New Book Contains Chapter On Lennie

General Discussion
keith
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Postby keith » Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:30 am

I'm listening, BT. Please continue. This is fun!


I have to agree, carry on BT!

keith

B T
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Sermon Review - Part I

Postby B T » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:29 pm

Manifest der Gleichmacherischen Partei - durch Marx Friedenn

A MORE IN-DEPTH REVIEW OF SERMON ON THE FLATS - PART I
Here is a more in-depth look at Marv’s book. Not meant to be a complete review, mind you, but just to examine some of the contents. If you like what you see, you will definitely like the book. If you find yourself getting antsy and impatiently scrolling through it all, then you probably won’t.

**********


PREFACE
A short treatise on the randomness of luck, and the absurdity of humankind embracing “luckâ€
Last edited by B T on Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.

B T
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Sermon Review - Part II

Postby B T » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:32 pm

Manifest der Gleichmacherischen Partei - durch Marx Friedenn
A MORE IN-DEPTH REVIEW OF SERMON ON THE FLATS – PART II


SUBSTITUTE TEACHING
In this chapter Marv reveals why he is a substitute teacher (as opposed to a teacher). Not believing in our current educational system, and therefore not wanting to be a cog in the machine, he slips in through the back door to promote his Marxist leanings. First the lesson material is infiltrated with Marxist analogies, which he feels the students respond favorably to. They are in that brief time of life when the transition of “ownedâ€
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B T
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Sermon Review - Part III

Postby B T » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:34 pm

Manifest der Gleichmacherischen Partei - durch Marx Friedenn

A MORE IN-DEPTH REVIEW OF SERMON ON THE FLATS – PART III


FORTUNE WORSHIP (SECOND CHORUS)
I’m assuming that this chapter contains further chronicling of “Fortune Worshipâ€

B T
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Sermon Review: Epilogue

Postby B T » Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:11 pm

[b]EPILOGUE: MY THOUGHTS ON MARV’S THEORY:
(With a few words on “what does this have to do with Lennie Tristano?â€

Marv Friedenn
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Postby Marv Friedenn » Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:29 pm

Sermon is damn lucky to have found for its first reviewer as keen and perceptive a critic as BT. But let me tango (as distinct from tangle) with BT one last time with regard to Lennie.
BT contends that I arbitrarily impose a marxist/egalitarian interpretation on Lennie. I wish to explain, therefore, how, owing to the very psychoanalytic theory Lennie seems to have subscribed to, plus, of course, owing to the music itself, Lennie lends himself to being interpreted as a protest artist, even in the face of the evidence drawn from the interview where Lennie unequivocally declares himself against expressing aggression in art.
The general thrust of psychoanalytic theory is that while you may know something you don't want someone else to know, in the case where that someone else is you--that is, you know something you don't want to remind yourself that you know lest by revealing it to yourself you have to do something about it which will violently disrupt your life--you may look away from what you know and never look back, but all the while still know it. Repression is simply not acknowledging that you know and wanting to keep it that way. Everyone represses. Otherwise we'd all go haywire.
Artists, however, are capable of projecting the contents of their unconscious onto their art without being aware that they are doing it. For the unconscious content is encoded in feeling. All the artist has to do is feel excited about his or her art and, ipso facto, the excitement, encrypted with unconscious content, transfers to the art, whether successfully or not depending on the artist's facility and on the degree of his or her obsession with the art. Consequently, a musician might say he plays what he plays because it sounds right to him. But that it sounds right is because the unconscious content has transferred successfully. Therefore, with regard to the creative act, the artist's opinion is no more authoritative than anyone else's; than, for instance the client's opinion who shouts at his therapist, "You know goddamn fucking well that I'm not aggressive!"
The 1950's was as repressive a decade in the U.S as it was in the U.S.S.R. From the interviews we surmise that Lennie wasn't particularly sensitive to the political atmosphere. He didn't have to be. Blind from childhood, abandoned to the institutions, Lennie had had his own hell to deal with. But the two hells, the personal and the socio-political, attracted each other into Lennie's unconscious and converged in his music quite without his knowledge. Beside the music itself (which I've characterized elsewhere), what makes us suspect the conversion is the fact that the Lennie of the interviews and the Lennie remembered by Peter Ind are two very different people. The first, focused on jazz, is eminently respectable. The second is a burgeoning malcontent.
Perhaps it was Wilhelm Reich's indictment for fraud by the U.S. government that shocked Lennie into realizing what he had expressed in his music all along; that, to quote Bessie Smith, "All the world was all wrong." Reich was a radical psychologist, a student of Freud's, a precurser of the New Age psychology of later decades, and much admired by Tristano. Peter Ind recalls (Jazz Visions, 46), "It was in 1953, I believe, that Lennie wrote to Reich, offering, on our behalf, to give a free concert for him and his co-workers in Maine. Lennie was so moved by Reich's insights and strength of conviction that he felt it would be good if we gave something of ourselves in appreciation. But Reich courteously refused this." Call it psychic or call it crap, but the insights that moved Lennie and the indignation he must have felt at Reich's mistreatment, transferred to the music that moved and outraged me.
Still, BT may be right. What if the beauty of art arises from a kind of sublime detachment from the maelstrom of the world, whereby the artist stands aloof even from his own biography. BT then might argue with justice that the tunes Lennie entitled "Judy" and "Coolin' Off With Ulanov" have as little to do with musical portraits of his wife and friend as the dedication in a book reflects the contents of the book. Or that it's futile to anticipate from the aerial photography on the cover of BT's own CD, Primal Elegance, a distancing quality of the music that will float high above the things of this world; futile because the music is only music and nothing else. Unless everything is music. But that would include the world.
Is BT arguing the Buddhist case for detachment from the world and I the marxist one for involvement in it? If so, let me qualify at once. Marx goes wrong when he sacrifices private life to public life; and Buddha goes astray when he throws public life to the dogs.
(Response to BT's review of Sermon to be continued.)
Last edited by Marv Friedenn on Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

