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Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:50 pm
by B T
Ah! A parable! You've been at the sink again, Marv.

Let me just clear up one point, however moot, and I will be on my way ...
I said, "Any other motivations for creating it just go along for the ride ... and ultimately mean nothing when great art is experienced." The underlined part is the important part in that statement.

We live in two different worlds, and will not see "eye to eye", so I'd rather not waste any more time. Have you noticed that nobody else has joined in our little discussion? They are probably all doing something more useful, like listening to music or playing it! Which is what I intend to do now (just for the joy of it - I better be armed, eh?)

So you get to have the last word! Yes, that's right! And this humble little board can go back to celebrating the music of LT. Not a blogger by trade, I only meant to say something about your little poem. Of course, now I know that you love LT's music. That's awesome! I just imagined one of LT's family surfing in from God-knows-where and seeing that out of context. I mean, you just never know, you know?

All the best,

BT ;)

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 11:21 am
by Marv Friedenn
Hello, out there. I'm sad BT thinks we live in different worlds when, however far apart we are, the same bomb can kill us both or the same full moon unite us. Anyway, I've learned something from this discussion and here it is. I realize that the same word "art," used twice in the phrase "art for art's sake," has two different meanings. The first "art" refers to art in the usual sense: the techniques of a craft which one learns by studying the work of previous practitioners. Now, however proficient these artists become, if they think that the second "art," for the sake of which they practice the first "art," is really the same as the first "art," then I piss on them, not because they don't get it, don't understand what they're about, but because they clobber the artists who do get it.

The art for the sake of which one does art is to create . . . let's call it a magnetic field for raising Lazarus from the grave of the unconscious; for letting the minotaur out of the labyrinth and inviting it to lunch (hopefully with you, not on you.) What Lennie in all innocence called playing with feeling as distinct from emotion is really having the confidence and courage to liberate what's inside you before you know what it is, because it may crucify you, impoverish you, alienate you while at the same time bringing you joy. It may rage like a bull or sleep peacefully like a child. But whatever it does, it's alive and unpredictable. But because it's alive and unpredictable, it may not be lawful or orderly, and so, as BT says, the authorities will restrict the right of the art-for-art's-sake artist to liberate it. Whenever that happens, the protest artist appears from whose head springs Athena armed and dangerous to all oppressors of art for art's sake.

Thanks to BT I've changed my key but not my tune. I maintain that Lennie Tristano is an art-for-art's-sake protest artist. That the more unconsciously he played, the more terrible was his beauty.

Marv Friedenn

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:07 pm
by Marv Friedenn
Lennie says that if you feel angry with someone you hit him in the nose. You don’t make angry art. Sure, Lennie, but what if you feel angry with an entire culture? How do you hit an entire culture in the nose? Drop a bomb on it? The only weapon as universal as culture is counter-culture. If you’re angry with the culture, you make counter-culture art, right, raging and rejoicing while you do it because only the counter-culture can take the culture out, right?

What I wonder about is that if Icorrectly hear a counter-culture critique in Lennie’s extensive and acerbic renovations of popular romantic ballads, and, moreover, that he applied his critique unconsciouslee (sic) (since he never mentions it in his interviews), I’m puzzled how he could have remained unaware of the cultural (as distinct from strictly musical) implications of his work when his brother Mickey was a Freudian psychologist; when his friend and promoter Barry Ulanov went on to write several books on archetypes of the unconscious in literature; when his wife Judy was in therapy and consequently must have sensitized him to the direct bearing on people’s daily and creative lives of unconscious issues; when Wilhelm Reichian psychology was in vogue among his students. Didn’t anyone ever discuss with him the extraordinary extra-musical value of his art? If anyone did and he responded, I think a lot of people would like to know about it. There’s no reason why Lennie shouldn’t be as well known as, say, Jackson Pollock, his immediate contemporary, who also intuitively and bravely probed into the unconscious.
Marv Friedenn

Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:16 pm
by B T
Marv Friedenn wrote:Hello, out there. I'm sad BT thinks we live in different worlds when, however far apart we are, the same bomb can kill us both or the same full moon unite us.


Thanks to BT I've changed my key but not my tune. I maintain that Lennie Tristano is an art-for-art's-sake protest artist. That the more unconsciously he played, the more terrible was his beauty.

