Paul Desmond 

I remember first time I heard Brubeck’s Take Five  – it was Paul Desmond’s sex that drew me in, not Brubeck’s piano. Inventive without being dissonant Desmond is master musician. Seeing his name on an Lp is enough to guarantee good music. I heard Ten Five as a TV show intro, I think, or maybe on the radio & loved it. I picked up an lp of Brubeck’s hits.

He left Brubeck & launched a highly-successful solo career than spans decades. He’s explored duets, solos, groups – done covers of pop – his Paul Simon tribute lp is amazing. Over 2 mp3 collections I have, on the first: Two of a Mind – with Gerry Mulligan – his replacement in Brubeck’s group; Skylark; Pure; East Of The Sun; Bridge Over Troubled Water; alive set – Take the A Train with Brubeck; to round things out is Zoot Sims’ In A Sentimental Mood – another amazing sax play with less dry sound.

On the other is The P.D. Quartet Live: a double lp set with a fantastic Manha De Carnival; Duets: reunion with Brubeck: Koto Song is amazing. This cd is rounded out with with Brubeck’s Blues Roots featuring Mulligan – strong solid & less populist than Brubeck’s earlier work. Some very modern Russell Gunn: Mood Swings: I love this guy. A trumpet player in the Davis mold he does sweet & challenge work her. St Germain’s Tourist is a fine remix that gives jazz a dance club feel & everyone should own this amazing collection.

A couple of stand-alones: Feeling Blue: late night romantic & sweet; Bossa Antigua – Desmond explores latin rhythms frequently & this a set of nothing but Bossa & he gives it a relaxed compelling treatment.

Dust

 

John nudged the soft stomach of the horse with his foot. The horse’s head lifted slightly and the eye blinked open.

‘So yer on yer last legs! Ya useless nag.’

John felt no affection or sorrow for the horse. After three weeks on the trail the only bond between them had been the loose ropes that held the saddle or pulled the bit when John wanted to stop.

Flecks of foam drooled out of the horse’s mouth. John didn’t even want to waste a bullet to put the beast out its misery. He felt it was the horse’s fault, slipping like that on the bank of the dry river. A slip that broke a leg and now the beast lay useless.

John cursed himself. He shouldn’t have let that guy talk him into this old dun mare when he had his eye on a younger pie-bald. But the price was right at the time. Things he had to be careful of – money and bullets. He knew enough not to waste either of those commodities on anything.

When the horse had slipped and broken its leg he didn’t realize what had happened till he’d tried to get it back on its feet.

‘Horse,’ he’d said. ‘git up. Tis no time for restin’ here.’

But the horse had whinnied in pain and limped only a few steps before collapsing once again. It had taken him the better part of the day to get his saddle bags out from under it.

He prodded the horse once more and walked up to the higher bank. Dust everywhere. He felt he hadn’t been clean for weeks and now this. A horse he hadn’t even bothered to name. The dealer called her something but John hadn’t bothered to recall.

He looked at the pile of things he had to carry. Food, blankets, his Bible. How much of this stuff would he have to do without now?

He recalled the various pieces of furniture he had already passed on this trail. Wardrobes, kitchen chairs, stuff discarded to lighten the load of the wagons. He’d never catch up to those wagons now.

‘I won’t need that saddle.’ But he was reluctant to leave it despite the dead weight of it. It was a good saddle. Perfect for him but he knew it would get heavier with each foot step.

‘Pity to leave ya like this.’

He started along the bank. With luck he might make some distance before dusk. Every step took him closer to what? He’d know that when he got there.

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Burton & Piazzolla

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I’ve written about Gary Burton before: https://topoet.ca/2015/06/08/gary-burton/ so won’t repeat much of that – a fascinating career arc that has produced a range of amazing music. His work with Piazzola is superb.

mirror02His work with Chick Corea includes Crystal Silence: a meditative, soothing, healing and sometimes playful set of duets I play twice in a row to get the most out of it. The holds true for his duets with guitarist Ralph Towner on Matchbook. The pieces on both set the mind drifting. Sound quality is superb as well.mirror03

The mp3 collection has some of this work with Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Ralph Towner, & Astor Piazzolla. Each quite different – playful & delicate with Corea; jazzier with Metheny; dreamy & relaxing with Towner; sultry & latino tangos with Piazzolla. Burton was always a fine supporting play & a tasteful lead – he never out shone those he dueted with.nowgreen

Also in the mp3 collection is work by Lito Vital: romantic latino; Gismomti: superb guitar & fun latino; Gerry Mulligan playing with Piazzolla is a delight. Finally as a contrast Weather Report: Mysterious Traveller: one of my top 100 jazz lps of all time.sample

Sound Stone

‘No thanks,’ I mumbled.

A gradual silence rippled out from around me till the whole room was quieted. Even the harsh hip hop crackling from the broken sound system seemed to drop in volume.

‘No thanks?’ Mary turned and shouted the rest people in the room. ‘Anti-stone alert!’

This was greeted by  guffaws. The room babble slowly returned to it’s former pitch.

‘What?’ I asked. ‘Can’t I be here without getting high with you?’

‘Oh yeah sure honey.’ Mary purred as she leaned toward me, ‘I don’t give a shit.’ She stepped to the centre of the room. ‘But I’ll have to see what the others think.’

