Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More on Mascott

Playing right now: Nothing

Just finished doing some work stuff online.

Breakfast music today was Mascott's Dreamer's Book. I was thinking about the last entry where I talked about wanting to hear it and today - the first day back to work after 2 days off - seemed like the ideal day to do it. Sigh. What a dreamy album (no pun intended).

We have something to tell you
It came to us in a dream
The Words they're for free
All you have to do is see
L.O.V.E. (sung as "lah-la lah-la lah-la lah-la")

Oh Kendall Jane Meade, you can brighten up someone's morning. Although when "Time Waits" came on, it took me back a couple years to when I was still at Pulp and I almost got kind of sad thinking about how those days are gone. Back then, I would listen to the disc on headphones and that's when all the subtle arrangements started to stick out. All the guitars sounded gauzy and rich. There was a lot but nothing is over-arranged or produced. That was at a time when I felt like I rarely had the chance to get to know an album, because each week there was no junk to quickly digest and write about and chuck before the next thing came along. It was always such a struggle to keep up and feel like I was getting the right info across in my writing.

But anyhow, the time trip back to the Pulp days didn't let it drag me down.

This weekend two years ago, the Mofones played at Ladyfest in Columbus. The night before our show, Mascott played on an awesome bill with the Naysayer and Scrawl. I had only seen Mascott once and that was a few months earlier when they came to Pittsburgh with the Naysayer. It was a really fun night seeing all those groups. Scrawl hadn't played in a while and I hadn't seen them in years. It was so sweet that Marcy of Scrawl remembered my face and thought I was some long lost Columbus dude, while she actually remembered me from Pittsburgh and years gone by.

Me and Anna from the Naysayer had become acquaintences by that time. The Mofones played with them and she had slept at our house once. She dedicated the song "Kitten Time" to me because of Ivy's passing. See, she had taken a photo of Ivy when she stayed over.

Anyone reading this should go to Kendall's website right now to find out what she's up to. Either or to her label: Tell her I sent you.

While packaging up records today, I listened to Ole Coltrane. I think I wrote about that earlier, so no need to repeat.

Between going to work, showering, go through the car wash, I listened to Heernt, a band I'm reviewing for JazzTimes.

good night.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Great White Buffalo meets Mulligan

Playing right now: Nothing

I want to get a post up before work because I realized it's been almost a week since I've said anything.

I was thinking of making an entry titled "Last Night Kendall Meade Saved My Life" because at work lately, I've been really agitated about nothing in particular and I kept wanting to listen to Mascott's CD Dreamer's Book. Kendall is the leader of Mascott and a great songwriter. When I used to get stressed out at Pulp and I couldn't stop to have a goodie or soemthing, that album used to soothe my nerves. But I didn't get that album out. In fact I went the opposite way....

Last night I pulled up my copy of Ted Nugent's Double Live Gonzo. Kinda scary. There's only one record with it instead of two, but I got it for free a few years ago when WRCT was giving records away. Besides the only two songs I care about are on the record I have: "Great White Buffalo" and "Hibernation." The latter is the song I really wanted to hear. It's awful but it's.......intriguing.

See, Ted gives this big intro about how his guitar doesn't play any "mellow shit." And that it can shoot the balls off a rhino at 50 paces or something like that. Then he starts doing this long manipulated feedback thing that sounds EXACTLY like the beginning of "Anthrax" by Gang of Four, which would come out about a year later. Thing is, Andy Gill of G04 did something interesting. Ted just lets an A chord ring real loud. Then he hits a high note that sustains itself and it rings and rings and rings, then he bends the note, it rings and rings then the band kicks it....this is the one cool part because they come charging in with a gallop. But then the group plays a 2 chord jam that sounds like "Jessica" by the Allmans. I kind of like that song but it falls under the category of "mellow shit" that Nuge said his guitar can't play. Somebody's wrong here and it ain't me.

Why did I get that record out? Well, at work yesterday and the day before I had to slather some ribs in bbq sauce and for some reason, seeing all those bones and flesh lined up, it made me think of TEd. Had to let it out. I'm sorry, Kendall.

Oh yeah, since I was out at Gooski's just prior to listening to TEd, I kept nodding off.

