Archive for the ‘Music – food for thought (and body)’ Category

I was looking at the website of  my favorite art gallery The Fondation Maeght  where my children at various ages, have loved exploring all types of art on past holidays. The web being what it is I found that a tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler played his last concert in the beautiful surroundings of the Fondation on the 27th July 1970. Being a novice clarinettist  I had been looking at the Facebook page of an amazing  young New Orleans jazz clarinettist Greg Agid whose YouTube tutorials I have found very helpful. On his page I found a lighthearted link to a spoof jazz piano performance.Then of course an Albert Ayler  free jazz recording from the Fondation Maeght concert (called ‘Music is the Healing Force of the Universe!).

Of all performance, JAZZ appears to need the significant contribution of both cerebral hemispheres to be accomplished. It’s the balance of superb mathematical and practical technique (left brain) with the toying with possibility, impetuousness and risk taking of the right brain.

Of the performances I mentioned, Greg it appears to me has the balance of left and right brain function which epitomizes to me superb jazz, whereas Ayler was leaning on the left brain more to the expense of controlled technique, and of course the spoof pianist was all left brain mechanism and no right brained ‘soul’.   Hemispheric dominance is a preference, not an absolute. Ayler was a very gifted technical (left hemisphere) saxophonist but appeared to go ‘right’ to accomplish his free jazz expression.  All activity uses both hemispheres connecting through a thick band of nerve fibres (the corpus callosum).

Hemispheric dominance well explained with the ‘ballerina’ test in an article in the Australian Telegraph.

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An example of how music causes food for thought: a magnificent recital by  this youth choir from South Africa  in the 12th century Church of St Thomas  Salisbury last Friday evening. What made it such a memorable experience was not the superb performance but the fact that these young people were united in producing this emotionally very moving music. They came from  disparate social and racial backgrounds which a few years ago would have precluded their being together at all. Yet  they were one in creating a powerful  effect on an audience. There are no pharmacological drugs that would have this effect on such a group of people without side effects!!


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