Archive for the ‘Lyn Horton’ Category

Brought to You, Personally, from My Blog

May 15th 2012

Before The Storm Irene, August, 2011 copyright 2011-2 Lyn Horton

For a long time, I have, in the back of mind, been considering writing exclusively for my blog and that time has come. It behooves me to share the reasons for withdrawing from the online publications and one print publication to which I have been contributing over a span of nearly twenty years.

The first to go was I started writing scattered articles for Morrice Blackwell in 1996 and began to turn it on approaching the year 2000. In that year, my now ex-husband decided to go in a direction other than the one I thought I was traveling. Devastated and reeling with emptiness, urged by my son and Morrice and Joe McPhee, I immersed myself in music. I listened; I wrote. Not that how I wrote then was perfect-far from it. The performance reviews were extremely lengthy, to the point of exhaustion. The record reviews were better because I did not have much visual information to absorb and translate.

The more I attended concerts of creative improvised music, the more I learned to hear. I could detect the way instruments layered their sonic planes. The lines became clearer and clearer. The intention of my writing was and still is to describe…to filter for the reader the experience of listening and in some cases observing and becoming a witness to a series of artistic conversations whose vagaries were indeterminate, whose conclusions were complete surprises. I began to correlate my own visual creative instincts with that of musicians. The further I delved into “the music,” the more of an advocate I became for this rarely instituted activity.

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Lyn Horton: Making One Last Point

February 6th 2010

During the last two weeks in January of 2010, the jazz media flooded the avant-garde jazz public with descriptions of the persona of Matthew Shipp in anticipation of the release of his “last” solo recording, 4D, scheduled on the 26th of the month. JazzTimes featured a story; Signal to Noise did a cover story; and published a piece, which I wrote. Several blogs, as well as Bulletin Boards, were delving into conversations about Shipp’s profane language, his casting aspersions on his elders, his self-involvement, his arrogance as well as the sheer amount of coverage given to the musician. In this entire hullabaloo, as I remember it, the music was only touched upon.

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Lyn Horton: Take It From the Top

December 31st 2009

It is the end of the year. No, the first decade of the 21st century. And I do feel the anvil of time descending from the sky to crush me. My own age.

I hear the horns, the bass and the drums from the next room; the sound weaving its way around the corners of the walls that become the dividing lines between here and there.

This is poetry… a diary entry more than a report, requiring referential footnotes. Poetry sometimes skips the grammar and the punctuation, formalized in text books. Those saucy steps also happen in improvised music… music that lunges out of bounds passing through the wall that constantly presents itself at the point when no one can leap to the chance of the unknowable future, which, when speculated upon, has already become false and another story, rather than some indescribable set of circumstances.

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Lyn Horton: Top Ten +1+1 2009

December 20th 2009

1. Joe McPhee, Michael Bisio, Dominic Duval, Paul Rogers, Claude Tchamitian: Angels, Devils and Haints, cJr7;
2. Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: The Moment’s Energy, ECM;
3. Ben Neill: Night Science, Thirsty Ear;
4. The Indigo Trio: Anaya, Rogueart;
5. Joe McPhee, Paal Nilssen-Love: Tomorrow Came Today, SmallTown SuperJazz;
6. Matthew Shipp Trio: Harmonic Disorder, Thirsty Ear;
7. Nate Wooley, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jason Roebke: Throw Down Your Hammer and Sing, Porter;
8. Burton Greene, Perry Robinson: Two Voices in the Desert, Tzadik;
9. Cargo Cult: If You Should Go, Cadence;
10. Dom Minasi String Quartet: Dissonance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, Konnex;
11. Bobby Previte: 110, Bandcamp;
12. Wadada Leo Smith, Jack DeJohnette: America, Tzadik.

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Lyn Horton: Don’t Blame Me

September 16th 2009

Recently, Chris Kelsey wrote a blog entry that brings to light a question of the difference between jazz “journalism” and jazz “writing.” (September 5: This is my response.

Journalism, by definition, requires that certain rules of reportage be heeded. Right. OK. That holds true if a story were being written that necessitated arranging facts in order to build a story. I have done that before; there was absolutely no room for poetry. But as far as jazz “criticism” goes, “criticism” does not fit well within the category of journalism.

“Criticism” itself needs to be defined in order for the word to make any sense in its application. In the online dictionary source I use, the first ranked definition of criticism is: “the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.” This is a broadly based, but perhaps a good way to begin to deal with the idea of criticism in general.

