Saturday, September 30, 2006

Garrett with a Fake Punt (or four)


Today I was ventured in the border of Southy (or the South End anyway) for the Beantown Jazz Festival along running along Columbus Avenue. I hear Appleton was having their own block party this very same day, but I bet theirs didn't have.......KENNY GARRETT!!!!!!111111oneoneone

Drifting once again into vague autobiographical nonsense when I started going to Lawrence I was an affirmed metalhead. (Don't worry guys who think I've sold out, Dream Evil #1 forever) Interestingly enough my fastest friends upon arrival were a pretentious jazz guitarist and a pretetenious jazz saxophonist, so they had a grand old time throwing their favorite CDs at me to see which ones would stick. All sort of strategies were contocted: guitar masters, free jazz, funky organ trios. Lo and behold, the CD that would plant the seed of doubt it my head was none other Songbook by Mr. Kenny Garrett.

More specifically his treatment of "Sing a Song of Song". The chart is terrifyingly sparse, there isn't a seventh to be seen and some of the chords don't even have thirds. The band takes full advantage of all that open space to overlay ten types of exoticism over it. That sort of trick came to mind a lot during the set, especially when the ass end of the quartet sat out leaving Garrett and pianist Benito Gonzalez for a medley of three Asian folk songs. (I didn't catch the outer two, but even having only spent two weeks in Korea "Arirang" shot through the air.) To me, Kenny Garrett is at his best when painting with quick turns on an open canvas. The Rothko to Coltrane's Pollack. I'm going to be murdered for that analogy.

Either way it was greatly satisfying to see the man who got me listening to this crazy shit. After all the exoticism the band ended with "Happy People" and faked out the audience not once but four times with big holds to raging clapping, only to drop the groove on us again. Way to work the crowd.

Two notes: 1) I wasn't able to stay at the festival for long after his set, but I was able to take a couple pictures with my trusty (?) camera. In fact, it was at the festival that started my second roll and hope to post pictures soon but jerks at CVS only put two of the pictures on the CD. Not a value.
2) On the way there my iPod attempted to offer me Miles's Amandla. I'm not sure if the curse works for jazz players, but I didn't want to chance it.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

October-esque = Oktober-fest

I've been a little distraught with the realization that I'm probably not making a return visit to the CMJ Music Marathon this year, what with no one from my WLFM posse going and icelu delaying their convergence in the New York area until afterwards.

But to my surprise, Boston responds with their own festival! Whether or not I'll be able to scam anyone else into the NEMO festival, running from today through the weekend, is not the point. The schedule has already provided me with limitless knowledge of clubs and bands in the area. The alternative weekly that is my font for all of this seems like a pretty hip place, I should try and get a jaerb there. They even have a radio station.

Not enough festival! Snap! More festival! This is one is even better, because even if I can't get anyone to go with me I will enjoy Kenny Garrett for free.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Give The Russian Some


I'm really shocked that none of my normal circle of music bloginistas has said the merest pip about the centenary of Shostakovich's birth. Sure there's this other anniversary going on that everyone's flipping over, with the Mozart Opera Festival staging every single one to Alex Ross listening to every damn thing he wrote. Back home, Dmitry got his due but in Boston no one seems to care. A fear of the Reds? An intimiatingly complex life? I'll stand up to it anyway.

However, as is often the case in both aspiring bloggists and graduate students, desire far outstrips resources. I spent the day today listening to all the Shosti I had, which only amounts to the Fifth Symphony and the Piano Concertos. Not the best selection for street cred. My morning was dedicated to the symphony, not knowing much more about it other than it was the piece that got him away from that (first) denunciation by the Party. Sure it's got lots of those brassy bold Cossack rhythms, but the slow movements curl up onto themselves in a way that honestly reminds me of the processes of Reich or Riley. The reprise of the strident themes in the last movement, after the scarcity of the middle two, is undeniably sarcastic. Patriotism indeed!

The concertos are a whole 'nother universe. Alas, I was only able to run through each of them once. All I can remember is the gnarly motivic treatment between the piano and trumpet, rather reminiscient of one Ludwig van.

As landmark works as these are, my first taste of Shostakovich was his rescoring of Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin. Potemkin itself was my first knowing glimpse of "art film", that was introduced to me through of Art of Film class at my undergrad. (Which, in case you wondered, is not an art history class) The original score stressed Eisenstein's idea of the dialectic, but when the Commies called Shosti in the movie got brutal. When that legless man slides into the frame the way I watched movies changed forever, and Shostakovich was there.

