Jazz Is Precise!

This pianist sounds really great. So was most of this article. The beginning, however, gave me pause.

Meticulous Jazzman of the World

The title does not bode well. What does this mean? Also, what does the qualifier “of the world” disambiguate or contribute? Now, if he was from another world, that would be something.

THE Cuban-born pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who over the last 15 years or so has become one of the greatest musicians in jazz,

Huge sweeping broad generalization, but okay, I’m still with you.

is meticulous about music.

What does that mean? His music is precise? Not sloppy? Because, you know, most of those jazz musicians are sloppy, dirty men who only play in dive bars. (As we learned here.)

You can tell this by the first unaccompanied notes of “Avatar”,

I have to wait until the first unaccompanied notes to tell…this (that his music is meticulous, I think)? Or…are the first notes on the album unaccompanied? This is a bit vague, and, I propose, not meticulous.

his complexly beautiful new album.

His new album sounds complexly beautiful! Too bad I don’t know what that means.

He has an almost eerie control over his sound, as if he were playing the strings directly instead of using the keys as intermediaries.

This makes him…meticulous. Okay… Also, qualifying "eerie" with "almost" does not make it sound more meticulous. It, instead, makes it sounds less meticulous. See?

He is also meticulous about ideas.

He is also…what? Perhaps we should finish the paragraph.

He tends to classify music rather exactly,

The qualifier “rather” makes his exactness seem less meticulous. Again. Just saying.

and he talks about jazz in terms of codes and information.

I understand this. It sounds like semiotics of a sort. Semiotics, while (often) deeply cool, is about as inexact and subjective a discipline as any I’ve encountered. Meticulous?

He prepares his records — “productions,” he calls them — with conceptual rigor.

He calls his records “productions” is on the what now?

Mr. Rubalcaba has spent about a decade living in southern Florida in a quiet gated community about half-hour from Fort Lauderdale.

Is his lawn meticulous? The “quiet gated community” thing makes me imagine his meticulously trimmed lawn.

His life looks more like that of a classical-music virtuoso than a jazz musician.

Translation: he does not take lots of drugs and hang out in dives. Great. That’s just great.

He goes to the airport, tours, comes home and dives back into practice.

Jazz musicians hate to practice. And classical musicians? They totally love going to the airport. Don't even get me started on classical musicians and their love of airport-going.

The rest of the article is not bad. I was just confused by the lack of meticulousness of the opening. Mr. Rubalcaba sounds like he is fabulous.

The end.


Murderface said...

If you want odd geographically applied prepositions, I used to work at a restaurant called Ramsi's Cafe on the World. Yes, "ON the World."

No one knew what that meant, least of all the owner. Maybe it was a philosophical "On," as in "Concerning."

Maybe this meticulous jazzman is "Of the World" as in "Worldly." He is, after all, a Cuban who now lives in a gated community in south Florida and only interrupts his practice to tour.

Wait, that doesn't make his "life look like" it's worldly at all. On the contrary, it makes his "life look like" that of someone narrow-minded and provincial. Now I'm confused. I wonder if my "life looks like" that of someone who is confused now.

Well, at least we know that "his life [doesn't] look like" he hangs out in dives and take drugs. I wonder what these reviewers think rock musicians' "live[s must] look like."

Heavens, they probably do so as little as possible. Were they to spend any time imagining such excesses, they would surely strain themselves to the point of getting the vapors of just an appalling degree.

Then how would our precious wordsmiths ever muster the energy to describe what even a mild-mannered and meticulous jazzman's "life looks like?"

Sator Arepo said...

Yeah. The rest of the review was pretty good. The opening I found deeply confusing and ameticulous.

I am glad you agree, sir.

The institutional reinforcement of the classical-jazz (and by extension, rock) divide is annoying.

Sator Arepo said...

Also, the link to the Simpson's page did not scroll down. I do not know what to do about this.

It was supposed to be a reference to when the Beekeepers (in the "Beemobile" try to buy the sugar from Homer. And he says, "Bees are on the what now?" But it didn't link right. Oh, well. Sorry, readers.