Imagine people coming back to life and playing a concert – tonight. John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Tony Williams does an opening fill and June Tyson is sings. Imagine the attention you would give that whole experience? Imagine giving that sort of attention to walking down the street and listening to the traffic, conversation bits or insects and birds? That’s the present from John Cage, that’s the compelling contribution he made to the idea of what is music; remembering to be amazed by sound and experience the music of sound events like a concert of super importance unfolding before you in real time…because it is.
The mind can’t handle sustaining that sort of attention very long without wondering about a coffee or the phone bill or the person who took the seat on the subway before you but that’s what’s impressive about the greatest musicians, they seem to go a long time surfing that wave of being present in their listening and playing and not cave to distraction.
But so what – June Tyson is more interesting reflecting about working and improvising with Sun Ra.