So I'm going to try and listen some more, Dmitry. Here's to a hundred more.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Why won't you give me a library card, Boston Public Library?


Perhaps in the first time since the development of finances, I am eagerly awaiting my first bill. However, since I don't really subscribe to anything, my debit card from Bank of America will probably beat it here. All this so I can prove that I'm not driving in from Rhode Island or Vermont exclusively to use Boston's library system. I imagine it has a lot to do with this Taxachusettes thing I hear so much about.

As you can probably already tell, this post isn't going to be so much thematic material as a shotgun blast. Blogs need posts like spider plants need water. If you try hard enough, you can kill it.

My education demands that I write program notes for a faux concert, without doubt sidetracks I discover upon my research will be posted here. Also, I'll be performing in a chamber group with a flutist and violinist. Who wrote for that?

I'm sorry if I assumed that everyone would recognize the album that the good Mlle. Hilton was holding. Nonetheless, apparently she did have some Beefheart tucked away in there (no laughing!), it just took Banksy (NSFW) and Danger Mouse to find it. Supposedly no one returned the album, which is the best. My weak investigations haven't come up with any actual sound files however, perhaps they are less impressive than the Mouse's more recent work. Prove me wrong.

In order to keep this somewhat useful to the general universe, while not classically postured BreakThru Radio has given a lovely lass a green light to do a show dedicated to the music of the mighty city of Boston. That featured an unnecessary amount of alliterration. G'yar, again!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What! What! What!


Double U. Tee. Eff.


Considering this, you'd think that travesty she released would be more yelling than sighing.

Pic from Goldenfiddle, but brought to my attention by St. Bob

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Guitarist as dumbface

Darcy James Argue in a recent post alluded to the the stereotype of pianists being a little more bookish than the musician at large, and I immediately started to think that my instrument might have the exact opposite image.

Think about it, most of the great heroes of the guitar from Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan are renowned for not being able to read music. Why else the joke?

Q: How do you get a guitarist to turn down?
A: Put a chart in front of him.
Q: How do you get a guitarist to stop playing?
A: Put notes on it.

Even those guitarists that clearly have to be able to at least read music (i.e. classical) are led by a man that was ignorant and repulsed by anything that didn't dance in lockstep with his Iberian ├╝berwerke that an entire industry is based around the rediscovery and publication of scores he rejected. I've fallen into the trap as well, just a few posts back admitting the guitarist's apathy towards any sort of research. Eh.

As with any rule there are exceptions, Brian May was breaths away from his Ph.D. before leaving to tour with Queen, Julian Bream started the "rummage through Segovia's b-stock" craze, and Steve Vai is....Steve Vai.

This is might be a defensive mechanism to account for the fact that all the Berklee kids have arrived and seem to be having more fun than I. Stupid kids and their Nevermore shirts.

Total topic shift: A new Robot Chicken appears to be displacing Metalocalypse's normal timeslot next Sunday, most likely signaling the end of the first batch of 'toons. It is now up to the insanity and cruelty of the Adult Swim gods to decide when/if I will get to absorp more gospel from new hero Toki Wartooth.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I Re-Enter The Age Technologick

I am alive and safe in Boston, with a new computer box to boot. With the super-happy fun built-in iSight I couldn't help but finally build some sort of picture to associate with meself. I'm still bad at taking pictures that include my face.

I'm looking forward to continuing a lightly packed orientation week at the Boston Conservatory, but alas I'll probably continue to spend it acclamating to living in der Big City and actually buying groceries rather than enjoying whatever excitement is going on around town. Not to mention that my main source for Boston info has done suspiciously silent. Damn damn double damn.

If you play attention to any other music blogs you've probably noticed the Ethan Iversen 1973-1990 jazz album extravaganza. Alas, most of the excitement occured during my technological lapse and missed the deadline for the response. I don't know what I could add anyway, Mr. Iversen himself dismissed Mahavishnu so I'd stand up for Inner Mountain Flame at least. I point this out more to illustrate that there seem to be two paths to blog stardom, extreme knowledgibility (the aforementioned extravaganza, On An Overgrown Path) or having balls the size of Kansas. (Daring Fireball's MacBook wager, Penny Arcade's defeat of Jack Thompson) I guess I better start reading books.

Until things pick up (or I pick them up!) I'm going to be focusing on publicizing this bad boy. Post comments, make me look cool.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Away We Go

I'm off to Boston in about one hour. Here's where things should start to get interesting.