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Cycle of Fifths
2018 08 04 YouTube is excellenbt at what my Free Learning Exchange tried to be in 1970 ff: anyone can record a video and “teach” something. Maybe no one will watch; maybe millions will watch: maybe no one will learn; maybe everyone will learn. Great.
I found myself watching a series of lessons on the cycle of fifths. I didn’t think the lessons were very good, but boy was I glad that such existed. Now I tell a stosy of the first time I ever heard the phrase: summer 1958. That’s the summer that Alan and I ran the Si Como No on Macdougal Street while the owner went down to Mexico to gather pottery from around the pryamids: preColumbian originals. No one would bother to fake them: real ones were common underfoot. It was also the summer when I met Jackie, my first love. I met her at a party on the lower east side. I made love to her on the couch in the gallery: the front door locked, the lightys off. One evening Jackie told me she’d meet me across the street in the bar on the corner of Macdougal and Bleeker. I eagerly awaited Jackie’s arrival, glad that someone was feeding the juke boxc for its trove of Horace Silver numbers. A guy struck up a conversation. Ah, here was the guy filling the machine with coins. He said he was a music critic for the Village Voice. “Here”, I punchtuated ouir coversation, “I love this part”. Horace’s piano was funky rhythmic: Da da da Da da da Da da da Da da da Ta chunk. The guy dismisses the riff: “That’s just a cycle of fifths!”
Well, now I know that it is indeed a cycle of fifths, and I know what a fifth is, and what the cycle of fifths is. But I don’t know how that dismisses anything! Unless you’re an idiot, working for the Voice.
Meanwhile Jackie had come in, and she wasn’t happy. She’d gone up to the bar, and believed that the bartender had ignored her, disrespecting her. Jackie is “black”, you see. That evening she was being defensive: aggrieved. I didn’t see it, had no opinion, I was occupied by the Voice critic. On one other occasions I saw Jackie being aggrieved about race. I think she was wrong in that latter case. 60 years ago. I got an email from her a couple of days ago. She was shilling for some weight loss program!
She put on weight, not me. But god was she beautiful in 1958! What was the name of that bar? Spring Street Bar? No, Macdougal is a few blocks north of Spring Street.