Writings About Music
The Forgotten Pot
America’s true promise is as a melting pot, perhaps even setting a positive example for other countries, but now and foremost, we must prevail in dissuading those among us who would literally melt the ice of the world so much that our land begins to disappear.
When I was fortunate enough to catch and tape a performance by Snoop Dogg on the Tonight Show earlier this year (the performance has since been removed from YouTube and NBC online), it put me into a trance whereby I conjured Raga Kirvani, extending upon the music with Shuddha Nishada (natural seventh) as opposed to the Komal Nishada (lowered seventh) found in the performance.
When it came time to select the timbre of the primary melodic voice for what became a new composition inspired by Snoop, which I titled Moonrise, I was astonished to recognize that an electric country guitar was the best choice because I had never dreamed of using that sound before.
Moonrise is found on the Moonrise and Rain-Mist album.
And who is Snoop Dogg? (I’ve never met him, so I can only speak about his music.) Well, to begin with, he is substantially more gifted than any jazz artist of his generation in terms of substantive musical invention, originality, rhythmic fluidity, and authenticity of expression. He is the one looking down upon us. And that’s an essential part of the melting pot: to admit what are the most delicious and nutritious ingredients in the stew, and not pretend otherwise due to the color of one’s skin, one’s religion, the number of bills we hold in our wallets, or simply because someone is different from other people.
Later on, in the liner notes of my new album, I ruminated about the time I spent with John Cage, and how I related to Frank Sinatra's preference for recording a certain way. Composers are inspired by musicians who have it going on irrespective of genre, as opposed to ongoing things that never were.
Here is the mentioned album, which I titled Moonrise and Rain-Mist.
- Michael Robinson, December 2015, Los Angeles
© 2015 Michael Robinson All rights reserved
Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer.