A Love Supreme – John Coltrane – one of my desert island discs…
Well, I know what I’m buying myself for my upcoming birthday…
Fred Kaplan writes:
A new box set captures Miles Davis and John Coltrane’s final tour together. It challenges the conventional wisdom about both of them.
This is the wonder and delight of The Final Tour, a four-CD box set of live concerts in Europe, from March 1960, by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis’ quintet featuring John Coltrane—none of which have ever been released in the United States.
The tour took place a full year after the band laid down Kind of Blue, one of the greatest jazz studio albums and still the most popular of all time, having sold more than 4 million copies. The band on The Final Tour is much the same as on that album, and so are many of the tunes, but the music—the way the tunes are played—is radically different. It’s such a jarring departure that it demands we revise the conventional wisdom about these two musicians and fills in some blanks—which, until now, we didn’t know were blanks—in the story of jazz, and where it was going, in those pivotal years.
Coltrane didn’t want to make the tour with Miles in 1960. He was determined to leave the band and start his own, but Miles prevailed. And the tour was a big deal—the first time Miles had played in Europe as a leader.
The opening night, March 21, took place at the Olympia theater in Paris. That concert also constitutes the box set’s first disc. The set begins with “All of You,” the Cole Porter song, which Miles had covered, with Coltrane as a sideman, on his album ’Round About Midnight(recorded in 1955, one year after the song was composed). Miles blows with a vigorous but lyrical swing, in Sinatra phrasing, with jaunty comping from the rhythm section—Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums, all of whom had played on Kind of Blue. It’s very elegant, as befits the continental setting. (Photos in the album’s booklet show the band members decked out in tuxedos.)
Then, Coltrane enters with his solo. He starts out in a simpatico spirit, a harder tone but a gentle sway. In the second chorus, he throws in a few very fast triplets. By the fifth chorus, he’s unleashing volcanoes of notes—chords on top of chords, scales zipping through the stacks, so dense, so ferocious, so fast. A few years earlier, the critic Ira Gitler had described Coltrane’s style as “sheets of sound,” but these are blizzards of sound, implosions of pure energy. Four minutes in, he spends an entire chorus experimenting with multiphonics (sounding two or more notes at the same time), then he goes back to the blizzards, or languishes on a single chord, turning it a dozen ways in as many seconds, as if sifting all the angles of a prism.
Yet at the end of each chorus, he rings out some phrase of the melody, and it doesn’t sound out of place because, through all the frenzy (this becomes startlingly clear on repeated listening), he never lets go of the song, he stays tethered to some harmonic or rhythmic hook. He may seem to be unleashing chaos, but that’s the opposite of what he’s up to.
Many years later, the tenor saxophonist Branford Marsalis heard a bootleg album of the 1960 Stockholm concert—which took place the night after the Paris concert—and experienced what he later called “one of the worst nights of my life.” Coltrane’s playing, he remembered in an interview with the New York Times Magazine, “was massive, intense. I wanted to quit. It wasn’t like I could say, ‘Well, if I start to do this or that, I might get there.’ Forget it.”
Two of my favorite artists, touring together, music heretofore unreleased. What’s not to love? I’ll let you know if it is any good but I assume it will be awesome.
Miles The Autobiography, a great read
The latest entry in the award-winning Miles Davis Bootleg Series focuses on the final chapter in the landmark collaboration between Davis and saxophonist John Coltrane: their last live performances together, in Europe in the spring of 1960.
Miles and Coltrane first collaborated in 1955, when Davis recruited the tenor saxophonist alongside pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. This “first great quintet” made their Columbia Records debut in 1957. Those early recordings showcased the stunning contrasts between Miles’ spacious, melodic lines and Trane’s cascading high-energy solos, famously described by the critic Ira Gilter in 1958 as “sheets of sound.”
While the quintet disbanded shortly after the release of ‘Round About Midnight, Coltrane was back in Miles’ ensemble in early 1958. A year late, the Miles Davis Sextet (Davis, Coltrane, Chambers, saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, pianists Bill Evans or Wynton Kelly, and drummer Jimmy Cobb) recorded the historic Kind Of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time. And for this final tour the rhythm section of Kelly, Chambers and Cobb backed Miles and Trane.
