Thursday, 27 November 2014

Rick Simpson's Klammer (including huge twitter jazz chat)

Rick Simpson has something that many great artists have: an imagination that involuntarily spews deep, dark humour combined with the technical ability to actually express his thoughts in a way he can share them with friends and strangers alike. It's not just in his own work either; there have been several gigs this year where he has been completely on fire as an accompanist. Put simply, he's a killing musician, and - this last year in particular - seems to have stepped up with a sincere sense of stewardship towards his audience.

Special mention to his twitter feed, which is a combination of insightful jazzchat and surreal jokes. I thought I'd (somewhat creepily) repost a recent manifesto he tweeted, presumably as some sort of open letter to other jazz musicians: it's somewhere between confessional poetry and online rant. Well worth reading...
i don't think being good at jazz (disclaimer: not saying i am by any means) is all to do with ability. its more than that 
its the ability to consider how you do things, not just what you do, or what you're able to do
it's being aware of how the audience might perceive the gig and making allowances for it.
making it easier for them without dumbing down the content
you can't really get up and play music in front of people and not really, really know it. what are the correct changes, intros, outros, etc
classical musicians couldn't get away with it and we should strive to take the same care with our music
like, are you really playing the melody to that monk tune right or are you just playing what the real book says?
this might be obvious to some of you but it's not to everyone
don't assume the audience knows the difference between written material and soloing.
i just think you can play as out as you like but you can do it in a way that is clear to the audience without losing any musical integrity 
and if you're in an audience situation where it's evident that they're going to respond well to straight ahead playing then thats cool.
but we've all got to fight to get people on our side with this music and playing vaguely or without conviction isn't going to do us favours
someone just sat next to me and put their arm in my pizza and did not notice for a long time 

Anyway, I caught his new band Klammer at the Green Note as part of the London Jazz Festival and it was excellent. Thankfully, there's a recording of it. This track reminded me of Zhenya Strigalev's Smiling Organism, albeit more substantial and densely scored. It's an incredible band playing music for listening to. Enjoy...