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

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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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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