Steve, the uncertainties of music (111)


The list is as long as you can imagine. As long as the keyboard itself on a grand piano, white, black and ivory with heavy and soft and pumped pedels. Small brass wheels on the wooden floor. Like his Siamese cat walking across the the white keys his memory jumps and dives in an aleatory tuneless fashion, just as music moves from here to there and back again, so memory moves from childhood to 1973 and on to yesterday afternoon. This is certain because Steve is writing whilst a Jan Garbarek track he does not recognise is playing on the radio, (after it finishes playing the presenters argue over its comparative lack of merit) his day creaks and laughs at him across the days of forgotten tunes and women whose names he has repressed.

The list, like all lists is very long. Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Marilyn Crispell, Red Garland, Aldo Ciccolini, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter. The percussive hands of Cecil Taylor, the romantic ones of Michel Petrucciani, the pure ears of Bill Evans, the middle third of the keyboard minimalism of Mal Waldron (listen to the Seagulls of Kristiansund and relive the summer spent in Sweden). The nameless planet on the street beneath the round tower in Copenhagen in 1996 quoting from Micheal Nyman. Jason Rebello, Ahmad Jamal, Ruben Gonzalez, Earl Hines, Pepsi Auer (for Hot House) and Misha Mengelberg for Dolphy’s last date. Sun Ra for the space music. Barenboim for Mozart (Piano Concerto 22&23), Tony Eden for Tokyo who should have played piano for torch singers and not written software. Anthony Braxton who played some wonderfully off the wall piano one day in the Knitting factory. The pianist playing in the Paris bar back in the early 70s, beer on lid, cigarette in mouth playing a close to perfect version of epistrophy with his eyes closed, lost in the space and time between the notes. Then Steve loses his memory in the Roundhouse where he is sitting listening to the unit play – Jimmy Lyons on alto blowing up a storm whilst the pianist listens transfixed a smile on his face playing drums on the piano. Cecil Taylor. His girlfriend years later listening to Taylor play said "Hey that’s a quote from Chopin" Steve laughed delighted. Given the chance Steve has determined that on his death bed he is going to ask for something sung by Celia Cruz, Sun Ra’s ‘On Jupiter the sky is always blue’ (1980 Hat Hut version) and Cecil Taylor’s Streams. What more could he ask for…

Introduction to the Hypertext Novel

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Steve, the uncertainties of music (11)

Steve de Vos - London 12/31/98