Displaying news from 31 September 2014 to 31 October 2014.


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Welcome, dear reader and gentle listener both, to joshrutner.com!

I've been freshening the place up a bit, so do take a journey around the room and see what beauty you might find, sifting through the newly-tidied wreckage.



   'So bear with this corncrake music, reader; plunge into the immediate past; join the confabulation round the drying pump; try to follow these defunct and angry controversies of the day before yesterday, and if you cannot follow, skip. Brevis hic est fructus homullis!'


Says Cyril Connolly (Cf.)

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SCIENCE! (The Audiobook) - Posted on 2013-03-21 10:24:09


I’m so pleased and proud to have been a part of this project! I played the role of Producer (with a capital P, of course) for the audio book version of my friend Emily Toder's collection of poems, SCIENCE. The poems are ridiculously good (so good, in fact, that I told her she should record herself reading them!), and to hear her read them is a bonus so bananas it'd be boneheaded of you bon vivants not to get in there right now and buy this audio book tout de suite!

$5 gets you 49 incredible poems in your earholes. (A bargain at three times the price, methinks!)

Stream the whole thing for free and then put some money where your ears are!


The Weeks! - Posted on 2013-02-20 13:57:19


Emily Toder has created "a system to track time weekly" and you should use it. Click the button below today to add to your Google calendar, I implore!



More details at theweeksoftheyear.tumblr.com.


Fantastic Metaphysical Advantage - Posted on 2013-02-11 13:06:16


It's my hope that these . . . souvenirs . . . will someday merge, blur—cohere is the word, maybe—into something meaningful. A grand word, meaningful. What do I look for?


Says Don B.


Charlatans - Posted on 2013-01-29 16:39:49


A modern philosopher who has never once suspected himself of being a charlatan must be such a shallow mind that his work is probably not worth reading.

Says Leszek Kołakowski


Two Song (after a poem by Jason Crane) - Posted on 2013-01-23 15:26:15


Hunched over, trembling, darting around inside a colander fort
Whatever does it all mean?
Take, take, take, take...
This is the thanks you get

Guild the lily pod to ensure the highest level of passenger protection
Variations of phony cars floating — this may only be a dream
Hear there the concerti!
Crashing, crashing, crashing, crashing...

Symphonies round corners
I don’t understand what I’m listening to
But glints of evidence from the morning star
Soft-shoe in the quiet of the land

Good word of the book, lead me on!
Roll away stones and evince my empty spaces
I just need a little time by myself
You and me minus you: triple it

Give me my hat and coat and the idea of north
and follow me into the variations
Head down, I think I'm sinking into solid tunes...
Holy, holy, holy
Here I hear but cannot speak


Notes for a poem I will never write unless I happen to - Posted on 2013-01-16 09:35:59


Operating procedure:
Three becomes him
Father Henri-Auguste Roux
Thigpen (is mightier)

One becomes two
Stick to brush!
(Two becomes four)

Lightness!
Quickness!
Exactitude!

Saint-Sulpice Seminary Superior

Visibility!
Multiplicity!
(Consistency?)

A regular woodchopper's ball

Lying in wait
Relax for a cycle of days

The feeling of fresh batterie in reserve

One mustn't give everything away at once
For some, to add isn't
(Giving taketh away)

Giveth the drummer some!


Moments - Posted on 2012-12-16 21:50:13


To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life. In a sense it might even be said that our failure is to form habits: for, after all, habit is relative to a stereotyped world, and meantime it is only the roughness of the eye that makes two persons, things, situations, seem alike. While all melts under our feet, we may well grasp at any exquisite passion, or any contribution to knowledge that seems by a lifted horizon to set the spirit free for a moment, or any stirring of the sense, strange dyes, strange colours, and curious odours, or work of the artist's hands, or the face of one's friend. Not to discriminate every moment some passionate attitude in those about us, and in the very brilliancy of their gifts some tragic dividing of forces on their ways, is, on this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening.


Says Walter Pater (Cf.)


Classic Wittgensteinian Blunder - Posted on 2012-12-10 09:40:33


If I were to write a good sentence which by accident turned out to consist of two rhyming lines, that would be a blunder.


Says Ludwig Wittgenstein (Cf.)


Turning Point - Posted on 2012-12-08 19:40:06


October 5
Have decided to keep a diary because this may be a turning point in my life. Once before I thought there was a turning point, but I did not pay attention and lost track of whether it was or not.


Says Jordan Crittenden (Cf.)


I Want To Say That - Posted on 2012-12-06 12:39:26




I want to say that
Wittgenstein made me laugh today
It's not that he didn't
(He did)
I told you
I want to say that

Rare to see a photograph
Of Wittgenstein laughing
— Though,
A knowing smile creeping
Raw,
The blackboard speaks

A real laugh
The kind, when on the subway
(I was)
One must cover up
With a cough
To avoid being seen

As ill
Or crazy

It's not that he didn't have a sense of humor
(He did)
He wrote of valleys of silliness, for God's sake
Grassy green valleys
Of silliness
Isn't that clever?

But I wasn't expecting it
Explain to me about this God fellow
What miracles He hath wrought
Trees bowing in reverence to a saint
Miracles as symbols
Symbols as everything

Go on, believe!
It does no harm
Wittgenstein submits
But leave the ragged ragged
— Now, does he believes that this happens?
(He doesn't)

Sit quietly now
And then make an impressive gesture


It's Finally Here! - Posted on 2012-12-05 14:48:53


Following a brief distribution delay, Respect In Yule is ready to stuff in digital and physical stockings both! Available on iTunes, Amazon, and several other digital and brick-and-mortar retailers. Thanks in advance for supporting the cause!

Respect In Yule!


Can't Stop - Posted on 2012-12-03 17:08:31


Oh, Thoreau... - Posted on 2012-12-03 16:53:28


You can speak freely... - Posted on 2012-12-03 11:49:34


Apparently
8616829160023845073278831216566478809594106832606088
3324529903470149056115823592713458328176574447204501
is a Fibonacci number.

How about that.

(Cf., &)


Grand Central Dancehall - Posted on 2012-12-02 16:43:36


Pay particular attention to the commuter choreography
The transiter's two-step
The subtlety of the whole thing:
With the slightest turn of the shoulder
The gentlest twist of torso
A barely noticeable slowing, or speeding
Travelers manage avoidance
—if just barely

Grand Central Dancehall
No busy street tango, no
A dozen entrances and destinations
Line the edges
Don't count stars or you might stumble
Possibilities upon possibilities of atrium-traversing

Everyone's got an angle

Through an ever-shifting comb of worker bees
Using those wordless shifts of step
And those tweaks of body
To prevent themselves from being trampled


Ambition // Helpless Leglessness - Posted on 2012-12-02 13:11:14


Ambition is a path, not a destination, and it is essentially the same path for everybody. No matter what the goal is, the path leads through Pilgrim's Progress regions of motivation, hard work, persistence, stubbornness, and resilience under disappointment. Unconsidered, merely indulged, ambition becomes a vice; it can turn a man into a machine that knows nothing but how to run. Considered, it can be something else—pathway to the stars, maybe.



With my hands in Sally's armpits I lifted her to her feet. Moe pulled the chair out of the way. Hallie was watching with a wincing, unwilling expression on her face. Though Sally has been in irons since before Hallie was born—we have always assumed, from the evidence, that Hallie was conceived that night on Ticklenaked Pond—it has been eight years since we have seen each other, and I suppose it is a shock to her to see afresh how helpless leglessness can be.


Says Wallace Stegner (Cf.)


||: :|| - Posted on 2012-12-01 08:49:39


Merrily merrily merrily merrily.


Says Donald Barthelme (Cf.)



         Butter butter butter butter butter butter butter
butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter
butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter
butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter
butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter
butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter
butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter
butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter
butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter
butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter
butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter


Too says Donald Barthelme (Cf.)



I know I know I know I know I know I know I know I know I know
I know I know I know I know I know I know I know I know I know
I know I know I know I know I know I know I know I know


Says Bill Withers (Cf.)



No!
No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
No!
No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
No!


Says Ben Kingsley (Cf.)



Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.


Says William J. Rapaport (Cf.)



7th Annual Gregory Brothers Christmas Concert - Posted on 2012-11-30 15:27:55


One of the joys of my last few ends-of-the-year has been my participation in a holiday blow-out bonanza at Rockwood Music Hall hosted by The Gregory Brothers—those imagineers of Internet, those sultans of songification, those YO-accented yogis of Youtube and Yuletide caroling—and featuring guests Melanie Penn and Dusty Brown (and, of course, Sarah and the Stanleys), all showering that oh-so-twinkly Christmas cheer upon the listeners.

Join us on Wednesday, December 12 at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 (196 Allen St, NYC).

As with every year, it is a charity event. All the proceeds for this year's event will go to NY Hurricane Sandy Relief.

For advance tickets (highly recommended, as Rockwood Stage 2 is not huge!), go to www.rockwoodmusichall.com, and to tell the world of facebook you'll be attending, click the poster below.

Hope to see you there!

7th Annual Gregory Brothers Christmas Bonanza


A Weeping Mouth - Posted on 2012-11-30 13:16:29


A weeping mouth and a laughing mouth
in terrible battle before a silent crowd.

Each gets hold of the mouth, tears and bites
the mouth, smashes it to shreds and bitter blood.

Till the weeping mouth surrenders and laughs,
till the laughing mouth surrenders and weeps.


Says Yehuda Amichai (sez Ted Hughes) (Cf.)


SCIENCE - Posted on 2012-11-29 12:06:02


The problem of water is that it's odorless
Water is not sensed until it is too late
You think you are all right and then water

Says Emily Toder in her new book of poems, SCIENCE (Coconut Books, 2012)

If you have a chance to hear her read her stuff, do not miss it!

SCIENCE by Emily Toder


Salo: Remixed - Posted on 2012-11-28 23:30:05


I'm really proud to have been a part of Ben Gallina's Salo's debut album, Sundial Lotus (Innova Recordings, 2010). Well, the good folks at Immigrant Breast Nest have pored over the material and pulled together a collection of ridiculously cool remixes of the tracks. And it is free to stream and 'name-your-price' to download, so go check it out!



Sundial Lotus


A Few Degrees Worse - Posted on 2012-11-28 16:45:44


Even private giving of presents has degenerated to a social function exercised with rational bad grace, careful adherence to the prescribed budget, sceptical appraisal of the other and the least possible effort. Real giving has its joy in imagining the joy of the receiver. It means choosing, expending time, going out of one’s way, thinking of the other as a subject: the opposite of distraction. Just this hardly anyone is now able to do. At the best they give what they would have liked themselves, only a few degrees worse.

Says Theodor Adorno (Cf.)


Yeah? Well I don't! - Posted on 2012-11-28 15:35:09


Imagine that you have a friend who loves Schumann and hates Schubert, while you madly love Schubert and Schumann bores you to tears. What kind of record would you give your friend as a birthday gift? The Schumann he loves, or the Schubert you adore? Schubert, of course. If you gave him a record of Schumann you’d have the unpleasant feeling that such a gift would not be sincere and would be more like a bribe calculated to flatter your friend. After all, when you give someone a present, you want to do so out of love, you want to give your friend a piece of heart! And so you give him Schubert’s Unfinished, and the moment you leave he’ll spit on it, put on a rubber glove, gingerly pick up the record with two fingers, and throw it in the wastebasket.

Says Milan Kundera (Cf.)


From The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas - Posted on 2012-11-27 22:50:13


ART. Shortest path to the poorhouse. What use is it since machinery can make things better and quicker?



HOMER. Never existed. Famous for his laughter.



WAGNER. Snicker on hearing his name and joke about the music of the future.

Says Gustave Flaubert (Cf.)


To be out of tune - Posted on 2012-11-27 21:23:50


To begin with, let us come to an agreement on what it means to be out of tune (vocally out of tune, that is—to simplify the discussion which, in any case, might hold for any kind of dissonance). To be out of tune does not apply, as is commonly believed, to someone who reproduces by singing, whistling or humming a song or musical phrase in an inexact fashion, departing more or less from the original score: at the most one could accuse such a person of a meager musical memory. Nor—I'll go so far as to say—does it apply to someone who, by his faulty reproduction, offends against the norms which by tradition and general consent regulate the relationships between sounds or groups of sounds. (Modern music could offer comfort to such a person!) To be out of tune applies only to those who each time that they repeat a song, repeat it always differently and always offend the above-mentioned norms and never (except by some inexplicable accident) adhere to the original score, it being understood, of course, that they are not aware of it and on the contrary are firmly convinced each time that they are reproducing the score to the letter. In short, to be out of tune consists precisely in the inability to have any sort of relationship with the score, or to establish a steady point of reference in the great tossing sea of sounds.

Says Tommaso Landolfi (Cf.)


Octothorp - Posted on 2012-11-27 21:00:46


Otherwise known as the numeral sign. It has also been used as a symbol for the pound avoirdupois, but this usage is now archaic. In cartography, it is also a symbol for village: eight fields around a central square, and this is the source of its name. Octothorp means eight fields.

Says Robert Bringhurst
#


Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow - Posted on 2012-11-27 14:54:25


It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen.

Says Jerome K. Jerome (Cf.)


Jerome, Jerome... That name will always remind me of him. - Posted on 2012-11-27 14:51:51


Jerome K. Jerome was born Jerome C. Jerome, after his father, who was born Jerome Clapp and later renamed himself Jerome Clapp Jerome. The Clapp then became Klapka for Jerome Jerome Jr., after György Klapka, an exiled Hungarian general.


NAME THIS - Posted on 2012-11-27 13:22:43


Gradually arrive at what this is through at least ten guesses.

Says Shūsaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins

NAME THIS

NAME THIS (detail)


Endure! - Posted on 2012-11-27 00:17:50


There was once a man (reputed to be the wisest in the world) who, although living to an untold age, confined his teaching to the one word of advice: 'Endure!' At length a rival arose and challenged him to a debate which took place before a large assembly. 'You say "Endure",' cried the rival sage, 'but I don't want to endure. I wish to love and to be loved, to conquer and create, I wish to know what is right, then do it and be happy.' There was no reply from his opponent, and, on looking more closely at the old creature, his adversary found him to consist of an odd-shaped rock on which had taken root a battered thorn that presented, by an optical illusion, the impression of hair and a beard. Triumphantly he pointed out the mistake to the authorities, but they were not concerned. 'Man or rock,' they answered, 'what does it matter?' And at that moment the wind, reverberating through the sage's moss-grown orifice, repeated with a hollow sound: 'Endure!'

Says Palinurus (CC)

'Dry again?' said the Crab to the Rock-Pool. 'So would you be,' replied the Rock-Pool, 'if you had to satisfy, twice a day, the insatiable sea.'

Too says Palinurus (CC) (Cf.)


The First Day I Ever Laughed - Posted on 2012-11-26 13:29:52


The first day I ever laughed was June 2, 1981.

What was so funny the world may never know...


Thank you - Posted on 2012-11-26 13:27:21


Thank you for letting me know that there are people out there that can get you better than you thought you could be got.

Says Grey McMurray (Cf.)


Progress? - Posted on 2012-11-26 13:08:47


I don’t think you can talk about progress in art—movement, but not progress. You can speak of a point on a line for the purpose of locating things, but it’s a horizontal line, not a vertical one. Similarly the notion of an avant-garde is a bit off. The function of the advance guard in military terms is exactly that of the rear guard, to protect the main body, which translates as the status quo.

Says Donald Barthelme. (Cf.)


Imagine That - Posted on 2012-11-26 13:03:29


The man who can't visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.

Says André Breton


Joy to the world! Respect In Yule is come! - Posted on 2012-11-26 12:26:59


The Respect Sextet's newest recording, Respect In Yule [Mode/Avant 2012], will be available tomorrow, 11/27!

Respect in Yule ranges from ecstatic to introspective, from the popular to the obscure, from the sacred to the secular. Featuring guest spots from new-music stalwarts Ensemble Signal and the JACK Quartet and guitarist Marco Cappelli, Respect In Yule shall be unto the world an instant holiday classic, belonging in the collection of any self-respecting listener, bringing with it tidings of great joy.

Get it at all your favorite online retailers and many of your favorite record stores!

For more details, head over to www.respectsextet.com.

Respect In Yule!


A Topological Poem - Posted on 2012-11-26 12:18:55


Showing a colleague a double LP that's at my desk,
He checks out the tune listing on the back cover.
'How does this record have four sides?'
He says...


Friday's performance with HappyFunSmile at DROM! - Posted on 2009-11-09 15:10:56

Here's the poster for this Friday's HappyFunSmile performance at DROM, a really cool venue in New York (click to embiggen):

HappyFunSmile at DROM!

The show will be full of exciting performers and will feature on the walls the crazy and beautiful art of John Wellington!


Upcoming Respect Sextet performances at Caffe Vivaldi! - Posted on 2009-11-09 14:43:22

Respect is in the midst of a residency of sorts at Caffe Vivaldi in the West Village. It's one of our new favorite places to play! Part of it is the low-key, cafe vibe, and part of it is the great piano they have (Red is never so happy as when he gets to sit down at a real acoustic piano in a NYC venue); and the staff is great too!

We hope you'll join us for the following Sundays in November and December:
Sunday, November 22nd
Sunday, December 6th
Sunday, December 20th

all shows begin at 7:30pm
www.caffevivaldi.com

CHECK OUT THE POSTER BY CLICKING HERE


Drake v. Swift - On Fame - Posted on 2009-10-13 11:09:29

from Nick Drake's Fruit Tree (1969):

Fame is but a fruit tree
So very unsound.
It can never flourish
Till its stalk is in the ground.
So men of fame
Can never find a way
Till time has flown
Far from their dying day.
Forgotten while you're here
Remembered for a while
A much updated ruin
From a much outdated style.



from Jonathan Swift's A Tale of a Tub (1704):

“…because I have a strong inclination before I leave the world to taste a blessing which we mysterious writers can seldom reach till we have got into our graves, whether it is that fame being a fruit grafted on the body, can hardly grow and much less ripen till the stock is in the earth, or whether she be a bird of prey, and is lured among the rest to pursue after the scent of a carcass, or whether she conceives her trumpet sounds best and farthest when she stands on a tomb, by the advantage of a rising ground and the echo of a hollow vault.”


Drake Vs Swift



Respect - new record, new website, new(s)week! - Posted on 2009-06-21 22:32:32

It's been a great few months for the Respect Sextet.

On April 21, Respect's latest album, Sirius Respect: The Respect Sextet play the music of Sun Ra and Stockhausen, was released on Mode Records. Respect celebrated the release of the record in late May, performing for a packed crowd at Le Poisson Rouge. You can read a review of the show by friend of the band, Jason Crane, here.

In other respect news, our website, www.respectsextet.com, has been completely revamped and, among other things, has a whole slew of new free mp3s for your listening pleasure.

Lastly, Respect got a pretty cool bump from the good folks at Newsweek. Check out page 63 of the print edition of the June 22 edition (with "The Capitalist Manifesto" cover). Here's a sneak peek.


Lots of upcoming shows! - Posted on 2009-04-19 12:30:36

Check the events page for the nitty gritty.

Hope to see you all at every show! (Don't forget to bring your friends!)


Gotham Remains - Posted on 2009-01-07 15:18:31

Back when I first started temping at Bear Stearns, one of my comforts came in the form of walking the block and a half to the Gotham Book Mart to while away my lunch hour. In the summer of 2007, however, the store was closed permanently.

I have fond memories of rolling through their collection (their Gorey collection in particular was amazing!), and certainly purchased more than a few great books there.

Shelved In NYC, a great library-focused blog by friend Alex Crosier, reports that much of what remains of the GBM collection (About 200,000 items) have been donated to U Penn.


Effective and practical ways to confuse people over the phone - Posted on 2008-12-04 14:38:55

Forget the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, try using the following next time you have to spell something over the phone:

N as in "nary"
M as in "man sea"
B as in "beater"
P as in "poi"*
S as in "shrank"
F as in "fam"
D as in "dom"**
T as in "Tay vid"***


*poi is a Hawaiian food of taro root cooked, pounded, and kneaded to a paste and often allowed to ferment
**dom is an abbreviation domestic dominant dominion
***Tay is a river, 120 miles (193 kilometers) long, in central Scotland flowing into North Sea through Loch Tay and Firth of Tay


Type is Art - Posted on 2008-11-13 11:28:26

Get creative with the fundamentals of typography!
www.typeisart.com

Check out one of my better attempts, Apple:

Apple by Josh


Material Sounds - Posted on 2008-11-11 09:40:05

From Julian Barnes' novella, The Pocupine:

Those inside the demonstration could distinguish from nearby the different notes that were being struck: the dead, dully echoing sound of aluminium on aluminium, the higher, more martial cry of wood on aluminium, the suprisingly light mess-time call of wood on iron, and the heavy, road-mending sound of aluminium upon iron.


Respect at The Stone - Posted on 2008-11-10 12:11:12

Saturday, November 8th

(Thanks to Chris Wicks for the photos.)

The Respect Sextet at The Stone


The Respect Sextet at The Stone


The Respect Sextet at The Stone


The Respect Sextet at The Stone


Click here for more, including pics of the Wierenga Manoeuvre from the same night.


Obama - Posted on 2008-11-05 15:20:13

What an amazing night.

Jen and I watched the the election results pour in at a bar on 19th St until about 10:30pm. We knew Obama was close when CNN projected Pennsylvania and Ohio for him. We took the train back to brooklyn thinking we'd be up all night waiting for a result. Walking from the train stop in Brooklyn towards our apartment, we heard an enormous cheer coming from a restaurant at the end of our block. We ran up to the windows (the place was packed) and were able to see CNN's headline "Barack Obama elected President" - people were cheering and hugging and crying and laughing. We headed back home to watch the McCain concession speech (VERY well done, indeed), but the sounds which shook Fort Greene drew us back outside, and we found the street FILLED with people (Jen and I guessed around 1000 in that one intersection alone). Total celebration; drinking on the streets; people were jamming on drums and pots and pans; chanting abounded.

