Duke Ellington: Lotus Blossom (Strayhorn) - from …And His Mother Called Him Bill, 1967
“Billy Strayhorn had just died. Duke and his men went into the studio to record some of Billy’s forgotten scores. The session was over. The band was packing. Duke went back to the piano, started to play “Lotus Blossom” all by himself. Harry Carney unpacked his bariton and joined the Duke for the second chorus. The mikes were on, someone looked on and hit the REC buttton. The tapes rolled. This is how this was recorded.”
it was then that i realized that i was a wave. i spun around in a ridiculous dance and became the child that ran naked down boulevards. he had disappeared from my sight, repressed by the stale concept of simple location. he awoke as i spun, like a whirling dervish, possessed by the unknowable mystic “thus.” what a strange perversion it is that says “i am here, at this place, now.”
i realized that any attempt to localize myself was a lie. how many people convince the others of their solidity, only to slip through the futile sieve? politicians, priests, demagogues? it doesn’t matter. i am the fool who dances in the laughter of the vulgar herd.
got a big ol hunk of masonite in the works. first large-scale abstract i’ve done in 10 years. i can’t say that it doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable. any time i make something, there is always an uneasy feeling. i’ve become accustomed to it over the years. it doesn’t help that i value messiness and struggle. there’s that “what the hell am i doing” part. it used to bug the hell out of me, but now i accept it as part of the process. at least i’m at that point. the point where i accept all of those uncomfortable feelings as part of painting a picture.
abstract is similar, but very different. abstract is a kind of mystical divination. like a trance where the images arise of their own accord, and you must make sense of them. it exists in that same space, i believe, as the trance of the magician. it is divined by the images of the unconscious, then translated into something linguistic. the shapes, spaces and colors are all symbolic. like words have certain personal meanings, so do these elements. the linguistic aspect arises like a poem from the combination/arrangement of these elements.
it would be really boring if i made a system out of it. i want to be surprised.