‘Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5’ by Wayne Shorter [Alegría, 2003]
With 2002’s Footprints Live, nearly two decades of false alarms about a Wayne Shorter “comeback” finally gave way to the real thing — at least to many critics who welcomed his return to highly cerebral acoustic post-bop. Yet the follow-up, Alegria — apparently Shorter’s first all-acoustic studio album as a leader since 1967 — is where Shorter really starts to get creative again. The rhythm section from Footprints Live — pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade — is intact on three tracks. On others, Brad Mehldau — with his very different conception of sound — is the pianist, Terri Lyne Carrington subs on drums, Alex Acuna adds percussion, and new, unusual timbres are supplied by a wind/brass ensemble. As on Footprints Live, Shorter revisits some old tunes from his relative youth, but not nearly in the same way. In “Orbits,” which was given a racetrack post-bop run by the Miles Davis Quintet, Shorter slows it way, way down, virtually decontructing the tune, backed by a quizzical chart for winds and brass. Likewise, “Angola” and “Capricorn II” are altered nearly beyond recognition. Indeed, at this point in the 21st century, it was fascinating to see both Shorter and his former Davis bandmate, Herbie Hancock, radically reinterpreting their past, working separately yet often using the same bassist and drummer (Patitucci and Blade) and recording for the same label. Yet, the core message of this album is that Shorter was ready to move on to different things, drawing material from almost anything that caught his attention while soloing in top form on tenor and soprano saxes. With a wild soprano wail, Shorter leads off the CD with his new, absorbing boogaloo “Sacajawea,” one that soon morphs into searching, nearly free jazz, with a magisterial solo from the composer. At last, someone in jazz chose to deal with both tunes from Leroy Anderson’s Spanish-flavored light classical masterpiece “Serenata” rather than just the lush second subject — and Shorter decorates them with a complex featherweight orchestration. Though Acuna’s bongos pop away in the foreground, Shorter does maintain the melancholy feeling of the familiar aria from Villa-Lobos’ “Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5,” with cellist Charles Curtis eloquently stating the tune, until he destabilizes things in the middle of the track. As he approached his 70th birthday, this disc seemed to confirm a long-awaited creative Indian summer for Wayne Shorter. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi
“As different as we all are, there’s one thing most young women have in common: we’re all brought up to feel like there’s something wrong with us. We’re too fat. We’re dumb. We’re too smart. We’re not ladylike enough—stop cursing, chewing with your mouth open, speaking your mind. We’re too slutty. We’re not slutty enough. Fuck that. You’re not too fat. You’re not too loud. You’re not too smart. You’re not unladylike. There is nothing wrong with you.”—
So you may have asked yourself at some point or another, what is Yen-Yaw?
It’s a project, a lifestyle, and ultimately a mindset I’ve adopted. The project being the most physical of the three, entails a CD/set of compositions to be released.
The first of which is “Invitation to the Sun.” The second of which, after some careful thought, is ”Aching Vein.”
"Invitation" is a release about spirituality, Zen, and enlightenment in one’s mind. Told in the first person through the Music, so-to-speak. "Aching Vein" then is the 3rd person response to one giving up worldly desires. Zen is a strange and perhaps grotesque thing in today’s society. It may even be compared to Dadaism.
So the tracklisting is up for “Invitation,” as far as I am concerned. It will take me a good while to finish these compositions. However, I tend to overload myself and I’ve started on the second set of compositions with a darker tone to them.
"Aching Vein" track-listing (tentative and subject to change):
Incident (for six percussion)
Comatose (and under a vest)
The Length of Chrome (modern progressive rock instrumentation)
Shaven Head (with Bald Desire)
To Eat Earth
Absolute Zero (The Consummate Sound)
Aching Vein/Swallowed Mind
Remember, Recall, Reveal
Incident- Complete (for Orchestra and six percussion)
I had my piece performed today, “Pathway to the Sun,” by my lovely lady friend, Kate, and a graduate student, Sarah. Wonderful job despite the nerves. Plus, not an easy piece by any means.
I was asked by Dr. Anderson to compose a piece for the percussion department at UCF, which in all reality is a huge honor. I’m very excited and committed to the project as we speak.
