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Composer of contemporary chamber music and opera and certified master of the Japanese shakuhachi flute Jeffrey Lependorf cites an insightful incident he had with iconoclastic composer John Cage that reveals much about typical misconceptions about what is right and what is wrong in music and art. Lebendorf wanted Cage to clarify his vague instructions for a theater piece he was assigned to assist a choreographer to prepare. But Cage insisted, kindly enough, that "everything is in the instructions." After the performance of this piece, and following the standing ovation, Lependorf asked again Cage for his opinion, and Cage, typically but again, kindly enough, answered that he "did everything wrong."
Back to the present. Lependorf's collaboration with idiosyncratic guitarist and composer in avant-jazz and New Music Scott Fields does not bother itself with questions about what sound right or wrong. All sounds are beautiful, as Cage once said, and these two masterful and resourceful musicians do not attempt to replicate any form of new world music or new-agey, meditative kind of interplay (as the Shakuhachi is associated with the Zen school of Buddhism), or to follow any familiar concept.
The two musicians suggest how innovative and original music of the 21st century can sound. Music that patiently, almost methodically, explores new timbres and sonic options; uses silence as basic element; is compassionate but never sentimental, gifted with dark humor but not emotionally detached; and always demonstrating deep listening and careful sensitivity to the the most fragile qualities of the music making process and and its immediate options.
The improvised pieces "Objects in Relation to Other Objects" and "The Politics of Solitude" are masterful expressions of the high art of these two musicians. Music that is comprised from brief, abstract and subtle articulations, loosely connected, but eventually accumulate to profound, mesmerizing pieces. The intimate, chamber interplay on "Oh yes" and "Tip bloused" is simply timeless with its thoughtful references to classical, contemporary and East-Asian music. The surprising cover of John Coltrane's "Naima" is a moving tribute to the great master, performed with deep emotional gratitude but without reverence, wisely sketching this timeless classic.
Track Listing: She comes from nowhere; Terror babies; Objects in Relation to Other
Objects; Oh, yes; The Politics of Solitude; Tip bloused; Advice for some
young man in the year 2064 A.D.; Naima.
Personnel: Scott Fields: acoustic guitar; Jeffrey Lependorf: shakuhachi.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.