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The News Dissector || D-Bus || The Schema || BBC News || Democracy Now!
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Sep. 4th, 2008 @ 02:57 pm Freeze frame
Current Mood: feh
Current Music: Diane Kamikaze's show on WFMU

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." — Dorothy Thompson's husband, Minnesota native Sinclair Lewis; CNN.com pic found via Pam's House Blend.

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Jun. 7th, 2008 @ 07:59 am The now explosion
Current Mood: saturday!
Current Music: The Shrunken Planet on WFMU

I'm on vacation!

This should have been the time that I wound down my duties at work, and passed everything over to the folks in Europe, but it looks like lingering contractual obligations to some (mostly non-Europe) clients are leaving me in limbo — there's seemingly no one left in the company who can handle their cases. The Europers won't.

But, for the next ten days, barring any sudden crises, I'm going to try to put it out of my mind. We're road-tripping to Toronto.

I tend to doze off at night to WNYC's broadcast of On Point, a show I term "the second most depressing talk show on radio" — John Batchelor's return to the air (on WABC and KFI, Sunday nights) means that he has reclaimed the top spot. Last night's On Point featured an attempt at lighter fare for an hour: "Count Basie and the American Soundtrack".
It was a time of Depression and FDR, Joe Louis and Amelia Earhart. It had a soundtrack. And Count Basie was a huge part of it.

Do we have a soundtrack today? Gnarls Barkley? Beck?
And I'm thinking, this is a ridiculous Freedom Rock view to take.

I doubt that folks in the early heyday of the Basie band thought in terms of having a collective soundtrack to their lives; it seems more a construct of later decades — a means of selling Pepsi to The Pepsi Generation, or Glenn Miller's greatest hits to their parents and grandparents, or NOW That's What I Call Classic Rock! shovelware to their children and grandchildren. (Plus, "everything ever recorded" is theoretically at our fingertips, to an extent unthinkable in previous generations. I've now heard Gracie Allen's singing voice. I love her so much that I'm willing to forget having heard her sing.)

My mother and grandfather-in-law were of different ages in 1938, child and adolescent, respectively, and they no doubt heard some Basie on the radio back then, and grooved to his music in later decades, and would groove to it now, were I to put on a Basie CD. It was my parents' love of the music that made it a part of my '60s soundtrack, not quite as much a presence in my life back then as JohnPaulGeorgeAndRingo, or "Build Me Up, Buttercup" or Ramsey Lewis' "The In Crowd" (now resurrected on Don Imus' TV simulcast), but present nonetheless. And the Allman Brothers music that was foisted on me by AOR stations back in the day, well, it's present now (and this time around I actually like it!), no need of any help from NOW!

But enough of this collective hallucination of some narrow array of supposed era-defining musics. 1938 (or so) was probably also about Dennis Day or Xavier Cugat, or Mahalia Jackson or Roy Acuff, depending on where you sat. That '30s was part of my '70s. NOW!Now here's some '60s music. (Eat your damn paisley, you dirty hippies!)

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May. 25th, 2008 @ 11:05 am This birthday post arranged by Gil Evans
Current Mood: procrastinatin'
Current Music: Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! on WNYC

Whenever I'd go to Maxwell's or listen to some indie band of the moment (whether on the radio, or on New York Noise, or, increasingly, on TV commercials), I'd hear Evil Uncle Miles' distinctive whisper-rasp in my head, asking, "Didn't we do it good the first time?" He was talking, when the question was originally uttered, about the first wave of Brooks-Brothers-suited jazz neo-classicists, the peers and spawn of young Wynt0n (himself begat by mid-'60s Miles), but it applies equally to more high-profile musics.

WKCR played a couple of cuts from E.S.P. last night, and I was reminded: damn, they did do it good the first time. And Miles himself was around the top of his game, two decades after his stint as a teenage not-quite-phenom with big ears.

The cover of The Musings of Miles, 1955.

It would be another dozen years before he would dress this silly in public again. (And then he would outdo himself with each successive year.) Miles would have been 82 today; alas, he's having another hip-replacement operation in Rock'n'Roll Heaven.

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May. 24th, 2008 @ 07:45 am Happy 67th birthday!
Current Location: not in Nashville
Current Mood: workin'
Current Music: An hour of Zimmy on WFMU

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May. 10th, 2008 @ 09:54 am Truckin'
Current Mood: saturday!
Current Music: Weekend Edition on WNYC

Pictured, left to right: Gregory "Ironman" Tate (moderator), Matana Roberts, Amina Claudine Myers, Douglas Ewart, George Lewis (author of A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music), Iqua Colson, Henry Threadgill, Wadada Leo Smith.

