This album. This man of music. Changed our world. It did. Forget about the people who didn't want change, the music played on. It always plays on. Lifting us from those momentary lapses to those places on mountain tops, or in those softly lit corners of the forests, the places we don't want to leave but we have to. Or do we have to? The music can always keep us there, free jazz always kept me there. The recording stops but the notes still play. And play. You can hear it around the corner from where you are now, I bet you didn't know there was 'an around the corner' from where you stand. Those are Coleman's corners. He built them to teach us how to listen. And we listen. LA still listens. Jazz is hardly dead. It's a part of life, the metamorphosis of our heroes, the creators of innovation and inspiration. He made this music, this free and divine magic carpet ride, and now he is his music. Eternal. Ornette Coleman is hardly dead, he's just becoming something else. Something eternal. Ornette Coleman was Jazz. Jazz will do anything but rest.
The notes play, as a winter wind to an autumn leaf my ears breathe in brightly painted oceans, sometimes not so bright. Orange and Blue in hues of C & E briefly move me, until the note vanishes and I anticipate the next, and the next, and the last. This is precisely how I discovered gold. And even before listening to colors, I learned that at the softest enunciated whisper, or at minds glance of an enunciated movement, euphoria sets in; a temporary nirvana tip toes through the spine. Angels disguised as feathers disappear into the edges of my skin, awakening follicles. Orgasmic embraces - I've convinced myself - is all they are. When the hand slowly readies itself to play the orange key, I realize that the two can sometimes overlap. Tone, mood, movement, hearing; shades of outside become inside, through hearing. The mind creates a body of heaven from a temporary hell. And all of this is not all that I have been since childhood but it’s half of me, it’s usual, while the other half of me concludes that finally everything now makes sense.
So I have these two things about me that are kinda weird but kinda not, since I’ve experienced them since I can remember. One I’ve known for some time, it’s called sound to color synesthesia, which means I basically hear colors. The other has baffled me since childhood and I’ve lived in secret with until a couple of weeks ago. I just found out that it has a name, it’s called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. I use to figure it was just a sensitive nerve thing, that crazy almost constant tingling sensation at the back of the neck and spine, triggered by sounds and particular movements. Some of you may have it, and I’m realizing that it’s not so rare for some to have both of these (if you already experiencing one, that is). It can be annoying or fun, but is just mostly interesting. I’ll be writing something about this in the near future. If you’d like to share stories of your experiences with either of these, or if you have an idea for collaborations, write me a note – I’d love to hear from you!
The earliest memory I have belongs to December 8, 1980. The first time I'd witness a grown man break into a million pieces. That was the night I realized that I, my stepfather, family, and the rest of our crazy little world...was mortal...and human. And my stepfathers tears for the loss of this man who was only a funny musician to me then, meant that he'd make sure I knew everything there was to know about him. And thus began my life infused with John Lennon. And because of the lack of time, in lieu of me writing a new note like I do ever year, here's the note I wrote last year...on why for me, and for so many, it was John Lennon.
THIS POST written October 9 2012
I have so many fabulously talented and awesome friends, one of them is composer/musician/producer Joseph Minadeo aka Patternbased. He’s currently on a massive tour across the country, collaborating with musicians/artists/designers… planned, but mostly kind of spontaneous. He just left Ashville and is now in NYC/ Philly/NJ area…and is open to collaborating in cities near there.
If you’re a musician on the East coast…hit him up and collaborate. Ever patient, professional, flexible and with a great ear, he’s honestly a great producer/musician to work with!
Check out his website for details on what he’s worked on, his projects, style etc….
And one of several things he and I worked on was this piece he just published on his Soundcloud. It’s a little prosaic excerpt-infused-melody taken from the beloved Jean Baudrillard’s philosophical treatise “Simulacra and Simulation.”
The most important thing he taught me was that words require rest to ready themselves for a life conducted in these semiotic orchestras. After a short recess, the words will develop minds of their own, jump from the pages and walk into waiting memories. For the first time, they become excited to go to where you call home. And the conductor will take pride in his own gracious bow.