B T
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Postby B T » Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:20 am

This is the most sense you have made yet, Marv. But there is still some misunderstanding ... so let me quickly address a few points now. It will save some time (and some typing).

Marv Friedenn wrote:BT contends that I arbitrarily impose a marxist/egalitarian interpretation on Lennie.


Not arbitrarily, I know that both mean a lot to you. Interesting insights about philosophy and music but one doesn't necessarily validate the other.


Marv Friedenn wrote:The general thrust of psychoanalytic theory is that while you may know something you don't want someone else to know, in the case where that someone else is you--that is, you know something you don't want to remind yourself that you know lest by revealing it to yourself you have to do something about it which will violently disrupt your life--you may look away from what you know and never look back, but all the while still know it. Repression is simply not acknowledging that you know and wanting to keep it that way. Everyone represses. Otherwise we'd all go haywire.
...

Artists, however, are capable of projecting the contents of their unconscious onto their art without being aware that they are doing it. For the unconscious content is encoded in feeling.


Generally speaking, I don't really know if this comes out in the music so much as in the way a musican treats other people. More specifically, as it applies to some of LT's students. I know what they are repressing and why they can be so fanatical about their "ideology". I intend to write about this some day.

Marv Friedenn wrote:... the fact that the Lennie of the interviews and the Lennie remembered by Peter Ind are two very different people.


Yes, the Lennie I remember personally is very different from the one remembered by a lot of his associates and students. Thats why I have to take what some of them say with the proverbial grain of salt. I can use a whole truck load.

Marv Friedenn wrote:Reich was a radical psychologist, a student of Freud's ...


Ah, yes. A lot of the people I'm talking about also fancy themselves to be psychoanalysts. Most of them are quite lousy at it, too ... bloody awful.

Marv Friedenn wrote:Call it psychic or call it crap, but the insights that moved Lennie and the indignation he must have felt at Reich's mistreatment, transferred to the music that moved and outraged me.

Still, BT may be right. What if the beauty of art arises from a kind of sublime detachment from the maelstrom of the world, whereby the artist stands aloof even from his own biography. BT then might argue with justice that the tunes Lennie entitled "Judy" and "Coolin' Off With Ulanov" have as litle to do with musical portraits of his wife and friend as the dedication in a book reflects the contents of the book.


Not necessarily ...

Marv Friedenn wrote:Is BT arguing the Buddhist case for detachment from the world and I the marxist one for involvement in it?


No, not at all. Life has to be there. The greatest art is just overflowing with it. You once cited Jimi's version of the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock. If it is re-discovered centuries from now sans the history of its time, I think people will be moved by it never-the-less. Even if they never heard the original melody and don't know that the Vietnam war was happening at the time and most of Hendrix' audience were protestors of that war. They will still be moved by it. The art transcends the context.

