Fred Spencer drjz at bealenet.com
Tue Nov 16 07:06:14 PST 2004

Dear Steve,
Thank you once more for your press release". Music has been used since 
ancient times for healing purposes, as I am sure you already know. One of 
the most interesting is its part in curing the "Dancing Mania" or 
"Tarantism" of the 17th century and before, around the Bay of Taranto in 
Italy. This was believed to be caused by the bite of the tarantula spider 
and people danced incessentaly until a "tarantella" was played to relieve 
them. This and other facets of "curative" musical use are discussed in 
"Music and Medicine" (Schullian and Schoen, eds.,Henry Schumamn, 1948). 
Modern imaging techniques reveal all sorts of neurological patterns these 
days, and I am sure that the "Index Medicus" would show that music is now 
being studied a bit more scientifically than the method in the NYT article 
which is, however, a creative lead in itself. All the best.
---- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2004 9:12 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] JAZZ MUSIC - IT'S GOOD FOR THE HEART

> Earlier studies claimed that those who are jazz fans, live longer and have
> more frequent, and more satisfying sex lives. Now comes the claim that 
> jazz
> also heals us. Perhaps Music does indeed soothe the savage beast.
> Dr. Fred Spencer, do you know about this? :-) VBG
> People don't need Zocor or Lipitor, just a weekly infusion of "The Beat".
> John Petters, Tom Wiggins and other tub thumpers, you too can make a 
> fortune
> as a holistic healer with that New Orleans beat and a little gospel. Will
> Medicare cover it? :-) VBG
> Our new slogan: "Dixieland, The Magic Elixir, Heals The Faithful." Oh my, 
> I
> can see us all becoming a mix of Elmer Gantry and Tom Jones. What fun.
> Ladies, write me off line for services and prices. (outcall only)
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
> November 9, 2004 - NY TIMES - By COREY KILGANNON
> Finding Healing Music in the Heart
> Around the South Jamaica housing projects in Queens, young men with pit
> bulls guard street corners and rap music blares from car stereos. But one
> house, on 110th Avenue, seems to openly defy its gritty surroundings.
> Its owner, Milford Graves, has covered it with an ornate mosaic of stones,
> reflective metal and hunks of discarded marble, arranged in cheery 
> patterns.
> The yard is a lush garden, dense with citrus trees, herbs and exotic 
> plants.
> Mr. Graves, 63, a jazz drummer who made his mark in the 1960's with
> avant-garde musicians like Albert Ayler, Paul Bley and Sonny Sharrock,
> performs only occasionally now. He spends about half his week teaching 
> music
> healing and jazz improvisation classes at Bennington College in Vermont,
> where he has been a professor for 31 years. He spends much of the rest of
> his week in his basement researching the relationship between music and 
> the
> human heart.
> After descending the psychedelic-painted stairway into his laboratory,
> visitors are faced with a collection of drums from around the world,
> surrounding a network of computers. Wooden African idols spiked with nails
> rub up against medical anatomical models. Amid a vast inventory of herbs,
> roots and plant extracts sits an old wooden recliner equipped with four
> electronic stethoscopes connected to computers displaying intricate
> electrocardiogram readouts.
> In 1967, Mr. Graves was honored in a Down Beat magazine critics poll as 
> the
> year's bright new talent. He had offers of lucrative gigs from artists 
> like
> Miles Davis and the South African singer Miriam Makeba.
> But after years of hard living as a jazzman, Mr. Graves began studying
> holistic healing, and then teaching it. He became fascinated with the 
> effect
> of music on physiological functions.
> "People with ailments would attend my performances and tell me they felt
> better afterward," he said.
> Curious about the heartbeat as a primary source of rhythm, he bought an
> electronic stethoscope and began recording his and other musicians'
> heartbeats.
> "I wanted to see what kind of music my heart was making," he said.
> In his basement, he converted the heartbeats to a higher register and
> dissected them. Behind the basic binary thum-THUMP beat, he heard other
> rhythms - more spontaneous and complex patterns in less-regular time
> intervals - akin to a drummer using his four limbs independently.
> "A lot of it was like free jazz," Mr. Graves said one day last week in his
> basement. "There were rhythms I had only heard in Cuban and Nigerian 
> music."
> He demonstrated by thumping a steady bum-BUM rhythm on a conga with his
> right hand, while delivering with his left a series of unconnected rhythms
> on an hourglass-shaped talking drum.
