Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TREME: Musician as Myth Hero?

HBO has a great new series on called TREME. It takes place in New Orleans three months after Hurricane Katrina and uses the music of the area as the undercurrent to the lives of the people trying to deal with the disaster and following neglect. Timely in the sad way as another man-made disaster heads toward Louisiana shores, it is brilliant in so many ways. Though every possible problem and facet of New Orleans culture gets screen time, it is all put together that none of it seems out of place.

I bring it up here because of a review on the series 4th episode from NPR's music site. It's a good lengthy review, which brings up many of the issues about and in the show. Most of the piece is an interview with  a DJ about the lengthy music playlist from the episode. I quote here (my italics):


PJ: ..." And this: "Jazz hasn't run hot or cold since bebop. It just is, man." You want a piece of any of that?
JJ: I'm comfortable saying that jazz simply IS, without the "just" qualifier. There's no red-hot intensity of an actual movement anymore. The music is now a loose confederation of individual heroic quests, and heroes are the figures of antiquity. Jazz, however, is still current, but that's a different measurement value than it was during the heyday of bebop. As long as there's a need for freedom of expression, jazz has a base of operation.
Interesting use of words, I thought. Seeing the musician as the hero, on the mythical hero quest, into the unconscious, to deliver saving knowledge that transforms humanity, and then each subsequent musician as the continuing hero who has to perform that quest for themselves (and for humanity again) kind of blows my  mind. This makes every solo, every song mythical regeneration. What a nice thought.

1 comment:

Nikki Faith said...

Very nice thought!
Good to see you blogging again. ;)
Have you peeked at my blog lately?? It's more than just pictures now! ;)