Tuesday, June 06, 2006

We are not at the opera

Playing right now: Sunny Murray & Sabir Mateen - We Are Not At the Opera

Drum and sax (sometimes flute) duo. Sunny is the father of free jazz drumming. He played with Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor with a style that I think he once described as "the sound of cracking glass." I saw him in 1998 in a duet with the alto sax man Sonny Simmons. The performance was notable not only for the music but for Sunny's 10 minute tirade that preceded the show. He hit the roof when he saw that the drum kit provided for him didn't fit the specs of the one requested in his contract. He ranted to the audience about all manner of stuff.

I'm going to start writing about music other than jazz soon. I was planning on posting some straight up and down CD reviews yesterday, my day off. But I just happened to look back at some old emails to see that the 5 disc reviews I owed JazzTimes were due that morning. So most of my day off was spent pounding out reviews. Not that it was bad. They were 200 words each, but I like to put some time into them and be able to walk away from them, come back and do some final tweaking before sending them off.

I managed to get a little bit of time out of the house, sitting in a coffee shop, reading and listening to music. (In case I haven't mentioned it yet, that's my ideal setting for a day off. It's also a past time I refer to as "being a beatnik.")

Went to Paul's yesterday and bought 4 used discs: the aforementioned Murray & Mateen disc, Sonic Youth's Sonic Nurse, Prince's 3121, and Quasi's When the Going Gets Dark.

The last disc was my breakfast listening. I would like to expound more on them too in the future. And maybe I will. Their last disc (Hot Shit) sounded pretty good at first, but the more I listened to it, the more bleak it sounded and the more it bummed me out. Sam Coomes has always been dour, but it started to sound forced, or that he was sustaining this mood out of obligation. In initial listen, the new one sounds pretty good. If it didn't make me cranky over breakfast, I have strong hopes.

Speaking of which, me head hurt a little this morning. I went to see the Hope-Harveys at Arsenal Lanes last night and the bartender was serving the drinks in big cups and making them strong to boot. I shouldn't've had that second one.

Came to the show right after Amoeba Knievel practice. That went well. We have a show on Thursday at the Quiet Storm. Anyone within the Pittsburgh city limits should come because we'll be playing with Setting Sun, a really great band from NY.


Sunday was the big slew of yard sales in Highland Park. They were handing out maps at a couple intersections. I circled the ones that mentioned records and went to them first.

Overall, the houses I visited didn't have much good junk. I mean, maybe it just wasn't what I would ever want but nothing floated my boat. An older couple had a slew of albums that were all either disco or bad '80s rock. And the entire Charlie Rich catalog. I found a Grace Jones' Portfolio album (it has "La Vie En Rose"!) and asked the lady if $1 was good. She looked at me gravely ("grave" + "Ly", not "gravel"+ "Ly") and said "No -- $3." I put it back, which was smart because my next stop was at an apartment complex where there was another batch of disco going for 50 cents per album. Not only did I find Portfolio I also got another album by Grace, Fame. What I listened to was pretty awful, though. Glad I didn't pay $3 for it.

The night before, I was telling Jennie that I was thinking of selling my copy of the Sugar Bears album. They were a bubblegum band built around the mascot of Sugar Crisp cereal, Sugar Bear. People born after 1980 probably only know him as Golden Bear or something like that because all the cereals took "sugar" out of their name in the '80s. Anyhow, Kim Carnes (pre-rasp) did the female vocals on this album. And I found my copy at a church flea market in 6th grade after listening to the Sugar Bears records that came on the back of cereal boxes way back when. So I'm thinking of selling it, when lo and behold I found another copy in a musty box of albums at a house sale. Should I sell both? Keep one? Which one?

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