I’ve written a short article for the Crick Institute website about science and music. If you’ve thought about these two things before, a few obvious and stereotypical connections might come to mind. Hopefully the article goes beyond these or ignores them entirely :-). Thanks to Greta Keenan at the Crick comms team for arranging this!
A while ago the ‘very stable genius’ quote from that STUPID IDIOT TRUMP did the rounds as a re-working of ‘Modern Major General’ from The Pirates Of Penzance. See, for example, here.
I contributed some on Twitter and had been meaning to archive them for safe keeping, especially since some people said they scanned well (scanning is very important) and were funny. Better late than never, I found out how to search through my old tweets and rescued them. Here they are!
- My son-in-law named Jared had a meeting that was treasonous,
I do not listen, cannot read, my late-night tweets are meaningless,
My people are the greatest but my critics are the meaniest
and fail to see I am a model Very Stable Genius!
- Unlettered and unthinking, I’m a president implausible,
I golf and grope and lie and tweet with zest that’s inexhaustible,
But all these things are secondary, a minor inconvenience,
As soon as you remember I’m a Very Stable Genius.
- When I became the president I couldn’t quite believe it all,
The Democrats, the Deep State and the FBI are terrible,
But with a quarter pounder and some Coke that’s intraveneous
I reassure myself that I’m a Very Stable Genius.
- I hate myself and hate the world, my only love is flattery,
With GOP enablers, HR Clinton was no match for me,
And in uncertain times, all this political unseemliness,
The only man to solve it is this Very Stable Genius.
- My wife sleeps in a separate room, she cried when I became elect,
I disregard objective truth and laugh at the greenhouse effect,
I thread tweets with ellipses, they’re impressive in their seamlessness…
…attesting that I’m clearly, like, a Very Stable Genius.
- I do not like transgender people serving in the milit’ry,
The notion of an independent DOJ’s fake news to me,
I never like to brag about my intellectual leanings, thus
it may surprise to find that I’m a Very Stable Genius.
On Friday I’ll be in Wrexham to take part in the DARGANFOD//DISCOVER festival that Mike Corcoran is organising. Roughly speaking, it’s a science festival, but there’s a whole lot of stuff crossing over with arts and music too — it looks pretty amazing. Lots of credit to Mike for getting it together, and for agreeing to lend his formidable conversation-leading powers to help my talk make a bit more sense.
Also taking part is the amazing Bryony Benge-Abbott who, among other things, is in charge of exhibitions at the Crick institute.
Here are some more recordings from my quartet gig a few weeks ago in Leeds, all together in one post for convenience. Videos: It’s You by Lee Konitz, the standard Just Friends, and Bud Powell’s I’ll Keep Loving You. Then, some audio: Subconscious Lee (Konitz), and the Love Theme and Memories of Green, from the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis.
In other news, I’m now an endorsing artist for Nordstrand, a great company in California that made my basses and is especially famous for their excellent pickups. Thanks to Carey and everyone else there.
A week ago I took a quartet to Inkwell Arts in Leeds to perform some of my favourite standard and less-standard tunes, along with some arrangements from Vangelis’ wonderful jazz-noir soundtrack to Blade Runner. Ex-Leeds saxophonist Matt Anderson and Leeds-based smashers Martin Longhawn (keys) and Steve (‘Chief’) Hanley (drums) joined me. It’s quite a privilege to have these great musicians and old friends play your charts and seem to enjoy doing so :-).
Anyway, we were fortunate to have Chris Milnes there taking a few videos and sound recordings, so I’ll be uploading some over the coming weeks. Here’ s an extract from Lee Konitz’s line It’s You (over It’s You or No-One). The full video link is at the bottom.
In Washington DC I had the pleasure to meet and play with lots of amazing people. Perhaps the highest joy was meeting Brad Linde and Billy Wolfe at a big band gig in my first few weeks, and joining their avant-garde/americana project along with super-hip New York cats Aaron Quinn and Deric Dickens. (I also eventually joined the wonderful Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, which Brad leads with Joe Herrera.) We’ve released our second album and I just got round to making this trailer with a few extracts.
I tried to be representative, so there’s a bit of Haskell’s beautiful Starlight, Billy’s quasi-Konitzian original Turkey, Deric’s lilting and folky Pickett Fence, the standard Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland, and Aaron’s terrifying (which can be oiled in different patterns for different techniques). Finally, the video ends how the album begins, with Brad counting off a free blow named Gotta Blast!
Check out more and buy it here.
Here’s a rough transcription of Steve Swallow, one my favourite bassists, playing on the album Three Guys with Lee Konitz and Paul Motian. (Dreamy band or what?). It’s a Konitz composition over It’s You Or No One. So far, I can’t find it online (a tiny sample in this article) but I’m reliably informed it exists on somewhere on youtube.
Anyway, here is the unison line that ends the tune:
And here it is played in somewhat Swallow-y style — very light roundwounds with a pick and loads of tone rolled off:
Connoisseurs will know that the pick should really be copper, and the bass a semi-acoustic with a piezo somewhere, strung E-C, etc.
I’m really interested in the relationship between the arts and sciences (see, e.g., here), and today a few of us from the Crick Institute received a guided tour of a nice exhibition at Central Saint Martins. Crossing Fields is the degree show for their almost-unique MA in Art and Science, and is well worth a look in the next few days. A few that I managed to get snaps of are shown below — there are many more fantastic works to see. These ones are by Julie Light, Meri Lahti and Chang Zhou.