Got the unique opportunity to attend a performance by SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director Laurie Anderson featuring mischief maker Mike Patton and cellist Rubin Kodheli at SF Jazz last night.
Focused around the text from “Quanjing Jieyao Pian,” Mike Patton and Laurie Anderson combined creative sonic forces to interpret the final chapter of Jixiao Xinshu – the famous military manual written in the 16th century by Ming dynasty general and Chinese national hero Qi Jiguang. Translating to “The Fist Canon and the Essentials of Nimbleness,” the text delves into ideas about unarmed combat exercises as physical training, and is the first known written document of martial arts instruction. Laurie told the audience that her late husband Lou Reed was an avid practitioner of Tai Chi and had been working on a book about these concepts shortly before he died. Having inherited Lou’s martial arts writings (as well as weapons) caused Anderson to delve deeper into the text, which she found oddly poetic despite its more pragmatic nature. The performance also featured cellist Rubin Kodheli who helped build the musical pieces into dramatic and foreboding crescendos that captivated a sold out crowd at SF Jazz Center on Fell St in San Francisco.
Here’s an excerpt of the performance I recorded like a dirty creepy bootlegger from a mic hidden inside a coat in the audience (just like ReRun did on that episode of What’s Happening when he went to see the Doobies with Roger). This audio is the tail end of the set feat. Laurie Anderson with Mike Patton and Rubin Kodheli 1 25 2020 at SF Jazz
Some of the introductory text from the performance seen below…
Laurie spoke of her experiences on a VipASSana meditation retreat where she hoped to learn to focus her mind like a beam, but instead really learned about pain. Surreptitious clip by ROBLEYE