Yom Kippur/Columbus Day Stroganoff
One of my early introductions to jazz was through the smoky vapors of Van Morrison's 1967 Astral Weeks -- in Fall 1985. My first attempt at a professional interview with a musician was with Richard Davis, the bass player on that album, in the Fall of 1987. I failed; I was to interview him on a drive from Madison to, I think, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but he canceled at the last minute, saying "I'd rather practice than be interviewed." I didn't think much of it -- what, I was going to argue with Richard Davis? I wore tie-dye and had a pony tail and no girlfriend -- Who was I? Later, another musican revealed that "he was probably just fuckin' with you because he could." No matter. He did the right thing. I didn't know enough yet.
I bring this up because of the announcement that Davis [pictured above] will back Van Morrison next month at the Hollywood Bowl, performing Astral Weeks in its entirety with some of the record's original musicians, including guitarist Jay Berliner. Crypto friend Peter Erskine will sit in for the late Connie Kay, drummer on the AW sessions and the timekeeper for the Modern Jazz Quartet. If this latest trend of musicians doing entire albums in their original sequence (Sebadoh, Built To Spill, Lucinda Williams, Public Enemy) has acheived anything, it's to bring Van the Man back to this strange and sublimely orgasmic song-cycle, about which so much great ink has already been spent describing its pleasures that I won't even bother. But oh lordy-loo...can't wait! And if you miss it, no matter; they're taping it for DVD release! (sounds of mouth-breathing and tongueless grunting here)
Our boss Jeff Gauthier's latest musical journey House of Return just got looked at by JazzTimes -- check it out here. . . .Nels Cline is now back in Chicago, recording material for a new album with Das Vilco. . . .pianist Myra Melford tore it up with Henry Threadgill at Roulette in NYC last week; check out Nate Chinen's live review in the New York Times here. Myra also appeared with her quartet of Harris Eisenstadt, Mary Halvorson and Mantana Roberts; check out pics from the show here....And finally, Mr. Bennie Maupin will be participating in a benefit at Catalina's for the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research on Sunday, October 26, 2008. The benefit starts at 11:30am and should wrap up around 2pm. Tickets are $125 per person (includes champagne and brunch); to RSVP, contact Deanna Reynolds at (310) 623-1210 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
ALSO: Speaking of performing albums in their entirety, sax man Azar Lawrence [pictured above] will do the same with his newest CD Speak The Word this Saturday, October 12 at Alva's Showroom in San Pedro...World Stage Stories, a series live oral history interviews conducted at Leimert Park's World Stage Performance Gallery, has announced its new Fall 2008 Schedule:
Oct. 3: conga player Taumbú
Oct. 17: saxophonist Rickey Woodard
Oct. 31: trumpeter Nolan Shaheed
Nov. 14: bassist John B. Williams
Dec. 5: percussionist Ramón Banda
Dec. 19: drummer Kharon Harrison
All the talks start at 8pm and are open to the public for a $10 (suggested donation). For more information, contact Clint Rosemond at (323) 290-6565.
AND, HAPPY 70TH BIRTHDAY, BLUE NOTE!
Author/musician/critic Richard M. Sudhalter (Dec. 28, 1938-Sept, 19, 2008) -- REST IN TEMPO