Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Musical Passings of 2008

1/04/08 Earl May, 80, jazz bassist

1/11/08 Pete Candoli, 84, big band trumpeter

1/12/08 Gabriel Manelli, 38, Babasonicos bassist

1/15/08 El Koquillo de Sinaloa, 20, grupero musician

1/18/08 John Stewart, 68, folk-rock singer-songwriter

1/19/08 Andy Palacio, 47, Belize musician

1/24/08 Francis Clay, 84, blues drummer

1/31/08 Butch Berman, 58, guitarist and jazz booster

2/04/08 Tata Guines, 77, Cuba's "King of the Congas"

2/0408 Chris Anderson, 81, jazz pianist

2/10/08 Freddie Bell, 76, Vegas rocker

2/13/08 Henri Salvador, 90, French crooner

2/16/08 Charles Ryan, 92, co-wrote "Hot Rod Lincoln"

2/16/08 Jesus Rey David Alfaro Pulido, 26, Tijuana banda musician

2/19/08 Teo Macero, 82, jazz producer

2/21/08 Calvin Owens, 78, Houston blues trumpeter and bandleader

2/21/08 Joe Gibbs, 65, reggae producer

2/26/08 Herschel "Speedy" Haworth, Jr., 85, Ozarks sideman

2/27/08 Buddy Miles, 60, rock drummer

2/28/08 Mike Smith, 64, singer in the Dave Clark Five

3/02/08 Jeff Healey, 41, blues guitarist

3/03/08 Norman "Hurricane" Smith, 85, pop star and music executive

3/15/08 Mikey Dread, 53, reggae star

3/15/08 King Alex Littlejohn, 73, Kansas City blues musician

3/22/08 Israel "Cachao" Lopez, 89, Cuban inventor of mambo

3/26/08 Patti Bown, 76, jazz vocalist

3/21/08 Klaus Dinger, 61, Neu!

4/07/08 Phil Urso, 82, jazz tenor saxophonist

4/08/08 Cedella Marley Booker, 81, Bob's mother

4/09/08 Bob Kames, 82, the "Chicken Dance"

4/09/08 Ozzie Cadena, 83, jazz producer

4/09/08 George Butler, 76, jazz executive

4/09/08 Flora Pereira, 79, Portuguese Fado singer

4/13/08 Robert Reed, 50, keyboardist for Trouble Funk

4/17/08 Chris Gaffney, 58, roots rocker

4/15/08 Sean Costello, 28, blues musician

4/17/08 Danny Federici, 58, E Street Band

4/21/08 Al Wilson, 68, soul man

4/22/08 Paul Davis, 60, soft rock singer and songwriter

4/24/08 Jimmy Giuffre, 86, jazz composer and musician

5/08/08 Eddy Arnold, 89, countrypolitan legend

5/08/08 Larry Levine, 80, engineer for Phil Spector

5/15/08 Bob Florence, 75, jazz composer

5/18/08 Ed Fenner, 72, Kansas City's "jazz activist"

5/19/08 Earl Robinson, 85, founding member of The Scamps

5/23/08 Utah Phillips, 73, folk legend

5/23/08 Earle H. Hagen, 88, wrote TV themes and "Harlem Nocturne"

