A note from Reed Mathis about "the controversy" of his joining Tea Leaf Green for a string of shows...
Here's a few things i'd like to say:
First, Jacob Fred is the greatest band in the history of the universe. i just got word that we are actually Beethoven's favorite band of all time. Hendrix, too. and Bird. they all like JacobFred almost as much as I do. We just confirmed a 20-night run at Carnegie Hall in 2010, and I'm pretty sure the record we're working on is going to go triple-platinum. for real.
I hear you, though. it is, possibly confusing.
I listen to as much late coltrane as hotchkiss does, and as much ornette as eric dundee. that music is my church and scripture.
Jazz didn't start out elitist. originally, it was FOLK music. made by semi-illiterate accidental-scholars who simply wanted to party and let people party. the fact that the opera houses of 1890's New Orleans could only afford a single pianist (rather than a full orchestra), who coincidentally had a night gig at a brothel and a buddy in a brass band is a happy accident in the culture, and the upside of the karma of slavery. we are so fortunate that this happened.
Bird grew up playing in big bands for dancers. the music he accidently invented was still heavy on melody, and he often still played for dancers. his followers didn't, but they still played melody. THEIR followers didn't play for dancers, and rarely played literal melody, instead becoming true impressionists of the internal realms. those listeners who had bumped into their own internal realms heard evidence of the common struggle, and called this music "higher." Elvis, Dylan, and the Beatles were created by SOCIETY to fill the gap that Bird opened. young people need to dance and get laid, and sing along. jazz once provided this service. then it became "higher music."
Is ornette "deeper" than louis armstrong? is the coltrane quartet "higher" than fletcher henderson? are church-goers catagorically better people than non-chuch goers? does cab calloway belong in the jazz cannon?
This is an important conversation, i think.
Music CAN be a force for unification and community. why are the differences between us our favorite thing about ourselves?
Why do we want coltrane INSTEAD of the rolling stones. why not coltrane AND the rolling stones?
Is there really more heart in charles mingus than there is in neil young? or phish, for that matter?
Why assume that the inward-pointing music is greater than the outward-pointing music? is this the grandchild of the Biblical "you are not of this world" hogwash? why should we be so proud of our divorce from earth? because we'll die here? is that why the inward-pointing music is greater than the outward-pointing music? because we wish we didn't have to die?
Are we trying to make the world in our own image? it cannot be done.
Musicians can be prophets and heralds, it's true. thank god. musicians can also be a loving friend to a people in need. and people don't always need to be taught. sometimes they need to be hugged and listened to. just ask my wife. :) we musicians are in a state of RELATIONSHIP to the listener. doesn't a healthy relationship take the needs of the Other into account? doesn't a loving partner try to affirm and please the Other? you can't tell.