Clocktower's Jake Nussbaum sits down with master percussionist, homeopathic healer, gardener, martial arts expert, medical engineer, and all-around polymath Milford Graves, on the eve of his performance at the 20th annual Vision Festival, a weeklong celebration of free and avant-jazz taking place at Judson Church from July 5th-July 12th 2015. The two met at Mr. Graves's home in Jamaica, NY, which has been in his family for 3 generations.
The 2015 Vision Festival marks its twentieth anniversary with a celebration organized by Arts for Art (AFA) of the iconic New York artists who have set the standard for Free Jazz music, dance, visual art, poetry and ideas.
Milford Graves (b. 1941) is an American jazz drummer and percussionist, known as a pioneer of "free jazz" drumming, and for his research into the field of healing through music. He has worked with Pharaoh Sanders, Rashied Ali, Albert Ayler, Don Pullen, Kenny Clarke, Don Moye, Andrew Cyrille, Philly Joe Jones, Eddie Gómez, John Zorn, Paul Bley, and many many more. He taught at Bennington College from 1973-2011.
The object of this series is to invite emerging and established innovators to share their work. These programs are usually a combination of an interview with a far-reaching perspective on the artist's career, some recordings illustrating this history, and something new. Open territory. The unfortunate and unintended messages that come attached to a title like Experimental Composers are many. Still it is one of the few labels to come out of the world of music that has not been co-opted by promoters, corporations, journalists, or lawyers. This one just seems to have anti-market goo on it. Hooray. It's also just bad English (as if to imply that these poor souls are themselves, in their flesh and blood, some kind of experiment and, perhaps, even expendable). And then there is the spectre of defying the wisdom of the great Edgar Varèse who said something like, "I do not write experimental music. My experimenting is done before I make the music. Afterwards it is the listener who must experiment."more