5/24/08 Sonny Okosuns, 61, Nigerian singer

5/25/08 Connie Vitale, 61, Kansas City retail store owner

5/28/08 Jerry Cole, 68, session guitarist

5/31/08 Pretty Black, 25, Oakland rapper

6/02/08 Bo Diddley, 79, rock pioneer

6/03/08 James DeRigne, 53, Kansas City record store owner and drummer

6/14/08 Esbjorn Svensson, 44, jazz pianist of EST

6/28/08 Ronnie Matthews, 72, jazz pianist

7/07/08 Bobby Durham, 71, jazz drummer

7/13/08 Gerald Wiggins, 86, jazz pianist

7/22/08 Joe Beck, 62, jazz guitarist

7/25/08 Johnny Griffin, 80. jazz saxophonist

7/25/08 Hiram Bullock, 52, session guitarist

7/25/08 Michael Berniker, 73, producer

7/31/08 Yusuf Salim, 79, jazz pianist

7/31/08 Lee Young, 94, jazz drummer, producer and brother of Lester

8/02/08 Erik Darling, 74, folk artist of Rooftop Singers

8/10/08 Isaac Hayes, 65, soul giant

8/11/08 Don Helms, 71, steel guitarist for Hank Williams

8/15/08 Jerry Wexler, 91, R&B producer

8/16/08 Ronnie Drew, 73, Dubliners,

8/16/08 Dizzy Johnny Moore, 70, trumpeter in the Skatalites

8/16/08 Caymmi, 94, Brazilian songwriter

8/18/08 Pervis Jackson, 70, original member of the Spinners

8/19/08 LeRoi Moore, 46, Dave Matthews Band saxophonist

5/31/08 Pretty Black, 25, Oakland rapper

8/20/08 Phil Guy, 68, blues artist

8/21/08 Jerry Finn, 39, producer and mixer

8/23/08 Steve Foley, 49, drummed for the Replacements

8/23/08 Jimmy Cleveland, 82, jazz trombonist

8/28/08 Gilbert Moorer, 67, Esquires vocalist

9/01/08 Jerry Reed, 71, country star

9/09/08 Bheki Mseleku, 53, jazz pianist

9/12/08 Charlie Walker, 81, Grand Ole Opry member

9/15/08 Richard Wright, 65, Pink Floyd

9/16/08 Norman Whitfield, 65, Motown songwriter

9/19/08 Earl Palmer, 84, legendary drummer

9/20/08 Nappy Brown, 78, blues artist

9/20/08 Steve Gray, 64, session musician

9/22/08 Connie Haines, 87, big band vocalist

9/26/08 Marc Moulin, 66, Belgian jazz fusion artist

9/29/08 Pat Crumly, 66, British saxophonist

10/01/08 Nick Reynolds, 75, original member of the Kingston Trio

10/03/08 Johnny "J", 39, hip hop producer

10/11/08 Alton Ellis, 68, reggae star

10/11/08 Neal Hefti, 85, TV and jazz composer

10/15/08 Edie Adams, 81, singer and pitch woman

11/16/08 Tony Reedus, 49, jazz drummer

10/17/08 Levi Stubbs, 72, Four Tops vocalist

10/18/08 Dave McKenna, 78, jazz pianist

10/18/08 Dee Dee Warwick, 63, soul singer

10/19/08 Rudy Ray Moore, 81, comedian, musician and filmmaker

10/24/08 Merl Saunders, 74, keyboardist

10/25/08 Muslim Magomayev, 66, Russian pop star

10/15/08 Frankie Venom, 51, Teenage Head

10/24/08 Ray Ellis, 84, arranger for Johnny Mathis, Bobby Darin, Four Lads

10/30/08 Nathaniel Mayer, 64, Detroit soul singer

10/30/08 Mike Terry, 68, Motown saxophonist

10/31 Frank Navetta, 46, Descendants guitarist

11/01/08 Yma Sumac, 86, quirky exotica artist

11/02/08 Jimmy Carl Black, 70, Native American rock musician

11/04/08 Byron Lee, 73, Jamaican innovator

11/09/08 Miriam Makeba, 76, South African singer

11/09/08 Mitch Mitchell, 61, drummer for Jimi Hendrix

11/22/08 MC Breed, 36, rapper

11/22/08 Nico Rohas, 87, Cuban musician

11/23/08 Richie Edwards, 27 (declared dead), Manic Street Preachers

11/23/08 Robert Lucas, 46, blues man

11/24/08 Kenny Maclean, 51, Platinum Blonde bassist

12/02/08 Odetta, 77, folk artist

12/06/08 Alex McEwen, 73, British musician and businessman

12/07/08 Dennis Yost, 65, Classics IV vocalist

12/15/08 Davy Graham, 68, British folk musician

12/19/08 Page Cavanaugh, 86, jazz pianist

12/25/08 Eartha Kitt, 81, pop star

12/25/08 Robert Ward, 70, blues and soul man

12/27/08 Delaney Bramlett, 69, rock musician

12/29/08 Freddie Hubbard, 70, jazz trumpeter

(Original image of Isaac Hayes by There Stands the Glass.)

