I’m feeling increasingly torn about New York City’s continual state of flux, the recent surge in multicultural famine, and my place amongst it all. What is keeping me here? Is my desire to be some sort of cultural ambassador and librarian combating the steady increase in attention deficit and cynical indifference some sort of idealist pipe dream? Would I be better served attempting such honestly modest and inconsequential work in another location? I’m finding difficulty in staying positive, despite my fortunate existence in a nation rich with comforts and convenience. I think that I need a new environment with a fresh, revitalizing perspective. I love New York because I grew assertive and strong enough to sculpt an environment of my own creation around me over the course of my life here (nearly 14 years, not including my times of childhood recreation). It’s certainly possible to achieve the same in another city, with perhaps a greater level of comfort and freedom to allow my creative and intellectual dreams to be more properly nourished, though other sacrifices would need to be made. As it stands, I’m feeling somewhat marooned and lonely, the seemingly lone citizen of a world I built for many, but with gates to which few have skeleton keys. The psychological beauty of New York City (or any urban environment, really) is also its most unattractive characteristic when viewed through the same pair of eyes on radically different days: it is never the same place for two different individuals, nor for two different emotions.
Afternoon soundtrack. I’ve had a vinyl copy of Jorge Ben’s incredible 1967 album ‘O Bidu: Silencio No Brooklin’ for years now, and it remains my favorite of his many records. It bridges the gap between his early “Mas Que Nada” breezy samba soul, and the more intricately eclectic and multiculturally lush, sociopolitical material he’d begin to refine with his classic 1969 eponymous album. ‘O Bidu,’ recorded for a smaller Brazilian indie while in between contracts for longtime label Philips, has remained elusive over the years, particularly on CD, never being included on compilations or even his recent retrospective omnibus boxset. That’s a crime, because its raw, live-in-a-room feel pulsates with sweat, heart, and honey, and features some of his best, most unique songs. I FINALLY, after nearly a decade, managed to score a cheap copy on CD. I’m a bit of a completist about having my favorite albums on all available formats, and this one seemed forever elusive.
Kinda freaking out right now. Just scored a near mint copy of one of my holy grail records: the sole LP by Green Line, a jazz quartet featuring bassist Miroslav Vitous, saxman Steve Marcus, drummer Daniel Humair, & guitarist Sonny Sharrock (in what was arguably his finest recorded session). Only ever released in Japan & Denmark in 1970, it features the players all at the height of their game, and dabbles in a bit of everything: swinging funk grooves, splintered avant improv, ambient droning balladry, and some straight-ahead riffing. Happened to have a few LPs in my bag to trade, and one of them was a holy grail LP for the record buyer, so he made it an even swap. Good day.