Sunday, December 26, 2010

Joplin, Jim Thompson, Deadwood

I am home in Cambridge for the holidays and am currently holed up while a blizzard rages outside. I have been passing most of my time here working on the Joplin pieces Maple Leaf Rag, Original Rags, The Easy Winners, Swipesy Cakewalk, and Sunflower Slow Drag. These pieces bring me immense joy to play, and I can sit at the piano for hours working them up to tempo and not get bored. Today I sang the melody of the right hand to The Easy Winners in cat meows, while playing the piano part. It has caused me to think a bit about what I want out of music, what I want to feel and express. When my quartet recorded a few weeks ago, I had a chat with Daddy and we discussed approaching the music as if we were Jim Henson characters. Strange looking creatures with uncontainable energy and enthusiasm, shaking with delight. Or some attention seeking feral monster that jumps out from behind a bush at night and performs for a bewildered passerby. Animals. In fact, in my first lesson with Steve Lacy, I believe we played a little and then he told me to go to the zoo and check out animal sounds. Then there is the matter of animal behavior. To conjur the image of two dogs playing in the grass in slow motion, or a cat jumping across a wide river, just as a matter of daily business. Sounds that cause us to wonder where the driving force is, yet are so natural seeming in their occurance that we are convinced, sold, exhilarated, and we feel love and joy.


Additionally I'm two and a half episodes into Deadwood, which my brother gave me on DVD for Christmas, and I have started reading Jim Thompson's Savage Night, which my mom gave me. So I'm having a ragtime/western/crime noir-themed Christmas.