Sunday, March 19, 2017

weekend jazz & a rebuttal: Bob Brookmeyer, Chuck Berry: Saturday Music Club on Sunday

Remembering Bob Brookmeyer and Chuck Berry...two men who helped change music for the better, and made it into their ninth decades...

The Life and Music of Bob Brookmeyer (a documentary)

Jazz on a Summer's Day (opens with the Jimmy Giuffre 3, featuring Brookmeyer and Jim Hall, performing "The Train and the River")

The Gerry Mulligan Quartet on Jazz Casual (hosted by Ralph Gleason; NET/National Educational Television)

Gerry Mulligan Quartet (July 18, 1962) - Jazz Casual 
Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone); Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone); Wyatt Ruther (bass); Gus Johnson (drums). 
1. Four for Three 
2. Darn That Dream 
3. Open Country 
4. Utter Chaos

Anita O'Day with the Gary McFarland Orchestra (w/Brookmeyer): "A Woman Alone with the Blues"

The Clark Terry/Bob Brookmeyer Quintet on Jazz 625 (BBC-TV)

Bob Brookmeyer and Friends (with Tony Bennett): "Day Dream"

The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra on Jazz Casual 

Thad Jones - Mel Lewis Orchestra (April 22, 1968) - Jazz Casual 
Thad Jones (cornet); Snooky Young, Richard Williams, Randy Brecker, Danny Moore (trumpets); Garnett Brown, Benny Powell, Jimmy Knepper, Bob Brookmeyer (trombones); Jerry Dodgion (alto saxophone); Jerome Richardson (alto and soprano saxophones); Seldon Powell, Eddie Daniels (tenor saxophone); Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone); Roland Hanna (piano); Richard Davis (bass); Mel Lewis (drums). 
1. Just Blues 
2. St. Louis Blues 
3. Kids Are Pretty People 
4. Don't Get Sassy

Bob Brookmeyer and Jim Hall Live at the Northsea Jazz Festival 1979

1. Skating in Central Park 
2. I Hear a Rhapsody 
3. My Funny Valentine 
4. Body and Soul 
5. In a Sentimental Mood 
6. Sweet Basil 
7. Darn That Dream 
8. St. Thomas

Bob Brookmeyer New Art Orchestra: "Boom Boom"

A Suite for Three (a documentary)

And a mild demurral from Chuck Berry, rest in glory:

Friday, March 17, 2017

FFB: POPCORN AND SEXUAL POLITICS: MOVIE REVIEWS by Kathi Maio (Crossing Press 1991); Maio in F&SF

I briefly reviewed Kathi Maio's first collection of film reviews, from the feminist magazine Sojourner (as distinct from the leftist Christian magazine of almost the same title, pluralized), Feminist in the Dark, in a survey of collections from the various film and other a/v critics who've published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction over the years (a cohort which has since been expanded to include David Skal and Tim Pratt). Having unboxed and reread some of her second collection of Sojourner essays, and (sadly) her last book so far (Crossing Press hit some bumpy road not long after the publication of this one, and no one else has picked up the slack in this regard), I thought I'd give this one at least a brief review as well, and cite (again) her online archive of contributions to F&SF (though incomplete, as it starts with her 1999 columns, when she began contributing to F&SF on previous primary columnist Harlan Ellison's recommendation in 1991).

