Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I'm Not the Player of the Year


Although a poster of Bootsy Collins has watched over me for years, I haven't seen a performance by the funk giant in eons.  A few hours before I intended to drive to Collins' concert on Saturday, I peeked at Ticketmaster to confirm the schedule.  Only then did I notice that the casino event was a seated show.  Left with a choice of spending $75 to be tethered to a chair or spending $50 to stand in the back recess of the room, I opted to save my money.  I'm still pouting.  Here's Joel Francis' review.


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I reviewed a Burt Bacharach concert.

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I contributed a Local Listen feature on Kasey Rausch to KCUR.

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Here's the video for Ces Cru's "Double OT".

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Jimmy Ruffin has died.

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The Oliver Lake Organ Quartet's What I Heard is excellent.  RIYL: Charles Gayle, genius, John Patton.

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Beyoncé wins. Again.

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The Last Southern Gentlemen, a new recording led by Delfeayo Marsalis is lovely.  RIYL: Al Grey, sophisticated swing, Vic Dickenson.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Album Review: Keyshia Cole- Point of No Return


I like it when Keyshia Cole gets angry.  She's furious on Point of No Return, a dark song cycle in the tradition of Marvin Gaye's Here, My Dear.  I admire the album so much that I've even talked myself into liking features by three of 2014's most annoying rappers.  Future's profane rap on the despairing "Love Letter" provides context.  Cole punks an unwitting 2 Chainz on "N.L.U.".  Juicy J helps Cole pull of the ridiculous "Rick James".  I won't argue if There Stands the Glass readers suggest that Point of No Return is a second-rate imitation of Beyoncé's self-titled 2013 release.  It's still my jam.


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I reviewed a concert by Black Veil Brides, Falling in Reverse, Set It Off and Drama Club.

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I reviewed a concert by Hunter Hayes.

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I contributed a Local Listen segment on Gene Clark to KCUR.

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The Architects are "Out of the Woods".

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Molly McGuire has released a new album.

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Kyle James made a video for "This Is Love".

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A recent performance of "Heliophonie," a new composition by Dwight Frizzell & Thomas Aber, was documented for posterity.

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Big Bank Hank of the Sugarhill Gang has died.

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I'm mildly disappointed by Dave Hollister's Chicago Winds… The Saga Continues.  RIYL: R. Kelly, grown-and-sexy music, Johnny Gill.  Here's "Spend the Night".

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Jeff Coffin & the Mu'tet's Side Up is RIYL: Lenny Pickett, jazz with humor, Steve Turre.

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St. Vincent gets Sound Advice.

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Frank Catalano's Love Supreme Collective is RIYL: John Coltrane, the right kind of tribute album, Pharaoh Sanders.

(Original image of D.I.A. by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Darn That Dream


I wandered into a packed coffeehouse in the shadow of Oregon's capitol building last Thursday.  For a few intoxicating minutes, I thought I'd stumbled across a vibrant jazz scene.   A student big band from a nearby university had just played and I was convinced that the jovial crowd was primed to hear a professional band play a headlining set.

The low turnout in Kansas City for the one of the most celebrated artists in jazz was still fresh in my mind.  Although he's pictured on the cover of the current issue of Downbeat, was featured in a 6-minute segment on NPR the previous day and was spotlighted in The Star's jazz column, Miguel Zenón attracted just a few dozen people to the Blue Room last Monday.  (Here are my notes.)

Yet Salem turned out in equal numbers for a superb regional ensemble.  Alas, half the audience fled after 15 minutes of this.  Ten people remained after 30 minutes.  The deliberate evacuation was one of the most discouraging refutations of jazz I've witnessed.


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I featured Sara Swenson on KCUR's Local Listen segment.

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Making Movies appear in a Tiny Desk Concert.

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Manitas de Plata has died.

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Call me a Maggot.  Slipknot's Slipknot- .5: The Gray Chapter rings true to me.  RIYL: rage, Slayer, frustration.

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Cat Stevens is the comeback artist of the year.

(Original image of the Salem jazz debacle by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

It's the Talk of the Town


My traveling companions nixed my plan to catch Bob Dylan's concert in Denver on Saturday night.  One associate had seen him three times.  That was plenty for her.  Another had attended a Dylan performance as a child but was aware of his dubious reputation as an entertainer.  A glutton for punishment, I can't get enough of Bobby. 

As Dylan played elsewhere, I found myself at a David Sedaris reading at Macky Auditorium on the campus of the University of Colorado.  I was astounded that over 2,000 people paid $40 and $50 to hear an author read.  I laughed a lot during the show, but never as heartily as when fans triumphantly raised their arms in the air when the presentation began. 

The reading was a revelation for this music-centric scribe.  I finally located the missing audience for the likes of the Kronos Quartet, Ambrose Akinmusire and Mary Gauthier.


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I contributed a Local Listen segment about White Girls to KCUR's Up to Date.

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Mr. Acker Bilk has died.

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Wayne Static of Static X has died.

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Here's T-Pain's viral Tiny Desk Concert.

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Run the Jewels 2 is about as imaginative as its title.  I expect more from two of the smartest men in hip-hop.  RIYL: 2 Live Crew, songs about genitals, UGK.

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I can deal with the passing sirens on "Improvisation No. 3," but I wish Branford Marsalis' otherwise sublime solo recording In My Solitude: Live at Grace Cathedral didn't include vibe-killing bursts of applause.  RIYL: echo, John Coltrane, reverb.

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The Stanley Clarke Band's new album leans towards the cheesiest versions of Return to Forever and Weather Report.

