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Video Credit Ms. Noelle Lemos
After posting Igor Stravinsky’s comment the other day “To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also” I was very puzzled and kept thinking about it. Lately, without notice, I went through an experience that I had gone through before but never interiorized (or been conscious of).
I am lying down at a time where the boundary between sleep and reality is still confused.
Some remnants of a dream are floating somewhere as well as a little pain on one side.
These are distracted by a sort of cacophony that grows so loud that it overwhelms everything. I realize, always in that sort of mist that lingers around, that it’s dawn and that the geese in the pond nearby are about to leave (they begin by calling each other and when the response is collective, with an acceleration in the callings, they suddenly take off. I am familiar with this kind of happening).
As the geese are noisily leaving, another sound immediately follows. I recognize the beautiful call of the two cuckoos who just arrived two days ago.
Still in my mist, and without any conscious effort on my part, I go back to my “self” including the little pain on the side.
Then to the cuckoos.
The “me” again.
And so forth, until I feel I am both myself and the cuckoos call at the same time, literally one in one.
There is absolutely no effort involved, it just happens.
This sends me back to our experiences during the St James Infirmary sessions with Dr. Cornett.
While listening to the pieces of music the week before we met the guests, I often had this feeling of going back and forth between me and the music. Mostly, either I was concentrating on the music as an object, either on me (how I felt about it, what came to my mind, etc…). Sometimes, however, by a sort of miracle, when I felt comfortable enough with the music, there was the “me” sitting there and the music, one in one. “I” was the music. While this happened I din’t care about what I felt or thought.
This kind of experience is easier with nature, especially at dawn when there is still no light, nothing to see, and the birds and toads start singing.That’s why I think that in the “laboratory” of Dr. Cornett the best conditions are gathered: the quietness of the church, the blindfolds (and the confidence in the experience we are collectively living).
What about the listening and the hearing, as Igor Stravinsky suggests, the former involving effort and the latter presenting no merit?
I know there was no effort involved in what I just explained and I know I am not a duck. It just happened that way, without effort, a communion between my “self” and the sound or music. Pure listening, pure hearing? Pure sensing for sure.
I would add that in these jazz sessions with Dr. Cornett we might be learning how to interiorize new forms of jazz, that one day, maybe, we will be able to “sense”.
That’s as far as I could get today.
Partager ces moments de confidence et de l’intime avec Oliver Jones le 21 Juin dernier fut une joie! …et encore aujourd’hui, je me sens privilégiée d’avoir reçu de lui une leçon de vie. ..une invitation simple à continuer de me relier à qui je suis, à croire en des possibles, à oeuvrer, à participer du mieux-être commun….et cela, en offrant tout-à-trac un peu de sa Mémoire!
La Mémoire , compagne sensible de tou(te)s mais surtout de ce(lles)ux qui migrent, qui ont à affirmer une identité…ouvrant la porte à la notion d’une famille élargie à l’infini…
Je suis entrée en résonance, ai conjugué en silence des mémoires communes liées aux Antilles, à Nat King Cole, au Festival de Jazz, à Montréal…
Le concert de fin de session fut un moment gourmand!
Merci à Ollie , merci à Norman Cornett qui a le talent de créer des espaces, des temps, des liens…
I really thank Dr. Cornett for his leadership and his dedication for our annual jammin’ at St-James. We look forward for another participation next year as a celebration of music in our temple. Love jazz in any form with grandiose talents as the trio this year. Those musicians give us a special treat as a communion with our soul and their improvs. Thank you! Merci beaucoup!
To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.
— Igor Stravinsky
Thank you to Professor Cornett for this very enriching jazz dialogue series. I started off by finding jazz almost totally inaccessible, but through participating in the jazz dialogue series (this is my 3rd year), the door to this world has been opening progressively. I liked so little of what I was exposed to the first time round, and found myself surprised at how very much I liked this time – enough to find increasingly more pleasure in listening on my own.
The dialogues with the musicians was especially rewarding this year. I found the musicians’ discussions of their creative processes particularly intriguing, and was constantly surprised to find these much-acclaimed musicians surprisingly down-to-earth. Their humanity is what shone through in these sessions, rather than, as I constantly expected, their self-conscious star status. I am inspired to experiment on my own, not only in terms of listening, but in terms of breaking through the strict boundaries of my own playing.
Simple Blues by Oliver Jones .
So simple and at the same time so hard to play, says he.
Why hard? Because the simplest things are the hardest to do. And, in order to release the very essence of this piece he had to put in it all his heart.
Oliver Jones played on a multitude of pianos but (even if he always preferred Yamahas) every single one of them had it’s own sound or touch. Oliver Jones played all his life many times the same tunes. But never the same way. He played with many musicians and always, just by hearing how they were performing, he adjusted his own playing. Like in a conversation.
This brings us back to the very essence of life.
