Goodman & Giants Of Jazz

When I lived in Cape Breton, the east coast the sources of music were limited. One that I came to rely on was Time-Life. I subscribed to their Giants of Jazz series of box sets. Each box was 3 lps with a well researched booklet. The music was sourced from original whoever possible, sometimes from 78s transferred. They cleaned up the sound as best they could. It was a way of accessing music I would never have discovered.  

I have many of the releases & always looked forward to them arriving every other month. Now I have them as lps to cd transfers – which in a way undoes their careful clean up of surface noise 🙂 So I received a good grounding in Big Band era music. One Giant of Jazz was Benny Goodman. It’s easy to forget that big bands were the rock groups of their era. No TV, only radio & films. The movie studios created short features of big bands doing a couple of numbers which are clearly the origins of music videos. But radio was the big promotional tool. Goodman was a superstar.

 

This compilation has the hits i.e. Sign Sing Sing & much more. His band was fully integrated – a rarity at the time – featuring greats such as Mary Lou Williams & Charlie Christian. He was a quiet revolutionary. Goodman is a good place to start exploring this era’s music.

 

Another Giants of Jazz is The Guitarists. It compiles work that features guitar (gasp!) by Lonnie Johnson, Teddy Bunn, Dick McDonough, Eddie Durham, Carmen Mastren, Carl Kress, Eddie Lang, Django Reinhardt, & Charlie Christian. Many were acoustic but Christian was an early electric guitar player – think Wes Montgomery not Jimi Hendrix 🙂

All were highly influential on the acceptance of guitar as being as effective as sax or clarinet in the big band setting & also lead to the near domination of guitar in pop music. Of these players Django Reinhardt is my particular favourite. Yes, guitar was well featured in pop music well before Keith Richard’s first power chords.

Levitation

Tom panned the camera slowly up and down the unconscious form on the bed. Frank had insisted that they record as many details as they could before the boy came to. 

There was band of  white feathers tied around his left leg. On his upper right arm was another band of feathers, only these were black. There was also a band of yellow and green beads wrapped around his cock and balls. The paint smeared on his torso was powdery yet none of it brushed off onto the bedding. 

‘Turn him over.’ Tom whispered. He stepped back to refocus the camera.

Frank gingerly put his hands on the prone form. The flesh was warm, wet. Paint came off on his hands.

‘How?’ he held his hands up. ‘On me but not on the sheets?’

Tom shrugged. ‘Turn him over.’

The boy’s body rolled over easily. His back was streaked with the same colors with a large, black zig zag circle at the base of his spine.

‘Tattoo?’ Tom asked as he brought the lens closer to the marking. He brushed it with one finger. The paint smeared, stained his finger, as the paint had done to Frank’s hand.

‘Roll him back.’

Tom put down the camera and went to the bathroom to wash his hand. Frank joined him.

‘Sleeping beauty was here to protect us?’

The colors wouldn’t come off in the hot water; wouldn’t come off when they rubbed their hands on a towel.

They returned to the bed. The teen remained motionless. Breathing lightly with his arms stretched stiffly at his side.

‘What should we do?’

‘Let try  – what was the name he told us to call him, Tango?’

‘Mambo.’

‘Right. Mambo. Mambo.’ Frank gently shook the boy by the shoulder. ‘Mambo we need your help. We need your protection.’

The form on the bed shook violently. A jet of very yellow urine spurted out of him. It stank.

‘PU. God. What do these kids drink anyway?’

Mambo’s eyes opened wide. His fingers stretched till the bones cracked as his body levitated a couple of feet over the bed.

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every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
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September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

2020

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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Gismonti Glaspar

A pair of opposites sit side-by-side on my jazz shelf – first is Egberto Gismonti – I have a cassette of  Works; stand alone cds: In Montreal; Infancia. Plus he appears on many many EMC records as a sideman. He is a sublime, imaginative Latin jazz acoustic guitarist – similar to Ralph Towner but with a more emotional style.

Works is a sampling of his other ECM recordings; on Live in Montreal he plays with bassist Charlie Haden. Tasty but never dull duets that push each player to greater creativity. Infancia is a group recording with synthesizers & cello in the mix. Experimental without being jarring, meditative without being boring. Superb music.
Beside him is Robert Glaspar: with his Trio: Canvas; with others is Double Booked; and his Miles Davis repurposed (as MP3) is Everything’s Beautiful. This is cutting edge jazz piano. Propulsive, sometimes dissonant & always inventive. The cds are mostly originals with some fun covers: i.e. Herbie Hancock’s Butterfly.

