Playing right now: Von Freeman - Have No Fear
(This Chicago tenor player in an elder statesman in Chicago, where he's admired by free jazz and mainstream folks alike. I was really excited to find this album by him. I've never heard of any of the sideman but they're great: John Young (piano), David Shipp (bass), Wilbur Campbell (drums). Never thought Henry Mancini's "Mr. Lucky" could have this much bite.)
Last week, I got an assignment to preview John Vanderslice's Pittsburgh show - and I thought I had to write the piece within the next 48 hours. Panicked, I happened to have John's number on my cell phone and even though it made me feel a little funny calling him (due to my fanatical feelings for his music) I gave him a ring. 30 minutes later he called back, ready to talk. And talk he did. Man, that guy gives such good quotes. We talked for less than 20 minutes and I got plenty out of him. It should go without saying that I'm totally stoked for the show, which is happening at the Warhol Museum.
Later than night, I reread the email about the article and it looked like I was a week ahead of time. Oh well. A few days later and I might have missed John since his tour is now in full swing.
I guess listening to Vanderslice's new Romanian Names album had me thinking about San Francisco bands (that's where he lives). So I decided to pull out a CD from the mid '90s by an SF band called Panda. They were a male/female group that was into pop hooks wrapped in a rather scrappy garage sound. The self-titled CD was released by Kokopop, the subsidiary of Shimmy-Disc, which was how I got wind of it (I was into anything Shimmy-Disc/Kramer-related at that point).
The album had a song called "Parasol" that was built around a mid-tempo dreamy/nagging two-string guitar riff, and I used to play that song all the time. The problem was that the disc I had was really scratched up, and three of the first four songs wouldn't read on my CD player, and once I even tried to play "Parasol" on a radio show at WPTS, and it skipped.
CD player technology must have improved by leaps and bounds because my current machine played the whole disc with any hesitation. I don't think I heard the song "Ninny Cake Bake" (great call-and-response involving the title) since the very first time I played the disc. It was a good night. Although, I'm tempted to burn the disc just to make sure I have it for all times.
Panda put out another album on Kokopop, which I never bought, but I feel like there's probably a copy or two sitting around a used disc store in town somewhere. In the meantime, I wonder what ever became of Alyssa Wendt, Jefferson Parker, Carolyn Engelmann and Andrew Rush, the four that were Panda. Are you guys out there?
And Awaaaaay We Go!
4 years ago