In an effort to hear Obama's acceptance speech, several of us squeezed into a small hair salon called Snip Snap. We watched the speech and tears were flowing. Obama's speech was absolutely stirring. My favorite moment was when he subtly referenced the Sam Cook song, A Change is Gonna Come:

"It's the answer that—that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America."

Certainly, there is hard work to come for President-elect Obama, but the rest of us can breathe a little easier knowing that the course we've been on over the last 8 years might finally be changed for the better.


Some pics from last night's impromptu Fort Greene Victory Celebration:

Fort Green Celebrates Obama Victory


Fort Green Celebrates Obama Victory


Fort Green Celebrates Obama Victory



Jiri Grusa's Foot Note - Posted on 2008-10-26 14:43:36

"That maneuver of stretching forth a leg when about to fall--that was one of my best ideas.... The leg is simply extended right in the middle of a fall and this maneuver produces walking, independent motion through space."


Stendhal's Footnote - Posted on 2008-10-26 14:31:36

1. Historical fact. Many people, although extremely inquisitive, are shocked at learning news; they fear to appear inferior to the person informing them.


Great treasures and wonderful hidden things - Posted on 2008-10-13 01:52:26


Sylvère Lotringer: When Patrice Chéreau staged Quartet at Nanterre in 1985, he said: “It’s such an intelligent reading of Les Liaisons dangereuses. It’s as it Müller had recomposed the novel from memory.” He should have said, decomposed
Heiner Müller: I rather like the “from memory,” because I never read the book! I mean I read it, but in zig-zag fashion. If I had read it in detail, I would have lost the impact, the power of the text…
Lotringer: Understanding a text the way a reader or a critic would is not really what you’re after.
Müller: No. First I eat it then I understand.

Lotringer: Reading is a luxury.
Müller: Yeah, an absolute luxury. Eating literature is faster.

—West Berlin, 1988 (published in Germania)


§


Though I’ve long loved to comb through and pore over books, it is certainly the case that I don’t retain things “the way a reader or a critic would.” I’ve never been very able to communicate plots or scenes—even from stories I know well—in any way that would let me pass as a storyteller. This was an issue for me throughout my school years, where comprehension was often measured by one’s ability to recount the story’s shape and theme.

What I remember from books are snippets, quotes, phrases, and, more than anything, a fuzzy emotional glow. The feel of reading Stegner’s Angle of Repose while sitting on a cold Oregon beach, chatting with a friend about our own family histories; the urban brutality in Buford’s Among the Thugs which I read on the subway, while listening to Stevie Wonder’s Sunshine In Their Eyes; the strange connection I felt reading Bloom’s Jesus and Yaweh during the Passover holiday; the intensity of reading Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin before a close friend’s wedding.

I finish only a modest percentage of the books that I read. It’s not unusual for me to be “in the middle of” 10-15 books. My method of hopping from book to book is haphazard but perhaps not totally without reason. It often starts with a recommendation by a friend (so began my love of Donald Barthelme’s writing), or a friendly bibliography (I discovered G.K. Chesterton through a footnote), a mention within another book (I learned of Boccaccio’s Decameron from Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium). From there, the book suggests its own links. Sometimes a chain is begun by chance: I picked up the hilarious The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow because I thought Jerome K. Jerome was a funny name; my love for Giacomo Leopardi’s writing began with the enjoyment of a book cover.

One of my favorite books that I discovered by chance, while browsing the shelves back when I worked at Barnes & Noble, was The Unquiet Grave by Cyril Connolly (under the pseudonym Palinurus). The book seemed written especially for me. No plot, no characters as such; just a collection of musings, aphorisms and quotes. He, like Leopardi, had a most blindingly acute way of expressing the sadness of the world. One quote, though, has always been for me a source of hope and an ultimate expression of my feelings toward reading:


"Like the glow-worm; dowdy, minute, passive, yet full of mystery to the poet, and passionate significance to its fellows; so everything and everybody eternally radiates their dim light for those who care to seek. The strawberry cries, 'Pick me'; the forgotten book, in the forgotten bookshop, screams to be discovered. The old house hidden in the hollow agitates itself violently at the approach of its pre-destined admirer. Dead authors cry "Read me"; dead friends cry, "Remember me"; dead ancestors cry, "Unearth me"; dead places, "Revisit me"; and sympathetic spirits, living and dead, are trying continually to enter into communion. Physical or intellectual attraction between two people is a constant communication. Underneath the rational and voluntary world is the involuntary, impulsive, integrated world, the world of Relation in which everything is one; where sympathy and antipathy are engrossed in their selective tug-of-war. We learn a new word for the first time. Then we meet it again in a few hours. Why? Because words are living organisms impelled to a crystallizing process, to mysterious agglutinative matings at which the word-fancier is sometimes privileged to assist. The glow-worms light up....The individual also is a moving mirror or screen which reflects in its motion an everchanging panorama of thoughts, sensations, faces and places, and yet the screen is always being guided to reflect one film rather than another, always seeking a chosen querencia. In the warm sea of experience we blob around like plankton, we love-absorb or hate-avoid each other, or are avoided, or are absorbed, devoured and devouring. Yet we are no more free than the cells in a plant or the microbes in a drop of water, but are held firmly in tension by the pull of the future and the stress of the past."
—Cyril Connolly, The Unquiet Grave


I remember a funny instance of being misled by those living word-organisms: I was reading Julian Barnes’ Flaubert’s Parrot, an intensely beautiful vision of Gustave Flaubert, revolving around a fight for authenticity between two stuffed parrots. Towards the end of the book, I found a phrase which Barnes takes from Flaubert’s Madame Bovary which struck me as particularly poignant:


“Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.”


I knew I’d read that phrase before. I hadn’t (and still haven’t) read Madame Bovary, so it wasn’t that. It’s true that at the time I’d been listening incessantly to Randy Newman’s album Sail Away, and perhaps I’d imagined hearing that line within the song, Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear; but no such luck. I was convinced it’d been quoted in the book I’d just finished, Peter Handke’s The Left-Handed Woman. I went through every page trying to locate this little quote. I was so convinced that after finding nary a bear reference in my first flip through, I re-read the book. Again. And again: no bear, no kettle; no stars.

Finally, I was distraught enough to imagine that I’d in fact read the quote earlier in the book. I began again at page one; hunting for bears. Turns out I had seen it earlier in the book—twice. In Barnes’ multifaceted look at Flaubert’s life and work, he used this same quote in three places, each as if for the first time. It had become lodged in my mind the first two times, and only the third time did it appear as a friend, waiting to be unveiled.


“Words came easily to Flaubert; but he also saw the underlying inadequacy of the Word. Remember his sad definition from Madame Bovary: 'Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.'" (page 19)

“He flirts occasionally with the rhinoceros and the camel as self-images, but mainly, secretly, essentially, he is the Bear… 'Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity'” (page 51)

“Other people think you want to talk…hinting that they won’t be embarrassed if you break down. Sometimes you talk, sometimes you don’t; it makes little difference. The words aren’t the right one; or rather, the right words don’t exist. 'Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity'” (page 161)


§


This past week I experienced an extremely powerful incident that again reminded me how alive words can be.

I had just recently finished Alberto Manguel’s newest book, The Library at Night, a stunning book about book collecting of all types (from National Libraries down to mobile “donkey libraries” in rural Colombia) from an array of perspectives—space, chance, order, shape, myth, etc. When I finished it, I picked up a book by Rabelais, which I’d begun 2 years earlier, but had put it down about halfway through. The book is Gargantua & Pantagruel, an epic (and funny!) tale written in the 1500s, which I’d discovered partly through Milan Kundera’s writings, and partly because it was a seminal influence on Donald Barthelme’s work. So these were the two things on my mind.

Cut to a temple in Brooklyn on Yom Kippur; I was early for the final service of the day, and struck up a conversation with the Rabbi. We got on the subject of God, and he was telling me about some old texts that, in a very frank manner, discussed the physical dimensions of God. I replied that I’d recently read a description of God’s size that went something like, “God is a circle, whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere.” Of course, I couldn’t tell him where I’d read it or what the source was, but I did promise to get back to him. In doing so, I came upon some beautiful connections.

I knew, as the quote was so fresh in my mind, that I’d read it in either the Manguel book or the Rabelais. After a little hunting in Gargantua, I remembered that I’d read it in The Library at Night. Without too much trouble, I found the quote, taken from Manguel’s concluding chapter:


“If the Library of Alexandria was the emblem of our ambition of omniscience, the Web is the emblem of our ambition of omnipresence; the library that contained everything has become the library that contains anything. Alexandria modestly saw itself as the centre of a circle bound by the knowable world; the Web, like the definition of God first imagined in the twelfth century, sees itself as a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”


Luckily for me there was a footnote to give me the source of Manguel’s claim; unluckily for me, the footnote read as follows:


El libro de los veinticuatro filósofos, ed. Paolo Lucentini, trans. Cristina Serna and Jaume Pòrtulas (Madrid: Siruela, 2000)


Unable to speak Spanish, I turned to that very thing Manguel blesses with that infinite metaphor: the Web. A Google books search led me to various sources. One, which seemed a likely candidate, was Alain of Lille), a twelfth century French theologian and poet. But another source that that the search had turned up caught my eye: Jorges Luis Borges’ Labyrinths. In it, there is a short essay called The Fearful Sphere of Pascal, wherein Borges takes this particular metaphor and traces it through the ages. From my late night skim, I notice that Borges does indeed attribute the quote to Alain of Lille, though notes that he probably got the idea from Hermes Trismegistus. He also traces the metaphor outward to the work of Pascal, who wrote, “Nature is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere.”

I went to sleep that night thinking about the connection between Borges and Manguel: when Manguel was a teenager working in a bookshop in Buenos Aires, the by-then-blind Borges had hired him to read books aloud to him in his library.

It wasn’t however, until the next day that the ultimate connection was uncovered.

That morning I’d packed two books in my work bag: Gargantua & Pantagruel and Labyrinths (to read Borges' Pascal essay in greater detail). It was on the subway ride home that I cracked open Labyrinths to confirm, in daylight, the discoveries from the night before. In the essay’s third paragraph (which I’d only skimmed previously), I came upon the following:


“In the thirteenth century, the image reappeared in the symbolic Roman de la Rose, where it is given as a citation from Plato, and in the encyclopedia Speculum Triplex; in the sixteenth century, the last chapter of the last book of Pantagruel…”


"Pantagruel."

My jaw went slack and then participated in one of the widest smiles the New York subway system has ever seen. As the packed train shook forward, I reached into my bag and flipped to the last chapter of Pantagruel to find this:


“Go, my friends, under the protection of this intellectual sphere, the centre of which is at all points and the circumference at none, and which we call God; and when you come to your country bear testimony that great treasures and wonderful things are hidden beneath the earth.”.


Indeed.


FACE gaining traction - Posted on 2008-02-06 11:21:13

After about 8 months of slow-burning improv (including residencies at People's Improv Theater, The Magnet, and now Brooklyn's Galapagos Art Space), the actor/musician collective known as FACE is beginning to pick up speed. Its first substantial review (albeit by a college paper) is glowing, and, as far as I know, it was not written by anyone in the group's mother. Here's an excerpt from the Fordham Observer:

FACE Improv's Jan. 18 performance at Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg screamed of talent overload, with music, laughter and spontaneity pouring out the door of the tiny space. Their jokes ebbed and flowed sporadically, as the musicians embellished each minute of the show with their equally theatrical and relevant jazz....To even the most seasoned show-goer, FACE will throw the idea of improvisation into a new light....Upright Citizens Brigade and other improv shows might now seem slightly bare in comparison, and I'm not sure that I would exactly trade FACE for a night at the Blue Note. It's the combination of both that makes the show so unique.

Read the complete review here.

Check out my previous FACE post here.


respect @ bop shop video from december 2006 - Posted on 2008-01-21 19:05:44




respect on youtube.com


rochesterians! mark your calendars! - Posted on 2008-01-17 10:53:14

from www.bopshop.com:

We at the Bop Shop were very disappointed that we weren’t able to bring you the third annual Respect The Holidays concert with the Respect Sextet this past December. Unfortunately schedules on both sides were unable to synch up, so we postponed it until a later date. And we’re pleased that we are now able to bring you New York-based Rochester nurtured, the fabulous Respect Sextet!

The guys have been up to a lot this year both individually and as a group, gigging around New York. They played a gig at the Stone performing a piece by Brad Lubman with violinist Olivia DePrato and cellist Lauren Radnofsky. But most exciting is news that they’ve recorded their next release. Those of you who attended last year’s concert were given a sneak preview of it with Respect playing the music of Sun Ra and Karlheinz Stockhausen. We have a feeling this next disc is going to really turn people’s heads.

We’re looking forward to this concert. A Respect Sextet gig is guaranteed fun for the (discriminating) musical family. Who knows what they’ll play? They probably don’t even know what they’ll play. But we know whatever it is, it’s going to be a show you won’t want to miss. We may not be respecting the holidays with this one but be assured that the band will be respecting you with some great music.

Check out the Respect Sextet’s website for the latest news at: http://www.respectsextet.com and their My Space page at: http://www.myspace.com/respectsextet

concert info:
Tuesday February 26th
8pm - $10 donation requested
The Bop Shop Atrium at the Village Gate Sq.
274 N Goodman St.


to make these things - Posted on 2007-09-04 14:47:33

written sunday, 24 June 2007, for www.thetipdown.com - as yet unposted.

several months ago, i was approached by my good friend and long time musical collaborator, red wierenga, about joining a group that was about to form which would combine improvised music with improvised theater. i agreed, and we began several weeks of intensive rehearsals in preparation for our first string of gigs to take place at the PIT (peoples improv theater). those rehearsals were striking in their rawness: we were all feeling out a new art form, in which actors and musicians were forced to co-exist and to make things of which we did not know what they were. the musicians' material was suddenly a companion to text and even plot; the actors' flights could be jolted or couched from one instant to the next by a shifting score. one of the more difficult things to get hold of was this constant power-shifting from musicians to actors: who's influencing who here? from time to time we would each fall into traps set by our experiences and our expectations. the goal of many of the rehearsals was to shake off these shackles to allow for the new to make the grand appear. this group of 4-5 actors and 4 musicians, now with the moniker FACE, took to the stage for the first time on friday, june 8th, following a prop-heavy comedy improv group. what sets FACE apart from most PIT performers (besides the equal billing of actors with musicians--and indeed the presence of musicians at all) is that while most acts would be categorized as "comedy improv," we'd set our goals on being an improvising group in the larger sense: comedy and absurd dialogue would appear, ideally, but so too could dance, movement, song, stillness, pantomime... in fact it's that aspect of the group that makes it so difficult to judge the success of the performances. within musical improvisation, this feeling is also reached when one removes the potential coil of "the genre" and just plays. when you make the decision that anything goes (and you're not just going to restrict yourself to a cyclical musical form), there can be a strange connection between the ecstasy of choosing, and the vertiginous nausea at the number of choices. indeed, many musicians who claim to play "free improvisation" are covertly restricted to their desired image of what that "should sound like." composer karlheinz stockhausen refers to the utopic improvised music as "intuitive music" and urges people who practice it to in fact avoid what is habitual in one's playing:

"of course sometimes you get rubbish. the first sign of it is when preformed material appears, citations, when you are reminded of something that you already know. then we feel it's going wrong, that instead of automatically recording, there is something in us automatically playing back recorded rubbish.... while there may be no pre-established style for the whole music, certain stylistic elements come into it, and i would try to avoid them, and draw completely on intuition.... whenever the groups come into rage, as i call it, when their playing becomes very heated, [Portal, the clarinet player of the Globokar group] starts playing typical free jazz melodies and configurations that he has played for years, being a free jazz player: certain idioms that come from the group he plays free jazz with, others that belong to the free jazz tradition in general."
(from "stockhausen on music: lectures & interviews" compiled by robin maconie)

of course, others have similar initial feelings, but take quite different stances: i recall reading an interview with misha mengelberg and han bennink in a jazz magazine several years ago in which they commented on the fact that "swing" could co-mingle very well within "free improvisation." to them, the whole idea of freedom was that they could do what pleased them at that moment, and not be forced to play only the gestures commonly attributed to the free jazz idiom. or even, indeed, that they can lift melodies (citations) from traditional jazz. that's the freedom of misha and han: one that allows for a reluctantly ironic chorus of irving berlin's "white christmas" in the midst of more "intuitive" improvisations.

and it's this use of musical (and of course, theatrical) "call-backs" that FACE leans toward in her improvisations. our current work (we're only 3 live shows deep, mind you), like misha and han's, relies on pastiche---"the clownish face on social justice, a joke with deep seriousness," in the words of wendy steiner---to make new objects, of which we recognize some pieces, yes, but can't quite place our finger on what they are. i'm reminded of an image from arakawa and madeline gins' book, "the mechanics of meaning" wherein there's a photo of an object---a sort of dowelish thing made up of what seem to be worn wooden beads---with scrawling underneath that reads: "gradually arrive at what this is through at least ten guesses." it's in the avoidance of this engagement with the sort-of-known that stockhausen's theories of intuitive music tend almost to pale. the space between the unknown and the almost-unknown is where the most potent art---musical or otherwise---appears to reside.


check out FACE online at: http://www.myspace.com/faceimprov


once - Posted on 2007-07-12 22:08:48

"October 5

Have decided to keep a diary because this may be a turning point in my life. Once before I thought there was a turning point, but I did not pay attention and lost track of whether it was or not."

from "Balloons Are Available" by Jordan Crittenden (1967)


an update for james - Posted on 2007-04-03 12:48:59

an update for james,
he couldn't deal with silence.
i hope he's happy.


organ party - Posted on 2007-02-13 09:30:00


another bit of funny from marriedtothesea.com:

an hilarious comic


no more cricket cage, no more cricket... - Posted on 2007-02-13 09:21:00

this past weekend brought with it the final 6 shows in tada youth theater's run of the adventures of ezra jack keats: apt. 3 & maggie and the pirate. it was great fun to play for; the kids were fantastic and very talented, the music was fun- it's a great organization.

looks like i'll be playing for their next show (a revue featuring songs on the topic of 'school') - performances begin friday, april 13th.


state of the rostrum - Posted on 2007-01-24 09:59:00

the word rostrum (latin for 'beak' or 'prow', used with regard to the platform a speaker stands on while giving a speech - the most famous of which is the 'rostra' in the roman forum) doesn't come up all that often. i first heard of it while searching for anagrams of various phrases for use in my senior recital program notes. many were discovered using the classic 'strain-the-brain' method, but several of the longer phrases were put to the test using an online program i found known as the internet anagram server (check it out, it's pretty awesome). one of the phrases that it spit out was johnnie s. rostrum (an anagram of 'josh simon rutner'), and the rostrum/rutner connection was born...

so cut to this morning when i printed and began to read the transcript of our president's state of the union address, and lo! there the word lay, right in paragraph two:

"In his day, the late Congressman Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr. from Baltimore, Maryland, saw Presidents Roosevelt and Truman at this rostrum."

then it occurred to me: didn't i remember the same feeling of shock hearing our president (linguistacularly ill-adept as he is) shining that same word in the eyes of all those plain-spoken americans in his address last year? in a similarly bold, early paragraph placement, no less? i searched for the text of his previous SOTU speech, and in the process found an incredibly pertinent 'interactive graphic' from the new york times website. it allows you to search for any word used in any of bush's states of the unions, its frequency and its placement. incredible!

certain words get several hits every year (popular words like 'america' 'iraq' and 'terror' get anywhere from 20-60 uses per speech). rostrum, as i suspected, has popped up in SOTUs past, appearing one time each in 3 states of the union. last year's appearance occurred in the same paragraph (the 2nd); the introduction of the word into his 'state of vocabulary' during his 2004 address was a little bit more subtle, then appearing in paragraph 23 of 70:

"When I came to this rostrum on September the 20th, 2001, I brought the police shield of a fallen officer..."

check out this neat tool on the ny times website here.


so great - Posted on 2007-01-22 22:06:00

oh man, you have to check this out. i found this tune "pretty world" (originally performed by sergio mendes and brasil '66) on a live stevie record called "live" from 1970 (it's available on itunes under the "complete stevie wonder" set).

then i found this version as a duet with dianne carroll. i've never seen two people so sincerely happy singing with each other (nor have i seen such hilarious and gratuitous groping!). incredible. i can listen to that big modulation near the end a thousand and one times without flinching. on this version in particular, check out how stevie yells/sings "stop it!" when dianne keeps trying to crack him up - perfect.



lick of the week - Posted on 2007-01-15 02:10:05

hey saxophonistas! don't get caught without having investigated and internalized the sax shed's lick of the week!


hey internet! - Posted on 2007-01-15 01:57:00

don't make me come out the vase...

balls.

thanks to eli from steve from me for the links.


