His uncanny speeds in extemporaneous reaction to whatever subject he was encountering at that particular moment is, for me, not only the quintessential example of comedic genius, which, after all, is reaction in comedic form to a particular subject or issue of that moment, but also a wonderfully clear parallel to the extemporaneous gifts of an Art Tatum,or a Charlie Parker, or a Dizzy Gillespie etc.; or the scat singing of a Cleo Laine, or an Ella Fitzgerald, or a Mel Torme - or what about the 'frozen' improvisations cascading upon us in a Horowitz transcription? Or speculation (another word for interpretation) the performer is promulgating as he or she is playing a Beethoven sonata, which can not ever be repeated in pure exactitude, as no two performances by the performer can be one fingerprint.
The almost brutal brush textures we see in so much Van Gogh can give a picture of this artist taking up that brush, and in one extemporaneous sweep producing a painting before he puts that brush down; time and time again.
And when I recall the very same kind of reaction in Robin Williams when he would dazzle his audiences with the pyrotechnical dazzle of a Horowitz, or Tatum, or Laine(listen to her scat-singing of "Turkish Delight").
Recently, in a discussion with a great surgeon, I remarked that the "only the difference between you and those of us called Artists is your medium." He hugged me(!) and then said "you truly understand."
What Schumann wrote about Chopin in his Zeitung can be applied, in my opinion, to Robin Williams; that is, "hats off, gentlemen; a genius!"
Imagery - that's what it's pretty much about...
Labels: the role of Imagery...