by Sam Buntz
Why “The Muted Trumpet”?
I should get around to explaining this.
I remember hearing an interview where Miles Davis was asked why he so often liked to play the trumpet muted. Davis replied, “It sounds more human.” Ultimately, I think that’s why I chose this rather ungainly and un-sonorous title – that, and its availability… although this whole explanation might be a little after the fact.
Yet, perhaps this blog is, in however botched a form, an attempt to be “more human”? Eh? Maybe, through the crush of wires and cybernetic ganglagigaphonia and bits and bytes, something slightly human is emerging from this vast metal chrysalis? I don’t mean to suggest that I am peculiarly human or a bit “more human” than the next sap in line… BUT, I would suggest that, relative only to myself, the more I write, the more human I feel… I don’t know where the term “incitement premium” comes from, or what it means exactly, but I feel like writing generally helps me to raise the “incitement premium” on life. Whatever that means in reality, the meaning I assign to it is that it—the inward-outward flow of language, the intellect’s own systole-diastole, and all the energy contained in that dreaming rush, informing it—helps “amp up” one’s consciousness of life, makes it finer, raises its premium, incites it, helps one touch near the quick, and live at the heart of the “Mystic Now.”
(Well – let’s not go crazy. We may have to settle for the “Mystic Then” — the paradise lost, not present.)
But obviously that talk’s all a bit above my pay-grade. What I really mean to say is that writing stuff—for I claim, rather modestly, to truck in that humble human material which we refer to casually and constantly as “stuff”—helps me wrench my head a few inches out of the gutter, and catch one good glimpse at the stars, before descending back once more into “…the nothingness of scorn and noise / The living sea of waking dreams…” I’m paraphrasing Oscar Wilde and directly quoting John Clare, I believe—involuntarily—but it’s true. It’s all true.
I don’t think I have any special insight into anything, but I may be able, at the least, to ramble on earnestly (as I am now hopefully doing) without directly instigating any eye-glazing. I would like to perfect such a half-dreamy muttering—and be one of the voices that whispers disquieting thoughts into the half-receptive, half-weary mind as it presses itself nightly onto its pillow. Doesn’t the modern—or post-modern or whatever this is (contemporary?)—world need a bucket to pour its intellectual leftovers in? A kind of chum bucket of the mind – used to catch the sharks of… wisdom… or, you know, an equivalently high term.
Come to think of it, “Mental Chum Bucket” may have been a better and more appropriate title for this blog than “The Muted Trumpet” – but I wouldn’t want to spread confusion among my readership this late in the game… not that I have a huge amount of readers, exactly (though some, I have reason to believe, are from the noble and culturally rich nation of Hungary) – yet you, dear reader, whoever you are, are more than enough readership. For you, I shall tie my tie—this morning and every morning after.