‘That is if they can think.’

‘Ooh temper temper. Sarcasm is the dullard’s defence.’ she chided me.

‘You use it so well.’

‘Not as well as you do,’ someone laughed from behind me.

‘Child either you are with us or you are aren’t. It is pretty simple. This is the Brotherhood …’

‘ … and Sisterhood,’ a female slurred out from another dark corner.

The stereo cut out. Through the broken window I could hear rain, cars, sirens, barking dogs. Was this pulse the next cut starting up?

‘Yeah … and Sisterhood of the Stone. No one sits here at this time of night without being a part of it. A complete part of it. Dig. Or do you want to become one of those conformists out there? Safe. Secure. Clean. Tight assed conformists.’

Someone handed her the tube and a lighter. She held one end of the tube close to my ear.  As she flicked the flame under it the resin in the end of it popped sharply. She drew deep breath in the other end. She handed the tube to the next person.

‘Conformity?’ I mused. ‘Conform with the pathetic rat race out there or conform with the people in here. Some choice.’

‘Babe,’ Mary exhaled the bitter smoke, her fingers toying with my zipper. ‘Do you know what you are turning down.’

‘Do you know what you are turning down?’ I kissed her and then pushed her away.

The electronic blip exploded into a shattered jumble of tones. I headed for the door. ‘Maybe there is no lesser of two evils.’

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Take 5 #Brubeck

Brubeck brought small combo jazz into the mainstream, much like Ellington did with big band swing, but small combo was probably a harder sell with its smokey basement room club sensibility. As a kid I remember hearing Take 5 as theme music for some Canadian TV show. That lp, Time Out, was one of the first real jazz lp’s I picked up. I dig those syncopations & grooved on Desmond’s ultra dry sax.

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I eventually added lps Time Further Out, Time In. The ‘Out’ I have as stand alone. ‘In’ is part of an mp3 collection with other Brubeck’s. These are timeless jazz classics. They made me a fan of Desmond (more about him when I get to D). The scandal of replacing him with Gerry Mulligan still bubbles up in jazz today. Mulligan is great but quite different & the Brubeck work with him is different too – blusier.

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black box crossing

At one time I had the 45 of Brubeck’s Mr Broadway theme which shows up on the Lp Impression of New York. Which is on the mp3 collection along with Storyville: a fine live lp. Gone With The Wind: Camptown Races anyone? Digs Disney: frisky fun but not risky. Jazz Impressions of NY/ Jazz Impressions of Japan: this is a fine pair of lps, stretching the group into fresh tempos & exploring show tune or koto rhythms. Bach: this a much later work which shows the depth of Brubeck’s piano playing technique.

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nano snacking

He recorded extensively & in many settings, from duets with Desmond, big band, symphonic & solo. The stand alone Young Lions & Old Tigers has him working with the likes of Roy Hardgrove, Joshua Redman, George Shearing etc with a great set of timeless jazz. I think one of the reasons his work remains timeless is that he resisted the rock-fusion of the 70 & 80 & stuck to his more traditional roots. Traditional but never passe.

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Devour

“There comes a time in everyone’s life when changes must be made.”

Tanya Devour sniggered at the sign over the mirror. The girls were to stop there for one last glance before they hit the stage. The only thing she’d change in her life now was the number of steps from the dressing room to the stage. Save her legs a bit of travel.

‘Yeah Tanya! Devour us!’

Two tables of college boys greeted her as she stepped in to the spotlight. The lights dimmed and she went through the motions of her number. She plied her trade. What a turn of phrase. Sweat dripped down her back. The music creaked out of the speakers. She moved on all fours to one of the stage side tables to allow the men there a closer look, a whiff of her perspiration, a brisk touch of her flesh as they stuffed fives into her bra, her waist band. Good thing she had gone for the extra strong elastic. Saved her a fortune in replacement, that did. Bungee cords would be next to keep what she kept on on.

She strode to centre stage and bent with her butt pointed at the table of college boys.

‘Yeah, Tanya. Come over for a drink.’ The boys exploded into raucous laughter.

A drink! that would be a change, too. Not that she had ever wanted to have a drink with any of the yahoos who had become her fans. Her feet ached, there was the buzz of pain in her left calf that had persisted for the last week or so.

‘Good house,’ Triple D Cadadad adjusted her D’s in the mirror.

‘Same as always. Those footballers from U of G are here again.’

‘Yeah heard ‘em. It’s only you they come for.’

‘It’ll be a cold day in hell before any of them come for me.’

They laughed.

‘Can’t get over it Tanya.’

‘Over what?’

‘Honey you ain’t no big gal like me. What do they see in you?’

‘Their cocks.’ Tender Trap called over.

‘Oh yeah. Fat chance. Well I gotta get changed.’ Tanya pulled her stilettos off and walked to the dressing room.

Six other performers were there in various stage of readiness. Any of them could have gone on just as they were she thought. No one cares what you got on only what you got off so they can get off.

She pulled a bill from her g-string. It was a hundred, a c note! Well someone must have liked her after all. The sign of a real fan who wanted to put his mouth where his money was.

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September 9, Wednesday – Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam – season 2 kick off – 7:30 p.m. The Supermarket – 268 Augusta Avenue, Toronto. I’ll be back in the judge’s seat 🙂

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October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

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November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

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