I too loved the Jazz Liturgy on June 30th. And yes – as Dr. Cornett said – the Bible has a lot to say about music. We need more of those kinds of celebrations – the church of today and tomorrow will be one where sorrows and joys are expressed through different forms of music, and where our hearts beat as one. How about a ‘Jazz and Justice’ series Doctor Cornett?
Rev. Paula Kline
Music like art has the power to transform. Our afternoon spent with Dr. Oliver Jones alight with fact and style did just that.The conversation behind the music, spoken with modesty, recounted the events in his life which informed me of his journey and craft, removed any myths I may have had about jazz, and uprooted social mores long held,all in the way we come to music. Preparing myself to listen was as important to me as listening; with eyes wide shut.It made for an unforgettable afternoon of good music, and brought home to me that the best practitioners of any activity always return to the simple fact of things. Even in music!
I loved the Jazz Liturgy on June 30th, and the concept of the Dialogic Series in general. I was unfortunately only able to attend the dialogue session with Dr. Vijay Iyer, but I found it to be a unique and fascinating experience. What a great way to celebrate jazz, the Montreal ‘vibe’, and the spirit of St. James! It was wonderful that so many of these musicians were willing to share their thoughts, experiences and insights. A big thank you to Dr. Cornett for making it all possible!
On Sunday July the 7th 2013, I experienced first hand the « Dialogic Sessions at St-James » and I can sincerely affirm the following : The jazz groove is alive and well in Montreal and in Canada thanks to the wonderfull contribution of one of our foremost canadian pianist, composer and Jazz ambassador, Dr Oliver Jones.
But before I get into the heart of things about Dr. Jones, I would like to underline the remarquable skills of Dr Cornett, both as a communicator and a moderator during the session, for Dr Cornett’s ability in making accessible very complex notions to the general public, in association with his tangible passion for the theme of the workshop, as made this seminar one of the most gratifying experience I have encountered in recent times.
Only one thing made me uncomfortable : instead of lowering gradually the volume of the music being played on the sound system when it was time to return in the conference realm per say, we were abruptly brought back to reality, being suddenly kicked out of the most beautiful cloud of musical delight. I know that we had to step into the question period of the seminar but I humbly suggest that there could have been a softer transition.
Even with this in mind, I just loved the way Dr Cornett motivated and reassured the most timid participants by repeating frequently : « The only bad question is the unasked question ». Always respectfull at the opinion of each person, highlighting their particular contribution to the seminar. A mastery of pedagogical skills.+
As Dr Cornett expressed his goal of building bridges between communities and St-James United Church, I could’nt help thinking of my own personnal slogan « Building bridges instead of walls. Construire des ponts plutôt que des murs.»
But now, let us plunge into the heart of the matter : the beautiful and masterful playing of Dr Jones interpreting some of his most prized compositions.
The first cut « Remembering Chris », part of an Oliver Jones Justin Time record « Second Time Around », moved me in such a way that I was suddenly in the company of André Mathieu’s first movement of his « Concerto de Québec ». As any serious artist knows, we are building on the shoulders of giants and it could not have been more evident to me as I was listening to this neo-romantic piece of music.
Dr Jones insisted repeatedly on this crucial notion in music: the importance of dialogue between musicians, especially in the Jazz trio format. I simply call this the « interplay », being a former jazz bass player myself, having had moments of pure grace playing in the late ‘60’s with such unsung heroes as Nelson Symond, Herbie Spanier, Eugene « Gene » Larose, Adrien Paradis, Willie Girard and, later on, having had the priviledge of jamming with Jean Beaudet at his studio on Ducharme avenue in Outremont. In fact my last Jazz venture was with Jazz guitarist Jacques Vizel, in 2005. (www.jacquesvizel.com)
Dr Jones and I also had the opportunity of reminiscing, during a brief moment during the question period, about the contribution of Frank Gariepy, my uncle, who was on drums on the first 78 record of Oscar Peterson’s « The Sheik of Araby » with Buster Brown on bass. In fact, my father, Louis-Philippe Jetté, also played with such giants like Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden and Ella Fitzgerald, here in Montreal in the late ‘40’s. So, alike Dr Jones, music was a very important part of my upbringing and there, I could find a tangible connection to Oliver Jones, the man. Thanks be to the « Dialogic Series at St-James »
Dr Cornett then justly made us aware of the multiple aspects of Dr Jones for, apart from being one of our most prized Jazz pianist in Canada, he is also a prolific composer, music educator and philantropist.
Going through an other recorded « take » we were then brought into the Blues scene, grooving all along on the rythms of Oliver Jones and his trio. I could see everybody’s feet beating the measure as it unfolded.
Surprisingly, a participant, working through is Master in Divinity, then made a parallel between the « Trinity » and the Jazz trio ! This free associating creativity was no stranger to Dr Cornett’s talent as being the dynamic moderator of the seminar.
