A Few Choice Words: Pat Wictor Newsletter, August 9, 2007

======= A Few Choice Words  August 9, 2007===========

By Pat Wictor              Subscribe: https://www.patwictor.com

                  Thursday, August 9, 2007

Not-So-Distant Cousins
Ears and Eyes: What I'm listening to and reading
     -Wilderness Plots, Bukka White, and more

Upcoming Gigs & appearances
     full calendar: https://www.patwictor.com


Not-So-Distant Cousins

    I recently found out that a musician I know and respect had passed away. I saw an article mentioning a composition performed at the Vision Festival called "50 Violins for Leroy Jenkins."   The title sounded like an elegy, and I went on a hurried internet search. With my heart sinking, I found a slew of obituaries.  

    Leroy Jenkins was a violinist who expanded the boundaries of the instrument, a bold musical  improviser, composer, and teacher who mentored many younger musicians. I'd seen photos of him since I was a kid, in a treasured book called "Jazz: A Photo History," in the section on "free jazz." (Leroy didn't like this term, nor the label "avant-garde.")  

    I first met Leroy in a yoga class, where we'd share the occasional groan, a "whew" that the lesson was over, and sometimes talk about music afterwards. He was much older and more accomplished   than me, but he was gracious, down-to-earth, and radiated quiet intensity. Though we played very different kinds of music, I felt that folk music and the kind of improvised music Leroy played are related. I felt a kinship with him, musically and personally.  

    I came to know Leroy Jenkins' music, through his CDs and live performances, and I came to love his fearlessness, his spontaneity, his endless search to play something not played before, and to play it always from the heart. I don't love everything that he played. But I respect and admire the integrity and sincerity of it, and the willingness to use everything he knew, from all areas of life, in his music. Having arrived at folk music after exploring other genres, I wanted to preserve all that I'd learned from "free jazz" in my own music: spontaneity and improvisation, love of collaboration,   focus and intensity (even quiet intensity), and the occasional incendiary instrumental passage. :-)  

    Leroy was also an acclaimed composer who invited musicians to stretch beyond what they know. The pianist Denman Maroney describes a written score Leroy gave him: "It read in part: 'To Believe: Pure Motion, quarter note = zero.' Ever since, whenever I think of Leroy, I think quarter   note equals zero."  

    In the last few years, I saw Leroy perform a few times in New York City. He would play with his eyes closed, feet close together, bobbing and weaving from the waist, immersed in the music. Then when he'd stop, he'd open his eyes and look around like he'd just returned from an out-of-body experience.  

  The last time I heard Leroy's voice was sometime in the fall of '06. I was driving off to do my own show, and tuned in to WKCR (89.1fm). They had him as a guest, spinning selections from his    discography. Great to hear his voice--gentle, with backbone. He was modest about his accomplishments, but with the quiet confidence of someone who knows the worth of his own   work.  

    Leroy Jenkins never became a household name, but he made a 40  year career playing exactly the music he wanted to play. He was a hero to me, and I'll miss him, so I wanted to share him with you. His music might not be (or, it might be!) your cup of tea. But perhaps you can appreciate him, and the impact this musical "not-so-distant-cousin" had on me.  



    Youtube clip of Leroy Jenkins playing solo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK31wAJ3mRY

    Youtube of "50 violins for Leroy Jenkins"   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5herU1zR0hc

    Leroy Jenkins bio:   http://www.lovely.com/bios/jenkins.html

    Interview with Leroy: http://www.meetthecomposer.org/spotlightjenkins.html

    An affectionate obit / apprecation: http://www.newmusicbox.org/article.nmbx?id=4985

    Amazon links to buy his CDs: http://tinyurl.com/3cbmf7

    Leroy Jenkins, "Live!" CD:  http://www.omnitone.com/store/120122.htm

    Joachim-Ernst Berendt, "Jazz: A Photo History"  http://tinyurl.com/286zs8


Ears and Eyes:  What Im Listening to and Reading:


