I’m surprised I haven’t seen any comments on S21 about John Adams’s recent article in New Yorker (August 25, “Getting in Tune”). I thought it was a fun read. I especially enjoyed his description of the San Francisco avant garde scene in the 70s, which sounded like a specific take on concurrent scenes taking place throughout the country.

Adams is twelve years older than I am. I feel a special debt of gratitude toward him, and others his age, who decided to take their notes and rhythms personally at a time when many were content to choose such things through mathematical procedures or acts of random blindness. They made things that much easier for others to come.

I was a student then, deciding much the same thing, with both greater and lesser consequences. Greater consequences, because students can get squashed pretty quickly for going against the grain. Lesser consequences, because Adams had already begun to make a name for himself by doing the things he would turn his back on – he was risking whatever professional capital he may have accrued to that point.

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