These historic performances marked Miles and Trane’s last outing together and showcased both musicians’ incredible influence on the changing sound of jazz. The beautiful music they made together is presented here officially for the very first time.
The 4CD set The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 includes concerts recorded in Paris, Copenhagen and Stockholm.
Reading this is how I’d imagine sitting down and chatting with Miles Davis would be like, mostly because the text reads as if it is conversational. Many times a musician “plays his ass off”, or Miles Davis learns some “chords and shit”, or someone is referred to as “cleaner than a motherfucker”, etc. The version I read doesn’t say much about how the book was created, I’m guessing Mr. Davis and Mr. Troupe sat down at a kitchen table, perhaps with a calendar with dates of tours, marriages, deaths, studio sessions, album releases, and the like, and then talked about and around it.
Fascinating, compelling conversation-as-text, and I wanted to hear the “extended” version with even more details about growing up middle class in East St. Louis, about the jazz scene in Manhattan as World War 2 ended, about musicians and their drug habits, about Paris in the 1950s, about Prince, and Jimi Hendrix, and Charlie Parker, and Louis Armstrong, and so on.
Miles Davis mentions Louis Armstrong, talks about how influential a musician he was, but then has a reoccurring riff about black musicians who smile and “mug” for the audience. Even Dizzy Gillespie, one of Miles Davis’ long time friends and mentors, is criticized for being too genial with the audience. Miles Davis didn’t want liner notes on his albums, wanted the music to speak for itself. And since I’ve listening to it for years, and non-stop this last week, I agree!
Multiple cups of coffee a day linked to lower risk of premature death The health benefits were seen whether people drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.
Researchers have now linked three to five cups of coffee per day to an overall lower risk of premature death, according to a new review of data on more than 200,000 health professionals.
The lowered risk was associated with a moderate amount of coffee, as opposed to those who drink only a cup or two, or no coffee at all, who did not see the health benefits. When researchers adjusted for those who smoke cigarettes, the benefits of all that coffee were even greater.
The idea that coffee can prevent the development of adverse health conditions, as studies just this year have shown it is good for brain health in older people, cancels out liver damage from over-consumption of alcohol, and may improve colon cancer survival.
Ben Carson’s remarks on foreign policy have repeatedly raised questions about his grasp of the subject, but never more seriously than in the past week, when he wrongly asserted that China had intervened militarily in Syria and then failed, on national television, to name the countries he would call on to form a coalition to fight the Islamic State.
Faced with increasing scrutiny about whether Mr. Carson, who leads in some Republican presidential polls, was capable of leading American foreign policy, two of his top advisers said in interviews that he had struggled to master the intricacies of the Middle East and national security and that intense tutoring was having little effect.
“Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,” said Duane R. Clarridge, a top adviser to Mr. Carson on terrorism and national security. He also said Mr. Carson needed weekly conference calls briefing him on foreign policy so “we can make him smart.”
Clarridge was pardoned (in the middle of his trial) by President George H.W. Bush in that historic exercise in ass-covering on the way out the door in 1992. After that, he left the CIA and went into business for himself in the shadow world of private spookdom.
Hatching schemes that are something of a cross between a Graham Greene novel and Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy,” Mr. Clarridge has sought to discredit Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar power broker who has long been on the C.I.A. payroll, and planned to set spies on his half brother, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, in hopes of collecting beard trimmings or other DNA samples that might prove Mr. Clarridge’s suspicions that the Afghan leader was a heroin addict, associates say. So, yeah, maybe the Doctor knows what he’s doing here.
Cats are notoriously picky eaters—and one reason may be that they’re fine-tuned to detect bitterness. Cats can’t taste sweetness, but they have a dozen genes that code for bitter taste receptors. A recent study from researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital finds that at least seven of these bitter taste receptors are functional, indicating that cats are very sensitive to those tastes.
