Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thelonius and Monks in general

The strangest thing happened the other day. My youngest son chose this blog to break radio silence by telling of his new interest in reading the biography of Thelonious Monk. My son plays guitar. Rock n Roll, and Country Rock too. I thought. But things change and certainly it is possible that for some reason so has he. Monk of course is a fascinating subject to study if you are a musician. Especially a self taught one like my son. Wikipedia had this to say:

Thelonious Sphere Monk[1] (October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was an American jazz pianist and composer who, according to The Penguin Guide to Jazz, was "one of the giants of American music".[2] Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "Epistrophy," "'Round Midnight," "Blue Monk," "Straight, No Chaser" and "Well, You Needn't."

Often regarded as a founder of bebop, Monk's playing later evolved away from that style. His compositions and improvisations are full of dissonant harmonies and angular melodic twists, and are impossible to separate from Monk's unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations.

Monk's manner was idiosyncratic. Visually, he was renowned for his distinctively "hip" sartorial style in suits, hats and sunglasses. He was also noted for the fact that at times, while the other musicians in the band continued playing, he would stop, stand up from the keyboard and dance for a few moments before returning to the piano. One of his regular dances consisted of continuously turning in a counterclockwise fashion, which has drawn comparisons to ring-shout and Sufi whirling.
Which brings me to the other strange thing. Buddhism. I love the story telling skill of John Burdett and his mysteries of Bangkok. I just started reading the fourth in his series, The Godfather of Kathmandu.

How this all comes together with my son's visit, I'll have to let you know.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Waiting for Godot . . .

I always remember the first time I saw this play. Lakeside, CA 1969, Cathy Fogerty and I team teaching and deciding that there was much to be learned from Beckett's play. But I hadn't seen the play, I had just the synopsis from Cathy and she seemed to think it had merit. So it starts. Oh, did I mention we were watching it via a video taped copy from KPBS? And it starts, and starts and starts again. And we are all like waiting, you know, for something to happen.

I think I read Joseph Heller's, Something Happened, at about this same time period. Anyway, nothing much occured. Just us, waiting for some dude named Godot (pronounced Goh-Do) never comes. Kinda' like the end of this fucking war in Iraqistan.

Which reminds me of what was said, "The air is full of our cries. But habit is a great deadener."