I will try to write something like a diary style blog today:
Lazy morning. Breakfast. Tea made from cheap Ceylon teabags in the low, small and plain brown Chinese teapot. Milk in the teacup. Soft Fazer rye bread; one with cheese and one with liver pâté. Grapefruit juice. No yoghurt today.
Very few emails. Re-read a couple of letters from yesterday instead. Read the news on the web. Looked through the latest threads on a music forum.
Listened to “Allegresse” by Maria Schneider (the jazz composer, not the actress..). Very nice music – playful and beautiful, and not much of a normal busy big band sound, which I was grateful for (I am not so fond of conventional big band stuff – all the aggressive brass chords, and such things – so I don’t like all pieces on other cd’s with Maria Schneider Orchestra). I ordered the CD Tuesday night last week, at online order from Artist Share, and got it in the mail on Friday morning. Surprising, as I know it normally takes 6 days for letters to go from New York to Stockholm.
Tried to play through a collection of ten old piano pieces by Steve Dobrogosz (check the link for info about his appearence on the Stockholm Jazz Festival 2006). Good to practise again, to play the timed sounds, to hear something new, but this isn’t really my kind of music – not interesting enough. The pieces were fairly easy to read and understand, but since I haven’t heard them before, I couldn’t figure out why some things were composed like they were, and how to interpret them (even if there were some ideas – comments and suggestions – printed on the back cover.)
Made some pasta with beans for lunch. I like it, and it is nice to cook something new instead of heating leftovers in the micro.
Putting the things in order for tomorrow’s painting class. Had to scrape dry and half-dry paint with a sharp knife from the palette I used a month ago. I had imagined that I would continue on the two pictures I am working on, so it was better to leave the paint that was left. Not. A few days is okay, with the water soluble oil paint I use at home, but not weeks in thin layers on the palette. I used the last of a quantity of still soft white to fill an empty space on a sketch I have been dabbling with.
Packed a jeans jacket I got through mail order yesterday again, in a tape-sealed plastic bag, to send it back to the mail order company. The jacket was for my son, but I had miscalculated the size (was some confusing info in the catalogue, with everything presented in French sizes instead of S-M-L or EU standard system), so he needs a bigger one. This one was more in my size, but I don’t need a Levi’s jacket just now.
Laundry. Sorting things in the dishwasher. Cleaning/dusting some floor boards in the rooms upstairs, and the staircase.
Not a bad day, after all.
Diud I say the music was lame? I did not mean to imply that the music was lame or even not well done, just seems lacking something that I can not really put my finger on. And like I said I think she is trying to move the Big Band into new directions, which is a good thing. I listen to a little of Allegressse this morning, and one fleating/inital impression today is that maybe one of the issues I have might be due to the mixing and processing of the recording, maybe a little too "clean". I am sure there is stuff to learn, I just think that she could take her ideas a bit farther.
Thank you for the taking the time to write a long comment to my short paragraph about big band music!
Yes, I understand why some people find Maria Schneider's music a little lame and limited. That is probably the same reason why her cd's sometimes are voted "best of the year" in US? It's pleasant, almost commercial, unoffensive stuff, with much musicality and good feeling. Since I had no high hopes or expectations about her music, just a curiosity and a wish to hear more of it after liking some things I had found on webradio stations, I am not disappointed. If I can learn something from her, I think it is to use less dissonant harmony and instead rely on instrumentation and rhythms as identity-forming factors in a piece.
Very strange, I just found your Blog Today, and here you are talking about "Allegresse" by Maria Schneider, who I was thinking about this morning. What I was thinking about was if others have listen to her and her music and what their take on it was. This line of though was brought on by a friend lending me a CD of Parts of the CD (John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble A Blessing reminded me of Maria Schneider's work which I first encountered a couple of years ago. My feelings towards both albums is currently somewhat ambivalent.
I feel that both composers are trying to push the boundaries the Big Band, exploring the possibilities that a Big Band offers beyond the traditional “uses” of a Big Band, which is a good thing®, yet I can not help feel that they are only using a small percent of the power available to them. Without actually going back and referencing each piece the “emotional memory” I have of both CD's is one of always soft dynamics and moderate to slow tempos. They never reach the overwhelming power and volume of say an Stan Kenton Orchestra (with your dreaded “aggressive brass chords”) nor the frenzy of a Thad Jones Mel Lewis Band. For me, or at least at this point in my understanding and listening of them, they (both Maria and John) spend all of their time in just a limited part of the spectrum of musical ideas, thoughts, tempos, volume? Something. Possibly the issue I have is that I had such very very high hopes for "Allegresse" and was somewhat disappointed in it. For me it lacked an edged, all the sharp and rough corners had been rounded off. I really feel that there is great potential in the Big Band, and both composers and working towards something, but for me it is not there yet.
Tack för kommentarerna – det var en trevlig överraskning, även om det tog en stund för mig att förstå vitsen med skämtet (jag är trött och trög)!
Many thanks for your comments – a really nice surprise, even if it took me some time to get the joke (I am weary and slow)!
Having so much work done on our home in one day is a rare occasion and certainly worth a chapter on the blog.
Knowing children grow up perhaps the elapsed time time from measuring size to delivery should have been shorter…