Mists and mellow fruitfulness?

(Written on Monday 30th Sept)

The sun was shining only a minute or two ago, brightening the front yard, a few apples still hanging from the tree, nasturtiums hanging on and one or two roses still imminent. Wind and rain are forecast for most of the week. And everything is getting back into gear.

Choir resumes tonight in Horbury, hopefully with a sufficient turn-out of keen singers and a selection of new songs to attack. Tomorrow a lunchtime concert at the Cathedral in Wakefield with Julia Mills, sax and piano/accordion, a broad selection of tunes (Parker/Bacharach/Metheny/Bach etc) and a big reverb. And Wakefield Jazz returns on Friday night with Empirical, hopefully attracting a crowd, along with the usual punters, the food, the bookstall, the raffle, the je-ne-sais-quoi ambience of the Sports Club bar.

Yesterday we went to listen to Jess Phillips MP promoting her new book, mildly diverting – perhaps hoping for more from such a direct speaker. Looking forward to a local Labour meeting on Thursday night to decide whether to recommend our sitting MP (since 1996) for automatic reselection or whether to encourage him to justify his continued selection more dynamically – and also to choose a shortlist for potential local council candidates next spring, seeing as last year’s guinea pig/footsoldier/victim has resisted a second opportunity to stand.

Autumn – it’s full of new beginnings!

I came across a book by Miles Okazaki (interesting New York guitarist on the Pi record label) on the Fundamentals of Guitar – it’s satisfyingly cosmic and all-embracing in its approach, as I hoped it would be (as a non-guitarist). I was hoping for an insight into the world of hip contemporary off-the-wall NY “jazz” musicians (post-rock perhaps, rather than jazz) and it fits the bill – lots of discussion of the harmonic partials of each individual string, pentatonics and tritones, complex exercises, and then moving on to rhythm/s. It’s rare to find sufficient and new food for thought. NB anything on the Pi label is worth exploring, particularly Henry Threadgill of course, but also Steve Coleman, Jen Shyu, Liberty Ellman, and the most recent Art Ensemble of Chicago recording also. Firehouse 12 would be the other most exciting USA label, if you were to ask me – Mary Halvorson, Myra Melford, Taylor Ho Bynum.

There is no such thing as a “genius grant” in the UK, but I was glad to see one awarded to Mary Halvorson last week – everything she does needs to be listened to. $625000 over 5 years – now there’s a universal basic income we could all vote for.

Meanwhile the car has been fixed, a haircut is due, there are some lessons to be taught, and more books to be read – looking forward to reading Nate Chinen’s reports on 21st century jazz, and to being depressed/overwhelmed by Shoshana Zuboff on Surveillance Capitalism. Was life just so much easier in the 1970s/1980s? Discuss.