since the time my friend freely gave me that advice, my emotional, spiritual and expressive lives, which are integrated more closely now than ever before, have guided me through my choices. The sky may be the limit, but choosing within that limit is the challenge. Imagining the…

More than A Moment

Reading about music, in general, gives me the opportunity to soak in information, opinion, ideas about culture and develop a repository from which I can draw for my own writing. This is not unusual, I am sure, for many writers. If I stay within the well of a human history of time, it is without doubt that some shred of what is important to me will remain in my brain for use later on.
When I first started seriously reading about "jazz" and improvised music about ten years ago, some books I would slide through merely picking up the gist of the content. Which was ok, because even though I did not know the implications of what I was reading, I still knew where the information was located if I needed it for reference.
The dancer, Twyla Tharp, in her 2003 book, The Creative Habit, adamantly advocates for passionate involvement when reading. She claims that if a book has no markings in it, the reader has passively traveled through the book. Marking up a book means that the reader has…

What A Blog Can Do

Blogs function like mirrors, the personal kind that are hidden neatly in a purse or a back pocket. A long time ago, I wrote a blog on MySpace. For some odd reason, a few thousand people read that blog. The specific subjects varied along with the days on which I wrote them. Those blogs were about healing from years of loss of those persons I loved. And they were also a means to practice writing and get my chops, as it were. Develop my writing muscles. The stronger those muscles are, the easier it is to write concisely, sparing readers of the fat that so often covers over the real time spontaneous honesty.

As my life became more busy with my work, I stopped writing the MySpace blog. I printed out all the texts and deleted them. Now every entry is a link to articles I have written for Jazztimes.com or AllAboutJazz.com. I also have a Facebook page, a Facebook fan page, and a website.
This blog, I have yet to find a shape for...In other words, it will shape itself. Every day I post will b…