Review: “AMDG” by Jair-Rohm Parker Wells

A nice review of my 2008 release “AMDG”

Freefreethinker

My review as featured on Klanggold. Many thanks to Andreas Usenbenz:

With the dawning of synthetic science and the promise of technologies birthing from collaborative efforts across the whole scientific spectrum, optimists are calling the 21st century onwards the potential age of convergence. The crops of once isolated fields bordered off from one another are now relentlessly cross-pollinating, blurring into dizzying collaborative networks and shared information. And with the barriers between genres brought down in “AMDG” from electric bassist and experimenter Jair-Rohm Parker Wells, an atmosphere of convergency is prominent throughout this release, Klanggold’s second after “Pelktron” by Nobile. Slightly reminiscent of the free-squelch of Interface’s Cycling 74 release “./swank” (which, like AMDG, also features heavily treated electric basses), this vibrant, multi-genre amalgamation comes from his own “Sun Room” studio in Stockholm…and the fruits of the time and care an artist can spend in their own studio (rather than…

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Improvised music as a political statement…

Politics doesn’t always have to do with what you think your government is doing to you. Sometimes, the only politics that really matter are The Politics of Self-Realization. Dr. Leary writes in his collection of essays about accepting responsibility for our actions. Full responsibility. Self-determining people don’t blame their parents, their race, or their society; they accept responsibility for their actions, which in turn determines the responses they get from the world. This parallels the task of the improvising musician; in order to convincingly and effectively improvise, one must accept full responsibility for what they choose to play and only in this way will they reach their audience. It’s not about what you play. It’s about how you play it. Play it with conviction and it will be duly noted.

It is that simple.

Except…

What are you saying?

At the root of the motivation of the improviser, must be an acute awareness of self and an inescapable impetus to share that awareness. This is what it’s all about.

When i was sixteen years old,  Jimmy Woode gave me this book. It changed my life. It revealed to me that self and awareness of self must precede any success a person may aspire to. Who are you and how do you substantiate who you are? This may be the most important political statement any person can make.

I am. I think. I will.

-Ayn Rand, Anthem

i am. I think. I will.

Playing for keeps…

The great Anthony Braxton said

Play or die!”

Ken Simon said:

You’re either distinct or you’re extinct

Beethoven said:

“To play a wrong note is INSIGNIFICANT; To play without PASSION is INEXCUSABLE!”

Commitment and dedication are the keys to making Music. What makes improvised music work is courage – the confidence that makes the necessary great leaps of faith possible. Yes, technical facility is also very important. We cannot have any impediments between out imagination and our execution. Still, a timid musician with all of the technique in the universe will never be mistaken for a great improviser.

The book “The Courage To Create” by Rollo May is a great source of inspiration for the improviser.

 

Playing it.jpg

 

 

The Audience Gets It…

P L A Y I N G

P L A Y I N G

I play Free Jazz. Anywhere. Everywhere. I do because that’s what I do. I do because audiences get it.

Audiences understand and appreciate beauty.
Freedom is beautiful.
Therefore audiences appreciate freedom.

I’ve known this all of my life. I’ve seen this proved many, many, many times. There is no doubt in my mind about the power and validity of The Music.

Long ago, I played in Ken Simon’s trio with Todd Capp on drums. The music was Ken’s compositions. Free Jazz. We played all over New York City. Literally. We played in Jazz clubs, cafés, public libraries, public parks, convalescent homes, homes, lofts, train stations, the list goes on. We played everywhere and wherever we played, audiences were inspired and rejuvenated. One of my most memorable experiences from that period was a show we did at an assisted living facility in Manhattan. It was an early hit, during the morning coffee break for the residents. So, there we are, at 10AM, in a room full of very old people playing. P L A Y I N G. As I looked out over the audience, I saw that they were as engaged in the music as we were. They listened. They applauded and we PLAYED. After the concert, there was a “meet and greet”. Autograph signing and that sort of thing. These two really sweet old women came up to me, asked for an autograph and then proceeded to tell me how much they enjoyed the concert. They weren’t just doing the perfunctory “Thank you, it was nice.”. They were genuinely blessed and impressed.

Encounters like this have been the rule for me rather than the exception. If I learned anything from my years playing Ken’s music, it was that The Music is universal. People get beauty. Play beautifully and you will always elevate an audience. Beauty isn’t always pretty.

Beauty is truth and truth is beauty and that is all ye know on earth and that is all ye need to know. – John Keats

When we play with sincerity, when truth is our guide, beauty is the result.

For the last few years, I’ve been working in trio with the Pianist Doru Apreotesei and different vocalists. We perform in the Jazz lounges on the Color Line ships Fantasy and Magic under the rubric “Beautiful Music In Beautiful Places“. We perform four, forty-five minute sets, seven nights a week for a month or two at a time. Most of our time is spent – yes, that’s right – playing free. Openly and blatantly improvising freely without a safety net. How else does one make Music? The audiences are exactly what you would expect to find on such Scandinavian luxury cruises. These aren’t the tragically hip nor adventurous. The passengers who find their way into the lounges where we perform are looking for an escape from the banality of the pub sing-alongs and variety shows. They’re looking for beauty. They’re looking for substance. They’re looking for a glimpse of the unseen made visible. They’re looking for magic. Improvised music is magic. Audiences know this and they know that the improvising musician is a magician. They get it.