On the social network everyone is an expert of music, giving hints and counseling others to check this and that. Than we have professional experts, who give this information at incredible speed and profusion. Sometimes we ask to ourselves what this is all about. “OK, man, thanks, but what is your philosophy? How do you connect this wonderful music you are pointing at, to non-music, life, word, thought?” That’s precisely what it is more interesting to process after that music has been on the spot and gone in the air. It will be too much to ask to anyone writing of music and illustrating personal commitment to music of such a creative treatment of the language of music in the way Anthony Braxton did when he exposed (in an already quoted interview) what I am reading again here. At the time I discovered this source, the historical notion of a “Cristian Gambit” interested me first of all, now I discovered a “much more” surrounding it. Even though I still think that that question keeps being central to any lecture of it.
Tuning with what I feel as the captivating-honest approach of the whole construction, I am able to retain a capital sense of “becoming” in my own interpretation, hence the “transitional” remains on top of it, leaving Braxton’s articulation intact. Hoping to be endorsed by a friendly capability to share many parts of it, I propose the reader to use AB’s dictionary to contrast and confront his own concepts.
A query on dict.org for “transitional” gives this 26 synonyms on the Moby-Thesaurus by Grady Ward:
active, altering, changing, convertible, developing, driving,
evolving, impelling, in motion, mobile, modifiable, motile,
motivational, motive, motor, moving, propellant, propelling,
resolvable, shifting, stirring, transformable, transitive,
transitory, transmutable, traveling
You could resume all these attributive notions with “living”
and translate it with what it may be called like an “holistic” vision, but the conceptual complex put into motion is much more precisely to see as a philosophy of the earth, as “geophilosophy” that is much closer to the continental developments of thinkers as Gilles Deleuze, than to the straitness of the American departments of ph (transmitted back to the rest of the world in my sense, but this is another story).
As Braxton has said elsewhere, he is grateful to America to be what he is, and that he could never learn what he learned if he was born elsewhere, but Europe gave him the possibility to play, hence, a decisive part of what he is.
In the mean time, when American musicians of his generation were around in Europe, they could seek to know the best of European culture, sometimes they could meet their protagonists.
On the other side, I guess that many Europeans, sharing the great bright moments when he and many others came to play in our countries, they helped a part of us to be curious about the culture of the whole world, if not to think and comprehend in general, a gift that may reveal not to be without some poison in the course of time.
If an interview is not the best place to check a music philosophy, for its conciseness and for the way that a dialogue may be comprised as mutually give for granted, indeed the dialogue is traditionally a form to “publish” philosophy. For the transitional character of music as a desired aspect of it in which to search and by which orienting one’s practice we have already the response, it is because “all is moving”.
Reading the article
In my sense the battle Braxton was conducing at the time, and probably still now, is a good philosophical battle, though not so immediate to comprehend and share today. It can be resumed in the fact that he is seeing a conceptual inconsistence in musical vision of explaining jazz and improvisation in terms of narratives.
Above this there is the other general sense of the narrative of African American cultural history, as the historical-existential narrative for which the particular language of jazz is apt to speak in its individualistic and ever-changing forms. As I mentioned before, it is interesting to note the the general philosophy embedding the musical one must be a more comprehensive complex: a “geophilosophy” is lurking back poetics and a musical vision rather than a humanistic metaphor based on the linguistic and the literary.
In the following scheme, my observations and abstracts are square-bracketed, left-spaced, and right-spaced in upper case, while original quotations are center-spaced.
Who is AB going to look for working and sharing music projects and creation?
One who is searching into:
transidiomatic conceptual states
more than one that is into a:
who see himself as an:
the examples to look at are into those musicians that are from:
the vibrational persuasion (Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra)
restructural minded player
they are studying mainly:
and they get together along:
changing vibrational synergies
on a wider plan it is about a transition:
from ethnic-centric psychology to composite universal psichology
being in the world
no more jazz or African-Americans
learning from different things taking place in the world,
including that information in one’s information on creativity or information dynamics in general
the problem is knowing how to define:
AN OLD CONCEPT
here product of
the business complex
idiomatic certainty (notion)
to use the syntax from a generic perspective
generic [was] just a part of the learning process
not a point of mastery
[it was] to imitate our heroes and evolve a position
[WHAT WAS EXPERIENCED IN THE REAL WORLD (FROM MUSICIANS OF ANOTHER TIME-SPACE) COULD BE AN INTOLERABLY STRONG EXPERIENCE]
[the hero to become a philosophic personage]
[Wilbur Ware: the Chicago Master/Mistery-Musician of post-bebop time. Undiscussed source, mysterious, generous, dramatic, prophetic hero. All learned from him as he was able to create a paradoxical dimension of time in which, through his practice, future was already visible.]
leads to the “magic space” – [as interactive perception of becoming as change in musical terms]
“the changes” becomes “change”
[where rhythmical logic transcend itself into a spatial logic of the whole substance of sound]
[this defines when a “percussionist” may be into much more than his “generic role”]
to experiment through the transitions that shape
the friendly experiencer
shades of expressions
and exploratory concepts
principal concept spaces
ALONE FACING CREATION
[narrative logic is in fact transcended not in terms of proximity or distance but in terms of machinery, of its functioning – because of an immanent vision]
Braxton says that the challenge posed to narrative logics could be termed by:
reexamining syntax to adjust to the fact that we’re now in a time space [where] composite reality is the norm […]
composite reality in which everything resounds
[an immanent vibrational vision of RESPONSIBILITY]
“Rather, because of the tradition and the fundamentals and our experiences coming through and still going through those parameters, we’re able to look at the forward space and have a better basis to take a snapshot from not having kicked out everything or limited what a concept is. “
[this leads to the political] Christian Gambit/Purges of the 1980s
“It’s Booker T. Washington all over again.”
George Lewis proposes a non-hierarchical environment
[In agreeing AB describes his practice and feelings and it can be seen also as multi-hierarchy]
Probably Braxton does not agree fully with this especially for the fact that he wants to compose and arrange [see above “alone facing creation”], and that those practice request an inherent hierarchal machinery. Anyway this is not the whole thing:
“But I try to bring my life to the radiant circle when it’s time to play.”