Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton/Nils Petter Molvaer
Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton: Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play the Blues: Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center (Reprise Jazz)
This isn't just figureheads rising to the occasion or getting back to where they once belonged, although both models pertain‑-especially for Marsalis, who enjoys the blues enough that his monster chops masticate them lip-smackingly rather than chewing them up and spitting them out. What's decisive, however, is a conception in which the members of a blues horn section interact polyphonically rather than uniting in the soulful Texas manner while blues polymath Clapton dictates as well as plays and sings a repertoire that includes Memphis Minnie and Howlin Wolf as well as W.C. Handy and Johnny Dodd. The juxtaposition may discomfit at first‑-we're not used to blues so jaunty and effervescent. But let it and it'll lift you right up. A MINUS
Nils Petter Molvaer: Baboon Moon (Thirsty Ear)
Recorded live in the studio with a worldly-wise drummer and a sonic guitarist who adds some modest Teo Macero moves, this is less techno and dubby than the trumpeter's norm, in its many quieter moments evoking the exotica stylings of Jon Hassell. "Recoil" lifts into a riff-driven guitar workout at track three before the music recedes back into contemplation, with Molvaer varying his embouchure and the drums all demonstrative as the guitar seeks out effects. Then the seven-minute title track goes all in on a crowd-pleasing finale. He's always a little too subtle. But in a way that's always the point. A MINUS
So that's what emoticons are for.
By the way as regards Xgau's "white" comment as regards Dave Brubeck-- ah, never mind. I'm tired.
Allen: More quickly than the subject deserves, I think that the best of Mock Tudor and Mirror Blue can be found either on Action Packed, the Capitol years BO or Live from Austin, Texas. A lot of Old Kit Bag is worthwhile, especially "A Love You Can't Survive", "One Door Opens", "Destiny", "Sight Unseen", "Outside of the Inside", "Happy Days and Auld Lang Syne" and maybe "Pearly Jim". Not much of Front Parlour Ballads though.
He has been in Portland, Seattle and then Eugene from Monday through Friday of this week, but we are going to miss it all so that we can be ready for and then manage a moving project on Saturday. They will be the first of his shows locally we've missed in quite some time I think.
It's asking a lot, but I hope they both can somehow still challenge those earlier career highlights you note. That's been difficult of late. Your favorites remind me so well of my first Richard Thompson concert in Durham- with the band featured on More Guitar. As Cam said, RAWK they did - and I joined nearly everyone in yelling myself hoarse for an encore after what I think may have been a fearsome rip through Tear Stained Letter. Never been quite sure about that, because of what followed. Richard came back out alone with this happy grin, and proceeded to deliver The End Of The Rainbow - as chilling a downer as I've heard. The contrast was just so stark the crowd seemed to implode. Scary beautiful. When he's ON he can do that.
Cam, have you ever heard the four disc box set of Fairport at the BBC?
I have it. It's good. The variety of material (lotta Dylan and Leonard Cohen) more than makes up for constraint on jamming. But hey -- "Tam Lin" goes on for up to 8 minutes and "The Bonny Bunch of Roses reaches nearly 11.
I was thinking much the same thing regarding Fairport live with Sandy...Cam, you're probably aware of the Thompson documentary that can be found (in four pieces) on YouTube - one of my favorite parts is a brief live clip with a young Thompson grinning blissfully as the applause washes over him.
Someone in the audience shouted "Rock 'n' roll!", to which Richard Thompson replied, "This is rock 'n' roll...English rock 'n' roll."
[Fairport] were really on fire, in their comparatively quiet way.
I didn't mention it, but In Concert 1975 was another one I listened to in my binge, and I'd agree with you about its quality. Am going to look up the other one you mention as soon as I hit 'Post.'
Johnny Paycheck - The Soul and the Edge: The Best of...
Can You Dig It?: Music and Politics of Black Action Films: 1968-1975
The Roots of Rap (old-timey blues comp on Yazoo label)
Marshall Crenshaw - This Is Easy: The Best of...
The Shadows - Shadows Are Go!
I always read Xgau's B+ take on Pour Down Like Silver as - half of it is superb and the other half aint.
In honor of International Heavy Metal Day (11/11/11), I’ve decided to count down my 10 favorite HM albums. This is highly subjective, both in terms of what I like and what constitutes metal. I’ve stayed away from Teena Marie-isms (Mr. Eddy), although I thought about including Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods. Every one of these titles is probably instantly recognizable to folks around here: I’ve never had much success in deviating off the mainstream for my metal fix. Nor is much of this recent vintage in spite of some effort on my part to find a fresh metal stream to swim in. Enlighten me: It wouldn’t be a decent list if there wasn’t room to squabble.
10. Peter Brotzmann: Machine Gun
9. The Stooges: Fun House
It’s always a challenge to determine how far to go back in a genre exercise. But it does seem to me that there is something about free jazz that served as a spark for what became heavy metal even if its sonic maelstrom was largely expunged from the metal juggernaut going forward—it was a spark that, once the fuse was lit, wasn’t needed for the explosion that followed. At some level bands like the Stooges and the MC5 and early Blue Oyster Cult used distortion and trebly guitar notes to approximate the evanescent epiphany that the best late 60s avant jazz could muster. To me, these two albums are yin and yang, one turning free jazz into proto metal and the other using blotches of quasi-structured atonality to create rock that was not merely heavy. The one element that neither of these records touch, but that becomes a required spice in a lot of heavy metal from late 70s onward, is the progginess of Devotion and Red, both of which just miss my metal top 10.
The FMPs have been a major find for me. Presumably they make their money selling higher quality downloads, but for my purposes access to a full-length stream is what I need to fill in the blanks. So if you are curious, know that you can hear it all before you buy.
You mean same problem or same tone?
Same problematic tone or same tonal problem -- take your pick.
Jazz is America's classical music" - pure marketingYeah -- I always thought they simply didn't have the guts to say "Jazz is America's classy music."
but what if (as is the case) I didn't vote but my favorite won? Can I cheer?Sure -- you're celebrating something that affirms actions you would have taken, not deploring something your actions would have prevented.
Allen- It's kinda funny you mentioning Richard and Linda. My commute home tonight consisted of I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and only part of Hokey Pokey. It was the one night I wished for more traffic.
Bright Lights is almost a perfect album.
Edit- damn, looks like I'm not the only one that wishes Allen would post more often.
On one of NPR's round table things a few years ago, the group was asked their favorite Thompson record. Bob replied: Pour Down Like Silver. Which was kind of flip, but I think evident of how much that album seems to have "improved" over the years (personally, it took me a while to get into it, compared to the more "canonical" albums).
Too bad about the NPR group -- Xgau's piss and vinegar is much missed from those things. I loved when he nay-sayed Nick Drake in one episode, to the horror and dismay of the others. I like those programs, but they can be so predictable taste-wise sometimes.
"Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed?" sung by Richard, which, when Linda was right there available to sing it, is just wrong
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.