The Jazzcat

Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman at the John Ansen Ford Theater

by on Oct.10, 2006, under News

Slide Show

Kamau Daaood, poet and Lemeirt Park

legend knows how to deliver the language of language which is music in its own

right. Joseph Jarman is the first performer to grace the stage of the John

Anson Ford Theater this evening. He is loaded down with instruments; saxophones

and shells jingle jangle from his body with the rhythm of his stride. A body of

music! A woman that Jarman knows left the planet too soon from ovarian cancer

and this performance tonight is dedicated to her.


Three songs will be performed this evening in this first set

of what is I am sure to become an eclectic array of sound perception. First,

Jarman sings a Bob Dylan composition as a duet with his guitarist / clarinetist

Ram Dass Khalsa. His tastes also lean toward the “Beetles” as he sings through

his version of their popular music.


Jarman has a table of instruments in front of him in which

to choose and his choice is the small chimes and bells that work with the sound

of his soft delicate sounding voice. The music is spiritual and lovely in the

natural rawness of its delivery. Voice and chimes saturated in the space of the

night sky. As he dances, the chimes strapped to his ankles ring with the tribal

stomp of his movements. He picks up his alto flute and the two rhythms engage

blending elements of freedom, meditation, universal love and the spirit of

being to express his musical message.


As Ram Dass Khalsa leaves the stage, Jarman picks up the

alto saxophone where he explores the extent of its sounds mixed in with bells,

prayers and spiritual chants. The flute is his next instrument of choice. The

melodic beauty of solo flute in the natural environment of the Ford

Amphitheater is a lovely feeling. Jarman strikes a ringing vibration on the Tibetan

singing bowl whose sound blankets and penetrates us with natural waves of

audible feeling. His voice is sweet when speaking of heavenly spiritual

subjects but, when the “business of human pleasure for pleasures sake” is the topic;

it becomes loud, thunderous and sarcastic as if we dare. We are all spirits in

this universe with purpose spreading a trail of love along the way in search of

dreams coming true. The sounds of a tiny xylophone and the clarinet create a

sense of floating like we emanate the joyous wonderment of inquisitive children

finding our way towards peace and purpose on earth.


After a short intermission, Roscoe Mitchell walks on stage

loaded down with his arsenal for the evening; a bouquet of horns ready to

entice our pallet with the fragrant sound of their delivery. The air is cool,

still and silent except for the faint sound of Pink Floyd spilling over into

our theater from the nearby Hollywood Bowl carried by the slight breeze of the

evening. No worries though, because in a moment, the sound of Roscoe’s alto

will disinfect any annoying sounds in the air of any and all of the impurities

like your common household cleaner. If your ears are big and your mind is open,

you can take in the continuous breathe of dynamic abstract thought that is

expressed in Roscoe’s language of the saxophone. If for any reason your heart

and mind are not ready to hear the message, the signal will get distorted and

you will not receive any blessings. This music is like having the serum to the

virus; without it, you will perish in the implied toxicity of sound. However,

if you decide to take the red pill, the mental, audible and visual puzzle takes

its form and you can see and hear the truth!


Roscoe plays all of the notes that you never heard on the soprano.

It is almost like extra terrestrial communication; code that only a few can

decipher. Sound is what you make it. Its meaning depends on the frame of mind

in which you perceive. Roscoe seems to work on a scale of notes that have a

polar opposition foreign to mainstream tonal frequencies. When he breathes, he

breathes from his toes and every ounce of his body is active in the production

of circular continuous breathing. Life is a box and there are those who search

for what lies beyond the forest and the trees. There is bravery, heart and

courage for a having a strong belief in sound and communication that exist on

the other side of the galaxy when the average ear cannot filter it. The ancient

sound of futuristic music!


Music without rhythms or boundaries allows you to be still

and cognitively take in the clear and precise message in the sound; continuous

as an ocean’s current or distant as the cry of a school of whales. Sometimes

simple repetition after long periods allows thought and perception to permeate

and settle in the stillness of calm possibilities of being. Sound cannot harm

you. New information only seeks to make you wiser and more complete.


Joseph Jarman comes back to the stage to join Roscoe in a

plethora of audible abstract art. Music, concepts, new ideas, forms and

structures all created to entertain, educate, create possibilities of choice

and to give blessings to the world! Two men in service to spirit, the organic

nature of life and unity through music, Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman.

“Give me Liberty or…..”


LeRoy Downs

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