Archive for the 'Polyrhythm' Category

Video, Original scores of LANDMARC and writteninwords.com

Thursday, June 17th, 2010


My new release Landmarc is doing great and based on request I published a book with all the charts including explanations, technical information, the philosophy of the specific compositions and the layout of the form. To give you the heads up, the charts include the matrix form of the title tune (plus explanation), a lot of mixed meter, some polyrhythm, a melody-no-harmony composition and a melody/harmony without barlines piece. You can get it on this site in the Score section. It is available as a pdf download or hardcover. If you have trouble getting it please let me know.

 

Also I am very excited about the video on my site. This is the first one of a series that is being worked on by three film students at the New School. Babette Wielenga is leading the project and she works together with Carolina Zuñiga and Maartje Wegdam. They have been following me to a few concerts, and were with me in the studio where I was working on a new project (more about that in a few months). This clip involves music from a live Global Motion gig at the Cornelia street cafe this year and photo stills done by Carolina and Maartje. It’s very cool, I hope you like it. They also made a great video including my music and the Number 7 Subway in Queens with the idea of making a series of video’s capturing the vibe of NYC. Hopefully that will be ready soon for upload.

 

And…..a great Landmarc review by Dick Hovenga published in writteninmusic.com and a leading Dutch magazine named Jazz. I got 4 and a 1/2 stars and it’s a fantastic review, please check it out if you read Dutch. Or else you can just look at the stars. Talking about reviews, word go’s around that Downbeat also reviewed the recording. I haven’t seen it yet but it sounds like it’s going to be a good one.


Global Motion is playing in town, at our usual spot the Cornelia street café. Please stop by and say hello if you are in the hood.

Thoughts on Polyrhythm

Monday, February 1st, 2010


As most of us (hopefully) are aware, improvised music moved the last 20 years into a direction where a more diverse rhythmical language is explored. In addition to myself, many of my colleagues and students compose and improvise with mixed meter and polyrhythmic elements.  This to me is a very strong and powerful movement. To have the rhythmic diversity settle on the same level of self-evident expression as our melodic and harmonic language is exciting. It presents itself as a potential vehicle to deepen our art form into a more complete experience in tune with our environment and in balance with life in the ‘now’.

 

Yet, I can’t help noticing the struggle with closing the gap between complex and exact (may I say Western) execution of rhythmic diversity and it ‘feeling good’. Too often I encounter as a result a large complex rhythmic vocabulary without the ability to make this developed language sound and feel good.  The whole experience tends to lean towards a heavy-handed experience, both for the musician and the audience.

 

Based on this observation and my personal experience I propose a point of perspective for consideration.  Polyrhythm, originated in Africa is by principle based on a groove, a deeply centered feel in which rhythms overlap one another simultaneously into a multifaceted feel with its soul purpose being to have a great time, to feel good, to possibly alleviate oneself from the hardships of everyday life and slip into a space of comfort and happiness. It is built from the ground up, rooted in the red clay, reaching for the hard blue sky surrounded by dance and energy. It is a natural experience in which formalization has no place and in which there is no space for hipness and mislabeled ‘genius’ head trips.

 

For an audience in a jazz club in NYC the motive is no different; to be embraced by music that hopefully transcends them into a world of poetry, an enriching journey that makes them feel good, excited and energized.  Complexity and simplicity are both valid and important tools to shape this journey and if combined with a deep connection with the central groove it will inevitably result into a sound that fits our time, a sound that is worth listening (and dancing) to and a sound that we can be proud of.

 

As always we need to go back to the roots and close the circle. By composing and practicing rhythmic complexity with beauty and soul in the center, in the heart and the mind, we will gain an important and in my opinion essential element towards complete freedom of expression.