music clip of the day


Month: January, 2012

Tuesday, 1/31/12

on & on & . . .

Lyn Horton, Goldmine Brook: The Day After Christmas (2011)
Glenn Branca, Lesson No. 1 for Electric Guitar (1980, reissued 2004)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Monday, 1/30/12

Henry “Red” Allen (trumpet), with Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone), Vic Dickenson (trombone), Pee Wee Russell (clarinet), Rex Stewart (cornet), Danny Barker (guitar), Nat Pierce (piano), Milt Hinton (bass), Papa Jo Jones (drums), “Wild Man Blues,” live (TV Broadcast, The Sound of Jazz), 1957

All-star jam sessions often fizzle. Not this one. What makes this so good? A lot of it, I think, has to do with saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, who takes the first solo after trumpeter Red Allen states the melody. Right from the beginning (1:27-) it’s apparent that Hawkins isn’t just going through the motions. He plays, throughout, with great concentration and conviction, not wasting a moment. This inspires everyone; you can see it in their faces (1:44-47, 1:55-58, 2:03-08, 2:39-44). He gives the others a lot to live up to—and they do.

(Yo, Randy—thanks for the tip!)

Sunday, 1/29/12

 joy, n. exultation of spirit; gladness, delight. E.g., Calvary Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, with John Legend singing “How I Got Over” (2011).



listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• Theo Parrish, Sound Sculptures, Vol. 1 (Sound Signature)

• Coldcut, 70 Minutes of Madness (Journeys by DJ)

• O.V. Wright, Wright Stuff (Hi UK)

• Bertha “Chippie” Hill, 1925-1929 (Document)

• Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

• The Fisk Jubilee Quartet, There Breathes A Hope (Archeophone)

•  This May Be The Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45 RPM 1957-1982 (Tompkins Square)

• Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, I Only Have Eyes For You (ECM)

• Chicago Underground Trio, Slon (Thrill Jockey)

• Charlie Christian, The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Sony)

• The Best of the Nat King Cole Trio: Vocal Classics, 1942-46 (Blue Note)

• Chicago Underground Trio, Slon (Thrill Jockey)

• Miles Davis, Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Prestige)

• Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey)

• Mahmoud Ahmed, Ethiopiques 19 (Buda Musique)

• Ludwig van Beethoven/Julliard String Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 13 & 16 (Sony)

• Ludwig van Beethoven/Solomon, Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 5 (EMI)

• Ludwig van Beethoven/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan cond., Symphony No. 7 (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Bela Bartok/Hungarian String Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 1-6 (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Bela Bartok/Takacs Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 5-6 (Hungaroton)

• Boulez Conducts Boulez (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez cond./Mitsuko Uchida, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Alban Berg (Philips)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Markus Hinterhauser, piano (Col Legno)

• Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet, Aki Takahashi, Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch)

• Hawthorne String Quartet, Pavel Haas (String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3), Hans Krasa (String Quartet) (London)

• Pavel Haas Quartet, Leo Janacek (String Quartet No. 1), Pavel Haas (String Quartets Nos. 1 and 3) (Supraphon)

• Arvo Part, Litany (ECM)

• Arnold Schoenberg/LaSalle Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 3 and 4 (Brilliant Classics)

• Robert Schumann/Zehetmair Quartett, String Quartets Nos. 1 & 3 (ECM)

• Zehetmair Quartet, Bela Bartok (String Quartet No. 5), Paul Hindemith (String Quartet No. 4) (ECM)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)

—Bach Festival
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)


Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
Give the Drummer Some (Doug Schulkind, sui generis, Web only)
Lamin’s Show (sui generis)

Saturday, 1/28/12

When I retire, I’m going to move to 19th century Paris. I’ll have a thirty-something mistress. And drink café au lait.

Frederic Chopin, 24 Preludes, Excerpt (1-7)
Maurizio Pollini, piano
Japan, 1982



At last I have come into a dreamland.

—Harriet Beecher Stowe, in 1853, after arriving in Paris


Want more? Here are the rest.






Friday, 1/27/12

The 1960s—a decade of relentless experimentation, bold innovation, of searching, always, for something new, something true.

