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Showing posts from May, 2012

Wadada Leo Smith: Ten Freedom Summers: Cuneiform Records, 2012

Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers is not simply a four disc boxed set of recorded music. It is a historical document written throughout a single period of the African-American trumpeter’s conscious lifetime about the never-ending saga of the African-American people. Smith’s concept for the relation of particularly contentious stories within the entangled context of American life not only addresses landmark events but also the underpinnings of those events in the detail that becomes as abstract as his music can make them.
These recordings diverge from the program of the live premiere in Los Angeles in October, 2011, over three nights. The recordings have more music than was performed then and the sequence of pieces has been altered.  The power of the juxtaposition of one piece to the next, however, remains the same. Absent also is the final speech of Martin Luther King, Jr., “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” which concluded the original performance. Notable is Smith’s sensitivity to …

Renewal: Starting Again: New Perspective: Gotta Do It

For a long time, I have, in the back of mind, been considering writing exclusively for my blog and that time has come. It behooves me to share the reasons for withdrawing from the online publications and one print publication to which I have been contributing over a span of nearly twenty years.

The first to go was Jazzreview.com. I started writing scattered articles for Morrice Blackwell in 1996 and began to turn it on approaching the year 2000. In that year, my now ex-husband decided to go in a direction other than the one I thought I was traveling. Devastated and reeling with emptiness, urged by my son and Morrice and Joe McPhee, I immersed myself in music. I listened; I wrote. Not that how I wrote then was perfect-far from it. The performance reviews were extremely lengthy, to the point of exhaustion. The record reviews were better because I did not have much visual information to absorb and translate.

The more I attended concerts of creative improvised music, the more I learned t…

Wadada Leo Smith: Ten Freedom Summers

I do not remember when exactly Wadada Leo Smith made clear that he wanted to have my art incorporated into the cover art for his landmark music piece, Ten Freedom Summers. It could have been after I had seen the premiere in Los Angeles in October of 2011 and had written so much about it both for JazzTimes.com and this blog. 

In any event, he requested that I send him some pictures of art that I had been working on. I selected some digital images at random to forward to him. And just as randomly it seems, Wadada selected what he thought corroborated with the "feelings" that he was trying to impart in his multi-part music statement.

After he picked certain pieces of my art, he said that he needed hi-resolution photos as soon as possible. I got right on it without really understanding the impact that his request would have on me. When I opened the email which contained the finished files of the booklet and cover that went with the recordings, my heart fluttered. The elegance of t…