Herbie Hancock

By Herbie Hancock I have, in a couple of mp3 collections: Maiden Voyage 1965/ Blow Up 1966 / Jazz Africa 1986/ Village Life 1985/ Round Midnight 1986/ VSOP 1977/ Sextant 1973/ Thrust 1974/Future Shock 1983/ Sound System 1984. As stand-alones I have: Head Hunters 1973, In Concert with Chick Corea 1978, Dis is Da Drum 1994, The New Standards 1996, 1+1 with Wayne Shorter 1997, Directions in Music 2002, The Joni Letters 2007.

So I am a bit of fan but not as compulsive as I was about Coltrane. Hancock’s career spans decades (from the 50’s to now), genres, styles & fads. The early work is impeccable, tasteful acoustic jazz piano in various groupings. His early solo work is inventive, melodic & not overly aggressive. His work with Miles Davis is equally as strong, even when he solos with Davis he is in the background. He was never a keyboard show-off.

Then came fusion which was pretty much launched by Miles Davis’s monumental Bitch’s Brew. Hancock played with Davis but does not appear on the Brew recordings. Brew resulted in a jazz/rock fusion explosion with amazing work by John Mclaughlin, Larry Coryell, Chick Corea, Weather Report & of course Hancock. While the bulk of these musicians stuck to their jazz roots Hancock went further & further & ended up deep in electronica – some of his lps were called sound effects by reviewers at the time. This is when I started listening to him 🙂 The first might have been Sextant, which I still find hypnotic.

Unlike some of the other fusioniers he never got caught up in eastern mysticism instead he went back to his African roots for some excellent lps. His pop MTV break through was Rockit where he explored, the then state of the art dj scratching & other hip-hop recording techniques – programmed beats & the like. This lead to This Is The Drum with experiments in sampling, mixed with his funky jazz which were, to my ear, highly successful.

He didn’t abandon ‘pure’ jazz & released great work with V.O.S.P & duets with Chick Corea. Playful & worth tracking down. He then returned to a more traditional sound with The New Standards, & 1+1 with Wayne Shorter. Sweet evocative & kind of sexy. The most recent piece I have, a gift from a friend, is The Joni Letters – this is a tasteful & intense set of  jazz explorations of Joni Mitchell. A remarkable album by a musician who was always unafraid of exploration & challenging himself.

Sunday Drive

“You aren’t the boss of me.” How many times did I yell that at my stupid brother before he smacked me?

“I may not be the boss of you, but my hands are. So shut the fuck up, or we won’t go the beach again.”

I sat in the back seat of the car, pulled myself into a corner and glared at him.

“And if you are thinking of telling Dad – think again – because I know what you did.”

“I didn’t do anything.”

“Prove it.” My brother smiled over his shoulder.

“Just because you are two years older than me & can drive the car, doesn’t give you …”

“I said shut the fuck up. Or I’ll … lock you in the cabin for the day. At least I’m taking you out to the beach. What more do you want.”

“When did Dad say you could take the car?”

“He said I could drive it as long as I stick to the private road to the lake. I’ll do that.” He stopped to turn around to swing at me again. “If you just shut the fuck up.”

I yanked the car door open and ran down the dirt road.

“Where do you think you’re going? There’s no where to run to you little twerp.”

It didn’t take him long to catch me. Him the sixteen year old football hero. Me the runty little brother. Sometimes people didn’t believe we were brothers, we were so different. Him big bulky. Me small pale. I’d rather read but was always forced to go with him even when he didn’t want to take me. Going to the beach was his idea.

He had me in a head lock and was dragging me back to the car.

“You fucking little shit head. I’m not going to put up with this all weekend. I told Dad not to send you up here, but no he though it would you good to get out of the house for awhile. You little prick. Now if you don’t behave I’ll have to … tie you up & lock you in the trunk.”

I wriggled out of his sweaty arms. “You aren’t the boss of me. Just leave me here. I can find my way back to the cabin. I don’t want to go the beach while you mope around with those ugly girls from Peter’s Point anyway.”

“Good. I’ll leave you here.”

He got back in the car and drove down the lane. He stuck his head out the window. “By the way the cabin is locked. Have fun. Fuck head.” 

He drove away. I squeezed the spare key to the cabin in my pocket.

