Monday, December 16, 2013

VOQOTD: Ronald Shannon Jackson

“I play music and I play rhythms. I play them and I work on it because I hear something, then I just go sit down and start working on it. It’s like when my wife first asked, I’d be writing music all the time, she’d say ‘What are you going to be doin’ with all that music?’ ‘l don’t know…’ I just know that I be hearin’ it and if I keep writin’ it, it’s going to come. It’s like a dream, if you don’t write it then, you won’t write it. You just keep doing that man, you know?”
— Ronald Shannon Jackson

That pretty much sums up the entirety of the life of an artist. That's from Michael Bettine's remembrance of, and interview with, the late, great Ronald Shannon Jackson, from Bettine's blog Percussion Deconstruction. It's also a nice overview of Jackson's recorded work, if you're just getting acquainted with him, and are wondering what to buy— though he doesn't mention my favorite RSJ record (after Barbeque Dog), Decode Yourself:

“Play like you play at home when there’s nobody else there. What you be hearin’ and playin’ then.”
— Ronald Shannon Jackson quoting instructions from Albert Ayler

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