In order to figure out whether the 12 known bitterness receptor genes actually cause cats to taste bitterness, the researchers inserted these genes into human cells and figured out which ones responded to chemicals that cause people to taste bitterness (since cats can’t tell us when something is bitter).
There’s the president of the United States, and then there’s the person who happens to be the President of the United States.
Bill Clinton served for eight years, but we were always more intrigued by Bill Clinton the Person—a magnetic charmer once described by Chris Rock as “a cool guy, like the president of a record company.” Clinton’s charisma defined his presidency, for better and for worse. He couldn’t always harness it. He couldn’t stop trying to win everyone over, whether it was a 60 Minutes correspondent, 500 powerful donors in a crowded banquet hall, or a fetching woman on a rope line.
If Clinton acted like someone who ran Capitol Records, Obama—both the person and the president—carries himself like Roger Federer, a merciless competitor who keeps coming and coming, only there’s a serenity about him that disarms just about everyone. At one point during the hour I spent interviewing him at the White House this fall, he casually compared himself to Aaron Rodgers, and he wasn’t bragging. Obama identified with Rodgers’s ability to keep his focus downfield despite all the chaos happening in front of him. That’s Obama’s enduring quality, and (to borrow another sports term) this has been his “career year.”
Archaeologists in Israel have kind of a great problem. While building a visitor center to house the Lod Mosaic, a magnificent work from 300 AD discovered near the construction site in 1996, workers uncovered another ancient treasure: a 1,700-year-old Roman mosaic.
The new find measures an impressive 36 feet by 42 feet, and would have likely paved the courtyard floor in a large Roman or Byzantine-era villa. The Israel Antiquities Authority unveiled photos of the floor, which contains imagery of fish, hunting animals, birds, and vases, this week in the Israel National News, which called it “breathtaking” and “among the most beautiful” mosaics in the country.
We have two possibilities before us. First, that House Republicans purposefully stacked their Benghazi! select committee with the dumbest, most inept, most incompetent twits they could round up. Or second, that they didn’t do that and the whole sodding Congress is just this dumb.
Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a member of the House Select Committee On Benghazi, said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid “a trap” for the committee by making her Oct. 22 appearance go “as long as possible.” Mind you, of all the people in that hearing room, the one least able to control how long the committee would sit on their behinds and ask former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton long, sometimes bizarre questions was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She was not allowed to just pick up and go home, even after the first four, six, eight, and 10 hours of questions proved that Republicans had absolutely no new information or questions or theories that might require her actual presence there. Republicans could have, say, limited their robust speechifying and instead asked a few more actual questions. They could have paid attention to their own rules on how long questions could go on, and perhaps gently persuaded the worst of the blowhards to give it a rest when their time had officially expired.
Not one of them can win, but one must. That’s the paradox of the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, fast becoming the signature event in the history of black comedy.
Conventional wisdom says that with the primaries and caucuses rapidly approaching, front-running nuts Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson must soon give way to the “real” candidates. But behind Trump and Carson is just more abyss. As I found out on a recent trip to New Hampshire, the rest of the field is either just as crazy or as dangerous as the current poll leaders, or too bumbling to win.
Disaster could be averted if Americans on both the left and the right suddenly decide to be more mature about this, neither backing obvious mental incompetents, nor snickering about those who do. But that doesn’t seem probable.
Instead, HashtagClownCar will almost certainly continue to be the most darkly ridiculous political story since Henry II of Champagne, the 12th-century king of Jerusalem, plunged to his death after falling out of a window with a dwarf.
Beginning in 2012, four states and the District of Columbia have voted to legalize marijuana. By this time next year, that number could well double, and then some. National polls consistently show majorities in favor of legalization, with a recent Gallup poll showing 58% support—tied for the highest level in the poll’s history.
That doesn’t mean legalization is inevitable in any given state, as the case of Ohio demonstrated earlier this month. There an initiative led by non-movement investors who sought monopolistic control of commercial pot cultivation got trounced despite spending millions of dollars.
