When we think about heroes and musicians in the same context, we picture the saxophone virtuoso playing intricate jazz improvisations, the gunslinger rock guitarist, or the beautiful precision of a classical pianist. Or perhaps we have the image of a musician whose music holds a special place in our hearts. But musicians are humans, and humans have been known to perform acts of great heroism and nobility. Here are a few anecdotes of note.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis helped a baby with breathing difficulties during a recording of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. A woman came out of her house saying that her baby can’t breathe. Kiedis performed CPR, and started rubbing the baby’s belly. When the ambulance arrived, Kiedis handed the baby to the EMTs, who soon determined that the baby was breathing and would be fine.
In 2000, a bushfire tore through grasslands near country singer Garth Brooks’ in-laws’ home in rural Oklahoma. Brooks evacuated two boys from a nearby house, driving them through thick smoke to safety. He then stopped to push the family’s boat out of a barn that was threatened by the fire.
A frightening melange of noise and military sounds, arrayed in a brilliantly executed series of loops, assaults those who listen to the first track, “Cosmic Dust.” Soon, a beat emerges and forms an inviting backdrop over which paints a picture of Cold War era Eastern Europe.
Dawoud Kringle reviewing Cecil Taylor’s life and career
On Thursday, April 5th, 2018, one of the most original and innovative pianists of our time, Cecil Taylor, died of natural causes at his home in Fort Greene, Brooklyn at the age of 89.
Taylor was classically trained, and valued European music for what he called its qualities of “construction” — form, timbre, tone color. He brilliantly incorporated them into his own jazz and blues based aesthetic. He once told jazz critic Nat Hentoff “I am not afraid of European influences. The point is to use them, as Ellington did, as part of my life as an American Negro.” Continue reading →