Michael Brecker; Dead at 57... - Posted on 2007-01-15 01:47:00

after two years of living with mds and then leukemia, this past saturday, michael brecker died.

i remember being very young and borrowing the cassette of don't try this at home from the penfield public library (the cover art of him balancing a tenor on his index finger remains ingrained in the brain to this day), memorizing every bit of information, obsessed, really.

dave pope introduced me to a lot of brecker's work, in particular, original rays, a tune ted poor and i couldn't get enough of for the majority of our freshman year of college.

most recently, i've been totally enthralled with this clip of michael playing in a sentimental mood on the EWI: check it out; it's some of the most expressive playing i've ever heard on an electronic instrument.



a terrible loss of a marvelous player.


give us your ted, your poor (and make it flashy) - Posted on 2007-01-10 12:13:00

sound the flumpet!
round the herds!
pop the corks!
sing the joyous song!
lift the cheer!
wake the children!
force the checkmate!
eschew the obfuscation!
espouce the elucidation!
raise the day!
join the chorus!
quit the band!
butter the toast!
engage the currents!
swing the taste!
button up the overcoats!
ready the rumble!
tip the hats, waiters and scales!

ted poor has a website!

that guy has gone without for far too long and has now warmed the hearts of many who before relied only on their instincts, words of mouth, and other people's websites, to figure out where ted was playing.

i met ted when we were wee youths ("WWWWY" for you roman numerologists); he, a dapper and precocious farmer boy, myself, a fire-eating circus performer. times, they were tough. in high school, we managed to get together a few times (including some fabled sessions with malcolm "the urban cowboy" kirby) to perform some of the hits of the day, including but not limited to "your eye is like an alabaster lug nut," "those were the days, my friend," "aint' no time like the present time ('cause the present time contains parties that don't stop)," and "snowy peaks of mountain dew."

theodore and i joined forced once again whilst gristing our musical mills at the prestigious eastman school of music (both graduating at the edge of our class - improbatur, egregia cum laude), located mere miles from the farm of his youth, and the tent of mine. a weekly engagement at a local watering hole kept us financially afloat for several years (combined with the bread and sugar rations from the university canteen, we lived like princes!), and we eventually found our way out of rochester, and hitchhiked down south. then we moved to new york.

ted and i still see each other once in a while, often playing music with our calliopes, relaxing by the pool, or protesting the system, and its discontents.

welcome to the world wide web of internets, ted!

please visit the official ted poor website here


a.c.g. - Posted on 2007-01-04 15:45:00

as i'm playing tonight with the andre canniere group, i thought it might be nice to post a pair of reviews that have appeared in the last few months of andre's record As Of Yet (available, as yet, on his website and iTunes). to listen to some tracks, check out dre's own audio page as well as his myspace page; enjoy!


Trumpeter Andre Canniere is yet another one of New York City’s young musicians who seeks to make music that not only draws on the worlds of Jazz, but also of Rock and elsewhere. While a member of several ensembles, Canniere takes his solo bow on As of Yet, a mix of four compositions performed in the studio, as well as three live “bonus” tracks that take the sheen out of two studio tracks and add a new tune. A look at Canniere’s bio and one can tell that the music contained here will likely reach beyond the traditional, citing influences that range from Maria Schneider to Wayne Shorter to Pat Metheny to Stravinsky to Jeff Buckley (you get the picture). With such signposts, the compositions are a far cry from the staid template contained on many Jazz records. Instead Canniere prefers to challenge his ensemble (all friends and 2003 graduates of the Eastman School of Music) to maximize the harmonic drama and consistently shifting rhythmic sequences. But it is the solo spaces that offer the most exciting moments, particularly the clean toned Canniere, as well as tenor saxophonist Josh Rutner, who is sure to follow in the footsteps of players like Chris Potter and Donny McCaslin, as well as guitarist Ryan Ferreira.

Although not specifically cited as an influence, several tracks bear the markings of writing that could have emerged from the pen of saxophonist Dave Binney, especially the lyrically sweet touches of “As Of Yet.” Following on the heels of the opener are the Blues-tinged “Bridges,” and the funky, yet incandescent rhythms of “Accelerated Decrepitude” that sounds like a mix of John Scofield’s “Picks And Pans” and funky Latin shadings. As for the latter, it is a vivid workout for the bustling rhythm section of bassist Ike Sturm and the increasingly in-demand drumming of Ted Poor, certainly the hidden force behind this date. As for the final cuts of the studio piece, the quintet glistens on the lovely ballad, “The Rest,” a forlorn piece that thrives on its countryish tones.

Perhaps the only minor complaint that can be levied at this session is that the studio atmosphere tends to foster a restrained sensibility that makes the more optimistic themes sound somewhat lightweight. While the live tracks are sonically distracting and almost seem tacked-on, they do present the group in a looser setting, one that fosters a heightened interactive state. The minimized polish on “As Of Yet” and “Accelerated Decrepitude” are enlightening, though the knotty “Thirteenth Species” is the high point. Featuring a driving rhythmic base, Rutner’s inspired solo over the tense rhythmic vamp, followed closely by Canniere’s own zealous ruminations presents, shows the group at its best.

Andre Canniere and his associates show a great deal of promise on this debut, particularly due to the compositional aspirations, as well as Rutner, Canniere and Ferreira’s improvisational work.

-Jay Collins, Cadence Magazine, October 2006

___

Trumpeter André Canniere's debut is aural evidence that good things can descend from the Ivory Tower. Every one of the players on As of Yet is an Eastman School of Music grad (Canniere in 2003), but they transcend the typical stereotypes often associated with university-trained musicians, the most common being that they “think” the music, rather than “feel” it. As this album shows, much of what used to be considered academic music has now been assimilated by a new generation of musicians who are as comfortable on the fringes as they are in the pocket. (In the interest of full disclosure, I've known several of these players for years.)

The recording opens with the title track, a slowly building collection of intricate melodies over a rock-solid bass line from Ike Sturm. Canniere and saxophonist Josh Rutner step into the ring to bob and weave around each other as the piece builds to a climax. The loose but intricate tune would be quite at home on a Dave Douglas or Ben Allison record.

Rutner opens “Bridges” in Brecker-Berg style—an aspect of his playing that's come out more in his Latin work than in his main band, The Respect Sextet. The loping gospel melody is propelled by the rolling drums of Ted Poor, who's been making a name for himself over the past few years in a trio led by trumpeter Cuong Vu.

“Accelerated Decrepitude” has a Balkan-influenced melody that leads into strong trumpet work from Canniere. Guitarist Ryan Ferreira opens the piece with long attack-less tones, then switches to pointed comping under the solos.

One programmatic issue with the record is a preponderance of slow, airy tunes. After the opening two tracks, the disc could probably have done without “The Rest,” another slow creeper. Cutting it, though, would mean doing without Ferreira's pointillistic and lovely guitar solo. It's not surprising that Ferreira is Canniere's guitarist of choice, given the trumpeter's previous work with Ben Monder, another guitarist who works wonders with wide-open spaces.

The CD closes with three live tracks of better-than-bootleg quality recorded at various New York City clubs in 2005. Ryan Ferreira mutates into a different creature on ”Thirteenth Species.” Gone is the Frisell sound and Mack truck-sized space between each note, replaced by a driving fuzz chop that propels Rutner to screaming heights. Then the music takes another left turn and Poor and Ferreira start a monstrous Metallica march behind Canniere's solo. Heady stuff. Live versions of “As of Yet” and “Accelerated Decrepitude” close the recording.

Despite a few more slow spots than necessary, As of Yet is a strong opening statement from Canniere, who has immersed himself in the New York scene with everyone from Maria Schneider and Donny McCaslin to the Westchester Chamber Orchestra and the New York Repertory Orchestra. His debut gives listeners a reason to wait at the bottom of the Ivory Tower to see what else might come down from the hallowed halls of academia.

-Jason Crane, All About Jazz , July 2006


newness. - Posted on 2007-01-01 23:30:00

after a successful tour by the respect sextet, we're gearing up for the recording of our new album (our first studio record since The Full Respect in 2003), Sirius Respect, wherein the music of Sun Ra & Karlheinz Stockhausen will be explored through respect-colored glasses. a truly remarkable feat, i remark.

stay tuned for more information on the new release!

happy new year! 2007 is the international heliophysical year, making it the perfect year for respect's new project.


hither and thither; barthelmania - Posted on 2006-11-17 21:52:00

i've been, for several years now, a fan of donald barthelme. his writing was introduced to me by trumpeter eli asher, when he read several passages from don b's short story the king of jazz. as one whose book-reading was always stratified, but usually abruptly cut short around page 100, barthelme's short stories were the perfect distillation of fiction. in fact, his style was so clean, so informed and so joyful, that i would often find myself bursting with laughter at a sentence like (i'm opening a book at random now,)

"When he came to look at the building, with a real-estate man hissing and oozing beside him, we lowered the blinds, muted or extinguished the lights, threw newspapers and dirty clothes on the floor in piles, burned rubber bands in ashtrays, and played Buxtehude on the hi-fi - shaking organ chords whose vibrations made the plaster falling from the ceiling fall faster."

phrases like "muted or extiguished the lights" still resonate with me. i want to bottle them, i want to give them away to people as gifts. i feel a warming over my heart - probably a jealous hatred in disguise: "how come I didn't think of it?!" - but warmth! like no other writer i've come across (leonard michaels, a close second). his humor is literally stunning; his references (buxtehude's organ works have never seen such fame!) come from a sense of all-encompassing care with all subjects. john barth recalls an answer barthelme gave to a johns hopkins student who asked how to become a better writer: "for starters, read through the whole history of philosophy, from the pre-socratics up through the last semester. that might help." the student replied, "but coach barth has already advised us to read all of literature, from gilgamesh up through the last semester...."
"that too."

for a while i thought barthelme's work consisted of two books: sixty stories and forty stories... i was too entranced at first to notice that they were anthologies. i investigated the "also by donald barthelme" lists and found a wealth of work that had every bit of momentum i had hoped for. City Life, Guilty Pleasures, Overnight To Many Distant Cities, Amateurs, Great Days, Sadness, Unspeakable Practices Unnatural Acts, Come Back Dr. Caligari. these were the short story collections. there were the longer works of fiction: The Dead Father, Paradise, The King, Snow White, the posthumous anthologies: Not-Knowing: The Essays and Interviews, The Teachings of Don B.: Satires, Parodies, Fables, Illustrated Stories, and Plays. among a few others (all much harder to find, but out there nonetheless) there was a children's book. a book that won the national book award in 1972. The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine, or The Hithering Thithering Djinn. it was so hard to find in stores so jen and i went to check it out from the library. the copy in circulation was "lost" and so we sat in the childrens section of the NY Public Library and read the 'non-circulating' copy to each other. she found a copy for me last year and gave it to me for my birthday; it's one of my favorite books still.

i was playing soccer with some friends and some friends of friends this past summer and one mentioned working at Farrar Straus & Giroux (the publisher that, in the 60s and 70s put out an enourmous amount of near-perfect literature including works by leonard michaels, grace paley, susan sontag, and barthelme). i told her about barthelme's children's book and how unfortunate it is that it only exists in one edition (its first). i remembered working at barnes and noble, and constantly checking the seach engine to see if any barthelme was being put back into print, and i watched the store's collection grow from sixty stories, forty stories and snow white, to include paradise (an interesting choice in my opinion), the dead father, and the king. cut to yesterday, when, while doing my searches for nice copies of old DB (barthelme was the first fiction-writing author after milan kundera that made me want to invest in hard cover books with the thought of passing them down to my children one day) i discovered, quite by mistake, that the slightly irregular fire engine, or the hithering thithering djinn, was back in print, for the first time since the seventies.

for a more-or-less complete list of barthelme's published work, check this out.


camp! - Posted on 2006-09-29 10:14:04

finally, i've put some pics up from my summer job, teaching music to kids at PS 25 in bed-stuy. check them out here.


“use it or lose it” - Posted on 2006-09-21 17:29:00

thanks to robert wood for pointing the above out to me; it has been a while since i’ve done the old update.

this summer was certainly one to remember. among other things, i got married! the ceremony was beautifully done, an incredible party (featuring the music of latin vibes), and an amazing honeymoon. jen and i are doing great.

the marriage came at the very tail end of another intense and exciting event: a two month teaching job at a summer camp for children in bed-stuy brooklyn called oasis. outfitted with about 13 conga drums and a cd player, i worked with about 350 kids a week, all between the ages of 7 and 14, helping them understand and appreciate music & simple laws of acoustics. it was such a blast, seeing the kids develop over the course of the two months. pics will be up in the coming week!

for stevie wonder fans: check this and this out. also, read the relatively recent book by steve lodder about the early 70s albums!

respect has been working hard to make things happen recently. we’ll be working on our new project which will include music by sun ra and karlheinz stockhausen. also, we’ll be hitting the road in december, ending up in the fair city of rochester, ny (our hometown!) for our now annual holiday show, “respect the holidays,” on december 19th! check the website for more details as they become solidified.


video clip from RIJF 2006 - Posted on 2006-06-15 14:37:00

here is a pretty hilarious clip from the final moments of the final set of respect's rochester international jazz festival performance! (here we perform the crowd-pleaser of all crowd-pleasers: a time to say goodbye). note, in particular, the running start as well as the final momentous chorus of joyful song!


jumping our way out of climate troubles - Posted on 2006-06-15 11:28:36

hey folks, it's that time of year again; time to busy ourselves preparing for world jump day. a day (slash, a moment) dedicated to driving the planet into a new orbit which would theoretically "stop global warming, extend daytime hours and create a more homogeneous climate."

either that, or we go spinning into the sun.

according to professor hans peter niesward, planet earth could be driven out of its current orbital rotation by way of a combined jumping force of (at minimum) 600 million people on the western hemisphere. enter your time zone to find out the exact time you should jump on july 20th of this year.


respect bears (with) its collective midriff at r.i.j.f. - Posted on 2006-06-14 15:07:00

this past weekend, the respect sextet played in its hometown, rochester, ny for the 5th annual rochester international jazz festival. it was particularly poignant as we welcomed long lost original respect bassist malcolm kirby back in the fold. after a quick rehearsal and delicious carb-induced coma at the wierenga household, we headed downtown to the street we know all too well from our days as eastman students, GIBBS. wait, what's that? oh, my apologies, this is jazz festival season- "jazz street."

ahem.

the weather was beautiful (which was nice- it had rained only days before) and the crowds were fantastic! they filled gibbs street and were, i thought, suprosingly attentive for an outdoor crowd- the few times we broke down into quiet improvisationals, there was almost a feeling of being in an intimate club; really beautiful quiet.

most of the set was filled with rowdy outdoor crowd-pleasers, including a brand new composition by eli asher, many other originals, and choice covers such as albert ayler's "the truth is marching in" and boccelli's "time to say goodbye." many pictures were taken, some audio and video too. check back for more of that.

in the meantime, check out jameshirschfeld.com for a pictoral play-by-play of respect's trip.


respect | even more ziz - Posted on 2006-06-09 11:03:00

several things to report since last we’ve spoken:

-the respect sextet performed this past monday night at cornelia street cafe to a wonderful crowd as part of this year’s bulgarian seasons of new york festival. the week before we had received a nice little write up from jim macnie in the village voice that read:

I hear oodles of Art Ensemble in the Rochester outfit, and it sounds good. Percussion passages, horn webs, a liquid sense of forward motion, and unity, unity, unity. If you're covering the snaky lines of Misha Mengelberg's "Hypochristmutreefuzz," you're jake in my book.

as i mentioned, the crowd was into it, and we were able to pull of our bulgarian-steeped set list (which included such gems as “copa-caba-nitsa,” “grape paidushko,” “unpaidushko,” “vermont,” “beer” and many more) with great aplomb. there is a chance we may travel to bulgaria next year to play a similar “respect meets bulgaria” concert. (ears to the ground, people, ears to the ground!)

-this coming monday night, respect will be on the “jazz street stage” (gibbs street, for you rochestarians) at 7:15 and 9:15 pm for two free outdoor shows! it looks like it’ll be a great festival. please stop by and hear us if you’re in the area (and don’t forget to visit the official record shop of the festival, the bop shop! here is the preview of respect’s festival show, listed in city paper’s guide:

Beloved locally, this group of Eastman alums (now based in New York) returns for what promises to be another edge-of-your-seat homecoming like the one that nearly brought the Village Gate roof down last December. Respect's music soars, swoops, and glides like some large, prehistoric bird --- at once formidable and majestic, but with a decidedly playful edge. Eastern European folk, toyish-sounding electronics, and general eclecticism all get anchored by drummer Ted Poor's enthralling, simultaneous command of drive and flexibility. Respect makes a lively ball of sound that sends color and good cheer exploding in all directions. -Saby Reyes-Kulkarni

-even more zizek last night! the second movie on slavoj this year, the reality of the virtual is less a film about zizek, than a film that is zizek. like a personal lecture, the movie is 71 minutes of monologue, very methodically laid out (at least in the beginning), with SZ never looking the camera in the eye (always speaking directly to whom i assume is an off-camera ben wright). because he speaks like he writes, it was very much as if the movie was a reading rather than a lecture. though towards the end, i found the film’s single shot vision slightly tiring on the ol’ eyeballs, as usual, slavoj’s knowledge of, passion about, and ability to communicate his material, provides an oft-needed set of arm ‘floaties’ that can help keep the able listener’s head above the rough waters of lacanian concepts. the movie has a very short run at the quad cinema, and it only showing once every two days, so if you live in nyc, check the schedule and go see it!


new shirts - Posted on 2006-05-19 12:17:45

after visiting the merch sites of the respect sextet and naked brunch, both of which feature my designs, check out the newly christened site, chest of drawers!


zizek! - Posted on 2006-05-08 15:46:48

i had the wonderful opportunity to hear philosopher/cultural critic slavoj zizek in conversation with simon critchley last week at labyrinth books. it was pretty great to witness him speak (i've seen and heard videos and mp3s, but when you're close enough to literally be spat upon by the lisping slovene, it's a whole new feeling!).

zizek dwarfed critchley throughout (critchley floundering around zizek's direct questioning of his stances; zizek dancing, ali-like, around the ideas of kant, hegel, lacan, whilst critchley spoke in busts of effete philosophical sound bites; zizek improvised wildly, picking up the scraps of the conversation and sharpening them into deadly arrowheads; critchley looked like a stuffy classical musician forced to socialize with a pack of bikers.

ok, it wasn't that bad, but as usual, zizek's acute insights and always entertaining diversions and digressions stole the show.
steve smith was there with me and asked a nice question about how zizek's mode of thinking mirrors/diverts from adorno's. zizek brought up schoenberg in his response, which was great for steve, as his diss could very well be centered around shoenberg and adorno. [incidentally, after the talk steve asked zizek if he planned on writing any more on music, and zizek said he probably wouldn't, but he would like to stage an opera at some point!]


part time blogger - Posted on 2006-05-04 12:04:41

respect sextet related:

respect has recently played two great gigs in nyc, the first, a short set at the knitting factory (with excellent guest drummer, take toriyama), the second, a classic respect double set at brooklyn's bar 4 with our own ted poor back at the helm.

the complete audio from the knitting factory gig (in mp3 format) is available here as well as on james hirschfeld's new and improved web page. in other respect news, we've been asked to perform as part of a bulgarian festival on monday, june 5th at cornelia street cafe. we'll be playing some re-writes of some older bulgarian-influenced respect gems, some brand new joints, as well as a couple bulgarian staples, thrown in as a matter of course. please come check it out if you're around!

lastly, an appeal to upstate new yorkers: respect will be making the grand reappear at the rochester international jazz festival on monday, june 12th at 7:15pm and 9:15pm outside on the "jazz street" (gibbs street) stage. it's a free show, so please come out en force, bringing friends and neighbors along!


so much to catch up on - Posted on 2006-02-09 14:19:00

so much to say, so much time to say it in...

i believe we left off with our heroes, the respect sextet, on a mini-tour up up to rochester, ny. the concerts went great, in particular, hanks saloon in brooklyn, and the bop shop in rochester. thanks to all who showed up to support the group. keep your ears to the ground for a new album (?) (!)

for those of you who couldn't make it out to hear respect last time, we've got a few gigs coming up! check the events page for more details.

in other news, i started working as an usher for jazz at lincoln center. not a bad gig; i get to hear some pretty good concerts.

anyone interested in learning about the political, social and musical history of jazz at lincoln center, should definitely check out the last chapter of eric porter's book what is this thing called jazz?.

oh yeah! been wanting to flaunt your love of the respect sextet, but don't know where to start? click here for the answer.

more info comin up!


steinwaves. - Posted on 2006-02-03 07:43:00

in honor gertrude stein's birthday (were she still alive, she'd be 132, which is really too old, even for ol' trudy), i'm posting an piece i wrote a couple years ago on stein and patriarchal poetry. enjoy!

______

She has it in her hand has it in her hand in her her hand she has has is it her palm is it her hand is it in her palm in her hand.

Listening to make one think about thinking to listen to make to listen to thinking about think about to one to make to make to make one listen to listening make one make to make one make to make to listen to one to listen with patriarch. With patriarch one thinking with to make to make one listen to one about poetry I think. When patriarch is to make one think one is to listen to think about one thinking with poetry listening to poetry listening to patriarchs listening to make to think to think about poetry about listening with poetry about patriarchs one listening to one listening one to listening two one when two won one.

How often it is to be male they are is to be male to be often male they are are they male often they are male is to be to be male how often to often to often to male often is to male not they male often enough. Male are on often they are on female to male on male on to be male on female they are male they are female they are to be male not often to be to be to female to female to male to is to male are they female to often not often enough to be male often is to be patriarch not to be to be male on female is on to be often be to often male patriarch.

Not to take what is taken what is given to take what one is given is taken away.

Long and far language for the masses makes tradition of language far for the language and for the masses and the tradition of literary and language tradition away for away for far masses and tradition of language makes long tradition far away for a way for masses away a long way for masses the language and tradition and for far a long far a way for tradition and masses and language taken, long for language a masses a way a mass a tradition and the tradition of long languages like this. For one way to for masses a tradition a long one way for to for one to one four one of four masses agree the far and long language of masses a way for one to make a way away far for to one for one to make language a way away. Tradition for masses makes a way for a way for one away to like language.

Hole in the wall.

There is nothing boring.

Bore a whole lot of nothing there holey shit.

Bore nothing a lot there as it is not that which is that which is boring but not that, as it is one who is bored a whole one who bored from that which bores one whole.

Have boring a lot as there is not a boring half but a whole boring hole bored in having a board.

In Zen they say, says John Cage, says I, so says you, say, If, say something is boring after say, to minutes, two minutes, try it for four. If, says I, says John Cage, says they of Zen, so says it, is still boring, try it for eight, four eight, for sixteen, four eight, for it, four thirty-two, so and so and so on. Eventually, we say, says all we all say they say, one discovers that it is not boring, nor boring or boring at all, in all, says all, we say but very interesting.

History lives.

History in satire resides.

History lives in satire.

History resides.

His story.

History does not side not live residing in satire.

Sometimes when I feel as you in gaining perspective in feeling perspective as feeling in you sometimes you feel as I.

