Monday, August 24, 2015

Silent Movies Make More Money


I bought a $15 ticket to be a part of the in-crowd at Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear’s joyous concert at the Midland theater last week.  The audience of 1,500 was the biggest I’ve seen for any single locally based artist in the past three years aside from Tech N9ne, the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, Joyce DiDonato or the Kansas City Symphony.  Here’s Tim Finn’s review.


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I reviewed last night’s Incubus, Deftones, Death From Above 1979 and the Bots concert.

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I reviewed Radkey’s Dark Black Makeup for KCUR.

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I contributed a Local Listen segment about Samantha Fish to KCUR.

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I play the role of Debbie Downer at the Charlie Parker Celebration.

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Even with the lousy sound on some of the later stuff, Miles Davis At Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 serves as a spectacular survey of jazz history.

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Nicholas Payton plays a lot of keyboards on the engaging Letters.  RIYL: Kamasi Washington, grooving, Stanley Cowell.

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I can’t decide if Tunde Olaniran’s Transgressor sounds more like an indie-rock version of Beyoncé or a pop version of TV On the Radio.  I also can’t decide if I like it.

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Omar Souleyman’s Bahdeni Nami is my kind of party.

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The Foreign Exchange’s Tales From the Land of Milk and Honey is RIYL: Soul II Soul, grown-and-sexy music, Bobbi Humphrey.  Here’s the video for the somewhat unrepresentative “Asking For a Friend.” 

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Oleta Adams, Chaka Khan and Nancy Wilson are among the guest vocalists on Terri Lyne Carrington’s The Mosaic Project: Love and Soul.   Here’s the EPK.

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I listened to Luke Bryan’s new album.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Album Review: Troyka- Ornithophobia


My defenses were down when I happened upon Troyka last week.  The British trio combines the prog-rock wankery of King Crimson, the geeky jazz fusion of Billy Cobham and the fluid modern jazz of Flying Lotus.  I melted within minutes.  To quote an irritating meme: “shut up and take my money.”  The trailer for the new album Ornithophobia and the snippets streaming at Amazon reveal the source of my latest guilty pleasure. 


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I reviewed Chris Brown’s concert at the Sprint Center.

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Miguel's outing at the Midland theater last night is likely to be favorite concert of 2015. Here's my review.

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I contributed a Local Listen segment about Lonnie McFadden to KCUR.

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I laud Hmph and the Jorge Arana Trio at Plastic Sax.

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I’ve never seen the Colombian star Carlos Vives perform.  His new live album indicates that I’m really missing out.  Here’s an exciting version of the irresistible “Como Le Gusta a Tu Cuerpo”.

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Tokyo Adagio, a duet featuring Charlie Haden and Gonzalo Rubalcaba recorded in 2005, is predictably enchanting.

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The Internet’s Ego Death sounds incredible.  Too bad Syd tha Kid can’t write a decent song.  Or am I wrong?  Here’s ”Girl”.  RIYL: Frank Ocean, headphones, Teena Marie. 

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Pictures and Paintings, Charlie RIch’s last recorded statement, is one of my favorite albums.  Boz Scaggs’ A Fool to Care is a similarly sentimental work.  RIYL: James Booker, fond farewells, Curtis Mayfield.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ghost Stories


Partly because I’m not a 17-year-old Twitter fiend, the most recent spat between Ghostface Killah and Action Bronson doesn’t excite me.  Yet as someone who purchased the first Wu-Tang Clan album as a new release in 1993, I’m extremely interested in Ghost’s ongoing vitality.  The longtime favorite of There Stands the Glass has released two of the best albums of 2015.  The jazz-based Sour Soul and the R&B-oriented Twelve Reasons to Die II feature Ghost’s masterful flow and hilariously imaginative lyrics set to riveting music. 


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I reviewed Phish’s concert at Starlight Theatre.

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I contributed a Local Listen segment about A.J. Gaither to KCUR.

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I write about my final visit to Take Five Coffee + Bar in Overland Park at Plastic Sax.  The August 15 closure leaves the Kansas City area with a single jazz venue that charges cover on weekends.

