|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Falling In Love With Jazz Again...
I've always been a huge fan, but my itty bitty 3G iPod Mini didn't have a ton of gigs, so I found myself filling it with the easy stuff I like to listen to in the car - hip-hop, classic rock and This American Life episodes.
I bought the 30GB iPod Video a couple weeks ago. Wow. I also picked up a few new albums via iTunes, and have ripped more of my discs to the iPod than I had done before. Here's a quick rundown of some new purchases:
Miles Davis - Aghartha - an absolutely sick set from a Japanese jazz festival circa 1975. For my money, this is the most intense live set from the fusion era. Pete Cosey on guitar alone makes this set worthwhile, as it goes a long way to answering the question as to what Hendrix playing with Miles might have sounded like. iTunes has it REAL FUCKING CHEAP because you can buy it by the song, which at five songs in length gives you a ton of music for less than $5. Go get it, get it now.
Miles Davis - "Bye Bye Blackbird" off Friday Night At The Blackhawk - Hank Mobley takes the tenor chair, post-Coltrane/pre-Shorter. Hank's the forgotten man when you talk important musicians of the hard-bop era, but dude can fucking swing. His faults, playing with Davis, were that he was neither Coltrane nor Shorter, and didn't appear on but a few Miles albums. He sounded over his head a touch on Someday My Prince Will Come, specifically on the title track, on which Coltrane rips one of my favorite solos I've ever heard. Totally blows Mobley out of the water. Lest you think he's incapable though, I give you "Bye Bye Blackbird." His solo here is so fucking lyrical and perfect I can hardly stand it. I'm waiting to find the CDs of the two-disc (Friday and Saturday sets) of these shows, but I had to spring for this one on its own.
Clifford Brown and Max Roach - Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street - I'm woefully underexposed to Clifford Brown, who was poised to be the next great trumpeter in the hard-bop era. Brown, who died in a car wreck at age 25, is brilliant and sharp all over this set, and mixed with Roach and Sonny Fucking Rollins, this band is on fire in this set. Great stuff. Brown is on point, Sonny plays his inimitable wry and offhandedly confident sort of way*, and Roach is Roach. The man can keep some motherfucking time, that's for damn sure. I'm going to need a few more listens, but it's a set that simmers solidly.
*Listening to Rollins counterpoint with Clifford Brown on this set gives a perfect look at two different sides of genius. Clifford was hot, Rollins was cool. Brown wanted to blow you out of the water, Rollins didn't seem to give a shit if you didn't get him. Brown was steadfastly aggressive, Rollins was so fucking hip it hurts. I'm really going to have to buy more Sonny Rollins...
Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus - I had this album years ago, and probably sold it for weed money. Bah. "Unit 7" alone is worth the price of admission. If you give Coltrane 15 minutes to solo, you're going to get a tsunami. Give Rollins the same 15 minutes, he'll show you a light summer rain in ways you've never seen the drops fall.
Sam Rivers - Contours - I've been dying to buy Fuschia Swing Song for years, but haven't ever ordered the pricey disc off Amazon. I did pick up this set though, which is pretty damn good. I'm going to have to toss it in a few more times, but Rivers reminds me of a solid hybrid of Eric Dolphy, Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane, in that he tends toward the melodic freedoms of Dolphy, the angular and muscular tone of Shorter, and the flurries of fury of Coltrane. Although I don't think I dig his style as much as any of the aforementioned three, it's still a pretty solid date.
Charles Mingus - Mingus at Antibes - Live Mingus featuring Dolphy, Booker Ervin and Ted Curson on horns, with Dannie Richmond on drums and an appearance from Bud Powell doing what only that twisted fuck can do on the keys. Powell's solo on "I'll Remember April" is pretty damned good, but having heard a fair share of Powell that predates this record, it's as much a testament to a genius who never really took things as far as he could have had he been (more) straight. Anyway, the rest of the set is awesome as well, this is an easy top ten live jazz album of all time and belongs in any semi-serious collection. Totally accessible.
Hank Mobley - Roll Call - Dig this band: Mobley on tenor, Freddie Hubbard joining on trumpet, with a rhythm section of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Art Blakey. This set grooves like Lee Morgan's Sidewinder, but isn't quite as obviously commercial. On first listen, I definitely prefer it to Morgan's date, and with a rhythm section like this, you cannot possibly go wrong.
Larry Young - Unity - Another I had been wanting to buy for a number of years, but simply hadn't. I'm on the fence about this one right now, but think I need to give it a few more listens. The thing is, Young is a talented organist, but I'm not fond of the organ as a front-line instrument. It's a little too intentionally "out there" as well, but I'll continue to keep listening. Maybe I'm missing something.
Cannonball Adderley - Something Else - "Autumn Leaves" is great, haven't listened to the rest yet.
Other albums purchased lately:
J.J. Cale - Troubadour - If you're a fan of The Eagles, or the Clapton of the 461 Ocean Blvd days, pick up this album or Really. I prefer the latter, but both are well worth the cash.
John Prine - John Prine - Matty talked me into it.
