Tomas Fujiwara | Taylor Ho Bynum | Stepwise | Not Two Records

On a spring day in 1997 I laid on a threadbare rug in an old Geary Street apartment in San Francisco. I had spent the day maniacally rushing around the city with my (very patient) friend to find a specific CD that had not yet come to Oregon, where I was living at the time. As my friend took a nap after all her driving, I stretched out in the sun and put on headphones : to listen. The name of the CD doesn’t matter for our purposes here, but what I heard is exactly to the point. It was pure, unadulterated joy. Big deal, right? We are constantly attacked in public by happy music. Joyful music on elevators, in ads for drugs and at the opening of tv shows. But this wasn’t just happy music; this was music that was nothing but joy, and there is a very big difference. This music I was hearing on that spring day wasn’t trying to represent joy. It wasn’t the kind of music that you want to dance to, or that gives you a warm sense of simpler times. This was a grouping of timbres, melodies, harmonies, and rhythms, played by a group of musicians, which summed up completely and wholly embodied the abstract concept of joy. It was in that moment, listening to that music as a young trumpet player, deciding whether or not to continue, that I saw a series of new paths open for me in my life. — — Nate Wooley, Fall 2009 Continue reading