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January 2009 Archives

January 5, 2009

Phast Phreddie & Nate The Painter

Hi pholkes, we're back from our much-needed holiday snooze. We've got a lot to catch up on and we'll post something most substantial ASAWC, but we got this timely notice about the funeral service for Freddie Hubbard, which is, uh, tomorrow:

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Funeral Services for Frederick Dewayne Hubbard
Tuesday January 6, 2009
Faithful Central Bible Church
The Tabernacle
321 N Eucalyptus Ave
Inglewood, CA 90301
(310) 330-8000
www.faithfulcentral.com
Viewing: 11am-1pm
Service: 1pm

Also, an update on the condition of master pianist Nate Morgan, from our friend Jeffrey Winston: "Nate is facing some serious challenges. He is paralyzed on his left side after suffering a stroke. Musicians have been playing for him at his bedside. Nate has also had multiple complications, including an infection and a heart attack because he was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Now, he needs a heart valve replacement but at this time, he is too weak for the procedure. All of this on top of the dialysis he receives three times a week."

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Apparently, there was be a benefit for Nate at The World Stage on Friday, Dec. 26, 2008, the proceeds going to help the Morgan family with the enormous medical bills. Writes our friend Jeannette Lindsay: "We hope to secure a larger venue later, but for now, he needs our prayers and support, immediately. Please spread the word. If you are out of town and would still like to send a donation, card or otherwise, I know that would be deeply appreciated. Donations (yes, tax-deductible) can be made to "The World Stage" - be sure to write a memo on the check: "for Nate Morgan", so they know to keep it separate from general World Stage funds. (However, a direct donation to support the World Stage would also be deeply appreciated, I am sure!)"

Here is the address to send donations to:

Nate Morgan
c/o The World Stage
PO Box 83253
Los Angeles, CA 90083

(Be sure to send it to the PO Box and not the street address, so that it doesn't get lost in all the activity at the Stage.)

January 7, 2009

Well, the plecostomus is dead...

Yes, our plecostomus -- or, "Pleccy" as we knew and loved him -- was found lifeless in our aquarium when we returned from our Big Island Hawai'i trip. We left plenty of food, and the algae was thriving when we left, but we've had him for about seven years, and we're not sure if it was our negligence or his old age that pounded the last nail in his little catfish-casket. Nevertheless, we were quite sad; it seemed like such an unceremonious ending for a cherished companion whom we loved to watch swimming around our tank in lieu of reality television. Quite honestly, Pleccy had much more personality: shy, sometimes petulant, always loyal, a bit of a loner he.

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"Feeeeeeed meeeee!"

At any rate, let's jump in to some "News in Brief" with both coral-reef infected feet:

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LOVE FROM CHI-TOWN
Pitchfork Media, whom we already knew was partially run out of the Suddenly Coolest City on Earth (Wilco, Tortoise, Andrew Bird, The Velvet Lounge, Kranky Records, Common, The AACM and that Obama dude) but didn't know the guy who launched it, Ryan Schreiber, was a jazz guy. Now we suddenly know why they've been throwing us some more L-O-V-E lately, as seen in today's post about our rez talented twins Nels and Alex Cline. There was some surprise -- affected for the uninitiated, we surmise -- that Nels even had a twin bro at all, something we hope to rectify in the upcoming weeks with our exclusive interviews with both brothers in tandem with the upcoming (Feb. 10!) release dates of their respective solo albums: Alex's Continuation and Nels' Coward. Stay tuned.

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PILFERING THE TIMES
Some cool music-related articles from last Sunday's edition: a review of D.J Taylor's Bright Young People, a new book on the overlooked history of the British Jazz Age; a profile of the Coburn Conservatory of Music; and an overview of Noise, a new anthology of fiction based on the music of Sonic Youth.

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LOCAL YOKELS
We've been noticing a recent pique in the profiling of regional jazz music, from Rebecca Abbott's documentary The Unsung Heroes: Jazz Music in New Haven to Jeannette Lindsay's Leimert Park: A Story of A Village in South Central to a new book by Benjamin Franklin (no joke) entitled Jazz and Blues Musicians of South Carolina. All of this appears to be in direct response to the monolithic "national" approach of Ken Burns' Jazz.