Then, Dr Jones took this opportunity to make us aware of the enormous contribution to the Jazz trio Art form mentionning the works of legends like Art Tatum, the understated Nat King Cole (as a Jazz trio leader) and Bill Evans.
It made me think of how much we owe to these giants espescially in 1959 when four major albums were produced which trendsetted Jazz for many decades to come :
– « Kind of Blue » (Miles Davis)
– « Time out » (Dave Brubeck)
– « Mingus Ah Hum » (Charlie Mingus)
– « The Shape of Jazz to Come » (Ornette Coleman)
We then had the joy of hearing Dr Jones composition « Up Jump Spring » from the album « Live in Baden, Switzerland ». Dr Jones mastery of the instrument could not have been more evident as he was playing polyrythmic patterns like « 5 against 4 » and « 4 against 7 », a virtuoso rendering of two hands pianistic interpretation, never loosing a beat to the groove, always on time and meeting with the rest of the band at precise moments of gathering. A jewel !
So, you can imagine just how I appreciated the « Dialogic at St-James ». It made me travel through time, transforming an ordinary Sunday afternoon into a spiritual and artistic bliss, far away from the daily grind of our post-modern societies.
I am grateful for St-James United Church’s creativity, working in so many realms of our contempary lives. Initiative like this are, in my view, the best way to reenchante our world by providing a window for personnal growth.
Yours truly, in the fellowship of the Spirit,
When I wrote a few days ago “It all started with JP Zanella” I had in mind the extraordinary process of learning and experiencing we went through in these dialogic sessions. For it was a process. As we met the artists one by one (I have to say I unfortunately missed David Murray) it was a like long continuum. Each of them brought us, at the right time, the right information we needed to go deeper and deeper into the understanding of what composing jazz is about and where we, the audience. stand in this process.
Dave Restivo reminded us of the “dichotomy” between the musicians who don’t want to see traditional jazz to disappear and the ones who are into new avenues, new forms of complexity. I won’t repeat what has been said before concerning D Restivo (the importance of beeing honest in these processes, etc) but it was important to remind us of that fact since we were questionning (or at least I was) this music we had been hearing with Dr. Cornett which sounded to us so diificult to hear and more, had to comment. After JP Zanella who introduced us to “the musician”, D Restivo was explaning “the setting”, where these new avenues stand today. We are now ready to meet Vijay Iyer.
Vijay Iyer was introduced to us as someone who started as a scientific and is now a musician. Since we listened beforehand to the pieces of music without knowing who composed them, what kind of music was Vijay Iyer’s? Well, the first composition we heard the day we met him was really…COMPLEX.
Before I go any further I would like say something that puzzled me: V Iyer said that it is more important to talk about music in humain rather than in technical terms. I agree, it can get boring, difficult to follow and so on. But we are meeting someone who has bee introduced to us as a scientific. Why didn’t he say a few words about it. There was a link missing in his speech because of that. I kept wondering how a man of science was insisting so much on the human side. Not that it wasn’t interesting. But the lack of introduction made me wonder if he was tired of beeing questioned about his scientific side, if he was trying to persuade himself that he HAD TO put this part of his aside or, worse, if all this was small talk: so many people try to persuade us that they are so spiritual, I am particularly suspicious of this kinf of people. Why not say a few simple words about about his “trajectoire”?
Now back to our continuum:
Vijay Iyer took us a few steps further in the continuity of what the others had already said. Music, he says, is a question of empathy between composer and listener. He sees his work as coming out of his comfort zone, discovering, and at the same time doing something meaningfull. If I understood properly, music’s foundations are in the human beeing, in the rythms of the body. I liked this idea of being part of the process of the jazzman. I think I might have started experiencing rythm in my mother’s womb.
Different generations feel music differentely (I wonder how music will evolve in the future with all this speed and complex world around us!). So music today is more complex, but at the same time people (like in Chicago he said) listen to it in churches. That is interesting, we keep going back to spirituality.
JP Zanella spoke about spirituality as as way to live life (see above), if I understood well, Dave Restivo talked about composing as a spiritual experience (when you compose without doing it on purpose) and we were invited by Dr. Cornett to listen to a last piece of his as a spiritual exercise. Vijay Iyer acted almost as a guru. As I said previously I felt he de-constructed and re-construct me. So much doubt about him and his work, so much happiness when unfolding a little curtain. After our meeting together I attended his last concert in the evening and had the feeling of a sort of mass. Following sometimes, beeing in then dark some other times. Like in mass when I was a kid, feeling involved in deep Mystery.
So, thanks to all of them, thanks to Dr Cornett, thanks to the wonderful people of St James church who welcomed us in their temple, there have I been for two weeks, on my way to Compostelle, with blisters. sore legs, feeling too hot, my backpack too heavy, so full of stuff I had to get rid off little by little. I felt so much lighter in the end and terribly happy.
