this post goes back to the problem of ‘covers’, authorship, translation, and ‘originality’. 🙂
Hear a Never-Before-Seen 1986 Dexter Gordon Piece, Played by 8 Different Artists
May 18, 2017 by Soundfly Team
In November 2016, Peter Pillitteri, an aspiring composer and one of the students in Ian Davis’ popular Orchestration for Strings course, emailed us out of the blue to tell us this incredible story:
“‘Round Midnight is a 1986 film by Bertrand Tavernier about a fictitious jazzman, Dale Turner, who was played by the great jazz saxophonist, Dexter Gordon. Dexter arrived in Malpensa Airport, Milan, Italy, on an overnight Alitalia flight in November 1986 to debut the film at the Venice Film Festival.
“I, too, had flown all night, and I recognized him as he exited the plane with his saxophone in hand. During our bus ride to customs, I asked him what he was doing in Italy. In a tired and hungover voice, he said, ‘I’ve become an actor and I’m going to the Venice Film Festival.’ After such a long flight, I wanted to give him his space. I left him seated alone in the baggage claim area as his female companion scurried about collecting his luggage.
“After a long while, I could not resist asking him for an autograph and opened my music manuscript notebook to a blank page. With eyes closed and face facing downwards, I waited — what seemed an eternity — for him to sign an autograph. I thought for a moment that he had fallen asleep sitting up on the bench when suddenly he began to write what was to become a manuscript. He finished it by saying in a gravelly voice, ‘I don’t know how it sounds, but you’ll have to try it out.’
“Exhausted after flying all night, he wrote a manuscript, and to my disbelief, he gave it back to me. I told him that I could not accept his manuscript but he reassured me that it was OK. I asked him if he was ‘going to sign it’ and he signed it with a big, bold signature and finished by entitling it Milano. I thanked him and walked off in a daze, not believing what had just happened.
“I searched out his companion and told her what Dexter had done and that I couldn’t accept an original manuscript from him. She told me not to worry and shrugged it off implying that, perhaps, he did this type of thing all of the time.
Here, for the first time ever seen or heard is Dexter Gordon’s 1986 autographed manuscript, “Milano.” Below, you’ll hear brand new interpretations of this piece by eight different artists who have shared their thoughts about the experience of performing a chart that nobody has ever seen, and which Dexter himself hasn’t even played!
Participating artists include: guitarist and instrument inventor Elliott Sharp; violin duo String Noise (Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris); producer and composer, Charles Burchell a.k.a. BLVK Samurai; guitarist Nick Millevoi and bassist Matt Stein; guitarist and electronic producer Mikael Tobias; pianist Adam Daudrich; classical guitarist and sound artist Leonie Roessler; and finally, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and bandleader of Tredici Bacci, Simon Hanes.
dextor’s ‘autograph’ IS of course, as much a political statement as an artistic fragment. “I am my work. I give it freely. Don’t reduce me to being a black star. I’m a composer and musician. If you want my ‘autograph’, listen to this! Then you might know me.’ It was an Ali-esque moment. pearodox/provacateur