Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Incident at Umbria

A full-on tour post is coming soon, but in the meantime I wanted to lay this new video on you.

You all remember the hubbub last July, yes? (If the words "Jarrett," "Umbria," and "2007" don't ring a bell, you'll need to click that link for the appropriate background.)

I'll probably never be able to convince anyone that our version of this "performance" (i.e., my setting-to-music of the controversial comments) is not meant to be disrespectful of Mr. Jarrett -- even though that's the case. I mean, sure we're having a little fun at his expense, but the larger issue for me is the way in which a mega-jazz-event like Umbria exemplifies a frightening (and counterproductive) divide in the jazz world. Let's face it: the superstars and the scrappy up-and-comers are inhabiting different universes. There is no clear relationship or implied trajectory between them. And speaking from the perspective of the scrappies, Keith J.'s outburst couldn't have been stranger or more incomprehensible to me had he been from, say, Mars. (You mean they're actually paying you to play at Umbria and you're going to fucking complain?!)

Anyway, this is one of the better renditions (it was recorded in Bakersfield) of the piece with which we opened our shows last week. For handy reference, here are the lyrics in question:

I do not speak Italian
so someone who speaks English can tell
all these assholes with cameras
to turn them fucking off
right now
no more photographs, including that red light right

If we see any more lights
I reserve the right and I think
the privilege is yours to hear us
but I reserve the right
and Jack and Gary reserve the right
to stop playing and leave the goddammed city

I see a red light there and that means you, you you

The text is verbatim (and I guess typical) Jarrett, except for the repeated line at the end, which I borrowed from Daniel Brio's All About Jazz piece on the incident.

And here's Kris Tiner's writeup on the Bakersfield show.

Like I said, more soon. I'm just getting my head back together.

[cinematography by Matt Lichtenwalner -- thanks, Matt!]

[vox: Tany Ling (soprano), Jill Knapp (alto)]

1 comment:

Matt said...

Very appropriate musical setting for Jarrett's diva-esque outburst--loved it!

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