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Honey beat

Wednesday 7/24/19

"Fitty"--When she is standing up near the end and you realize what she is trying to do.

That statement in and of itself won't mean anything to anyone but the few people who have read the story to date. But some day, a lot of people are going to see that statement here, and think, yep, holy fucking shit, dude. It's a Wonderful Life has a series of emotional crescendos near the end. After each, you can't imagine there'd be another, upping the emotion again, but there is. There are more in "Fitty," and without any trace of saccharine. It just keeps wrecking you. I don't mean bad wrecking, though some of those crescendos are absolutely gutting. The last--the walk-off line--is, well, wait until people experience that.

Today Susan texted me that I have a perfectly round head like a soccer ball. This is worrisome. Made me feel like I'm Charlie Brown. Not what I'm going for. She also remarked that most people's legs are curvy, and mine are not at all. I'm pretty sure my legs are all muscle. I don't see how they could not be, given my workout routine. And they feel like all muscle. There's no give. It's all hard. But definitely not trying to be Charlie Brown with magic markers for legs.

Here is yesterday's Downtown segment, in which I discussed the two middle stories--"Anaerobic Mud" and "Sugar Huddle Redux" from Buried on the Beaches.

I walked three miles today, climbed the Monument five times. That's twenty climbs in three days. I got a haircut. #1 on the side, #5 on the top. Last time I forgot what I get on the top as it had been so long and I got the #3. I used to get the #6. I remember now. I like the #5. My face seemed pretty narrow in the barber's mirror. The barber's mirror doesn't lie. It's not inclined to flattery. I gauge my fitness in part by how I look in the barber's mirror. Clear-cut, square jaw.

Worked some more--really working hard--on "Staycation" in my head. To have a major work like this underway, and another major work underway in "A man outside a playground," is nuts. The body of work is so massive and always growing--growing faster.

Today I composed a 1700 word essay on the cluster of recordings surrounding Miles Davis's Kind of Blue. I put up an excerpt over on my Facebook author page. I'll put up a different excerpt here. I average less than two visitors per day on my Facebook author page, which one can "like" and then see all of the updates. Surely we can do better than two visitors a day? Yes? I feel like we can.

I don’t know how many bands I’ve ever heard that can match the group Andrew Hill assembled for Point of Departure (1964), for example, and they pulled apart faster than the Kind of Blue men. With Kind of Blue Davis went to the modal approach—that is, basing improvisation off scales—in part because that was a way for a band that didn’t necessarily gel as tighter-than-tight, to discover and explore a different strength: a propensity for unfurling matchless melody, issued forth seemingly with ease, in no hurry, under no pressure, a way for individual voices to pool into a whole, without necessarily being an organic band. It’s a huge strength, made from what might even be a limitation. For Davis, his band was his instrument, more so than his trumpet. He found a way to play his bands, much as Mozart might write a horn passage for a specific player.

Kind of Blue really began with 1958’s Milestones, a disc I’d slot above it. Coltrane on tenor and Adderley on alto are the Mantle-Maris duo that stretch the boundaries of these various soundscapes, but Red Garland—a bluesy guy—is now there on piano, and Philly Joe Jones—a rhythm and bluesy guy—holds down the drum chair. Kind of Blue is ethereal; Milestones is earthy. Davis does better, I think, when his hands are in some degree of dirt. That plays well to his gift of rhythm; he’s more Lennon than McCartney, you might say. He likes the hard edge, more than the curve of the nimbus.

Jimmy Cobb is perfect for Kind of Blue. A regal player, you always had the sense that he could have set his sticks down on one of his toms after a gig, and got a cab across town to handle timpani and kettle drum chores with the big time symphony. This is, of course, the first Great Quintet, augmented by Adderley’s post-bop Parkerisms. It’s Coltrane that is working principally with Davis; that is, they play to and off of each other, they are the leaders of the overall sound, with Adderley reacting to Trane, so we have these two double-units, with the hugely gifted tenor man being the limpid denominator.

That creates cohesion, the fully blended band, all members mega-blues acolytes, as much in their way as the Rolling Stones were in theirs. They sound to me like a band that could pretty much do this whenever they wanted; maybe not at this level every time, but close. They feel like an active, daily, mini-miracle, not a one-off, not an experiment, not jazz from the Petri dish.

I have been listening to the Beach Boys' Wild Honey a lot. It's the perfect summer/autumn cusp record; not that we're there yet, obviously. But it's the ideal September sunshine, hint of coolness in the air LP. I envision playing it loudly in my house when I get it back and am restored to Rockport. I thought the opening line of the title track was "Sweet sweet, honey beat," but it's honey bee. I like the idea of a honey beat, though.


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