Restless Experimentation

There’s an idea in art that you need to throw yourself into the intensity.  If you’re going to find the magic, there’ll always be a few rough patches, a bit of trouble.  There’s a need to disrupt your life.  If you’re getting too safe or too comfortable, then maybe you’d better shake things up a bit.

I always say “forget the habitual short cuts.  They’re ok in their place, but it’s usually better to take the scenic route or the long and difficult path.”

I just started reading Ian Carr’s biography of Miles Davis.  Miles on Charlie Parker: “Bird used to play forty different styles.  He was never content to remain the same.”  Then, years later, Miles  said “That’s what I tell my musicians; I tell them to be ready to play what you  know and above what you know.  Anything might happen above what you’ve been used to playing-you’re ready to get into that, and above that, and take that out.”

Some of us live lives of restless experimentation, sometimes reckless as well.  This is true in music as well as in writing, in the visual arts and more.  Sometimes you just have to push the envelope.

the weight of thoughts and dreams

“Take your first idea and then throw it away.  Try to go against what is easy for you.  Test yourself.”  Will Marion Cook (to Duke Ellington)

I think I transcribed that off of a documentary film on television.  Thus the quote might not be totally exact.  Yet I appreciate the sentiments.

Cook was an influential early jazz musician and composer.  He was an influence on Duke Ellington.  You try to create the music you hear inside of your head (but can’t quite play).  You try to take the pictures you see in your head and make them visible.  Neither comes out quite the same as your initial vision, but it can be close to that.

You can try to turn your art inside out, upside down and backwards but sometimes you just need to let it play out as it is.  Creativity is a trip, a voyage, a journey and a quest.  It’s kind of like life itself, if you’re doing it right.

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One Response to “Restless Experimentation”

  1. Don Handy Says:

    Another probably inexact quote that’s applicable: Sartre once said that he questions his beliefs each and everyday. And then there’s this: “all honor goes to the runner who would still seek glory in the heart of failure.” – Patti Smith

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