This morning I listened to the Gerry Mulligan Paris Concert album over breakfast. The first time I spun it last week I thought maybe I could sell it and not miss it. it was good, but not astounding like the early stuff with Chetty. Now I'm not sure. It's pretty hot. I love what he could do with a small group and Bob Brookmeyer was a great second horn on this album.

In keeping with the Pacific Jazz bag, I pulled out a copy of The Chico Hamilton Trio album that's on that same imprint. I got this in a box of records that a dear friend gave to me a couple years ago. I still haven't listened to many of the albums in that stash (including another Chico LP called The Headhunters). This one has Chico with George Duvivier on bass and Howard Roberts and Jim Hall swapping guitar duties. There's something really magical about those early Chico albums. In much the same way that the Mulligan quartet worked (of which Chico was a member) the group used space really well. This album was no exception. It's spare, sonically, but the group fills the space with a lot of ideas.

It makes me want to pull out the Hamilton South Pacific album I bought last week and give it another chance. I wasn't too sold on it at first. I think it had to do with Buddy Collette being gone, with Paul Horn in his place. Something was missing by then. It's a little too sweet. I have another Hamilton band album with that lineup that doesn't float my boat, but I haven't been able to part with it.

Shower listening (i.e. what was on the CD player while I was in the shower): Avishai Cohen's new Continuo, which I'm reviewing for JazzTimes and therefore won't comment on here. Gotta save the ideas for the review.

PS I won a copy of Mulligan Meets Monk last night for $10.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

This weekend's booty

Playing right now: The Cyrkle - Red Rubber Ball

How can you spot the jerk at an estate sale? He's the one who says, "Yeah, I stopped by last night to try to check things out, but nobody was here." That's because the estate sale is TODAY, you shmuck. What makes you think you're so freakin' privileged that you could get an early look? Sure these people are selling their life's items and you should get early dibs. Go to hell.

I showed up at this estate sale in Sharpsburg a few minutes before it was to start, at 7:30. And there was a line of about 15-20 people waiting to get in. The guy I mentioned above was behind me. That was key.....

When they let us it to this rather small house, I found the records in another room, in two looooong rows on the floor tucked in a corner where only one person could look at a time, unless 2 guys wanted to get up close and personal. There was a guy standing there behind the guy who was crouched down, and this guy was looking through a couple of those books of 45s. He was all done and about to get out of the way.....when a bunch of the records fell out of the book onto the floor. I mean, I was next in line to see the albums, trying to be patient, but I was wishing that dude was just get out of the way.

(By the way the ad for the sale said "1000s of records" but it was actually more like 100s, something that all these guys scoffed at.)

So I figured that these guys would get all the good good stuff but when I went through I started grabbing whatever interested me, thinking I'd check condition later (something that anyone should do at these things). And they passed over a lot of goodies.

So I found:
Gerry Mulligan - Paris Concert (orig on Pacific Jazz, a little beat but cover looks great; this was the treasure of the day)
Chico Hamilton Quintet - Plays South Pacific (also on Pacific Jazz)
Songs by Tom Lehrer, original 10"
Billy May's Naughty Operetta, another 10"
a Pittsburgh made 78 with Joe Negri playing on it (forget the leader's full name, he's a clarinet player whose first name is Bill)
The Cyrkle, which I'm listening to now. Some of it is sort of lame folk, but I love "Red Rubber Ball" and some the song playing right now is garagey
Jack the Ripper soundtrack by Pete Rugolo
Charlie Barnet - Dance Bash (wait, isn't it "Barnett"?)
Phineas Newborn Jr. - While My Lady Sleeps
Ahmad Jamal Quintet- Listen
The Outsiders - Time Won't Let me
Buddy Morrow - Night Train
Dancing at El Morroco - which we already have but it's such a cool record (swing plays 2 10-song medleys for dancing, like at the chic El Morroco club) that surely we can find someone else to give it to.

There were 78s in the basement and when I found them - a foot high stack with no covers - I decided to abandon the search. Felt like I have scored real well already. I even put a few albums back and skipped over some beautiful Tony Bennett albums with shiny covers.