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every Tuesday 2019

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

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

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Jazz Hams

I didn’t realize how much Chico Hamilton I had in my mp3 collection. Scattered over various complications I have The Dealer; El Chico; Man From Two Worlds; The Further Adventures of El Chico; Easy Livin’; A Different Journey; and as stand-alone the Quintet Complete.

Chico was a much sought master percussionist who recorded thousands of tracks with too many jazz greats to list. Mostly notably (to me) Gabor Szabo. He also led various groups of his own. He could be understated or dominating depending on what he was called to do. Latin, swing, modern, experimental – he did it all. His group recordings are solid bop work, his many recordings with Szabo are worth seeking out.

Close to him on the shelf is the BlueNote compilation: Heros of The Hammond. Tracks selected from their immense back catalogue of work by Jimmy McGriff, ‘Bother’ Jack McDuff & others, this is an excellent introduction to jazz organ. Some in the Jimmy Smith mode, others Booker T. I love this organ sound that lead to the fun farfisa sound of garage rock & the progressive rock of ELP.

Next is an lp to cd transfer of Lionel Hampton’s Steppin’ Out. He played a very swinging jazz vibraphone and his recordings are endless as band leader & sideman. Equally at home in big and or small combos his playing is lively & tasteful. Steppin’ Out is no exception & makes a good start if you are unfamiliar with this subgenera or if you’ve only heard Gary Burton’s more modern/experimental work.

Fool

The boots had been the the back of the closet. I hadn’t cleaned here is some time, at least that’s what the layer of dust accused me of not doing. I recognized the boots instantly.

Calf-high cowboy boots. Tan leather with some deep red scroll fan-like inserts. Heels well worn, one toe scuffed. Dave had worn these daily for months. How could he have left these when he moved out? How could I have missed them till now?

I brushed the dust off them. My cleaning stopped dead in its tracks. I took them into the kitchen to clean them better. The leather was stiff and dry but a little dubbin could bring it back to life. 

Dave. Dave. Dave. Where are you now? I never really understood what went wrong. At the moment I saw the sense but now, looking back, it made no sense at all.

Impulsively I pulled the boots on. His feet were a size smaller than mine, but these were always big on him. Maybe that’s why he left them behind. The calf of the boot was tight, the ankle tighter, but I forced my toes past instep and they were on. Tight. My baby toes pained.

Dave’s boots! He never would have let me wear them when he was around. I took a few unsteady steps. The heels made me inches taller and the smooth soles slid on the floor. I could walk in them, but not far, unless I wanted to have my big toe and little toe surgically removed.

I went to the study and found the photo album of our trip through the desert and the dude ranch we stayed at for a couple of weeks. The first summer. God, Dave you were a gorgeous man. Ah, there are those boots, too. You were so proud of them. City boy gets his first cowboy boots.

There we are at the waterfall outside of Pikesville. Sex there was wild. Afraid some tourist family would pull up. Mom, Pop, Sis and Junior would catch these buck naked bare-ass guys in a frenzy under the crashing water. No one caught us though.

That summer was so sweet.

I tottered back the the kitchen.

‘Boots, you are heading the way of all trash.’

I sat on a kitchen chair and began to pull. It was as if the boot was glued to my foot. I first tried one then the other. Permanently attached to my feet. I yanked and struggled but neither would budge more than a scant nano-inch and ripped at the skin on the back of my ankle. I’d need to have my heel removed to get them off. Scissors? Cut them off? 

What a fool I was to let you go, Dave. What a fool. 

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every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

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

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Offenbach Orff

I had an lp to cd transfer of Jacques Offenbach’s  Overtures that I finally replaced with an mp3 download. It leads off an over 7 hour collection of music. I enjoy the Overtures but have refrained from his operettas, some of which I did see in my teens. My musical knowledge isn’t all the extensive so I’m not if all the overtures are for actual operas or merely suites. Pleasant & melodious.

I did see Carl Orff’s Orpheus once & have added that to this cd. Not as rhythmic as his Trionfi, which contains the choral warhorse Carmina Burana – if you think you don’t know it trust me you’ve heard sections of this choral work in hundreds of movies. I have this complete on a stand-alone cd. Great choral work.

I’ve also included mp3s of Richard Strauss’s orchestral suites from Don Juan, Macbeth, Tod und Verklärung. Emotional, almost suffocating and great for writing break-up scenes. Suites from actual operas. 

