Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ana Moura, Leva-me Aos Fados, World Village

The title basically means take me to a fado house and, having been in a few, I feel qualified to say this is exactly what she does. You get kick-ass fado singing, sparsely accompained by guitarras and a bass here and there.

Ana is not Amalía, nor Mariza. Her voice doesn't regularly soar, it's rooted, earthy, in the same vein as Carminho's and I would not wish to be without either.

And here is the coolest thing about it. She sings Por Minha Conta and I, with my limited Portuguese, have no idea what that means without looking it up, at which point I find it more or less means On My Own, and I think, well, duh. The whole session goes like that. You just kind of know what she's singing about without even understanding the words she's singing (Talvez Depois, Perhaps Later, of course).

Or, put another way:

Why did you want to explain
what can only be felt
What are soul, light, mankind?
Why did you want to explain that?

Tell me, where is the sense
of something which has no sense
That which joins tears and laughter
Tell me, what sense is there in that?

From Crítica da Razão Pura, Critique of Pure Reason. Some things you know, and some things you just know. I just know this is really good fado, and really good music in general.

Anat Cohenn, Clarinetwork, Anzic

My daddy played the clarinet because Benny Goodman, the rock star of my daddy's day, not to mention Artie Shaw, the Stones to Goodman's Beatles, played the clarinet. But most people have been playing it the same way since, or like Johnny Dodds if they are rooted even further in the past, which is understandable. These guys were giants. Giants.

Nonetheless, variety is the spice of life and variety, in clarinet terms, is what Don Byron, born New York City, USA, jazz central, provides to, apparently, no end. Anat Cohen, residence NYC, USA, born and raised Israel, may be one-upping him, however, and isn't that a kick. Live last night, I heard her rework Fat's Waller's Jitterbug Waltz in a thoroughly modern, yet eminently logical, manner. On Clarinetwork, ably supported by Benny Greene, Peter Washington and Lewis Nash, she does it with Sweet Georgia Brown, Lullaby of the Leaves, After You've Gone and What a Little Moonlight Can Do, among other things.

St. James Infirmary is not Louis Armstrong's St. James infirmary, but rather, an adept extension of said (and bluesy as hell), which I could likewise say about St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy and Bessie Smith would have dug this version) and Body and Soul (Coleman Hawkins himself would have been duly impressed). Every second of this session is interesting.

Roky Erickson, True Love Cast Out All Evil, Anti

If you know anything about Roky, how you can listen to Roky, as on Ain't Blues too Sad, sing about shock therapy and not be moved, or sing Please Judge (which has some cool SFX) and not be moved, I don't know.

You also get Goodbye Sweet Dreams, which has a decided 13th Floor Elevators cast to it, Be and Bring Me Home, which is almost a country ballad, and Bring Back the Past, which is a nifty rocker with some discomfiting lyrics of its own.

John Lawmman and Birds'd Crash are like classic surrealistic Roky circa Red Temple Prayer (Two Headed Dog), while the title track kind of straddles the Elevators and Roky surreal. Forever, well, Forever, heck, Sam Cooke would have appreciated it, likewise a lot of guys who made careers building off of Sam Cooke. Think of as One is absolutely zen, and pretty jazzy as well.

So we waited a long time for this and for our patience what we got is, well, Roky. I myself am damn happy with the payoff.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Must-have brews

One of may favorite brewers commemorating the 40th anniversary of one of my most treasured albums by one of my all-time main jazz dudes (in which I am hardly alone), not to mention an international legend.

I will be drinking Bitches Brew, and listening to Miles Run(s) the Voodoo down yet again while doing it.

And probably doing the Pharaoh's Dance after two, too, Tutu.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A late valentine...

In my iTunes library are 36 instances of My Funny Valentine, which is, let's face it, a great song. Babs Streisand doing it, classic. Miles Davis instrumentally, classic, Chet Baker vocally and instrumentally, classic. Maybe the height of Chet Baker's checkered career.

But, I said God damn, nobody, I think, nobody, ever did it better than the blues- and stride-inflected and funk-eee version by Mr. Bobby Timmons on This Here Is Bobby Timmons, which you ought to own for numerous reasons besides.