But the Ohio result was probably a fluke, a convergence of a number of factors, including tone-deaf initiative organizers, a flawed initiative, a widely criticized mascot, and the fact that it was an off-off-year election with low voter turnout. There is no reason to believe that legalization initiatives likely next year in other states will be defeated just because the Ohio effort went down in flames.
At this point, it looks like six states are likely to legalize weed through the initiative process next year, with those efforts at varying stages, and a couple more could do it through the legislative process.
I don’t have terabytes worth of music, but I have a lot, and I’m frequently annoyed with iTunes. However, I keep with it because it syncs to my iPhone/iPad…
AT THE START of the millennium, Apple famously set out to upend the music business by dragging it into the digital realm. The iTunes store provided an easy way of finding and buying music, and iTunes provided an elegant way of managing it. By 2008, Apple was the biggest music vendor in the US. But with its recent shift toward streaming media, Apple risks losing its most music-obsessed users: the collectors.
Most of iTunes’ latest enhancements exist solely to promote the recommendation-driven Apple Music, app downloads, and iCloud. Users interested only in iTunes’ media management features—people with terabytes of MP3s who want a solid app to catalog and organize their libraries—feel abandoned as Apple moves away from local file storage in favor of cloud-based services. These music fans (rechristened “power users” in the most recent lingo) are looking for alternatives to Apple’s market-dominating media management software, and yearn for a time when listening to music didn’t require being quite so connected.
If you only own the original studio release of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” (recorded on December 9, 1964, and issued in February, 1965), then the new three-disk release “A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters” of the classic album by Coltrane’s classic quartet will be a revelatory experience.
It’s a revelation because of one particular set, one that many Coltrane fans have heard before: the live performance by the quartet from Juan-les-Pins, France, on July 26, 1965, of the entire suite of “A Love Supreme.” This set was also included the “deluxe” two-disk edition of “A Love Supreme,” issued by Impulse! Records, in 2002. By making that performance readily available to the general listener, Impulse! sparked a major advance in the appreciation, the understanding—and the love—of “A Love Supreme.” The merits of that recording shed particular light on the importance—and, strangely, the limits—of the original studio recording of “A Love Supreme.”
Despite the intelligence community’s attempts to blame NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for the tragic attacks in Paris on Friday, the NSA’s mass surveillance programs do not have a track record — before or after Snowden — of identifying or thwarting actual large-scale terrorist plots.
CIA Director John Brennan asserted on Monday that “many of these terrorist operations are uncovered and thwarted before they’re able to be carried out,” and lamented the post-Snowden “handwringing” that has made that job more difficult.
But the reason there haven’t been any large-scale terror attacks by ISIS in the U.S. is not because they were averted by the intelligence community, but because — with the possible exception of one that was foiled by local police — none were actually planned.
And even before Snowden, the NSA wasn’t able to provide a single substantiated example of its surveillance dragnet preventing any domestic attack at all.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top government officials could be detained if they step foot in Spain after a judge there issued an arrest warrant stemming from a deadly 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, but Israel is dismissing the move as a “provocation.”
In the 2010 incident, a group of human rights activists — which included members affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, according to authorities – boarded several aid ships to try and break an Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Jerusalem Post reports.
In its article, the AP also wrote, “The archive had more detailed data for children and teenagers, showing 70 from those age groups killed by firearms since the Democratic candidates debated Oct. 13 – not 200 as [Clinton] claimed.”
Again, this criticism of Clinton is erroneous because it treats the Gun Violence Archive as a comprehensive source.
The botched AP fact check was subsequently touted by the National Rifle Association.
Horrible documentation (like, zero, in fact), but still, 200 jazz and blues tracks on 10 CDs for around $20 US is a pretty good deal if you are into such things (“original masters” btw) . Artists range from Blind Willie McTell, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Joe Turner, Artie Shaw, Louis Jordan, Champion Jack Dupree, and all points in between.