To lighten things up I added the Vivaldi String Orchestra’s The Four Seasons. I heard this in our car driving to Stratford one year & the engineering was stunning & the playing was so energetic I had to have yet another recording of the Season. It made sense to me to include Moe Koffman’s Four Seasons – this is an excellent jazz interpretation that everyone should have.

Finally because of the ‘plucky’ work by the Vivaldi String Orchestra I added the Taka Koto Ensemble which includes their variations on the Seasons plus new & traditional Japanese music for the koto. Another piece of music worth searching out if you haven’t heard it. 

Fresh

The first rake after winter was one of my favourite days of the year. Even with some snow still here and there, the true warmth of spring had began to seep into the ground. Crocus tips were showing and soon flowers would be popping up. Without the tips I probably wouldn’t have remembered where I planted the bulbs in the fall.

The rake loosened the snow crushed grass and I could see some hints of the first green of lawn at the roots. The smell of stale earth was welcome.

‘How’s it coming?’ Bill from next door asked from his front walk.

‘Good. I guess. I just hope those squirrels don’t go on the same rampage they did last year. Still haven’t found way to keep them at bay.’

‘Fresh garlic?’

‘Only works for vampire squirrels.’

He laughed and went into his house. 

I had a dirty black-brown pile of leaves and twigs. Next task was to bag that mound to make space for the next mound. Wasn’t too bad. I’d put the chicken wire back down over the major beds. That had been the most effective deterrent that I had found. Even kept the birds from seeds. 

The afternoon sun felt good. Once I was done in the front yard I would go to the back. It was always more of a challenge. First to get the banks of snow along the shadow side of the fence – I’d dig them out into the sun. Distribute that wet more evenly as well or I’d have a swamp by the composter.

I’d only given the back a quick glance but even there I saw the welcome signs of growth. Plants couldn’t wait, could they? Once the temperature was right, they were so eager to wake up.

Funny, for me when the temperature was right I just wanted to curl up and sleep a little longer. 

Ah well, that’s the way of the world. First I’d see the front yard looked tidy and then that backyard morass.

Seed catalogues flipped open in my mind to all the wonderful things I could plant, things that I had tried but which never really looked like the photos. I guess I needed to be a camera man and not a gardener to get the garden I dreamed of.

‘Phone for you, Dave.’ My partner Dan poked his head out the front door. ‘Sounds important.’

That much I figured, as he usually would just let me putter and take a message.

‘Keep your eye on that pile.’ I said as I went to the house. Last year someone had walked off with my rake when I was inside, so now we joked about anything left out front.

‘What about the squirrels?’

‘If anyone wants to steal them, they are welcome to them.’

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every Tuesday 2019

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

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

October

Stratford Festival – The Crucible

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

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

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Stephane Grappelli Hall

I think the first lp I bought by Stephane Grappelli was the double set Satin Doll. I loved his playful, soulful tonality & the range of his music tastes. Never adventurous but never boring. He is a jazz master for sure. In my collection I have Stephanova, Live, 1971, Hommage a Django, Satin Doll, Duet with Menuhin 2 cds, Romouski 94. Some as stand alones, some at lp to cd transfers & some as mp3. All worth listening to.

The mp3 collection also includes some great tango work: Gotan Project: La Revacha Del Tango. Grand Salon Orchestra: Tango’s. Gotan is a more modern take on tango while Grand Salon is traditional. Both are fun. 

With them is Chile’s Los Jaivas: Alturas De Manchu Picchu; Aconcagua – this is latino progrock – a fine delightful mash up of folk, jazz, rock that is worth seeking out. Finally a pair of lps by Cacho Tirao: Guitarra, Imágenes – this is splendid latino guitar, a little experimental but beautiful & transporting.

Nearby on the jazz shelf is a stand-alone by guitarist Jim Hall: Concierto. A jazz standard is Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, a classical piece for guitar, that countless musicians from Miles Davis to Emerson Lake & Palmer, have reinterpreted. Hall’s take is sweet thanks to Don Sebesky’s arrangement. Joining him are legendary Chet Baker & Paul Desmond.

Empty

Mark stepped on something. A harsh crack and an echo.

‘What was that?’ he stooped to see what he had crushed. A small silver bead. Glass. ‘Wonder what it was?’

‘Christmas beads, you know those strings for around the tree. When I was unpacking it to repack it, it broke. Beads all over the place.’

