Monday, June 30, 2008
It's no secret that some of the wildest American music ever recorded is pre-rock'n'roll gospel. Few such acts were more popular- or more influential- than the Dixie Hummingbirds. The steps from "The Final Edition" to "Good Golly Miss Molly" to "Like a Rolling Stone" are very small. Ira Tucker joined the Dixie Hummingbirds in the 1930s. He died last week at 83. Although this compilation lacks liner notes and session information, it's loaded with essential music. (Tip via BGO.)
The revived Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival afforded me an opportunity to catch Marquise Knox over the weekend. Lazy Lester sat in. My words and images are here.
I was saddened to learn of the passing of James DeRigne. I first encountered James when he owned the Record Cabinet, a small shop specializing in European prog rock and jazz.
Kansas City Click: Look for contest winner "C" at the Ingrid Michaelson show Tuesday at the Beaumont Club.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Not bad for an old man.
I've witnessed 121 live music performances so far in 2008, not counting amateur religious and scholastic exhibitions. My favorite twenty-five percent are listed below.
At a handful of shows- Say Anything comes to mind- I might have been the eldest fan. Thankfully, I'm a relative kid in jazz clubs and at classic rock concerts by the likes of Chicago.
Regular readers of There Stands the Glass won't bat an eye when they see that I list death metal and Christian music, commercial country and hip hop, folkies and Wynton Marsalis. But even I'm surprised that Stone Temple Pilots and Kid Rock blew me away.
In these difficult economic times, I'm incredibly fortunate that I can go out a few nights each week. With that in mind, I've indicated the ten selections that were either free events or artist-endorsed free downloads with a "*". More of that, please.
10 BEST SONGS
1. Noel Gourdin- "The River" (original image of Gourdin above)
2. Nas- "Be a N----- Too"
3. Ashton Shepherd- "Takin' Off This Pain"
4. T.I.- "No Matter What"
5. Marvin Sapp- "Never Would Have Made It"
6. XTA-C- "2 Fingers and a Hook (KC Anthem)"
7. Jaheim- "Never"
8. Airborne- "To Much, Too Young, Too Fast"
9. Ghosty- "Dumbo Wins Again"
10. Idle Warship- "Fall Back"
10 BEST ALBUMS
1. Erykah Badu- New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War
2. N.E.R.D.- Seeing Sounds
3. Gary Burton & Chick Corea- The New Crystal Silence
4. Atmosphere- When Life Gives You Lemons...
5. Lil Wayne- Tha Carter III
6. 9th Wonder & Buckshot- The Formula
7. Duffy- Rockferry
8. Miles Bonny- Remixes, Volume 1*
9. Nine Inch Nails- The Slip*
10. Andrew Calhoun- Bound To Go: Folk Songs & Spirituals
30 BEST SHOWS
1. Stone Temple Pilots- Liberty Memorial
2. Tech N9ne- Sandstone
3. Kid Rock- Sprint Center
4. Tech N9ne- Uptown Theater
5. Megan Birdsall- Jazz In the Woods*
6. Busy Bee- Liberty Hall
7. Shirley Brown- Hale Arena
8. Napalm Death- Beaumont
9. Mac Lethal- Riot Room
10. The Mars Volta- Beaumont Club
11. Peter Mulvey- Fred P. Ott's*
12. Wynton Marsalis & the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra- Folly Theater
13. Ashes Divide- Liberty Memorial
14, Rodney Crowell- Frontier Park*
15. T.I.- Sandstone
16. Luciano- Beaumont Club
17, Lil Mama- Sprint Center
18. Olympic Size- Record Bar
19. The Last Town Chorus- Knuckleheads
20. Ashton Shepherd- Country In the Woods*
21. Grupo Control- Crown Center*
22. The Redwalls- Record Bar
23. Leeland- Kemper Arena
24. Drowning Pool- VooDoo Lounge
25. Gregory Hickman-Williams memorial jazz jam- Jardine's*
26. American Music Club- Record Bar
27. Mark Olson- Davey's Uptown
28, Say Anything- Power & Light District*
29. Ed Fenner memorial jazz jam- Gem Theater*
30. M.I.A.- Liberty Hall
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Have you ever heard a well-intentioned church choir perform an "authentic" black spiritual? The result is often unfortunate.
Accordingly, I had reservations about Bound To Go: Folk Songs & Spirituals, a new release in which folk stalwart Andrew Calhoun and his associates perform 35 songs from the African American folk tradition. It held the potential to be painfully awkward.
Instead, Bound To Go is a revelation. In his extensive essay in the accompanying 24-page booklet, Calhoun makes a strong case that the 19th century material revived on the disc is more closely connected to the European folk tradition than it is an antecedent of the blues. Considered from that enlightening perspective, the music can be appreciated as invaluable historical literature.
