08 December 2012

To Be Felt

Keith Jarrett said about playing in the legendary Miles Davis's band:
"When I joined the band I didn't know any of the tunes, and when I left the band I didn't know any of the tunes!"
By all accounts Miles Davis was a genius of immense talent. He was also an iconic figure whose mysterious persona grows as the years pass. Perhaps none of his tunes were meant to be known or comfortably understood. Miles Davis launched many of his improvisational riffs with American standards - a familiar launch pad into the unknown.

Improvisation seems much too fluid to score with the sheet music of certainty. A Miles Davis tune was meant to be felt more than understood.

The Jarrett quote sums up what it feels like to be in the tribe of adulthood. For Keith Jarrett, being in Miles's band was like being in the universe.

Age has not tempered my reckoning of how little I understand. The truth is that I am just as existentially awed now as I was when I entered the tribe of adulthood.

Like some brilliant hard bop phrase repeated over a changing melody, the universe is to be felt more than understood.

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