Monday, November 03, 2014

What We're Doing

I'm grateful to Jonathan for bringing The Universal Mind of Bill Evans to my attention. As I point out in the comments to Jonathan's post, the difference he demonstrates may not be apparent to everyone. If we had not been told, we might experience all three improvisations simply as much better than anything we're capable of ourselves. The same goes for writing. We're not always paying close enough attention to be precise. We "overwrite", let's say.

It's interesting to see Evans's brother Harry push back on the demand for simplicity and accuracy. "To thousands of musicians such as myself: we have to overplay," he says, "because we don't have time to even get to the keyboard to sustain the rudimentary thing." Maybe I'm projecting, but I can feel exasperation in Bill's response. He can only repeat himself: "It's better to do something simple which is real ... It's something you can build on because you know what you're doing." When people explain their faults by saying they don't have time to do it well, I get a little a sad. If we were half as "productive" in academia, half as "advanced", but twice as real and precise, we would be so much better off. We would, precisely, know what we're doing.

No comments: