Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Most Important Influences

Part of the reason for my semi-hiatus from blogging this semester is the fact that I've been doing a lot of composing. Through an orchestration class with composer Steve Mackey, a tour of Estonia with the university Jazz Composers' Collective, and a junior composition project, I've put more ink on paper during these last 3 months than I've probably put down in my life so far. Up until now, I've considered myself a player who dabbles in composition, mostly as an alternative to playing cheesy jazz standards. But after spending more time musing and notating, I feel more confident in expressing the sounds I like on paper in some form.

With a week of classes left, I've gotten to a point where I think I'm finding some sort of musical personality. There are gestures and soundworlds to which I seem to gravitate. I now say that I have a musical philosophy (in a nutshell it says that music itself communicates very little, but there needs to be something in it, usually a sound, that engages the listener and prompts him or her to bring metaphorical meaning to bear. Ok that was a long parenthetical comment). Anyways, along with this thought of personality comes thoughts of influences. Especially in my junior project (a setting of Gerard Manley Hopkins' "Spring and Fall: To a Young Child"), I can probably identify like 50 tracks on my computer from which I lifted some small gesture or sound. I know that real music critics hate people that describe music as a combination of some other artists, but I'm going to do it anyway. Below is a list of artists and a track of theirs that seem to have seeped into my aesthetic in some way. Maybe the list will make you listen to my JP a little differently.

Aaron Parks - "Peaceful Warrior"
Alex Cline - "Nourishing Our Roots"
The Bad Plus - "Prehensile Dream"
David Lang - "The So-Called Laws of Nature"
Barenaked Ladies - "Brian Wilson"
Bela Fleck - "The Whistle Tune"
Ben Monder - "Ellenville"
Bill Frisell - "Gimme' a Holler"
Billy Bragg & Wilco - "Remember the Mountain Bed"
Bob Dylan - "Like a Rolling Stone"
Bobby Previte - "The 23 Constellations of Joan Miro"
Brad Mehldau - "Goodbye Storyteller"
Brian Blade Fellowship - "Crooked Creek"
Brian Eno - "Music for Airports I"
Charles Mingus - "Moanin'"
Chicago Underground Duo - "Blue Sparks from Her, and the Scent of Lightning"
The Claudia Quintet - "Crane Merit"
Gustav Mahler - Last movement of Symphony no. 3
Aaron Copland - Symphony no. 3
Darcy James Argue - "Phobos"
Dave Douglas - "Summit Music"
David Binney - "All of Time"
Samuel Barber - "Knoxville: Summer 1915"
Dirty Projectors - "Two Doves"
Django Bates - "Life on Mars"
Don Cherry - "Symphony for Improvisers"
Duke Ellington - "Happy Go Lucky Local"
Eric Dolphy - "Straight Up and Down"
Fleet Foxes - "Ragged Wood"
Fred Hersch - "Leaves of Grass"
Guillermo Klein - "Miula"
Herbie Hancock - "Actual Proof"
Jason Moran - "Blue Blocks"
Rebecca Fanya - "Superhero"
Jenny Scheinman - "Song of the Open Road"
Jim Black - "Maybe"
John Adams - "Dharma at Big Sur"
John Cage - "Third Construction"
John Coltrane - "Moment's Notice"
John Hiatt - "Have a Little Faith"
John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble - "A Blessing"
John Zorn - "Beeroth"
Joni Mitchell - "Hejira"
Joshua Redman - "Faraway"
Judy Collins - "Since You Asked"
Kate Bush - "This Woman's Work"
Keith Jarrett - "Koln Concert IIc"
Kenny Wheeler - "Sweet Time Suite"
The Kinks - "Strangers"
Kurt Elling - "Leaving Again"
Igor Stravinsky - The last 10 minutes or so of the Firebird Suite
Luciana Souza - "Tonight I Can Write"
Lyle Mays - "Alaskan Suite: Ascent"
Steve Reich - "Music for 18 Musicians"
Osvaldo Golijov - "Pasion Segun San Marcos"
Maria Schneider - "The Pretty Road"
Miles Davis - "Bitches Brew"
Wayne Shorter - "Fall"
Joseph Schwantner - "Percussion Concerto"
The New Pornographers - "Challengers"
Nick Drake - "River Man"
Norma Winstone - "Distance"
Oasis - "Wonderwall"
Ornette Coleman - "Lonely Woman"
Pat Metheny - "San Lorenzo"
Patricia Barber - "The Moon"
Paul Lansky - "Three Moves for Marimba"
Paul Motian - "9x9"
Paul Simon - "Born at the Right Time"
Respighi - "Pines of Rome"
REM - "Man on the Moon"
Radiohead - "Paranoid Android"
Jeanne Lee - "Newswatch"
Sam Sadigursky - "After Paradise"
Sarah Kirkland Snider - "The Stranger with the Face of a Man I Knew"
So Percussion & Matmos - "Shard"
Sonny Sharrock - "Promises Kept"
Stephen Schwartz - "All Good Gifts"
Stevie Wonder - "Golden Lady"
Sufjan Stevens - "Casimir Pulaski Day"
Frederic Rzewski - "Coming Together"
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - "Biomusicology"
Terrence Blanchard - "Transform"
Todd Sickafoose - "Tiny Resistors"
The Velvet Underground - "Heroin"
Vijay Iyer - "The Color of My Circumference I"
Joe Zawinul - "A Remark You Made"
Wilco - "Via Chicago"

So what the hell does this all mean anyway? Is a musical aesthetic just a combination of previous musical experience?


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