Bound To Go is a profoundly important document.
It was a treat to cover Friday's T.I., Keyshia Cole, Tech N9ne, Eric Benet, Noel Gourdin, Gorilla Zoe, Camp 22 and Keanthony show. Jason Whitlock's extensive profile of Tech N9ne sheds light on the behind-the-scenes drama that I only allude to in my review.
I caught Megan Birdsall Saturday. That's a video montage of the show.
I loved Ashton Shepherd's show Sunday. Here's my review.
I thought I bought a ticket to a reggae concert. I was wrong. Matisyahu played over two-and-a-half hours of prime jam band grooves last night. He and his band were really good, but their style was more String Cheese Incident than Barrington Levy. And Trevor Hall is a cool dude.
I have no plans to attend an auction of the remaining Music Exchange inventory. Too many ghosts.
Nigerian singer Sonny Okosuns died May 24.
Kansas City Click: Barbaric Merits are among the hip hop artists hitting the weekly Jumpoff at the Peanut tonight.
Monday, June 23, 2008
There Stands the Glass is pleased to present an Ingrid Michaelson ticket giveaway contest.
The winner will receive two tickets to Michaelson's July 1 all-ages concert at the Beaumont Club in Kansas City. The singer-songwriter launched her first major headlining tour last week.
Michaelson's jaw-dropping talent and adorable disposition charmed the audience at the sold-out Record Bar in April when she toured as part of the Hotel Cafe ensemble. (Original image above.)
Although Michaelson is rightfully acclaimed for hits like "The Way I Am", her unlikely cover versions of songs including Radiohead's "Creep" and Rihanna's "Umbrella" are part of what makes her one of today's best live performers.
The winner will be the person who names the most intriguing new song for Michaelson to cover. For instance, I'd love to see Michaelson interpret Lil Wayne's "Lollipop." And who knows?- maybe Michaelson will actually follow through on your idea.
You may leave your suggestion and email address in the comment section of this post. You may also email your entry to happyinbag(at)gmail(dot)com. I'll contact the winner the afternoon of Friday, June 27.
(The tickets are provided by Michaelson's publicist.)
Friday, June 20, 2008
The theme of the Soul Providers' Saturday night show bugs me. Sure, I loved catching Busy Bee and the Egyptian Lover earlier this year but I'm really not nostalgic for the '80s. Even in the increasingly difficult recession of 2008, it's what's happening right now that most excites me. In fact, the Soul Providers are one of dozens of contemporary acts producing engaging music in the Kansas City area. While Reach is the best known member of the collective, MilkDrop continues to gain prominence. He allows fans to download much of his File Cabinet Flows release at his MySpace account. The sample of Lucille on "Let Me" grounds the otherwise disorienting mix.
I saw both Rick Derringer and Blue Oyster Cult last night. My review is here. The legends attracted a substantially smaller crowd than Say Anything and Queens Club the previous night. My review of that gig is here.
The Pitch's annual music awards ballot provides interesting insights into Kansas City's music scene.
Kansas City Click: The weekend offers bountiful choices in addition to Saturday's show at the Record Bar. KPRS hosts "Summer Jam 1." T.I., Keyshia Cole, Tech N9ne, Gorilla Zoe and Noel Gourdin are just a few of the artists scheduled to perform at Sandstone Friday.
There Stands the Glass favorite Erin Bode is among the artists booked at this weekend's Jazz In the Woods Festival.
Ashton Shepherd will surely sing her excellent "Takin' Off This Pain" when the same site is transformed into Country In the Woods on Sunday.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
No more peace.
I need to calm down. My manic nature leaves me breathless. Instead of studying Ornette Coleman, turning up Tool and compulsively downloading Lil Wayne mixtapes, perhaps I should decompress to recordings like this. Yantra is smart but soothing, transcendent but not lightweight. Both Steve Gorn and Badal Roy have jazz backgrounds. Roy's crazy list of credits includes work with Miles Davis on Big Fun and On the Corner. This is an enlightening but frustratingly brief clip of Badal explaining his craft. John Coltrane and Charles Lloyd were Gorn's gateway to India. Although Yantra is a respectfully traditional classical Indian recording, the careful listener will hear jazz flourishes in its improvisational shadings.
New York Fashion at Ward Parkway Shopping Center offers a weirdly compelling mixtape starring "Mr. So Heavy," a.k.a. XTA-C. It's equal parts music and advertising. "If it looks good on the rack, it'll look even better on you!"
My lastest "jazz is dead" freakout is here.
Kansas City Click: Say Anything play a free show at the Power & Light complex tonight.
Monday, June 16, 2008
No more fun.