Freddie and the Dreamers, “Little Bitty Pretty One,” “A Little You”
Live, London, 1965



reading table

Last night I had a dream. I was in France. Paris was again falling to the Germans, but it had become such a habit that one had to look closely to see that anyone really cared. I arrived in Paris (from the front, I think, but there wasn’t much of one) went to a party, where I was surrounded by acquaintances. They became distant and shadowy when I approached them. Suddenly I saw you and gave you a tremendous hug. You moved to another table. I said: ‘I know where there are a couple of good French restaurants.’ You said: ‘They’re all French here.’

—Robert Lowell, Letter to Elizabeth Bishop, 6/14/1953,
in The Letters of Robert Lowell (Saskia Hamilton ed., 2005)

Thursday, 1/26/12

Ever feel like you’re drowning in dreck?

Me, too.

When that happens, this is one of the things I turn to—it never fails.

Johann Sebastian Bach, Suite No. 3 in C major for Unaccompanied Cello, 4th Mvt. (Sarabande); Pierre Fournier (1906-1986), cello



reading table

[O]ld age is a ceremony of losses, which is on the whole preferable to dying at forty-seven or fifty-two.


After a life of loving the old, by natural law I turned old myself. Decades followed each other—thirty was terrifying, forty I never noticed because I was drunk, fifty was best with a total change of life, sixty extended the bliss of fifty—and then came my cancers, Jane’s death, and over the years I travelled to another universe. However alert we are, however much we think we know what will happen, antiquity remains an unknown, unanticipated galaxy. It is alien, and old people are a separate form of life. They have green skin, with two heads that sprout antennae. They can be pleasant, they can be annoying—in the supermarket, these old old ladies won’t get out of my way—but most important they are permanently other. When we turn eighty, we understand that we are extraterrestrial. If we forget for a moment that we are old, we are reminded when we try to stand up, or when we encounter someone young, who appears to observe green skin, extra heads, and protuberances.


Whatever the season, I watch the barn. I see it through this snow in January, and in August I will gaze at trailing vines of roses on a trellis against the vertical boards. I watch at the height of summer and when darkness comes early in November. From my chair I look at the west side, a gorgeous amber laved by the setting sun, as rich to the eyes as the darkening sweet of bees’ honey. . . . Out the window, I watch a white landscape that turns pale green, dark green, yellow and red, brown again under bare branches, until snow falls again.

—Donald Hall, “Out the Window,” New Yorker, 1/23/12

Wednesday, 1/25/12

trying to teach white folks

This Is Ska! (1964)



 found words

Real Messages from Heaven

—book title (Books-A-Million, 144 S. Clark St., Chicago)

Tuesday, 1/24/12

If you’re looking for sunshine, you’ll have to go elsewhere.

This is one of the saddest, darkest, most chilling things I know.

Nina Simone, “Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair”



reading table

[L]ife needs a lot of imaginative fixing, since it regularly fails to provide us with wild adventure and comfortable closure. ‘In life,’ Proust wrote in a notebook, ‘novels don’t finish.'”

—Michael Wood, “At the Movies,” London Review of Books, 1/5/12

Monday, 1/23/12

Yesterday we left off in 1977; let’s fast-forward 33 years.

Von Freeman (tenor saxophone), with Mike Allemana (guitar), Matt Ferguson (bass), Michael Raynor (drums); “Lester Leaps In,” live, Chicago (New Apartment Lounge, 75th St.), 2010 



This year, as I’ve mentioned before, Von was awarded, along with bassist Charlie Haden, singer Sheila Jordan, trumpeter Jimmy Owens, and drummer Jack DeJohnette, an NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) Jazz Masters Fellowship—“the highest honor that our nation bestows on jazz artists.” Here’s the NEA’s video tribute.

Sunday, 1/22/12

With voices like these who needs microphones?

Davis Sisters, “On the Right Road,” live (TV Broadcast), c. 1964



my back pages

Thirty-five years ago tonight—how could I possibly begin a sentence “thirty-five years ago tonight” and be referring to something that happened when I was, at least nominally, an adult? Well, this actually happened that night so I guess it must be possible. On that cold, clear January night, at a small church thirty miles north of Chicago, Suzanne and I were married. Yes, there was music. Tenor saxophonist Von Freeman and pianist John Young (now gone) played before and after the ceremony. The processional was Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood,” played by Von alone. What did all this sound like? Thanks to my friend (and ace recording engineer) James C. Moore, these sounds can be heard, thirty-five years later, here (M4A—give it a few seconds).

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