I started talking to a frail older guy who was into jazz. We got to talking about specific labels and how there are some records that, if you find them at all, they're pretty beat up. Played a lot, and well loved. The Jazz Crusaders' albums on Pacific Jazz were a good example, I told him. He seemed interested and was a nice guy, although I felt like I didn't want him to see what all I got in case he might try to nick some from me.

Then he started to head up the basement steps ahead of me when he lost his footing. He broke his fall on the railing but also tipped over a shelf with some glassware on it. I helped him up with one of the guys from the estate sale and they got him a chair. I felt bad because I didn't know whether I should stay with him or let him be. The people there were fussing over him, so I decided he didn't need me trying to make small talk about jazz with him. Hopefully he'll be okay. I think he landed alright. And the lady who ran the sale took my number in case she needed a witness.

Last night me and Jen fired up the victrola and played some of the 78s that have been in the living room for awhile. It's weird because there are some records it still won't play. I thought it was the machine -- and in a way it probably is --- but it seems really sensitive to weight of the records. It's kind of frustrating. But then again, it's an old machine so maybe I shouldn't expect a whole lot.

Besides part of the fun is hearing the record slow down and having to crank it up again.

Oh yeah, I meant to bring this full circle. The jerk didn't get to the records until quite awhile after I did. And then he showed up at another (lame) estate sale about an hour later where I was. I was leaving as he was looking through the albums and I wanted to say, "HA! BEAT YOU AGAIN, YOU WEASEL!"

But then I wouldn't've been any better than him.

Friday, May 19, 2006

More than wildness & Magic carpets.....

Playing right now: Steppenwolf's For Ladies Only

Did I mention I'm a BIG Steppenwolf fan? It started when I was in grade school and I got a couple of their albums as gifts, from my folks (Steppenwolf 7 - the folks had a remarkably good track record w/blind buys considering they were not rock people), my brother Tom (At Your Birthday Party) and Tom's friend Jeff who had the unfortunate nickname Goo -- over a decade before the infamous Sonic Youth album, lest you wonder (he got me Steppenwolf Live, or Live Steppenwolf).
The only one of those that I have still have in the original copy is Birthday Party. I went through this phase in high school where I thought a lot of their songs were really stupid and pompous, which isn't totally unfounded. But then sometime, I don't know when, I started jonesing to hear them again. I bought a copy of 7, and someone gave us the live album.
Now For Ladies Only, now that's a piece of work. It's their concept album where they tried to come to terms with feminism, but it's almost as if they can't really drop the machismo. I mean there's a picture on the inside of a car shaped like a penis. It's an actual photo! And there was an insert of the band being chased by a long legged body that was just a set of teeth where the head would be. And they're cowering under it. Castration issues? And then they try to show their empathy in "Tenderness" by taking on the voice of a remorseful abuser. C'mon, brothers! At least that song wasn't written by anyone in the band (although the guy who wrote "Born To be Wild" is responsible for it.) But the title track is a really great song. So it was worth the $2 I paid at a flea market for it.


I only wanted that to be an intro but now I think it'll be the majority of this post.

I listened to more of the Rahsaan Roland Kirk comp that I bought last week. Knowing most of that material already, I can say with some authority (so to speak) that it's not the best comp. It leans REALLY heavily on his album The Case of the 3-Sided Dream in Audio Color. I have that album and it has it's moments, but the thing is, half the songs aredifferent versions of the other half of the album and the compilation picks out the lesser, slicker versions of the songs. And out of context, they sound pretty cheesy. Lotta chunka-chink-chunka guitar, fonk-ay get the idea.

Estate sale tomorrow.............."thousands of records" the ad says..........

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

With a martini in me....

Playing right now: Hank Mobley, Messages

It's the twofer on Prestige that collects Mobley's Messages and Hank Mobley's Second Message. Bought it a couple weeks ago at a record sale at the house of a guy who I used to see at Jerry's all the time. Real obsessive collector. But he's always been nice to me and besides he gave me and the wife a good on records that day.

