Sunday, July 13, 2008

And Another Thing

I got so carried away telling you about my time at free jazz band camp for grown ups that I neglected to give this little nugget the proper attention:

all the most fruitful possibilities in music have already been so brilliantly exploited that nothing is now left for the art except a parody of itself and of its past -- a self-mockery, technically accomplished but spiritually dead in hope, in short, an "Aristocratic nihilism."

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Say you make a big pot of soup. Flaczki for example. Dinner time comes around, you put the flaczki in bowls on the table, everyone eats, but there is a bit left in the pot. Into the tupperwear goes the left over flaczki.

The next morning you wake hungry. On to the stove goes the entire pot and it all gets heated up again. But alas, you could only finish half of what got heated a second time.

Can the flaczki get put back into the tupperwear to be cooled a second time and later, heated a third? Is that foodsafe?

Just how many times can you heat and cool flaczki before it is entirely without nutrient, taste or texture?

Does music work the same way? How many more times can we cool and reheat Jazz? How many more times can we cool and reheat Bach? How about Charlie Parker? How about Frank Zappa?

I suppose if you made a really really big pot of flaczki--like 842,000 gallons--I suppose you could keep the flaczki on a low simmer and eat it every day for the next 100 years.

Or could you? How long can you keep flaczki on simmer before it met the same mushy, nutritionally empty, tasteless fate?

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Hands up, who is at once titillated and confused by the line "Aristocratic Nihilism?"

Why Aristocratic? What does wealth and social station have to do with it?

Do wealth and social station influence musical output?

Has anyone made a list of artists by their parents net worth?

Not to harp on this, but the Zappa Plays Zappa thing is quite the interesting test case, if not with regards to W. Jackson Bate's notions, than with regards to the Nature V. Nurture question.

On the one hand, Dweezil has as much of the antecedent's genetic material as one can. On the other, Dweezil's socio-economic reality growing up could not have been more different than his father's.

To be sure, there is no lack of technical accomplishment anywhere anymore, least of all within the ZPZ ensemble. Absolute consummate musicians one and all. Dweezil especially so--a "covering cherub" on the guitar if ever there was one. A huge and capable talent.

Yet to follow the Bate line, one has to ask if they (the group) and it (the mission) are "spiritually dead in hope."

But what does spiritually dead in hope actually mean? And who's the MD who gets to sign that death certificate? Is that something that can be done from the outside, or is that something only the musician knows? Further, does anyone really care about spiritual life in hope? Who books the spiritual life in hope shows and where?

I really am asking.