I don’t like “guru”. Officiant , celebrant?
La grande sauterelle
I really loved the entire experience of the Jazz Liturgy and the Dialogic series. During the hectic (but wonderful) Festival, the Jazz Liturgy was a wonderful way to slow down and get in touch with the spiritual side of music. The Dialogic series gave some really fascinating insights into the talented artists. There were so many moments I enjoyed during the series, but perhaps the funniest and most memorable was Dr. Oliver Jones’ recounting of the raid of the bachelor party he played at when he was only 11 years old! His recollections of his early close encounter with the strippers, his friend begging him not to tell his father what happened, and the $50 pay (hush money?) were hilarious! I can just picture what he told his friends at school about this event.
I loved hearing all the artists talk about their musical inspirations and other things that were important about their careers. It was a privilege to be able to listen to them in such a personal setting.
What a fascinating variety of Jazz musicians – style, background, other interests – and of participants in the classes! What we learned about music and about life could fill volumes.
It all started with Jean Pierre Zanella.
Up to the day we met JP Zanella we had been listening to different kinds of music, chosen by Dr.Cornett, and dialoguing between ourselves about them. I wasn’t very excited about the whole thing so far. Some pieces I truly enjoyed, most of them, however, I found either boring or difficult to listen to (or the two of them), emotion being in these cases mostly absent. It’s true I was concentrating a lot on my forgotten english which could explain a certain lack of availability on my part, but that wasn’t the case.
We enjoy jazz at home, try to find new CDs like, (the latest), Woody Herman. I also love going to the Montreal Jazz Festival. Still, a certain kind of jazz doesn’t find it’s way with me. I still have difficulty listening at home to some of the former guests Dr. Cornett introduced us to in the past years, even if I liked them “à chaud”.
This year, people like Dave Restivo, Vijay Iyer and Oliver Jones sort of helped me understand why and what to do about it. But first, here am I, sitting in front of our first guest.
I listen to Jean Pierre Zanella like a five year old, marvelling at the simplicity of what he is talking about. He is explaining to us what it was like to be a jazzman. Like, you know, organizing one’s daily life, having some rest, read sometimes and, best of all, do absolutely nothing once in a while. Meanwhile, the life of the musician unfolds before our ears, the work, the practice, the composing, the teaching, the travelling, the good and the bad. Jazz through his speech becomes simple and understandable. Jean Pierre Zanella could have been my neighbour, the one I say hello to “en passant”, and hear practice almost every day.
For the fist time, since the beginning of this dialogic session, I hear the ice melting and a promise coming through.
Up to the very final day, when we met Oliver Jones where emotion was at it’s best, we were invited to go deeper and deeper with every guest in the understanding of the complexities of jazz, as if Dr. Cornett knew who to invite first, and last (although he was submitted by their agents to their disponibility). Like a ladder we were about to climb Step by Step.
Marc et moi avons grandement apprécié l’expérience de dimanche dernier avec M. Oliver Jones. Nous avons été très impressionnés par la grande humilité et la générosité de cette personnalité internationale du jazz. Quelle belle découverte que ces conférences organisé par M. Cornett. Nous attendons avec impatience les prochaines conférences-rencontres,
Marc Chadillon et Francine Benoit
I attended the dialogue session with Dr. Vijay Iyer on Saturday, July 6th. The session was extremely interesting, and I was intrigued by what Dr. Iyer had to say about what music is, why we need it, and what it says about human cognition and society. Overall I was impressed by Dr. Iyer’s humility, and his respect he clearly has for his fellow musicians, his audiences, musical cultures (and cultural music), and indeed for the very music itself. It was wonderful that he was able to be with us to share his profound thoughts about musical experiences and what it means for each and every one of us. A sincere thank you to Dr. Cornett for facilitating and organizing the event, and to Dr. Iyer for taking the time to speak with us.
The meeting with « Ollie », Dr. Oliver Jones, as he earned an M.A. as a student at McGill and subsequently, has received 7 honourary doctorates was a “top of the mountain” experience. He told us that as of next year, he will have been performing for 75 years, as he started at 5 years of age. If one believes that life comes full circle, that at birth, we are closest to the source of light and creativity and then move away from it as we age only to return to the source as we approach old age, then Dr. Jones is living proof.
He is also a person who is thankful for the life experiences he has had and is most generous, always recalling with grateful fondness the musical training he received in the Oscar Peterson family, his close neighbours in the Montreal neighbourhood of Saint-Henri (which included Richard Paris, the saxophonist). He reminded us that opportunities for young black men at the time of his birth were limited, that he worked as a shipping clerk at age 16 for $17.00 a week but could make $75.00 on the weekend playing in clubs, which motivated his decision to become a professional musician; that he escaped a possible life as a railway porter because of music and his talent, that the piano has always been a refuge for him, that it afforded him the opportunity to be himself, to express himself.
