Henri Lazarof believed in working very hard to develop the tools a composer needs. For example, he knew every instrument inside and out, and insisted that we all learn them at least as well. It was difficult to argue with such an approach. He lived what he taught.
In the wake of the many “Best of 2013” lists floating around, I wanted to highlight some recent album releases worthy of your time and attention. I didn’t select them for this reason, but it occurs to me that they each say something interesting and distinct about what it means to make American music right now.
There is no substitute for deep mutual trust that is earned over a long period of time, but I believe concrete steps can be taken immediately during the process of commissioning and developing new work to establish a creative bond.
You may have noticed some new bylines behind our blog posts this week. In an effort to keep pace with the myriad ideas and issues vibrating through our field, we’ll be inviting two new columnist to join us each month in 2014.
It seems to be taken for granted in many new music circles that anyone who composes in a European modernist idiom is doing so because they’ve thought about all the possible options and made a historically informed decision to go with that one, but that anyone who composes in a tonal idiom is doing so naively.
I believe that artists, more so than scientists or the religious, carry the seeds of miracle works inside them. And I believe we are seriously underperforming.
This trio of guitarist Mike Eber, cousin Jeff Eber on drums, and bassist Johnny DeBlase make spare, taut music that is also chock full of dueling layers of angular counterpoint couched in polymeters. But despite its austerity and complexity, it’s surprisingly easy to listen to—perhaps an appropriate irony for a band whose name rhymes with devious!
What every artist needs is to be paid. But in addition to—or in the absence of—money, what do artists need in a collaboration that others can offer them?
What was your biggest musical challenge of 2013? What was your favorite record, or favorite thing to listen to, this year? What are you most looking forward to in 2014? Seven Chicago musicians share the best of the year that was and prepare for the challenges ahead.
I can’t help but feel the need to explore the possibilities, if for no other reason than to find a solid balance between a focused understanding of today’s new music and a broad accessibility to as many creative artists as possible, irrespective of style, locale, or pedigree.