Friday 12 June 2020



Rising 06.08.

Morning Sitting in the Study.

Morning reading and writing…

Morning listening: Penderecki.

Prof. Gary L. Hagberg’s The Ensemble As Plural Subject: Prof. Gary is a philosopher, and also a jazz musician. This essay, from an academic active in the field of improvising endeavor, speaks to my interest and experience: what is involved in an ensemble of players acting and speaking as one? And what factors prevent that happening?

Prof. Gary indicates necessary elements…

Joint commitment
Merging intentional content
The ensemble comes first: as if its musical gestures come from a single mind.
Joint commitment to a plural subject.

The favourable outcome: a plural subject thinking and enacting.

Now, how about Prof. Gary’s whammy of actuality and practicality, addressing my experience of being in groups over fifty-nine years and ten months…

It is instructively unthinkable that a player would, by playing in but not with the ensemble, inadvertently declare a belligerent independence.

A strongly-held independence, putting the player outside the single mind of the group is not necessarily, nor inevitably, illegitimate in a group endeavor; but, for that individual, carries consequences and repercussions in the longer term that may surprise the inadvertent belligerent. This may eventually become a source of regret, even where the player fails to make causal connections between their choice/s and outcome/s.

Prof. Gary argues, using the Stan Getz Quartet in 1988 as an example, that a Group Mind is possible. I agree.

Prof. Gary: …minds are by definition – autonomous, private, and hermetically contained.

However, on rare occasions, we may directly enter the experience of other members of a group.

On a session in the 1980s, in a flash - I found myself inside the body of another player in the session, looking out from their eyes, experiencing their experiencing - then back inside myself. The other player was a popular and respected musician; one who was constantly in motion without Still Point or personal quietude; and saw themself as the directing/driving force, the sun of that planetary system. In a lesser person, this would have been arrogance. In this person, it was simply how they saw the world, its movement through time, and their place in it. It is what it was.

For me, it was quietly terrifying to directly see and know that what I believed to be the case, never discussed nor articulated, was what it was.

In a group endeavor, accepting of the characteristics and talents of each player, the question is: how to incorporate these into the larger musical undertaking? How to include attributes that, prima facie, militate towards exclusion?

11.23       Today’s Quiet Moment: No.7. At The End Of Time from All Saint’s Church, Broad Chalke on Saturday 14th. January, 2006.

There are some pieces of music where I feel: nothing more needs to be said. Mostly these are by other artists. A few include myself, and this is one of them.

DGM Diary for the day

The day before In 1977 I had no intention of returning to the music industry, having experienced at close hand the stupidity, vanity, jealousy and greed that accompany success and its attendant income flow; amongst artists, management, record companies and even innocent members of the audience. Longer, wider, deeper experience suggests that I underestimated the dishonesty of artist management, record company cynicism and deceit, the capacity for self-deception among artists, and the sheer dopiness of those who nominally support the work of their favoured artists. This is not the bad news.

The day after it means that there is a greater probability that i would pull out my internal organs, one by one, than that Crimson will be touring Europe before 2043. it also means that i would derive much greater personal joy by pulling out my internal organs one by one than Crimson touring europe before 2043. but when i'm 97, i may have changed my mind.

19.19       An after-lunch tea with Toyah…

An afternoon practicing.
Garden: it rains!
Writing. Listening to possible future Quiet Moments.