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    Friday, June 22nd, 2018 10:26 AM


    Cool And it's an iron-gray day out there. That's how we used to describe the Baltimore skies during "monsoon season". It wasn't a full-blown season, as they have in India, just a patch where it rained like holy hell. 
         So it's Friday. In bed at 1:11, up at 7:55 and then 9. A busy dream life, apparently working some things out. I had a dream between 8 and 9 this morning that I can remember more of- but like so many dreams, doesn't really make a lick of sense. Well okay, not a lick of apparent sense. There's all sorts of nuance and symbolism going on-which is our minds trying to make sense of our lives, give us some answers. 
       A good day of practicing yesterday. Still some hurdles in there, things to overcome. Working on my rhythm- not my strong suit but I have improved there, and hope to continue improving. One new entry on YouTube, several more to come. 
      Besides working with various playalongs, a big part of my practicing is listening. The end of my day is devoted to that. And of late I've been listening a lot to Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond. They made at least two albums together, with the infamous Mulligan pianoless quartet. You really hear the horns and rhythm stronger without the piano to muck up all those overtones. 
       And man could those guys swing! Both Mulligan and Desmond have wonderful time. So I was listening to how they approach rhythm. How would I approach it if I were playing? One thing I came up with was to play more with the other instruments. Not over the top of them or alongside, but with them. 
       Michael Brecker, in one of his clinics, said much the same thing. He said you have to have a connection to the rhythm section for anything to work. Brecker was also a drummer and was seated behind a set of drums for his entire talk- which was occasionally punctuated by some drumming. 
       Brecker surprised me. He was much more down-to-earth than I'd thought he'd be, and a helluva lot nicer! Somehow I thought he'd be much more intellectual, and kind of a jerk. Nice to be pleasantly surprised.
        When I was at Peabody, we had a series of visiting composers, who would talk to the comp majors in our Seminar, and then give us private lessons(music composition was taught at Peabody as one-on-one lessons, not classes as you see at Oberlin and others). Milton Babbitt was one I thought would be a humorless doubledome- and though the "doubledome' thing was happening, he was hardly humorless. Actually he ended up being my favorite of our visitors.  I'd have even studied with him if I had the chance.
       I'm digressing this morning. But hopefully my digressions are entertaining reading. Also watching Ken Burns' documentary on the Vietnam War. It starts at the roots, with France taking over Laos and Cambodia and what would later become Vietnam, in 1858. This is the same year Great Britain took over India. In southeast Asia(aka French Indo-China)the Brits had taken over Burma and Malay. Siam(later Thailand)was the only country to have never been colonized. 
      Just watched the first episode. Lots of information just in this first hour. My mind is still sorting it out. Much moral ambiguity. That's all I'll say for now. 
      Okay, this is a jumbo entry, I can tell. Thanks for reading, whoever-reads-this. Happy Thursday to you. I'm outa here. More later. 
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