The Music of Language: Phone Calls and Inspiration
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
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