What I learned after that initial review on the blog was that Maio had been a fellow member, with several regular and past contributors to the weekly Friday Books roundelay, of the amateur press association D[orothy Sayers-]APA-Em, thus an old correspondent and friend...and as also a librarian, her grounding in the literature of crime as well as her feminist sensibilities, wit, and lack of allegiance to any sort of overarching theory of film are all on display as thoroughly in this second collection as they were in the first.  Popcorn is organized slightly differently than Feminist in the Dark was, with thematic groupings of her reviews ("A Fine Romance", "The Lost Race of Hollywood", "The New 'Women's Film'", "Losing Out and Getting Even", "Motherhood in Patriarchy", "With Friends Like These..." [fake feminists] and "A Real Class Act") demonstrate some of the breadth of her concerns with both the esthetics and the conscious and unconscious (and usually too conscious) messages underlying the films under review, in terms (obviously) of race and class considerations as well as gender, and of the uncertainty of large commercial entities and would-be as well as actually profound artists in attempting to portray women's (and everyone's) lives, and reach women (and other) audiences. More of the films in this volume than the first are large-studio/distributor releases, but that doesn't limit how much Maio has to say about them, by any means, and she's not one to dismiss the demotic appeal of a blockbuster, nor to champion obscurity for its own sake. She touches on all sorts of films in the books, as opposed to the more limited focus of her F&SF column to solely films of a fantasticated nature, and the slight tentativeness that could sometimes come particularly with her early columns in the fiction magazine, a result I think of her not being a lifelong primary reader of fantastic fiction the way (I assume) she had been of crime fiction, is not in evidence, even when dealing with such work as Ghost or She-Devil (which of course have artistic roots further away from the core of fantastic drama than those of Arrival or even The Lobster, to cite the two most recently archived reviews). That she is the only columnist to hold the drama desk at the magazine without being in one way or another a central figure in speculative-fiction writing (even Baird Searles, the one non-prose-fiction writer to serve in this wise at F&SF, was a playwright and dabbled in prose fiction and poetry in the fields). 

Maio is plainspoken without being simplistic nor dogmatic, loves to connect her reactions to the item under discussion with its place in the traditions of earlier film and related art (as any good critic should do, of course). And she does find the sometimes incomplete virtues of the work before her, when possible, and is sure to mention them, while never willing to overlook their flaws...nor the disagreements she has with other critics, including such feminist peers as Molly Haskell.  You should check out her work online for F&SF or the one (1998) piece posted from The New Internationalist, and if encouraged, you can do much worse than to seek out both of her books (she has a sort of preliminary crowd-funding account up, for unspecified purposes, and we can certainly hope for more collected critiques).

Her LinkedIn freelancing citation:
Film, Book and Cultural Criticism, including a regular film column for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Former regular columns at Sojourner: The Women's Forum, On the Issues Magazine, Visions Magazine and Wilson Library Bulletin. Other writings appeared in Ms., New Internationalist, Washington Post Book World, New York Newsday, Second Wave and other periodicals, anthologies and reference books. Author of the books: Feminist in the Dark and Popcorn & Sexual Politics.

For more of today's books, please see 
Patti Abbott's blog.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Some further folk rock and adjacent: Saturday Music Club

Eclection: "In Her Mind"

Fanny: "You've Got a Home"

The Byrds: "Full Circle"

The Turtles: "Somewhere Friday Night"

Love: "A House is Not a Motel"

Pentangle: "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme"

The Springfields (UK 1960s): "One Note Samba"; "Island of Dreams"

The Springfields (US 1980s):  "Sunflower"

Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet: "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?"

The Dentists (1980s): "I Had an Excellent Dream"

Richard Thompson, Judith Owen, Debra Dobkin: 1000 Years of Popular Music

onstage playlist:
"Sumer Is Icumen In" (trad., arr. by Thompson) "King Henry" (trad., arr. by Thompson) "So Ben Mi Ca Bon Tempo" (Orazio Vecchi, arr. by Thompson) "Bonnie St. Johnstone" (trad., arr. by Thompson) "O Sleep Fond Fancy" (Thomas Morley) "Remember O Thou Man" (Thomas Ravenscroft) "Shenandoah" (trad., arr. by Thompson) "Blackleg Miner" (trad., arr. by Thompson) "I Live in Trafalgar Square" (C.W. Murphy) "There Is Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast" (from The Mikado) (W.S. Gilbert/Arthur Sullivan, arr. by Thompson) "Java Jive" (Ben Oakland/Milton Drake) "Night and Day" (Cole Porter) "Orange-Coloured Sky" (Milton DeLugg/William Stein) "Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" (Granville "Stick" McGhee/J. Mayo Williams) "A-11" (Hank Cochran) "See My Friends" (Ray Davies) "Friday on My Mind" (George Young/Harry Vanda) "Tempted" (Chris Difford/Glenn Tilbrook) "Oops!… I Did It Again" (Max Martin/Rami Yacoub) "Cry Me A River" (Arthur Hamilton) "1985" (Jaret Reddick/John Allen/Mitchell Scherr) "Sam Hall" (trad., arr. by Thompson)