Freddie Hubbard, 1938-2008

Farewell, Freddie.

Although I was pleasantly surprised to spot extensive coverage of Freddie Hubbard's death in the mainstream media this week, the bad news was accompanied by a sense of wistfulness. It seems like the end of an era.

Wynton Marsalis (born 1961) aside, it's unlikely the the passing of another jazz trumpeter will receive prominent play. It's highly unlikely that the eventual deaths of Terence Blanchard (born 1962), John Faddis (born 1953), Roy Hargrove (born 1969) and Nicholas Payton (born 1973) will receive much attention. Exceptions might be made for Arturo Sandoval (born 1949), because of his dramatic life story, and Herb Alpert (born 1935), Chuck Mangione (born 1940) and Hugh Masekela (born 1939), for their crossover pop hits.

I'll remember Hubbard for his fiery work with Art Blakey, his contribution in 1964 to Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch and 1971's Red Clay. He made many subsequent appearances, however, including this date with Pancho Sanchez's Latin jazz group.

Kansas City Click: My New Year's Eve pick is Alacartoona's early show at Jardine's.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Robert Ward, 1938-2008


That guitar! Technicians explain that Robert Ward's unique sound was generated by a Magnatone amplifier, but I prefer to think that it's the result of magic. I first became aware of Ward when his triumphant comeback album Fear No Evil was issued in 1991. It's now out-of-print. Until then, I had no idea that it was Ward on the Falcons' epic hit "I Found a Love". Ward also was a founding member of the group that eventually evolved into the Ohio Players. And lest loyal There Stands the Glass reader BGO chide me for neglecting to mention it, Lonnie Mack repeatedly cited Ward as his primary influence. Ward died on Christmas Day.

Present magazine published my list of Top Ten Kansas City-area music blogs. I forgot to include Demencha. Their December 20 post on Mad Marlon was, in the parlance of the hip hop site, dope.

Kansas City Click: The Nace Brothers should make dancers happy tonight at Knuckleheads.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pentangle- Sally Go Round the Roses

Sally's at rest.

Let's get this straight up front. I don't dislike Fleet Foxes. I actually enjoy their debut album.

As the accolades for Fleet Foxes continue to pile up, however, I can hold my tongue no longer. It's not that I find it increasingly difficult to embrace new recordings that don't swing, thrash or thump. Most so-called indie rock doesn't do any of those things.

The source of my irritation doesn't lie with the music- it's with the self-proclaimed fans. I'd like to ask every advocate of Fleet Foxes these questions:

*Are you high? Seriously, sometimes I wonder if I'm the only guy in the room who isn't smoking something.

*Have you never heard Workingman's Dead? Hey, I genuinely like the Dead's first few studio albums. And so, obviously, do the Fleet Foxes. Yet I'd be willing to wager that most fans of Fleet Foxes wouldn't be caught dead at a concert by Bob Weir or It's a Beautiful Day.

*Can you convince me that you're not engaging in mindless group think? What if Fleet Foxes weren't signed to Sub Pop? What if they weren't from Seattle? What if they were, say, It's Over? As I furiously type this cranky essay, the not-so-dissimilar Kansas City band has three MySpace plays today. Fleet Foxes have 9,000. Even if you don't share my belief that It's Over is the better band, you can't tell me that Fleet Foxes are 3,000 times better. That's a highly suspect bandwagon.

I root for Fleet Foxes' continued success- perhaps a few of their fans will discover artists like John Renbourn. This 1969 effort with Pentangle, for example, is a clear blueprint for Fleet Foxes. It's available on this collection and on this reissue.

Kansas City Click: Alaadeen leads a group at the Blue Room tonight.

The Rich Boys rock Ott's on Sunday.

Come Monday, Jazzbo hits Jazz.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Graham Parker- Soul Christmas

Boxed up.

Although he's a long-standing personal favorite, Graham Parker has been mentioned only in passing at There Stands the Glass. I own almost everything the crusty curmudgeon has issued. His catalog includes the obscure Christmas Cracker EP from '94. Featured on the disc are bonus demos. My favorite is this fantasy involving the likes of Little Milton, Don Covay and Eddie Floyd. "Hey, when is Aretha gonna show?" This is my favorite GP song. No wait- it's this. And what in the world is this- a shockingly slick 1977 appearance on Top of the Pops. Crazy!

