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The Friday Morning Listen: Taylor Ho Bynum, Forbes Graham - The Middle Picture/Echoes (2007)

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By Mark Saleski In our society, it seems like there's a constant battle between idealism and cynicism. A person will take a stand on a particular issue, and no matter how quietly they do it, there is always an opposing force with the can of hot tar at the ready. It's a phenomenon that contributes to the growing blandification of the culture—one in which those with truly new points of view are looked at with a suspicious eye.

As you would suspect, I have never felt that way. Maybe that's why I've always felt like an outsider, at least as far as my tastes in the arts go. Even so, don't take that to mean that I reject things simply because they're “mainstream." Far from it. In reality, I don't care whether a piece of art is mainstream or outsider. If it moves me, it just does.

In speaking of idealism, I'm not talking about politics. No, here I'm definitely talking about the arts. Jazz cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum is in the middle of his Acoustic Bicycle Tour, a two-week schedule of performances throughout New England, his road cycle being the mode of transportation. In a recent interview with Hartford public radio affiliate WNPR, Bynum chatted about the many reasons for this tour. Toward the end of the discussion, the great Don Cherry was mentioned. Cherry's own musician-as-world-traveller experience served to use ..."improvised music as a means to connect people." That, the late Mr. Cherry did, and Bynum appears to be following in his footstep, on a slightly smaller scale.

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