‘Not hard to visualize this place as full. Table, chairs, bed.’ Mark walked over to where the bed had been. The floor was scratched in the four spots where the legs had rubbed back and forth. ‘There’ll be something off the damage deposit for this.’

‘Honourably earned after years of use. And I don’t mean single occupancy either.’

There were lighter spots along the wall, where the various paintings and pictures had been. Different sizes and shapes. Peeling wall paper along wall near the bottom of a door that the cat had taken a dislike to it.

‘What happened to the cat?’

‘New home. Ginger was the first thing out of here in fact. He’s adjusted. Takes a while.’

Mark sniffed. ‘Don’t smell much of the cat here now. Good thing. That always makes it harder to rent.’

‘I suppose. Here are the keys. You have my number if there’s anything.’

‘Yeah. You did an okay job clearing out.’

‘As best as I could bother doing. Not really my responsibility is it? I’m not sure what to do about the crap on the balcony though. Gardening stuff.’

‘He liked to garden. I’ll see if the other’s tenants may want some of it. Those big pots looks useful.’

‘I was wondering …’

‘What?’

‘If I could be here a few minutes. Alone. Now that it’s empty of everything I want to just be here. Bare walls & dust. The door’ll lock behind me when I leave.’

‘Okay.’ Mark left. Strange notion but after years of being super here he’d seen his share of strange notions. What did the guy expect to get in an empty room? A chill. No ghosts here.

New tenants were already lined up. The waiting list was long. It was a big bachelor, could be made into a one bedroom easily enough. Might think on that. Raise the rent too, without having to do much work. 

Shame though, the guy that lived here had been such a good old guy. One of the long term residents. But when death comes it makes room for the next tenant.

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every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Joy of Jobim

Antonio Carlos Jobim is considered an elder statesman of Brazilian jazz – though in Brazil, samba, bossa nova were considered street music they became jazz in the USA & hence in the rest of the world. Best know for his his breakthrough recording with Stan Getz, Jobim is more than a fine guitarist. As stand alone’s in my pop collection I have his Echoes of Rio, Rio Revisited (with Gal Costa), Jazz Masters. Sure it is easy listening but well worth it & perfect for quiet nights of quiet stars.

Not quite next on the shelf is an mp3 collection of Joy of Cooking. Here is their First & Closer To The Ground. Folk-jazz with sweet harmonies and congas – nearly very song is propelled by the pitter-pat of congas. The songs are romantic, feminist & easy on the ear. The First was a moderate ‘hit.’ Joy of Cooking was an unusual example of a late 60’s rock band fronted by women.

When Joy broke up the women worked together on Toni Brown & Terry Garthwaite: Cross Country. This is more country blues folk. Solo Terry Garthwaite released Terry – an amazing jazzy rock album that I consider a hidden treasure & it is well worth hunting down.

Also in this mp3 collection I added Cass Elliot: Dream A Little Dream; Bubble Gum, Lemonade. Cass never regained the momentum of her Mama & Papas days. The production on these lps is merely adequate & the songs lack energy & focus. There are few good tracks mind you, but over all she needed a stronger musical guide as she has one of the great rock voices.

Also in here is Kathi McDonald’s Insane Asylum. Why didn’t she become a huge star? This is one of the best Canadian albums ever with great songs i.e. Bogart to Bowie is amazing. Kathi can sing the pants off nearly any female vocalist out there & probably teach the guys a few things too. A hidden treasure worth seeking out.

Wait there’s more. To balance all these female voices I added The Association: And Then … Along Comes the Association – an immensely popular mid-60’s group that was never taken serious because of their success. Complex harmonies, some stunning production & songs that will live on forever. And finally Candymen: The Candymen – power driven 60’s garage rock of the best kind.

Brother

‘What do you mean, your brother? You never mentioned a brother before.’

‘Well I’m mentioning him now.’

‘And he’ll be here for supper? Tonight!’

‘That’s right. We can order pizza. He loves pizza. Save you cooking.’

‘That’s not the problem.’

‘There’s a problem?’

‘Damn rights there is. I’ve known you how long now?’

‘Five years.’

‘Right, and we’ve been living together for the last three and now you tell me you have  a brother?’

‘Didn’t seem like a thing to tell. There’s lots of things we don’t know about each other.’

‘Yes, but not something this big. How could you not mention a brother to me? How?’

‘I guess it never came up. You never asked if I had siblings.’

‘It’s not the sort of thing one asks about. It’s the sort of thing that comes up, in conversation.’