When worlds collide- my pal Jason Harper offers an alternate perspective of last Friday night's Grieves and Pendergast shows.

Jason's blog also tipped me off to the impressive new video for the Beautiful Bodies' "Strut."

I've liked Lily Allen since I became aware of her a couple years ago, but "The Fear" elevates the pop star from the category of merely "adorable" to "important artist" in the intricate internal ranking system at There Stands the Glass.

Tupelo Chain Sex are so obscure that I used to wonder if I'd merely imagined seeing a band by that name at the Outhouse outside Lawrence, Kansas. They currently have twelve MySpace friends.

Kansas City Click: The Nace Brothers should make dancers happy tonight at Knuckleheads.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Looking Good: Grieves and Pendergast

What are rock stars and rappers supposed to look like? It shouldn't matter, of course, but Friday night I was forced to ponder the significance of physical appearance.

Neither Tony Ladesich of Pendergast nor Seattle rapper Grieves are candidates for the cover of next month's GQ magazine.

While at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club I wondered again why Pendergast never found a wider audience. The exceptional band toured with conviction. And hearing a few dozen true believers sing along with Ladesich's earnest songs confirmed their universal appeal. Why didn't more people embrace them?

Maybe it's looks. In an amusing profile of Ladesich, Jason Harper describes him as "Stocky. Broad. Ursine. Roughly the same shape but half the size of your average NFL center." While I think Ladesich is incredibly sexy, he's not going to be mistaken for Rhett Miller of the Old '97s.

Over at the Riot Room, Grieves was compelled to address his unlikely appearance. "I know I look like I'm seventeen," the twenty-something artist sighed.

Grieves more closely resembles an ill-conceived cartoon character than a rapper. Yet Grieves' appearance might ultimately work in his favor. He may never win over T.I.'s audience, but the Warped Tour set might eventually wholeheartedly embrace Grieves as a fellow outsider.

His current collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Budo greatly enhances Grieves' prospects. He could successfully open for Fall Out Goy, MGMT or M.I.A. tomorrow.

While Grieves' career in music is on an upward trajectory, Ladesich should take great comfort in knowing that his work with Pendergast meant a great deal to his fans. Count this pudgy, graying geek among them.

Kansas City Click: Saxophonist David Brandom plays at the Blue Room tonight.

(Original image of Grieves by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

House of Badger- You Give Yourself Away


Maybe, just maybe, Santa will bring me a turntable with a USB port this year. If that happens, I'll be confronted with a mountain of decisions.

Do I start by ripping my dad's outlaw country albums? I really miss listening to a handful of Solomon Burke obscurities from the '70s. I once bought a huge cache of piano jazz albums from a jittery guy in desperate need of cash; it'd be nice to put those in a digital format. But truth be told, I'd probably begin with "new wave" and "college rock" titles from '79-'87.

I have a pretty healthy collection of rarities by the likes of the Blake Babies, Pere Ubu, Let's Active, the Bush Tetras, Gang of Four and Public Image Ltd. I'll bet that the members of House of Badger already own a lot of that stuff. The Portland band's new album, Death Birds, immediately recalls the excitement and mystery of the left-of-the-dial heyday.

I wrote a preview of Pendergast's final show. It's tonight at Davey's Uptown Rambler's Club. Yeah, I'll be there.

I acted as a substitute speaker on KCUR's Up To Date broadcast this morning. It took me about fifteen minutes to settle down but I had a great time. You can even download the show if you feel the need to hear me chat about selections including the Game, Nas and the Streets.

Sean Byrne, vocalist of the Count Five, died Monday.

Kansas City Click: Mac Lethal and the Black Clover crew's annual Christmas party moves to the Riot Room tonight.

Kinto Sol perform at Bartle Hall Saturday.

On Sunday, Nelly gets derrty at the VooDoo.

(Photo pilfered from

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Craig Pilo- Awkwardly Mobile

Moved on.

