'Listen for the music that is there.'--
Matt Gonzalez, San Francisco, 2002,
in his Foreword to Don Paul's book
of poems and prose and songs, Flares.
"It was like a movie. I could see it all
happening as you said the words."--
Travis Hill / Trumpet Black, New Orleans,
February 2015, after he and I performed
with Mikayla Braun and Michael Ballard
and Matthew Shilling at Isabelle Jacopin's
salon in a benefit for Sticking Up For
with Matthew Shilling and Travis Hill / Trumpet Black at Isabelle Jacopin's salon for Sticking Up For Children,
New Orleans, February 2015.
From a very young age--before I knew what they were--I've admired
Illuminated Manuscripts. Later, around age 15, I began to particularly
pore through William Blake and his 'Illuminated Books'.
I love those Manuscripts and Books' suggestive dimensions. The Illustrated Pages of the Booklet for TTWH, (Meld #1) are meant to be a 21st-century likeness of such Manuscripts and Books.
Oh, and the design-team of The Long Arms of Honus Paige is named to honor two of my favorite baseball-players, Honus Wagner and Satchel Paige. Both had the the arms of lanky giants. Both performed feats on the baseball field when only radio and word-of-mouth could record them. Both never let the chance of skin-tone color their respect for a player. They had pride AND humility, as Herlin Riley says should be the attributes a performer needs to excel and deliver.
Many great players!
I had the pleasure of working with John Baker from 1988 into 2008. He and India Cooke share quickness and vocabulary, I think; their harmonies and rhythms fly off each other like pinwheels. In 1995 I had the honor, too, of producing India's Red-Handed album.
Oh, the Suspect Many bands! What a number I have to thank! Kenny Blackman, George Cremaschi, Dhyani Dharma, James Henry, Marty Holland, Jon Karr, and Joi Joi (Louise Robinson, Michelle Jacques and Darlene Spears) were each and all big parts of my immense good luck with musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. Then I came to kindred fortune in New Orleans with Rivers of Dreams. In both places I was very fortunate with engineers: Peter Eckart, Doctor D, David Denny, Jon Karr, Rick G. Nelson, and David Farrell.
John Baker and India Cooke
Kidd Jordan and Morikeba Kouyaté are of course masters, steeped in musics and cultures since they were babies. The magic that they also share, intuiting and expressing words' intentions, is perhaps something beyond schooling. The song "Your Body Is A Nurturing ..." and its melodies came to me along Interstate 5 nearby Bakersfield, over a half-hour or so, in 1990. Dhyani Dharma made the song whole when we got together in San Francisco.
Kidd, Morikeba's and I recorded it for our Women Center Earth, Sea And Sky album at Rick G. Nelson's Marigny Recording Studio on July 24, 2014. The stills below are from video by Aristide Phillips. Aristide, born and raised in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward, was then 21.