Check out trumpet player JQ’s excellent remix of Dance 4 Me.
If time is what keeps everything from happening at once, then time is also what allows a cacophony to turn into melody and harmony. Time stretches the Big Bang into a rhythm. Time turns an accident into a story.
We all have glimpses of living in the moment. What happens when we live in the NOW for a whole minute? Is it still the now or has it become something else? Is the now an overlay that covers time like a blanket and allows them to coexist? Time and the now exist in the same moment and are two sides of the same coin.
Meditation is difficult for some people. Sometimes they haven’t given it enough of a chance and sometimes it just doesn’t seem to work for them. I have heard comments like “riding my motorcycle is my meditation” or “gardening is my meditation”. My reply to that is always that riding a motorcycle is riding a motorcycle and meditation is meditation. Gardening can have a lot of positive effects, but it is not meditation.
Cross training might be an option for people who don’t want to or can’t meditate every day. Perhaps switching off between meditation, yoga, chanting, deep breathing, or even staring at a flame, either in rotation or by making a daily choice. Getting into a rhythm of doing this every day would be good, perhaps by setting aside ten minutes at two specific times a day.
Tomorrow I will release another Dance 4 Me remix, this one created by trumpet player JQ Whitcomb. JQ toured with us in 2013 and played trumpet on the albums three-oh-five, Waiting n Swan, Fete, and the new vision 2020 (full version). I love how JQ arranges his one-man horn sections. There is certainly a time and place for a full horn section with saxophones and a trombone, but that’s a rather huge sound and for my music I prefer the precision and sonic size of a trumpet-only section and JQ does it brilliantly.
Meanwhile I hit the magic ProTools button (hold down the “shift” key and then start) and listened to the guitar tracks of Dance 4 Me at half-speed. I used this button a lot while I worked on the album slow. I had recorded a couple of rumba strums, that I didn’t use for the album because I preferred the open space without them, and now the rumba strums, at half-speed, created a wonderful swampy forward movement. The melody was interesting at half-speed as well. So that’s what I am working on this week, a half-tempo slow 55BPM version of Dance 4 Me.
Of course there must be a place for self-criticism and analysis, because it drives understanding and improvement. There is a time and place for it and but it’s not while one performs, whether that’s writing or making music or playing basketball. Letting the DMN comment while one performs, in my view, doesn’t lead to anything good.
Many times I improvise melodies for a piece I am working on and I even resist analyzing it after the performance. I walk away, leave the studio, and return the next day. Stuff that I thought wasn’t very good often turns out to be the best material and melodies that I liked right away don’t hold up the next day.