Saturday, December 24, 2005

Can I help you with anything, sir? PART UNO

No sir. I do not need your help sir. I am trying to get in and get out, SIR!

Flashback to 6:15 AM Friday morning:

I woke up (unusual for those who know me well). Lately this has been more like when I'm just getting to sleep (usually for no good reason). I turned on iTunes realizing DJ Slobro would already be on the air because he rolls like that. He announced he would be playing a 70-minute raga and I decided that I had put off coming home for too long.

The car was already packed from a day ago and I grabbed some Einsten Bros. and went to the station to do a quick OOB before I took off for home.


Mission accomplished. DJ Slobro is marking the stuff OOB and placing in the library. Money


Drop off CDs at the Carnegie. A couple Ray Brown things, some Roy Hargrove from mid-early nineties and a Red Garland Trio on Prestige. Fucking FREEZING!!!


Exxon has no de-caf hot tea. FUCK! Got on the road and began driving. I got WRCT out til just past Monroeville entrance to the Turnpike - too bad cuz I was enjoying the Dershowitz-Chomsky Israel-Palestine debate excerpts. After that I listened to NPR Morning Edition for a while. One totally confusing story about Iraqi-Kurds, Iranian-Kurds, and slew of other religious and ethnic minorities at the borderlands of Iraq and Iran. I tell you, if anyone understood what the hell that story was supposed to convey besides confusion, please by all means enlighten me. An interesting story followed on a community off of Massachussetts coast that survives on catching and selling lobster. The reporter did the story really well. It had great sound bytes and good narration. It really made me feel like I was up in this town. It had a really down-to-earth-ness about it. I don't really listen to NPR in Pittsburgh during my daily grind since I'm listening to WRCT all the time or jazz on my computer or stereo. But I should really start going to bed at a reasonable hour and forcing myself to get up with Morning Edition. God knows its more palatable early in the morning than Amy Goodman.

Although god damn it NPR, why do you have to try to be college radio in your schizophrenic often bewildering music selections for your 10-15 second music breaks. What the hell do you achieve by that? I mean, I appreciate the All Songs Considered segments. I listen to those podcasts on iTunes but how is 15 seconds of a song no one knows gonna help the band or the listener. You never identify the track and its always some new hipster album. At least give us a clue....or play more like 20-25 seconds and tell us who the artist is. And another thing, what's up with the "philosophy" of silence. I mean, things could be a lot tigher. I know stuff is coming in from satellite feeds and you have to get timing right with member stations but sometimes there is literally 5 or more seconds of silence between bits. That's not professional. Come on guys!


Got off the Turnpike at Somerset cuz I was feelin uneasy about doing that Tunnel at Allegheny Mountain. Claustrophobia in tunnels FREAKS ME OUT!!!! I broke out that Roland Kirk Live in Copenhagen which I mentioned earlier in a previous entry. I'm not gonna lie. It's certainly not his best live session but the energy is there and it makes you excited to listen to him go on about what he's doing as he does it. He shared that trait with Cannonball and I wonder if they ever did a concert together or shared a co-billing. Hearing the two of them rap and play off of each other would have been amazing. Tete Montoliu is very good on keys and NHOP also excellent on bass. I was gettin excited when Kirk quoted Confirmation on track 3.

I also noticed that his soprano tone was really good. Like not just decent. It is fucking hard to get a good tone on soprano (only Wayne Shorter, Joe Ford, and Billy Pierce can do it well as far as I'm concerned - of course Trane had it too). Roland Kirk had a money soprano sound - full-bodied like all his other axes. To me the greatest thing about Kirk is that he was equally facile on all those instruments - not that he played a bunch at the same time. That's cool too. It's a novelty and it surely took a hell of a lot of practice and concentration but the mastery of so many individual instruments that most cats take years and years to perfect their sound on just one. Kirk's sound is not couth. It's guttural and emotional but its always a soulful and full sound. Well, maybe not the stritch or the nose flute. But the manzello, tenor, alto, soprano, clarinet, flute, etc. all sound consistently good.

When the Kirk started repeating, I popped in the Woody Herman I just bought. They play a truly grindin', groovin' version of 2001: A Space Odyssey that feels like its in 5 or 7 but its in 2. The placement of the melody in a rhythmic sense is ingenious. Hats off to the arranger on that one. Woody Herman gets too little credit for the number of talents he brought to the world. On this disc, one of these talents, probably the guy who had the most profound impact on the jazz world following his tenure in the Thundering Herd, is Stan Getz. And while, I don't really care for the way Getz continually overblows the horn and plays in a kind of corny white-boy way, his soul is undeniable and his artistry is like Woody says, "inimitable." The CD also features a reunion of three of the four original four brothers that played that famous staple from the Herman book, "Four Brothers," (Al Cohn and the song's composer Jimmy Giuffre in addition to Getz; not present is Serge Chaloff, the bari player from that herd). Also making appearances on this 1975 Carnegie Hall concert are Jimmy Rowles and a young herd-member Joe Lovano who solos on a few tunes trading choruses with Cohn and Getz.


The Herman disc runs out and I pull out Tjobbe's Blindfold Test #31 (BFT 31) from the Organissimo bulletin board, a website where I and many other jazz freaks fritter away a lot of our time learning about and discussing jazz from today and the past (as well as the future, although most guys on this particular board are more interested in older Blue Note/Prestige stuff with a heavy emphasis on "soul-jazz").

Blindfold Tests for those of you that don't know is a long-standing feature of Down Beat magazine in a which a musician listens to records from other artists and tries to guess who they are. On Organissimo, the tester is a board member who makes a mix CD of random unidentified cuts (tracks) and sends them out all over the globe to participants who try to guess the tracks based on their collections and their knowledge of music in general. They post answers, guesses, and impressions and then there is an answers thread.

Anyways, there were a few cuts that really hit me hard in a way that I wasn't expecting. But now I am tired and I will finish the story of this day a bit later.

Now listening to: Venetian Snares - Meathole (on my iPod)

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