The Art of Experimentation: Wadada Leo Smith at The Stone

Wadada Leo Smith walked out onto the fluorescent-lit stage with a stack of papers. He began to play the trumpet, muted, eyes closed. The melodies came in spurts – one burst of hyperactivity, pause, another. It was as if the phrase ideas were sporadically flying into his head. There are an infinite number of sounds and pitches the trumpet alone can make – and Smith … Continue reading The Art of Experimentation: Wadada Leo Smith at The Stone

Perception and Dissonance: The Challenge of Overcoming Genre

The unmistakable tinge of a major second was palpable. Harsh, crunching artificial noise emanated from a loosely tuned guitar. Heads bobbed and banged. The sound was note-against-note, a harmonic layout that offers more tension than it does release. Yet the audience didn’t seem to mind at all, screaming along in human articulation to the scream of amplified metal strings. The catharsis of a punk show … Continue reading Perception and Dissonance: The Challenge of Overcoming Genre

Music, Technology, and Discovery

My sparkling red portable CD player arrived in the mail, bought with an Amazon gift card that my uncle mailed me for a birthday. I was thrilled. I slid the AA batteries in the little opening on the bottom, shut the clasp, and popped Michelle Branch’s Hotel Paper onto its wheel. I was listening with those headphones that fit over your head but are way … Continue reading Music, Technology, and Discovery