Supposing we’re going on a Zen phase here, I’m absorbed now by the idea that I no longer really need Music to express myself. The check for reality is that Music cannot exist without me (being any performer). The fact is, I think Music needs me to express itself. That being said, the opposite must be true, that it doesn’t need me to express itself.
So I suppose I am going to tell stories about myself as if I’m not myself. This is true to an extent. The minute I go into defining myself, I begin to lose the fraction of consciousness that is unaware I am being judgmental. This is again, an ego struggle or something of the sort.
“There is no more obnoxious way to punish a man than to force him to perform acts which make no sense to him, as when one empties and fills the same ditch indefinitely, when one makes soldiers who are being punished march up and down, or when one forces a schoolboy to copy lines.”—
“You may come across this feeling in your chest or your head. It will deceive you. At first, you may feel “depressed” or “longing,” but in all truth, this feeling is not emptiness. This feeling is openness. For the first time in your life, you are truly open to the world and all of its wonders. Yet, for the majority of your life, you’ve been concealed. Freedom has been an illusion and everything is set before you as boundaries. When the gates are open, you become flooded with an indifferent outlook. This is infinite possibility before you and after you. It is frightening and may appear as sadness at first. You become free of emotion and ties to worldly things. The pews you once walked through can be manipulated how you please. They are no longer pews, but just matter like every other physical thing. The world becomes yours to own. And with great power comes great fear. Dominate this fear and realize your potential.”—Aching Vein
“There is no escape. You can’t be a vagabond and an artist and still be a solid citizen, a wholesome, upstanding man. You want to get drunk, so you have to accept the hangover. You say yes to the sunlight and pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea. Everything is within you, gold and mud, happiness and pain, the laughter of childhood and the apprehension of death. Say yes to everything, shirk nothing. Don’t try to lie to yourself. You are not a solid citizen. You are not a Greek. You are not harmonious, or the master of yourself. You are a bird in the storm. Let it storm! Let it drive you! How much have you lied! A thousand times, even in your poems and books, you have played the harmonious man, the wise man, the happy, the enlightened man. In the same way, men attacking in war have played heroes, while their bowels twitched. My God, what a poor ape, what a fencer in the mirror man is- particularly the artist- particularly myself!”—Hermann Hesse (via fuckyeahexistentialism)
“Sometimes we can be so eager to get our point across, that we mindlessly interrupt another person talking. Although there’s usually no ill intentinvolved, the other person may be offended that you weren’t interested in their viewpoint. With a little awareness you can overcome this habit. Become a good listener, so you may engage in good conversation afterwards and those around you will appreciate your company.”—(via silversouled)
I really enjoy persuing through your posts, mostly because I am so intrigued with your thought process. Do you read often? If so, what is your favorite book, and why?
Thank you for the kind words!
I try to read at least for a good fifteen minutes a day at the very least when it comes to books on science, novels, spirituality, philosophy, or what have you. Usually when I’m out of school I’ll embark on day-long quests to chomp through some bigger sections of books, especially ones on Music research and contemporary scientific theory, as well as contemporary Music theory.
If I had to choose a favorite book, I would probably say Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk takes the cake. The reason I go for this book as my #1 is not the short story “Guts” that is sometimes taken for its graphic value, but the overall sensory detail, character development, plot, and social commentary the novel both contains and expounds on. In my opinion, it’s a great response to books like American Psycho that came before it.
Chuck is definitely one of our generations greatest writers, despite some recent reviews being less than favorable. He is willing to write with a kind of ease and simultaneous obsession that makes us wonder why Fight Club is not under B&N’s classics list yet. Also, his willingness to experiment with genre-bending as well as perspective and method of story-telling… jeeze, the guy is a genius. He’s one of the few authors I can say I have read almost every book by. Tell-All is still on my “To Read” list.
Back to Haunted, I found that Palahniuk certainly shined in the book, whether it be through poetry, facts, tense-shift, or the way each piece of each chapter was either happening before, after, or in a completely different world. Not to mention the authenticity, the fact that Chuck actually went to writer’s workshops where people shared their works, their “stories,” so-to-speak. It’s as real-to-life as it is completely absurd. And for that, it is my favorite book. I don’t own a copy to keep myself from reading it over and over again.