 

Everything’s Beautiful is a mix of re-mixing, sampling, a dash of hip-hop, rap in his reimagining of Miles Davis; Davis was so experimental & still remains modern, that it at first seemed pointless to update him, as it were. I enjoy what Glaspar does but I find him too deconstructive as opposed to revelatory. Davis may have inspired some of these pieces but the samples & inspiration become lost in the mix. Check it out on youtube before you splurge 🙂

Arts und Krafts

Kind readers one thing that I neglected to mention in my wee report yesterday was the Arts und Krafts display at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral’s Fun Fair. Like many of you I have seen my share of knitted booties for rifle stocks and candle holders made out of moose dung but there were some very fine pieces from the near by College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers of Palmixalitato County.

I am well aware of the rivalry that has been going on between the students in that county and our own but remember we did trounce them the last three years in the Provincial Open Court Peach Pit Curling Play Off. So we can afford to allow them to excel at something and excel they did at the Fun Fair.

There were many charming crystallized bones pieces from the Anatomy of Design classes there. I was particularly taken by the crystallized moose bone reproductions of the Departments of the Cross that one Leslie Ann Marie Betty McDellon had created.

I can’t imagine what sort of skill it takes to do such fine work but I can certainty respect the work that it took.

Also many were charmed by the spiderwood furniture Gregh O’Treple has wrought there. A sturdy eight legged rocking chair with a fine webbed seat and back was very comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. He hopes to follow in the family footsteps and may be opening his own furniture and restraints shoppe right here in Crab Apple Corners. He will surely be missed in Palmixalitato County. But their misery is always our gain.

Another feature of the Fun Fair that cannot be neglected was the food pavilion. Over 20,000 were seated at one time for a fine feeding of Trish Creamly’s delicious sprung bark toffee pie. Trish you have out done yourself this year. Just save that recipe for my wedding reception. I know if you keep your hands on the crust you’ll keep them off my man – just kidding folks.

The children at the Fun Fair were also treated to a production by the local Armature Theatre Guild. They performed tragic scenes from various plays. The beheading of John the Baptist brought the crowd to their feet and kudos must go to Hank Grebly who did a fine job in the title role of that piece.

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returning every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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Fambrough, First House and Jazz Psychedelia

Some jazz is defined by the record label. One knew what to expect from Riverside, World Pacific, Blue Note, ECM or CTI. Each presented different niches of jazz. Though sometimes there would a slight step into one another territory.

I have a stand-alones two Charles Fambrough: The Charmer; The Proper Angle both on CTI (Creed Taylor) – I bought is at a dollar store for a dollar each. I late found out that CTI went out business & thus their stock was sold off & some of it ended up in dollar stores as opposed to record stores. I also picked up some Larry Coryell as a result of this sell off. I later saw the Fambrough at full price at HMV.

Anyway the music itself is solid acoustic jazz & so has a timelessness about it. Fambrough plays bass well. His sidemen change from cd to cd but he’s working with top-of-the-line performers. Not overly challenging but definitely not easy listening either. Tasteful & good beginner listening jazz.

I have this stand-alone by a British group I’d never heard of before: First House: Erendira on ECM – there was time I’d buy anything on ECM. The label specialized in chamber jazz – slightly experimental work by the likes Keith Jarrett, Jackie DeJohnette & many many others. All of which I loved & still enjoy a lot. So I wasn’t really taking a chance on First House. The music is progressive jazz with a few dissident moments making a bit more challenging that a lot fo EMV releases. I picked up 2nd hand & am happy whenever it comes up my play rotation.

Finally some lp to cd transfer of a pair of World Pacific lps that I bought on the east coast as delete at Zeller’s or Woolco.  Eddie Fisher Quintet: The First Cup; Wilbert Longmire: Revolution. Both of these guitarists blend jazz, soul, blues, funk and a touch of psychedelia in originals & cover versions of late 60’s hits. Longmire does a sweet version of the Beatles’ Revolution. Both verge on instrumental but their guitar playing elevates them beyond lounge. Think Wes Montgomery but funkier.

Monitor

With a sweep of her hand windows around her shattered into tiny fragments. Not shards, not cracking, creaking but crumbling into a coarse ground glass like diamonds. She turned several times, fingers open wide, arm muscles bulging, the veins standing out along  her wrist and the back of her hand.

‘You see!’ she stopped as suddenly as she had started. ‘To resist is futile.’

‘To capitulate is equally as futile.’

‘Then you leave me no alternative.’

She clapped her hands together. With each clap the sound became deeper. Blood spurted from ears and noses to mix the with the ground glass.

‘I have only just begun.’ She walked a few steps to the front of the embankment. The water in the stream began to ripple faster. ‘You have no way to resist. Why not capitulate. No harm can come of it.’

‘This is harm enough. Cease or be ceased.’ A fist raised up to her. Frail and pale. The veins blue and thin under the skin. The fingers slowly opened. One by one. Each with a small creak. In the palm was a pink stone.