TENACIOUS D.
Check out Dary John Mizelle's In Defense of Moderism.

70 YEARS YOUNG
Los Angeles' own Monday Evening Concerts has been going on for 70 years. Which in LA-LA terms makes it positively Jurassic.

OUR FAVE YEAR-END LIST
Wired.com's Top 5 Disruptive Music-Making Technologies

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CHES MASTER
Crypto extended family member Ches Smith is interviewed on Glowing Realm.

CURRENTLY LISTENING:
Ryan Adams & the Cardinals – Cardinology
Buena Vista Social Club – At Carnegie Hall
Coldplay – Viva la Vida/Prospekt’s March
The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
No Age – Weirdo Rippers

CURRENTLY READING:
A Power Stronger Than Itself by George E. Lewis
Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman w/ John Jacobs
Blindness by Jose Saramago
Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

January 14, 2009

6 x 24 = 504

504 hours, that is, until the end of the Imperial Presidency. Thanks to vacation and attendant illnesses (flu. cold, coral reef infection), we're a little behind the news curve here, so allow us to unload our burdens:

PILFERING THE WEEKLY VIA THE NEW YORKER VIA PITCHFORK VIA ROLLING STONE
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Kudos to the LA Weekly for its terrific regional-centric pieces over the last month or so:
Liz's Ohanesian's piece on electronic composer Mark Lane (pictured above); Casey Dolan's article on The Resurrection of Frank Zappa's Soul. Their blog had some pretty sweet Year End Lists (although we try to avoid the swarm of those) with plenty of local talent like No Age, Delicious Vinyl, Abe Vigoda (which Pitchfork media just profiled), Flying Lotus (celebrated by The New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones) and the Knux. Rolling Stone has also highlighted some local scenes and friends: Jenny Eliscu's overview of the resurgent Laurel Canyon scene that is drawing the likes of The Jayhawks' Gary Louris and Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis; the ever-interesting David Fricke "picked" extended Crypto gal-pal Jenny Scheinman for a little love. The musical kind that is...

ZORN/KING/GAUTHIER
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On Friday, Feb. 6, Our fearless leader Jeff Gauthier will join New Yawk composers John Zorn and John King in being honored ('bout time!) for having their music interpreted by The Eclipse Quartet (Sara Parkins, Sarah Thornblade, Anna Fernandez, Maggie Parkins, pictured above) at a special concert at MONA's First Fridays series. The EQ will devote the first half of the program to Zorn and King, which doesn't excuse all you latecomers who are there for the second half, which will be an improvisational collaboration as the quartet plugs in to play music by Mr. Jeff, and to improvise with him on electric violin and David Witham on electronics and keyboards. Together these musicians will create spontaneously composed music inspired by the amazing neon art on display at MONA.
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This will be Mr. Witham's second memorable night at MONA, the first being his Jan. 9 concert reunion with Adwin David Brown (W. and he collabroated in Bluezeum) on a bill that also included The Black Plums. The first awesome show of the year, in our book. These nights at MONA started off a bit shaky and underattended, but are really gathering momentum with increasingly adventurous programs -- all to the eerie pulse of L.A.'s neon ghosts. Mr. Witham just completed his role as assistant conductor for Wicked, which closed a couple of weeks ago. He can be heard on Ernie Watt's new CD To The Point: Live at the Jazz Bakery.

SENDING FREDDIE ON HIS WAY
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Freddie Hubbard's funeral was last week, and there's pics and reportage on this important -- if bittersweet -- event from L.A. Watts Times, Sulekha, PicTopia and the San Francisco Chronicle among others. Of the many many tributes given to Hubbard and his music over the last few weeks, we enjoy The Jazz Cat's remembrances with Hubert Laws, David Weiss and Mr. Bennie Maupin and our blog buddy Dave Douglas' lovely "Listening To Freddie Hubbard."

MUSIC WHERE IT DOES/DOESN'T BELONG
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Two favorite pieces of wackiness: the Mystery Piano in the Massachussetts woods and Joshua Bell's rush-hour concerts in Washington DC.