Warning; not for fans of smooth jazz. If your taste runs more towards the Kenny G. side of the fence, you’ll hate this Jazz Rock Fusion; full of squawks, skronks, flats, sharps, and beautiful dissonance by Miles Davis and company, from a tour that occurred right before the recording of Bitches Brew. Not that there aren’t quiet moments here too, only that there are many crescendos of intensity which cannot be ignored. In certain states of mind, I love this album’s complexity and energy.
LIVE IN EUROPE 1969 lives up to the Miles Davis Bootleg Series mission of presenting live performances that are previously unreleased, have previously only been bootlegged, or are very rare. This new set is the first collection of Miles’s Third Great Quintet, the “Lost” Band of 1968-1970 with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette at their peak (they were never recorded in the studio). The album captures the short-lived quintet in three separate concert settings, starting with two full-length (one hour-plus) sets at the Antibes Jazz Festival in France, in Stockholm as part of “The Newport Jazz Festival In Europe,” and completed with a stunning 46-minute performance at the Berlin Philharmonie, filmed in color.
and from the liner notes:
“After we finished In a Silent Way,” Miles told his biographer Quincy Troupe (in the definitive Miles The Autobiography, Simon & Schuster, 1990), “I took the band out on the road; Wayne, Dave, Chick, and Jack DeJohnette were now my working band. Man, I wish this band had been recorded live because it was really a bad motherfucker. I think Chick Corea and a few other people recorded some of our performances live, but Columbia missed out on the whole fucking thing.”
LIVE IN EUROPE 1969 lives up to the Miles Davis Bootleg Series mission of presenting live performances that are previously unreleased, have previously only been bootlegged, or are very rare. The new box represents the first major collection to be devoted exclusively to the short-lived ‘third great quintet,’ sometimes referred to as Miles’ ‘lost band’ of 1969-70: Shorter on soprano and tenor saxophones, Corea on electric piano (and occasionally acoustic piano), Holland on acoustic bass, and DeJohnette on drums.
The Miles-Shorter-Corea-Holland-DeJohnette lineup (in tandem with other players) began to solidify during the 1968-‘69 recording dates that became the Filles De Kilimanjaro and In a Silent Way albums. And they were at the core of the dozen or so musicians joined together by Miles in August 1969, for the principal sessions that became the landmark turning point of his Grammy Award®-winning Bitches Brew.
“It was really a bad motherfucker,” Miles Davis wrote in his autobiography of the live band he led in 1969. With somewhat less panache, Davis completists have pegged the group the Lost Quintet, since, unlike the two longstanding Davis five-pieces that preceded it, this one never made a proper studio recording. All of the members– saxophonist Wayne Shorter, keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette– appear on 1970’s landmark Bitches Brew and other scattered sessions from the time, but only as part of larger ensembles; until now, if you wanted to hear them as a stripped-down unit, you had to consult imports, bootlegs and YouTube. This second installment in the Miles Davis Bootleg Series, which follows an excellent 2011 set focusing on the trumpeter’s prior working band, gives us three complete Lost Quintet gigs, plus the majority of a fourth, on three CDs and one DVD. It’s a real trove, and not just because this lineup is relatively obscure
Gil-Evans-with-Miles-Davis Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives.
One of musical history’s great What Ifs – Jimi Hendrix, Gil Evans and Miles Davis collaborating on an instrumental album. Sadly Hendrix died1 before sessions were scheduled.
By the time he arrived in London 34 years ago, his repertoire had moved on. Fans hoping for the coolly luminous sounds unfurled on earlier albums were to be disappointed. Instead of the delicate reimagining of pieces by Kurt Weill and Léo Delibes, we were presented with bold, driving versions of Jimi Hendrix songs, taken from Evans’s LP devoted to the guitarist’s themes, recorded four years earlier. As a conductor, he preferred to sit at the piano, giving occasional cues but mostly allowing the music to form itself.
Evans met Hendrix through Davis, and the guitarist’s death thwarted their plan to make an instrumental album together. The LP that eventually appeared bore witness to one of Evans’s enduring weaknesses: the painful slowness of his working method. In order to meet the deadline for a Carnegie Hall concert that preceded the recording sessions, five of the eight arrangements were contributed by members of his orchestra, only three coming from his own pen.
