By Hayden Carruth
This choice of essays and poems concerning the impact of jazz on writing and tradition during this kingdom, an increased version of the 1986 e-book, is a profitable quantity for all these entranced via jazz. Carruth brings his massive poetic and literary sensibilities to undergo on an issue very just about his middle: "Those who're dedicated basically to jazz, to poetry, to the entire arts, also are those that give a contribution extra intelligently than others to our useful and ethical, political and social, advancement."
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Additional info for Sitting In: Selected Writings on Jazz, Blues, and Related Topics
And Russell did it in all his best work after, say, 1934. In a musical environment heavily reliant on the tradition. he stood out as the individualist, the originator. His improvisations were always surprising, full of unexpected notes, tones, and changes. He was continually reaching for the further range of musical expressiveness and his own imagination. ConSiderably before the harmoniC explosion of the bop movement in the late 1940s, Russell was experimenting with extended chords and unusual harmonies.
What does this mean? It means a great deal more than the breakup of traditional prosody or rules of composition, as announced in 1910 by Ezra Pound and Pablo Picasso. It means the final abandonment of the neo-classical idea of structure as a function of form, which the romantics and postromantics of the nineteenth century had never given up. Instead structure has become a function of feeling. Take the simplest structural problem of all: what is the right length for a poem? In the past this was determined either by fixed external forms, such as the sonnet or ballade, or by extrinsic notions of unity, narrative verisimilitude, lyrical or argumentative consistency, and other such fundamentally architectonic considerations.
It has been the dominant influence on my life and work down to this present moment. Russell died in 1969. In the years before 1942 I went to hear him as often as I could, usually at Nick's. That doesn't mean I heard him often, however. I hadn't the means. Gradually I began ·40· S·I·T·T·I·N·G I'N to acquire his records, the sessions on Commodore ("Balling the Jack," "Back in Your Own Backyard"), the earlier Deccas or Bluebirds from Chicago days, others on stray labels whose names I've forgotten.
Sitting In: Selected Writings on Jazz, Blues, and Related Topics by Hayden Carruth