From Pine View Farm

A Night at the Improv 0

David Hadju offers grudging admiration for Donald Trump’s ability to make stuff up on the fly. A snippet:

Sullivan Fortner, a gifted 29-year-old pianist I had never heard before, played a fiery, shape-shifting piece new to me as the first selection in his debut performance at the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center last Friday. Fortner was brought on as a guest of the featured artist, pianist Fred Hersch. “That wasn’t planned, and it wasn’t rehearsed,” Fortner said at the completion of the piece, sounding proudly surprised by the quality of his own spontaneous composition. “I don’t know what that was!”

The audience oohed and aahed, clearly impressed by Fortner’s creative ingenuity, and the drama of the moment got me thinking about Donald Trump. I should make clear here that I am anything but a Trump supporter. In fact, I find his wild and volatile, xenophobic, hate-fueled rhetoric loathsome and terrifying. I have never understood any aspect of his appeal—until the night at the Appel Room, when it struck me that the very wildness and volatility of Trump’s performances in campaign rallies, debates, and television interviews do not look to everyone like liabilities. They come across as strengths to his admirers. Like Sullivan Fortner and every other musician skilled in the art of extemporaneous invention, Donald Trump is, in his way, an improviser—in a perverse sense, a jazz candidate.


Comments are closed.