In a lecture David Borgo gave today, he read the following passage about trumpet players:

“The trumpet, or so we are given to believe, is a most athletic instrument, and most players, through sheer fatigue start to go off their rails in their 50s. That’s, off course, if they are lucky enough to reach such a venerable age. Most appear to violently self-destruct long before that.

Be warned, anyone taking up the instrument isn’t going to prove a good insurance risk. Unrecorded New Orleans legend Buddy Bolden died of madness; Bix Beiderbeck (28), Bunny Berigan (33) and Hot Lips Page (46) drank themselves to death; Ellingtonians Bubber Miley (29) and Al Killian (34) also checked out prematurely Killian being slaughtered by a previously convicted killer. Woody Herman’s solo star Sonny Berman (23) literally blew his heart out.

The hard-boppers also had their share of fatalities. When in 1950, a combination of TB and drug abuse felled Fats Navarro (26), it was Clifford Brown who stepped forward to further progress a style created by Diz. Brown, revered for his playing and his non-toxic lifestyle, sadly perished in an auto accident in June 1956. Max Roach eventually replaced Brown in the quintet with Booker Little who succumbed to uraemia in 1961 at 23.

Shelly Manne sideman, Joe Gordon (35) perished in a house fire. One-time Horace Silver and Jazz Messengers’ employee Woody Shaw (45) fell under a subway train that severed his arm (he had extremely poor eyesight, perhaps due to his narcotics addition).

But it was to be “Sidewinder” hitmaker, ex-Jazz Messenger and Hard-Bop firebrand Lee Morgan who suffered the most public death, being repeatedly shot outside of New York’s jazz spot Slugs, on a Saturday night by a girlfriend who had originally helped him recover from severe drug problems. He was just 33.”
–Roy Carr, A Century of Jazz, (p.115)

Then, in reading Terry Eagleton’s, After Theory, I came across this in the introduction:

“The golden age of cultural theory is long past. The pioneering work of Jacques Lacan, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault are several decades behind us. So are the path-breaking early writings of Raymond Williams, Luce Irigaray, Pierre Bourdieu, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Derrica, Hélene Cixous, Jurgen Habermas, Frederic Jameson and Edward Said. Not much that has been written since has matched the ambitiousness and originality of these founding mothers and fathers.. Some of them have since been struck down. Fate pushed Roland Barthes under a Parisian laundry van, and afflicted Michel Foucault with Aids. It dispatched Lacan, Williams and Bourdieu, and banished Louis Althusser to a psychiatric hospital for the murder of his wife. It seemed that God was not a structuralist.”
–Terry Eagleton, After Theory, (p.1)

So I guess my question is: As both a trumpet player and a PhD student in Critical Studies (and Experimental Practices) am I doubly cursed?!? Or do they maybe cancel each other out…? As if I don’t have enough to worry about.

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