Tears in My Ears

My son pierced the core of my emotions a decade or two ago when he told me that he’d recently listened to Miles Davis’ Tribute to Jack Johnson for the first time in a while, and, he told me, he found himself sitting helpless as tears streamed down his face.

Understand, bk was taken from me when he was five years old. I was offering a low cost internet, hoping to replace all previous institutions: school, media, state … I was getting shunned, sabotaged … bk’s mother wanted him to survive in this society, not get scuttled. So: everything I said, everything I thought, everything I did was tabboo. Except that she let us see each other on occasion. I had no resources, I couldn’t have kidnapped him back, not and also fed and housed him: I wasn’t house or fed much myself. Anyway, one thing I worked very hard on in the precious moments we did have together was his musical sense. Many an hour we spent with me prompting him to tell me exactly where Miles’ solo would begin on Agharta. Which beat is on of which measure? Is he on the up beat or the down beat …

My whole life has been rough, now it’s especially piquant as I go deaf. I still hear, but I know I don’t hear what I used to hear, I know I don’t see what I used to see.

Well the other week I gave myself the same experience, unintentinoally: I listened to Jack Johnson for the first time in a while: and sat, helpless, tears streaming down my face: tears of joy, of astonishment, of being meta-moved … and of reacting to memory of bk’s confidence.

Same thing happened recently with Sketches of Spain: only there I was experiencing hitherto unreleased cuts: god knows what Columbia has in its vaults: Teo Macero can brew original Miles on and on.
Here’s what I didn’t expect: recently I listened to some Brubeck: Balcony Rock, The Souk, first time in a while. Now when Jazz Goes to College was a new album, and I a new Brubeck convert, 1954, I listened to that album every day, many times every day: Balcony Rock and The Souk, over and over again. I got a friend to listen to it also every day, over and over again …

In 1954 I had no jazz training. Everything was uphill: no one wanted me listening to all that n- music, even when the n- was a white Californian, playing a very white form of jazz: Brubeck: and Paul Desmond! [Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 03 Offensive terms go dosido in fashion.

Anyway, I may come back and reminisce and exult … what I need to get to now concerns the rhthm, the meter: how the notes map against the time signature: how what’s played is what’s different from what’s signalled from the start: 4/4, 5/5, 3/4 …

Brubeck was the first musician that I came to understand was playing something one way, then turning it inside out, upside down. First you love the woman outside her body, then you love her inside her body …

thanx lost.fm

There were always times, in The Souk for example, where Brubeck seemed, even in 1954 to me, to be pounding, to lack nuance. But by god, what he does with those weird middle eastern rhthyms, those weird harmonies … And how does Paul Desmond float so mellifluously through it all? (And how can he riff those Arab phrases and still sound so very very white?

By the way, my title? Do you remember the song I’ve got Tears in My Ears from Lying on My Back in Bed and Crying Over You Baby Blues?

Stories by Theme


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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