music clip of the day

jazz/blues/rock/classical/gospel/more

Month: February, 2011

Tuesday, 3/1/11

More Von

The other night, during a performance and interview at the University of Chicago, he seemed, at times, a bit frail. He’s nearing 90 and was recently in the hospital. But what I said a while back still holds true: no tenor player moves me more.

Von Freeman (tenor saxophone, with Mike Allemena, guitar; Matt Ferguson, bass; Michael Raynor, drums), “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” live, Chicago (Mandel Hall, University of Chicago), 2/24/11

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More? Here. And here. And here.

**********

lagniappe

better late, etc.

The University of Chicago recently awarded Von the Rosenberger Medal, which “was established in 1917 . . . [and recognizes] achievement through research, in authorship, in invention, for discovery, for unusual public service, or for anything deemed of great benefit to humanity.” Past recipients include Toni Morrison, Pierre Boulez, and Frederick Wiseman.

*****

musical thoughts

It takes years to explain those vibrational things in verbal language. And it still might not work. One time I asked Von Freeman about his voice-leading in harmony, he’s the master of that shit. I asked him, “How did you learn that shit? You’re so fluent at it.” And he said, “Well, you know, I sat down one day and I said, let me look at this thing.” He said, “I began with one tone. I studied one tone. And I studied all that I could study about one tone.” When these old guys talk, you don’t ask too many questions. You pretty much just listen to what they say. And so, I didn’t know what he meant, but I just listened. And he said, “I worked on that for a long time, you know, for months. Just seeing what could be done with one tone. When I felt pretty good about that, I moved on to two tones. That was a bit harder. I worked a lot longer, but I worked and saw all that I could do with two tones. Then I moved to three tones, and so on. After I went on for a while I realized that you can pretty much do everything that you need to do with two tones.” That’s what he told me. I spent years thinking about this shit. Years. I’m still thinking about it, you know. I feel like I have a better handle on knowing what he meant now than then, although it is not a simple thing to explain. And when I tell the story to somebody playing in my group or something, and they ask me, “What did he mean?” it takes me literally years to explain what I think he means. And I’m sure I only have part of what he means. What it means to me. Some things, you have to explain them with a million examples over a period of time. The meaning dawns on a person and when they have to explain it it’s funny. We live in this McDonald’s type society where everybody thinks everything is just quick. It’s not like that. You have to actually build the understanding, slowly over time. So this thing that Von Freeman explained to me, it sounds like a very simple thing, but it really doesn’t make any sense at all without the experience. It’s maybe fifteen years ago that he told me, and I found it to be absolutely true. I could never explain it in one day, or in a lecture over an hour.

Steve Coleman (whose latest album was named one of the year’s ten best in the 2010 Village Voice Jazz Critics’ Poll)

*****

my back pages

No other musician, in any genre, has meant so much to me in so many ways for so many years. I first heard Von in the mid-70s, when I was in my twenties (and working for Alligator Records) and he was in his fifties. The setting, coincidentally, was the University of Chicago; he opened for Cecil Taylor. I got to know him and booked a few shows for him. In 1977, when I got married, he and pianist John Young played at our wedding ceremony. Later, when I was reviewing live jazz, I wrote a piece about him for the Chicago Reader. Over the last three decades, I’ve listened, avidly, to his growing catalog of albums and seen him live more times than I could count. He is now an old man. And I am getting there.

Monday, 2/28/11

When something is this lyrical, this convincing, there’s only one thing I want to do when it ends—hear it again.

Michael Burks, “Empty Promises,” live, Falls Church, Virginia, 8/21/09

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Sunday, 2/27/11

I’ll fly away . . .

DeAndre Patterson, “I’ll Fly Away,” live, Chicago (homegoing service for Eugene Smith, Christian Tabernacle Church, 47th & Prairie), 5/18/09

#1

Vodpod videos no longer available.

***

#2

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**********

lagniappe

art beat

After a court hearing Friday, I stopped by the Art Institute of Chicago, which is just a couple blocks from the federal courthouse. In the Modern Wing, there’s a wonderful space on the second floor—a small room you enter through a glass door. Once inside, these paintings—each has a wall to itself—surround you.

