vendredi, septembre 01, 2006


There is a space for everyone. I don't remember this as much as I should but I am reminded in unexpected places.

On my bed with John Szwed's biography of Miles Davis in hand I read that someone, Cannonball maybe, said that Miles was not a very good trumpeter but an excellent soloist. Ashley Kahn quotes this same dude, whose identity escapes me, in Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece. I don't really listen to Miles but his legend suggested to me that he was virtuosic. Not so, at least according to these books.

In my office, after checking this weekend's bleek weather forecast, I hummed a little Tony!Toni Toné! which inevitably led to "C U When U Get There." I bought the CD single back in '97 or so. The Bill & Humberto Mix is best. I used to play the hell out of it at LPC Common Room parties. The music wafted through the mini sound system out the balcony overlooking the Tolo Channel and our expat teen population swayed. Hard. There was probably some languid arm-waving too. After all, it is a really good song. But on the grand scale of cool, Coolio is strikingly deficient. I'm not even gonna discuss talent, of which I'm sure many think he had/has little, since it is so subjective as to be meaningless.

In my writing workshop I write, and share, but mostly listen. It could overwhelm but it doesn't. Because of Miles, I guess, or Coolio. Maybe Kelis and Beyoncé. New York Magazine has a nice little profile on Kelis. Jim Farber reviews the heavily promoted sophomore album of Beyoncé. Not a fan of either but I appreciate Beyonce' singing voice whereas I think Kelis sounds best purring or growling on hooks. We all know Bey don't do much for me but I'm not inclined to celebrate Farber's tempered negative review. He posits the album as an example of her trying on a new style; suggested by Jay or not, pleasing or not, it's a step in the direction of creative growth which, I think, is what we are all after. As for Kelis who's earnestness almost made up for her horrid live vocals at a recent 106&Park performance, I just like her style. Moreover I like the fact that she doesn't have a pleasing singing voice but is a relatively succesful recording artist.

I am reminded that good, better, best are not so much to be or transcended but discarded. There is only what resonates: what evokes response. I sit with that and keep it with me as I walk the length of my path.

*Anybody catch the awkward Bey and Jay not moment when she won her VMA last night? When her name was called she didn't immediately rise, but Jay did along with the rest of the crowd in ovation, when she rose she turn towards him expectantly then away when she realized he had no intention of turning towards her. Slim Thug enters the frame, congratulates her with a kiss on the cheek and daps up Jay catching Bey between them.