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Here's a video trailer for a new set of Trip Shakespeare reissues.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Concert Review: Kverlertak, Gojira and Mastodon at the Uptown Theater


As he took my $30 last Wednesday, the man in the box office of the Uptown Theater raved about the brilliance of Mastodon.  I confessed that while I admire the band, I was really laying down my money for the opening acts. 

I'd already attended three or four Mastodon concerts but I had yet to witness Kvelertak perform "Bruane Brenn" and I hadn't seen Gojira since the French band opened for Lamb of God in the same venue in 2007. 

Kvelertak didn't disappoint in an opening set marked by revolting showers of spit and sweat.  Gojira's slow songs caused me to wonder if it's the world's best post-metal band.  For its part, Mastodon dialed the visuals way back from the gaudy spectacles displayed on previous tours. 


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I reviewed Judas Priest's concert at the Midland theater.

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I reviewed Lecrae's concert at Independence Events Center.

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Here's my Local Listen feature on the Architects for KCUR's Up To Date.

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Kansas City musician Horace Washington has died.

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Jack Bruce has died.

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Budos Band's metal-tinged Burnt Offering is RIYL: Booker T & the MGs, epic instrumental jams, the Meters.  Here's the title track.

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The title of the stellar new Francis Bebey compilation Psychedelic Sanza: 1982-1984 is misleading.  RIYL: God, Mickey Hart, life. (Tip via Big Steve.)

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The Thought of You, Otis Brown III's debut album as a leader, is RIYL: Joe Lovano's Us 5, the idea of jazz as a living music, Gretchen Parlato.

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Walt Weiskopf's Overdrive is RIYL: Michael Brecker, classic Blue Note, Kenny Garrett.

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Hey, there's a new documentary about the Mekons!  (Tip via Rick H.)

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John Cale recalls Lou Reed on "If You Were Still Around".

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: The Owen/Cox Dance Company's "A Body of Work"


As the rest of an audience of about 100 watched five athletic dancers at La Esquina on Sunday, October 5, I studied Brad Cox as he manipulated sound at the back of the room.  I have nothing against ballet, but Cox's stunning score for The Owen/Cox Dance Group's production "A Body of Work" demanded my full attention.  Using a combination of prerecorded backing tracks, ambient beats derived from the dancers' movements, a drum machine and the live vocals of Victoria Botero, Cox crafted a compelling soundscape.  Additional percussion emanating from four hanging columns and a quadrophonic mix made the experience even more dizzying.  Cox's exceptional performance was a civilized version of the futuristic work of groundbreaking acts like Marijuana Deathsquads.


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I reviewed Tuesday's concert by Gaslight Anthem, Against Me! and Cory Branan.

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The Kronos Quartet's performance at Helzberg Hall floored me on Saturday. 

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Ikey Owens of Mars Volta has died.  Owens recently produced Various Blonde's Summer High album.

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John Holt of the Paragons has died.

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Here's a video tour of the Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven.

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Local Customs: Cavern Sound, a compilation of forgotten bands from Independence, will be released this week.  The only name that rings a bell is Morningstar, a band I hadn't thought about in at least 25 years.

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Iceage's Plowing Into the Field of Love is shockingly raw.  RIYL: The Fall, drunken stupors, the Birthday Party.  Here's "How Many".

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The video for Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's "Quail and Dumplings" is almost as good as the song.

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It's not fair to Vince Staples, but almost all I could think about as I listened to Hell Can Wait was how much I still love Earl Sweatshirt's Doris.  RIYL: OFWGKTA, Los Angeles, the Cool Kids.

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On Worker, the latest studio album by Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, the Oklahoma band veers into electronic territory.  RIYL: Soulive, acting on impulses, Galactic.

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SZA's fine new album Z is RIYL: Sade, slow motion, Frank Ocean.  "Babylon" is the best track.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Concert Review: Lalah Hathaway at KC Live


I've witnessed performances by Tony Bennett, Deborah Brown, Joyce DiDonato and Bettye LaVette this year.  Lalah Hathaway out-sang all of them at the KC Live stage in the Power & Light District on Sunday.  About 5,000 people attended the free concert.

From the vocal trickery of the Grammy-winning "Something" to the emotional histrionics of the big hit "Forever, For Always,  For Love", Hathaway's repertoire allowed her to demonstrate that she's among the best vocalists in popular music. 

Poor Ruben Studdard didn't stand a chance against Donny's daughter.  He and Hathaway shared a band.  The concert was successful in part because the needless ambient noise I complained about in my review of Eric Benét's recent concert in the same space was blessedly silenced on Sunday. 


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I reviewed the 18th & Vine Jazz & Blues Festival.

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Paul Revere has died.

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Flying Lotus's stunning new album You're Dead! is equal parts hip-hop, jazz and electronic music.

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Jason Moran's All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller RIYL: Meshell Ndegeocello, high concept, Joni Mitchell.  Here's a recast rendition of "Ain't Misbehavin'.

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It was nice to see the longtime There Stands the Glass favorite Lazerbeak support Lizzo on the Late Show with David Letterman.  (My notes on Lizzo's 2014 appearance at the RecordBar are here.)

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Mark Kozelek has jokes.

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Bill Frisell's new surf-oriented Guitar in the Space Age is RIYL: The Ventures, baby boomers, Steely Dan.

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The self-titled album by Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn is wondrous.  RIYL: banjer, Raymond Fairchild, no frills.

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My selections among the recently nominated candidates for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in order: Chic, N.W.A., Lou Reed, Kraftwerk and War.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)