There are nine people in Liberation Prophecy because this is how many people it takes to make these kinds of sounds. There’s a lot happening in a little time, guitars and keys and bass and drums and all kinds of brass and wood just bouncing and snaking and jiving along supreme melodies that travel fast to unfold slow, to build and impress upon that which is already laid on the ground.
Every band member is a big player in the city. These people are open, weird and creative with their instruments: it’s a carnival of sound, much in a literal way, that mixes everything from Charles Mingus and Sun Ra to something Zappa would’ve done. Sax man Jacob Duncan took a little time to answer LEO’s Five Important Questions.
LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?
Jacob Duncan: If I were Mayor, I would push for more creative symposiums and happenings. Give kids a place to go. Instead of trying so hard to model our city after supposedly successful American cities, I would try and model our city around successful European cities, where culture, education and arts are first. I would try and promote the individual and creative wealth of “our” communities, to push for a more unique American cultural experience. Our schools are full of sodas and snacks and have less and less arts and physical education. We wonder why our kids are more and more obese and uninterested in the arts and “education.” I would increase funding and support for after-school children’s programs. By supporting, through communities, a child’s creativity and ingenuity, we are propagating that child’s inclination toward self-learning, curiosity, aspiration and hope.
I think of the samba schools down in Brazil, and dream of a city in which each district has its own artistic and cultural identity, and where there is competition for creative individuality. Each district would have its own art space for music, art and writing throughout Jefferson County sponsored by Jefferson County. I would work on funding local and state tours of our music, art and writing projects, a virtual circuit of Kentucky arts continuously moving throughout. I guess the question was, really, how would I promote people like us? We will do it by promoting the innate creative spirit in all of us that, all too often, feels very asleep in this town. If you kill the arts, you kill the people. If you feed the arts, you feed the people.
LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?
JD: The musician that needs to get more attention would be the one challenging the status quo, and any musician that strives to understand each other’s unique human condition, and bring it naked before us, lifting it up above the petty squabbles and territorialism, and any musician who can laugh at themselves as well as see the seriousness of our declining cultural situation.
LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?
JD: If our music was food, I think ours would be some kind of bright squishy buffet found in the back corridors of a three-ring circus. Elephant trunk fountains would squirt out tropical-colored sweet drinks. Maybe some dishes the Lobster Boy would like, one the bearded lady, another the gargantuan muscle man from Russia with a peg leg would pick at, another your mom will like, and some your kid will sneak and put in his pocket, but by the time you’ve finished your first conservative serving, you’ll be willing to take a chance when you come up for seconds.
LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium.
JD: One painting I have been drawn to lately is a work by Paul Klee called “Dance You Monster to My Soft Song.” For me, this painting is complex and simple at the same time. A clown-like playful-looking monster watches as a child plays the piano almost naïvely. I feel like I can see through everything in this work, literally. It’s bleak yet thick with deep imagination.
LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?
JD: If you’re young, leave and experience all you can without killing yourself. Then bring yourself back here so you can give and support. Everything you can find “out there” you can find here, but entering and exiting the “unfamiliar” can be a hell of a beautiful ride. If you think you’re old, you’re not, so live it up and question authority, Give, support and love.