    Krista Detor, Tim Grimm, Carrie Newcomer, Tom Roznowski, Michael White,   "Wilderness Plots.    Buy the CD: http://www.myspace.com/wildernessplots

   "The Complete Bukka White."     Buy the CD: http://tinyurl.com/2k4ssk


    Scott R. Sanders,  Wilderness Plots:  Tales About the Settlement of the American Land.      Buy the book: http://tinyurl.com/2x2eg4

    Elizabeth Longford, ed. "The Oxford Book of Royal Anecdotes."      Buy the book:  http://tinyurl.com/28dbkg


Upcoming Pat Wictor gigs and appearances.  

Full calendar and links:  https://www.patwictor.com **percussionist Cheryl Prashker accompanies

August 11  Madison Square Park, New York, NY w/ Diana Jones

August 18 & 19  Philadelphia Folk Festival, Schwenksville, PA

August 25  Soup and Song House Concert, Laurel, MD

September 6  Connecticut Folk Festival, New Haven, CT  w/ Natalia Zukerman, Lindsay Mac, and Chuck E. Costa

September 8  Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival, Norwich, NY  **

September 9  Harvest Moon Music Festival, Warwick Valley Winery, Warwick, NY  **

September 15  Joe Davies Folk Festival, Middleborough, MA

September 18  Reston-Herndon Folk Club, Herndon, VA  w/ Laura Baron

September 21  Peekskill Coffeehouse, Peekskill, NY  w/ Jud Caswell

September 22  House Concert, Centre Hall, PA  **

September 23  Friendship House Concert, Pittsburgh, PA  **

September 26  Brokerage Pub, Bellmore, NY w/ Toby Walker

September 28  The Linda (WAMC), Albany, NY w/ Jonathan Edwards, Toby Walker, Debra Cowan

September 30  Franklin House Concert, Franklin, MA  **

October 4     Heartland House Concert, Rochester, NY  w/ Joe Crookston

October 5     Six on the Square, Oxford, NY  w/ Joe Crookston

October 6     Oswego Music Hall, Oswego, NY  w/ Joe Crookston

October 7     Cot and Crackers House Concert, Schuyler Lake, NY  w/ Joe Crookston

October 19   Two Way Street Coffeehouse, Downers Grove, IL

October 21   Bean Blossom Concert Series, Bean Blossom, IN

October 25   Lansdowne Folk Club, Lansdowne, PA

November 2   Me and Thee Coffeehouse, Marblehead, MA  w/ Joe Crookston

November 3  Godfrey Daniels, Bethlehem, PA  w/ Jud Caswell

November 15  Uptown Concerts, Sykesville, MD

November 16  Minstrel Coffeehouse, Morristown, NJ  Phil Ochs Song Night

November 17  Godfrey Daniels, Bethlehem, PA  Phil Ochs Song Night

November 18  Focus Inn, Alexandria, VA  Phil Ochs Song Night

November 24  The Songbox, Seaford, NY  w/ Danny Bakan

More dates added all the time!

Until next time:  many thanks, and warm regards,

Pat Wictor             patwictor@earthlink.net

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Buy Pat Wictor's latest CD "Heaven Is So High...And I'm So Far Down" at CD Baby  and Subway Records:     http://www.cdbaby.com/wictor4      

Tell your friends to subscribe. Point them here:   https://www.patwictor.com

Do you want me to perform in your area, or at your home?     Contact my booking agent, McShane Glover      tel. 410-268-8232, or mcshane@mcnote.com


Modern Man's Rob Carlson says, "He not only is a great guy and a great talent, but I believe    he has, follicle for follicle, the best hair in folk music.

If you are interested in booking Pat Wictor, contact McShane Glover:     tel. 410-268-8232, or mcshane@mcnote.com

Bio: https://www.patwictor.com and http://www.myspace.com/patwictor
Philly Folk Festival Video: http://www.myspace.com/patwictor
Contact Pat Wictor directly: patwictor@earthlink.net
. . .


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