“When I take a long look at my life, as though from outside, it does not appear particularly happy. Yet I am even less justified in calling it unhappy, despite all its mistakes. After all, it is foolish to keep probing for happiness or unhappiness, for it seems to me it would be hard to exchange the unhappiest days of my life for all the happy ones. If what matters in a person’s existence is to accept the inevitable consciously, to taste the good and bad to the full and to make for oneself a more individual, unaccidental and inward destiny alongside one’s external fate, then my life has been neither empty nor worthless. Even if, as it is decreed by the gods, fate has inexorably trod over my external existence as it does with everyone, my inner life has been of my own making . I deserve its sweetness and bitterness and accept full responsibility for it.”—Excerpt from Gertrude by Herman Hesse. (via fuckyeahexistentialism)
Yen-Yaw is several things. First, it is a term I have kind of dubbed for a Musical project I am working on. “Yen” in the English language is to have a craving or desire. “Yaw,” also in the English language, is a deviation of course, as if a ship. So the idea I present is a desire to change the course, put simply. As a way to totally immerse myself in the idea and challenge of Yen-Yaw, I have to almost adopt the mindset of things being better on the other side. I am not happy, so-to-speak (perhaps “satisfied” is a better word), with the current Music scene. As Jojo Mayer said, “There is a huge gap. You’ve got your Musicians at the bottom and those at the top, but nothing in the middle. The ones at the top are… basically Hollywood.”
And it’s true of most things too. Today if the greatest writers, artists, what have you are not commercially successful, they cannot really make a living what they do without having to do a million things on the side. And in my opinion, that is disappointing, but completely malleable. We, as artists, are paid in the same way for our services as a restaurant would be. The harder we work, the more you pay (in essence). Yet, in the Music world, this is no longer true. You pay about $100 for a Lady Gaga “concert” when in reality she is rather mediocre Musically. She is more focused on fashion and production (stage-value). Her “Music” is all through a playback on stage, but people seem to enjoy hearing the CD live.
I think that is a step that needs to be taken, to challenge the listeners of Music to move from hearing a song to really knowing it. This is the idea of a live performance being an experience Musically instead of visually. I think there is a place for the performing arts, but it needs to be on Broadway or the like. We have not had a band like the Beatles or Led Zeppelin, anything of the sort in about… well, 40 years. Why is that? I blame the Musicians for one and the Music Industry for two. You have to be willing to make a commitment to Music to change the face of Music. Secondly, you have to be willing to make a commitment to Music to change the public perception.
I don’t mean to be pretentious at all. If Oprah can make hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions) of women go read a book, I’ll make you go listen to album or a composer (or go to a concert for that matter) at the peak of my life. That’s my goal: to get movement in an otherwise stagnant society.
Because it’s so much easier to stay in front of the computer and just accept things the way they are than question the system and become the break in a very, very steady chain of events.
With our hair filled with smoke, our eyes filled with ash, this volcano of inspiration has erupted. We are burned with the scars of possibility, infinite and many.
We woke to see our faces in a shelter and were disappointed by this. It was the dawn of a new day. The sun was on our faces, in our wrinkles, in our pores eating the oils that divided us from the young and old. This was the atrium of our desire.
Plaques with enamel names and cavity lettering incised on their countenance revoked a once prized possession. These were the marks of triumph over us and we refused to let them be remembered. We threw cocktails of molten fury upon them, watching them seize for minutes under the pressure of heat before exploding. We exposed their shortcomings and revealed our own, consequently.
Unlike them, we favored ourselves a con. Diving into chance, we built the world from our memory. Recreating events how they should have, our future was perfect for us despite any setback. We were ready, willing, and enabled the world to work with us.
When the day came when the world crumbled below us and our foundations were wrecked, we built them anew. Using the instrumentation of our failure, we created a symbiotic etude to translate the past inner workings into the present tense exercising of us. The strings were made of broken glass. The horns, aching in traffic cone delight and megaphone cacophony, howled at the proverbial moon to shift the tides in our favor. Percussion became our hands, our feet, our desire, our pain, and our providence. We beat to the rhythm of life and shouted, “It is good! It is good! It is finally good!” Our entrainment was permanent.
And when we were no longer architects of time and space, we became memories like those before us. They built the ground you walk upon from us. Our bodies, our celebrations, our triumphs were the bread and butter for the feast you now eat. Let it nourish your body. Let it bring you health. We are one. We always will be. We always have been.