Oh? You can't see the picture? But I brought a camera!
But I brought a damn camera!Collapse )
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May. 4th, 2008 @ 12:43 pm Ah-Leu-Cha
Current Mood: Parker's
Current Music: real-estate porn on DiY Network

I'm not keen on birthdays, or presents, but the missus badgered me into the latter (the former is inevitable, of course). I was on amazon.com one day, ordering some new CO2 cartridges for my seltzer bottle (seltzer + juice concentrate = soda-like beverage without HFCS), and I talked her into paying for the purchase and letting that suffice for a present.

That deal lasted about 10 seconds, 'til she decided it wasn't birthday-y enough. "Pick out some more stuff!"

I chose a Zoot Sims / Al Cohn boxed set, then had misgivings because I wasn't sure if I didn't already have the material in other formats. So I got this:

Charlie guards the birthday present. Good boy!

George "Don't ask me when it's coming out!" Lewis' decade-in-the-making history of the AACM. Stay tuned for my next birthday, when Charlie will be pictured with Stanley Crouch's Charlie Parker bio, the Chinese Democracy of jazz boox.
Two more Charlie pics....Collapse )
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Apr. 27th, 2008 @ 08:29 am A little more Giuffre
Current Mood: chalumeau
Current Music: Weekend Edition on WNYC

Following up from before.

Andrew Durkin has a succinct description of why Jimmy Giuffre was Important: he "helped set the template for the modern composer / improviser / musician who unapologetically, beautifully, and with utmost integrity does his or her own thing," and links to the International Herald Tribune obit (via the NYT, I presume), which features a nice 50-year-old quip from André Hodeir about Giuffre's penchant for the chalumeau register of the clarinet.

David Brent Johnson's obit mentions that WKCR is doing 24 hours of Giuffre's half-century of diverse musics on Monday.

As we were leaving the house last night, Phil Schaap was opening his Saturday show with "Four Brothers", the Giuffre-penned Woody Herman hit from 1947, and I did a little dance — it's rare these days for a piece of music to set my tired, jaded, overmusicked self dancing. (And I was delighted on Friday with my first hearing of a small-group "Four Brothers" from a decade later, surprised that it didn't require four saxes to make it work its magic.)

When I was a kid, I pretty much ignored the musics of the Herman alumni — people like Giuffre, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Flip Phillips — and it stemmed from hearing ads for the soporific jazz-rock-lite Herman big band of the mid-'70s when they played a gig in Raleigh. [And maybe, in slightly-later years, siding with "black" East Coast hard bop over "white" West Coast cool (and over the way-cool Tristanoites), never quite getting that the distinctions were bogus — Art Pepper apprenticed with the black boppers of L.A.'s Central Avenue; Gerry Mulligan was a New Yorker; Clifford Brown and Max Roach birthed their iconic hard-bop quintet in Eric Dolphy's garage/studio in Los Angeles; Bird dug Tristano; and everybody dug Lester Young.]

Now I'm Crazy For Zoot, et. al. Crazy for Zoot and Al, even. Yeah, so they didn't wield a tenor like the Flaming Sword of Ohnedaruth, but it's good-time music. This is pop. This is the strain of Cosmic American Music that was an urban/black blind spot in Gram Parsons' ear. Or something. But I digresssssss.
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punk 2
Apr. 25th, 2008 @ 12:35 pm Giuffre's gone
Current Mood: feh
Current Music: Giuffre on WKCR

Score one for Old Media. WKCR announced that Jimmy Giuffre has passed away. I look at my Google Reader for maybe a link to a jazzblogger's R.I.P. and get bupkis. He was too quirky and original to cash in on the West Coast vogue in the '50s, and way too quiet to gain notoriety in the heyday of Free Jazz.... so there isn't even an update yet on WikipediaColbert! Get on the ball!

KCR is playing his music, noon to 3 PM, and 6 to 9 PM today. R.I.P. links to come, perhaps.

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Mar. 29th, 2008 @ 09:17 am Eartrip #1
Current Mood: bizzie
Current Music: teh local morning show

Issue #1 of Eartrip — out now! All hail the Portable Document Format!
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Feb. 23rd, 2008 @ 09:14 am I travel(ed)
Current Music: last night's The Soup

More summertime pics: not far out of Stanfield Airport, near Halifax, the deluge began. The billboards, large and small, ground-level and aloft, every few miles, it seemed, proclaiming McLOBSTER, and McLOBSTER IS HERE. By the time we got to Cape Breton Island, McLobster had made its way onto the itinerary.

We never could get a good shot of one of the highway billboards, but here's one that greets you as you drive onto the grounds of the Casa de los Golden Arches:

Here's the McLobster, which is, I suppose, a miniature Lobster Roll.

(On that same day there was a piece on CTV Newsnet about the closing of the restaurant that boasted of having invented the Lobster Roll.) McLobster was OK; McD's made its billions on achieving and standardizing OK-ness and McLobster is worthy of its "Mc". I made a mental note to try a Real Lobster Roll, but have yet to do so; now that I've found a good gluten-free baguette, I'll have to dig up a recipe.

Next visit, I'll try the McHaggis.

We bought our first family car a few months ago....Collapse )
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