Lush

Lush a. (by assoc. w luscious) 1. Luxurious; 2 Of a color: deep and rich; 3 n. Liquor, alcoholic drink.

The word lush brings to mind sound and sound inevitably brings me to color…

When I think of color I automatically think of Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, and this amazing Color Swatch Book of New York City Observations by Julie Cloutier

Color also brings me to chords and frequencies.

I once knew a guy who had absolute pitch. He could hear sound in everything.
I envied the richness all around him.
He felt that it was annoying.

When I look at Mark Rothko paintings I hear sound and when I listen to music I hear color. It’s all very tangled. Museums are noisy places for me and Carnegie Hall has always been colorful rather than sonorous.

I once knew a Lush named Cal who hung out at the White Horse Tavern. He was skinny because he only ate beets.  He was also perpetually angry (I blame the beets as well).  He knew pianist Bill Evans back in the day, and he told me that Bill was a “creepy coc*su#ker” but I just thought Bill was sad because everyone he loved died. Bill loved lush chord sequences.  Also, Bill never screamed at his audience like some piano players do.

Bill also played with Miles Davis who of course played with John Coltrane.
John Coltrane (who would solo for 30 minutes at a time) once said to
Miles, “I just can’t seem to end my solos’…” to which Miles Davis
replied, “Try taking the fuc*ing horn out of your mouth!”

I love Coltrane’s version of the song Lush Life with Johnny Hartman.
Here are some of the lyrics. They sort of make you want to kill yourself, but in a good way.

Life is lonely again,
And only last year everything seemed so sure.
Now life is awful again,
A troughful of hearts could only be a bore.
A week in Paris will ease the bite of it,
All I care is to smile in spite of it.

Lush life was written by Billy Strayhorn between 1933 and 1938. This was a dreary time in America.
But good sometimes comes out of bad, like the rise of Labor .

It’s odd being a member of a labor union when you don’t really feel like a laborer.
During the WGA Strike, I spent a lot of time looking at Gerhard Richter’s work.  I love the way he blurs and scrapes the layers of his paintings, revealing the work and the evolution of the work all at the same time.

Sometimes I worry about hyper-corporatization. I see artists getting squeezed and I see myself living in a van down by a river in some sort of socialist experiment.

Whenever I long for a more socialistic existence I am reminded me of my old boss and mentor Raymond.

Raymond really loved Russian propaganda posters.

I miss Raymond a lot. In our morning meetings, he used to rest his hand on his cheek.
When he went to Paris he sent me this postcard:

Sometimes I prefer to think that Raymond hasn’t died.
He’s just in Montparnasse and everything there is a deep shade of red.
Which is the epitome of lush if you ask me.

What’s LUSH to you?

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