Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mísia, Garras Dos Sentidtos, Detour

Roughly speaking, the title means "clutches of the senses" and the senses here seem to be capturing inputs that lead to melancholy, perhaps over loves, life, a litany of things gone, which is to say it has the true feeling of saudade at the roots of traditional fado. The instrumentation is likewise fairly traditional, heavy on the guitarras, but also including an accordion, giving it a French musette feel in spots, and piano. Less modernistic than some of her other stuff, I like it, and she projects her voice strongly throughout, sounding more like a fadista than a pop singer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

On St. Crispin's Day...

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Deolinda, Cancão Ao Lado, World Conncetion

Modernistic, kind of like if Jolie Holland decided to sing fado, although Movimento Perpetuoa Associativo is more like Richard Thompson doing fado, accompanied by Coimbra fadistas. Do I love it in a fado context? Not really. Do I appreciate it as an extension of the music for the 21st Century? Yes. Is it unpleasant at any juncture? No. Garçonete Da Casa De Fado is a trip, and kind of nasty like Lucille Bogan singing the blues. Excellent modern fado.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mariza, Live In London, Silva Screen

An Interesting contrast to Concerto Em Lisboa, which comes along a few years later. In baseball terms, she's all fastball here, a young power pitcher who awes with all the speed (or volume in this case) in the world.

Now, she has a breaking ball (more than one actually) and an uncanny command and placement of the off-speed pitch, in short impressive subtlety mixed with all that power and passion and, in addition, a much more complimentary command of her body movements.

Which is not to say this isn't going to get you all teary eyed in places, like Barco Negro, an absolute fado classic, or O Deserto. You look at that face on Primavera and you be will if you have a heart at all. I think Ó Gente Da Minha Terra is really cool jazz-infused fado. Há Festa Na Mouraria, if you ask me, gets to the very essence of fado. I love her madly. Sue me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stylin' at TC's Lounge

I wish I looked as good.

Making my Roky malt

At Amy's Ice Cream in Austin. Ice cream, double sweet cream (instead of milk) and double malt. Malt-o-licious. That Roky Erickson really knows his ice cream.

What Barbara Jordan said...

We have a positive vision of the future founded on the belief that the gap between the promise and reality of America can one day be closed. It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision.

Still holds.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jazzonia, Little Boy Don't Get Scared, Douglas Records

You best be attentive, and have quick ears, to glean Cottontail from this, or Moody's Mood For Love, or Angel Eyes. They are there, in effect as the base for a stew of avant-garde jazz, electronica, soul-inflected vocals and hip-hop recitations, turntables and bass beats. Byard Lancaster on saxes and flute and Graham Haynes on cornet and flugelhorn season it with some electric Miles-, Head Hunters-, Weather Report-reminiscent horn work. What I really dig, however, is the funktastic organ playing of AACM veteran Amina Claudine Myers.

From the mind of Bill Laswell, and certainly an example of his evolutionary concept collision music, which brings together genre-crossing collections of musicians to see what happens. What happens in this case is different, but cool I think. Robert Gardiner calls it "strikingly new and yet lovingly tied to the past" in his liner notes and I'd says that's about right.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Monk at 92...

Which he would have been Saturday. In commemoration, NPR had one of its periodic "Listening Party" discussions, with Epostrophy, a version where Milt Jackson plays the vibes, as the subject. I thought this comment on the interchange between Bags and Monk was insightful:

"It's sort of like seeing two people at the end of the bar in an intense dialogue. They're compelling because it seems really to mean something to both of them, and you kind of want to know what they're talking about."

Personally, I often feel like I'm eavesdropping when I listen to Monk. I'm just glad he invited us to do it.

Sgt. Pepper's Sound

These Beatles guys I discovered have really slipped over the outside of the envelope with their latest, titled Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Like their other CDs there are certainly a lot of catchy ditties here (With A Little Help From My Friends, When I'm Sixty-four, Lovely Rita) and some tending-to-sad ballads (She's Leaving Home and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, although the latter might be viewed more as abstract than melancholy).

But this session is about more than a(nother) collection of nifty songs. It is that, but the songs and the music, to my ear, hang together to create a unified work with a certain feeling and sound, intentionally I suspect. In my estimation, the coloring with "little" instruments, found sounds and vocal flourishes outside the boundaries of song lyrics makes this a relative of Roscoe Mitchell's Sound and the work of Mitchell and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, i.e. avant-garde jazz. I find that Sgt. Pepper's has the same visual, not just aural, impact on my brain as I listen. From a rock perspective, it makes me think of Bruce Springsteen's The Wild, The Innocent and The E-Street Shuffle, a favorite. Sgt. Pepper's has amusingly cool CD cover art, too. A magical musical tour.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Stan Kenton, City Of Glass, Capitol Jazz

I have this Stan Kenton thing going and let me say this, there has probably been no radical advancement in generally conventional big band jazz since him. Maria Schneider? Love her. Maybe. William Parker's Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra (Mayor Of Punkville rules), yeah, but that, and other things like it, are decidedly in the avant-garde. This is not, and yet it sounds like, and no where is it more obvious than on Everything Happens To Me, Sun Ra scored the session and conducted it. That impression only mounts as the CD progresses (it sure as heck does on House Of Strings and A Horn) and, yet, it all runs in a jazz (and classical) vein.

The level of musicianship is almost overwhelming, no surprise. Art Pepper, Bob Cooper, Shelly Manne, Joe Mondragon, Maynard Ferguson, Bill Russo, Bud Shank, Conte Candoli, Frank Rosolino, Richie Kamuca and Lee Konitz are in the ensemble at various points. Jesus. (So is Keith Moon, OK, he's the trombone player not the other guy, but what the heck.)

Owned it for years. What possessed me to pull it out today was Kenton's West Side Story, which I received yesterday and have listened to like a half dozen times since. Recorded roughly 10 years later, it is not, let me tell you, your father's (or mother's) soundtrack. Heck, Herman Poole Blount would probably have appreciated it.

Lavay Smith, Miss Smith To You, Fat Note Records

I don't just love Lavay Smith, I LUV Lavay Smith, so the release of her first CD in 9 long years (and only her 3rd ever) is an occasion in my house. These things strike me. You can think of the evolution of her singing as more Bessie Smith then and more Big Momma Thornton now, or more young Billie Holiday then, and more older Billie Holiday now. A little heavier, a little slower, but maybe even more emotive in its relative maturity.

Her big band, the Red Hot Skillet Lickers, was love-worthy then and, in my estimation, is stunning now, see the Bill Oritz trumpet solo on the Duke's (and Billy Strayhorn's) It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) and the Charles McNeal alto sax solos on Dizzy Gillespie's 'Deed I Do and Daddy, an original, of which there are a few on this, a bonus. (Bessie and Big Momma would have made hay with I'm Not Evil.) The take of On The Sunny Side Of The Street kills and they do a rousing (like it couldn't be) When The Saints Go Marching In and an appropriately languid I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues. Band guys sing Pops-style with regularity on this, check out trumpeter Danny Armstrong on Basie's Boogie Woogie (I May Be Wrong), and it just works. Gold as far as I'm concerned.

They're playing at Yoshi's in San Francisco on Halloween and how I wish I was going to be there.