Marv Friedenn wrote:If so, let me qualify at once. Marx goes wrong when he sacrifices private life to public life; and Buddha goes astray when he throws public life to the dogs.
(Response to BT's review of Sermon to be continued.)


You already know what I think of gurus.

Continue ...

Marv Friedenn
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Postby Marv Friedenn » Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:32 am

Let me supplement BT's comments about Sermon (which I largely agree with) with a few of my own.

Infinity. The likelihood that space is infinite acts like a solvent for purging imagination of all conventional clutter, and leaves one as innocent and receptive to novelty as a newborn babe.

Fortune Worship (First Chorus). By making the ups and downs of fortune the arbiter of human affairs, we've become a bi-polar species.

Death. It was by overcoming a natural reluctance to admit that everyone dies that humans became conscious at all. To the extent that we still dodge the issues raised by death, we slip back into unconsciousness. As Socrates knew philosophy begins as a meditation on death (thanatopsis).

Substitute Teaching. Schools are a hotbed of fortune worship.

(See the previous posts for a discussion of the Lennie chapter.)

BT is right about Fortune Worship (Second Chorus): it's the most important chapter in the book and, if not exactly unreadable, is at any rate a formidable challenge. It's the scientific part of the book where I apply fortune-worship analysis in a rigorous manner to a specific culture. For students of political science, cultural critique or comparative religion willing to brave the multiple citations from Livy, Ammianus, Appian and Plutarch, the reward is an opportunity to reevaluate mankind's first attempt to make sense of things; and as well the opportunity to determine whether or not it's time to guess again.

New Marxico. The book is post-marxist rather than marxist since it views economics as a consequence not a cause of spiritual values.

Marv

B T
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Postby B T » Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:54 am

Cool. All good stuff, Marv.

Marv Friedenn wrote:BT is right about Fortune Worship (Second Chorus): it's the most important chapter in the book and, if not exactly unreadable, is at any rate a formidable challenge. It's the scientific part of the book where I apply fortune-worship analysis in a rigorous manner to a specific culture. For students of political science, cultural critique or comparative religion willing to brave the multiple citations from Livy, Ammianus, Appian and Plutarch, the reward is an opportunity to reevaluate mankind's first attempt to make sense of things; and as well the opportunity to determine whether or not it's time to guess again.


I will tackle this chapter again, at some point. In light of what you just said about it, I still think it would be a wild source for a novel.

BT

PS - no psst necessary ...

Marv Friedenn wrote: ... and as well the opportunity to determine whether or not it's time to guess again.


I am getting close to posting what I think is the main problem facing the future of humankind - Not that I think I am so smart - the problem is just so obvious it raises its ugly head when you want to have any type of intelligent discussion on the human condition. Therefore, I do think it's relevant to the discussion after all. It is also the most formidible obstacle in the way of implementing any change in society, whether it be your idea, mine, or anyone else's for that matter. Let's tie up any other loose ends before I get booted off the board!

B T
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Loose end #1

Postby B T » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:42 am

Loose end #1:

Marv Friedenn wrote: ... owing to the music itself, Lennie lends himself to being interpreted as a protest artist, even in the face of the evidence drawn from the interview where Lennie unequivocally declares himself against expressing aggression in art.


Its strictly argumentative, but, yes, one could say at the very least that just by the virtue of creating non-commercial art in a fortune-worshipping society that it is by definition, protest. Here's the difference: Even if the ego bonds with the concept, it is left out entirely because the feeling of music and music-making is so magical.

That's what I think LT meant by saying you don't make angry art. If the ego would bond with protestation, in the end the music would be tainted. By letting go of the ego, one gets a pure musical experience. I dare say that if LT would have identified with "protest" and played it from the ego you would not have been moved by his music as much!

Another (generic) example would be the musician that just wants to go onstage and dazzle the audience with superchops. He is not only cheating them, he is cheating himself. The artist does not get seduced by his own ego, chops be damned, because he already knows that the magic of music just feels better.

And you get ... voilà!

Marv Friedenn wrote:Infinity. The likelihood that space is infinite acts like a solvent for purging imagination of all conventional clutter, and leaves one as innocent and receptive to novelty as a newborn babe


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