The reminiscences keep flowing
When I started working on this book – actually when I began writing about the Mwandishi band, I had no idea it was going to be a book – I didn’t realize that they had so much impact on musicians who were at the times in their teens and young adulthood (I thought it was just me and my friends). As I collect stories and memories from musicians, I am stunned to discover the commonalities between those stories and, in fact, with my own experience. The band, sometimes in conjunction with Miles’ live electric band in 1969-1971, reoriented ways of thinking in core ways. People who thought in linear fashion ceased to do so. People who thought in terms of outcome shifted to process. People who thought of through-composition and improvisation as separate entities, even jazz musicians, ceased to make a separation. Having spoken recently with Billy Childs, Bobby McFerrin, and Wallace Roney, and I’m looking forward to upcoming rounds with Patrice Rushen, Christian McBride, and others.
Speaking of this integration of musical forms and stylistic / improvisation-through composed fusions, I just heard the latest recording of “Jazz Chamber Music” by the Billy Childs Ensemble. Correction, I’ve listened to it five times in the past three days. It is astonishing in its aesthetic beauty, conceptual clarity, and performances. You can find links to listen and purchase this and its sister recording at http://www.billychilds.com/