One should question everything. At least I feel that I should question everything. It’s exhausting but I have no choice. The more that I question the more questions I have. It goes on and on. I’ve been this way since I was 3 or 4 – around the time I started playing guitar. It was curious to me. I loved the sound. You never know where sound will lead you and lately it’s been on my mind, “How did I get here?” I feel that I am part of a generation, or to put it more succinctly, part of a genealogy of 20th century American guitarists who reached deeply into traditions but were not bound by them. Questioning led me to scientific approaches, skepticism, and critical thinking. These perspectives and practices have fostered inspiration, enlightenment and self-realization.
As a teenager I began playing jazz and much of my professional life has been as a jazz guitarist. Although I’d heard about composers John Cage and Morton Feldman by my late teens, I didn’t spend much time with their works because they were dismissive of jazz music. Consequently I chose to spend time with other composers and musicians who were more appreciative of jazz. As I got older and wanted to fill in gaps of knowledge, I spent time learning about Cage’s and Feldman’s music making processes. Conversations in the 1990′s with jazz pianist Borah Bergmann prompted me to dig deeper into Feldman’s work. A fine essay on Morton Feldman, “American Sublime” was written by Alex Ross and published in The New Yorker on June 19, 2006. A reprint of the article is posted on Ross’ Blog here. What follows are my thoughts, feelings and impressions upon reading some of Feldman’s writings.
Give My Regards To Eighth Street:
Collected Writings of Morton Feldman
- edited by B.H. Friedman
When fellow composer Karlheinz Stockhausen asked Morton Feldman “What is your secret?”, Feldman replied, “I don’t push the sounds around” (143)...Read More