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Garlanded In Wistaria

Michael Robinson

Label: Azure Miles Records
Released: 2021
Views: 548

Tracks

1. Garlanded In Wistaria

Personnel

Album Description

Garlanded in Wistaria is a nearly hour-long alap and ballad at once, my Indian classical music and jazz orientations coalescing into something different. Alap is the opening section of ragas, meaning “touch a color,” normally devoid of any steady beat, being tempo-less music. My use of an extremely slow pulse simultaneously relates to the remarkably slow tempos favored by Frank Sinatra and John Coltrane for their ballad interpretations. Intersections between Indian classical music and jazz manifest in unique ways, never designed, but rather flowing naturally from my personal assimilations of these titanic traditions transcending national borders and intellectual and spiritual boundaries. Each of my composition’s four chords, and the melodic movement corresponding to them, qualify as belonging to Asavari thaat (Aeolian mode), if with four different tonal centers for sadja (tonic). This was only apparent after analyzing my melodic responses to the chords, noticing I had done so intuitively. Mostly moving in distilled, spare phrases, the historic Electra piano voicing the melodic voice also visits glissandi and tremolos at moments of greatest intensity. Garlanded in Wistaria ends suddenly, as if waking from a reverie. My title, Garlanded in Wistaria, is from a poem by Ch-u Yuan (340-278 BC) translated by Ezra Pound (1885-1972), including his deliberate spelling of “wistaria.” While reading this poem, the words of my title rose-up off the page, suggesting in poetry the subtle flavor of my musical feeling. I will get me to the wood
 Where the gods walk garlanded in wistaria, 
By the silver blue flood
 move others with ivory cars.

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