Saturday, July 15, 2006

Orange was the Color of her Dress, then Blue Silk

It dawned on me that Charles Mingus' "Orange was the Color of her Dress, then Blue Silk," rather than being merely another example of Mingus' penchant for surreal titles is actually a fine gem of celestial poetry, and that this poetic metaphor is a key to the tune. It's surreal too, because depending on the shade of blue, it could describe sunrise or sunset. In my own playing I like to have a time and setting in mind--like I actually like to play "Round Mindight" round midnight and "April in Paris" between March and May. And I like tunes like "Orange" that can be interpreted in different moods and still remain distinctive.

As I lay in bed trying to remember how I got to "Then Blue Silk," thinking it couldn't have been just any old Orange was the Color blues--well, it was maddening. I could hear the tune well enough from the B section through to a conclusion, but just couldn't get started. And now, having listened to it a few times (esp. the Paris 1964 concert on Revenge!), and studying the analysis of the tune in Charles Mingus: More than a Fakebook, I can appreciate the amorphousness of the "orange was the color of her dress," but, man, it's hard to wrap the mind around that one. This is music of not a fixed melodic form, but an awakening. Just dive in and when the time comes, Then Blue Silk, the turnaround. And away you go.

I'm a ways from being able to call "Orange"--does anybody call this tune outside of a tight working band? Well, it's keeping me busy.

posted by Fido the Yak at 12:01 AM.


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