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Lyn Horton: Perspective on Vision Festival XIV

June 23rd 2009

copyright 2009 Lyn Horton

copyright © 2009 Lyn Horton

Response to the Vision Festival, held in NYC for the past fourteen years, resists prosaic declarations and superlatives. Rather the Festival inspires poetry because the senses are stimulated beyond simple sentences; it is a cultural event that includes visual art, dance and music. In the words of William Parker: “There is nothing not to enjoy.”

The 2009 Festival was held in two venues: the Abrons Art Center on Grand Street and the Angel Orensanz Foundation on Norfolk.

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Lyn Horton: Kidd Jordan and Trio Goes to Town

March 26th 2009

originally published at

Photo credit: Lyn Horton

Photo credit: Lyn Horton

During one of the most tempestuous winters in memory, the twentieth season of the Magic Triangle Series at UMass Amherst began with the highly energetic performance of the Kidd Jordan Trio: Kidd Jordan on tenor, William Parker on upright bass and flute, Hamid Drake on drums, percussion and frame drum.

The producer of the series, Glenn Siegel, announced the players and prepared the audience to expect one set. After rousing applause, the players came to the stage from behind the back wall. A hush blanketed the hall. With his left arm hugging the neck of the bass to steady it, Parker meanwhile applied resin to his bow. Drake settled on his stool in back of his drumset and adjusted his array of drumsticks. Moistening the reed in his mouthpiece by inserting it in his mouth several times, Jordan readied himself to play his glistening silver tenor saxophone.

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Lyn Horton: Curtis Clark, Connie Crothers, and Joe Bonner—
Exploring the World of Piano

March 8th 2009

Published March 8, 2009 at

Sitting at the piano before playing it is somewhat like sitting at a drawing table in front of a blank piece of paper before drawing on it. The keyboard is like the piece of paper. Until a pianist touches the keyboard (or not, i.e. John Cage, 4’33,”1952) or the artist makes a mark (or seems to not, i.e. Robert Rauschenberg, ”White Paintings,” 1951), nothing happens: the emptiness is brimming with potential (which implies “substance” to Cage because Cage was exploring the meaning of silence as itself and Rauschenberg was reacting to the overdone-ness of Abstract Expressionist Painting).

The pianist, like the visual artist, is an individual interpreter of the piano. Through this interpretation, how the pianist plays the instrument and subsequently develops a language using it evolves. The instrument becomes the medium of expression, or communication, as well as a participant in the conversation between instrument and musician. The material with which to communicate through piano is, in turn, drawn from the musician’s life-experience.

For the first three weeks in February, a consortium of contributors brings the Series “A World of Piano” to the Northampton (MA) Center for the Arts. This year, three pianists, each of whom might be said to travel under a popular audience radar, performed: Curtis Clark, Connie Cruthers and Joe Bonner.

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Exploring the World of Piano

Lyn Horton: Information Is Light Bulb

February 1st 2009

How information is assembled gives it meaning. Way back when information theory sprang up in the burgeoning age of the computer, if a vacuum tube was on or off, it was conveying one bit of information. The same on-off technology is true now; the conveyor is simply about a zillion times smaller and faster, more efficient. It takes 40 ICs to equal the power that could be supplied by a vacuum tube. Every time ICs diminish in size or change in configuration … well, imagine that.

The way in which information is disbursed signals the onset of a process. Put into a larger context, with the downturn of the economy and layoffs at technology industries as a backdrop, hardware is moving out and the development of software is rising. How that little ol’ Blackberry or iPhone is used and the number of apps it carries could be one key to the transition to a new economic world. Using information. Applying information.

Nat Hentoff was quoted in a NYTimes article documenting his being “let go” from the Village Voice. He said, in effect, that writers are inundated with information to the point of being so overwhelmed that proper research is avoided and what turns up being printed is downright wrong. Information in this case can be understood in terms of its application: how relevant and valuable it is to the context being developed for it. This leads to a possible conclusion: how information integrates into context that lives outside of the home of the information is a creative act.

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Lyn Horton: I Got the Feelin’

January 1st 2009

Pervasive in the literature whose subject is music that originates from the black experience is a stream of thought that is anti-critic, anti-criticism, anti-putting into words any interpretation of the music.

Just as one cannot begin the universe with one molecule of hydrogen, so can one not analyze, philosophize, criticize and proselytize on the music when viewing from any one position. Because the music loses something. It loses the impact with which and for which it was and is created from the beginning. The music itself is the result of assimilated experience for the musicians. Why does it need to be explained? And why does it need to be compared to anything else?

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