We learned that at the beginning of his career, he sang as well as played the piano and that Nat King Cole had the reverse experience, being known primarily as a singer when he started his career as a piano player, which was news to me.
Of note, he told us that jazz styles evolve about every ten years, that what is considered heresy at one time (for example, the jazz style of Thelonius Monk) becomes relatively orthodox later on. He mentioned “cross-hybridization”. He figures that he’s playing in the 7th generation of jazz and admires Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, among others, although he told us that he initially couldn’t listen to Monk “all night long” until he could find out what he was trying to do. He said that all jazz musicians have an approach to leads to “10” but, as in mathematics, different combinations of numbers arrive at that number. (I think Dr. Jones should be recruited by the United Nations!) However, he did state that some new music is not jazz even though it has its place. His advice to young players is to listen to it all. Hopefully, he added,” we won’t lose the essence of what is jazz.”
What I found significant, as a singer, and which has an impact on my appreciation of jazz performances, is what Dr. Jones said about phrasing. He reminded us that all the musicians from the “classical period” of jazz, knew all the lyrics to a tune. “I feel that the composer worked so hard to create something special so you have to respect the original composer…If you come into a room when I’m playing a tune, you’ll be able to recognize what I’m playing.”
His father’s favourite composer was Bach and Dr. Jones loves fugues and preferably, jazz fugues, when the left hand doesn’t play the same thing as the right hand and every performance is an opportunity for renewal, a chance to find another way to play a piece, either through personal initiative or through a “conversation” with the other musicians in his trio (bass player and drummer). Actually, Dr. Jones alluded to the dialogic nature of performing jazz, which always includes the audience. I was stunned to learn that he actually has a game plan, choosing what he will play as his first, fourth, seventh and last tune but relying on audience reaction to come up with the other numbers. That’s easy for him: four or five years ago, he said, he tried to make a list of all the tunes he knows and he reckons he knows about 4000. But he can’t play the same tune the same way twice. That’s how he arrived at the conclusion that he couldn’t be a classical musician, even though his initial training was in that style.
This commentary is turning into a rather long article but I have to mention that Dr. Jones really appreciates what the Montreal Jazz Festival has done for jazz and for him. His concerts sold out four weeks ago. So, he is a prophet in his own land, for which he is grateful. And of course, in 1999, when he was 65 years old, he decided to retire (if one can call sitting on the Boards of four universities and working for the Arts Council, retirement). He didn’t touch the piano at all, except for the times he visited schools and “played for the kids.” In 2004, the Montreal Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary and asked him to do a concert with Oscar Peterson, something which the two childhood friends had never done before. The concert was televised across Canada with the result being that he or his agent received 37 calls by the end of the following week and he resumed his performing career, doing 80 concerts a year instead of his usual 140 to 160 concerts.
At the end of the dialogic session, “Ollie” sat down at a baby grand Yamaha piano in the St. James United church hall and played for us, demonstrating his sweet jazz sound as well as teaching us the difference between various kinds of blues. It was a perfect ending to the session and everyone felt privileged to have spent some time at the university of life with Oliver Jones.
I LIKE YOUR COMMENTS…
In addition to what we learned from the “university of life” seminar given by Dr. Oliver Jones, I want to mention the value of “community education” as organized by Dr. Norman Cornett. I hope we have more dialogic sessions…
On the Jazz dialogic series:
Sitting blindfolded in a darkened room listening to jazz doesn’t appeal to everybody but it was a first step to discovering what this musical genre is all about. Interestingly enough, the first “live” performance I heard was André Leroux playing what sounded like Bach on his tenor sax as a prelude to the “Jamming with Jazz” liturgical service on Sunday, June 30th at St. James United Church. And then, a week later, Oliver Jones began his dialogic session by telling us that “if Bach was alive today, he would be the greatest jazz musician ever.” The creative process, for humans, always involves standing on the shoulders of those who came before and trying to come up with something new. Bach is reputed by multitudes to be the greatest composer of sacred music. Is jazz sacred music? Does it reach the divine within us? Kudos to Dr. Norman Cornett for organizing this series exploring jazz, giving participants an opportunity to meet gifted musicians in the field, and to explore their own responses to this musical genre. Churches are places devoted to meditation and renewal, introspection and outreach. Thanks also to Rev. Arlen Bonnar, Minister of St. James United and to the custodial staff, for their support and assistance in making this possible.
