Analysis

The Forgotten Man: Teo Macero and Bitches Brew

Miles Davis and Teo Macero standing together each wearing a white shirt and a tie; Miles is also playing trumpet

Miles didn’t make Bitches Brew by himself; it was the product of a unique compositional collaboration between the trumpeter and his longtime, essential producer at Columbia Records, Teo Macero (1925-2008), an in-house composer, arranger, and producer for Columbia Records who also shaped and directed essential albums by Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, Johnny Mathis, and Tony Bennett as well as a recording of music by Alan Hovhaness plus the soundtrack to The Graduate.

Vertical Performance

A still from the Mass MoCA production of Michael Gordon's opera Van Gogh performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

Most serious instrumentalists don’t like to sing onstage. They may have sung in chorus or solfege class, and may sing in the shower, but the spotlight is something else. Adding to the stress, stage direction may take the singer/instrumentalist away from his or her music stand, requiring that the instrumental parts be memorized.

The Opposite of Brain Candy—Decoding Black MIDI

BlackMIDIbanner

“Black MIDI” refers to the moments in a piece where the notes, if displayed on a traditional two-stave piano score, are so dense that there appears to be just a mass of black noteheads. The increased density of notes also affects the computer, which is sometimes unable to process all of the notes within a particularly complex section. The goal of Black MIDI is to approach this processing failure without actually crossing that line.

Psychedelic Citizenship: Jimi Hendrix as Tone Poet

JSAM Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix’s “Woodstock Banner” is among the most iconic moments of rock history—a symbol of the art’s social and political potential. For Hendrix, “anthem” was not a noun, but a verb—a song in motion.

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