Friday, April 01, 2011

more sound and landscape...

... hardly any of his music came to him as music. everything started with a mood, an impression, something he's seen or heard which he then translated into music. driving out of florida, they'd heard an invisible bird call out, so perfect and beautiful you could have sworn you'd seen it silhouetted against the the sun streaking red across the horizon. as always, they didn't have time to stop, so duke made a note of the sound and used it later as the basis of "sunset and the mocking bird," "lightning bugs and frogs," came from the time they'd been heading out of cincinnati and had come across tall trees backlit by a ping-pong moon. lighting bugs flashed in the air and all around was the baritone croak of frogs... in demascus duke had woken up to an earthquake roar of cars, as if all the rush-hour traffic of the world had become snarled up in this one city; still not fully awake he'd found himself trying to orchestrate it. the light in bombay, the sky drifting over the arabian sea, a filth storm in ceylon - wherever he was, however tired, he'd not it down without pausing to consider its significance, confident he'd discover its musical potential later...
... he'd reached the point where virtually everything he encountered found its way into his music - a personal geography of the earth, an orchestral biography of the colors, sounds, smells, food and people - everything that he had felt, touched and seen... it was like being a word writer in sound - and what he was working on was a huge musical fiction that was always being added to and which was ultimately about itself...

from geoff dyer's "but beautiful (a book about jazz)" - here, a fictional account of duke ellington's writing process...

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