Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-08-15 - 7:35 a.m.
Some photos of Lycia have appeared – everyone looks as if they are having fun and the place at Kalkan looks preposterous. I put a couple of paintings up in the kitchen – both done from the yacht on the trip around the waters of Kas. I hadn’t been too keen on one of them but looking at the photo made me think maybe it was OK. The other pic was done on the same day and is of the place where they are doing some underwater environmental art – an enterprise I heartily approve of – Smithsonian.
I took down a picture of the back bay at St Mary’s and one of the start of a high gorge in Crete. The first of these is nearly there but the second is further off and I am not sure how I can work it up.
The Smithsonian is next to a sketch of a megalithic tomb that I did on St Mary’s the last time I was there. I kept working at that and eventually it turned into something – the something wasn’t comfortable – but the process taught me something about how you work with/against your unconscious.
The other pic sits between one I did on the roof of a hotel at LAX very jet lagged and one I did on the roof terrace in St Mary’s. I agree with Robin – that roof thing can be really relaxing – not just in Southern California.
I did about an hour on the flute. I keep the Yamaha in Surrey and the French one in Leamington. I think I am probably going to use the Yam even though it needs a lot of work really – there is something about the ease with which it speaks.
I spent a lot of time on Coltrane Changes exercises in a book I bought at that great shop on the corner of Times Square. The exercises as exercises really started to make a lot of sense – not necessarily in terms of muscle improvement but more as mental energising. I found myself wanting to key off into improvisation. Each one is built from some of the standard patterns that Trane uses on the Giant Steps album. The authors have helpfully organised individual patterns into chromatic sequences eg C Eb7 Ab B7 E G7. They offer each sequence in all 12 keys .
One of the reasons why these exercise patterns are so potent is that the Giant Steps solos themselves are so heavily patterned. I have disinterred a book by an Australian jazz academic who I think has moved to Lancaster - lets call him Geb for short. I ahve been reading the bit where he delves into the “meaning” of Charlie Parker’s improvisation on Embraceable You – where Parker doesn’t even bother to play the tune. In the early years of bebop there was a lot of formal innovation – I think they were still listening to a lot of Stravinsky at this stage and other non-standard material. Then things settle down for in the 50s – or maybe the focus shift say onto the roots element within hard bop. Mingus comes along within this paradigm but opens it up further with his vision of the ensemble. Then Giant Steps and Kind of Blue happen – between the three of them a new grammar is created which provides most of what is needed for the next decade eg up to Light My Fire and beyond.
Anyway Geb majors on Embraceable You and its relation to the music industry and then on Ornette Coleman and what freedom means in his music rather than on Trane. P>
I have suddenly started to hear the Coltrane changes in his 4tet soloing – before the passages sounded “typical” but at last I have recognised the reason that they sound typical is because he is using those specific substitutions. Trane is more about exploring fundamentals in a philosophical way - bearing in mind the way he and Wayne Shorter got into A J Ayer. I think this puts him quite close to the reconceptualisation of art in New York in the 60s.
I heard a bit of Alice Coltrane in the car driving back – she plays harp on Christmas and the Beads of Sweat.
I am going to load a very early version of Cubase Light off a floppy disc – that’s how early it is – onto the PC I am currently using which has a good Yamaha XG soundcard. I wonder whether old style cards are better than ASIO. They are almost certainly more stable.
There’s a piece I have unearthed from early June that uses processed flute – I am curious partly because of the way Laura Nyro uses low flute – alto or bass or maybe even oriental – but also because these sonorities are in the Turkish music I brought back.
Capt Peter is back from Barcelona – he didn’t say whether he had tracked down any Sidhana band music.
Gilbert’s new CD arrived – I think I will listen to that tomorrow driving back