Joe Henderson

At one time Eve Arden was playing the gal pal in every other movie, then Joe Pesci was doing the same sort of pal thing for another generation. Sidekicks who were more than mere foils for the lead but brought an energy than enhanced even the palest material. There was time when it seemed Mary Clayton was singing backup on every pop recording out of Britain. 

Jazz also has famous side men & one of them is tenor sax player Joe Henderson, who over decades, starting in the 50’s, recorded with nearly everyone, including Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock & Miles Davis – to name a few. His style went from hard bop to jazz-funk fusion to not quite mellow explorations of music by Jobim, Gershwin. He was always tasteful, edgy when needed & inventive without calling attention to himself. 

As a group leader I have his early Mode for Joe tucked in a Jimmy Smith mp3 collection. As stand-alones I have Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn; So Near, So Far: Musings for Miles; Double Rainbow: Music of Jobim; Big Band; Porgy & Bess. Any of these is not only a good introduction to Henderson but also to the musicians he is exploring.

A word or two about Billy Strayhorn. He was writer, pianist, arranger for Duke Ellington for many years. He was totally out as a gay man from the get-go & survived behind the scenes on his talent. He never became a ‘headliner’ thanks to being out. Read ‘Lush Life’ the David Hajdu biography of Strayhorn for a look at an amazing life.

If you want to start a jazz exploration any Joe Henderson is a perfect place to start.

The Red Menace

“In light of recent events Mr. Razov will not be returning to the chess club this year.” Mr. Bannister 

shrugged.

There was a mutter of dismay.

“I know he has been a great teacher for you.”

“We wouldn’t have won the inter-provincials without him.” Harold slumped in his chair.

“I know we’ll miss him, but you won’t forget the strategies he showed you.”

There was only seven of us in the Davisville High-School Chess Club but we had done better than any of the sports teams in the school. But of course the sports teams got the most notice. Our first place trophies didn’t even end-up on display with their third place runner-up plaques.

“Let’s draw to see who’ll play who today.” Mr. Bannister forced a smile. 

The recent events where Mr. Razov being hospitalized. He’d been found badly beaten on the steps of his little house. No one knew why. The police had issued a ‘no information at this time’ statement to the paper a week ago with no follow up.

We suspected it had something to do with his being from the Russia. Some speculated that the Soviet Secret Police had come to make sure he didn’t spill state secrets or something like that. Maybe wanted to stop him from teaching us chess. He had been a Grand Master before he escaped to Canada.

“I know you are worried about Mr. Razov but you have to be able to focus on anything to be a champion. After all he won his world title while planning to escape, knowing full well they had his family back there.”

Hawkins, Monk and more Sax

Over 2 cd mp3 compilations I have Coleman Hawkins: Body & Soul, Bean Bags, Genius of, Night Hawk, Duke Ellington Meets CH. Along with lps by Stan Getz & João Gilberto: Getz & Gilberto, Jazz Samba w/Charlie Byrd, Anniversary!; Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section; Jerry Mulligan: Lonesome Boulevard; Jan Garbarek: Dansere; Thelonious Monk: The Complete Prestige Recordings. Yes, that’s a lot of sax with some jazz piano in the mix.

 

Hawkins has a fun, sometimes funky, thick sax sounds. The tracks have a friendly feeling to them like a boozy nightclub – unlike say Coltrane – whose sound is more ‘intellectual’  & controlled (not that Coltrane didn’t play fine free jazz too). I can see myself dirty dancing to Hawkins, Coltrane is more ballet 🙂 Ornette Coleman is modern experimental 🙂

He also appears in one session on Thelonious Monk: The Complete Prestige Recordings. Monk can be challenging but is worth the demands. He was a jazz revolutionary, wrote too many standards to list. The Prestige work is all excellent, sometimes a bit dissonant but never to the point when it alienates the listener. Rhythmically adventurous & as a group leader he encouraged his sideman to shine.