Marv Friedenn

Don't be sad Marv, I wasn't refering to the physical world, just our world views. But now that you've explained yourself in a little more detail, and I think I can see the levels involved and where you're coming from, let me clarify:


You are pissing on those who do:
art1 for art1’s sake

When you feel that they should do:
art1 for art2’s sake

art1 = the basic craft
art2 = deep profound expression

I feel that the great artists are doing:
art2 for art2’s sake

I wasn’t even thinking of those who do:
art1 for art1’s sake
(This to me, is what mathematicians might refer to as “the trivial caseâ€

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 5:18 am
by Marv Friedenn
At this juncture, BT, you put me at a disadvantage. You know where I'm coming from, but I don't know where you're coming from. I mean, how do I distinguish a great artist from a not-so-great one? Or beautiful deep profound art from deceptively beautiful deep profound art? Furthermore, I don't see how you can clarify your position. For suppose you assemble the thirty greatest recorded jazz improvisations to illustrate your definition of truly great art. The listener might be knocked out by each and every one of them and still not have the slightest idea what you mean by "greatest." (Matthew Arnold, the 19th century English poet and educator, similarly claimed that there was such a thing as great poetry, and quoted passages from Sophocles, Dante, Shakespeare etc to prove it. But the reader had no more idea after reading these "touchstones" of greatness than before reading them what Arnold meant by great poetry.)

So, we're left with my interpretation of Lennie which is clear but, according to you, coincidental, and your interpretation which, although essential, is unclear. Your move, bro.


Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:41 am
by B T
You're touching upon a side-topic that I alluded to earlier.

(Its dangerous to give only one person [or a few "elites"] the right to do that ... live and create profoundly.)
OR ... decide for the rest of us who the "greats" are.

This is one way cults are born. I've seen it go down! No one has the right to declare who is/are the greatest! Its totally up to you! If a solo moves the shit out of you, its all yours, forever part of your soul, which no guru has the right to take away from you!

BTW, my own "pantheon of greats" isn't limited to jazz musicians ...

Back to the main topic ...

Good to know that I understand where you're coming from. Its wonderfully thought-provoking. This isn't meant to be a chess match, just try and see my point of view here. All I'm really trying to say is that creating music with a motive, e.g. "angry art" (see prior LT quote) would taint the musical purity of the (forgive the expression) "end product". I feel that he's only interested in music when he's creating it. Its a coincidence if it happens to resonate with a revolutionary that wants to save the world.

If there is a motive, its just creating beauty. Offering a beautiful alternative (to capitalist mass-marketed "culture" or state-sponsored "culture") I suppose, is "revolutionary" in a world like this. Its still coincidental. This type of artist (whoever he or she may be) is out to express love and beauty. I feel that LT is one of these.

My position any clearer?


PS We have more in common than you would think. You've mentioned some of my favorite artists in our discussion. Hendrix, Bartók, Pollock ... and, of course, LT.

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:01 pm
by Marv Friedenn
Comrade Tristano,

I admit I don't know who you had in mind when you admonished against angry art. But now that BT has helped me realize that I fantasized your radicalism--he thinks of it, quite justly, as the fallacy of coincidentalism--I wish to say I feel that yours was a dumb remark. Perhaps the most beautiful lyric of the 20th century is the Pirate Jenny Song from Three Penny Opera. It's also the angriest. Whatcha say to that, Comrade Tristano?

Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 11:48 am
by B T
Marv Friedenn wrote:Comrade Tristano,

I admit I don't know who you had in mind when you admonished against angry art.

I don't know the answer to that myself, but I can guess. I'll hold off on that for now. I don't know what kind of library you might have access to, but here are some excerpts (relevant to our discussion) from a fascinating interview if you can track it down:

[b]“Lennie Tristano talks to Gudrun Endressâ€

Posted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:11 pm
by Marv Friedenn
BT, it's a book I always wanted to read, so do me a favor. In your spare time, write Lennie's biography. (Don't grind your teeth. It'll be fun.) Here's how you do it. You, the biographer, don't background yourself in order to wrap your subject in mummified limelight. No, you, the biographer, don't give a shit what Lennie thinks. (Your duty here is merely to be scrupulously accurate.) What you care about are the issues that what Lennie thinks raises. They're the issues of any artist insane enough to want to discover him- or herself because he or she has heard a rumor, has caught the whiff of the aroma of a rumor, that a self exists crying for mamma. Therefore, the hierarchical bullshit of Lieutenant Biographer serving General Subject is out the window. Psychologically, what happens as the result of a "shootout" between biographer and subject is that naturally the subject has to come alive in order to defend himself against his biographer. But when that happens, when the subject comes alive . . . well, that's a successful biography!

I got the idea from Lennie. I think he calls it "conflict solos."


Posted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:07 pm
by Marv Friedenn

I had no sooner posted the reply and was on my way to Baller Hardware to buy some black pipe for Bayron when I thought of the title! Not The Psychology of Music but The Music of Psychology!!! The idea is that Lennie is an important 20th century psychologist who expressed his theories musically! Naturally, the more psychological disruption in his life, the more convincing the purity of his dedication to the musical expression of his theories.