CATCH IF YOU CAN
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Independent Lens' documentary on the making of John Adams' Doctor Atomic...KCRW's retrospective of 50 years of McCabe's Guitar Shop...PBS' Chicano Rock!, about the golden age of East L.A. music (in time for the publication of Anthony Macias' Mexican American Mojo: Popular Music, Dance, and Urban Culture in Los Angeles, 1935-1968)...NPR profiles of Mike Reed and Martial Solal (pictured above).

CRYPTO'S FRIENDS
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Guitarist and Crypto friend Jim McAuley's 2-CD The Ultimate Frog has been getting a lot of good press as of late. McAuley was in the California Guitar Trio with Nels Cline and the late Rod Poole, and his characteristic low profile is offset on the record by appearances by The Clines, Leroy Jenkins and Ken Filiano. You can check it our (or BUY IT) here.

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For those of you who can't wait for Alex Cline's upcoming Continuation CD, one of its stellar players, cellist Peggy Lee, has released New Code, which has been getting rave reviews. Both CDs are on Drip Audio.

COW TIPPING
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Accompanying numerous profiles on Mr. Fred Frith comes a much-needed and long-awaited box set retrospective of Frith's landmark ensemble Henry Cow. Titled, strangely enough, The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set, you can read AAJ's review here.

And, finally...

REST IN TEMPO
Ron Asheton
Delaney Bramlett
Betty Freeman
Glenn Goldman
Lars Hollmer
Eartha Kitt
Charlie Ottaviano
Rosetta Reitz
Gene Parrish
"Pleccy"
Tony Reedus
Elmer Valentine

January 16, 2009

Crypto Artists/Friends in Year-end Polls

cg136.jpgOh, did we mention we stay away from year-end polls? Well, mostly -- unless it involves us somehow. Yessiree, that time again. Downbeat’s poll included only one Crypto release this year, Bennie Maupin’s Early Reflections – but a lot of Crypto satellites made the cut, like Myra Melford’s collab with Marty Ehrlich Spark! and Peter Erskine's collab w/ Tim Hagans & The Norrbotten Big Band Worth The Wait.
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From JazzTimes, Todd Sickafoose’s Tiny Resistors hit #46 in JazzTimes' poll and #11 on Will Layman's PopMatters poll. Early Reflections also made the Village Voice’s year-end poll (curated by Francis Davis) and Mark Stryker's list for the Detroit Free Press.
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Both T-Sick and B-Maup made our pal Greg Burk's MetalJazz year end list, as did Crypto pal Cuong Vu and spiritual L.A. forefathers The Gathering. Avant Music News included the Goatette's House of Return, as did Slate's Fred Kaplan. Michael J. West included Bennie in his list for The Washington City Paper.
tsick.jpgThe Denver Post assured us that "Indie Labels Delivered the Goods" in 2008 when it came to great jazz – but yet nothing we did was mentioned. Are we miffed? Nah, we’re used to it. Sort of.

We'll be updating this as the accolades pour in...

January 20, 2009

"Say it plain, that many have died for this day."

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January 22, 2009

Crypto Receives No Oscar or Grammy Nods, But...

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"TurtleBird"

If there's any doubt that the dawn of our current Prez will bring back cool music and art, dig Pitchfork Media's coverage of the Big Shoulder Inaugural Ball, which had quite possibly the hippest lineup of musicians (including exended Crypto pals Tortoise and Andrew Bird, pictured above) since Greg Allman and Dickey Betts ran into each other at Jimmy Carter's inauguration in 1977.

Similar/related thoughts from Edward Goldman, host of KCRW's Art Talk:

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Since Election Day, when Barack Hussein Obama became President-Elect of the United States, I, like everyone else, have been swept up in the wave of enthusiasm over the results of the election. But truth be told, I’m elated not just because we have our first black president, but because for the first time in decades, our commander-in-chief is a brilliant person whose intelligence and eloquence wins friends and foes alike. With that, plus his famous discipline, the sky is the limit.

For the first time, in god knows how long, an American president is including art in his political agenda. During the campaign, Obama was the only candidate to distribute a detailed program of initiatives, including plans for an Artist Corps. It would promote art in schools and low-income communities, increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, and provide health care for artists. In an interview on ‘Meet the Press,’ Obama said “Our art and our culture...is the essence of what makes America special, and we want to project that as much as possible in the White House.”