Stan Getz & João Gilberto: Getz & Gilberto, Jazz Samba w/Charlie Byrd, Anniversary!. Stan Getz has a smoother, almost cocktail, sound. One of the foremost samba-Latin musicians he popularized many now jazz standards. Charlie Byrd is an amazing acoustic guitarist. Any of these are a excellent introductions to Latin jazz. Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section. Pepper, as his name indicates, is a more restless sax player. Nice tone & energizing. Jerry Mulligan’s Lonesome Boulevard is a great comfortable set with a bluesy feeling. Mulligan replaced Paul Desmond in the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Finally & totally different from all the others is Jan Garbarek’s Dansere. His sax sound is much sharper, his playing more sculptural & the material on this lps verges on classical in his lyrical approach. Elegant as opposed to funky.

Aunt Neddes was coming to visit. I was excited. Her real name was Nelly but somehow we started caller her Neddes. Though my Dad referred to her as that old prude. Another thing I never really understood. Though she was old, at least to my nine year old self, forty seemed pretty old. I know she was forty because her birthday fell while she was staying with us.

My mother was having a baby soon. That was why Neddes was coming to stay with us for a while to help around the house. My Dad called her a prude because she didn’t smoke or drink but was lots of fun all the same. 

We went to the airport to meet her. I had met her a few years earlier so I sort of had an idea of what she looked like but when my mother started waving at this tall woman in a long green coat I didn’t recognize her. I was bowled over by the coat but also by the emerald green hat she was wearing. Tight on her head like a toque only made out of feathers with little clusters of glittery stuff on it. 

‘Can I try on your hat.’ I exclaimed even before I said hello to her. ‘Can I. Can I.’

‘Now Jim boys don’t wear things like this.’ Neddes laughed. She hugged my Mother and shook hands with my Dad.

I tried not to cry.

‘But I do have something for you in my suitcase. You can try it on when we get home.’ She took me by the hand as we walked to the car. My Dad dragged one of her suitcases.

‘What you got in here anyway. A body!’

‘There, there Dan. A woman has to be ready for everything. Especially here in the frontier.’ she laughed. ‘Why my sister let you drag here to this ….’

‘Enough.’ My mother gave her a sharp look. ‘Let’s get you home and settled in then we can discuss the lay of this land.’


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees. Thanks paypal.me/TOpoet 

We Insist!

A link to a YouTube video of We Insist! an amazing 1961 jazz lp by Max Roach that featured wife Abbey Lincoln lead me to download that lp along with a couple of other lps by Abbey: That’s Him; Golden Lady. We Insist! is a powerful black rights statement backed with dynamic music & vocals. When I think of 60’s protest music sweet folk songs like Blowin’ In The Wind comes to mind but We Insist! is not folk music – the sense of struggle & urgency dominates & propels the music in a way that most protest music of the time never managed. Lincoln’s voice is strong. Him & Lady are not as ‘revolutionary’ but are great introductions to anyone stepping into jazz vocalists for the first time.

On this mp3 collection there is a mix of female vocalists – all different styles, eras, fames & countries. Staring with Mireille Mathieu’s Les Grandes  Chansons Francaises. Mireille has a wonderful resonant emotional voice. As the title suggests this is a set of ultra-famous French songs i.e. ‘Non je ne regrette rien’. Her version of La mer is astonishing – search it out on YouTube. I want her version of ‘Ne me quite pas’ played as people leave my memorial service.

The totally unknown folk singer Michele is here with her Saturn Rings. A pleasant voice, some unexpectedly psychedelic accompaniment for a set of love songs, pleas for Mother Earth that got lost in the shuffle of the likes of Joan Baez & Judy Collins. Another lost in the shuffle is Barbara & Ernie’s Prelude To. This is a gentle, relaxing but sexy r’n’b duo making good massage music.

 

Finally I added Laura Nyro’s New York Tendaberry to this compilation. I love Laura Nyro & have nearly everything so I won’t say much more than this a great lp by her, not one of her strongest – but even at her weakest she is worth hearing. More about her when I get to ’n.’