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Billy Sherrill has died.

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Sean Price has died.

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Black Cat, the new album from Joplin's Never Shout Never, sounds like the year's best Taylor Swift album.

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The high quality of Wilco’s Star Wars caught me by surprise.  RIYL: Lou Reed, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Guided By Voices.

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I listened to the Chemical Brothers’ Born in the Echoes the morning after spending the previous evening at a Phish concert.  Both ensembles make whimsical psychedelic party music.  The distinctions between the British duo and the Vermont noodlers are marginal.

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Lamb of God’s Sturm Und Drang is a by-the-numbers metal album.  Works for me: I like counting.  RIYL: amazing back stories, Pantera, graying metal bands.

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Wayne Horvitz’s Some Places Are Forever Afternoon is RIYL: Gil Evans, third stream, Anthony Davis.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, August 03, 2015

Album Review: Charlie Hunter- Let the Bells Ring On


The elusive audience for jazz is hiding in plain view in 2015.  Millions are appreciating Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly.  Hundreds of thousands more are dancing at concerts by the likes of Umphrey’s McGee.  Charlie Hunter must wonder what he has to do to get a single percentage of those people to pay attention to his funky new album Let the Bells Ring On.  It’s a jam album for jazz fans and jazz album for jam band aficionados.  It’s also begging for a hip-hop remix.  The populist sound of guitarist Hunter, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and drummer Bobby Previte on ”These People?” is indicative of the album’s generous vibe.


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I reviewed Dwight Yoakam’s concert in the Power & Light District.

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I reviewed Samantha Fish’s Wild Heart for KCUR.

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I contributed a Local Listen segment about the Philistines to KCUR.

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Buddy Emmons has died.

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Lynn Anderson has died.

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Vic Firth has died.

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Wayne Carson has died.

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I listened to the reissue of In Through the Out Door over the weekend.  I didn’t comprehend until now that the Led Zeppelin album is an extended goof on Elvis.

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I like the sound and feel of Ashes & Dust, Warren Haynes’ collaboration with Railroad Earth.  Too bad about the dodgy songs.

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I just discovered Mathias Eick.  Here’s a live performanc of ”Hem”.  RIYL: European jazz, ECM, fiddle plucking.

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Until I listened to the compilation Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records a few days ago, I’d never heard Brute Force’s ”King of Fuh”.  I wish I’d known about the novelty song when I was young enough to appreciate it.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Album Review: Jill Scott- Woman


My world changed when I picked up a Japanese compilation of Stax singles that introduced me to the likes of William Bell, the Bar-Kays, the Dramatics and Frederick Knight in the early 1980s. I don’t know how or when Jill Scott came to love those same songs, but it’s clear that she also knows them inside and out.  Woman is a vibrant tribute to the classic sound of Stax Records.  The video for “You Don’t Know” will persuade skeptics.


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I didn’t expect my  review of Van Halen’s concert last week to instigate a classic rock rebellion.  The show struck me as unequivocally terrible.  It ranks among performances by Guy, Rick Ross and Soundgarden as one of the worst efforts by a major act I’ve witnessed in recent years.  The outraged reactions to my observations compelled The Kansas City Star to issue a disclaimer.

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I also reviewed a concert by Graham Nash.

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An item about Be/Non is my latest contribution to KCUR’s Local Listen series.

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The Popper’s ”I’m KC” may be cheesy, but it’s my song of the summer.

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Kutt Calhoun’s EP Kuttin Loose doesn’t contain any surprises.  RIYL: early Tech N9ne, rap beefs, gangsta sh*t.

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Howard Rumsey has died.  Here’s Marc Myers’ remembrance.

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David Banner’s “My Uzi” might be the best song of 2015.  It’s not about what you think it’s about.

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Torche’s Restarter is likely to be my favorite rock album of 2015.  RIYL: Nothing, sludge, Electric Wizard.

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Blue Dialect, a collaboration between bassist Mario Pavone, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, is astounding.  RIYL: Anthony Braxton, out, Myra Melford.

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Ashley Monroe’s The Blade is a mess.  Only three or four of the tracks on the scattershot album are on point.  RIYL: uncertainty, Sturgill Simpson, indecision.