Sounds intriguing, especially since not much music was recorded during these years of the creation of bebop since the war effort curtailed the recording industry.
The historic live Town Hall sessions by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker from 1945 have been discovered on an acetate pressing, and are transferred with digital enhancement to CD. Why this concert was not issued initially is understandable, but Ira Gitler’s informative and insightful liner notes suggest they likely were misplaced. What Gitler’s essential writing also reveals is that these dates were approximate by only weeks to the original studio recordings of these classics, and there was no small amount of controversy surrounding this revolutionary bebop. Clearly bop was a vehicle for intricate melodic invention followed by lengthy soloing, aspects of which Parker with Gillespie were perfectly suited for.
Fact is, the situation surrounding the sonic capture and extended neglected shelf life of this performance was far from optimal. Symphony Sid Torin is the M.C., rambling as always, making repeated references to Dizzy “Jillespie” and misidentifying Max Roach as Sid Catlett on “Salt Peanuts.” (Catlett does sit in on “Hot House” in a more supportive than demonstrative role.)
The tracks with the brilliant Roach are on fire, particularly the super-hot “Salt Peanuts,” with pianist Al Haig flying beside him. Haig is perhaps the most impressive musician. The rhythm section, especially Haig, is more present in the mix and up front, while the trumpet and alto sax are buried.
As the concert progresses, it gets better, with Gillespie’s muted trumpet clearer. Parker lays back on the mike, but not in spirit or bravado for “Interlude,” which is now known as “A Night in Tunisia,” and better balanced during “Groovin’ High,” which was originally titled “Whispering.” There seems to be an unplanned slight key chance in the bridge of “Groovin’ High.” A late-arriving Parker was in part replaced by tenor saxophonist Don Byas, who sounds terrific on the opener, “Bebop,” until Parker steps on-stage and ups the ante. At under 41 minutes in length, this can be looked upon as a historical document, likely appealing only to completists. But the overriding factor of previously undiscovered Diz and Bird makes the CD something all bebop fans should readily embrace, despite its audio deficiencies.
I’ve read1 that the reason Charlie Parker was late was because he was wandering the streets of New York looking to score some heroin, and then fixed before he started playing. This was the Bird’s typical routine apparently.
I’ve always loved this photo, especially Duke Ellington’s expression of unmitigated joy…
Duke Ellington sits at the piano in a blackened theater, a brilliant shaft of light casting him in heroic silhouette.
Billie Holiday (sic – actually this is Ella Fitzgerald) stands before the microphone, lips slightly parted – as if in mid-phrase – smoke billowing softly behind her.
Oscar Peterson performs in close quarters with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis, Peterson’s hands a blur above the keys of his piano.
The black-and-white images could be the work of only one man, Herman Leonard, perhaps the most revered jazz photographer of the 20th Century and the subject of an exquisitely produced new book, “Jazz ” (Bloomsbury, $65). Though not the first, and probably not the last, published collection of Leonard’s photographs, “Jazz” captures the textural sumptuousness of Leonard’s photography, while crystallizing his personal philosophy about the music.
Leonard, in other words, chose to celebrate the jazz life, rather than demonize it. While many jazz lensmen sensationalized the dark side of jazz – as in those ghastly photos of a drug-ravaged Chet Baker toward the end of his life – Leonard went in the opposite direction. To him, jazz musicians were to be admired, not scorned or pitied. He saw poetry where others saw melodrama; he portrayed romance where others focused on decay.
I’ve been a near obsessive collector of music since I was 13, and often I accumulate more than I can consume. Case in point, I stumbled upon this album in my collection by Barbara Dane. Wow, what a smoky, husky, sexy voice, accompanied only by herself on guitar. I have no memory of why I own this CD, apparently I bought it in August, 2007, but didn’t really listen to it until tonight1. No matter, I’ve heard her now, and am in love.