Fathers bringing flowers bringing flies for daughters for being flowers bringing flowers being flies for being fathers for daughters for brothers being brothers and fathers fly and flies and being for being and being bringing flowers towards the edge of the poem that flies. For daughters for brothers for being for bringing for before bringing the poem that flowers for daughters and flies for fathers for brothers and before being brothers to daughters fathers and brothers bringing flies towards aunts. Brothers edge toward that flower for daughters the fathers bringing toward bringing flies bringing ants, bringing and being flies being flies being ants being towards daughters and aunts. Daughters for aunts for being for the poem the poem flies brothers for fathers and bringing flowers bringing being and bringing towards edge of being.

He represents they represent he starved opportunities starve it represent it be it beat it starve it represent representative it represents he they be it starve beat starve it represent opportunities he beat it.

What a patriarch is he.

Not for a patriarch such that he is.

No such thing as a patriarch is the thing as the patriarch thing.

We till until they tell us we are to tell us to till no more. Tell till to tell to till to tell us no to tell us no to tell to till to tell to until no till are we to tell until we can tell they tell we are tell till we are no more.

Don’t take to be afraid to take words out to take to out of their context and do make them make them themselves. She and words make their context out of something different she makes them unafraid she and words make words unafraid out of context naked something afraid of themselves out of make of them what words will come in and in and in out of context fading out in themselves and words and words will come out in their new place they’re new placed out of context words knew words will make of them new words in and out of context she knew she knew what could make words new out of place in a new place of context of words of different unafraid of themselves naked and out in a context and in of in words different in themselves and unafraid fade out fade out afraid out of afraid different unafraid of different context new context she knew she knew she knew of new she knew of unafraid new words unafraid of fading out of in different context words in place indifferent context in different place text indifferent of place and context themselves in different text in context out of new and different indifferent text placed out in themselves. Difference is she knew.

Tired I sat around tire sat a round a tire a tire I sat around tired around me. A tire a round tire a tire I tire I sat tired around a tired I sat a tired sat a tired round a round sat I tired me out around then now again around sat around I sat around I round a tired sat a sat a tire now a sat again now I sat again around a tired sat around me now then tired I sat around a round tire. Retire again a tired sat round a round retire again retire a tire then a tire now again then tire again retire again a round tire sat round a round tire sat around again now tired again retired now sat tired a round retired round a tire retired again sat again tired around me. I sat tired around a round sat tire retired a gain sat tired regain a gain again around a tire I sat tired gain sat tire sat regain retire I sat tired. I sat tired. This I satired.

Patriarchal satire.


respect the preparationals - Posted on 2005-12-15 11:09:00

with two rehearsals in the respect sextet's collective pocket, the group is ready to go! on the docket for this tour are great new compositions including red wierenga's "buy my shadow a beer," a beautiful new piece by james hirschfeld, ted poor's romping "stray alligater," and my "farcical built for six."

words are spreading like filed wire about the upcoming respect gigs. here's the blurb from this week's city paper in rochester:

The Respect Sextet adds just enough swing and easy bop that by the time its free-form explorations and freak-out hit, it's way too late to turn back. But then the band throws in unison runs and harmonies amidst the dissonant brass laughter to prove there actually is a plan.

On its way-cool new Respect In You, Respect takes the listener on a trip, but the map's on fire --- and so is the band.

It's hard bop. It swings. It challenges and instigates. It delightfully confounds. This is world-class American jazz at its finest and freest. It's pure truth. Respect the truth.
-Frank De Blase


come check us out!


the wonders of the human body in transit - Posted on 2005-12-09 11:25:00

a reflective update:

recently i've been walking through the main atrium at grand central station in the mornings and evenings paying particular attention to the commuter choreography; the transiter's two-step. what draws me in is the subtlety of the whole thing: with the slightest turn of the shoulder, the gentlest twist of the torso, a barely noticeable slowing down or speeding up, the travellers manage to avoid one another (if just barely). the beauty of the grand central dance (rather than, say, a busy street tango) is the fact that with at least a dozen entrances and destinations lining the space's edge, there are enormous possibilities of angled atrium-traversing. people coming from all directions (and at rush hours, at all times) finding their way through an ever-shifting comb of worker bees, using those wordless shifts of step and tweaks of body to prevent themselves from being trampled.


websites, websites, everywhere; and not a drop to drink. - Posted on 2005-11-29 13:57:00

the personal website- currency of our fragile digitopolis- has ensnared a few more of my wonderful, fine-feathered, and finally 'in-the-loop' friends recently.

just days ago, a personal website for the great jared schonig has been issued by webdesigner pj kelly and it's been tearing through visitors regularly since. (jared's drumming can make even the most dandy of us shout and daven uncontrollably.)

after months and months of teasing (take a cue, mike ross!), www.mattblanchard.com is finally live. great sound clips, existential musings, and a clean look, worthy of the boom design group.

a big virtual welcome to matt and jared! now two more sets of parents have a way to ensure that their child is alive without picking up a phone!

what a world...

"oh, don't worry, i'll just have my website get in touch with your website... they'll figure it out. i'll be listening to my iPod if you need me (i don't see why you would)." (with serenity)

for the ever-pulsating list of links, (and a cutesy editorial for each) go here.


press here. - Posted on 2005-11-21 16:44:10

for those of you unable to keep up with the deluge of respect reviews, check out the press page for a small conglomeration!


bolled over again: - Posted on 2005-11-16 18:39:46

whilst leafing through some old manuscript notebooks from my college years, i came across an heinrich boll quote, the source of which i was not thorough enough to jot down, scratched below a transcription of a john zorn compostion called "mahshav."

"yellow like the flames in a drunk man's brain, or pale green like the pain you felt when you woke up in the morning and looked at the face of your sleeping wife, a child's face, whose sole protection of life was those frail pink lids, fragile little covers which she had to open as soon as the children began to cry."


oh ruphus or, rufeous - Posted on 2005-11-15 16:31:00

a fortnight ago, a young man, dressed as an effeminate, sequin-braced, deep blue-robed son-of-a-god, was led, in front of a cheering mob, by two roman soldier impersonators, to a bright white cross, where he, with a fullness of voice one would unexpectedly expect from a man who had just gone through what he had just gone through, sang the words "better pray for yourself."

the young man was rufus wainwright; the cheering mob a conglomeration of new york elitists and hipsters; the young hero's burden? a swollen set of vocal cords, refusing to be easily controlled, and an incredibly demanding set list.

the concert had begun with great force: rufus singing his lungs out tune after tune, for about 6 tunes. then, after joking around that he was dancing so much because his pants had such an incredible flare (that he felt like a clydesdale, which he now knows a lot about; now that he summers in montauk), he mentioned that the next song he would sing was "very demanding" and, sarcastically, that he appreciated everyone watching him slaughter himself. the song was "go or go ahead," one of the many gems from his album "want one," and it is a bitch of a song to sing (not that i, in one, or two, of my less precocious moments, have attempted it, in, say, a stairwell, or a steam filled shower...)

and after singing it, his voice went, but he went ahead.

song after song, for the remainder of the concert did rufus push and strain, swoop and swoon; trying anything to appease the gods and get his orpheatic voice back.

while i sat transfixed, feeling like i was watching a boxing match in which one of the boxers' arms fell off, rufus was playing it off with gentle humor and candor. acknowledging his "funky" voice, he cracked, "i think it's kind of interesting..."

and when he wasn't sliding off of choked notes with a slightly embarrased "woah...," or grabbing running starts to scoop up to his shining high notes, he was brilliant.

by the time he had reached the jesus schtik, he had a good handle on what could've appeared as vocal divets, and was able to drive through such toughies as "beautiful child" and leonard cohen's "hallelujah."

if rufus' music doesn't have the folk flexibility of his father's, he does, at very least, carry on loudon's ability to roll with the punches that surely come with a great musician's challenging repertoire.


calipics|fullwindsor - Posted on 2005-11-11 10:38:00

i just updated the photos page with pics from jen and my california trip! (they're under "pictures josh took with a camera II")

in addition, yesterday, in grand central station (in grand central fashion), i randomly ran into my friend phil weinrobe, and he gave me a lesson in the art of the full windsor knot.

what a world...


favorite out of context quote of the day: - Posted on 2005-11-09 16:41:24

"hey man, i thought you were dead!"


editorialist conductors - Posted on 2005-11-04 12:23:43

funny thing happened on my south ferry bound 1 train yesterday. when we got to 34th street, the conductor said, triumphantly:

this is 34th street, penn station, home of the world's most famous arena, madison square garden!

how wonderful subway rides would be if all conductors took such care in describing their stops!


mini respect tour. - Posted on 2005-11-02 14:56:00

the respect sextet is back in business this december with a small tour, hitting upstate new york hotspots. if you live upstate, please come and bring your family and your family's family. also, you can support the band anytime by purchasing a cd right from the website!

for info as it becomes available, please keep an ear and an eye to the events page.


all (s)hallows' eve. - Posted on 2005-11-01 13:13:00

ah, october 31st...

like 'april in paris' and 'moonlight on the ganges,' halloween in new york has such a sweeping excitement about it (such that i can't believe no one ever wrote a broadway tune about it...). on the other hand, few things make me feel less comfortable than walking down 14th street amidst a friendly mob of vampires, cats, devils, pumpkins, skeletons, and, of course, the recently baptized scary costumes: 'slutty baseball player,' 'slutty airline hostess,' and 'slutty medievel warrior.'

what a holiday.

worse than the relative unease in the evening, wading through the ghoulish parade crowding 14th street, was the experience on the subway on the way to work that morning. a born-again christian scolded the manhattan-bound 5 train from nevins to 42nd street, railing against halloween and all it stood for, and praising jesus instead. uncomfortably squished in the commuter-filled train car, i had no escape, and despite my best efforts to drown her out by internal oral reading, her shouting persisted. as i squeezed my way out of the train at grand central station, i imagined a huge group of people, dressed for halloween as jesus, pushing their way into the train, pressing themselves ever-so-savior-like up to the evangelist, listening intently to her; beaming... ("hey! you were born again too? neat!")

i didn't dress up this year. well, not intentionally anyway. these days, since i'm working at a corporate establishment, my costume has been chosen for me: slacks, button-down shirt, tie, dress shoes. not the most original costume, but it sure gives me a scare in the morning.

moral of halloween this year:
if you want your friends and neighbors to swoon,
put your kid in a pumpkin costume.


i like it when you call me big papasov - Posted on 2005-10-30 14:53:00

i first heard a recording of ivo papasov and his bulgarian wedding band my freshman year of college. my mind was blown in one flash. i never knew music could sound like that. it's been six years, and last night i finally got to hear three of the guys who made that music: ivo papsov, yuri yunakov and neshko neshev.

the upper west side's symphony space was packed as carol silverman announced the 'legends of bulgarian wedding music.' out they straggled: first yuri, finely dressed in shirt and tie, trimmed goatee, smiling; next neshko neshev, accordion in his arms; then newcomer kalin kirilov, only 30 years old, a multi-instrumentalist who would play guitar and sing that night; salif ali, drummer extraordinaire, looks kind of like a long-haired bulgarian henry winkler ("hey!"); followed finally by ivo, clarinet in hand, gold teeth sparkling on either side of his knowing smile, an untucked buttondown shirt (allowing some wiggle room for one of the largest guts i've seen in a long time)... and they were off.

starting slowly, with some out-of-time balladeering, the band made their way into a medium tempo rachenitsa (dance in 7/16) which was fancy enough, but out of nowhere, ivo played a lick that more than doubled the tempo of the tune, and the band, like a pack of rabbits, followed tightly. jaws dropped. that medley of tunes lasted about 15 minutes; it was 15 of the most intense minutes of music i've ever heard.

besides ivo, my favorites of the band were neshko and salif. neshko, the elder of the group, was like a shine-eyed silent master. always there where he should be, always taking the music further, pushing himself, and always smiling. there was a magical moment when ivo came in with a line that was unplanned, and turning his head slightly, gave neshev a sly grin, but neshev just looked back and smiled: despite the surprise, he had already been playing in unison with ivo.
salif, whose smile grew more intense the harder he played, was as theatrical as he was talented. his improvisations were sheer brilliance.

for the most part ivo was calm and sturdy (weighed down partly by the tradition he all but birthed, partly by his bulging belly), center of gravity low; but every now and then, when some impossible sounding line seemed to ask a little something more of him, his feet would grip the ground, he would bend the clarinet upwards until it was almost touching his nose, and stare deep into the audience with the eyes of a man possessed.

the joy on the stage was particularly evident in yuri's constant egging-on of his compatriots. he would lean in while ivo or salif or neshko were soloing, and say something private, followed by huge heavings of bulgarian yelps to push the soloists even further.

well worth the wait to hear these guys live. if you can get your hands on any of their recordings (most of them out of print in the u.s.) you'll be glad you did.


[check back for more updates including a review of the newest kelly joe phelps record, and a writeup of the rufus wainwright concert that will happen this tuesday!]


respect reviewed in Cadence - Posted on 2005-10-29 00:02:00

here she is:

This group’s been around since 2001, and they already have several discs to their credit- a couple CD-Rs, a mini-CD of a twenty-minute version of Sun Ra’s “Call to All Demons,” and one full-length CD, The Full Respect. They have great chops and a great sense of humor, and they seem to play just about everything. (Robert Iannopollo calls them a “Jazzswinglatinbopbalkanfreeimprov band,” but if anything that sells them short.) The Full Respect has supercharged grooves peppered Art Ensemble-style with children’s toys, game-pieces, Dave Douglasy accordion-and-trumpet, a Charlie Parker/Bill Evans mashup, pitch-perfect Ellingtonia, klezmer, a TV commercial, a mangled trumpet rag (a joke at Wynton Marsalis’ expense?). It’s a fun and mightily impressive disc, even if it’s a little too close to the post-Zorn channel-flipping aesthetic.

Respect in You, recorded at a live gig from the band’s hometown of Rochester, NY, has all its predecessor’s virtues, but it’s less of a crazyquilt. It’s still witty and intelligent music, shot through with an allusive let’s-throw-this-in-the-pot sensibility, but there’s much less of an ironic distance: they seem in the grip of this music, and convey that sense of pressure to the listener too. They do a cover of Misha Mengelberg’s “Hypochrismutreefuzz” and stitch other Mengelberg themes into the rest of the album; perhaps what they’ve learned from Misha (or from another of their heroes, Sun Ra) is how to pry Jazz apart- to make it sound layered rather than seamless, an unstable compound of elements that can each recede or approach, become sharper or fray at the edges. Their reading of Fred Anderson’s “3 on 2” is a case in point. Emerging from a nebula of radio fuzz, it homes in on a swirling Coltrane-derived groove. The band’s delivery is authentically ecstatic: it’s as thrilling an opening to an album as any I’ve heard in the past year, all fifteen minutes of it. But the performance also makes use of weaving in-and-out shifts of texture and of emphasis within the ensemble, as a way of gaining and readjusting their (and our) perspective on this kind of ecstatic intensity. (Call it “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Fred Anderson.”) Sometimes this multiperspectivism is almost schematic: “Postal (a.k.a. PB&J),” for instance, sets two kinds of blues in dialogue, a “Blues for Alice” swinger and a “Black and Tan Fantasy” funeral march. It’s a clever idea- Bird talking back to Ellington- but it’s a lot more than that, not least because right in the middle of the piece there’s a black-hole collapse, all the bright bebop virtuosity squeezed dry until it’s no more than an ominous thrumming.

There’s much more that could be said- about the superb work of the individual players (saxophonist Josh Rutner, trombonist James Hirschfield, trumpeter Eli Asher, pianist/accordionist Red Wierenga, bassist Matt Clohesy, drummer Ted Poor); about the whimsical details and quotes that take multiple listens to ferret out; about the deviously snowballing “Hypochrismutreefuzz”, or “Riot of Light,” which to these ears is not so much joyful as an exploration of how joy is expressed in music, from Salvation Army hymnody to Aylerian ecstasy to a whirlwind tour of Latin and Caribbean dance rhythms. But suffice it to say that Respect in You is one of this year’s outstanding new discs, providing more food for thought and pure enjoyment than just about anything I’ve heard lately. Check it out.

-nate dorward, cadence magazine


new review for respect in you - Posted on 2005-10-26 16:09:00

my sources tell me that the november issue of cadence magazine includes a laudatory review of the respect sextet's Respect In You! the review was written by nate dorward, one of respect's newest and most vocal boosters.

i'll post the review when i get it in the next couple days.
(the magazine is not available online)


also, there is a fair chance that respect will be whizzing a short tour in december! keep your ears to the ground!


leopardi|baraka - Posted on 2005-10-25 21:36:00

the first explains my love for the second:


works of genius have this intrinsic property, that even when they give a perfect likeness of the nullity of things, even when they clearly demonstrate and make us feel the inevitable unhappiness of life, even when they express the most terrible despair, nevertheless to a great soul, that may even find itself in a state of utter prostration, disillusionment, futility, boredom and discouragement with life, or in the harshest and most death-dealing adversities (whether these appertain to the strong and lofty emotions, or to any other thing); they always serve as a consolation, rekindling enthusiasm, and though speaking of and portraying nothing but death, restore to it, at least for a while, the life that it had lost.

-giacomo leopardi, zibaldone 259-60

_______


preface to a twenty volume suicide note
(for kellie jones, born 16 may 1959)

lately, i've become accustomed to the way
the ground opens up and envelops me
each time i go out to walk the dog.
or the broad-edged silly music the wind
makes when i run for the bus...

things have come to that.

and now, each night i count the stars,
and each night i get the same number.
and when they will not come to be counted,
i count the holes they leave.

nobody sings anymore.

and then last night, i tiptoed up
to my daughter's room and heard her
talking to someone, and when i opened
the door, there was no one there...
only she on her knees, peeking into

her own clasped hands.


-amiri baraka (leroi jones)


new pics up! - Posted on 2005-10-25 12:24:00

with the return of the digital camera in my grubby little hands, i've taken the opportunity to post some brand new pictures! take a look in the photos section of the site, and click the "pictures josh took with a camera II" category!


gifts (take two or three, and call me in germany) - Posted on 2005-10-22 17:03:00

a beautiful thing happened a couple weeks ago:

seth brodsky, a friend of mine, now living in germany, and i, were on the phone talking about a package i had sent him. i metioned that, in addition to a pair of tube socks for his lovely wife jude, i had included a book by the great donald barthelme, "the dead father". after extolling the virtues of the book, he promised to read it, and return it upon completion. i told him that would be unnecessary as i already owned another copy. he reminded me that i've been known to do that, and asked whether i'd read jacques derrida's "donner le temps" (or "given time: 1. counterfeit money"). i said i hadn't, but i did believe that i had it on my shelf because before jen and i had moved into their apartment, jude gave me a copy and said i should read it some time. i had assumed they just forgot to pack it. as it turns out, seth informed me, the book was meant to be a belated gift for my last birthday, and that, in fact, he had purchased three identical copies as an homage to my compulsion.
the beauty showed itself as i began to read:

it suffices therefore for the other to perceive the gift- not only to perceive it in the sense in which, as one says in french, "on percoit," one receives, for example, merchandise, payment, or compensation- but to perceive its nature as gift, the meaning or intention, the intentional meaning of the gift, in order for this simple recognition of the gift as gift, as such, to annul the gift as gift even before the recognition becomes gratitude. the simple identification of the gift seems to destroy it. the simple identification of the passage of a gift as such, that is, of an identifiable thing among some identifiable "ones," would be nothing other than the process of the destruction of the gift. (p.14)

so, the fact that my gift was in fact destroyed by seth's admission aside, the 'gift' was illuminated as that which was not in fact 'given'.

derrida's general idea seems to point to a certain paradox of gift: the appearance of gift as gift necessarily annuls it; without gift, there is no gift- with gift, there is still no gift (as such). "given time" was written in 1991, and focuses primarily on three texts: heidegger's "being and time", a brief story by baudelaire called "la fausse monnaie" (or, "counterfeit money") and marcel mauss' "the gift". derrida spends a good number of pages discussing the gift's double nature, as present and poison: he describes the gift's innate force that drives the giver and receiver into an "economic odyssey of the circle", or the vicious circle of exchange. to this end, he describes the practice of "potlach" (practiced, among others by the indians of the american northwest), mentioned at length in mauss' book. seeing the word "potlach", reminded me of the beautiful book by georges bataille, "the accursed share: an essay on general economy", written 24 years prior to "given time", in which bataille too uses mauss' book as one of his main references. on the practice of potlach, bataille writes:

potlach is, like commerce, a means of circulating wealth, but it excludes bargaining. more often than not it is the solemn giving of considerable riches, offered by a chief to his rival for the purpose of humiliating, challenging and obligating him. the recipient has to erase the humiliation and take up the challenge; he must satisfy the obligation that was contracted by accepting. he can only reply, a short time later, by means of a new potlach, more generous than the first: he must pay back with interest.

notice the references to the economic circle, the obligation inherent in accepting gifts, and the time, or term limit also active in the gift; all these are ideas that derrida elucidates in "given time".

another beautiful aspect of derrida's reading of gifts comes in his insistence that in order for there to be gift,

not only must the donor or donee not perceive or receive the gift as such, have no conciousness of it, no memory, no recognition; he or she must also forget it right away [a l'instant] and moreover this forgetting must be so radical that it exceeds even the psychoanalytic categoriality of forgetting.

i read this passage during the jewish holiday of yom kippur. a couple days earlier, in a conversation about the practice of atonement, where one requests forgiveness of those one has hurt, i formulated an idea that, perhaps, instead of requesting forgiveness from people, one should forgive others that have harmed them, in the form of a severe forgetting. to my surprise, derrida continues, on page 16, saying this 'radical forgetting'

must not give rise to any of the repressions (originary or secondary) that reconstitute debt and exchange by putting in reserve, by keeping or saving up what is forgotten, repressed, or censured. repression does not destroy or annul anything; it keeps by displacing. its operation is systemic or topological; it always consists of keeping by exchanging places.