‘That conversation never came up then. Christ. I’m sorry I never told you I had a brother. Is that what you wanted, an apology?’

‘I just want to know why you’ve never told me. Didn’t you trust me?’

‘Oh, now it’s a trust thing. I told you, I never thought him important enough to talk about. Lots of things are like that. He didn’t seem relevant to our relationship.’

‘Till now.’

‘Yeah, till now. He’s in town for the week-end and wants to meet you.’

‘So, he knows about me?’

‘Of course. Everybody knows about us.’

‘You’ve talked to this brother about me. How many times?’

‘A couple.’

‘How often do you speak to him?’

‘Once or twice a year since I met you.’

‘Once or twice! What aren’t you telling me? He’s just been let out of prison or something. Is that it?’

‘No. Why? Do you think my family is the criminal type.’

‘Now that I know you’ve got a family it wouldn’t surprise me.’

‘My mom was right you are …’

‘Mom!’

‘What? Didn’t you think I had a mother?’

‘You never mentioned a mother. Or didn’t she ever come up in conversation either?’

‘Christ you are on a tear today. Yes I have a mother. And a father too.’

‘A father! This is going too far. Why have you kept all these secrets from me?’

‘Secrets? How do you think I got here – you didn’t find me under a cabbage leaf. Of course I have parents. Everyone has parents. Don’t they?’

‘I suppose you’re right, but it’s still a shock to find out. You know. A shock that you’ve kept these things from me all this time. First a brother. Then parents. What else have you neglected to tell me. What other dirty dark secrets do you have.’

‘These are not secrets. Just things I didn’t think important enough to bother you with.’

‘So, now I have to face this opportunity to meet your brother, whom I didn’t even know you had. How am I going to do that, how can I admit I never heard of him before. How?’

Echoes of Rio, Rio Revisited, Joy of Cooking, Toni Brown, Terry Garthwaite, Cass Elliot, Kathi McDonald, Insane Asylum, Bogart to Bowie, The Association, The Candymen

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every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

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.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

2020

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

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

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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Horn to Horne

Next are two legendary vocalists. First is Shirley Horn: I have these stand-alone: Loads of Love/With Horns; Jazz ’Round Midnight; Light Out of Darkness. Loads is a pair of her early lps – Loads of Love & Shirley Horn With Horns. Both from 1963 & both delightful but like many female vocalists she was working with producers who saw her as a voice not as a person. The songs are are show tunes or jazz classics like Do It Again, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly. 

Jazz ’Round Midnight is a Verve compilation series that includes this one of her. It repeats some of the Loads tracks. Because of her difficulty is working with producers & studio engineers who knew better than some woman she stepped away from recording for some time. When she did return in 1993 with ‘Light Out Of Darkness’ (a tribute to Ray Charles) she was fully in control as producer & arranger.

This is a great set of Ray Charles songs from Hit The Road Jack to It Isn’t Easy Being Green. Her voice has aged well & her takes on the songs is hers. She doesn’t duplicate the Charles versions but remakes them & makes many of them her own in what feels like an effortless fashion.

Next is Lena Horne – strand alone: The Lady Is A Tramp; tucked into an Mp3 collection: Lena & Gabor: Watch What Happens. I enjoy Lena Horne more for nostalgia than as a singer. She was a trail-blazer for black women in film & was considered a great jazz vocalist but to my ear, she’s no Billie Holliday. Tramp is a compilation of ‘hits’ full of jazz standards. Her work with Gabor Szabo is more jazzy – he is a genius guitarist. Recorded in 1968 it includes unexpected current pop songs i.e Rocky Racoon.

Both are excellent vocalists for starting a jazz singer exploration. I do prefer the 1963 Horn compilation. Though Lena Horne’s work with Szabo is more pop than anything Shirley did. I’m such a big fan of Szabo anything he plays on is worth listening to & he certainly plays well with Lena.

Saggy Baggy

‘Hi.’

‘Hi.’

‘Saw you in here the other day. Last week?’ I added soap to the clothes in the washing machine.

‘I suppose so.’ He leaned against them machine two down from mine. His newspaper vibrating on top if it.

‘Good thing all the machine are working today.’

‘Yep.’ he answered without looking up from his paper.

Baggy saggy ass jeans hugged his hips, waist-band of boxers showed above. Glimpse of flesh where his tight t-shirt had slid up some.