En effet, Vijay Iyer nous impressionne. D’abord, son visage affiche un calme déroutant. He has a very calm outward demeanour. We arrive at a (false) conclusion that he is completely intellectual, that he dwells in the exalted realms of academe or that he takes himself so seriously that he can’t let go and relax. Then, we learn that he has had classical training as a violinist, that he chose the piano as his instrument because he was able to discover it for himself, that the instrument allows him to express himself. I like his definition of music as “what we are able to do together with bodies, in time…” or “synchronizing our gestures as humans in time”. (Yes, I took notes.) However, he is a thoroughly modern musician with “three weeks of music in his pocket”, meaning that he owns an iPod and that the impact of recorded music has altered the course of the evolution of music. He told us that he was interested in the frontier of music which really resonated with me because in my seminar responses to his music, (without knowing that it was his composition), I injected an element of science fiction in my “stream of consciousness” response. Mr. Iyer is American but he has ties to William Shatner and Star Trek: “space, the final frontier,…to boldly go where noone else has gone before.” Now, that’s a tall order! Does that make him an honourary Canadian or honourary Montrealer? He likes to explore different types of music, which makes sense to me. He said that musicians get too analytical when listening to music. “It’s not about understanding…It’s about having an experience that is meaningful.” His reference to listening to his audience to gauge what works is an element that Oliver Jones mentioned on Sunday. He elicited a big reaction when he said that “classical musicians are taught to hate themselves”. This reminded me of the process used by Benjamin Zander to counter this. He gives an A+ to all his students at the beginning of the year and asks them to live up to it. So, does that mean that self-love and acceptance are part of being a successful jazz musician? Maybe it does. “I like to hear about music spoken in human terms, not about the technical impact”, said Mr. Iyer. I found his music challenging (when I was trying to analyze it!) but on the whole, fascinating and thought-provoking at the same time. I have to hear more of it to see whether I can stop analyzing and thinking and see whether it tugs at my heart strings.
Vijay Iyer. Musicien scientifique ou vieux sage au regard tourné vers l’intérieur? Ou les deux à la fois?
Ce jeune homme de 42 ans nous dé-conconstruit pour nous reconstruire à nouveau.
Un voyage que je ne suis pas prête d’oublier.
Il n’y a rien de pire que l’indifférence et les artistes jazziens (si je peux me le permettre) nous dérangent, nous interpellent et nous déstabilisent. Alors, voilà leur mérite. Sometimes, we go to an art gallery and are repelled or bored by a tableau whereas , at other times, we are in adoration by the evocative power and/or sheer skill of the artist’s work. At all times, we never know how we will react. The worst thing is staying home and not venturing out of our comfort zone. Si nous détestons une œuvre, ou un comportement, ou une idée, il faut pouvoir dire pourquoi. Parfois, c’est difficile car nous devons nous livrer à de l’introspection. Se connaître soi-même afin de connaître l’autre et se re-connaître. J’ai bien aimé le concert à la pluie de 18 h à 19 h sur le site du Festival quand André Leroux s’est joint au trio de l’Alberta qui a gagné le prix TD. Une toute autre perspective de ses talents tout en retrouvant des notions reconnues précédemment cette semaine. Comme dirait le professeur Cornett, so much jazz, so little time!
Qu’est ce qui fait que nous aimons ou pas une composition de jazz?
Qu’est ce qui fait que nous l’aimons un jour et pas un autre?
Pourquoi certains compositeurs ne veulent-ils pas voir disparaître le jazz traditionnel alors que d’autres, au contraire, l’entraînent vers des cieux d’une complexité telle que le public peine à suivre?
Par le biais de celles-là et de mille autres questions, Dave Restigo nous entraînés dans les méandres de nos rapports au jazz et dans celles des musiciens eux-mêmes à leurs créations.
Tout est valable, selon lui, à condition que la recherche soit honnête. Chaque compositeur doit se sentir libre de suivre sa voie.
À la question “devons-nous nous forcer à écouter et comprendre un jazz dont la complexité nous échappe?”, Dave Restigo a répondu que, si nous acceptons de les écouter il en restera toujours quelque chose. Certains compositeurs classiques aujourd’hui largement reconnus n’ont-ils pas, à un moment de leur carrière, été incompris et rejetés?
Une chose cependant est claire pour lui c’est que, pour analyser une musique, il faut avoir préalablement eu, avec elle, une relation émotionnelle.
L’important est de s’élever dit DR, le jazz est là pour ça.
Le Dr. Cornett nous invite à entendre une dernière de ses compositions “comme une expérience spirituelle”. Pari gagné, l’émotion était cette fois là au rendez-vous.
Et si cela n’avait pas été? Je retiens ces mots de Dave Restigo “Il nous en restera toujours quelque chose”. J’ai d’autant plus tendance à l’accepter qu’il m’est fréquemment arrivé d’avoir de ces moments “Ah ha!” où, tout d’un coup, je saisis le sens de phrases obscures précédemment entendues. On pourrait citer ici la Bible. La même chose doit être vraie pour la musique. Mais l’émotion doit jouer.