Lil Wayne's acclaimed Tha Carter III wasn't the best new release I purchased last week. Seeing Sounds is a strong contender for my favorite album of 2008.
N*E*R*D's new effort is ridiculously fun on its own merits. Still, N*E*R*D's detractors note that the vocals are amateurish and the lyrics are often spotty. As a first-call production team, the men of N*E*R*D are surely well aware of these points.
I contend that the project's alleged weaknesses are deliberate.
It's entirely possible that Seeing Sounds is a demo that was rejected by an artist, perhaps Gwen Stefani or the dude from Maroon 5. The star might have been baffled by the musical references to the Cars, Run-D.M.C., the Knack, Rockwell, Tears For Fears and De La Soul.
That's where the listener comes in.
I believe that N*E*R*D invites the listener to insert him or herself into the mix. It's the audio equivalent of a first-person shooter video game. It even sounds like something that might be blasting from a futuristic arcade.
Via interactive imagination, the listener is expected to add vocals, lyrical tweaks and small musical nuances to the mix. In my case, I insert a guest spot from Chuck D here, a sax solo there and a verse about nanotechnology in that part. See? Now it's perfect.
I feature a song from Nona Hendryx's Female Trouble because I associate her with similarly synthetic sonic environments and extravagantly high concepts. Dan Hartman's 1987 production is hopelessly dated, just as surely as Seeing Sounds will be in 21 years. But for this moment, it's truly "big fun."
I have no comment on the verdict of R. Kelly's trial, other than to express a strong hope that it inspires the wildly inconsistent artist to pursue his the more gospel-inspired aspects of his work. In many ways, he's our Marvin Gaye; I'd like more What's Going On and less Let's Get It On.
I read the New York Times' explanation for the frustrating unavailability of Joao Gilberto's catalog with great interest.
A full length movie musical shot in Lawrence, Kansas? Read the story and watch the trailer for Air here.
EST pianist Esbjörn Svensson died at 44. It's a big loss for the progressive jazz world.
Kansas City Click: "Born With a Tail" is easily my favorite "Hail Satan" song. The Supersuckers taunt the heavens tonight at Knuckleheads.
Friday, June 13, 2008
The moment has passed.
Jeremy Pelt may or may not be in Kansas City tomorrow. A couple of my sources insist that the trumpeter will perform with Louis Hayes' band at the Rhythm & Ribs Festival. Yet the gig isn't listed at Pelt's site. That confusion aside, the young trumpeter "gets it." He makes a number of outstanding performances available at his site. I was tempted to post something from one of his gritty ensembles with organ, but I just can't resist jazz with strings. This 2003 session is from Live: Volume Eight. Pelt's next official new release on MaxJazz streets July 15.
Even after watching this video, I'm still not sure that Nicola Congiu isn't Sacha Baron Cohen's latest character. I spend five minutes laughing last night before I realized he was dead serious. The Italian opened for the Doobie Brothers and Chicago. My review is here.
Kansas City Click: Here's my guide to this weekend's Rhythm & Ribs Festival. Parkville competes with a far less ambitious- but free- line-up at their annual blues festival. Fine guitarist Bryan Lee is the main attraction.
Goth king Peter Murphy is at the Beaumont on Sunday.
(Image via Pelt's site.)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
No more Nina.
I was sorely disappointed in Tha Carter III when I first skipped through it. The slick pop moves and lack of psychedelic brilliance shocked me. When I dedicated 78 minutes of intense listening to the highly anticipated release, however, I understood that my initial distress was unnecessary. It's a mammoth and undeniably "important" release. I encourage readers without a hip hop orientation to block out ten minutes to take in "Dontgetit", the jaw-dropping album's final track. I won't detail Weezy's rambling analysis in this space, but I'll note that he chatters over a sample of Nina Simone performing "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." The folk song heard here is from an out-of-print collection of live recordings. The liner notes speculate that this might be a Carnegie Hall date from 1963.
Fellow roots music lovers will be glad to hear that Amazon is offering free MP3 of classics by Albert King, Odetta, Sonny Terry, Roosevelt Sykes and Lightnin' Hopkins at their download store.
"Raise a toast to Saint Joe Strummer!" Stay Positive, the Hold Steady's lastest salvo, is streaming at MySpace.
Kansas City Click: The Record Bar boasts a fine triple bill tonight- Fiery Furnaces, El Ten Eleven and Grand Ole Party.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Glad no more.
Bill Finegan's obituary in the Los Angeles Times tells a remarkable story of a life in music. Finegan arranged much of Out of the Blue, the 1962 debut of outstanding swing vocalist Carol Sloane. This 1984 video offers an even better sense of Sloane's extraordinary instrument. The 71-year-old Sloane is woefully underappreciated.
