Sunday, January 13, 2019

One more about Joseph Jarman

When the Art Ensemble of Chicago played at Lulu White’s in Boston (1981?), I caught the first and third (last?) nights but missed the second. On the third night I asked Joseph Jarman, “How’d it go last night?” He could have made a perfunctory reply: nice crowd, warm reception. Instead he smiled and said, with a hint of exclamation, “You have to ask someone who was here.”

In other words, it’s for the listener to answer that question, to make something of the music. Or: I wasn’t here, I was somewhere else, inside the music.

comments: 2

Chas McClelland said...

I don't think I'd ever listened to AEOC before seeing them perform at the Wadsworth Theatre in Westwood (Los Angeles) around 1991. We had seats near the back... but only for the first couple of numbers. My memory stinks, but I believe this was all part of an arts festival (my friends and I also saw Ornette play with Don Cherry that week). Anyway, we knew we were in for a treat when the olds up front started leaving in droves. Quickly we found some abandoned seats in the front row. Jarmen in African dress and painted face. Roscoe tearing it up. I became a big-time Lester Bowie fan that night too. This was the greatest jazz show I'd ever seen, or since. Thank you, Mr Jarmen. R.I.P.

Michael Leddy said...

What a great account of getting in on something good. I’d say of the Art Ensemble what Duke Ellington said of James P. Johnson: “There never was another.” Granted, the group has continued without Bowie, Favors, and Jarman (and there are fiftieth-anniversary concerts in the works, I believe), but anyone who saw the original quartet or quintet got to see a rare thing in music.