‘Ho ho.’ She reached out to it. ‘You have The Pink. You think that can help you.’

The stone leapt into the air before her. She reached out and crushed it.

‘You see! You all see! You have no defence against me. You have wasted your strength on useless resistance. It is hardly worth my effort now to conquer.’

She rubbed the palm of her hand against her cloak. It stung where The Pink had been crushed. Where she rubbed left a thin blood print.

‘It will not even be worth my while to monitor your obedience.’ Her breath became short.

‘What?’ She moved unsteadily toward the stream.

She stopped and spread open her palms. ‘Oh you fools! Fools. You attempt this little ploy.’

She spat on the red boundary of the crushed Pink. It became blue. The small shards of the pink danced out of her skin. her breathe became normal. She laughed.

‘Such a foe. Such a puny foe.’

Her laughter rocked through the very soil, buildings crumbled, became dust as her body floated into the air.

‘Farewell.’

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every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked) capfireslam.org 

September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

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Larry Coryell

Larry Coryell is well represented in my collection with: The Restful Mind, Offering, The Real Great Escape, Spaces, Spaced Revisited, w/Monk, Eleventh House, Escape, Two For The Road, The Lion, Fallen Angel – by no means an exhausted collection but enough for me 🙂

He rode in on the first wave of jazz-rock fusion with his Eleventh House group that featured, at various points, Chick Corea, Steve Marcus, Billy Cobham even even John McLaughlin. The albums weren’t as futuristic as Weather Report nor as challenging as say Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew – but they were inventive & accessible.

I had some musical friends in Cape Breton who were fans of his – he was a guitarist’s guitarist. I certainly enjoyed him & the various permutations of his recordings in this period. Some acoustic duets, one with him singing as he attempted a great chart break through – which never happened. I had enough off his material by the time I moved to TO & didn’t add much new until a stumbled across some cassettes of his later CTI work in a dollar store for a dollar. His sound had matured but had taken on a more Wes Montgomery m.o.r feel & I wasn’t compelled to add more as a result.

In the mix with the mp3 sets is a load of Les Baxter: pure cocktail exotica one can’t enough of. Some great work by Coryell’s sidemen – who had careers of their own: Billy Cobham; Steve Marcus (fantastic jazz sax covers of things like 8 Miles High); Steve Smith w/ Marcus. And a dash of real exotica with Echun Okiry: a authentic & hypnotic Voodoo ritual set (not trance inducing: one needs swamp mist for that).

52

Would you say that 52 years is a long time or just time enough for: a glimpse of what life has to offer? That age thing – when is old old? To the young everything is old but what is old to me? I lack clear awareness of this as being middle or whatever aged.

I suppose with a rather young boyfriend it’s easier for me to lose context of age. Limp Bisket or the Beatles – music doesn’t help much – I can see John Lennon the same age forever, Jim Morrison never ages, neither does Jimi Hendrix – such a blessing to be trapped in celluloid.

I’ve come this far safe sound healthy alert and happy.

I remember reading a short story many years ago, I must have been in my mid-twenties. The writer wrote about his affair with an older woman – he was 19 & made that very clear from the outset. I saw this older woman as in her early 50’s – I guess that was my sense of older – at some point he mentions she was turning 30! Since when was that old?

Here I sit like many others on a birthday. Looking over my garden and not Tinturn Abbey (I should look that poem up and see what it tells me about being 30). The garden grows and changes in ways that I enjoy, that I attempt small control over by putting seeds here, paving stones there – but the motions of life will do what is to be done regardless or in spite of my little attempts to direct it. Forget-me-nots spring up where there never were any.

Seeds planted last summer finally germinate. Pests dig up, snail munch away, growth doesn’t happen or goes boing!! Like the wisteria – a few tidy trims this spring and this year a vine like I’ve never had before.

I’ve learned to let life take it’s little changes and balances with me as well. Letting go, cutting off areas that needs to be trimmed back, empty drawers of aging scrap paper that hasn’t been used as scrap in the ten, or is it twenty-five years I’ve had it stashed away for that rainy day.

Let go and get on with it.

A few cards, snail & electronic, trickle in. New shoes this afternoon to replace a pair I bought years ago in Montreal. Almost unwilling to let go of them though the soles have let go of the uppers – you know a dab of the right glue would give them another ten years of life, wouldn’t it.

No.

Today is a day for something new not something saved. A day to donate that growing pile of clothes in the closet so make space for the next growing pile of clothes. To plant a few more seeds, it’s never too late for another flower, for another lover, for another spin.

Miracles happen. This in mine. Grateful to age and stunned to be alive this brief span.

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meandchap

kiss314257567_1162384753819933_3271661288579707843_oon going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

June 9-10: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 – flight & hotel booked already

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check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already

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November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

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