Barbara Dane’s parents arrived in Detroit from Arkansas in the 1920s. Out of high school, Dane began to sing regularly at demonstrations for racial equality and economic justice. While still in her teens, she sat in with bands around town and won the interest of local music promoters. She got an offer to tour with Alvino Rey’s band, but she turned it down in favor of singing at factory gates and in union halls.
Moving to San Francisco in 1949, Dane began raising her own family and singing her folk and topical songs around town as well as on radio and television. A jazz revival was then shaking the town, and by the 1950s she became a familiar figure at clubs along the city’s Embarcadero with her own versions of women’s blues and jazz tunes. New Orleans jazz musicians like George Lewis and Kid Ory and locals like Turk Murphy, Burt Bales, Bob Mielke and others invited her onto the bandstand regularly. Her first professional jazz job was with Turk Murphy at the Tin Angel in l956. “Bessie Smith in stereo,” wrote jazz critic Leonard Feather in the late 1950s. Time said of Dane: “The voice is pure, rich … rare as a 20 karat diamond.”
By 1959, Louis Armstrong had asked Time magazine readers: “Did you get that chick? She’s a gasser!” and invited her to appear with him on national television. She toured the East Coast with Jack Teagarden, appeared in Chicago with Art Hodes, Roosevelt Sykes, Little Brother Montgomery, Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon and others, played New York with Wilbur De Paris and his band, and appeared on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show as a solo guest artist. Other national TV work included The Steve Allen Show, Bobby Troop’s Stars of Jazz, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
In 1961, the singer opened her own club, Sugar Hill: Home of the Blues, on San Francisco’s Broadway in the North Beach district, with the idea of creating a venue for the blues in a tourist district where a wider audience could hear it. There Dane performed regularly with her two most constant musical companions: Kenny “Good News” Whitson on piano and cornet and Wellman Braud, former Ellington bassist. Among her guest artists were Jimmy Rushing, Mose Allison, Mama Yancey, Tampa Red, Lonnie Johnson, Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin’ Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry.
Charles Pierce remembers Portland Trailblazer legend, Maurice Lucas, in a reminiscence that begins:
Thirty-nine years ago this fall, I moved into the 11th floor of a 12-story dormitory at the corner of 16th Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was a freshman at Marquette University. (The dorm, McCormick Hall, is round and shaped like a beer can, which is remarkably appropriate in more than the metaphorical sense, and the building has been rumored for almost 40 years to be sinking into middle Earth.) Not long after I moved in, I found myself intrigued by the music coming out from under the door of the room next to mine — music which I now know to have been “Eurydice,” the closing track from Weather Report’s astounding debut album. (Mmmmmm. Wayne Shorter!) As I was listening, an extremely large man came out of the room and introduced himself. “Pretty cool, isn’t it?’ he said.
And that was how I met Maurice Lucas.
For the next couple of years, we talked about music, at least as much as Luke talked to anyone, him being what you call your campus celebrity and all during the glory days of Warrior basketball and the high-sun period of Al McGuire Era. Whatever I know about any jazz recorded after the big band records to which my father listened — Mmmmmmm. Basie! — I learned from Luke, with whom I don’t believe I ever exchanged four words about basketball.
A few interesting links collected July 28th through July 29th:
George Bush’s Book Will Shape the 2010 Campaign – The Daily Beast – Still, that has not stopped some Republicans, traumatized over the last two election cycles, from fearing the worst. “Monumentally bad timing” was the reaction of one former Bush aide who learned of the book release date. Another prominent conservative compared the Bushies’ public-relations savvy to LeBron James. “Selfish and stupid” was another noted right-wing columnist’s reaction. Democrats, meanwhile, are gleeful.
Hail, Hail, Rock’n’Roll | Laura Barton – Walk around the streets near my home in east London and the area’s past will soon rise up to meet you – carved above door-frames, etched into glass and painted on awnings and the sides of buildings are the ghost-signs of former industries: shop-fronts and faded adverts for Blooms Pianos and Gillette Razors; fountain pens, glass, stoves and whisky; Strongs Meat and Donovan Brothers’ Paper Bags. This was once an area famed for furniture and shoemakers, matches and model-makers, but as the industry moved elsewhere many of the names drifted into obscurity, too: Lesney, Bailey & Sloper, Bespoke Shoes, Berger, Jenson & Nicholson, Batey & Co, F Puckeridge & Nephew. As the area reinvents itself with luxury flats and new train lines, galleries and delicatessens, the few names that remain serve as faded, barely noticed reminders of the vibrant history of this part of the city.