The Circle of Strife

John sneered at Betty. Betty flipped Jasmine the bird. Jasmine gave Frank a dirty look.Frank didn’t leave a tip for Gwen. Gwen short changed Bill. Bill called Abdul a terrorist shit head. Abdul told Fatima to shut the fuck up. Fatima pinched Ryan. Ryan shoved Rachel getting on the subway. Rachel went home and smacked the baby Patrick. Patrick cried and cried and woke up Ted. Ted kicked his dog Rover. Rover chewed up Barbara’s favorite shoes. Barbara didn’t feel Gary’s work was up to snuff and told him. Gary spilled his coffee at lunch at Maria’s del

Maria shouted for Paco to clean up that mess. Paco wanted to kill Delorosa his mother. Delorosa didn’t wait for Greg. Greg was rushed and slammed the car door on Tina’s coat. Tina didn’t show up for her date with Mike. Mike waited and waited and bought drugs from Carla. Carla needed more money from Jeff. Jeff took an extra twenty from Deb’s purse.  Deb didn’t have enough to pay the bar bill . Larry felt she was playing him

Larry barked at Gina. Gina went crying to her boyfriend Philip. Philip punched Marg the bartender in the face. Marg pulled out a knife and cut Phil’s brother Brian. Brian pulled out his gun and shot Sgt Tracy O’Brian, one of the cops who came to quiet things down. John sneered at Betty for being afraid of guns.

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

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

He Hawes

 

I was introduced to the music of Hampton Hawes way back in the late 60’s – it was either the Green Leaves of Summer or The Trio Volume 1. I was working at the Vogue & Paramount Theatres in Sydney at the time. One of the cleaning staff at the Vogue was a total jazz fan & began to lend me lps to expand my jazz knowledge. Hawes plays restless piano – that is neither bop, swing or merely easy listening.

I loved those two lps & in fact these are the only two things I recall him lending me – though there were other musicians. Hawes playing & sidemen are precise, adventurous & fun. I made lp to cassette copies these lps. My friend had scotch taped the Downbeat reviews of both on the covers & Hawes was tightly regarded. He was also a major contrast to the jazz-rock that was about to wash over the scene.

In my collection I have as mp3 The All-Night Sessions Vols 1/2/3. The Trio, This Is, Everybody, High in the Sky; as lp to cd transfer:, Green Leaves; The Trio, Two Sides of, Spanish Steps, with Mingus, The Seance, Live in Tokyo. As stand alone: Bird Song, The Sermon. I guess this makes me a fan 😉

 

The recordings are trios, with sax, with sextet. He moves gradually from acoustic piano to electric keyboards – never electronica though. I don’t mind that electric piano tone but do prefer the acoustic. The material ranges from originals, jazz classics & covers of show tunes, pop standards. He is well worth adding to any jazz collection. iTunes has some nice inexpensive collections.

The Fridge

Fumbling in the dark to turn on the lamp Harv knocked it over. Shit. He didn’t know what woke him. Some sound outside. A combination of tire squeal and cat in pain that had cut through his dream about winning some big prize on a television cooking show. 

Some bald woman was jumping beside him clinging to his left arm screaming he had done it. he had done it. The studio audience wasn’t as happy as her. In fact he sensed they had hoped he would lose. They were disappointed he had won an array of house-hold kitchen appliances. A chrome fridge so much like the one his folks had when he grew up. how long had it been since he’d seen one of those? The door opened with the same click too. He thought this sort of catch handle was now illegal so that kids couldn’t get trapped inside them when they were abandoned. 

That happened to a cousin of his. Mark. Mark didn‘t come home from school one day and they searched for a week or so. Whose idea had it been to open that abandoned fridge door? Maybe some dog smelled the reek of the decaying body. Boy he was glad he didn’t have to be the one to open that door. That would have been awful though he never really liked Mark.

Mark so good at everything like sports and tests. Things that his Dad always reminded him of – oh I hear Mark got at an A on that science project you didn’t finish or Mark was voted best delivery boy by the paper. look there’s his picture on the inside page. Too bad you never got a paper route. Stuff like that.

It didn’t take long for everyone to forget about Mark and for a time after that when he opened the fridge to get an apple he’d be afraid Mark would be in there ready to fall out on him so he ate less and less. He lost his flabby fat and started to do a bit better in school too, only never as good as Mark and now here he was winning a fridge just like that one. 

Harv pushed himself to the the edge of the bed and forced himself to the window. He didn’t need light to look out. Light would only attract attention to the blind being pushed aside. The street was empty. Maybe he hadn’t heard anything. He went to the light switch & turned it on. The lamp was right where it always was. He hadn’t knocked anything over. He turned off the light. Crawled back into the bed. Said one last fuck you Mark. I didn’t dare you to get into that fridge. It was your idea.  