Stone Temple Pilots were never really my thing. I was stunned, consequently, when they put on one of the best shows I've seen all year Saturday night. Here's my review of the Rockfest blow-out.
*I haven't voluntarily listened to Rush since I was sixteen years old. But since Geddy Lee made a major donation to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, I'm planning on buying 2112 on CD.
Kansas City Click: There Stands the Glass favorites OK Jones join Headlights tonight at the Record Bar.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Matt Pryor's progression from the indie rock of the Get Up Kids to the adult folk rock of the New Amsterdams to the tot rock of the Terrible Twos may be startling to Pryor's younger fans, but it seems like a natural evolution for more "mature" music lovers. The same melodic shimmer and slightly ironic sensibility are contained in all three Pryor projects. "Grumpy Bug" is one of four downloadable songs at the Terrible Two's MySpace page. If You Ever See An Owl... contains my favorite kids' music since the debut of the Jellydots. The Terrible Twos perform Saturday afternoon at Old Shawnee Days (see link below).
I was mildly disappointed by Sheryl Crow's performance last night, but I adored the effort made by Brandi Carlile. My review is here.
Kansas City Click: Which festival is for you? Flavors include the Coleman Hawkins Legacy Jazz Festival (Sam Rivers, Airto & Flora Purim, Dirty Dozen Brass Band)), Wakarusa (Flaming Lips, Emmylou Harris, Ozric Tentacles), Rockfest (Stone Temple Pilots, Ashes Divide, Sevendust), Gladstone BluesFest (Hubert Sumlin, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Larry Garner) and Old Shawnee Days (Foghat, Marshall Tucker Band, the Terrible Twos).
(Photo of Matt Pryor via www.missionfreak.com)
Thursday, June 05, 2008
No more free speech.
Just like tens of thousands of other eager fans, I can't wait to pick up Lil Wayne's official release next week. I'm not even going to download the leak. There's no shortage of regional acts to tide me over until Tuesday. XTC-A has a great new Kansas City anthem, "2 Fingers and a Hook," available for download as his distressingly buggy MySpace page. And Topeka, Kansas' Stik Figa continues to make his material available. The self-professed "square" is always interesting. And what is that sample- Vangelis? This video provides one man's overview of Kansas City's scene. Stik Figa is interviewed in the doorway of the former Grand Emporium at the 2:30 mark. Midwest stand up!
Solange Knowles reportedly broke her foot at the Beaumont Club in Kansas City last Sunday.
Kansas City Click: Brandi Carlile opens for Sheryl Crow tonight at Starlight Theater.
(Image from Sike Style's Flickr account.)
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
No mere mortal can follow Bo Diddley at his peak. So let's turn to Django Reinhardt. This Paris session with the Hot Club de France may have been recorded in 1937, but its fiery spirit has lost none of its vitality over the last seventy years and nine months. The sessions contained in this box set caused myriad musical shifts throughout the world. But unlike many "important" recordings, it's impossible to imagine anyone failing to derive immense pleasure from its charms.
James McMurtry was rightfully celebrated for "We Can't Make It Here", a bleak assessment of America's difficult economic times. Alas, things are even tougher two years later. Atmosphere has come up with a worthy successor to McMurtry's state of the union. "Guarantees" is a harrowing anthem for the recession of 2008.
More me: I wrote a mini-review of Rodney Crowell's free show in Olathe, KS. And I muse about why jazz no longer attracts top talent here.
Here's the trailer for From Da Hood 2 Doing Good, a Kansas City hip hop "blockumentary." (Link via Tony's Kansas City.)
It's great that KPRS is playing Tech N9ne and that "The Buzz" tossed The Golden Republic into its rotation. Imagine- locally-based acts on their hometown commercial radio stations! Elsewhere, "The Boulevard"''s new classic rock format is improving- more Neil Young and less Spin Doctors is a formula for success.
Kansas City Click: Adam Lee and Pendergast play the early show at Davey's this evening.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Bo Diddley's May 11, 2007, concert in Kansas City was one of his last public appearances. I didn't attend the benefit concert at the Gem Theater, but a couple people who were there regaled me with stories of the legend's boorish behavior and erratic performance. He suffered a debilitating stroke two days later. That stands in sharp contrast to the glowing reviews of his September 2006 show at a poorly attended blues festival at a local racetrack. I last saw him play about fifteen years ago at the Kansas City Blues & Jazz Festival. His well-documented anger was evident, but he constructively channeled that emotion into an electrifying set. Diddley died today. I know I'm not alone in thinking that "Mona" is among the 20th century's greatest recordings. My copy of a Chess hits collection has been in constant rotation for years.
Kansas City Click: One For the Team, Frightened Rabbit and French Kicks play a Monday night show at the Record Bar. The club's owners must be thanking the rock gods for art students.