Je ne ferai pas exprès pour aller écouter de la musique qui me rebute. Il me semble aussi que je continuerai à avoir la même difficulté à “analyser” une musique qui ne me dit rien. Les ingrédients…
Désolée, RestiVo et non pas Restigo
Merci d’avoir si bien exprimé mon sentiment, Marie Cécile. Cette année cela fait, je crois, ma troisième tentative avec Dr. Cornett pour mieux saisir le jazz. Et toujours je butte sur cette question.
J’accepte ces digressions dans la mesure où j’y trouve mon compte car au fond, et cela me réconforte d’apprendre ce qu’en disent les chercheurs de McGill, j’aime aimer la musique comme je le faisais étant enfant.
Je m’interroge aussi sur le sort de ces nouvelles avenus du jazz. Combien seront encore écoutées dans le futur? Cela nous ramène à toutes ces tentatives pour sortir des sentiers battus de la musique classique (Schoenberg et Cie) dont beaucoup sont aujourd’hui sur des voies de garage.
Chose certaine, par confort, je n’achète de billets que pour des concerts dont la musique me plaît ou… quand le dosage mélodie/improvisations m’apparaît acceptable. Tout est, pour moi, comme en cuisine, question de dosage des ingrédients. Et s’il y a du génie, comme chez Matt Herskowitz, je supporte d’autant plus que la dose d’éléments en dehors des “patterns et sentiers battus” soit plus forte (et Dieu sait si, dans son cas, j’ai parfois baissé les bras).
PS – Dave Restigo a largement abordé la question hier et a apporté des réponses intéressantes à ces questions.
J’ai pris le temps d’écouter le CD du Quatuor André Leroux et de celui de Jean Pierre Zanella à titre de mon apprentissage en jazz. Je me rends compte que j’aime entendre une mélodie avant qu’elle soit déconstruite, avant les improvisations, modulations et progressions qui mènent parfois à l’hermétisme auditif pour ne pas dire à l’hystérie et à l’incompréhension (pour l’oreille non initiée ou peut-être, mal initiée ou initiée autrement). J’apprécie que les musiciens reviennent de temps en temps au thème mélodique avant de se livrer à d’autres départs, à d’autres fantaisies. J’ai entendu des présentations de chercheurs à McGill traitant de l’influence de la musique sur le cerveau. Nous recherchons des patterns, des sentiers battus et ces musiciens nous obligent à composer (LOL) avec de nouvelles combinaisons de sons, à tomber par terre, à nous traîner, à débouler en bas des escaliers. Parfois, je perçois des sons exquis, des trouvailles inédites mais souvent, je bûche tout en appréciant la virtuosité de leur technique musicale et leur créativité.
En ce qui concerne notre rencontre avec Karen Young, je dirai que j’ai été particulièrement intéressée par sa façon, très tôt, de se concentrer uniquement sur les musiques qu’elle aimait et de mettre les autres de côté. Ma mère a dans ses derniers jours été hébergée dans une maison de retraite religieuse où la mère supérieure offrait, au contraire, aux soeurs de travailler dans des domaines qu’elles n’aimaient pas dutout, pour les forcer à se surpasser. Ça aussi m’intéresse beaucoup.
Je suis très tentée de demander à Jean Pierre Zanella s’il veut bien redire ce qui le fait s’intéresser à Krishnamurti. Je lui demanderais aussi, en deux mots, ce qu’il pense du lien que le jazz entretient avec la spiritualité, le Sacré.
J’ai commencé à lire et après m’intéresser aux écrits de Krishnamurti dans les années 80 Le premier livre que j’ai lu est The first and Last freedom. Ce fut une révélation parce que Krhisnamurti ne veut pas être considéré un guru et qu’il ne donne pas de recettes type vous réciter tel ou tel mantra ou respirer de tel façon et vous trouverer la paix intérieure. Il parle d’être attentif ( awareness) à chaque instant et c’est dans état d’attention que se trouve les réponses à finallement tout. C’est ce qui m,a interpellé et intéressé dans le discour de Krhisnamurti cet éternel travail à rester attentif et de savoir ce qui se passe , de vivre dans le moment présent. Il dit souvent que voir c’est agir
(Seeing is acting) Bref on ne peux s’éparer l’humain du musicien alors je pense que musique et spiritualité ont un lien. La vie n,est jamais fixe de penser qu’on arrive à un point ou rien de change est impossible parce que tout est un mouvement continuel. Il en est de même avec la musique et il faut accepter qu’il y aura des instants de joies extrêmes dans la vie et en musique et il y aura aussi des combats et des perturbations das notre vie et conséquemment en musique. D’accepter ces changements est peut être la solution à sentir cette paix intérieure. C’est l’interpréétation que j’en fais ce qui ne veut pas dire qu’elle soit LA CHOSE!!!Mais de lire les écrites de Krhisnamurti m’inspire encore!!