RIGHT NOW will never happen again, so we compose our memory with snapshots of life's better notes. The melodies of what we hope for are forever stamped onto records, playing through the chirping of birds and the sounds of waves embracing us.
(photo Ventura Beach)
There hasn’t been a month in my life when I didn’t think about Ray Manzarek at least once. That organ was a staple in my family home. I was a little girl when I found poetry, I was even younger when I discovered The Doors. My father would sing their songs to me on the long drives back home after spending the weekend with him, just outside the city limits. Repeating the words,
“I see your hair is burnin’
was his way of telling me that he loved me, and that I was his childhood version of Los Angeles incarnate. I wanted to become Los Angeles, I wanted to make my father proud. More as a child than now, I understood what embellishment meant, and I understood what it meant for a soul to be on fire, in a city of lights. When the music played, I felt my father’s heart through his eyes.
But then, I’d go home. Home was where my Mother and Stepfather raised me; another version of Los Angeles, within the cities’ limits. My stepfather was a musician, with an ego to match. The nine year old version of me wanted to be Jim Morrison. Wanted to move like him, to be free like him. I wanted to make music through words, just like him. But my stepfather had none of it. He tried to make certain I knew from early on, that Jim Morrison was “garbage”. “Manzarek was the sound behind the music, and the music is what we’ll always remember,” He tried to convince me. “Manzarek is a genius”. Of course I’d argue, “but Jim is soooo cool,” so as soon as we moved into a bigger house, my stepfather bought us a Vox organ that he found at St. Vincent de Paul’s .
I was nine years old when I discovered that a band didn’t need a bass player. But as I grew older, I realized no one else made such powerful and transcendent music without one. Manzarek was one of a kind.
Jim Morrison crept into my thoughts often, as I’m sure most LA poet’s and “musicians” can relate to. But, I always felt guilty for not mentioning Manzarek first, when talking about the Doors. It was his sound that brought the words to life. He created a venue for poetry to dance in. Manzarek provided the soundtrack to a moving mind. He was able to not only catch up to a rip tide of words, he made sense of them, through colors and waves of sound. Such inspiration. If it weren’t for Manzarek, Morrison would have been heard in mono.
“Listen, real poetry doesn’t say anything; it just ticks off the possibilities. Opens all doors. You can walk through anyone that suits you.” -Jim Morrison
(I noted this on a facebook post yesterday, after a wonderful afternoon at a poetry reading, and today I thought about the magic behind music and poetry collaborations. Morrison, Densmore, Krieger, and Manzarek’s keyboards made that shit real. )
Since around the age of three, my brother slightly older, an IV had been permanently attached to our arms. The bag didn’t hold saline or any kind of medication to numb the pain of living in a happily-dysfunctional family. What it carried inside shot straight to our brains, engraved itself throughout our DNA, and gently became our adolescent incubators from the inside out. It was the kind of medication that would sing to us at bedtime; those seemingly far-away stories of love, peace and about skies filled with diamonds. I was addicted from early on, to one specific medication. The one that taught me that it’s possible to say F*** OFF to authority, and to talk about being more popular than Jesus, and then to say, “Love is the answer and you know that for sure, love is a flower you got to let it grow.” The same mind can express these extremes, can help fight the system, fight for love, fight for the freedom to express all of that.
For me and so many others alike, John Lennon has not only been an inspiration but also a hero and champion of love, life, courage and expression. Growing up we learn that he wasn’t perfect, and that he was a horrible father and husband, most of the time. There’s no excuse for that. But as a child listening to his music, and watching his films, and reading about the causes he jumped into (even if briefly), we become inspired. Like any powerful art form we grew up with, the John Lennon we all knew through the speakers was the one who kinda helped define us, whether we like it or not…
…and that’s the John Lennon I’d like to say Happy 72nd Birthday to, if he were alive today.
(The sketched portrait above is one that our dad did in 1981, I’ve carried the same copy since)