He fell asleep. 

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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 and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Swami Hart and Beyond

One Christmas many years ago a friend gave me Antonio Hart’s (alto saxophonist) Don’t You Know I Care that he had picked up at a yard sale. It was just the cd – no jewel case. Pleasant & non-challenging jazz – solid playing, sweet arraignments & great starter for someone new to jazz. I created an mp3 version for a fun collections of jazz (& other) classics.

Some of these musicians I knew by reputation, others I searched out after seeing lp covers posted by an lp cover Tumblr one halloween 🙂 So here is Horace Silver (piano): Horace-Scope, Song For My Father – swinging, exploratory & emotional work that I enjoy more each time I hear it. Horace-Scope was the spooky cover & I added Father to hear more. It was Archie Shepp’s (saxophonist) The Magic of Ju-Ju cover that lead owing loading it. I add his The Way Ahead as well. This too is solid, swinging at times, challenging & occasionally dissonant but worth having. Shepp’s work with Abby Lincoln is worth searching out too.

The title of dummer Philly Joe Jones Sextet’s Blues For Dracula is reason enough to add this one. Propulsive & aggressive there is nothing scary here except the quality of playing. Not easy listening by any means & great for writing. The same is true for Jackie McLean’s  (saxophone) Demon’s Dance – it lives up to the cover & the title. Restless music for restless creative minds.

Also here is Steve Marcus’s  (saxophone) Tomorrow Never Knows – this is an excellent jazz exploration of 60’s psychedelic pop. One track has the sax riff that propels Gerry Rafferty’s Beaker Street. This is a lost classic lp that deserves a resurgence. Be warned this is not an instrumental walk-though of 60’s pop – the group peoples these pieces inot our bop & it is well worth the listen. Unlike Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass: Best Of – which are nostalgic & safe for family listening.

To lighten the mood of this collection & also Ron Goodwin’s soundtrack music for Miss Marple, Lancelot, Force 10 – the Marple is jolly fun, the other two are heroic action music. Finally is  Swami Jr. (Brazillian acoustic guitar player (7-string)) Mundos e Fundos – Jr is an amazing guitarist I found out via … well, I’m not sure how found him but the name made him worth checking out. I have a few lps by him each is romantic & satisfying He’s worth checking out.

more of the very rough draft from Isle St. Nuit

Mike hated airports. Too many people going to places he’d never go to. Too many announcements. he checked his ticket print out with the constantly flickering board of arrivals and departures to double check he was heading in the right way, to be sure they hadn’t changed the gate, the flight number gate. 

Twice he’d been startled by the appearance of large black men who were the shape and size of Xavier. His heart raced till he got a good look at the face. As if this would be how it would continue – him running into Xavier at the airport on his way to somewhere.

What would he do it if that had happened. Throw his arms around him. What if Xavier acted as if he’d never seen him, which was most likely what woud happen. Yet he hoped even that would happen. Just  for one more look.

They would glance, Xavier would nod to the washroom and Mike would follow eagerly. Put his bag down t to be taken away by the ever alert airport security. 

Mike would follow Xavier into the handicapped stall – one big enough for two men. Xavier would already be there. Unzipped. Hard. Mike would drop to his knees and ….

“Flight 560 for Halifax now boarding at gate 9. Flight 560 for Halifax now boarding at gate 9. All passengers needing assistance should report to the gate now. thank you. Le vol 560 pour Halifax embarque maintenant à la porte 9. Le vol 560 pour Halifax embarque maintenant à la porte 9. Tous les passagers ayant besoin d’aide doivent se présenter à la porte maintenant. Merci.” 

Mike hunched his shoulder, pulled his shoulder bag closer to him. Finished his coffee and walked through the door to gate 9. 

In the plane he kept his eyes on his magazine. He didn’t want to look out the window. Didn’t want to see the city disappear with so much of himself still there.

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January

Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

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 and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

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

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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

Jazzy Han Har Har

Bo Hansson made a crossover foray in the early 70’s with his lp Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings. I was a Tolkien fan at the time, had read the books at least once & when I first heard this was expecting a sort of Celtic/Swedish sound with tambours, penny whistles stuff but instead it was a gentle, moody, jazz exploration of the Rings. I replaced that lp with cd in 2003. Almost meditative & forerunner of new age sooth. Pleasant & timeless. 

