he wrote the stupidest, most badly researched book: "new york is now".
which i honestly keep on hand only to show guests who come over how
utterly bad things can be. it was also universally panned. one critic
in the wire, i believe, said, "yeah, i remember my first beer".
his reviews continue in the same vein: immature, poorly researched,
badly argued, pre-pubescent ramblings. the wire should not be where
writers "cut their teeth", it should be where critics are published
when they reach a certain point in their career.
with so many fine writers, such as dan warburton, bill meyer, david
keenan, art lange (maybe the very best) and many others at the wire's
disposal there is no reason for us to suffer another piece by freeman.
while i tend to rarely agree with ben watson, and would consider
pawning my bass if i received a favorable review from him, he does not
insult my intelligence.
as i was reading the review of the art ensemble's fantastic " for
lester" ( after just seeing them kick ass in concert last week) in the
new issue, i was stuck by how far off base it was, so i looked at the
end: phil freeman.
his heart is in the right place so i am not suggesting he give up
writing, or that he never be published by the wire again, but he is not
ready yet. harsh words yes, but it is sickening when one considers how
long mr. mitchel, mr. favors and mr. moye have been honing their craft
only to have their fate in a major publication handed over to the
village idiot. like it or not creative musicians work very hard, and
make many sacrifices, especially in amerika. these musicians are not by
any means above criticisim, but, if one is to be paid to "criticize"
these musicians it seems reasonable to demand a very high if not equal
level of scholarly research.
even an artist no less than barry guy was sent home by xenakis after
playing his solo piece "theraps", with xenakis saying something like it
was not even close (barry said the notation could have been clearer).
now, barry came back with what xenakis called the definitive version
and ended up writing the program notes for the published score. (you
can read about it at http://www.barryguy.com)
so the wire does not have to accept whatever crap freeman gives them,
either way he should be sent home.
i don't mind mr. young marginalizing creative music in the wire, but it
makes it even more of an issue when the quality plummets like this.
"i feel we shouldn't speak, we should just play music, because the
minute we open our mouths we tell lies" " - johnny mbizo dyani
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