Bits & Pieces

Robin Williams on Keith Jarrett

RIP Robin Williams, who, in a fun & fascinating AMA on Reddit, stated he was a fan of jazz and Keith Jarrett’s solo concerts. He titled his interactive thread “It’s time for a convoluted stream of consciousness”, which, I suppose, is how some might describe both Jarrett’s solo concerts and a Robin Williams routine.

I’ve re-listened to Ritooria from Jarrett’s ECM debut, Facing You, a handful of times in the past 24 hours. The development of his complex right-hand noodling over an original, tonally ambiguous chord sequence is compelling stuff. From the opening pin-pricked staccato notes to wave-upon-wave of cascading angular demi-semi-quavers, Jarrett’s outpouring of melodic material is a lesson in compositional risk. Thanks to London-based photographer, Mat Smith, there is a fine transcription of the piece available for free here.

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Recently discovered the Reddit Jazz Listening Club. It’s already 81 weeks in and the latest album is Vijay Iyer’s Solo. I love this album – his version of Black & Tan Fantasy, shorn of any overindulgence, is incredible.

Iyer’s personal approach to jazz piano is inspiring; a very distinct voice influenced by individualism (Thelonious Monk, Sun Ra, Herbie Nichols) and a pervasive desire for exploration (John Coltrane). I will definitely be dropping a paragraph or two on to this thread.

Interesting and informative article about Vijay Iyer and his music, via JazzTimes, here.

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Very interesting piece over at TechCrunch; The Server Needs To Die To Save The Internet. The opening paragraph caught my attention, concisely putting into perspective the financial (and thus dominant) reason why reaching personally targeted content can be such a hurdle…

“Do we have the Internet we deserve? There’s an argument to say that yes, we absolutely do. Given web users’ general reluctance to pay for content. We are of course, paying. Just not with cold hard cash, but with our privacy — as digital business models rely on gathering and selling intel on their users to make the money to pay (the investors who paid) for the free service.”

The jist? Replace the current server & datacenter based model of the internet with a peer-to-peer infrastructure…

“Basically, the users of the network are also acting as the network infrastructure by donating a portion of their spare hard drive capacity — with built in incentives for them to do so in the form of a network specific cryptocurrency (called SafeCoin).”

A socialist-based version of the interwebs?! Clever stuff, but will the cryptocurrency offered as reward for making available free space on your PC at the very least cover the cost of a decent broadband connection? It does sound like an admirable an ambitious prospect nonetheless.

I’ve only recently discovered TechCrunch, but I’m already impressed with the quality of their on-line journalism. Here is another interesting article on Twitter’s current obsession with popularity and how this is changing the content of your news feed; “just because something is popular does not mean it’s relevant.” Couldn’t agree more.

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Great new single by Jason Moran available from iTunes. Moran is one of my fav contemporary pianists around & his interpretation of Fats Wallers’ Ain’t Misbehavin’ is lush, groove-inflected jazz. Moran’s touch on the rhodes when flirting with the melody is a lesson in delicacy and panache. Check out the video for Ain’t Misbehavin – using found period footage – here.

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About Will Rodway

what you hear, what you read...
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