Thisness

Miles Okazaki

Track List

In Some Far Off Place
  9:27
Years In Space
  10:04
I'll Build A World
  10:00
And Wait For You
  9:34

“convulsive beauty, propulsive rhythm, elusive meaning…a spontaneous and unpredictable work of art, accordingly discordant, subversively accordant, a pendulum crushing the cage of temporality. This is Surrealism in practice. This is jazz. This is freedom.” – from the liner notes by Robin D.G. Kelley

Thisness is Miles Okazaki’s third volume of compositions for Trickster, a quartet featuring Matt Mitchell on piano, Anthony Tidd on drums, and Sean Rickman on drums.  The album is a set of themes that are shuffled and connected in different ways to make four large movements. Okazaki describes the process in the liner notes:

“Our previous albums were made up of what I would simply call “songs,” but for this project I decided to expand the format. The intention was to make something like an exquisite corpse, the collective improvisations developed by the Surrealists. So for this album my job as composer was to bring in some ideas, set them in motion and then listen, trying to recognize the value of serendipitous events at transitional points in the music and lead the band down whatever path may be opening. The borderlands are where the Trickster hangs out, the undefined space where logic dissolves and creativity thrives. My hope was that the listener would enjoy the experience of passing through these boundaries between contrasting episodes.”
The music draws on a few sources of inspiration that have connected creative elements: a magical “far off place” called Salt Creek, from a watercolor by Linda Okazaki, the writings on Surrealism by Robin D.G. Kelley, architectural concepts from producer David Breskin, and the poetry of Sun Ra. The idea that this band has been working toward since their first album is most fully realized on Thisness, a sound that discards notions of logic and control and strives toward something more like collective dreaming.