Monday, October 31, 2011

Where it all comes from...

My dad is a writer and a psychologist, and though his writing isn't about music, I guess one could say that we do have a hereditarily-linked fascination with people and how things that are otherwise ineffable seem to work. My dad is also - or has been at some times in the past - a jazz pianist (avocationally) and he's a pretty big jazz fan. It's funny, when I first heard in college bassist Dave Holland's Conference of the Birds LP with Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers, I thought the tune "Four Winds" sounded incredibly familiar. I then found out that my dad owned that LP when I was an infant, and played the tune a lot (though he'd gotten rid of the record by the time I was old enough to know what an album was). Not merely settling for playing jazz standards and so forth, my dad would often compose tunes - pastorals, blues and jaunty postbop things - for his friends and family as gifts and statements of feeling. I don't think I really got how cool that was when I was a kid, but now it seems pretty amazing.

Now, my dad has gotten a dedication of his own from the NYC guitarist-composer Amanda Monaco (a dear friend of mine) and her Deathblow quartet. When she was in Austin a couple of years ago I introduced her to my parents and my dad had, I think, just written a blog post for the Menninger blog on "excrementalizing," riffing on one of his primary areas of research, mentalizing. If mentalizing is the practice of thinking about one's mind and its actions, reactions, and the mental state that one inhabits, it stands to reason that "excrementalizing" is doing a shitty job of that (also a brilliant testament to my dad's sense of humor). Whether or not that side of the mentalizing process becomes part of the psychological lexicon, at least it's been immortalized in Monaco's newly-minted tune, "Excrementalizing." Here it is played at the Stone in NYC with Deathblow, featuring Michael Attias (alto saxophone), Sean Conly (bass), and Satoshi Takeishi (drums). Enjoy!

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