Jackson Pollock, Greyed Rainbow (1953)

**********

Joan Mitchell, “City Landscape” (1955)

**********

Willem de Kooning, Excavation (1950)

Saturday, 2/26/11

If making mindless music is so easy, how come so few do it well?

Ramones, live, London, 1977

#1

Vodpod videos no longer available.

***

#2

Vodpod videos no longer available.

***

#3

Vodpod videos no longer available.

*****

lagniappe

reading table

Life on Earth is quite a bargain.
Dreams, for one, don’t charge admission.
Illusions are costly only when they’re lost.
The body has its own installment plan.

—Wislawa Szymborska, “Here” (excerpt; trans. Clare Cavanagh & Stanislaw Baranczak)


Friday, 2/25/11

Our music is a Secret Order.

—Louis Armstrong, 1954 (John F. Zwed, Space Is The Place: The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra [1997], epigraph)

Von Freeman (tenor saxophone, with Ed Petersen, tenor saxophone; Willie Pickens, piano; Brian Sandstrom, bass; Robert Shy, drums), live, Chicago (Green Mill Lounge), 12/31/10

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More? Here. And here.

Thursday, 2/24/11

what’s new
(an occasional series)

Have you heard the Lupe & John Legend?

—my 19-year-old son Luke

Lupe Fiasco (featuring John Legend), “Never Forget You” (2010)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Listening to music that means a lot to someone else gives you an opportunity nothing else does. You get to hear the world through their ears. This song, for instance, coming to my ears through my son Luke’s, makes me wonder: What’s it like to look back on your life, on all that’s come before, when you’re 19 years old?

More Lupe? Here. And here. And here.

More Legend? Here. And here.

Wednesday, 2/23/11

street music
(an occasional series)

It ain’t just the beats—it’s the show.

drummers, Chicago (Michigan Ave.)

#1

Vodpod videos no longer available.

***

#2

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**********

lagniappe

Drum mashup?

Start the first clip.

Then start the second.

Tuesday, 2/22/11

Don’t forget the Motor City

Theo Parrish, Detroit-based DJ & producer

Collecting sounds around Detroit

Vodpod videos no longer available.

***

Live, New York (Brooklyn Yard), 8/23/09

Vodpod videos no longer available.

***

Live, Paris (Elysee Montmarte), 4/30/10

Vodpod videos no longer available.

***

Recording, “Soul Control”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

***

Recording (with Marcellus Pittman), “Equality of Patience”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**********

langiappe

thoughts on music

Music history as a whole has been drastically misnamed. Jazz is just as rugged as hip-hop is, and hip-hop is just as elegant as classical. These things are present, but the language we’re using to talk about them tends to be outdated, outmoded.

—Theo Parrish (in The Wire, 3/11)

Monday, 2/21/11

Whatever I’d say would be an understatement. I can only say my life was made much better by knowing him. He was one of the greatest people I’ve ever known, as a man, a friend, and a musician.

—John Coltrane

Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute)
June 20, 1928-June 29, 1964

John Coltrane Quintet (JC, tenor saxophone; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Reggie Workman, bass; Elvin Jones, drums), “Impressions,” live, Germany (Baden-Baden), 1961

Vodpod videos no longer available.

(For whatever reason, this clip sometimes seems to play better, on my Mac, with Safari than Firefox.)

More Eric Dolphy? Here. And here.

More John Coltrane? Here.

**********

lagniappe

reading table

Leviathan

Truth also is the pursuit of it:
Like happiness, and it will not stand.

Even the verse begins to eat away
In the acid. Pursuit, pursuit;

A wind moves a little,
Moving in a circle, very cold.

How shall we say?
In ordinary discourse—

We must talk now. I am no longer sure of the words,
The clockwork of the world. What is inexplicable

Is the ‘preponderance of objects.’ The sky lights
Daily with that predominance

And we have become the present.

We must talk now. Fear
Is fear. But we abandon one another.

George Oppen

Sunday, 2/20/11

combustible, adj. capable of igniting and burning. E.g., gospel singer
Paul Arnold.

Gospelaires (featuring Paul Arnold), “Joy” & “Rest for the Weary,” live
(TV Gospel Time), 1966

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**********

lagniappe

He was singing, and he touched a lady, and she fainted . . .

—Paul Arnold, Jr., Gospel Memories (WLUW-FM), 2/12/11

 

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: