15

Franklin Kiermyer: Joy And Consequence

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
AAJ: On the EPK video for Further you all use the word "spiritual" to talk about this music, in fact Gonzalez says "It goes beyond music." A lot of the music you've made in your life has been driven by or inspired by this concept, so what does the term "spiritual" mean for you?

FK: Well, the concept—concepts are words. Spiritual is just a word, but I believe Benito is speaking of the same phenomenon—the same experience. The more we relax our habit of grabbing onto concepts or thoughts, the more the heart flows. The essential nature of that heart is spiritual. I think that what we call love is what happens when you really relax. I think love is spiritual.

You have to hone and develop your ability to let go because we are so used to describing things to ourselves instead of experiencing them. That holds us back from being present. It's something we have to work with honestly and with awareness. I need to confront the things that hold me back and open myself to it and learn to let the barriers fall so I can share it. That to me is what spirituality is. It's love and it deepens and grows by sharing it.

AAJ: Do you think that somebody who doesn't believe in spirits or in deities can appreciate this music to the same extent as somebody who does?

FK: I don't think belief systems help. I think they generally get in the way. Deities aren't real. The spirit is not something real. These are constructs of the imagination. That is what essentially the deity is. If you travel back to the source of your imagination with your eye of wisdom you'll see there's no beginning to it. That openness is the deity—the spirit, but it's not a 'thing.' All systems are fabrications—musical or non-musical. This is proof to me that we are all essentially the same and we're all essentially free—perfect.

We have to use words to communicate—systems of transferring ideas using sound—just like we're doing now, so what words do you use? I know I am not the only artist struggling with these terms. What do you say? I want to share my heart with you? Every word has baggage. Some people don't say "spirituality," they say "spirit." Or they say "soul." They are all allusions and they're all illusions.

The point is, how does the music feel to you? Even more importantly, what does it do to you? Not what does it sound like, or even feel like, but what does it do? That's the whole point of this.

AAJ: Focusing on one particular aspect of this continuum; there are similarities between Further and Solomon's Daughter, most obviously the similar styles of Sanders and Lawrence; is the ecstatic element common to both these players essential in the perusal or creation of the spirituality—or whatever you want to call it—in your music?

FK: It's a good question. What I think you're pointing at, what you're calling the ecstatic quality in this music, is a product of a few essential things that the musicians bring to the moment. The most important element is faith —faith in two things: one is faith that if one does let go what comes forth is the point—the fruit; the second faith is that one can actually do this— that one can allow oneself to be open like that. I don't even care what instrument a person plays. It's that faith that can make the music great.

The other important quality is intention. One has to identify that opening up is the goal and be clear that the purpose of convening is to allow that to happen. When we come together, the purpose is to cause this to happen and to share this experience. Some people might say that the purpose is to make the room vibrate, some people might say it's to open up to that ecstasy or awe, but how you describe it is not really the point. The faith is so strong that the purpose is to share that faith.

AAJ: There are obvious ties linking all the musicians together and linking them to a quite specific tradition...

FK: That tradition, that's what I'm trying to say. It's that faith and openness and passion. It's music as a spiritual path. That is the tradition. In terms of musicians who have been models of that for me there are many; some more and some less. In the society and time that I've grown up in John Coltrane and his quartet shine as a prime example of this. The reason for this is not that these people became so great at playing a style or tradition or even that they developed a tradition further. It's who they were and became as individuals.

It's not that they became the best purveyors of a language. There is something deeper going on. The reason these musicians and bands are so powerful is because what they're opening up to in themselves is really primary—really essential. It transcends a style or a vocabulary or any tradition. In my experience, that vibe is not cultural or tribal or temporal. It transcends all that. It's original, as in coming forth from the origins. I think that's the point.

So it's really about individuals. That's what's hard for a lot of musicians to come to terms with, I think. The continuum is just individuals. Not devoted to what's been done before, but devoted to the same thing—this experience—and that is the experience of what we are essentially; that openness and freedom. It's less of a style and more of an uncovered nakedness. That nakedness is the courage. That's the faith.

Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences Interviews Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences
by John Kelman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Laura Jurd: Big Footprints Interviews Laura Jurd: Big Footprints
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Rick Mandyck: The Return From Now Interviews Rick Mandyck: The Return From Now
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 3, 2017
Read The Wee Trio: Full of Surprises Interviews The Wee Trio: Full of Surprises
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 27, 2017
Read Clarence Becton: Straight Ahead Into Freedom Interviews Clarence Becton: Straight Ahead Into Freedom
by Barbara Ina Frenz
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Kind of Purple: Jazz Musicians On Prince" Interviews Kind of Purple: Jazz Musicians On Prince
by Kurt Gottschalk
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "Dominic Duval: Follow Your Melody" Interviews Dominic Duval: Follow Your Melody
by Maxim Micheliov
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "The Wee Trio: Full of Surprises" Interviews The Wee Trio: Full of Surprises
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Walt Weiskopf: All About the Sound" Interviews Walt Weiskopf: All About the Sound
by Bob Kenselaar
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "Jack Wilkins: Playing What He's Preaching" Interviews Jack Wilkins: Playing What He's Preaching
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Tony Monaco: Taking Jazz Organ to the Summit" Interviews Tony Monaco: Taking Jazz Organ to the Summit
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!