Tag Archives: intelligence

FreeStyle – The Avant Garde Way

Coltrane’s Freestyle

Breaking conventions of the day – a blueprint for hip-hop

Though the music produced by free jazz pioneers varied widely, the common feature was a dissatisfaction with the limitations of bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz, which had developed in the 1940s and ’50s. Each in their own way, free jazz musicians attempted to alter, extend, or break down the conventions of jazz, often by discarding hitherto invariable features of jazz, such as fixed chord changes or tempos. While usually considered experimental and avant-garde, free jazz has also oppositely been conceived as an attempt to return jazz to its “primitive,” often religious roots, and emphasis on collective improvisation.

Free jazz is most strongly associated with the ’50s innovations of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor and the later works of saxophonist John Coltrane. Other important pioneers included Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Bill Dixon, and Sun Ra.

Starting in bebop and hard bop, Coltrane later pioneered free jazz. He influenced generations of other musicians, and remains one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history. He was astonishingly prolific: he made about fifty recordings as a leader in his twelve-year-long recording career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis.

Here are some classic compositions from Coltrane and Davis:

I say all this to state that hip-hop is in a similar state that jazz was in; and hip-hop is in dire need of something to break it from the current dismal convention – luckily, we have a few artists that are defying limits like Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, but we need more or I fear that my little baby nephew will think that stringing a bunch of similies together and shouting on the track is ‘hip-hop’ …. (I shudder the thought).

.:: LiBM ::.



I was watching President Obama sign a few executive orders this week, and noticed that he was left-handed.  And then upon further research, some 5 out of the last 7 U.S. Presidents were lefties including Ford, Reagan, Father Bush, Clinton, Obama.  The prevalence of left-handed people in the U.S. population hovers around 7 to 10 percent; so it is unique in a sense that more than 1/2 of the presidents in the last century have been left-handed.  The cause of left-handedness can range from high levels of testosterone during pregnancy, genetics, and/or learned preference by observing which hand the child uses most often during infancy.  In a historical sense, lefties were frowned upon by society, and were subjected to ridicule and hardships; currently in today’s society, most tools and products are oriented for a right-handed world.   It has been well documented that in the early 20th century, many schools discouraged children from writing with their left hand; this may have lead to detrimental learning affects on the child’s development.

In terms of intelligence, a study out of the University College London argues that the proportion of left-handed people as a group have historically produced an above-average quota of high achievers.   Chris McManus argues that left-handers’ brains are structured differently in a way that widens their range of abilities, and the genes that determine left-handedness also govern development of the language centres of the brain(1).  This may explain why a good amount of academic achievers, entertainers, politicians, are left-handed, such as:

 Music and Entertainment

Angelina Jolie, movie star
Jerry Seinfeld, comedian
Paul McCartney, musician
Jimi Hendrix, guitar player
Ringo Starr, musician
George Burns, comedian
James Cameron, Hollywood bigshot
Drew Carey, comedian
Tina Fey, writer, performer, producer
Steve Harvey, comedian

Art, Science, Technology

Leonardo da Vinci, genius of the Renaissance
Matt Groening, The Simpsons cartoonist
Benjamin Franklin, inventor
Marie Curie, physicist
Linus Pauling, biochemist
Bill Gates, businessman


 (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-handedness#cite_note-33