Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stephen Griffith

Steve first got the free jazz bug when he stumbled into an art major's dorm room in the late 60s where Coltrane on Impulse was playing; he wasn't aesthetically ready for that, at all, and it took decades to reach the point of non confusion but the hook was set. When he moved to Cleveland he went to a club where musicians would play multiple nights which helped feed the need but that closed down. An epiphany in figuring out the appeal of Anthony Braxton happened one inebriated night when a friend and he noticed that the cheerleaders on a muted televised basketball game were moving in perfect sync to his previously incomprehensible solo alto sax; everything made sense from that point. An online site, Jazz Corner Speakeasy, was where Steve learned more about the avant garde than any other source and met a number of musicians, writers, label owners and fellow nutty fans. Steve is retired with plenty of time to indulge his listening obsessions, most of which he squanders. He has sworn eternal revenge on Ken Burns for acting like the genre died with Coltrane and ignoring the European Free Jazz movement. Some things are just unforgivable.

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