Drummer Craig Pilo is the owner of a wacky list of credits. Since graduating from the University of North Texas College of Music in 1995, he's toured and recorded with artists ranging from Pat Boone to the Red Elvises. He's also toured with Frankie Valli, Player and Edgar Winter. Pile's fine 2007 release Just Play provides insights into the versatile artist's personal taste. As with the rest of the project, "Awkwardly Mobile" evokes jazz fusion works by the likes of Herbie Hancock. It's a sound well worth revisiting. (Students of drumming will appreciate the performance videos included on the enhanced disc.)

A painfully revealing fan video of Elvis performing "Blue Christmas" in Kansas City was recently uploaded to YouTube. The star died two months later.

Connie Dover and the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra have issued a new Christmas title.

Kansas City Click: Kim Sivils and Steve Rigazzi perform a matinee at Jardine's today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Davy Graham, 1940-2008


British guitarist Davy Graham died Monday.

His innovations influenced folk artists John Renbourn, Bert Jansch and Martin Carthy. Jimmy Page probably learned a thing or two from Graham. And whether they know it or not, today's freak-folk crowd is also in Graham's debt. His '60s recordings fused jazz, folk, blues and rock in entirely new ways.

Presumably, 1977's The Complete Guitarist is so named because Graham offers sixteen vastly differing solo works. Celtic, classical, jazz, folk and blues are represented in a solo format. I selected "Hardiman the Fiddler" for its brevity; I highly recommend all of it.

The Guardian compiles and annotates five Graham videos.

(Tip via BGO.)

Before heaping praise on the Rum Drum Ramblers, one of the two co-owners of St. Louis' Vintage Vinyl- I assume it's Tom, but it could be Lou- articulates my sentiment about today's blues scene:

"There's a whole lot of what is called blues but really isn't... Do we ever need to hear anyone record that BB King or Elmore James song every lazy bar band can knock out in a slow walk? Yes, we have had so much heaped on our heads, in the name of blues, but so damn little that's original and shows players using the form to drive nails in the head and heart."

Kansas City Click: KoolAide and the Exact Change Band appear at the Kansas City Blues & Jazz Juke House tonight.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Perhapst- Incense Cone

Burned out.

Had I heard it earlier, the self-titled debut by Perhapst might have cracked my year-end Top 25 album list. Perhapst is the alias of John Moen, drummer of The Decemberists. Yet his project is largely free of the cabaret and art-song impulses associated with that celebrated band. The delirious pop of "Blue Year," for instance, proudly features more cowbell. "Maryanne" recalls Matthew Sweet's power pop crunch, while the melodic folk of "Cruel Whisk" is reminiscent of acoustic John Lennon. Elsewhere, Moen jangles like the Byrds and jingles like Brian Wilson. It's no surprise that Stephen Malkmus contributes to the recording. Moen is also clearly a fan of Pavement.

I bought the "new" Fat Tone release at 7th Heaven over the weekend. The store's staff assures me that Da Saga Continues contains only previously unreleased material. The Kansas City rapper was murdered in Las Vegas in 2005.

Do you remember Kansas City-area shoegaze band Shallow? They had a brief flirtation with international stardom in the '90s. They're now working again as The Capsules.

I summarize the year in Kansas City jazz at Plastic Sax.

Kansas City Click: Neil Diamond brings "The Gift of Song" to the Sprint Center on Monday.

(Image from Perhapst's MySpace account.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Helen Kane- Don't Be Like That

It's no longer like that.

Bettie Page died yesterday. She was 85.

I'm not familiar enough with Page's dramatic career arc to know if she intentionally channeled the persona of cartoon character Betty Boop. The resemblance certainly didn't stop at their first names. In any case, the two icons occupy the same general excitable area of my mind.

The Betty Boop character, at least in part, was modeled on Helen Kane. The "boop-boop-a-doop" catchphrase was Kane's invention. I'm tempted to listen to nothing but this excellent collection all weekend.

"Don't Be Like That" was recorded eighty years ago. It's still irresistibly sexy. Just like those snapshots of Bettie Page.

Need to smile? Here's Kane singing "He's So Unusual." It's priceless.

Present offers a clever extended inside joke about Mongol Beach Party.

