The Huge Flummox Factor
Here´s an anecdote. After an oddly disorienting drive from Birmingham, we finally get to this live radio gig at the Georgia Tech University station in Atlanta. It turns out that the stations is located in a part of the university basketball team´s arena, in some suite fitted out as offices and the broadcast studio.
Never been there before. We get directions to the studio from somebody outside. “ Look for the double doors”.
So we go through a lot of hallways, loaded down with equipment and instruments. Right, here we go; double doors. We barge through them as a group, kind of in a hurry to set this heavy gear down somewhere.
It takes only an instant to realize that we´re not in a radio studio, but standing at the edge of the basketball court, where thousands of cheering people, basketball players racing past us, radiating full throttle energy. Slamming cheerleaders in a sexy collegiate outfits leaping about just down the way.
The place is enormous; the sound vast and magnificent. Immense, overwhelming spectacle. Talk about caught off guard! Stunned by the scope and the suddenness of it all, we just stand there as if paralyzed.
Though it seems in slow motion, this event actually is happening fast. In just a few seconds a referee notice us. (It´s their job skill after all; observing even the most minute activity on the court.) The spell breaks and we clumsily book it out of the arena posthaste. (Back, incidentally, into that innocuous hallway that gives no clue what´s on the other side of those double doors.)
Thinking about it later, I realized that, when viewed from the center of the event itself ( the playing court) , these are not just competing athletes . They are performers , star performers and we had just walked onstage during their gig!
This happened thirty years ago, but ever since then I´ve sought to experience that kind of moment in performance, into another, one of an entirely different character, which has apparently been in progress for some time.
I´ve found that it´s not really possible to facilitate the sudden absence and presence of sixty thousand people. While I have experienced some totally abrupt, exponentially expansive transitions indeed, it´s not the same without the cheerleaders.
01.- CALL IT ANYTHING YOU WANT
02.- CONCERNING ACCIDENTS
03.- DISLIKE OF MUSICAL NOISE EXPLAINED
05.- TRUTH in MUSIC APPRECIATION
06.- WHAT IS MUSICAL FREE IMPROVISATION
07.- OUR UNIVERSE
08.- WORKING JUNG´S RIFF
10.- WHEN IT'S OUT OF OUR HANDS
11.- GLAD WE DIDN'T ORDER THE SPECIAL
12.- WORKING JUNG'S RIFF
13.- KNOW THE ENEMY
14.- THE MUTABLE FORM
15.- CONCERNING INMORTALITY
16.- MACH NUMBERS
17.- CONDITIONALITIES OF QUIETUDE
18.- THEN AND NOW
19.- WHY NOT SNEEZE
20.- We Passed Jupiter and Then Headed North
21.- Product Placement
22.- Coming under Fire
23.- Longevity of the Unpredictable
24.- Signal Intelligence
25.- FUBAR to the Rescue
26.- What Was That?
27.- The Sonata Came much Later
28.- Coming Under Fire
29.- An Unlikely Crisis
Based in a noted musician's decades of personal experiences, his book Solo Gig: Essential Curiosities in Musical Free Improvisation (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011) examines some crucial and far-reaching aspects of musical free improvisation, with particular regard to live performances. In this illustrated collection of narrative essays, the author looks both into and from inside this uniquely paradoxical, challenging and rewarding way of making music, within the context of an inherently eccentric milieu.