Bob Dylan & The Band - The Basement Tapes - How I've missed having this in my collection to this point boggles my mind. "Apple Suckling Tree" is fucking fantastic.
Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited - "Ballad of a Thin Man" is rising up the charts on my favorite songs list. Great rockin' Dylan sides.
Avett Brothers - Four Thieves Gone - Trying too hard. Not unlistenable, will go into playlists for shuffling purposes at best.
Ghostface Killah - Fishscale - Any fan of Ghost's needs this album post haste. Chop chop.
Midgets Make Me Giggle
I saw the damndest thing today.
I was at a rest stop outside of Toledo, Ohio walking my dog, and I saw a midget.
That alone is pretty awesome, but this midget was riding a Segway.
No, really! A heavily modified Segway, specially equipped for someone of her height. I wonder if that throws Kamen's gyroscopic machinations all on the fritz.
But wait, it wasn't just a midget on a modded Segway, she was pulling a Chinese Crested (like a toy rat dog) in a "service animal" vest. God, I wish I had a camera.
I'm currently sitting shirtless in a Canfield, Ohio hotel room, which puts my sartorial style more on par with the local custom. Checking in, I asked the desk clerk where I could pick up a sixer, and she steered me a couple miles up the road to a drive-thru, one of those novel ideas that fit your style if you're the type for whom choice isn't via brand but stock-car advertisement.
It must be easy to drink only what Rusty Wallace hies you to.
Anyway, I rolled up the street and found a cinderblock building whitewashed nearly twice a decade with a faded sign labeling it the drive-thru I was looking for. Arrow pointed around back, and I took a baffled lap of the building looking for the window. No dice. Hell, no windows. Just a door on the northeast corner open to darkness.
I parked and walked in from the sunshine.
"Hey, here's another one." Tucked-in tanktopped and too tanned to not be working his weeks in god's nature, I'm never quite sure how to take a redneck at first meeting. I was in a plain t-shirt and jeans, but my auburn loafers gave me away. I'm always afraid they're just going to sneer at me and end every sentence with the dismissive snarl, "city boy."
This one seemed innocuous.
"Can I buy a sixer here?" There were three at the bar, backs to the door trying to catch the late afternoon breeze in the cinder kiln darkness. The fourth, a prison-tatted bartendrix, not the least bit matronly, huffed something that sounded like a Basic Lights hacking guffaw. "I can sell you a sixer for nine dollars," I looked around the bar and realized she wasn't likely carrying Sierra Nevada, making this a losing bet, "But I think you want to hit a drive-thru."
"Yeah, your sign says drive-thru and the lady at the hotel said..."
The guy in the tank and the Miller Lite cap cut me off. "This place used to be a drive-thru. Not anymore. There's one up another mile." His girl, presumably off her shift from some unseen Waffle House, added, "Right across from the Dollar General." She was sipping what looked like a greyhound, he had draft in an oversized Mason jar with a handle. The guy to her left never even made eye contact.
Great, if I need a mylar balloon, a gift bag, or discounted off-brand personal care products, I now had my geography. "All right, so I'm confused," I admitted.
Confused and a little tired of traveling.
Here''s the stats. Since March 6th, I've...
...spent 31 nights in hotel rooms, have been on 39 different flights (90% on one airline, and am not that close to earning a single round-trip frequent-flier ticket), and have spent roughly $8,000 of my company's money - not including airfare - along the way. I also have spent four nights in Indiana, one in Los Angeles, and two in Kentucky.
Almost half my last ninety days on the road, and it feels like it's just starting.
I left Michigan for quite possibly the last time as a resident today, and aside from some of the obvious things (family) and some of the little things (Clover Bar Pizza), I'm not going to miss this place much. It was both a blessing and an onerous annoyance that they pulled the trigger on the move as late as they did, giving me only ten days to get my shit together and get out of town. It was annoying to have to coordinate things as quickly as I've had to, but it was ultimately a blessing that I didn't have time to stew on all this crap for months on end.
I mean, I knew I was moving... eventually. The timing wasn't even surprising. They just gave the go to me so late that I didn't really have any ability to think about this in real terms.
I just threw my shit into the car and left.
Ideally, all moves should be this (and I qualify this as something still happening and therefore fraught with potential problems, which I plead to the gods of variance and irony to spare me from when I make the following comment) easy. The movers are packing my shit, and etiquette dictates that the movee does nothing but leave their shit where it lies.
I can handle that. Don't pack, don't sort. Let them deal with it? Yep, okay.
So the dog and I are on the road, 400 miles to Canfield, another 350ish to Allentown tomorrow, where we'll begin our month-long stay at the beautiful Staybridge Suites, in what they euphemistically and incorrectly label their "Studio Suite." "Suite" means, if I've got my rudimentary lodging definitions correct, "more than one room," while I believe "Studio" means the opposite.
It's the opposite. Me and my dog in a studio in a hotel for 20-30 days, but at least I get this part of my life started sooner rather than later. I've been enormously preoccupied with all this logistical worry about what was coming next, but now that the wheels are turning, it's a lot less stressful.
All I need to do now is find an apartment.
I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!
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Registration code: 6061924
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