Kansas City Click: E-40 is scheduled to appear with Rich the Factor at Club Dallas tonight. (Details are sketchy; the show is not listed at E-40's official sites.)

Hidden Pictures and Andrew Morgan make a fine double bill Saturday at Czar Bar.

On Sunday the Record Bar offers its bi-weekly "alternative jazz series".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Charlie McCoy- Staggering Blues


I'm a devotee of acoustic blues. I rarely feature the style at There Stands the Glass only because a handful of specialty sites already do an outstanding job of presenting the form. But I'm in the mood today.

The 24 tracks on Complete 1928-1932 Recordings reveal the remarkably prescient voice of Charlie McCoy. Working under his own name or in groups including the Mississippi Mud Steppers and the Jackson Blue Boys, McCoy's creative arrangements presage the music of today. The vocal interjections of Rosie Mae Moore on "Staggering Blues" could have been made by Lady Sovereign or Missy Elliott.

According to the invaluable liner notes, McCoy died in 1950 at "a Psychopathic Hospital in Chicago." I featured Charlie's brother "Kansas" Joe 13 months ago. Need more? Try "Last Time Blues".

Dennis Yost of Classics IV died Sunday. Check out Yost's slacks on this vintage video. (Tip via BGO.)

Kansas City Click: Gerald Spaits and Charles Perkins collaborate tonight at the Blue Room.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Aaron Neville- The Shadow of Your Smile

Closed lips.

A popular Kansas City jazz, soul and gospel vocalist is renowned for her incredibly powerful voice. She's fully capable of shaking the rafters in spite of her diminutive size. At Plastic Sax, I mention the effect her rich voice had on an audience Sunday.

She's the opposite of Aaron Neville. His large frame contains a thin, small voice. Yet it somehow manages to bypass most emotional filters to strike directly at the human soul. "The Shadow of Your Smile" is just one of a dozen standards on Neville's lushly recorded 2003 album. Although the setting is worlds removed from early New Orleans hits like "Hercules", it's no less compelling.

The 67-year-old performs tonight at Harrah's Casino.

"Top City, what's up!" Ill Roots offers It Ain't Easy Bein' Skinny, a free Stik Figa mixtape. The Topeka rapper is a There Stands the Glass favorite.

Kansas City Click: Aaron Neville will fill the VooDoo Lounge with delighted sighs tonight.

Friday, December 05, 2008

J.J. Cale- Sho-Biz Blues

Shuffled away.

Live music almost never bores me, but I'm still recovering from a stultifying J.J. Cale concert I witnessed as a teenager. I was just looking for something to do; opting for the man's laid-back charm was not a wise choice. Cale turns 70 today. While I'm still significantly younger than Cale I'm old enough to understand the appeal of the Okie's trademark shuffle. "Sho-Biz Blues," from the 1991 release Closer To Home, is representative of the man's sensibility.

Last night a guy asked me if I was a "rock journalist." I don't think I qualify- a genuine rock journalist would never give Hinder a positive review.

Cuban musician Nico Rojas died November 22 in Havana. (Tip via BGO.)

Blip continues to destroy my productivity. The sole upside of the addiction is that I haven't purchased recorded music in weeks- CDs and albums would only eat into my Blip time.

Kansas City Click: Carol Duboc sings at Jardine's tonight.

The Tambourine Club hits the Brick on Saturday.

Community Christian Church hosts Carol Fest on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Odetta, 1930-2008


Odetta was part of my childhood. When the producers of televised events wanted to add a sense of dignified importance to their broadcasts, it seemed that they'd often call on the regal woman to perform. Sunday school teachers and elementary school staffers sometimes followed suit. Consequently, Odetta was the type of artist that I admired but rarely enjoyed. "All the Pretty Horses" captures the sense of hushed importance I associate with the folk singer. It's available on this fine compilation of folk classics. Odetta died yesterday.

One-time Kansas Citian Mike Terry, a saxophonist heard on Motown hits including "Heat Wave" and "This Old Heart of Mine," died October 30. (Tip via BGO.)

Charles Ferruzza composed a fine tribute to Kansas City composer and critic Virgil Thomson.

Kansas City Click: New Vintage Big Band swings into B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ tonight.