Anyhow, the Twilight of the Gods continues. Ken Crawford died over the weekend. He was the co-host of "Rhythm Sweet and Hot" on WDUQ. I never met him (I met his co-host Mike Plaskett, who is a great guy), but I heard Ken on the air numerous times. A couple things amazed me about him and Mike. Both were EXTREMELY knowledgeable about the music they played, spewing all kinds of trivia that normally only music enthusiasts could fully appreciate. But it wasn't delivered in the high-and-mighty/you-would-never-know-this-if-I-didn't-tell-you presentation. They both dug the music so much, they thought other people should check it out. They wanted to share it with people.

The other thing about Ken in the context of Mike was that they never ever ever talked over each other. They had their rapport down pat, like two soloists trading fours. Maybe like Al Cohn and Zoot Sims - even though that's not the ear in which they focussed on their show. But I think DJs rarely have that kind of rapport anymore.

Ken, where ever you are, thanks for everything.

Oddly enough I was riding to the Fearnots show on Saturday and heard a snatch of the show on the radio and thought, Is that Ken? Is he back? See, he's been sick for about 2 years and in that time I think he was only back on the air once or twice. I almost pulled the car over one night to find a pay phone and call to say how glad I was to hear him back. But when they said calls were coming in from across the country, I thought that's even better than a call from me.

Finished 2 reviews and sent them off to JazzTimes this morning. One is Joe McPhee/Matthew Shipp/Dominic Duval's In Finland. The other is Valery Ponomarev's Beyond the obvious.. I won't write anything about them here because my goal with this blog is to mention in passing reviews that'll appear in print and write at length about stuff that I won't get to review anywhere else.

I hope to write one more review for JT by the end of this week so I can get it in July issue. I think that's the one their working on now.

Man, this Mobley album is killer. Prestige dates were usually thrown-together affairs where the guys were just blowing to get paid, but Hank was really inspired in a lot of these sides.

On the other hand, breakfast's soundtrack this morning was Lou Donaldson's Midnight Creeper, which I also picked up at the same yard sale. I got all geeked at the sale: Oooh! An original Blue Note, with a gatefold sleeve! Plus, Georgie Benson is on it (old local guys call him "Georgie"). But I think this is one for the sale pile. Sure it has Lonnie Smith on B-3, Blue Mitchell on trumpet, but it's just a funky vamp thing. I think 3 out of the 5 tracks are blueses. And what the hell was Blue Note thinking when they got those cheesy-ass DJs to write liner notes back then?! These guys were 60s descendants of Symphony Sid's smug delivery on the air, I'm sure, and their writing was just as obnoxious. I have an album by Big John Patton where the guy just drips faux-hipness. The guy who penned the notes on Lou's album even has the gall to talk extensively about the 3 songs on side one and then simply name drop the tracks on side two. Ok, pal, you only got to listen to side one before your deadline. Fine. But don't make it so obvious.

Anyhow, as the title implies, I had a martini tonight. Real smooth. I don't have them much anymore. Once in a while at home. But it's making me think that bed might be a good idea. I would like to rise again at 7 tomorrow. That's when I got up today and I got a lot done.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Fearnots report, estate sale report, listening to Rahsaan

Last night was the Fearnots show at Gooski's. It was our first show since late October, and since David moved to NY. We had 2 practices last weekend and things were pretty together. There were a few moments when tempos got a little slippery. Sometimes it was hard for me to hear Hille's guitar. But then again, all of those tempo and time signature shifts aren't the easiest thing to master and something that pretty much requires regular practices to keep it up to snuff. So considering we only had 3 practices since January, it went really well. In fact I almost felt like our set was too short. I didn't look at my watch at the beginning of the set and I wondered if we only played for half an hour. It was probably more, but it seemed to whiz by.

We're Wolves played after us and they were great. Clinton is a great guy. He interned at Pulp in the paper's last few months. I saw the band at Gooski's sometime last summer or fall and it was a gig from hell for them. Both guitarists broke strings and nobody would lend them guitars or give them new strings, so they only played about 4 songs. I thought those songs were great, but Clinton was really embarassed by the whole ordeal.