New Documentary Explores History Of Jews and Basketball : NPR – todays Golden State Warriors were the Philadelphia Warriors. They started from the Philadelphia Sphas, the South Philadelphia Hebrew All-Stars. That team was founded by Eddie Gottlieb in the 1920s at the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association. He formed a league as a kid and the team as a kid. And that team went on to become an NBA team, in essence. And he was one of the original NBA owners.
Walk around the streets near my home in east London and the area’s past will soon rise up to meet you – carved above door-frames, etched into glass and painted on awnings and the sides of buildings are the ghost-signs of former industries: shop-fronts and faded adverts for Blooms Pianos and Gillette Razors; fountain pens, glass, stoves and whisky; Strongs Meat and Donovan Brothers’ Paper Bags.
This was once an area famed for furniture and shoemakers, matches and model-makers, but as the industry moved elsewhere many of the names drifted into obscurity, too: Lesney, Bailey & Sloper, Bespoke Shoes, Berger, Jenson & Nicholson, Batey & Co, F Puckeridge & Nephew. As the area reinvents itself with luxury flats and new train lines, galleries and delicatessens, the few names that remain serve as faded, barely noticed reminders of the vibrant history of this part of the city.
I was thinking about these ghost signs and all those lost names this last week as I listened to Atlantic Rhythm and Blues, Volume One. This is a collection of 25 songs released between 1947 and 1952 in the first five years of the label’s existence. It ranges from relatively well-known artists – including Big Joe Turner and Ruth Brown – to obscure acts such as Stick McGhee, who pops up playing his only hit, Drinkin’ Wine (Spo-Dee-O-Dee).
Likewise Professor Longhair, who appears here playing two of his biggest songs, Hey Little Girl and Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Born Ray Byrd in Louisiana, Professor Longhair was a blues pianist and singer who settled in New Orleans and whose music has proved something of a linchpin of the city: a rolling, rumbling thing, with a rumba lilt, a certain Caribbeanness, and a croaky, lurching gait. You’d recognise it, surely – the dishevelled, tanked-up plea of Hey Little Girl is played often enough. Mardi Gras in New Orleans, meanwhile, has one of the most persuasive whistled intros in musical history.
This was a man who tap-danced for money along Bourbon Street, who was a card-shark and a gambler and a hustler, a one-time wannabe-boxer; a man who tried to scratch a living as a cook and a dancer and a seller of a miracle cure-all named Hadacol. You can hear it all in his music of course – a need and a desperation and a desire for more. But also a charm and a seduction and something winningly ramshackle.
There was some commercial success, for a while, but not much. Longhair’s musical offspring have been plentiful, though: you can’t listen to Fats Domino or Dr John, Allen Toussaint or Huey Smith without hearing his influence. Nor Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley or Lennon and McCartney. After a period of obscurity in the 1960s, when he worked as a janitor and fell back into gambling, Longhair enjoyed a burst of success in the last decade or so of his life with tours and a new album deal and dues paid by Robbie Robertson and Robert Plant. After his death, on the eve of the release of a new record, he was awarded a posthumous Grammy and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Old Enough To Drink -Tally-ho and pass the tater salad.Twenty-One
– 2 oz gin
– ¾ oz Pimm’s No. 1
– 1 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
– ¾ oz simple syrup
– cucumber slice
Combine first four ingredients (as always, adjust the syrup:lemon ratio to taste) in a cocktail shaker. Add a big scoop of ice, give it a dozen good shakes, and strain into a chilled rocks glass. Slide in the cucumber.
Optional: Grow muttonchops and refer to everything as “Striking!” Play croquet and care about Wimbledon.