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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: Reference while thinking about music
Category: General Musical Conception
From: Jim Moran (Schenectady, NY)

Thanks so much for answering my last questions!! (1) I saw another intuitive question asked about your compositions seemingly being drawn from a midwest viewpoint . . . I've noticed that too -- "Last Train Home" can only be envisioned as a train viewed roaring happily across the American prairie, as a most obvious example. But it is clear that you've drawn from all across the world in terms of instruments, sounds, etc. And you've said you don't necessarily seen the connection. Can the listener expect to envision the beauty of "The American (Garage) Plain" or is this irrelevant? (2) Often times I've thought you've derived a lot of your music from the classical, more free-form jazz musicians, yet your music evokes a great deal of beauty from structure, sometimes dramatically different -- how would you explain that? And (3) the Catskill Mountains seems so different from your flat Missouri home, why the change? How did you pick upstate New York as your "home base?"

Thanks again -- when can I buy the next PMG release / see your next tour?!?!?

Jim Moran

Pat’s Answer:

For me, the elements that make up the top level of someones music; what it sounds like, what the obvious influences are, the instrumentation, the virtuosity of it (or lack of it) - all of these things to a certain degree simply make up the envelope that the music itself is delivered in. for instance, for me as a listener, i occasionally feel much more of a connection to things that have very little superficial connection to jazz than i might while listening to a recent jazz release (especially these days) - i tend to respond much more to the things that are included in the body of the message of the musicians who are playing than whatever there is stamped on the envelope that it came in.

as far a the geography of the place that a tune is being written affecting the tune itself - in my case there is very little correlation that i can find. much of the music that i have written over the past 15 years (including tunes that it seems like a lot of people in this forum really dig) were written in a dark, funky warehouse space in waltham, mass during my breaks on the road between tours. there was absolutely nothing physically inspiring about this place at all, just a cinder block building with no windows and florescent lights and me. on the other hand, i have had the occasion to write a few times in really nice places like miami and back in the days when i used to live in brasil. but honestly, the stuff that came out in both places, i'm pretty much convinced would have showed up regardless of "where" i was, if i put the time in to find it. thanks for writing.