Got up early and did some estate sale trips before work. Total booty:
Nancy Sinatra - How Does that Grab You, orig mono on Reprise
Johnny Cash at San Quentin - orig 360 Columbia, which still has the shrink wrap and K-Mart sticker. Did they have KMarts when this came out? And they sold records there too? Wow.
Flatt & Scruggs - Songs to Cherish
Hungary, Music of a Nation. This one was mainly for the wife, who has strong Hungarian roots. It has this great green cover with the words written in silver on it. "Csardas & Folksong favorites" is also on the front.
Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Does your House Have Lions
Hole - Celebrity Skin

Those last 2 were CDs I got for a dollar each at a yard sale. I thought for sure the Rahsaan one would be $2 since it's a double, but he only asked for one. If I sell it I can still turn a profit. And I always wanted to hear Celebrity Skin. I also picked up videos of Bound and Love Story, in a two-for-a-dollar deal. I wasn't going to get Love Story at first, but then I didn't have fifty cents and figured, it's worth another fifty to see this classic movie that I've always been curious to see.

Roland is playing now. "Old Rugged Cross." I have that on the Blacknuss album. When I worked at WPTS, I used to play that on my jazz show, especially during the Persian Gulf war. It wasn't exactly related to it, but his little oratory about getting across the cross in the beginning was a good thing for inspiration during that time. That and David Murray's version of "Amazing Grace." One time, or maybe a couple times, I played that right after the opening of MC5's Kick Out the Jams, stopping it right after "I give you a testimonial......." and it lead right into Murray's bass clarinet blowing that hymn.

This morning there was an estate sale in Wexford that mentioned records in the ad. I was thinking about going to it, even though it started at 7:30. But I went to bed close to 3. I set the clock for 7 to see if I could still do it, but I shut the alarm off and crawled back into bed. Had I gone, I would've needed to go on Mapquest, stopped to get wasn't worth it for what might have been any battered stack of Jerry Vale, Mitch Miller and Bobby Vinton albums in hopes of one treasure.

Having said that, the collection was probably a bunch of old Prestige and Riverside albums....

Must talk about the one estate I wandered into yesterday. The booty from above came from the first and third sales I went to.
But the second sale was something. There were signs all over Beacon Street. Big honkin' signs all over the place: ESTATE SALE TODAY!!!! It was in an apartment on a very exclusive cul de sac off of Beacon. One of the streets that leads to it has signs every few feet about how it's a private road. Geez. I walked up there and figured, well if I'm going to get yelled out for going up here, they shouldn't've put signs at the bottom of it.

Anyhow, when I realized the sale was in this fancy apartment building, I walked up and was told by a nice 20-something guy that we had to sign in and wait for someone to come down and escort us to the apartment. When we finally got up there, it looked like some space age swingers pad fromt he '60s, complete with wild silver furniture, white marble floors (tile?) and mirrors all over the place. And hardly anything for sale, it seemed.

I asked about records and the lady said she wasn't sure but they might have thrown them out. IEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! With an affluent place like this -- her parents lived there, who, judging by her age were probably at least in their 80s -- they probably had a nice stash of jazz, I betcha.

Well, she found out and told me that her niece took the records and the turntable. Oh well. At least I knew there wasn't some nice stash of vinyl sitting in a trash bin somewhere.

Our victrola is fixed so I might pick it up today. Ha-cha.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Another door closes

So a few days ago I found out that eResource, one of the few local papers for which I freelance, is closing up shop soon. And it was - uh - funny how I discovered this news. I filed my review with the editor on Monday, like I do every other week. The next day I checked my email and saw a response from him that read something like, "Thanks for everything, Mike. Good Luck." So I wrote back asking about the sense of finality in the email.

"Oh, didn't you get the email from my boss? May 19 is our last issue. CBS Radio decided it wasn't worth keeping the paper going."

Which proves that anytime I have some sort of job or regular commitment where I can do whatever the hell I want, it ain't going to last too long. That's pretty much how it worked. I wrote a review every two weeks, pretty much on whoever I wanted. My first review was of a CD by Lou Grassi, a free jazz drummer from New York (who I had previously profiled in JazzTimes). And that review came to me after a conversation at my neighborhood bar with the then-art director. She got me in the door and they needed me to write something pronto. After that I varied: Herb Alpert, Beth Orton, Death Cab for Cutie, Chris Potter (the saxophonist, not the local paper editor).

