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Hilary Joyce Held

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I look like someone's mother, probably, though I never wanted to be anyone's mother and managed to avoid it. Or, more likely, I look like a nun, mostly out of habit (though black-clad and one way or another veiled.) This is not how I would have chosen to appear, had I been able to choose. But there is a cold and distant comfort in not looking like who I am. I am in disguise; that is my compensation for my plainness. The noise of modern jazz - that's who I am, really. Never mind that I can't play a note. Along with my (unintentional, really, and unenforceable, except by circumstances) vows of poverty and celibacy, I took a vow of silence I never meant to take. Can't sing, can't play. But I need that noise - that noise, joyful or pensive or pent-up or invasive. Invasive especially. The more atonal, the more jagged, the more uninterpretable, the better.Give me odd time signatures, mad rushes of noise punctuated by philosophic pauses. Bring me Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Cecil Taylor. Bring me Even Parker. Or Keith Jarrett, keening. Or anything on ECM. I can't make this noise, but I need it. I live a life so ordinary that there really is something obscene about it - but somewhere there's a piano and a bass and a mad trombone - somewhere there's the noise I need. And I can wear this itchy habit, and live under the torment of my unintentional vows, if I can have this noise. Free jazz, free will. (Of course, free will may be a necessary delusion).

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