and most dramatically,

so we are speaking here of an absolute forgetting- a forgetting that also absolves, that unbinds absolutely and infinitely more, therefore, than excuse, forgiveness, or aquittal. [emphasis mine]

in this way (through a radical forgetting), one can unbind, one can absolve; even, derrida postulates, the vicious cycle of exchange that appears in gift giving...


finally, another essay, shown to me by my friend adriana, discusses the similarly paradoxical elements of hospitality, in a derridean reading of lars von trier's "dogville". the essay can be read here.

big thanks to brodsky for the book(s)!


so (so) coleman - Posted on 2005-10-21 23:47:00

at the behest of ms. toni attardo, i decided to hit up the free music series at the whitney museum, which tonight featured some old eastman aquaintances in a group called so percussion. i realized two slightly depressing things tonight while watching the ensemble. one: i'm pretty sure i prefer recorded performances to live performances. two: just as stan brackage mentioned that in film, to have a soundtrack is to distract from the visual, in musical performance, one's visual novelties might take the ear from the p[e]rfo[r]m[a]nce. in this case, a neatly organized bennink-like conglomerational of hittables (toy pianos, paint cans, rocks, water buckets, woodblocks, triangles, metronomes, flower pots, etc), the obvious pupose of which would be to bring varied sounds to a concert atmosphere, ended up becoming the focus. i guess it's a pretty severe concept. think about trying to learn a new language: why is it so hard to communicate? because we're focused on the words themselves; pronounciation, diction, syntax etc. my favorite example of this can be found on a recording called "i can see your house from here" (john scofield and pat metheny). in it, the drummer bill stewart plays a standard drum kit, except for one cymbal that sounds like it's submerged in water; something strange about it, unfamiliar. he only plays it for about 10 seconds and then you never hear it again on the whole record. and he made the right choice, because for most listeners that cymbal risks being heard as 'that cymbal again' as opposed to its essence, what is being drawn out of it. one rarely questions the sound of a bass drum, or a trumpet. why? cause people play them all the time! repetition in this case grounds and backgrounds the sounds. someone trying to make a living playing the 'rocks' or the 'water bucket' (slash: 'bucket water'), may find it difficult to bring people past the novelty and into the music. (that being said, i lead the charge of the guilty in this regard). however, the beauty of recorded music is that one's eyes cannot distract. in the digital world of 1s and 0s, one walks an abbott-like flatland, views and hears it from above; depth is illusory in such a way that we can let our guards down and listen.
in the ligeti piano concerto, there's a moment where a hushed string section is violently interrupted by, among other things, two slendor pieces of wood, slapped together. when i saw the piece performed by alarm will sound, the sight of the percussionist (in this case, the slendor payton macdonald) slowly reaching down to pick up the slapstick, raising it with the utmost care into the as yet unslapped air, was just too funny for words. don't get me wrong, i love funny music, a lot, but in this case, i much prefer the recorded version, where the slap comes as all good slaps should: a surprise. someone once said that a pure sound is one whose source is unknown. [thanks to robert for reminding me that it was morton feldman...] recordings actually give us that opportunity for mystery that was lost at the so percussion concert.

i left the whitney to attend a concert tribute to my newly rediscovered friend, katherine cox (she was a chaperone when i was in the essentially ellington festival, in high school; i hadn't seen her in many years before a month ago). she was being honored by the y'all organization of nyc. the concert would feature a big band and the special guest, george coleman. coleman is best known for his work with miles davis. it's funny how people's reputation can preceed them. george is not playing like he used to, and yet people clap and cheer and act swept away! amazing. standing ovations and all.
at the risk of being slightly dark on the matter, it seems that one should, after a successful career, throw in the towel at a certain point and at least retain their dignity. it's not the worst thing in the world to be known as 'someone who used to be a fantastic saxophonist'. perhaps the luckiest famous people in this regard are the dead ones. how often does one hear: 'can you imagine how good john coltrane would be if he were alive today?'. dimishing returns, i tell ya.

regardless, the scene was lovely, the audience riled and riveted, and katherine, the ever modest and lovely woman she is.


sh(out)outs! - Posted on 2005-10-20 18:24:47

got a free moment on the internet? don't know where next to turn? take some time and check out the internet-based work of the two top-notchers in my book:

robert wood

and

steve smith

robert was recently published in critical minded: new approaches to hip hop studies

steve will very soon be published in the popular music journal.


tri,oh,ilarity - Posted on 2005-10-20 14:04:00

a great scene last night at chinatown's 169 bar. a trifecta of eastman-filled groups performed one after the other, treating their buds to their latest tastes. the first group to perform, spin, featured andre canniere, dave crowell, red wierenga, mike chiavaro and brady miller playing some great original compositionals by dave and andre, including fan favorites "postmodern shower", "rustem" and "orange is the new black". following spin was the ben gallina brainchild electric medicine, with ben, myself, ed rosenberg, brady, and james hirschfeld playing a handful of gallinarigionals, and an updated rutnerrangement of marcie playground's ancient hit: "sex and candy". finally, formerly buffalo-based-now-nyc-based band thought, featuring eastmanites mike williams, nathan heleine and jared schonig (thought's newest thought), played and sang the night away, williams in particular, taking breaths away with his vocal treats. a good night on the whole; it had the feeling of a high school band/choir concert, in which the audience is made up of other people, waiting to perform themselves, and cheering their friends on.

in november, there will be a second installment of the eastman-based group triptych with dave crowell's naked brunch, the andre canniere group and the ever-bubbly boy band beyondo. that one will be at the knitting factory. don't miss it!



accidental re/sur|prise! - Posted on 2005-10-19 15:58:00

when i got home from a rehearsal monday night, i was greeted by an email; the sender of which's name i hadn't seen in about 10 years. as it turns out, my friend phil weinrobe had ridden an A train with me for about 10 stops, recognized me (more or less- i believe he was thrown off by the "rocking of the 5 days, haven't shaven 'look'"), but didn't say anything.

what do you know! little philly weinrobe is all grown up! (we haven't seen each other since we were 15). he's also recently moved to brooklyn and has put out a record! who knew? check out his website if you get a chance: www.meetphil.com.

here's hoping that this random meeting of two old friends will turn into wonderful collaborations in the future!


no more b.n. (no[w] more b.s.!) - Posted on 2005-10-17 11:36:22

after a little over a year of dedicated service to the barnes and noble in union square, manhattan, i've stolen away from one corporate pan to another. my new home, bear stearns, feels even more like a home because there are so many eastman grads that are currently temping there. the trend was started by one andre canniere (of the andre canniere group fame) and one by one (sometimes two by two), we (b)eastmanites boarded the bear ark. the lack of civilian interaction and the cd/dvdless environment sure does make me pine for the good ol' days of trying to get john q. freejazz to buy the newest vandermark 5 release ("i've got six on each arm, and two down on my feet!"). the lack of music and film certainly has curbed my pavlovian buying habits of the past year, and even though the 50% discount on starbucks coffee was nice at bn, the free coffee at bs sure wins.
hopefully this change in scenery will afford me (in all senses) the time and freedom to get some serious musical projects together. the newest group, flap is still but a gleam in my eye, but perhaps a gleam in the eye is the best magnifying glass. flap will feature the ever-ready ed rosenberg, also on tenor saxophone, mike chiavaro on electric bass, and the unstoppables, ted poor and jared schonig on drumsets and other hittables. the mission statement of flap will be "balls." flap's repetoire will consist of fast, etudinal, balls pieces. no ballad features in this one, no 'slowing it down for the lovers'. hopefully we'll be able to get some stuff together in the coming months and have a couple gigs on the calendar before the new year.

in other news, the respect sextet received another positive review, this time in the downtown music gallery's weekly newsletter. we're working on trying to get some gigs booked very soon!


new reviews for The Full Respect! - Posted on 2005-09-29 11:14:00

some great stuff has come out recently regarding the respect sextet's newest recording, Respect In You:


Hailing from Rochester, New York, The Respect Sextet sounds like some enthusiastic cousin of Boston's Either/Orchestra or San Francisco's Club Foot Orchestra. Here's why: Respect is, obviously, a collective endeavor, but they've refused to drop anchor in one musical spot. They open Respect in You with undersung Chicago tenor champ Fred Anderson's "3 on 2," which moves in undulations led, fittingly, by Josh Rutner's tenor. It's a bold opener, because it doesn't chug but rather sets a wavy, episodic mood. And this brings the Respect crew back toward the methodologies of Club Foot and Either/Orchestra, bands that are comfortable playing rollicking, driving tunes or atmospheric film scores. Respect isn't content to simply set moods, though. They barrel and swing through trumpeter Eli Asher's "Nation's Capital" and Rutner's "Postal," both designed to show the band's ability to push rhythms with frontal horn leadership. Asher's trumpet can fray and spatter only to fatten again in a second, and Rutner's tenor favors a warm middle that serves the band superbly. For his part, Matt Clohesy's bass is nimble in the highs and rumbly where the need for breadth is prominent. Drummer Ted Poor follows suit, snapping off snare runs with a relish that also feeds his more shadowy rhythmic pushes. In short, he and the rest of the band have a fine ear for range. They make the great pianist Misha Mengelberg's early piece, "Hypochrismutreefuzz," sound like a chamber work that's scrabbling for clarity even as it builds and builds the ear's anticipation. Then the band takes over as a unit, with pianist Red Wierenga comping like Misha, Poor riffing on his hi-hat, and an aerated whiff of noise emerging from a wayward transistor radio. Often spacious, and equally often crowded with boisterous passion, Respect in You revels in some great post-free, architecturally exciting play.
Andrew Bartlett (Coda Magazine)

and:


Last year, Exclaim!’s number one improv release was Home Speaks to the Wandering by Dead Cat Bounce. The Respect Sextet trod very much in the same musical territory featuring soulful, harmonically challenging riffing within freedom and grooves. The Sextet seem to be conversant in every shade of jazz, and create long form suites which never seem too over-analysed. The disc opens with a 15-minute version of Fred Anderson’s “3 on 2.” The first few minutes feature the band building to spiritual freedom, anchored by Anderson’s no-nonsense melody. By the time the funk hits about seven minutes into the track, it’s merely a bonus to the highly-spirited and soulful collective improv. Over the next eight minutes the band ebb and flow back into the increasingly New Orleans-informed rhythm of drummer Ted Poor. Trumpeter Eli Asher’s “Nation’s Capital” starts out as a page from the Ornette Coleman songbook, but settles into a long homemade percussion jam which recalls the go-go sound of the nation’s capital in the ’80s. The Sextet are consistently successful at teasing grooves out of textures and holding them down at low dynamics. Any one of these tracks could work in a commercial jazz radio format, because they swing hard in the tradition, but they’re always willing to other planes at any moment. It’s not music that is trying to be experimental, it just goes off… Highly recommended.
David Dacks (Exclaim! Magazine)

there should be a review coming out in the newest downtown music gallery newsletter, as well as cadence magazine! keep your ears to the ground for that as well as some upcoming respect sextet gigs!


new york cats... - Posted on 2005-08-04 14:49:00

coming home last night, i came upon a black cat idling next to our construction-ridden street [there was a transformer meltdown a couple weeks ago, and since then, we've had a streetful of con edison workers 'on it']. the cat's eyes really did seem to shoot out beams of catness in such a manner that for a moment, my sympathies were with those extramission theorists of time past. as i approached the felinic blackness, i started to worry that the cat would cross my path, causing me seven years belief in superstition. it turned out, however, the cat stayed put and suspiciously eyed me while i crossed its path. cats in new york man... cats in new york.


the new news - Posted on 2005-08-02 10:13:00

foregoing the usual apology for not updating the blog section of the site for some time, i'll get right to it.

i've been playing a good amount with the andre canniere group, featuring ryan ferreira on guitar, ike sturm on bass, and ted poor on drums. the group is really getting a nice sound these days, and andre's nigh-impossible music is starting to feel quite possible indeed. we hit the studio the middle of last month, recorded several tracks, and a record is slowly coming to be. check out the events page for more info on future performance with the group.

another project is a reformation of ben gallina's brainchild: electric medicine. the group now comprises ben on bass, brady miller on drums, james hirschfeld on trombone, and both ed rosenberg (of jerseyband fame) and myself on tenor saxophones [tenors saxophone?]. our first public performance happens next week at c-note.

big news for people who respect free downloads of great music: recently, james hirschfeld and pj kelly have made public their database of performances recorded at java's in rochester ny! you can access it here:

www.javasmusicarchive.org

please take some time and check out this incredible resource.

lastly, the respect sextet will be up and running soon in new york city! aside gigging in and around the world, respect will be discussing a project involving the music of sun ra and karlheinz stockhausen. respect!


respinked again! - Posted on 2005-06-11 19:42:00

the reviews of the respect sextet's newest record, Respect In You are slowly starting to trickle in. just a week ago, we noticed a really nice review in paris transatlantic magazine (as noted in the previous blog entry). for those of you who had trouble finding it through the link below, here it is:

Two years ago, the Abdullah Ibrahim trio's lackluster performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival put me in a very foul mood, and the evening was only saved by a chance encounter with an unheralded group at a nearby club playing energized versions of Ornette Coleman songs. Recently, while wondering a) if Dave Holland was ever going to produce anything as remotely inspired as Conference of the Birds and b) whether the world really needs a twelve-disc Vandermark 5 live set, this strangely-titled album arrived and I was similarly lifted out of my trough of despond. Instead of Ornette, Misha Mengelberg is the stylistic touchstone for The Respect Sextet; aside from a reading of his delightfully-named “Hypochristmutreefuzz” (which meanders in an engagingly madcap manner before finally getting around to the theme just before the end), they have a habit of throwing in snippets of other Misha songs throughout the rest of the album, as if New Dutch Swing had been grafted and transplanted into foreign soil in an unlikely location– a club in Rochester, New York. But these guys are far more than an ICP cover band: their influences are wide-ranging. The disc starts off with Fred Anderson’s “3 on 2”, and if Josh Rutner doesn’t emulate Fred’s tenor riffs, he has a similarly brawny tone. The group pounds a series of grooves into submission Anderson-style, with trumpeter Eli Asher and trombonist James Hirschfeld getting in their licks while pianist/accordionist Red Wierenga (somewhat buried in the mix) and drummer Ted Poor team up with guest bassist Matt Clohesy to propel the horns through the compositional twists and turns. “Postal (a.k.a. PB&J)” starts as an upbeat Mingus-like blues with fluid tenor sax over a cooking rhythm section that downshifts to a trombone-heavy New Orleans funeral march. As the dirge comes to a halt, Rutner deftly interjects a couple of Mengelberg quotes (a brief “Die Berge Schuetzen Die Heimat” followed by “Rollo II”, for you Mishaphiles), Clohesy lays down a throbbing pulse under Poor’s crisp cymbal work and the band returns to the initial theme. Please don’t take my word for how good this is: go to www.respectsextet.com and sample their generous mp3 offerings, sign the guest book and insist they get their earlier CDRs back in print.—Stephen Griffith

earlier this week, we were treated to a very nice review on the website blog of mr. nate dorward. the text of that review reads:

The Respect Sextet, Respect in You, Roister.
This is easily the most exciting jazz disc I’ve heard this year. The joky bandname is perhaps offputting, but just sample the whirling 15-minute version of Fred Anderson’s “3 on 2" at the start & you’ll see why these guys (Josh Rutner, Eli Asher, James Hirschfield, Red Wierenga, Matt Clohesy, Ted Poor) are special: the piece emerges out of fuzzy radio haze and an a cappella tenor solo, & then it digs in hard, but with a kind of narrative approach, the band members constantly rethinking their relation with either other, burying melancholy song within layers of intensity, letting the groove evolve & smooth out & tauten (Ted Poor is a marvel at the drumkit). There’s one other cover – Misha Mengelberg’s “Hypchrismutreefuzz” – and some excellent originals, including the finest multifaceted essay on the blues I’ve heard since Paul Smoker’s 15-minute “St Louis Blues” on Genuine Fables. First disc of the year I’m giving a ***** to.


nate dorward will also be publishing a longer review for cadence magazine very soon!


in other news, jen and i will be moving to a place in forte green, brooklyn next month. it's a lovely place that was once inhabited by mrs. and a.b.d. seth (jude stewart) brodsky. both, on separate grants, will be making berlin their home for the next year. good luck you two!


Respect Reviewed in Paris Transatlantic Magazine - Posted on 2005-05-31 23:53:00

you gotta respect the nice review...


matt b in town - Posted on 2005-05-06 19:59:20

this is hilarious. i'm writing a blog all about matt blanchard. his website is forthcoming. it has been for quite a while, but i'm reaaaaaallly thinking it's coming soon. check it out!


un staten island malaise - Posted on 2005-04-14 21:46:00

the staten island ferry terminal has been going through a major facelift over the past several years, and recently it's been showing some real promise. one of the fancier touches is the installation of a piece of a (of a of a) poem by edna st. vincent millay called "recuerdo". in large lettering, one can read:

we were very tired, we were very merry-
we had gone back and forth, all night upon the ferry.


so you have to give it to the ferry people for trying to give the new terminal a bold poetic facade. keep it up!


hey, anyone wanna join me in the world jump day festivities? hilarious. meet you there. on the tarmac.


i played a fun punk rock gig last night at the knitting factory with singer/songwriter mary jordan wood! the full respect...


kneebody - Posted on 2005-04-10 08:57:42

went to tonic the other night to check out my friends kneebody. they were fantastic and they have a new record out too! it's on dave douglas' new record label (as if you needed that to sell you) and is available all kinds of places.

some gigs have started to pop up here and there. several group are forming and rehearsing which will hopefully whiz some more stuff my way. be on the lookout for the andre canniere quintet... oh man.

funny stuff about the staten island ferry next time!


filler. - Posted on 2005-01-21 22:38:00

even simply noting the lack of some terrible pun in the headline should make clear the fact that i'm low on material right now. so, in a desparate attempt to put something up while i get down and dirty with some political material [in preparation for the next big essay], i'll post an as yet unpublished review of dave frishberg's record do you miss new york? that i wrote back in 2003.

“I’m from the old school,” proclaims the ever-fresh Dave Frishberg in the opening of “The Hopi Way” (a song which defies not only categorization, but discussion) and I believe him. His style, though distinct as his singing voice, unabashedly throws itself into the great lap of the ‘Great American Songbook.’ At first glance, the songs are almost novelties: an intervention-style song dedicated to “Jaws,” an account of the modern day business approach to quality time, an attempt at writing country music in which the protagonist is a toad, an homage to ‘the sideman,’ a Christmas song which eschews cheer and instead (offers) tips toward surviving “the difficult season”… But as one listens to the lyrics, which, even at their most sincere and poignant, are as biting and witty as they are sweet, one realizes that Frishberg is an expert craftsman, a parodic poet, a storyteller of the highest caliber; an accompanimentalist: dashing and strolling bouts of stride mingle with the dishing and doling out of anarchitextured text painting-- no wonder so many jazz greats have hired him to be their pianist.

Recorded live at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Frishberg is in top form, interacting with the small but ecstatic audience throughout (most of his spoken introductions to tunes are included on the record), and in true Frishbergian generosity, he has updated a couple of his older songs, including the title track and a completely refurbished “My Country Used To Be.” The latter, in particular, displays Frishberg’s ability to write songs that are at once so wry and so right. He sings with sincerity and breathtaking tenderness the words, “I pledge allegiance under god, to the mighty corporations, to the airport search to the secret p’lice, to the wire taps, to the war on peace… while America marches into action, with our weapons of mass distraction,” all the while with a double wink in his tone.

Through his witty, insightful and constantly surprising lyrics, his unmistakable untrained vocals, and his first rate piano playing, Dave Frishberg reminds us that he is one of the last vestiges of a style that has nearly run dry of innovators.

another thing to check out while compulsively refreshing joshrutner.com is the site of a great friend of mine, robert wood.


law enforcement stories of love and respect! - Posted on 2005-01-10 18:48:00

good news folks!
our neighborhood law enforcement is getting funnier and funnier!

while back in rochester this weekend, i was visiting with my friend franlee frank, the owner of greenwood books, a great used book store, located in rochester's east end. she relayed a fantastic story to me about an accident that occurred around christmas.

apparently, she received a call from several prominent police officers one morning informing her that her storefront was severely damaged by a police car. what makes the story so funny is the way the cops said it went down. picture this: the cop car is idling parallel to the bookstore and across the street at about 1am, while the cop is on call. the car 'pops' out of park, and into some other gear [for argument's sake, let's say it was neutral]. the recently 'un-parked' police car picks up momentum despite east avenue's relatively even ground, and, because of the way the wheels are cocked, rotates a full 90 degrees while rolling across the road, jumps the curb, scrapes against a lamppost [evidence discovered by mrs. frank], and still manages to destroy greenwood book's storefront.

that's what i call a magic bullet theory.
aside from the goofy explanation, however, the police dept were very helpful in compensating franlee for her losses.


in another episode of hilarious order-keepers, we find annie geddes [jen's best friend who visited this weekend] at the airport. after her bag glided through the x-ray machine, she was asked by the guard whether it contained a knife. she said no, but better safe than sorry, right? as it turned out, annie's "knife" was two buttons that used to reside on the outside of her bag. one advertised john kerry for president, and one advertised planned parenthood.

--pause for laughter--

needless to say, after she escaped the kung fu grip of airport security, she put the buttons back on the outside of her bag.


strange [co-]operation - Posted on 2005-01-06 14:40:00

visiting the eastman school of music the other day, i noticed a photograph, taken in february 2004, conspicuously placed on the cover of the newest edition of encore [eastman's biannual guide to concerts & events]. i recognized this photograph immediately, as i was there. it's a photograph of four eastman jazz students playing outside in the snow. the story behind the photo is told by mike chiavaro and ian fry of rude jackson:

After being shut down for playing funk in the main hall at the Eastman School of Music, [we] decided to bring the backbeat outside, regardless of the weather. This outdoor protest went on everyday for one week and consisted of various Eastman students playing funk, R&B, motown and other groove oriented music for as long as possible. [emphasis mine]



interesting, huh?

arthur c. danto:

"the students are co-opted by a system they serve even in their struggle against it"


ocean’s full body tattoo - Posted on 2005-01-04 01:20:00

“i’m going to get a full body tattoo of me—only taller.”



although the concept of a full body tattoo of one’s self that actually exceeds one’s height may belong exclusively to comedian steven wright, the idea of a full body tattoo of one’s self has, in a sense, been around a lot longer.