> Mr. Graves created computer programs to analyze the heart's rhythms and
> pitches, which are caused by muscle and valve movement. The pitches
> correspond to actual notes on the Western musical scale. Raised several
> octaves, the cardiac sounds became rather melodic.
> "When I hooked up to the four chambers of the heart, it sounded like
> four-part harmony," Mr. Graves said.
> He began composing with the sounds - both by transcribing heartbeat 
> melodies
> and by using recorded fragments. He also realized he could help detect 
> heart
> problems, maybe even cure them.
> "A healthy heart has strong, supple walls, so the sound usually has a nice
> flow," he said. "You hear it and say, 'Ah, now that's hip.' But an 
> unhealthy
> heart has stiff and brittle muscles. There's less compliance, and sounds 
> can
> come out up to three octaves higher than normal.
> "You can pinpoint things by the melody. You can hear something and say, 
> 'Ah,
> sounds like a problem in the right atrium.' "
> In 2000, Mr. Graves received a grant from the John Simon Guggenheim 
> Memorial
> Foundation, which he said gave him money to buy essential equipment.
> Dr. Baruch Krauss, who teaches pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and is
> an emergency physician at Boston Children's Hospital, said the medical
> establishment has only recently begun to appreciate the rhythmic and tonal
> complexities of the heartbeat and speak about it in terms of syncopation 
> and
> polyrhythms.
> "This is what a Renaissance man looks like today," said Dr. Krauss, who
> studied acupuncture with Mr. Graves and follows his research. "To see this
> guy tinkering with stuff in a basement in Queens, you wonder how it could 
> be
> legitimate. But Milford is right on the cutting edge of this stuff. He
> brings to it what doctors can't, because he approaches it as a musician."
> Dr. Ram Jadonath, director of electrophysiology at North Shore University
> Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., said Mr. Graves's theories sounded plausible
> but should not replace a standard medical assessment from a doctor.
> "The heartbeat is a form of musical rhythm, and if you have a musical ear,
> you can hear heart problems a lot easier," he said. "Many heart rhythm
> disturbances are stress-related, and you have cells misfiring. It is
> possible to redirect or retrain them with musical therapy. They do respond
> to suggestion. That's the area where his biofeedback could correct those
> type of problems."
> Mr. Graves said he brings unusual strengths to his medical work.
> "To hear if a melody sounds right or not, you've got to look at it as an
> artist, not a doctor," he said. "If you're trying to listen to a musical
> sound with no musical ability, you're not feeling it, man."
> Mr. Graves claims he can help a flawed heartbeat through biofeedback. He
> creates what he calls a "corrected heartbeat" using an algorhythmic 
> formula,
> or by old-fashioned composing, and then feeds it back to the patient, 
> whose
> heart is then trained to adopt the healthy beat. The patient can listen to 
> a
> recording of the corrected heartbeat, or it can be imparted directly 
> through
> a speaker that vibrates a needle stuck into acupuncture points.
> "If they don't want that," he added, "I can give them a CD."
> Last week, Dennis Thomas, 49, visited Mr. Graves in his basement 
> complaining
> of severe chest congestion. Mr. Thomas said his doctor had diagnosed
> bronchial asthma and given him medication that had not been effective.
> Mr. Graves said the problem might be related to Mr. Thomas's heart and
> recorded his heartbeat. With the help of a computer program, Mr. Graves
> tinkered with the rhythm and amplitude and then attempted to stimulate Mr.
> Thomas's heart by playing the "corrected" beat both through a speaker and
> through a wire stuck into an acupuncture point in his wrist.
> "I gave him a double shot," Mr. Graves explained. After 10 minutes of
> treatment, Mr. Thomas's heart rate had risen about 10 beats per minute,
> according to a monitor.
> Mr. Thomas, a city bus driver from Jamaica who used to study martial arts
> with Mr. Graves, said that he felt improvement afterward.
> "I started breathing easier and felt more relaxed," he said.
> In addition to his medical work, Mr. Graves analyzes the heartbeats of his
> music students, hoping to help them play deeper and more personal music. 
> The
> idea, he said, is to find their most prevalent rhythms and pitches and
> incorporate them into their playing.
> The composer and saxophonist John Zorn called Mr. Graves "basically a
> 20th-century shaman."
> "He's taken traditional drum technique so far that there's no further 
> place
> to go, so he's going to the source, his heart," Mr. Zorn said.
> "This culture is not equipped to appreciate someone like Milford," he 
> said.
> "In Korea, he'd be a national treasure. Here, he's just some weird guy who
> lives in Queens."
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