I had lost track of the trumpeter Tim Hagans, whose searching, edgy, extraharmonic improvisational style I admire. I did an internet search and ended up on his modishly designed and constructed website, whose style reflects his adventuresome, but centered, music. Roaming through the site, I found surprises equivalent to those a listener encounters in Hagans’ playing. Click on “Bio” and up comes a menu under the heading “Hagans Portrait.” Click on Chapter 7 and you will find a declaration of independence entitlted, “The Artist’s Role in Society.” Here is a section.
Artists are scary. They celebrate individualism. They portray the nuances and emotions of life in abstract terms. Music is the most abstract art form and improvised music creates the intangible in the moment. An artist’s mission is not to entertain although entertainment can be a desired by-product. Their mission is to give the receiver of the artistic statement emotions and impressions to reflect upon. Whether the receiver likes or dislikes the statement is secondary.
Visitors to the Hagans site get biographical, discographical and events information, cleverly produced, plus a generous audio helping of complete performances. They also get a six-part movie called Boogaloo Road. It contains many of those surprises I mentioned, not the least of which is footage of the trumpeter practicing while driving. To find the film, move your cursor down the audio player at the bottom right of the screen. The Tim Hagans website is here.
Have you heard about Hagans’ role in the composition and improvisation on Joe Lovano’s latest album Streams of Consciousness. Hagans wrote the track “Buckeyes” for his fellow Buckeye State mate – its one of the non sequitur tracks on this rather disjointed album, albeit a nice one. He contributes some of the most modern soloing for a guy his age I’ve heard in quite a while. He is no moldy fig. A very fine hip player. You don’t often expect a guy as old as Tim to stay on the cutting edge but I think the guy is just as creative as a Dave Douglas or Ralph Alessi if not as well promoted and/or mentioned in circles like ours.
Too bad they let him go from the Blue Note roster. I rather enjoyed his forays into techno jazz on Animation Reimagination – had those albums reached a broader college radio audience I would think he would still be on the label releasing the type of stuff Gianluca Petrella and Erik Truffaz are still doing.
steven marks says
With respect to “The Artist in Society,” I have one question for Hagans, a musician I respect. If you care not a jot or tittle for what your audience thinks, you may one day be performing to a crowd of 1. True, there a fine line between entertainment and art that any creative individual must walk, but the value of the former should not be slighted. This doesn’t mean the creator must compromise himself. But if a musician completely ignores the public’s taste, he will soon find himself without a public.