Borges & Baudrillard

french philosopher jean baudrillard begins his essay “the precession of the simulacra” by referencing a story by jorge louis borges in which the art of cartogrphy had reached such perfection in an empire that

the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it.



within generations, this grand map of the empire is taken for the real empire, and the citizens mourn their loss as they see this simulacrum of their empire fray and tatter beneath them. the real territory has since turned into a desert [hence baudrillard’s term “desert of the real,” used in the movie matrix].


Hide Dare, pArt Relicas & Caffeine Free Diet Carbonated Beverages [Sodalicious!]

for a look at some examples of modern day tomfoolery in this vein, let us first imagine that borges' imagined cartographers’ intents were slightly modified: suppose that the map-makers wanted not to create a map of their empire for its own sake or the perfection of their profession [©art(ography) for ©art(ography)’s sake?], but rather that they saw their precious empire turning into a desert and, in a desperate attempt to salvage it, created this one-to-one map to retain their ideal.

a popular idea in our culture is that of ‘anti-aging.’ an important distinction should be made between the ceasing of the aging process, and the reversal of the aging process. [this distinction will again become important when we discuss ‘folding,’ ‘unfolding,’ and ‘refolding.’] we are here specifically referring to reversal.

men and women often get grey hair as they age. in an effort to minimize or destroy this image of aging, many will purchase dyes [often advertised for how ‘natural’ they appear,] in order to reflect/mirror their youth [to ‘fold back’ time: replicare, root of replica]; in effect: dy(e)ing to be futher from death. [“don’t forget your roots” aquires new meaning.] the parallels between these dyers and the cartographer-as-savior should be evident. both, however, fall into the same problem of d(en)ying the original in their replication: their futility lies partly in their timing [what they’re attempting to copy exists no longer], however, as we may see later, the futility runs much deeper…

a more direct parallel to our twist of borges’ map-makers lies in those who deal in art restoration. like the cartographers, art historians and musems are often more concerned with the ‘symbolic’ than the ‘real’ original: “restorers” of art such as the sistine chapel monkey with the original, with the intent of imitating the ‘original.’ what they end up with is a copy imitating the original, while the real turns into desert just beyond our vision. the symbolic sense of ‘worth in the original’ for these people is strong enough that they refuse to accept dirt, decay -- change of the work, and, in a curious move, change the piece so it appears [there’s the key word,] unchanged. on the other side of art replicas [or forgeries, as somemight call them,] we have mp3s, burnt CDs and DVDs etc: the fear of record companies and sellers, when it comes to ‘fakes,’ is not that the general public will lose interest [in fact, the opposite is most likely true,] but that the companies and sellers will lose money. their power to sell comes from a basic economic rule: rarity is inversely proportional to worth. and, of course, ‘rarity’ does not mean actual rarity, but the image of rarity, or availability: this is the dilema of mass-marketed products; how to make a product which is clearly not rare, seem valueable. the solution often involves infusing the product with a symbolic meaning, or worth [not based in its exchange value, but rather, to increase the same,] often in the form of some mysterious element x. i.e., when you drink coke, not only will you drink coke but ‘x’-- some element that is never explained and clearly not quenched. but the issue of product availability control [or, more precisely, scarcity control] is huge, especially in the music, and movie business. with the advent of technologies that make dubbing [or doubling] possible and convenient [and, more recently, exact: ensuring identical products that must drop terms like ‘master recording;’ all copies are equal to the master…] , the loss of control of product avalability has been extreme, and with it, of course, a call from corporations for legislation.

historic restoration is rampant in the houses of the famous [and long dead], such as anne frank, susan b. anthony, rembrandt, etc. using period furniture and decorations, one is swept into the past with one’s fanny pack and shorts, and, like sheep, get herded through a pack of wolves in wolves’ clothing.

consider now, one more alteration to borges’ story: there is no empire; only nomadic people. one, [probably named ‘tzeitel’] stands up and sings: “map maker, map maker! make me a map!” and an enormous map of an imaginary empire is created and lived in for years.

this simulacrum with no real can be observed in the ‘x’-free soda of today. the original coke, which serves no nutritious function and which doesn’t actually quench thirst, acts as a sort of ‘imaginary empire.’ its simulacrum appears when the company removes the caffeine and sugar and markets this new beverage as “caffeine free diet coke.” this desire-creation is a fundamental necessity for today’s market [note similar examples in decaf coffee, non-alcoholic beer and wine, pornless porn (see bill hicks’ record “philosophy”), meatless meat, humorless sit-coms…]. often times these simulacra are pitted against nothing and declared winners: take for example diet dr. pepper’s slogan, “tastes more like regular dr. pepper.” this meaningless phrase derives its strength from the word ‘more,’ as well as the idea that something should taste like the real thing, without actually being the real thing [and remember, even “the real thing,” in this case, is a non-entity].


Ocean’s Eleven Through Twelve, and Their Counterfeits

both steven soderbergh’s ocean’s eleven and ocean’s twelve rely on simulacra.

in ‘eleven,’ a master theft is planned on the belagio vault, which is heavily fortified. the belagio heist is successfully accomplished, besides a complicated plan and the talents of each individual eleven, by incorporating a one-to-one replica of the vault, in which the group practices their plan, and eventually records the scene that plays on the belagio’s security cameras while the real belagio’s vault gets turned into a desert [and, we must always be cautious when tagging terms ‘real,’ as the belagio is a real hotel and casino, so, in fact, the belagio in las vegas is the ‘real,’ while the replica in the movie is a copy of a copy]. once the scene is cleared, owner terry bendict [andy garcia] figures out how they emptied the vault, only after noticing a difference between the vault on the video, and his own; only by noticing a flaw in the map, could he find the deserted empire beneath [he noticed that his vault’s ‘full body [temporary] tattoo’ of itself was a little too short…].

we begin ”ocean’s twelve” with benedict hunting down all the men of danny ocean’s eleven, and informing them that they need to repay him in full, with interest [despite the fact that his insurance covered his losses]. leaving the country to stay under the radar, they plan a heist of the world’s first stock, issued by the dutch east india trading company, which was locked up in the dutch home of an agoraphobic antique collecter, hoping that this money will get them started. they find out that they’ve been beaten there by a french thief [and billionaire] named francois toulours. meeting toulours, danny ocean [george clooney] asks why he did what he did and what he wants. toulours informs him that he overheard his mentor, la marque [rumored by detectives to be the greatest of all time,] discussing the belagio heist with another man. the man remarks that he believes ocean’s theft as the greatest of all time. la marque does not correct him, and this angers toulours…

toulours comes up with a wager in which both he and danny’s eleven will both attempt to steal the faberge coronation egg, which will be shown in a local museum. if ocean’s eleven win, toulours will pay their debt. like the first movie, we’re walked through the seeming impossibility of accomplishing the goal, and the action begins. long story short [don’t read this if you don’t want to know]: ocean and most of his men get busted on their first attempt, the remaining four attempt to complete the mission with the help of tess [julia roberts], who ‘plays the part’ of celebrity julia roberts in order to get into the museum during the day, and get within a good distance off the egg. this plan too fails, and all end up in jail. now, the plot unfolds [or refolds] and we learn that while toulours believes that he has won, the whole fold has been another simulacrum: immediately after learning about toulours, danny pays a visit to la marque, who informs him about the coronation egg, how it is transported to the museum in a back pack on a train, etc. i.e., like the first movie, the theft was committed before we are led to believe it is, and the remaining action [which, we are told by la marque, would be tightly monitored by toulours] was all an act.


now. back to the issue at hand: there are three main instances of copies in ocean’s twelve.

number one is the coronation egg itself.
let’s count how many there may have been: one original, one replica transported to the museum by the faberge people [to ensure its safety], one replica that ocean’s eleven used to convince the transporters of the real egg they still had it, one replica that toulours [assumed, though never witnessed] must’ve placed when he stole the other replica, and finally, one hologram of the egg that the eleven have designed for their switch. 5 in all, and in the end, what does it matter? to those visiting the museum, any would’ve done [all except the hologram that is, which would disappear after 2 minutes].

number two is “julia roberts.”
the whole scene with the julia roberts imitation [by julia robert] involved not a copy imitating an original, but an original imitating a copy [or, in this case, an original imitating a copy, imitating the original]. also, the even wider, meta-stance, includes the idea that we are merely watching, on the movie screen, the ‘imitation,’ or image of julia roberts: a copy imitating original imitating copy imitating original!

the third is the art of capoeira.
this martial art clothed as a dance originated in brazil by african slaves, taken there during the middle passage. it was used by capoeristas to disrupt the political life of the country. an entire film was devoted to it in 1993. sheldon lettich’s film only the strong describes the story of a green beret who was in brazil for four years, who returns to his miami high school to find all the usual problems: drugs and violence. he proposes capoeira as the antidote to these problems, and of course, as all 1993 movies must, ended in joy.
in ocean’s twelve, we see toulours practicing capoeira in his back yard. we see it again in the film while he narrates how he managed to steal the ‘egg’: he uses it to avoid the museum’s high-tech laser security system. a beautiful scene where the capoeira’s mask of dance is once again removed, and we see self-defense.


Counterfeit and reproduction imply always an anguish, a disquieting foreignness: the uneasiness before the photograph, considered like a witch's trick — and more generally before any technical apparatus, which is always an apparatus of reproduction, is related by Benjamin to the uneasiness before the mirror-image. There is already sorcery at work in the mirror. But how much more so when this image can be detached from the mirror and be transported, stocked, reproduced at will (cf. The Student of Prague, where the devil detaches the image of the student from the mirror and harrasses him to death by the intermediary of this image). All reproduction implies therefore a kind of black magic, from the fact of being seduced by one's own image in the water, like Narcissus, to being haunted by the double and, who knows, to the mortal turning back of this vast technical apparatus secreted today by man as his own image (the narcissistic mirage of technique, McLuhan) and that returns to him, cancelled and distorted -endless reproduction of himself and his power to the limits of the world. Reproduction is diabolical in its very essence; it makes something fundamental vacillate. This has hardly changed for us: simulation (that we describe here as the operation of the code) is still and always the place of a gigantic enterprise of manipulation, of control and of death, just like the imitative object (primitive statuette, image of photo) always had as objective an operation of black image.



-jean baudrillard 1998


new stuff coming soon! - Posted on 2005-01-02 17:59:57

two new essays will be making the appear on the website very soon!

the first, inspired by the movies ocean's eleven and ocean's twelve, an exposition on replicas.

the second, a [relatively short] look at how things have been shaping up with the country since september 11 2001, in specific, relying on the concept of 'state of exception,' put forth by giorgio agamben, in his book of the same name.

yah!


s p a c i a l i t y - Posted on 2004-12-31 14:43:30

points on a curve connected, cover, in the drawn lines’ opacity, those points whose differences force their strength downward – the window, as seen from below this seeming cloud cover, appears, from above, a mirror. those below, see through the web of connectors that have risen, while those above, merely bounce happily off their self-woven webs, allowing them to forget the conglomerate ground of points that supports their [trampo]lines. like the myth of rigidity, consistency and power of the earth that lies above the frost line, so too is the net of connections that create a intellectual super-terra, eventually destroyed by the constant change of the points beneath.


keepin it real in central new york - Posted on 2004-12-26 19:50:41

leaving the plush scenery of staten island for a bit, jen and i have headed off to deruyter new york, a very tiny town where she's from. tomorrow i'll be playing a bossa nova gig in rochester with my good friend red wierenga at the memorial art gallery! hilar!

and don't forget that very soon, the respect sextet will be putting out there new record: Respect In You [roister records]. keep your ears to the ground for that one!

respect!


funny way to ruin a conversation! - Posted on 2004-12-22 23:45:00

"yeah, hahaha, yeah! man, you should totally read that book! it's an international cult classic!


'tis the season - Posted on 2004-12-20 20:56:00


philip heseltine [peter warlock] took his life by gas on december 17th 1930, at age thrity-six. the coroner read out part of a letter:

I would much rather visit you at some other time than Christmas. It is a season of the year which I dislike more and more as time goes on.

we’ve reached the dreaded week before christmas; a week in which ‘we’ll’ to the mall and to the neighborhood barnes & noble, and we’ll continue until all of the names are crossed off our doubly-checked lists, and when that final name is crossed off we can rest easy knowing that we will have made everyone happy, by giving them a gift.

being a jew, the experience of christmas has always been slightly foreign to me, but living in america [and more recently, working at one of the aforementioned beans & noodles,] has afforded me the opportunity to experience first hand the joys [and peculiarities] of holiday gift giving. [i should mention as an aside, that i’m well aware of the fact that jews have, over the years, incorporated gift-giving into their chanukkatic tradition, however, i see this style of giving as stemming from the same root as the christ-mass-give-[t], and so for convenience sake, will take to talking about gift giving in the general american [i.e., “christmasy”] fashion.]

the very fact that the institution of gift-giving can be referred to as an ‘institution’ is testament to its degradation. what does it mean, to give someone a gift?

perhaps a look at sacrifice would help. slavoj zizek describes sacrifice in his 2001 book [one of six, actually, written in that year,] On Belief as something relying on the notion of exhange:

I offer to the Other something precious to me in order to get back from the Other something even more vital to me (the “primitive” tribes sacrifice animals or even humans so that Gods will repay them by enough rainfall, military victory, etc.). The next, already more intricate, level is to conceive of sacrifice as a gesture which does not directly aim at some profitable exchange with the Other to whom we sacrifice: its more basic aim is rather to ascertain that there IS some Other out there who is able to reply (or not) to our sacrificial entreaties.

generally speaking, we are well aware that when we give a gift, the other person is there, and they are able to reply to our en[treat]ie[s]. assuming that axiom, let us observe the interesting observations of the first part of zizek’s take: giving of one’s belongings or herd [or community,]- literally, “giving up,” as in, up to the gods- has, at its base, a utilitarian spin. though established well before john stuart mill’s time, religions and ancient communities had and continue to have a silent bedrock of ‘usefullness.’ [sometimes, this bedrock is not so silent.] indeed, even social lives fall under the spell. check out how phyllid mcginley views and reconciles the push of utilitarianism in her poem “A Word To Hostesses”:

Celebrities are lonely when
They congregate with lesser men.
Among less lambent men they sit,
Bereft of style, deprived of wit,
A little chilly to the touch,
And do not sparkle very much.

Hostesses, then, when you are able
To lure Celebrity to table,
It is discreet to bear in mind
He needs the comfort of his kind.
Fetch other names. Fetch three or four….



though the idea of usefullness is significantly ingrained in our brains, we have actually taken it to the next level, and [concievably without knowing it, through an ever-growing state of exception,] created a simulacrum of utilitarianism. perhaps, as tw adorno notes in his minima moralia[1951], this discomfort with true gift giving- a discomfort which, instead of eradicating GG entirely, has produced its simulacrum- is due to the seeming nonsensical implausibility of violating the exchange priciple:

…here and there even children eye the giver suspiciously, as if the gift were merely a trick to sell them brushes or soap.



milan kundera illustrates the same discomfort due to social over-analysis in immortality [this time from the point of view of the giver]:

Imagine that you have a friend who loves Schumann and hates Schubert, while you madly love Schubert and Schumann bores you to tears. What kind of record would you give your friend as a birthday gift? The Schumann he loves, or the Schubert you adore? Schubert, of course. If you gave him a record of Schumann you’d have the unpleasant feeling that such a gift would not be sincere and would be more like a bribe calculated to flatter your friend. After all, when you give someone a present, you want to do so out of love, you want to give your friend a piece of heart! And so you give him Schubert’s Unfinished, and the moment you leave he’ll spit on it, put on a rubber glove, gingerly pick up the record with two fingers, and throw it in the wastebasket.



is this not the basic question we ask ourselves every time we pick out a gift for someone? should i get them something they like, or something that i like? should i make my friend happy by providing them with something they like [or, worse yet, need]? will my purchasing for them the merzbox sufficiently please their love of being aurally challenged? how many years can i successfully pass of a respect sextet cd as a gift? etc.

all these questions distill to this: what is the function of this gift?

and it is function, that has toyed with our sense of modern GG.
function as purpose, function as gathering, function as a mathematical correspondence that assigns exactly one element of one set to each element of the same or another set, as routine- as duty. [once]holidays, birthdays, and other such occasions call for the giving of gifts and, in effect, paralyze the part of us that can give gifts with sincerity. adorno continues:

Even private giving of presents has degenerated to a social function exercised with rational bad grace, careful adherence to the prescribed budget, sceptical appraisal of the other and the least possible effort. Real giving has its joy in imagining the joy of the receiver. It means choosing, expending time, going out of one’s way, thinking of the other as a subject: the opposite of distraction. Just this hardly anyone is now able to do. At the best they give what they would have liked themselves, only a few degrees worse.



in the same essay, adorno illuminates those things that we who work at barnes and noble refer to, as “crap.” the invention of what he calls “gift-articles”: those things that are made [invention is perhaps a necessary inclusion here] solely to help those who “[do] not know what to give because one really does not want to.” a “drug in the market.”

why would one not want to give? because they are told to give. again, it is the pressures of the holiday, and, at its core, capitalism. surely, if holidays did not exist, the capitalistic powers-that-be would have invented them for the purpose of infusing the buyer with a responsibility to buy [or, as the market would translate it: ‘give’] [and in fact, we know several that we refer to as hallmark holidays, created for just such a purpose].

one of my favorite cracks in the façade that shows the plumbing behind this 'whole-iday' givefest is the gift receipt.

we are required, as employees of b&n, to inquire of everyone perchasing something this season whether or not they would like a gift receipt. as i work in the union square b&n, which is frequented by visitors of the united states, i’m often asked [usually in some funny, ‘visitor of the united states’ accent] “what is a gift receipt?” to which we reply, “it is a receipt, that doesn’t show the price of your gift, so that its recipient, if they so choose, can return it without hassle.” the basic oversight of such a receipt is that, if one were to return it, the price would be revealed immediately. so, why [really] a gift receipt? take it adorno!

…the right to exchange an article…signifies to the recipient: take this, it’s all yours, do what you will with it; if you don’t want it, that’s all the same to me, get something else instead. Moreover, by comparison with the embarrassment caused by ordinary presents this pure fungibility represents the more human alternative, because it at least allows the reciever to give himself a present, which is admittadly in absolute contradiction to the gift.



yet another spoke in the wheel of gift giving is the [primarily christmas-bound] tradition of making wish lists. this concept has taken the brutality of the corporate push to purchase, and diguised it the clothes of our loved ones.


friends!

break out of this dark cell of gift giving! the true power of the gift lies in its unexpectedness [and lies in its expectedness]: do not give, then give. lay low for a while, then give again. use creativeness and surprise! we must be guerrilla warriors of gg!

with a twist of che guevara’s tongue,

gift and run, wait, lie in ambush, again gift and run, and thus repeatedly!


more on moron war - Posted on 2004-12-17 19:28:00

A modern Rune: 'Pooey on the war!' No one can pronounce these four words and not feel a tremor of earth-shaking dimension. And not until the two thousand and fifty million belligerents can thunder them in unison, will the war be over.

-cyril connolly, the unquiet grave, a word cycle by palinurus


hey paul, what's with all these...jackets? - Posted on 2004-12-17 14:49:00

an interesting trend: sports jackets and hats that don't just advertise an alliance with one team, but are rather a way for people see that you are a fan of... well, just about every team.

and, what an interesting thing wearing some sports star's jersey! this is a trend that's been around forever, but it occured to me the other day that what one is essentially doing is invoking the spirit of the athlete, both to inspire respect and [at times] fear. but this respect is local: one who idolizes, bows before the god; makes themselves a slave by assuming a master. it is only out of the presence of the god [or, sports superstar] that one can use one's allegiance as a form of power [or indeed, currency of any kind]. perhaps this is similar to the trend of religious 'fervency' in the modern liberal, and the nationalism of many americans today. one claims an allegiance with something, reduces one's self and bows, then walks away with an enlarged ego, and power welded [for power wielding: a 'welt', a doubled edge, strip, insert, or seam (as on a garment) for ornament or reinforcement.] it is not the literal support of god, country or sports star one requires, but the residue: the image of alliance. carefully viewed, however, one sees such false alliance as it's opposite; as what it is: an imitation.

take it mc paul b: "...gangsters aren't rebels, they're just imitating daddy"


finally. - Posted on 2004-12-13 15:00:14

hey! look! here he is!
so, it has now been deemed officially "too long; much too long" since i've updated this site. now it begins. i thought rather than spend even more time discuss why i haven't written, it would be better if i just began.

since i've been in new york, i've had the opportunity to hear so many amazing musicians in a variety of venues. eric biondo, christine hagan, kneebody, the icp orchestra with misha mengelberg and han bennink, mc paul barman, phil collins and others...

so new york is indeed a hotbed of talent. but so would your town if it had as many people...

i've been working at a barnes and noble in union square for about 3 months now and it's been totally great! because of the location and size of the store, they get all these great writers and musicians to come and give readings and performances. since i've been there, there have been appearances by [among others] toni morrison, art spiegelman, jon stewart, george carlin, rufus wainwright... it's pretty cool.

oh yeah, there was an election. it was quite an interesting thing, being in this pool of blue when the republican national convention happened at madison square garden. luckily, i don't go to that neighborhood very often [i'm quite convinced that my mood is inversely proportional to the number of neon lights in the area], but there were demonstrations [often a little vague against what they were demonstrating] and the papers, on a daily basis, had some graphic of a donkey and an elephant on its cover. this election, for me, is another nail in the coffin that we call democracy. not because bush won, [necessarily,] but because of the huge, glaring misconceptions people show when they made the 'other guy' out to be evil. it was ridiculous to watch television before the election and see this high-school-pep-rally-type rhetoric [which, by the way, is IDENTICAL, no matter which party or non-party people belong to]. i have some serious doubts in the voting system as well. electoral votes are not the way to do it, and a single, uniform, equal system would certainly not hurt. more on this in later updates.

i haven't been playing saxophone very much since i've been here, but i have been very comfortable with that. after something like the respect sextet, whose aesthetic attempts to be all-encompassing, one needs to lay low a little and regroup before thinking about a new direction... i have, however, been keeping myself busy by doing a lot of reading, listening and having quite regular and fantastic mental jousting sessions with my great friends seth brodsky, robert wood and steve smith. if all goes well, and according to plan, the four of us will be starting an online magazine soon.

oh yeah!! just recently, i sent the new respect record in to be duplicated! RESPECT IN YOU [roister records] will be out in early january! keep your ears to the ground folks!

i will be doing my best to keep updating on a regular basis, so do stay tuned!


ok ok ok - Posted on 2004-11-25 02:26:25

ok, so it's been a while. my sincerest apologies to red, pj, and robert [who are the only three people who seem to care whether i have something to say.]

but not quite yet... [soon]


in the city! - Posted on 2004-08-29 16:16:53

my first update from my new home in staten island!:

the move was smooth. not doing very much right now; applied for jobs at record and book stores.

it seems that everybody who has graduated from eastman in the last 4 years is now living in nyc: amazing!!

more to come i'm sure!
until then, check out these photos by bob klein from the last gig at java's!


woah. - Posted on 2004-08-13 11:30:55

two more days till the big move...

gulp.


polyticks - Posted on 2004-07-29 15:06:00

so ever since watching the documentary, The Weather Underground, most of my reading has revolved around the question of violent vs. non-violence resistance/revolution/reformation. in the process, i've come across some great books that i would highly recommend to anyone interested in the politics of war and revoution:

-Society Must Be Defended, by Michel Foucault. these are newly translated lectures given at the College de France.