‘You live around here?’ I wanted to keep the conversation going. to get him to look at me so I could see more of his face. 

‘No I take a cab here special cause this is such a friendly laundromat.’

‘Sorry I didn’t mean that to sound like such a line.’

‘Well it did.’ He finally looked up. Little trail of dark hair around his chin & up into his toque. Soul patch under his lip.

I wasn’t sure what to say or do next. I needed more text, a comment that was the right tip-off that took the action somewhere. Not that it could go anywhere outside of the laundromat. As much as I enjoyed the casual then lingering street eye-contact I never felt confident enough to ask it into my home.

I retreated to a chair that allowed me to watch my laundry till the light went off that it was ready for the drier. I did a crossword puzzle. Five-letter word for wet snow.

‘Sorry.’

I glanced up. He stood before me. He scratched his hard, flat stomach inches from my face. I didn’t really want to look up.

‘It’s just that guys are always hitting on me for some reason. I’m not … you know … gay.’

‘Life is like that.’

‘Must be some sort of vibe that I send out. I don’t know. Can’t help being who I am. Can I?’

‘No more than some guys can help being who they are either.’

‘Yeah. Right.’

I expected him to move away but he leaned against the coke machine beside me.

‘Funny world. Takes a lot of getting use to.’ He pulled up his saggy baggy jeans.

‘I don’t think one very gets used to it.’

My machine dinged.

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November 1 -30

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

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A Gaggle of Gs

Moving along the jazz shelf we come to Renaud Garcia-Fons: Entremundo. I read a review of this cd in the Globe & Mail in 2004 & bought it in December of that year. All I remember of the review is that it called the recording ‘ravishing.’ Renaud plays upright-bass & here he is joined by a cadre of inventive players to produce a compelling set of music that transcends genre. Sort of world music with a strong Latin edge with a dash of middle east too. More soothing than challenging this is a great addition to any collection 

 

Erroll Garner’s Concert By The Sea is one of those recordings that shows up in many lists of the greatest 100 jazz recordings. I picked it up on sale at Sam’s back in 1995. Recorded in Carmel, California in 1955 it is a trio set of jazz standards such as Autumn Leaves. More lounge than challenging I enjoyed this set but not enough to seek out more by him. Well worth having though.

Tom van der Geld’s Patience is an lp to cd transfer of this ECM release. A vibraphonist der Geld was a main stay with ECM turning up on many of their amazing recordings with many of their amazing artists. This tight, adventurous without being dissonant. Playful & inviting.

Lisa Gerrard’s Mirror Pool is another cd I picked up after reading a review that said it was deeply spiritual. Again music that defies categorization though it does have a strong middle east feel to it. Gerrard is a member of Dead Can Dance & carries on that band’s mix of cultural & genre blending. Many of the pieces include her singing/chanting in what may be an imaginary language. The music itself is soothing, soaring, evocative & at times cinematic. In fact she does film soundtracks. 

 No Toys

I looked around the living room. No TV! No laptop or desktop! No electronics fo any kind! Not even digital clock! How could anyone live like this. I could hear him in the next room. Maybe he was bringing out the entertainment unit. Yes, that had to be it, kept it in the bedroom and didn’t want to take me there directly for real entertainment.

He came out empty-handed still wearing the pale ash grey sweats he was wearing when we met. He’d put his smart phone away.

‘Please sit down.’ He nodded to the couch while sitting in a wing-chair.

‘Thank you.’ The couch was firm. ‘Nice place you have here.’

‘Rather Spartan for some. But I think of my apartment as my haven, a dome of silence. Most of the time.’

‘Most of the time?”

‘Can’t do much about the neighbours.’

‘Sound proofing?’

‘No. Going too far. I just resisted all those toys so many people use to distract themselves with.’

My heart sank. We would have to make conversation filled with those long silent gaps without even the burble of a TV to fill those spaces. I’d have to count on slamming doors in the hall way or too loud stereos over-head.

‘Have you been living here long?’

‘Yes.’

Oh no, this was going to be a hard one. One word answers didn’t lead anyway where quick.

‘How long?’

‘Long enough.’ He smiled and crossed his legs.

No plants, no books, nothing on the walls, no magazines, not a clue or was this lack of things a clue?

‘Comfortable couch.’ I leaned back.

‘Thanks.’

‘Uh — I like the colour. Calming.’