Much more jazz, is trumpet Roy Hargrove’s Public Eye; Habana; earfood – which I have as stand-alones. I first heard him as sideman with the likes of Dave Brubeck, Christian McBride. I picked all these up, at different times, on sale at HMV. Solid jazz. Habana explores Cuban sound with a large group;

I have a chunk of sax player Eddie Harris on an mp3 collection that includes his Complete Jazz Sessions 61/62; as stand-alone From 68): Electrifying/Plug Me In; & back to the mp3 collection his 1969 lp Silver Cycles. At once time juke boxes would have several jazz recordings & Harris filled the bill with these tracks – all around 4 min, many versions of movie theme or standards – high quality cocktail jazz. The stand-alone is more of the same but with more explorative longer tracks. My first Harris was Silver Cycles which is an amazing early exploration of electronica & experimental jazz. Some track feature a wordless female quartet. I always loved it eclectic range of this lp. I added the Sessions when I found the 44 track collection on iTunes.

Also in this mp3 collection is Vinnie Burke’s String Jazz Quartet. One of my co-works in Sydney was a jazz fan & I first heard his lps of this – a couple of upright basses, cello, violin – no percussion beyond plucking & I loved it. I had an lp to cas dupe which I was happy to upgrade to mp3.

Here too is Mike Cuozzo’s Mighty Mike – fine easy jazz with some vibes for flavouring. As well as Marie-Louise Girod’s Last Year At Marienbad soundtrack. One of my all rime favorite movies with a an eerie organ soundtrack. I never expected to find this but there it was on iTunes.

Booker Ervin’s The Song Book is an lp to cd finally to mp3 that fits nicely in this collection. Ervin is Harris to the next level of jazz seriousness. For a modern touch there is Russell Gunn’s Love Requiem; Plays Miles Davis. Modern jazz but a fine trumpet player. I love his Davis homage. 

Finally for a total change is Adam Rafferty’s Gratitude. Acoustic jazz guitar that isn’t challenging nor is it relaxation music. I heard his version of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition & track it down to this lp. makes a nice break from the ‘real’ jazz.

Latino Likes Dad

I am a liar. At my age it’s hard to admit to that, but it is true. Not a big liar, but there’s no such thing as being a little pregnant. I only lie about one thing, my age. Not that it is such a big deal in the long run, but if I can get away with 10 or 15 years younger than I am then I’ll do it. We live in an ageist culture. In the gay world it is even harsher. The older men get, the more they want bodies in the early ripe of life – those sweet young things between 20 & 30. Ask a 50 year old if he finds other 50 year olds at all attractive he’ll probably snort with derision.

When I come to attraction, age isn’t the key for me. Well-preserved is well-preserved. I’ve preferred men to young guys. Once they hit 35 they are about old enough for me – seasoned but not too bitter yet.

So I lie about my age because those guys at 35 aren’r ready for well-preserved, even when they claim to be, as they do on those web sites devoted to bringing older and their younger admirers together. 

As they say the web we weave can get sticky, as I have different ages on different sites but so do some of them. I know what works where. Not that I get much action anyway, but the web has been more productive than bars clubs or sitting around coffee shop gleaming manically over a triple espresso. I hooked up with Juan from, I think, I Dig Daddies, which I can’t help but think of as I Dig Graves, but that’s another story.

His handle was LatinoLikesDad. His profile was straight forward. A couple of clear photos. Plus he contacted me. I like that. He arrived for our first playdate, on time & eager. Ditto for the second. He was in many ways just what I was looking for except he had strings, or rather wanted strings. He didn’t say that but I could tell. I on the other hand am what one would call polyamorous. The more love you invite the more you have to share. I am not a slut.

Not that I’m all that active. Quality has always been more important to me that quantity. More than one on the go always made me happy. Something I never hid from any of them. If they can’t deal with it such is life. But when I’m too old or too young I tend to take that personally for some reason. Such is life.

So this is be third time Juan & I date. This time a real date not just a clothes off, slobber on each other opportunity. A date is all foreplay and the more of that the better. Coming isn’t the point of sex, it’s the end of it.

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December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

Thursday 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

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. 

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

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.’

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

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.

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

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

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