Probably you’ve heard about the petition circulating in the last few weeks urging Obama to create a new Cabinet-level position for an Arts Czar. My advice to him would be to take it upon himself to promote art and culture, because he has a unique opportunity to champion it for the American public - let’s say by making a habit of visiting the museums within walking distance of the White House, accompanied by family, friends and sometimes by visiting dignitaries. You may remember, I did a program asking him, Please, Mr. President, Take us on a Date. Can you imagine the media frenzy if Barack takes Michelle and his adorable girls on a stroll through the National Gallery? Can you imagine our new president deciding to bring contemporary artworks into the White House - not only in the living quarters, but in the Oval Office as well? Wouldn’t it be a great chance to breathe new energy into the historic rooms, which have gotten a bit stale and could use a break from traditional images of cowboys roaming the Wild West?

And could President Barack Obama take a cue from John F. Kennedy, who had the chutzpah to ask not an established or famous artist to do his official portrait, but a young, unknown painter Elaine de Kooning whose first exhibition had been panned by critics? The resulting portrait of JFK is a remarkable and welcome departure from the predictable and boring portraits of so many American presidents. After all, even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had the balls to sit for an official portrait of her painted by Lucian Freud, one of the most celebrated painters of our time, notorious for refusing to flatter his subjects. Take a look at her portrait on the Art Talk page of the KCRW website: not pretty, not kind, but one tough broad you don’t want to mess with and all that under a heavy, bejeweled crown. Wouldn’t it be intriguing to see what Lucian Freud would do with Obama? Or for that matter, how the presidential portrait would look if it were done by the great American artist Chuck Close?

Think about how many prominent artistic careers Obama and his family could launch if they agreed to pose for a variety of young artists who would have to compete for such an honor. You can say that I’m a dreamer, but encouraging signs abound: in the weeks preceding the inauguration, we see photographs of Obama visiting a Washington museum in the company of Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, and we can also find an amazing variety of portraits of Obama spreading like wildfire via the internet. The most interesting one I discovered there is a mural-size image of Barack Obama as Abraham Lincoln, plastered on a wall in Boston an image as cool and colorful as the man who today became the 44th President of the United States.

January 30, 2009

¡Odds Bodkins!

Completely serendipitous and pointless anecdote culled from our current economic crisis and only marginally related to music:

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The great thing about what's been happening in the financial sectors as of late is the EVERYONE seems to be going though hard times, which to me means there's no shame in doing anything one can to make ends meet. (This would be different in boom times, when the flush wealth of some is waved in the faces of the less fortunate.) Now we (or most of us anyway) are on a more level playing field. I found this out yesterday when The Beast agreed -- through circuituous and unavoidable connections with those in L.A.'s entertainment industry -- to be an extra in a brief TV shoot at Burbank's McCambridge Park. It paid $50. I had no idea what show it was for and I didn't care. I was scraping, but I was proud to do it. My job was to stand at a pay phone (yes! they still exist) and just dial. That's it. Just press the buttons and pretend to raise the phone to my ear. Then, as it was revealed to me by the director, I was supposed to leap back from the phone and drop it. Apparently, I was playing a poor soul who was just about to hang up the receiver when he was struck by lightning. Apparently, this is what the show was about: a cable documentary about the science of lightning.

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OK fine. I asked the director the backstory -- I mean, I needed motivation! -- and she revealed that I was playing none other than Dr. Anthony Cicoria, the orthepedic surgeon from Oneonta, New York who in 1993 was hit by a bolt of lightning that hit the metal pay phone he was at, struck him in the head and exited out his foot. Apparently, the shock to the system "downloaded" (his words) an obsessive love of piano music and revealed a previously hidden talent for playing it. He recently composed the "Lightning Sonata" and now plays concerts billed as "The Accidental Pianist." His story forms the basis for the bestselling book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and The Brain by Oliver "Robin Williams Played Me!" Sacks. One of my all-time favorite books. I was honored!

REST IN TEMPO
Leroy "Hog" Cooper
Susan Meyer Markle
John Martyn
Gordon "Whitey" Mitchell
David "Fathead" Newman
George Perle
Billy Powell

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