Friday, April 27, 2007

Get involved, get involved, get involved

Sweet christ on a cracker, is the RIAA still pulling this nonsense? (Click the link for a description of the problem and a probably-futile-but-worth-a-try response.)

Not that I use net radio or services like Pandora. But aside from the strong-arm intimidation tactics at work here, anything that fences in whatever little public forums are still left for listening to new music really cheeses me off.

In other news, you all probably knew this already, but I just learned that Don Cheadle will be directing and starring in a biopic about Miles Davis (you know, that guy who "rocked the trumpet"). I guess that's good, though I've never understood the appeal of the dramatic-film-about-a-musician genre. In the case of that much ballyhooed flick about another personal hero, I found myself pretty bored. Which I take it is the exact opposite reaction from the one these films are supposed to elicit. But honestly, how can a dramatic recreation compete with a documetary or concert film? Unless, of course, one isn't so interested in the music.

My feeling is, if you're going to use actors and the conventions of drama, why not deliberately err on the side of fiction? Instead of a "biopic," create something loosely based on a biography (or biographies), as was the case in, say, Round Midnight (and, what the hell, Citizen Kane).

Finally, if you haven't read Ethan Iverson's paean to Andrew Hill, it is well worth your time. I know that's sort of a redundant way of describing most anything that appears on the DTM blog, but I'm citing this piece in particular because of a few sentences that caught my attention. Iverson writes that "[e]very musician who worked with Andrew Hill in recent years confirms that he liked to keep it a little chaotic. For example, he would rehearse the music one way, and then, at the last second, change the arrangement or even the parts. This would guarantee mistakes but also freshness in the performance."

Yes! I'm really looking forward to trashing some of the IJG setlist this summer... we've been playing these tunes for a year or two now, and while it has been deeply satisfying to get to the point where most of the group knows the stuff well enough that we can play with a higher-than-ever level of precision, I want to hear a whole new set of mistakes, and more importantly, I want to get a whole new whiff of freshness.

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