Friday, March 10, 2017

FFB: A CASE OF RAPE by Chester Himes (in French, as UNE AFFAIRE DE VIOL,1963; in English: Targ 1980; Howard University Press 1984; Carroll & Graf 1994)

As James Sallis tells us in the introduction to the Carroll & Graf paperback of this novella, the only edition of which I have a copy, Himes wrote this in 1956 while wrestling with Mamie Mason, his working title for what would be published as Pinktoes. MM was meant to be funny, if in the grim way that Himes's work tended to default to; apparently to serve as a release valve for his more sober observations, he wrote this treatment for a much longer novel, to deal with a situation where four US men of African or (in three cases) very much "mixed" African and European ancestry were accused of the rape and murder of a Euro-American woman in Paris in the then present-day. Not, as Sallis suggests, on balance a laugh riot of a premise, though as one reads, one is clearly put in mind of, through rather barbed observations reminiscent of, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and (though this was less obvious to me at first, as I've read little of Himes's autobiographical fiction or nonfiction, nor much about his life) Himes himself...and apparently William Gardner Smith and Ollie Harrington, whose work I've been unfamiliar with, and of a woman with whom Himes had a long and tumultuous affair during his years resident in France. 

Not solely as a roman a clef does this have its satirical  bite, as Himes mocks, sometimes more subtly than in other instances, all the comfortable intellectual and emotional positions (only a few, if some, involuntary) indulged in by the four defendants, the dead woman, a friend of sorts of the four defendants and the deceased who writes a book about their case, and the larger culture in France, the US and around the world. A complicated set of circumstances and actions on the part of the five principals, and the estranged husband of the woman, lead to the very unfortunate events that don't quite amount to what the four men are accused of, but, typically in Himes's work, no one is purely innocent, including those in the society around the defendants who would blithely assume far too much...Himes is cutting toward all his characters, and a few of his own blanket assumptions undercut his argument just a little, but almost all of his points pierce and truly. It is noted by Sallis and a few other commentators how little anyone is concerned with the death of the woman so much as whether she was raped, but this both is and isn't fully part of what Himes is getting at (his understanding of the interplay of social hierarchy, and particularly how exploitation in various directions simultaneously can occur, is acute if at times a bit reductionist in a few details, if less reductionist than too many others' analysis then, now and always); one is very much aware how much Himes is enjoying tweaking the blithe misunderstanding of others but not solely enjoying the tweaking for its own sake, demonstrating a rough, judicious compassion while not being willing to let anyone slide.  Since he wrote it as a treatment, it is in a formal sort of prose not unlike Kafka or Borges or perhaps most like Karel Capek, as the anger is always admixed with an unwillingness to, again, let anyone off too reminds me of these writers in translation, or a bit of Donald Barthelme. 

Not always a comfortable read, as it was the work of the man quoted by Hilton Als in The New Yorker, assessing Ellison and Baldwin thus: “At times my soul brothers embarrassed me, bragging about their scars, their poor upbringing, and their unhappy childhood, to get some sympathy and some white pussy [maybe a wildly off guess about Baldwin there--or perhaps shorthand] and money, too, if they could. It was a new variety of Uncle-Toming.”  But definitely worth the look, and worth it to me to look further into his work beyond the crime-fiction novels for greater understanding of its context. And, for that matter, to look into the work of his other contemporaries touched on.

For more of this week's books, please see 
Patti Abbott's blog.
2003 paperback

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

January/February Underappreciated Music (and some Marching): the links to the music

Sleeve art by S. Neil Fujita
The (theoretically) monthly assembly of undervalued and often nearly "lost" music, or simply music the blogger in question wants to remind you reader/listeners of...

