Soul? I don’t know what soul this is about.

Former Russian ballet dancer Mura Dehn witnesses James Brown live:

His emphasis on ego breaks all bounds. He is like a newborn baby in tantrums to enforce his will… He leaves you astonished and awed because of the mark of genius and madness… The rest is a tremendous scream for something that he wants more and more of – and gets – and is ready to give his life in order to retain it forever… Soul? I don’t know what soul this is about. Nothing one could live on or remember when one goes away…. He is a mythological personage. What he asks for is love – boundless – which can never quite fill his craving. At the end of all that inspiration, talent, sorcery.”

“Maybe because it was repressed so long, it comes out in this boundless way – in strength and in complaint. That may be true, but theatrically speaking, a performer has to produce what our times demand – a monster personality to be sold for ‘phantabulous’ profits. James Brown is unprecedented. A man touched by divine power. He absorbs. He stuns. And yet you don’t feel enriched. You cannot live on what he reveals. You simply experience him, and he is fabulous.”

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Jacques Derrida/Ornette Coleman

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JD: What do you think of the relationship between the precise event that constitutes the concert and pre-written music or improvised music? Do you think that prewritten music prevents the event from taking place?

OC: No. I don’t know if it’s true for language, but in jazz you can take a very old piece and do another version of it. What’s exciting is the memory that you bring to the present. What you’re talking about, the form that metamorphoses into other forms, I think it’s something healthy, but very rare.

JD: Perhaps you will agree with me on the fact that the very concept of improvisation verges upon reading, since what we often understand by improvisation is the creation of something new, yet something which doesn’t exclude the pre-written framework that makes it possible.

OC: That’s true.

It’s because of Borges. He’s hiding somewhere (probably in a mirror) cackling maniacally, knowing damn well that somewhere Jacques Derrida is always interviewing Ornette Coleman. So it goes. Jacques Derrida interviews Ornette Coleman