In the post D-Day European campaign, things weren’t moving as fast as planned. Despite over 120 thousand casualties by d-day + 48, we were only advanced to the point we should have been at d-day+5. Something had to be done and that something was Operation Cobra. This breakout by general Patton punched a hole in the German defenses, allowing the allies to move out of the pocket and into Brittany. This post isn’t about that.
Of course, like all interesting military actions, someone made a board game out of it. Simulations Publications, Inc.(SPI) took the old strategy game Panzergruppe Guderian and modified the rules to make it reflect on the allied mission. This game was later mildly redone by Tactical Studies Research (TSR) in order to make it more accessible to the average person. This post isn’t about that.
What this post is about is how a mad genius named John Zorn took the idea of those rules, land combat simulation, and turned it into a multi player, improvisational musical game named Cobra. The final piece in his Game Pieces series, which includes Lacrosse and Archery, Zorn took music to a new level. A level some find unlistenable, and others such as my self find fascinating. This is a game that musicians can play together as long as they know the rules, and at least attempt to understand them . Why I find this fascinating is beyond me, as I am pretty close to tone deaf and have zero rhythm. Band geeks (one of which I am married to*) having an improv sound battle through the use of hand signals, putting on or taking off hats, lettered placards and including guerrilla actions. There is no conductor, but a facilitator runs the the hand gestures out to the other players.
Like a train wreck, I cannot take my eyes off of it.
*She is actually a choir geek.
So, what are you playing?
I wish to thank Jaybird for allowing me to do his beloved Sat. posts while he is out.