Patti Abbott: Night Music

Brian Arnold: Xmas Playlist

Jayme Lynn Blaschke: Friday Night Videos

Jim Cameron: Stovepipe No. 1; Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers; The Brew Moore Quintet

Sean Coleman: George Harrison: Cloud Nine

Helen Shapiro: "It Might As Well Rain Until September"

Roger Cormier: songs about Patti Boyd

Bill Crider: Song of the Day; Forgotten Hits

Jeff Gemmill: Top 5; The Essentials; Courtney Marie Andrews: Honest Life

Rebecca Stone Gordon: 2009

Jerry House: Sam Cooke; Mimi and Richard Farina; The Crests; Hymn Time; Music from the Past

Brubeck Quartet: Dialogues (Second Movement: Andante Ballad)

Kate Laity: Song for a Saturday

B. V. Lawson: Your Sunday Music Treat

Steve Lewis, Jonathan Lewis and Michael Shonk: Music I'm Listening To

Todd Mason: some jazz orchestras taking on ambitious projects; love and its discontent; water's rising; more weather music: The Way I Feel; Saturday Music Club

Laura Nakatsuka: Mark Peter Revell: "Into the New"

Andrew Orley: Nobody's Listening

Lawrence Person: Shoegazer Sunday

James Reasoner: Middle of the Night Music

Glenn Gould: Alban Berg: Piano Sonata in One Movement

Charlie Ricci: Chicago: Vote for Me; Eva Cassidy: Songbird; stodge

Vienna: King of Jazz

1965 New Musical Express poll-winners concert, edited to remove nearly all but the performances (tickets probably cost around L5):

Set list: 
0:00:38 -- Hey Bo Diddley -- Moody Blues (most ridiculous choice among covers)
0:05:56 -- Go Now -- Moody Blues 
0:09:30 -- Pretty One -- Freddie & the Dreamers (low point in performance}
0:11:45 -- A Little You -- Freddie and the Dreamers 
0:13:59 -- Walking the Dog -- Georgie Fame
0:16:32 -- I’ll Never Find Another You -- The Seekers (token Australian band)
0:18:36 -- A World of Our Own -- The Seekers
0:21:16 -- Wonderful World -- Herman’s Hermits 
0:23:03 -- Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter -- Herman’s Hermits 
0:25:51 -- Funny How Love Can Be -- The Ivy League 
0:27:51 -- Time for You -- Sounds, Incorporated
0:29:58 -- The Game of Love -- Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders
0:32:24 -- Just a Little Bit Too Late -- Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders
0:34:51 -- Everybody Needs Somebody -- Rolling Stones 
0:35:29 -- Pain in My Heart -- Rolling Stones 
0:37:32 -- Around and Around -- Rolling Stones 
0:39:56 -- The Last Time -- Rolling Stones
0:42:58 -- Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah -- Cilla Black (accompanied by Sounds, Inc.) (low point in repertoire) 
0:45:12 -- You’re Gonna Need Somebody -- Donovan 
0:49:23 -- Catch the Wind -- Donovan
0:51:49 -- Here Comes the Night -- Them (Van Morrison's first recording band) (token Irish band)
0:54:34 -- Turn on Your Love Light -- Them
1:00:48 -- Let the Good Times Roll -- Searchers (low point in energy)(most underachieving in relation to talent)
1:02:38 -- Mockingbird -- Dusty Springfield 
1:05:04 -- Boom Boom -- Animals
1:09:09 -- Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood -- Animals
1:11:34 -- Talkin’ ‘Bout You/Shout -- Animals
1:16:22 -- I Feel Fine -- Beatles
1:19:24 -- She’s a Woman -- Beatles
1:22:14 -- Baby’s in Black -- Beatles
1:24:32 -- Ticket to Ride -- Beatles
1:27:46 -- Long Tall Sally -- Beatles
1:29:49 -- You Really Got Me -- Kinks
1:32:02 -- Tired of Waiting for You -- Kinks