The Big City

”The more susbtantial an individual’s aesthetic experience is, the sounder his taste, the sharper his moral focus, the freer—though not necessarily the happier—he is.."

Death always does well of course, they’re the undisputed, unbeaten champ. Death is on a real disheartening, even frightening roll so far in 2020, and seems to be gaining momentum. As usual, there’s plenty of people out there eager to help death along, maybe ride the coattails and lord it over their inconsequential domains, like Patriots fans.

Outside of my personal connections, these are the deaths that I’ve felt strongly this week of transition from March to April:

Bill Withers. What’s there to say? A soul singer, but so much more, a great musician who had the beauty and the funk, sophisticated and down to earth. Everything he did hits the mind, body, and heart, something every musician in history aspires to.

Wallace Roney. 59 years old and a COVID-19 casualty. On WKCR the night of April 2, Shareef Abdus-Salaam replayed an in-studio interview he had done with Roney just this past January. A Miles acolyte, but so much more, as his last album shows.

Krzysztof Penderecki. How does avant-garde compositional music permeate the public consciousness? When it has the physical and emotional grip of Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima.

“He gets it! He knows music!”

Alvin Singleton

“George Grella understood exactly.”

Robert Ashley
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