Well I'll have more Mondays free to either be a beatnik (my way of describing sitting around drinking coffee and listening to music), reviewing CDs for JazzTimes or other more productive things.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Long Live Jackie McLean

I just found out tonight that Jackie McLean - alto saxophonist extraordinaire and one of the last living hard boppers - is dead. And has been since March 31. Not sure how he died, but I just read about it tonight. It kind of crushes me and touches me on a few different levels.

First of all, as stated, he's one of the few big guys that was still left from a particular era. He came up playing with Monk, Miles, Hank Mobley, Mingus (to name few)...none of those guys are still around. In fact the only person left of that stature is Sonny Rollins. Those guys encapsulated all aspects of an era: guys who grew up in a segrated time but didn't let that (and, I suppose it should be mentioned, a narcotics habit) get in the way of creating a powerful artform. I'm sure those guys were pretty hardline about getting paid at the end of the night, but it's nothing like the way it is now, where people of their stature won't get up onstage unless the money is there.

Jackie came out of Charlie Parker's influence and was still accepting of the "new thing," the free jazz players. He even did an album that had Ornette Coleman playing trumpet ("Old and New Gospel") at a time when everyone thought Ornette had REALLY gone off his rocker by trying to play trumpet and violin in addition to alto sax. Jackie kept his ears open and knew that the music had to keep evolving, and got some valuable ideas out of the freer forms. His albums "One Step Beyond" and "Destination: Out," both made with Grachan Moncur III, bear this out.

And furthermore, I interviewed Jackie a couple years ago and even though he was 10 minutes from a ride to the airport, he still managed to take the time to give me some thoughtful answers to his questions. Nice guy. Not everyone is like that. Even in later years, he seemed to have this desire to get an idea across about the music and the people who play it.

I might listen to nothing but Jackie McLean albums for the next 24 hours or so. I'm listening to the "Jack Knife" twofer on Blue Note right now. Man, this is a hot album. Charles Tolliver and Lee Morgan split trumpet duties; Larry Willis on piano, Larry Ridley on bass, Jack DeJohnette on drums. "On the Nile" is a totally brilliant song. I bought this album around 1990 when I was in college and played the hell out of it.

Two nights ago I had a dream that Phantom Tollbooth's last album "Power Toy" had been reissued and that I was asked to write a review of it. I was really excited because I don't often get to write rock reviews anymore - at least not on assignment (more on that later). Anyway, the review was really flowing. I was really inspired, had a good handle on the historical context, the connection to Robert Pollard (ol' Bob took the original backing tracks and added different vocals a couple years ago; it was kind of lackluster) and the overall quality of the album. Then I woke up. Realizing that there was no review written and no assignment, I was disappointed.

Not sure what made me dream about the album. I still look back fondly on Phantom Tollbooth. They predated the whole math-rock/throwback to art rock style, while still maintaining a link to bands like Husker Du. And their lyrics seems to draw on the surreal, almost Beefheart-but-not-quite aesthetic. A friend of mine once said they were kind of like a cross between Rush and Husker Du.

The Fearnots practiced on Sunday and Monday. David, our drummer, now lives in New York, but he's back in town this week and we're playing a show at Gooski's on Saturday. For those uninitiated, that's the neighborhood bar up the hill and around the corner from my house. I'm excited. The first practice sounded good, like we were dusting ourselves off with minimal effort. But the second day sounded great. When we were playing a lot last year, we were tight as a drum, making all kinds of weird time changes, combining melody with that math rock thing (I couldn't think of that term in the last graph and just went back and changed it) but adding melody and hooks.

Time to either start a new entry and change the subject or to stop altogether for a few hours.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Note to self: must update profile. UPDATE?! More like "create one."

Just got back from seeing the Betty Page movie, which was fun if a little on the fluffy side. It's good to see Lili Taylor working again. She went to high school with my friend Grant and apparently had a crush on him. Lucky guy. What a good line years later, twould be....

Anyhow onto the music.