-Pacifism As Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America, by Ward Churchill. a fantastic and facinating look at the myths of pacifism and the questioning of the necessity of violent intervention in revolutionary movements. a quick and thought-provoking read.

-On Revolution, by Hannah Arendt. not through with this one yet, but it promises to be amazing... she has amazing insight into revolution and history.


i'll be doing some hilarious studio recording this saturday, i'll let you know how all that turns out! also, we're so close to moving! august 15th is the day when it all gets moved down to the city... whew...


i spida bad movie - Posted on 2004-07-13 16:28:00

yesterday i read a really interesting article by frank rich in the new york times comparing the possible affects movies can have on elections, in particular, citing the recent fahrenheit 9/11 and spiderman 2. most striking to me is the comparison of the amount fahrenheit 9/11 has made in it's opening weekends compared to the passion:

"...with a take of $61 million by the end of its second weekend, 'Fahrenheit 9/11' will have to sweat to bring in even a third of the $370 million piled up domestically by the red-state polemic to which its sectarian appeal is most frequently compared, 'The Passion of the Christ.' If voting at a multiplex box-office constitutes any kind of straw poll, then Mr. Bush has already won re-election. By a landslide."

confident, after reading mr. rich's editorial [which seemed to contain a positive review of the newly spun spidey movie], it was off to the movie theater with jen and me! we settled into our seats with high expectations [and who wouldn't after reading stuff like "It's hard not to fall in love with 'Spider-Man 2.'", "It's not only better than any other movie based on a comic book...but it's also superior to all the other so-called franchise movies" etc. from frank rich?]

needless to say, i thought the movie was very, very weak. it did contain many of the themes that rich mentions in his article like how spiderman tries [albeit unsuccessfully] to woo his love interest with poetry, and that the fact that a "justice provider" like spiderman doles it out only when necessary and without recklessness [with reckness? hm.] and others that point to a decidedly non-Bush ethic. however, those themes don't make a poorly written script good, nor actors who struggle to make the poor lines fed to them come out better more successful... maybe it's just that i find all of tobey maguire's roles to be whiny young boys [young peter parker is said to be "mild-mannered", not a "whiny, cry-at-everything, melodramatic, confused, pubescent teen...] perhaps i am equally ill at ease with kirsten dunst's roles in the past. most recently i saw her in a film called mona lisa smile [which, by the way, i liked quite a bit] wherein she played a spoiled, misguided brat; intelligent in terms of text regurgitation, but didn't know how to think for herself... anyways, she learns, through the guidance of julia roberts' character about freedom of thought in all areas of life. this role suited dunst's ability to play the brat, but i just didn't see her as spiderman's love interest. [one could argue, "perhaps neither did she!": one of the most strikingly unexpected themes of the film, for me anyway, was that of mary jane watson|kirsten dunst's lack of devotion to her supposed loved one [who does not seem to fit the usual terrible boyfriend|fiance outfit so often used functionally in movies to give the "good guy" [in this case peter parker] a formidable obstacle to cross and a real reason to win her love...]

i'm not one to pan something purely on it's dripping sentimentality or it's comic [pun intended] dramatic writing [hell, i listen to soft rock constantly...] but this movie was too much. not enough balls to make it stand: tobey maguire cries and quivers in what seems like 3 out of 4 scenes. i mean, even lionel richie has balls. i wish the makers of spiderman 3 good luck, as they've shamelessly set themselves up with another sequel.


in it's opening five days, spiderman 2 brought in $152 million.


in his essay Reflections on the Death of the Reader [found in his 1967 collection, A Bill of Rights, A Bill of Wrongs, A Bill of Goods], wright morris writes [ha! right, wright, write...]:

"the book-hungry buyer who does not read supports that superstructure we call the best-seller, a coinage that continues to testify to the clinical accuracy of the amercan language. best-sellers we know they are: best read they are not."


pouring forth of july - Posted on 2004-07-06 10:09:00

ah patriotism...
nationalism.
sentiments for the sentimental perhaps?
this fourth of july, jen and i went over to her aunt and uncle's for a delicious and fun b.b.q. which included not only great food and drink, but also a dozen or so kids running at full speed, and diving face first onto a slide which is no more than a wet piece of plastic laid across a lawn. ouch. as if that weren't enough, there was another game at the party that maybe shouldn't have been turned into a children's game: horseshoes. horseshoes!! a game that not only involves throwing metal objects, but spikes! SPIKES! sure, the metal became plastic in the changeover, but jeez, those things are still sharp and, just like the good old days, there's nothing more exciting for a child than chasing after another chilld with a spike in hand [plastic or otherwise].

following the party, jen and i flew over to a rochester red wings baseball game. [what better place to be on the fourth than the home of a 'truly unique american pastime"...] we sang loud as the silent majority stood awkwardly for the canadian national anthem [rochester was playing ottawa], and removed caps and stood awkwardly while the majority sang the american national anthem. play ball!

didn't it rain, brother...

jen and i exited the field right as the seventh inning stretch began, soaking wet. we went home and watched a documentary dvd i had recently purchased called The Weather Underground, a really excellent film that is really appropriate [i feel] considering today's tense political climate. as we watched, fireworks thundered.


a little darwin never hurt anybody [but a big darwin will eat a little one...] - Posted on 2004-07-02 12:10:00

a lovely sentiment, quoted by paul d. miller aka dj spooky that subliminal kid in the liner notes to his 'excerpts and allegories' of the sub rosa catalogue:

"as man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social insticts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. this point once being reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all races and nations..."

-charles darwin


mooron blaker's dozen - Posted on 2004-06-27 13:50:00

last night i saw the new film by michael moore called fahrenheit 9/11 [which, like mel gibson's the passion, [though with very differing primary audiences,] had gained a huge amount of free press [read: hype] due to the controversiality of the films] and was, as i usually am after watching a film by michael moore, utterly impressed by his crafty editing work, utterly shocked at the video and written documents he was able to get is hands on, utterly ecstatic that a film like this was actually picked up and shown in theaters, and utterly depressed at the implied ground-crumbling-under-our-feet view of the world that his films tend to point to.

like the passion, moore's new film is attended by two types of people. [this is obviously a generalization ["man, i hate all those people who generalize..."] but i do think that especially in america, fence-sitting as a legitimate way of approaching an issue [even temporarily,] has become a sign of weakness. [note george w. bush's success with many americans simply because he says things with with directness, no wishy-washy answers [assuming he has an answer], just a simple, direct [and often blatently wrong,] statement.]] these two groups of people include those who go to cheer on the concept of the movie, and those who come simply to disagree with the concept. with both the passion and fahrenheit 9/11 i don't think that the beliefs of those who attended will be changed one way or the other. more likely, beliefs will strengthen.

regardless, i respect moore for making the film, and hope that people who would not otherwise get involved in politics will get involved.


on a happier note, i had the pleasure of meeting saxophonist ron blake last thursday at jazz90.1FM. super nice dude.


also, as i mention in the last blog entry, i have been checking out some books by nicholson baker. i began with a true story called "U and I", a book about baker's obsession with writer john updike and in general, about the anxiety of influence. after that, i checked out "The Mezzanine", an amazing story of everyday life [the setting of the book is actually rochester's own midtown mall], and "Vox", a sassy and well written novel[lette] consisting of a phone sex chat between a man and a woman. recently, i've been thrilling to baker's collection of non-fiction called "The Size of Thoughts" which contains [among other things] an elegy for the card catalog, mcfee-like histories of fingernail clippers and punctuation, and a tracing of the word "lumber" through literary history. great stuff!


un/sticky situational|jazz fast|baker's does in - Posted on 2004-06-20 15:01:00

i figured since i haven't significantly updated in a bit, [and my current chunck of free time allows for it] now would be a good time.


one=the case of the marred mirror:
so after my radio show last thursday, i went out to my vehicle, which was parked in an endlessly weaving row of diagonals, unlocked it with my handy-dandy 'keyless entry' system, opened the door and located out of the corner of my right eye, as i settled into the grey driver's seat, a foreign plastic-type object, suspiciously placed in the passenger seat.
thoughts that entered my mind: what is this foreign plastic-type object, suspiciously placed in the passenger seat? did someone break into my vehicle while i was on the air, and place a foreign plastic-type object suspiciously in the passenger seat? if so, did they per chance hear a part of my show? if so, did they enjoy it? did they think the joke about the smell of the new bobby mcferrin record was funny? if so, was it because they had recently acquired [a word which suddenly looks even more foreign than the object that was suspiciously placed upon my passenger seat...] a copy of the record and had a similarly strong olfactory reaction?

no time to think. must. investigate.

within seconds, the truth came out: it was my rear view mirror. the glue, which for so long had held so strong the oft-taken-for-granted driver's tool, must've softened enough in the rochester heat that it couldn't take anymore and let the mirror go. what a freeing moment it probably was for the little mirror who's job it is, in effect, to be pushed around and stared at... fuckin heroic.


two=the jazz fast.
something about the rochester international jazz festival has always made me feel a little uneasy. maybe it's that i live right down the street from the eastman school of music, [my alma mater and the site of this year's festivus,] and seeing gibbs st [renamed, in a remarkable streak of creativity by the festival commitee "jazz street", for the week long festival] fill up with hordes of suburbanite jazz fans, each proudly displaying their $75, neck-lanyard held, rochester international jazz festival "club pass". don't get me wrong, seeing anyone on the streets of downtown rochester after 6pm on a weeknight makes me get a warm feeling, but the "festival atmosphere" applied to jazz?

due to a relatively busy schedule and not wanting to purchase the aforementioned "club pass" or pay for too many shows individually, i went to only one concert, over the course of the week: bobby mcferrin and jack dejohnette with brad meldau as their opening act. i was very excited, as all three are musicians i admire. a strange thing happened after mehldau played his set [consisting of two standard tunes, two orginals, and two pop covers] and the lights came up for a short intermission: i ran into an older friend of mine who's musical taste buds tend to lean towards the conservative side, who made some comment which used the words mehldau, liberace, candelabra, emotionless, etc. to describe the set we had just heard. more on this from mr. john pitcher, of the rochester democrat and chronicle:

"...very little of what [Brad, Bobby or Jack] performed actually sounded like jazz."


"...Mehldau seemed to have almost nothing original to say."


"his take on Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" was mostly pretentious."

it is interesting to note that it is often the same people, who when presented with a musician that is untrained [in the european classical sense], adventurous, pushing boudaries [or even just pushing people's buttons], will say things like "where was the melody? you couldn't whistle that! that wasn't swinging!", that will, when presented with a musician who is well trained [in the european classical sense], deadly precise, and playing "tunes" [i.e., tin pan alley classics; anything from the "great american songbook" [or even anything that wouldn't normally fall into that category, that happened to be touched by the midas-like hand of a famous practitioner of swing [read: Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton etc.]]], will respond [as the man did i met at the intermission of the mehldau|mcferrin concert,] "there was no emotion! there wasn't one swingin' not in that whole thing! i didn't feel a thing!", or as john pitcher so elequently states:

"[Mehldau's] rendition of Gershwin’s 'How Long Has This Been Going On' reminded me of the sort of faux blues pieces that such 20th-century composers as Virgil Thomson and Samuel Barber used to write in order to sound more American and less classical."

way to go pitch, way to go...
three=nicholson baker
i've been reading a whole lot of nicholson baker recently and loving it! more on that next time!

until then...


temptationals in you. - Posted on 2004-06-13 12:44:54

friday i had a nice opportunity to play with the temptations [actually only one of the original members is still alive, but the group still tours and sounds pretty damn good...] a very fun gig, lots of horns, and the temptation rhythm section was pretty burning.

it looks like the new respect sextet record will be titled Respect In You.
look for it in about a month or so!


NEW EMAIL ADDRESS!!!! - Posted on 2004-06-07 11:34:00

due to a ridiculous amount of spam, you can now reach me by email at:

josh a*t joshrutner d*o*t c*o*m

sorry to be so cryptic. thanks for your patience!!


distilled respect tastes better than regular respect. - Posted on 2004-06-01 20:25:43

so, the much anticipated respect sextet gigs have finally happened, and we're all the better for it. unfortunately, our lovely and [extremely] talented bassist malcolm kirby could not be with us for the trifecta of gigs, but his absence was covered by NYC based australian [of love and respect] matt clohesy. matt did an excellent job tuning into the group's complex inner workings and simple outer undoings within our limited [about 2 hours] of rehearsal time before the first gig in toronto.

the weather in toronto was cold and there were less people at the festival [, distillery jazz [directory style]] than i had anticipated/hoped, but spirits were strong, and hot dogs were expensive [i guess it was canadian money afterall]. the first night's gig [read: the "avant garde" gig] went very very well and was, after about five minutes of playing to the sound men, very well attended. the second night's gig [read: the "straight ahead" gig] was in a much larger venue, and was spotty in terms of audience, but i think a large portion of that had to do with the number of people that were there. the group sounded good, and headed home.

saturday night was the homecoming concert [of love and respect]. very few peopel showed up to these sets, however, we managed to get an incredible recording of the evening, and are in the process of preparing it for public release!

all in all, a great weekend!

until next time!


the future, today. - Posted on 2004-05-26 10:25:00

i was watching tv this morning and was shocked to find matt, katie, al, and ann all dressed in shiny silver suits. this is not the today show i know. it soon became apparent that the theme for the day [against all intent of the show's title] was "the future" [or, more specifically, the year 2024]. why is it that whenever the future is evoked, it always comes out as some silvery version of the original star trek set. everyone wears silver suits, bulky shades [silver], dyed hair [most likely silver for the women] and the music one hears is, again, in the true style of mid 20th century sci-fi soundracks, full of theremin...
in true po mo style, the today show touts modernism [lowercase m: the future] by digging up relics of the ancients.

all that aside though, get ready for a jam-packed weekend of respect!


respect changes another skeptic's mind - Posted on 2004-05-20 13:42:09

today i was handed a note written by a fantastic local Jazz [capital j] pianist in response to his hearing the respect sextet's cd, The Full Respect. here's a piece:

"... i REALLY like [the] "Respect" cd. i didn't expect i would, but it COOKS and it's FUN- what else is there?"

you too can own one by visiting www.respectsextet.com!


respect will play in toronto jazz fest! - Posted on 2004-05-04 18:31:51

the respect sextet is back in business this summer with two gigs at the distillery jazz festival in toronto! should be really fun, we'll be playing two dates: friday, may 28th and saturday, may 29th.

more info at www.distillery jazz.com!


new shows on wgmc90.1fm - Posted on 2004-04-29 21:34:38

i haven't quite updated my events section yet to reflect this change, but i've recently aquired two new shifts at wgmc90.1fm! so, [if you're keeping score at home,] i'm now on wednesday and thursday from 1-4pm solo, and fridays from 1-4pm along with red wierenga for Hilar On the Air!

got it? great!


respect reviewed @ allaboutjazz.com - Posted on 2004-04-27 10:44:00

well, not every review is stellar... but you take the luke warm with the hot. this is a review from december of respect's The Full Respect [by eric j. iannelli, december 2003]:

While gigging in and around Rochester, New York, the Respect Sextet circulated a demo CD entitled Respectacle. This portmanteau, as I'm fairly sure it was intended, conjures immediate associations with other words: respect, spectacle and receptacle. All three are appropriate. The players in this six-piece delight in paying homage to every one of their musical influences and enjoy drawing attention to themselves... and their debut full-length, The Full Respect, is a bag about as mixed as they come. It's hard not to be charmed by what you might call the band's capable clowning as they hop with enviable agility from the Mentos theme song to hard bop, ragtime, swing, and the not-yet-fully-explored sonic properties of squeaky squeeze toy. And while the Respect Sextet nods in every direction possible, there isn't a standard to be found on the disc. Each of the eighteen tracks is an original. So why do I still approach this disc with apprehension? I suppose it's the fact that it all seems intended as jazz for people who don't like jazz, something akin to the They Might Be Giants horn section (a very talented and entertaining horn section, mind you) taking the group's songs out on a separate tour as instrumentals. In other words, quirky and good for a few laughs, but nothing worth listening to outside of a live performance. Then there's the feeling that the Respect Sextet is uncomfortable about being in earnest. Almost everything has a dash of irony. “Doo Rag,” a great little Joplin-esque interlude, ends with a burst of cacophony, like a punchline to a joke. Despite some inspired flourishes, the two “Tag Game” tracks are just playful studio nonsense. And the excellent “Lost Time” doesn’t even last a full minute and a half, as if to get it over in a hurry before anyone catches on that there might be real feeling involved. There are some meatier offerings, among which are the nearly nine-minute “Cartel,” cool and atmospheric; and ”LaRutz B'Chutz,” which is comparable to the sadly underrated output of the jazz-klezmer proponents Kol Simcha (aka The World Quintet). But this handful of tracks isn't quite enough to counterbalance the slightness of the rest. For an outfit that aims to mingle the “serious, heady, and intellectual” with the “light, comic, and absurd,” the latter grouping tends to get more showing than the first. There's no doubt that the Respect Sextet owes a lot to diverse influences. Yet those same influences would probably be better served if the group was to take some of these sarcastic one-offs and tongue-in-cheek jam sessions and inject them with a substance equal to their ability.



[boldly, and parenthetically, i respond:
i guess earnest went camping... but everyone respects the squeeze toy! interesting too that respect was reviewed under the category "jam band". hm. hilar!

for a second opinion, please scroll down to "new review for The Full Respect! - Posted on 8 April 2004, 2:16 pm". ]


staten island knows how to party - Posted on 2004-04-26 10:05:00

ok, so big change in plans...

as it turns out, philadelphia is a thing of the past. jen and i are moving to new york city! [well, staten island, hilar!] i'm very psyched that everything will work out for her and i know i'll be happy as most of my friends are either currently there or planning on moving there.

which brings me to, does everyone in the world move to NYC every year? how do all those people fit?

more info as it becomes available...


seattle|lets eat - Posted on 2004-04-21 16:06:04

back from seattle! the weather was beautiful, the family was fun and we got to see some great music! brad mehdau's trio [with larry grenadier and jorge rossy] sounded fantastic at seattle's jazz alley, and it was a total pleasure to hear the coung vu trio [with stomu takeishi and ted poor!! with special guest bill frisell... hm...]. ted [and everyone else] sounded totally incredible... i may or may not have gotten a little teary eyed seein that guy up there. so stay tuned for more updates about the relocation decision [surprises may be just around the corner]. as always, thanks for checking out the site!


new review for The Full Respect! - Posted on 2004-04-08 15:16:00

here's a new respectful review of the respect sextet's new record,
The Full Respect [from Cadence Magazine, April 2004]:

'Based on this first official release, The Rochester, NY-based Respect Sextet is one of those hometown secrets that deserve wider exposure. The group of Eastman School of Music grads honed their chops and collective approach to improvisation at a weekly gig at a local coffee bar, and the results are amply displayed. In just under an hour, they squeeze in eighteen tunes that jump from skewed swing to whacked-out rags to blues stomps to free improv to bent tunes that hint at Balkan modalities or Latin rhythms and even a wry quote of the Mentos ad jingle. The three-horn front line of trombonist James Hirschfeld, reed player Josh Rutner, and trumpeter Eli Asher lock in together and rock the heck out of the compact themes. They can sound tight and polite on a piece like “Jazz Is Dead, But Sometimes I Like To Take A Chance With Skeletons,” which harkens back to Ellington’s small bands. They can take Charlie Parker’s theme from “Moose the Mooch,” start it out straight, and then slowly morph it into “Mooch Too Early,” a wry deconstruction egged on by Red Wierenga’s piano. There is a Breukerish sense of play in the sauntering “Doo Rag” which leads into the lilting tango of “Cartel,” the only extended foray on the release. Here, the horns take turns stretching out on melodious solos over Wierenga’s organ-like accordion. The six are also comfortable pushing things totally out with a series of interspersed free collective improvisations. Throughout, bassist Malcolm Kirby and drummer Ted Poor lock in on the constantly shifting meters, turning things on a dime and kicking the group along. This band would be a kick to see live. The fact that they can pull these diverse threads together into a coherent whole is a credit to the entire ensemble, making for an impressive debut.' –Michael Rosenstein



but a copy online today at www.respectsextet.com or www.jazzloft.com!


philly, here we come! - Posted on 2004-04-05 09:52:00

so the decision has finally been made. come september, jen and i will be headed southeast to philladelphia [i gotta learn to spell that before we move i guess...]

so... here's how you can help!

do you know anyone in philly? [musician or otherwise...] if so, please send me an email at rutner@joshrutner.com with their info! thanks!


more pics!!! - Posted on 2004-03-18 20:58:12

believe it or not, the powers that "be" allowed joshua one more shot with yee ol' digicam. the results can be viewed here. [sign the guestbook and vote on your favorite... no! better yet, vote one off the island... much more appropriate these days.]


lofty goals - Posted on 2004-03-18 10:23:40

The Full Respect [the most recent piece of audilarity from your very own respect sextet] can now be purchased online at the jazz loft!