‘That was the intention. Grey is so non-demanding isn’t it? Can I get you something. A glass of water.’

‘No. I’m fine.’

Again the gloomy silence descended upon us. He look out the window.

‘Nice view.’

‘Yes.’ he replied. ‘I can look out at the city for hours. The distance makes it less demanding. The need to watch is removed. Makes me forget the fact that soon enough I’ll be back out there in the thick of things.’

‘Oh? You work downtown?’

‘No.’

Again the silence.

‘It’s not often I have guests. You’re probably wondering why I asked you here.’

‘No.’ It was my turn for monosyllabic responses.

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

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

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Jan Garbarek and the Windharp

 

Jan Garbarek is another of those jazz players I discovered via ECM. Like many in the ECM stable he was sideman to many & also a solo leader, so I can’t recall where I first heard him. He is a sax player mainly soprano. I have him in various settings. In the collection are as Lp to cd transfers: Esoteric Circle; Dis, Circle; Red Lanta; Red Lanta/Herbie Mann. In an mp3 collection I have Places/In Praise of Dreams w: Eberhard Weber/Parker/Kitaro/El TrioTucked in other mp3 collections is his Dansere; Sol Do Meio Dia. As stand alones I have: Twelve Moons; Officium; Ragas & Sagas

 

Theses range from the free jazz of Esoteric Circles to the meditative Officium. His soaring sax sound is to distinct I can recognize it in works I have never heard before. At once time I would pick up anything he was playing on. Now I suspect I have enough 🙂 His playing is more ‘intellectual’ than swing or bop. He rarely displays the energy of Coltrane but never becomes as sappy as the, to me, unlistenable Kenny G.

 

He is also a master of sonic tapestry as in Dis which features the use of a Wind-harp that is played by gusts of wind coming in from North Sea, creating tones and overtones. How cool is that. On Officium he plays with the classical Hilliard Ensemble, on Ragas & Sagas he is joined by Pakistani musicians.

 

Not all of his work is this conceptual. But he has never been trapped by one genre or texture. Well worth searching out if you are unfamiliar. Dis is a good starting point, as is any of his work with guitarist Ralph Towner. 

Larking About

No one was sure what it meant. The first order larks were positive this was a sign of unwelcome change. The first order robins, on the other talon, were certain that it boded only the best possible opportunities for all the creatures.

‘No. No. No,’ the larks bounced from branch to branch.

‘Yes. Yes. Yes,’ the robins jumped across the ground. ‘We have nothing to fear.’

‘Fear. Fear. Fear,’ the larks insisted. ‘That fear will unravel the nest of our safe lives here. Something must be done.’

‘Nothing must be done.’ the robins replied. ‘Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.’

‘Stop.’ a second string blue jay rasped. ‘This bickering isn’t going to get us anywhere. Does anyone know where it came from.’

‘Cat. Cat. Cat,’ the larks warned and the birds dispersed. 

A quick fragmented scattering of black, red and blue dots lifted into to the air over the trees and settled on higher perches to wait until the cats left.

‘Well. Well,’ the orange cat purred to the grey puss with him ‘We still have our power.’

‘Not all have fled.’ The grey puss looked up into the tree.

‘Ah. A new nest? Let’s investigate.’ the orange cat sprung up. ‘Coming.’

‘No that’s fine. I’ll wait here for you.’

The orange cat clawed up the side of the tree to the branch where the nest was wedged. 

‘It’s not nest. Just some toy that got tossed up into the air and landed here.’ The cat swatted it with his paw. One eye came loose. ‘Teddy bear.’ 

His claw got caught in the string. A tug, two tugs and it was more knotted up. He yanked and the bear came loose and they both fell to the ground.  The grey puss streaked under the gate.

The orange cat shook himself free, paced the yard, rubbed its scent where it was fading and curled up under the tree. Not asleep. Just waiting for those robins to come back. Tasty treats they were. Robins. Yum. 

‘See. See. See.’ the first robins began. ‘It has brought us luck. No cat has ever climbed so high before. 

‘We should have attacked when they fell.’ the blue jay pecked in the direction of the cat. ‘We would have no trouble ending its life. All of us could have attacked at once. But we’ve lost our chance.’

The orange cat stretched out in the sun its head on the teddy bear’s stomach.

‘See. See. See. They are accomplices. He will never leave. We will have to find new homes.’

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every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

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

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

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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