Yesterday, my recent auction win came in the mail: "Coltrane's Sound." Now I have all the John Coltrane Atlantic albums, except "Bags and Trane." I ended up paying $10 for this one, which is sort of in keeping with my "I'll pay as much for a vinyl copy as I would if for a new CD of it" motto. But I wasn't sure where in the original pressing category this one fell. (I don't swear by that, it's just that there's some lure in finding an original pressing of a jazz album. I guess it makes me feel like I'm stepping back in time. I will probably revisit this idea in future posts as well because it's an ongoing thought that I've never put into words before.) Anyhow, the album was a pretty recent pressing, probably from the '80s, as it reminds me of my copies of "My Favorite Things" and "Giant Steps" which I bought back then. I don't feel hoodwinked by the purchase. I mean, it's in beautiful shape. And I could've bought it on CD for about the same price, and gotten a few bonus tracks in the process. But it wouldn't be the same. Taking it 3 songs at a pop is the way to enjoy it. Makes you appreciate the subtleties more. I have "Coltrane Jazz" on disc and I don't feel like I've gotten as much out of it. This one is already starting to sink into my head deeply.

I'm surprised that there are a couple songs on this album that I've heard regularly on WDUQ. "Central Park West" and "Equinox." Well I think I've heard Ben Opie do "Equinox" and I mistook it for a tune on "Crescent." It could have been on "Crescent." And -- here's proof that I don't get as attached to CDs -- I thought "Central Park West" was on "Coltrane Jazz." The song was as familiar to me as the tracks on a disc that I don't play as much.

Anyhow, great record. The "classic" quartet wasn't in place because Steve Davis was playing bass and Jimmy Garrison wasn't in the picture, but boy is this group tight, making all the turns together. I remember when I bought "My Favorite Things" in high school (my first Trane album) I was so into the endings of the songs, when Elvin would do a press roll and things seemed to end with such authority, I thought this was what music was supposed to be like, whether it's punk rock or jazz or..........well, in 1984 what else was there?

This morning over breakfast I also listened to one side of "Hank Mobley and the All Stars." This was another recent auction win. It's a copy that has electronically reprocessed stereo but it doesn't sound all that bad.

Great album. And as much as I love Hank Mobley, some of those hard bop outings can start to blend together. (Although, ironically over the past few weeks I've been on a hard bop kick and have had tunes go through my head while at work and I've been able to single out and identify song titles and leader of the session.)

Anyhow, "All Stars" has Mobley and vibist Milt Jackson as the lead melody instruments, which makes for a great team. Art Blakey, Doug Watkins and Horace Silver round out the band. Some of it is standard hard bop and Blakey plays the same drum solo that he plays on numerous albums. But on its own merit, it's a fun listen.

But after my first cup of coffee, despite having a glass of water on hand, I was fighting to stay awake. I laid down on the couch and nodded off. I must've been snoring real hard because when I woke up, my nose and throat were really raw.

By then there wasn't much time to do anything before work but check email and shower. Hence the blog tonight.

Tomorrow there's an estate sale in Beechview that'll have vinyl. Hopefully I'll find some cool junk!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Maiden (Blog) Voyage

Playing right now: John Coltrane - Ascension
This is Edition II for those who are interested. Vinyl copy w/the gatefold sleeve. I won it in an auction a few months ago, and it didn't cost all that much. I have a cassette with both versions of it, but it's about 12 years old and I always wanted to get a copy of the album. It was a such a watershed album for Coltrane, one where a lot of people probably wrote him off, and I don't know hearing it on vinyl kind of puts it in context for me, what it would've been like hearing it for the first time. What did people think? I mean, it's noisy but there's a method to the madness.

While having breakfast: Fats Navarro - Memorial Album on Savoy
A friend of mine picked this up for me a couple years ago. I like what I've heard of Fats, so I thought I needed to hear this too. It's from 3 sessions and it includes Sonny Stitt (a dead ringer for Charlie Parker here), Kenny Clarke and Kenny Dorham (who, embarrasingly, is credited as "Kinney." What there a contract w/another label that caused this mistake? It's spelled right on the cover!) It's great but not outstanding. The record itself -- sort of beat up, it even gets stuck on one song -- is almost more of the appeal. Heavy vinyl, a shiny cover that's hard to get the record out of, because the seams are split; the old red Savoy logo.

This is my debut post. I've been talking about starting this blog for months. I couldn't decide what to do before work and ended up dawdling a bit. Now that I'm getting up early it's almost like I have too much free time.

But I better post this and get ready for work.