Thursday, March 29, 2012

maybe it's remembering

I'm feeling the need to be active. To get out. To do something. Something like yoga by the river (not sure exactly how that would work out... where do you lay your mat?). Something like hiking the M. Something like climbing a tree. The birds are up there. I like trees too. Why shouldn't I join them?

I have the urge to run and fall and scrape my hands on the sidewalk. I want bruises and cuts and scabs from playing outside and maybe getting into that space behind the shed that's a little too gross and dirty and dangerous. I want the wind knocked out of my belly because I accidentally let go of the branch I was swinging on and fell to the ground stomach-first. Perhaps I just want to be 6. This is a possibility.

I want to unleash my energy on the world around me until I'm spent. And then I will go back to being responsible and rational and reserved. But I want some moments where I can be a chicken with my head cut off. Please?

Also, I wish I could have a spring break, too. Harrumph.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Academic Flashback

Do normal people get the urge to write philosophical/musicological commentary on social issues? Just curious.

Because I've been thinking a lot recently about a few things. Like...
Jazz as popular music
The role of jazz in the institution
The creativity of individuals ("finding your own voice")
The evolution of jazz
Jazz as historical music
The role of art in popular music (or, the role of art towards the public)

Mainly, today it struck me that the institutionalization of jazz (i.e., how we now treat it in the classroom like we treat classical music: as something to be studied and taught in an academic manner) might have begun the stifling of jazz as popular music. And because we have this "institutionalized" view of jazz, perhaps we're not as open to the way in which it is evolving in the modern world. This could be wildly off the mark. But it's just a thought.
And on a related note, I don't feel that students of jazz have been able to be sufficiently creative because of the way they are introduced into a rigid system that says "this is jazz." They aren't encouraged to find their own voice (but teachers don't realize this, I think). They're encouraged to mimic other voices (transcription, transcription, transcription). Not that that's bad. And I don't think the intent is to stifle. But after being told to mimic exactly what "the greats" have done, students fall into the trap of idolizing their favorite artists and aren't focused on becoming individual artists themselves.
However, maybe that is just my excuse for not becoming obsessed with certain artists like other people do. Or for being lazy about transcription. I don't know.

But the question, I think, is what are we supposed to do with jazz? Where is it going? Where are WE going as jazz musicians? Are we learning things that are relevant to our careers as musicians...?

Also, where is the meeting point for intellectual music and pop culture? What is the role of innovators like Philip Glass in popular music? Is there room for art, real art, in popular music? Can the general public be expected to listen to someone like Aaron Parks and like it? Should they? Or do we over-intellectualized music nerds want to think we're doing something "special" by making something that is highly inaccessible? Is there value in making something in such a narrowly understood niche? Should good art be accessible, categorically? Oh, the questions of modern culture!
(I took a philosophy class on aesthetics. You'd think I would have concrete opinions about things like this.)

Anyways. I blame a lot of these thoughts on Robert Glasper and Esperanza Spalding,who are trying to do fantastic but also popular things with jazz. And I think this is incredibly interesting. Whether or not they are successful... I suppose that remains to be seen.

Hm. All these ideas and questions are bouncing around in my head... I suppose I'll have to keep thinking and exploring.  Who knew the I-need-to-write-a-paper urge would follow me around after I quit real school.

Friday, March 16, 2012


This slight change in temperature has kick-started my warm-weather longing.
I am ready for sandals. And sunshine. And shorts, skirts, and tank tops. Not to mention swimming, floating, and eating ice cream in sundresses.
I am especially ready for the way the sun shines through a canopy of maple leaves in the early afternoon during the summer. That sun-in-the-middle-of-the-sky sort of dappled light is one of my favorite things in the world.

In the absence of these things, however, I will be going out this weekend to buy some tan-in-a-bottle. For some reason, I feel like this will console my summer-hungry feelings.
You see, I don't mind being a white, pasty Montanan in the wintertime. But when I get this warm-weather longing, I am no longer satisfied with my ghostly pallor. Since the sun is obviously not providing an adequate amount of toast-age, I will be turning to my local drugstore for some skin color satisfaction. And this will give me just enough of a glow that I will feel at least marginally satisfied. It will be a reminder that summer is coming. And that reminder will be "good enough."

Y'know what else I'll be doing this weekend? Probably making this baked spinach. (I just started exploring Smitten Kitchen, and holy cow, am I enamored.)

On another random note: my tea bag brought me this message this morning. "Grace brings contentment," it says. A good thing to remember.

Lastly, TGIF.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's a Passion

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love music. I'm particularly enjoying Cyrille Aimée today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I bought this necklace a few weeks ago to remind myself where I'm headed. It struck me as kind of cheesy, but I knew as soon as I saw it that I needed to have it. Interestingly, I feel like my practice has picked up since I've been wearing it. Turns out I'm not immune to kitschy inspiration.
Other interesting tidbits: it's a scrabble tile (I'm playing a bit of a game with life at the moment) and the letter on the back is an E (for East Coast, eh?).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

ode to coffee

Oh coffee, you silky brown goddess of the morning. How I love your gently insistent aroma when I pour water over your grounds, and the taste of you as you slip over my tongue. You wake my senses to the morning world around me. As the sun's rays creep over the mountains, you creep through my body, warming, illuminating, gently whispering that it is indeed a new day.

Oh, coffee. You remind me that simple pleasures are the best.