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There’s nothing wrong with Richard Thompson’s Still, but I don’t intend to give the relatively unremarkable new album a second hearing.  I’ll count on There Stands the Glass readers to point out any hidden gems beyond the novelty goof “Guitar Heroes.”

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Way Down Yonder On the Chattahoochee



One of the most common transgressions made by music fans is judging a genre by the people it supposedly attracts.

I encounter it daily:  Country fans are drunken homophobes.  Only elitists listen to jazz.  Hip-hop heads are illiterate. 

I’m also guilty of making rash generalizations.  Thankfully, I caught myself before I responded to a friend's direct provocation regarding Sturgill Simpson (a musician I appreciate).  I was going to suggest that most members of the audience at Simpson's concert in Kansas City last week were status-conscious bandwagoners who wouldn’t be caught dead at an Alan Jackson show.

That wouldn't have been nice.

Jackson's music may not be worthy of consideration by Pitchfork obsessives, but it will always have a place in my life.  In the parlance of 2015, plenty of the songs on his new album Angels and Alcohol are “basic.”  I'm not bothered that the album demonstrates no musical or ideological progression.

“Mexico, Tequila and Me” may be just as tired as its title suggests, but I genuinely appreciate the cliches of “Jim and Jack and Hank.”  I also think that the spiritual cheese of “God Paints” is delicious.  And the title track- easily the album’s best song- hits close to home.

Now, for the rest of the story: I wore a pink shirt to an Alan Jackson concert in 2007.  Harassed for hours by drunken homophobes, I thought I’d be killed in Bonner Springs, Kansas.


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I reviewed Tech N9ne’s Special Effects for KCUR.

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I reviewed a concert by Keith Sweat and Blackstreet featuring Teddy Riley and Dave Hollister.

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I reviewed a concert by the Dave Matthews Band.

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A segment about Jeff Black is among the recent Local Listen items I've contributed to KCUR.

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Shades of Jade’s new single ”That One” is RIYL: Brian McKnight, Kansas City neo-soul, Bilal.

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Bummer’s punishing Spank EP is shockingly great.  The Olathe band’s new EP is RIYL: Paw, blind rage, Tad.

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The Kansas City Star recalls the infamous Ozark Music Festival of 1974.

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Joan Sebastian has died.  I reviewed his concert at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater last year.

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Max Richter’s Sleep is “an eight-hour lullaby.”

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Man Plans God Laughs is the title track of Public Enemy’s new album.

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Heads of State’s Search For Peace is a standard-issue post-Coltrane jazz date.  RIYL: Gary Bartz, old school jazz, Larry Willis.

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”God bless Rod Stewart.”

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Album Review: Bilal- In Another Life



As an aficionado of the most strung out work of Sly Stone, Erykah Badu and Prince, I immediately took to Bilal’s In Another Life.  The R&B veteran can’t be bothered with the coherent concept of songs on his new album, but producer Adrian Younge maintains a powerful groove.  I love it.  The disturbing video for ”Money Over Love”, a track that features Kendrick Lamar, offers a fair representation of the contents of In Another Life.


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I reviewed a concert by Third Eye Blind and Dashboard Confessional.

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I’ve been negligent in linking to my work for Ink.  Last week’s extended concert preview examined the work of Krystle Warren. 

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Vince Bell recently uploaded an informal new performance of his ”Kansas City Song”.

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Miguel isn’t as good as Frank Ocean, Prince or Marvin Gaye.  Yet he’s better than Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and Daft Punk on the new album Wildheart.

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The video for Vince Staples’ ”Señorita is devastating.  I also admire Staples’ new album Summertime ‘06.

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Paolo Bordogna’s Tutto Buffo is a hoot.  RIYL: Rossini, high drama, Italy.

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A few of the poorly recorded Southern funk jams on Loose The Funk: Rarities From The Jewel/Paula Vault make life worth living.  Most of the tracks are second-rate B.B. King imitations, Albert King ripoffs or stale boogaloo workouts.  RIYL: Isley Brothers, sweat, Joe Simon.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)