Thursday, April 30, 2009

Duke Ellington – C Jam Blues

Yesterday Duke Ellington's 110th birthday. In digging around for some info on him, I was pointed toward this great photo gallery at Time Life. I just love black and white photography. It gives you so much more "mood" than color. And of course, jazz and black and white a parallel themes, aren't they?

The French Show girl … look at how thin she is … yet she doesn't look unhealthy like today's models. Then there's the one where Stan Kenton is tapping him on the shoulder. Without knowing the full context, you can still tell there's a fair amount of good natured teasing going on between these two masters. My personal favorite is the one where the trombones are framing Duke at his piano. In fact, I like looking at all these pictures and thinking about their composition. I'm sure there was some cropping and burning in the darkroom, but overall these photographers had such great eyes. This is something for me to remember – both when I try to capture something with my point and shoot – and with my writing. How can I cut down all the extraneous and just get the essence of the story.

Musically I am struck how he does this same thing. A lot out of just a little. Listen to this tune, C Jam Blues. This piece is composed around two notes, C and G. I didn't know that, Billy Taylor (my favorite guest on CBS Sunday Mornings) told me at the beginning of this piece.

In the original I linked too, I love how it shows the jam session and highlights the different players. The violinist reminds me of that great cowboy swing sound that was so prevalent with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and other country swing bands.

Last night was my last writing class. The teacher once again said she could see such improvement in my writing. In fact she'd been talking to someone else telling them how so many times you "hope" someone's getting what you're saying, but you never know if they're really synthesizing it. She said there are many places where I'm incorporating the points/suggestions she's given me with out me losing "my voice" or style.

In the next couple of weeks she'll start a "for pay" critique group – or maybe an advanced writing group that continues to combine instruction with writing. I'll follow through with either one – because this is forcing me to be more disciplined, while at the same time illuminating the path to writing the story. It won't stop the bitching, but it will certainly curtail the procrastination and aimless wandering.

It's Thursday – the last day of the 9-6 schedule. Tomorrow we move to an 8-5 schedule through the end of July. I think I'm looking forward to this.

2 comments:

mamie said...

I'm enjoying your music education posts. Thanks!

Glad the writing's moving along too.

Miss you.

MitMoi said...

Mamie,
I'm glad you're enjoying. I like that I'm learning things as I write.

And THANK GOD the writing is getting better.