What, no one has commented on the beautiful encounter with David Murray at the Church of St. John on President Kennedy! We were in such a privileged, contained space where you could not forget for a moment the connection between the birth of David Murray’s music in his family and community oriented Baptist church in California – a lesson he told us could be transposed onto whole communities moving together from one location to another across the American, and perhaps Canadian, landscape. In a sense he is still doing that, travelling across continents with his ever-changing and growing music and community of jazz musicians – and audiences!
Thank you again Dr. Cornett, for this masterful series and opportunity to participated in the discussions.
Loved Karen Young’s eclecticism and familiarity with world, classical and jazz styles.
I am eager to attend her show on Saturday at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Qui donc vous a dit, Dr Cornett, de ne pas perdre de vue la carrière de Matt Herskowitz parce qu’il lui prédisait un grand avenir? Est-ce Dave Brubeck?
En tous cas, je l’ai entendu au Club de Jazz Le Dièze Onze l’autre jour, plus brillant que jamais. On fêtait ce jour là son 37ème anniversaire.
Difficile d’imaginer qu’il puisse encore s’améliorer!
Grâce à Jean Pierre Zanella nous pénétrons de plus en plus dans les arcanes de la création artistique et, dans le cas présent, du Jazz. En homme sensible et intelligent il nous ramène à la réalité. Si je puis me permettre une interprétation, non les artistes comme lui ne sont pas des dieux, oui ce sont des êtres sensibles, doués, qui travaillent dur et ont à coeur de mener leur profession de la manière qui sied le plus à leurs besoins. Comment vient l’inspiration et comment essayer de ne pas perdre le fil quand elle surgit (et tant pis si elle disparait), comment mener de front vie artistique et éducation, comment rester en forme au milieu de toutes ces activités, tels sont quelques uns des thèmes qui m’ont séduite. Toujours simple, toujours modeste, il nous a donné une grande leçon. Merci à lui.
Je vous remercie pour vos commentaires. Ça m’a fait énormément plaisir de partager ces instants avec les gens dimanche dernier. C’est quelque chose de rafraichissant!!!
Merci pour l’intérêt porté au projet de m. Cornett
Comme c’est pertinent, Dr Cornett, de nous rappeler une fois par an les liens profonds entre le jazz et la spiritualité. Le quartet d’André Leroux était impeccable. Merci à lui, à Ben Charest, Fred Alarie et Christian Lajoie (j’écris leur nom pour ne pas les oublier) dont la présence sympathique et la qualité de jeu m’ont particulièrement séduite.
I really enjoyed the “Jamming with Jazz” liturgical celebration at St. James United on Sunday, June 30th. Psalms are songs and the mix of the psalm readings and jazz numbers were symbiotic. Kudos to Norman Cornett and the André Leroux Quartet. Crime, ça rime!
Don’t miss tonight Friday at 9:30pm, Matt Herskowitz Trio at Le Dièze Onze, Club de jazz :
4115A Rue St St Denis, 514 223 3543.
You will never forget.
Jordan Officer, masterful guitarist – free concert this evening @ 5 & 7 p.m. – on site of Festival, Au Lounge H.
Jazz always elicits a strong, emotional response from its listeners. Sometimes, previous “ear training” influences those reactions, especially to the quality of a voice. Sometimes, the quality of a jazz quartet is as satisfying and impressive as that of an entire symphony orchestra. Well, maybe a chamber orchestra. Or a string quartet…See where I’m coming from?
Prochain Midi ès Musica
Mardi le 2 juillet – à 12h01. Toujours dans l’église du Gesù :
1202 de Bleury, Montréal, QC
Ce premier mardi de juillet sera aussi le dernier consacré au Jazz. À cette occasion, Jean Félix Mailloux, arrangeur, compositeur, producteur et musicien viendra faire vibrer les cordes graves de sa contrebasse sous la voûte de l’église. Son programme sera un mélange de ses compositions et d’improvisation.
Pour plus d’infos :
Day 2 – so exciting to be pushed into finding universal significance and connections to a musical form which I instinctively love, without knowing why or being a musician myself – and great to being exposed in the discussions to differing points of view, with the openness to accept them. A real learning experience on so many levels!
En ce second jour j’ai redécouvert ce que c’était d’écouter vraiment du jazz en vous entendant commenter le premier morceau. Beaucoup à apprendre…
A big difference compared to dialogic series featuring literary works, because of not being able to hear the piece several times, thus basing the written impressions on swiftly fading impressions.
Vous avez mis la barre très haute dès le départ avec l’énonciation de la crème des crèmes des conversations avec vos invités depuis seize ans.
À nous de relever le défi. Pas par rapport aux autres mais vis à vis de nous mêmes. À chacun son cheminement.
What a glorious start to this series – in the spirit of community, three new friends connected and improvised our time together very creatively until almost midnight! Merci Dr. Cornett
Very interesting discussion for our first of this year’s Jazz sessions. I look forward to more
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