Friday, May 03, 2013

Surround Sound: Prairie and Beyond

Well.... after a week away I have some catching up to do.  
A couple of weeks back Roscoe Mitchell was in town.  Having been introduced to his work a couple of years back via the Art Ensemble of Chicago - in recent months I have been listening to a few of his works as a leader - "Sound" (Delmark 1966)... his classic sextet recording as well as the solo albums "The Solo Concert" (AECO 1974) "Live at the Muhle Hunziken (Cecma 1986) and "Solo [3]" (Mutable 2003).
L-R: Roelstraete, Decker, Vandermark, Jennings, Mitchell

Mitchell was one of the panelists for a discussion titles "Surround Sound: Prairie and Beyond" held at the Chicago Cultural Center.  The rest of the panel were:
Dieter Roelstraete (Moderator) - Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Pamela L. Jennings - has the long-winded title of... "Program Director for the Human Centered Computing Cluster programs and Cyberlearning Transforming Education programs in the Information and Intelligent Systems Division of the Computer Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation."
Shawn Decker - Sound Artist. His work is currently on display at the Cultural Center.
Ken Vandermark - reed player/improvisor/composer etc etc

I was quite keen to hear what Vandermark and Mitchell had to say on the topics of Improvisation, Sound, and Space.... here are some of the scribbles from my notebook.

Roscoe Mitchell:
*** Silence is already perfect - what are you going to do when you interrupt it?***

Study of opposites - how things work at one end vs the other to gain a better understanding of the middle.

We don't learn from each other if we are all the same.

Keep your mind open.

Take a small part of music and really study it and get underneath it.

Playing with nature - excellent practice for musicians.

- like minds with a shared vision
- more control over your own destiny
- control of your music
- training programs for young musicians
- exchange programs with other cities... Black Artists Group (BAG) in St. Louis
- taking music out of the clubs and into the concert hall

Ken Vandermark - on his relationship with his instruments
- It all starts there
- The struggle between myself and the horn. Finding out what I can & can't do leads to new things

 All in all there was some interesting discussion and I'm glad I got along. The notes above give me plenty to think about.

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