Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Harmony of Fighting

I recently read that "music is a conduit for the divine." My belief is that music can touch areas of the spirit that are undefinable and not readily articulated by human verbiage.

Joyce Carol Oates tells us this mystic connection is also found in prizefighters. The pugilist senses the otherworldly through the outward physical exhibition of pure inward human soul.

James Toney's old trainer, septugenarian Bill Miller stated in an interview that:

"Charlie Parker is to music as Ray Robinson was to boxing. When you listen to Charlie Parker you're listening to a master. You heard it all there, Parker expressed with his instrument , where Robinson expressed it with his movement, his hand speed, and agility. They were closely related, told you a story."

Miller knows.

At its most profound depths there is a musical poetry to boxing, the backbeat metronome of the jab landing flush, the free form flow of gliding footwork, cacophonous thump of a sharp left hook, a perfectly hit high note. A beautiful boxer like Sweet Pea Whitaker was Parker-like in his ability to improvise in a split second, to fill open space with the expressivee flow of physical movement, bringing structure into where moments earlier there only void. Like jazz, the music of boxing can be an acquired taste. By surrenedering your spirit to the music, to the physical poetry of the fight, we get a small taste of the sublime. Miller is right, the message is there for the taking, we need only listen for it.

2 comments:

moor-rambler said...

Very cool entry ,Zim, I can't think of a better description. Where did you get Miller's quote from? Oh, by the way, being the Parker freak I am, let me know if you'd like a tape. That's something that I'll be glad to do.

sandra kuizin said...

Wow! Great writing Jay! You are as brilliant as I believe you to be. Quit hiding your light under the basket!