[though, you can still {and always} purchase a copy on www.respectsextet.com]


asher service - Posted on 2004-03-04 20:00:46

trumpeter/respecter/friend eli asher briefly made the appear in rochacha this week, playing a gig with g'hoktasaurus as well as the nathan heleine quartet! it was a pleasure for all to see him again!

ps- the respect sextet has a hilarious gig set up for the summer! more info coming soon!


winter backbeat survival week - Posted on 2004-02-24 13:42:33

today i participated in the second day of the first annual winter backbeat survival week during which several eastman students lug their instruments into the cold rochester air and play. keyword: backbeat.

this event was sponsered by students ian fry and mike chiavaro.

brrrrrrrr. i love it.


amazing gig/party for annie - Posted on 2004-02-22 03:20:57

so this past friday has renewed my love for interesting and ultimately funny music... with nathan heleine on alto saxophone, dan loomis on bass and jared schonig on drums, we played a whole array of music ranging from joni mitchell to john hollenbeck, from a perverted barthelme 'book on tape' [a tipped hat to read-to-your-child-month] to new (o)riginal compositionals...

very fun...

party for annie geddes was a blast and quite a success. the end until next time...


oh yeah! - Posted on 2004-02-10 10:10:27

almost forgot to tell you guys!

the respect sextet's new record, The Full Respect made it to a screaming #3 on wgmc's top 100 new releases of 2003! woah!

the record has also recently been reviewed. check it out here!


hey valentino, you want me to beg? you got me cookin', i'm a hard boiled egg... - Posted on 2004-02-10 09:41:32

a great gig last night with tatiana (led fearlessly by one chris wicks) throws me back into the 'jazz gig' vibe, if not temporarily. in the next couple weeks, i'll be playing a bunch of gigs at java's, harking back to a day when kids were kids, bells were ringing, and sentence clauses were much longer. ahhh the good ol' days...

i've taken to writing my events down again, so there should be a list under events. come back soon!


things are whizzing! - Posted on 2004-01-09 12:23:46

let's see, this month who's your daddy (hilarious film by matthew ehlers with music by the respect sextet) will be making the most hilarious and respectful appear at the sundance film festival. unfortunately, the idea that included renting a limo for the respect sextet and driving it to utah to make an equally grand appear at the festival to watch the 3min film, was voted down by the band for money reasons. party poopers...

a nice new year's eve; i played with the latin vibes. people seemed to enjoy themselves.

ps, keep an ear to the ground for NIMP, the new project brought to you by rostrumworks and roister records!


josh's voice make's the reappear and respect hits the big time of film scoring! - Posted on 2003-11-23 21:06:00

so those of you who keep track can add singing to the list of silly activities that i somehow get paid for... today red wierenga played a duo gig at which he played piano and i sang. it was truly hilarious.

now, even funnier:
the film, Who's Your Daddy? (mentioned below), for which tracks of The Full Respect have been employed as scoring, has been accepted by the sundance film festival people, and will appear at this year's festivus. respect!

good work respect sextet members!


events are back! - Posted on 2003-11-18 12:19:00

for those of you who wondered where all the 'events' went in the events page, they're back!! click here for event info.


the update makes the grand appear! - Posted on 2003-11-16 00:31:00

whew... i'm drowning in a few moments of computer time and it seems like it might be a great time to catch everyone up on some things that have been happening.

1. unfortunately, the thrice-a-week gig at mykonos has temporarily fallen through. boo. alas, red and i will be returning to our usual restaurant music scene hunt. on a more positive note, the latin vibes are playing a whole lot these days and sounding great! respect!

2.speaking of respect, matthew ehlers (film and video writer, director and producer of eggwork.com fame) has decided to use two tunes from The Full Respect in his new short film entitled Who's Your Daddy?! rahoo! more on that to come.

other than that, things are going great! hello mrs. b!


mykonos! - Posted on 2003-10-25 08:41:30

well, the java's gig has finally ended, but it looks like something new and fun has cropped up in its stead. join josh and pianist red wierenga thursdays, saturdays and sundays from 6-9pm at mykonos (greek restaurant at village gate).

respect the duo!! c'mon by!


it's been a while - Posted on 2003-10-06 19:07:38

oy, so it's beena while since we've spoken.

much has happened: g'hoktasaurus went on a big long trip to NC so we could play at the wedding of seth brodsky and jude stewart. a totally fun time was had by all.

i recently purchased a guiro and have been (hilariously) attempting to play it on latin band gigs. also, i just bought some maracas. what is it with latin percussion being so hard?

believe it or not, after three years plus, i've finally stopped playing at java's on wednesday nights. the owner had been passively complaing for months and i decided it's time to call it off. many memories are held within those walls. many of my favorite musical moments happened there. (but) onward and upward!!

with eli and ted moved out of the ROC, the respect sextet has temporarily disbanded until the next recording project and/or tour. keep the respect alive! (and buy the CD if you can!)

projects in the works for this year: NIM (working title): a band featuring the talents of chris wicks, pj kelly and ian fry, dedicated to playing nigh-impossible music. and a pop band (as yet without even a working title) featuring (among others) bassist mike chiavaro. woo! keep your ears to the ground.

until next time, i'm out!


tour pics are up! - Posted on 2003-09-19 13:33:00

check out the respect sextet website to see photos from the tour (complete with some hilarious commentary) as well as some pictures from the CD release party at the Montage Grille and a night at java's (taken by the great paul miller)!

raise a roister!!


respect tour, leg one, complete - Posted on 2003-09-01 20:50:05

after five nights in a row of gigs (and over 2ooo miles placed on my car), leg one of the respect tour is complete. it was quite a success on an artistic level! plus, we managed not to kill each other in the process.

tomorrow (tuesday), we leave for pittsburgh. this will be our last out of town gig of the tour.
enjoy the rain! we'll catch up soon!


respect tour underway! - Posted on 2003-08-27 14:05:44

the respectsextet is doin it up on the road! thus far we've played one gig at a seedy cleveland bar and tonight we're in chicago to play at the empty bottle!

check the events page for tour information or consult respectsextet.com!

ya!


the full respect now available online! - Posted on 2003-08-22 13:02:54

to purchase your copy of The Full Respect online, click here!

raise a roister!


THE FULL RESPECT is here! - Posted on 2003-08-21 02:52:17

respect has finally done it. The Full Respect (roister records 2oo3) is here. go and pick up a copy at one of the following venders: the bop shop, fantastic records, the eastman bookstore or barnes and noble. or, you can just wait until the 'official' CD release party at the montage grille on september 4th at 8pm!

yah!


"mom, when i crow up, i'm gonna be mayer of new york" - Posted on 2003-08-14 13:11:00

tuesday i went with some friends to see counting crows and john mayer. it was a pretty great show. pop music has this great way of bringing people together- the feeling of familiarity is strong when one sees a ton of kids singing the lyrics of a song to each other as if they wrote it themselves. the crows were pretty good, but mayer's set pretty muched rocked. his drummer blew me away! much respect!

speaking of, the respect sextet summer tour is nearing, and how! we've finally booked our rochester show- we'll be playing at the montage grille on thursday, sept. 4th. that show will act both as our hilarious homecoming and our CD release party "officiale". come out and bring friends! (for the rest of the respect tour dates, click here.) THE FULL RESPECT, respect's new studio full-length, will be available in less than a week! be sure to pick up a ton of copies for you and your loved ones (they make great gifts!)


ahhh... the joys of instant reminiscing! - Posted on 2003-07-27 16:07:35

last night i played a gig with sarahi at which a man was taking pictures. as it turned out, he was there two weeks before when i had played with latin vibes and there was plenty of documentation to prove it. (the two-week-old pictures were being projected 'slideshow style' on a wall of the club as we played.) the situation became all the more odd when i began noticing pictures of the band that were clearly taken that night... minutes before even! has reminiscing gone the route of fast food? "quick dave! get the camera! quicker dave! get the film developed! quickest dave! buy a digital camera so we don't have to wait the hour for film developing!"

"did you miss me when i was gone?"
"were you gone?"


CD, DC & JT - Posted on 2003-07-18 11:19:00

the respect sextet is really whizzin now! the CD requires one more mixing session of love and respect and mastering... then the fun begins! when The Full Respect finally comes out, be sure to purchase copies for all your friends. nothing says 'i love you' like a nice warm fire and the new full-length from the respect sextet...

i got back from washington DC wednesday night after visiting my good friend siobhan for a few days. it was a great trip! i visited the hirshhorn museum of modern art (pretty ridiculous stuff!), rode the metro, went to a bastille day party and had a fantastic time!

last night i had the pleasure of seeing james taylor at six flags darien lake. man, you gotta respect this guy! he sure knows how to put on a show! one of the highlights of last night's show for me was the appearance of a very seldom heard taylor tune called "mescalito". the funny thing is, first of all, the tune is only 28 seconds long. (although it was a smidge longer in live performance). the second funny thing is that in the original liner notes of One Man Dog (the record on which mescalito appears), there is a diclaimer of sorts that reads:

'The opinions expressed in this song are not necessarily those of the supporting musicians and background vocalists.'

the complete lyrics follow:

mescalito has opened up my eyes, ahhhh... mescalito has set my mind at ease, ahhhh... mescalito has opened up my eyes, set my mind at ease, ahhhh...

i can only assume he was referring to mescaline and people in the band didn't wanted to be associated with drug allusions. ahhhh... the early 70's...

ahhhh...


JERSEY! - Posted on 2003-07-07 12:16:16

jerseyband 3.0 is making the appear beginning with a cd release concert at milestones (east ave) this tuesday (july 8th).

go check them out! for more information, check out the new and improved jerseyband website!

ps- several of the respect summer tour dates are up! check them out here.


mix this! - Posted on 2003-07-02 18:03:00

well, respect has just about finished mixing their new album, The Full Respect. after a few more finishing touches, a quick mastering, a week or so to get artwork and liner notes together, and two weeks or so to get it duplicated, we'll have a great product for you!

stay tuned to joshrutner.com and respectsextet.com for more details and updates!


congrats jose! - Posted on 2003-06-22 14:15:48

congratulations to jose encarnacion who, yesterday, got married!

his party was a blast; music was provided by the latin vibes as well as caliente. in the process, i met this cool little guy named potento who helped me sing some of the choros.

congrats again jose!


joy - Posted on 2003-06-14 03:11:00

so much great stuff happening these days!

the stacked eastman jazz ensemble played a wonderful concert with maria schneider on sunday as part of the jazz fest. what a beautiful conductor (conductress?) she is! the way she is able to communicate her music through movements of her body is truly awe-inspiring. (interestingly enough, playing for maria sort of completes the bookends for me as the first concert that i played at eastman was with her. may the circle be unbroken!)

look for another music preview of mine in this week's city newspaper!

more to come later! thanks for visiting the site! sign the guestbook!


fazz jest - Posted on 2003-06-07 21:33:00

the time has come for all rochesterians to put on their game faces and make their way downtown for the second annual rochester jazz festival. people who would normally rather stay home and watch tv the other 50 weeks of the year make the trek to catch the big name acts.

sigh...

no bitterness here.

seriously though, there's a great vibe downtown and a lot of music, which is good. stop by the eastman theater sunday and monday night if you get a chance!

consult the events page for more gig details!


swingin' d&b adventure - Posted on 2003-06-02 01:42:00

it's been a very fun weekend.

saturday morning, i was involved in a workshop for swingin' jazz vi which included clay jenkins, dave guidice, jay leonhart and rich thompson. the kids were so great! i always have fun at those things!

later that afternoon, it was off to the all-purpose room for some fantastic improvising with a new group called the wallpaper predicament (which includes red wierenga on accordion, eli asher on trumpet and kevin mcfarland on cello. though the audience was small and the weather was pretty terrible, the group sounded amazing.

saturday night, i played with caliente as we opened up for a very popular latin band aventura at water street music hall. the place was packed and the band sounded real nice!

after a full day of teaching sunday i decided to go back to club industry to hear some good drum n bass djs. (i had gone last sunday to hear tech-itch.) the djs included nyc's dj seoul and cali/uk's alley cat. very nice stuff.

i think my next update will regale you with my theories of drum n bass performance practice. until then, yahaha!


a good night for one respect sextet. - Posted on 2003-05-29 20:34:00

the respect sextet performed last night to a "capacity" crowd at java's. the energy was high, there were two distinct instances of people dancing in front of the bar (one was breakdancing to my piece fishy, the other two were slow dancing to carla bley's sing me softly of the blues), and with the addition of a new waltz by red wierenga called farewell, vienna and a new arrangement of mine of you don't send me flowers, the night was totally respectable.

speaking of, i met a woman the other night named claudia, and it was explained to me that she wa from jamaica. thinking this was very cool, i responded with a resounding "respect!"
she, in turn, responded to my resounding response with a resounding "that's our saying!", proving the rumor that jamaicans say respect almost as much as the members of the respect sextet.

enjoy the weather!

ps- i asked claudia whether she and her countrymen also said "hilarious", and she assured me that they do only to make fun of americans.
hilarious!


not a good day for one blue shirt. - Posted on 2003-05-27 15:06:00

a bird shat on my blue shirt today.

there was nothing i could do. i noticed after the fact. i did my best to remedy the situation. i went to first rate foods and deli for a sandwich and some applesauce. in my haste to even out the consistency of the applesauce, i shook the small jar (not realizing that the cap was ill-screwed [i suppose it was i who was screwed...]) sending a near jar-full of appley goodness on my shirt (and partially over my right shoulder, which was still moist from the gift the bluebird left). the shirt's fine, but if you'd like to send any well wishes, please email us at abirdshatonmyblueshirt@yahoo.com. thank you.

in other news, i'll be improvising with a new group called wallpaper predicament this saturday afternoon from 1-3pm at the all-purpose room. come by the public market and support live music (and art)!

the sounds page is up! feel free to download these tracks and share them!


all-purpose rainy day - Posted on 2003-05-24 13:47:00

a wise man once said, it never rains in southern california.
alas, here i am, in rochester, new york... didn't it rain, brother...

last night i attended the grand opening of the all-purpose room, a space rented by four friends that will be a venue for contemporary art showings and contemporary music performances. last night's opening featured art work by garrison buxton, ray cross, david shull and jack zazlo as well as musical performances by nast and dialects. it was a great event and it is clear that the all-purpose room is gonna be a great venue for artists and musicians in rochester and beyond. (for more information on the all-purpose room, visit their website by clicking here.)

ya!


the new stuff keeps on coming! - Posted on 2003-05-22 22:23:00

man oh man, paul miller just doesn't let up! this site keeps getting more and more whizzin! check out the new events page, the photos, the press... very exciting. stay tuned for more!

be sure to check out discolobos this friday (may 23rd) at the bug jar! i'll be playing along with dj's wagun and brasby, hasaan, lowkey... beats will abound! see you there!


congraduations! - Posted on 2003-05-19 01:28:00

...and it all ended today with great formality and much rejoicing. many robed figures shook hands, many names were read and that fateful walk across the stage of the eastman theater completed my four year stay. i think i'm ready to take a break now...


g'radulobos a. williams - Posted on 2003-05-18 01:50:00

yesterday, g'hoktasaurus played a bat mitvah! i'm telling you, this klezmer band's gonna take off! the people sang, the people danced, the people rejoiced, and it was good. so it was written, so it was done.

graduation from the eastman school of music is finally upon me as i will walk across the eastman theater stage today in a silly black robe, a funny hat, and a sash- yes a sash. was someone drunk when they invented this outfit? who made these decisions? i say if i'm gonna wear a sash, it should say my state's name or my professional title or something... regardless, it's happening, so wish me luck.

the guys of discolobos have asked me to play with them again at their next big show (which will take place on friday, the 23rd of this month at the bug jar). should be a blast, go check them out and buy their new disc, profiles.

yesterday, i attended a reading at the river campus given by author, poet, journalist etc. john a. williams. very interesting man with some great writings. i was commission to write some pieces for the respect sextet based on some of his writing; should be a blast.

p.s.- i had a hilarious trip to the emergency room the other day because of an allergic reaction to peanuts... the woman who was supposed to give me an i.v. missed twice before she finally got it in. ow. everything's fine, except i'm on meds for a couple days just in case (one of which knocks me out).

keep checking back to the site as paul miller is helping me get things back in order after the crash of a couple months ago.


respect puts the razor into fundraiser! - Posted on 2003-05-14 11:35:00

last night the respect sextet performed at wgmc's fundraiser and concert which featured the likes of harold danko, the dave guidice quartet, cyrus chestnut and steve greene.

graduation is this sunday. anyone have any regalia i could borrow? regalia is an interesting word for a nylon robe.

check out the more links page! the rest of the site is on its way... keep checking back!


new stuff! - Posted on 2003-05-12 01:33:00

hey everyone! the tides are turning! some of the links on the left are beginning to lead to actual information now and the rest are on their way! (currently, the bio and projects links are up.) stay tuned! we should get this thing up within the next two weeks.


respect goes the distance! - Posted on 2003-04-24 00:12:00

the respect sextet are sooooo close to having a studio record! the recording was completed yesterday and all that remains is to mix, master and produce a truck load of them! stayed tuned here and www.respectsextet.com for updates and hilarious stories of the process!

feeling a little flustered these days, but the end of school is near! i think my next update will include my argument against "regalia".

p.s.- paul miller has been whizzing his comps so this site should be back into shape in the next couple weeks! stay tuned for updates!


recital complete! - Posted on 2003-04-14 18:12:00

it's over now... my senior recital somehow came together! though it was a logistical nightmare, everyone showed up, played their collective ass off, and the hilarity ran rampant! for those of you who heard the rumor, yes, i did to a handstand when i entered the performance space. (oh yeah, must've held that sucker for at least... 2... 3 seconds... oh yeah). highlights of the recital included a truly hilarious and effective introduction by the ever-boisterous red wierenga, a surprise four voice cell phone fugue, an incredible performance by the latin vibes and a killin rendition of hungarian rock by the boys of the r.n.a. hair gunk co.

so what's next for josh rutner you ask?

oh, you didn't ask? my bad.


daylight savings is terrible. - Posted on 2003-04-05 11:30:00

ok, so discolobos cd release party was so much fun. the guys sounded great and there's some really cool stuff on the cd!

the dave guidice quartet played a really fun concert at a church in honeoye falls... we didn't hold back and they were surprisingly into it!

earlier this week i took a couple days off school and travelled with my good friend malcolm kirby to william paterson college. we went there to play on the senior of vocalist and friend sarah versprille. good stuff, and nice to meet a bunch of people down there!

this is the final stretch before my recital, which rehearsals run rampant! i hope to see you all there! (remember: palm sunday, april 13th, 7pm, room 120, eastman school of music.)


pachora, misha, discolobos! - Posted on 2003-03-25 09:23:00

a busy week now lies behind me... pachora was here on wednesday and they sounded amazing! friday, the eastman pickup band, directed by mr. brian shaw performed misha mengelberg's epic composition "reef und kneebus" as part of an ossia concert. it was great! everyone had a great time and the audience seemed to enjoy themselves!

coming up this friday at the bug jar is the cd release party for disoclobos! besides josh on live sax stuff, the evening will feature the amazing talents of hassaan, quarter-pound, lowkey and dd-rej! come and check out some of rochester's finest in hip hop!

and don't forget josh's recital on sunday, april 13th at 7pm in eastman's room 120.


recital time change!! - Posted on 2003-03-18 19:33:00

please note, my senior recital at the eastman school of music (yes yes, the big shapow!) will be palm sunday, april 13th at 7pm, not at 9pm as previously thought! i hope to see some people there! (it'll be in eastman's room 120)


respect recording session #2 postponed! - Posted on 2003-03-11 00:20:04

well, due to some unfortunate and unforseen problems with the east end studios computers, the second (and "last") recording session had to be postponed... total drag! now we have to wait because it will be about a month till we're all in town again. luckily, the studio still has our first session saved, that stuff sounds great!

recent listening favorites: musiqsoulchild-"juslisen, lionel richie-"can't slow down", territory band 2- "atlas".

don't forget, java's this wednesday, 9-11:30pm!


getting there! - Posted on 2003-03-06 10:30:28

well, joshrutner.com is on its way, slowly but surely! big thanks to paul miller for dealing with the disaster! (ok, it's not a disaster at all... maybe a travesty? no... an inconvenience! that's it.)

so the respect sextet got a rough mix of the stuff we recorded last week and it sounds great! we're going into the studio this saturday (hopefully the last time for this project) and we're gonna get it done!

tomorrow g'hoktasaurus returns to java's and the andy goldsworthy documentary comes to the little and it's my birthday! what a day it will be!

more updates, comin soon!


Hello - Posted on 2003-03-05 22:28:00

Dear web viewer, we are sorry to report that a large amount of josh rutner's site was fried due to an inexplicable and collosal hard disk failure of strange and wonderful proportions. I am working on bringing this site back up but it will take some time. Please understand that I lost a large amount of Josh's site. All his blog entries have been lost, as has all other database data. As the night wears on, there will be more restored, but the site will not be back to its former state for some time. "Some time" could mean months.

For now, at least, the blogger works, and so does the guestbook.



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