Editors Mark Christman, Celeste DiNucci, and Anthony Elms’s book Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal is a strikingly beautiful experience of the life, mind, and work of one of the foremost creatives of our time. Born in Jamaica, Queens, Milford Graves (1941–2021) worked across numerous modalities such as music, art, herbalism, martial arts, acupuncture, and cardiology to help people “reach another kind of freedom that’s been given to us by nature.”
When I attended the Banff workshop for Creative Music in 2013 saxophonist and composer Hafez Modirzadeh challenged me to "reach beyond ethnic stylizations..." propelling me down a wondrous path of inquiry and exploration. This essay challenges the concepts of "genre" and instead proposes that music exists as a continuum.
On a humid day in August 2013, I was standing on one of Kolkata’s many flat rooftops listening to the traffic below. Looking out across the city, my rooftop seemed like a single concrete island among thousands of concrete islands stretching to the horizon. Swirling around me was an ocean of sound...Every sonic layer was fulfilled. Rhythmic densities ebbed and flowed over drones and textures of sound. Unexpected events gave the piece form, and gluing it all together was a luminous melody. This was the symphonic noise of Kolkata, City of Joy.