In December, The Bushwick Book Club did a show of music based on “How Music Works” by David Byrne. I was honored to be there, because I like the book a lot. I respect and admire Byrne, whom I consider to be a sort of Professor of Rock, so much that at the Bushwick show, I attempted to affect a somewhat professorial attire with mixed results.
The Comet Tavern, a Seattle underground venue that’s been around for over 40 years, just closed its doors within the past month. It’s a place that’s acted as a toehold for touring performers visiting Seattle for the first time as well as new local acts cutting their teeth on the scene. At first, the closure seemed temporary, but since it came out that the owner had removed the sound system without telling employees or the venue’s music booker, it seems to be a much more long-term change for the beloved dive. Whether it opens again remains to be seen. Read more
One wonderful aspect of the Bushwick Book Club: it conducts art across fields, generating new creation. From textual to musical, prose to lyrical. Inspiration via artistic translation and cross-pollination is a wonderful phenomenon with a rich, varied history.
I heard my own favorite example of this occurrence at a Seattle performance years ago. Back when Consolidated Works was a happening venue, the pianist Jason Moran (a recent MacArthur Award winner, deservedly in my estimation) came to town and used mesmerizing artistic translation in a solo piece.
The video below is the same song he played that night. Check it out–I’ll bet you’ve never heard anything quite like it. (Although this version is with a trio, you’ll get the idea even if you only listen for a minute). Do you know Turkish? In addition to piano, bass and drums you’ll hear a woman in Istanbul chatting with her mother on a cell phone. What to listen for? Hint: the night I heard this tune my friend turned to me, noticed my furrowed brow, and said: “He’s playing a note on every syllable.” This ordinary conversation becomes the tonal palette for Moran’s composition. Read more