but he wore it so lightly

Posted: March 20th, 2014 | No Comments »

more from the amazing robert wyatt.

on stevie wonder:

And we had our music with Stevie Wonder, in particular “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”. Stevie Wonder seemed to have everything. From Ray Charles and Nat King Cole before him, he had this fantastic pianistic skill and music knowledge, but he wore it so lightly. Synthesizers had been kind of clever and weird up until then, and he turned them into a human instrument. He just played them with a whooping, “wow, look what I can do!” kind of joy. A song like “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” is just a distillation of what music is.

on pop music:

I didn’t like the fact that hierarchies had developed between what people thought was “serious” rock music and pop music– that was all rubbish. I was very uncomfortable with that. That was exactly the kind of situation I thought our generation had got rid of. I’ve always admired pop music, because I think it’s the modern post-industrial folk music. Everybody can join in, you don’t have to be a specialist. You can sing along with it. But there’s not much room in pop music for all the things I want to do. It’s a bit like food: I like all kinds of interesting food, but in the end, I can just sit down with an egg sandwich and really feel great.

on charles mingus:

From here, I start going back to my youth and trying to get deeper into the jazz I had listened to in the 50s. Particularly Charles Mingus, a restless soul I met a couple of times, once very briefly in New York, in 1971. I was on tour with the Soft Machine, just walking around Central Park, and there he was drinking at one of those water fountains. He was on his bicycle, and he was very large, and had these great, lurid Bermuda shorts, and I just went up to him and said, “Oh, excuse me, I come from England and I just want to tell you that your music means so much more to me than I can say, and it has for years.” He said, “Thanks very much.” And that was it.

on what he listens to now:

…my default position is to sit in my room and slap on a Mingus record or a Dizzy Gillespie record. There I am, hovering away in some kind of alternative universe of late-50s imaginary Harlem forever. [laughs]

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