Newton's Third Law of the Intertubes

Ax, and reax …

How’s the book going? Well … it’s not, at the moment. No fear, no rush, the only goal is an introduction, and hopefully this cold will be heading off soon, until I catch the next thing our fifteen-month-old catches … this obituary for Pete Rugolo has been stewing in my mind for a while. I don’t think his story can be repeated, not just the classic Italian immigration and migration to California, with the son becoming the first to attend college. It’s Rugolo’s opportunity to study with Darius Milhaud at Mills (while Nadia Boulanger is thought of as the most important composition teacher of the twentieth century, Milhaud’s stature is as great, more so for the avant-garde). More unusual, it’s Rugolo’s career working the hippest edges of both experimentalism with Stan Kenton, artistry with Nat King Cole, June Christy and Mel Tormé, and pop-culture with his scores for “The Fugitive,” “M*A*S*H” and other shows. Millions of people have heard his work, few knowing who he was … what weird editorial decision went into giving so much real estate to a reissued collection of music by Alan Hovanhess? He was a first-rate second-level composer, he wrote plenty of enjoyable, lovely music — which is why people like it and play it — but in terms of creating world music (in the article there’s no differentiation between the idea of incorporating non-Western music into classical systems and the term as a commodified category), he pales in importance before the likes of Henry Cowell and even Alan Ginsburg. His supposed mysticism is national and sentimental, not mysterious. Stuff like this makes me miss Lou Harrison more and more … who reads Grantland, why does anyone think it’s good, and why would anyone pay money for the privilege? I’m a long time sports fan and witlessly clever, flavor-of-the-moment thinking and writing like that at the site deadens my enthusiasm. Reverent and self-reverent, it combines the worst of jock-sniffing of Dick Young with the naive, misanthropic snarkiness of Gawker Media and now, sadly, The Awl … jazz journalist Bill Kirchner is also a musician, and he has two new releases out, digital only, check them here (Sheila Jordan featured on one!) … Blue Note has announced a new Robert Glasper release, schedule for February, featuring Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Meshell N’Degeocello and more. Save your pennies … 


Author: gtra1n

I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.

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