July 31, 2005 Announcements

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Reason Roundup

Stop by the Charlotte Capitalist for this week's Reason Roundup.

Welcome to the Reason Roundup! The end of the "War On Terror." Lance. "Yo, Adrienne!" Judging judges. "The Wonder Years".
Midweek Sampler

Martin Lindeskog has resumed his midweek roundup over at Ego.

Captions, Wine, and Recipes

Willy Shake is hosting a caption contest at Unconsidered Trifles which manages to remind me both of the Austin Powers trilogy and an episode of a favorite British comedy series. (But I might have to work a little to get the latter into caption form.) He passes his weekly wine recommendation over to Bothenook.

The last three bloggers I mentioned all happen to appear in this week's Carnival of Recipes, hosted by Christina at Feisty Repartee. I'm not in said carnival, but after dropping by from Martin's blog, I was so impressed with how it was done that I wanted to save the link. I like her idea of including a non-recipe sample post so much that if I decide to host a similar carnival, I'll likely do the same thing.

Three Bloody Good CDs

A good friend from way back, Adrian Hester, recently sent me three CDs. I have said before that he is a man of impeccable taste in music. My wife and I both enjoyed all three of these. I'll describe each very briefly below. For each CD, the heading is: Title -- Artist -- Genre.

Cactus Juice -- Mobtown -- Ska

For those who don't know what ska is, get this if you like jazz or reggae. Get it yesterday if you like both. This was made in L.A., so other influences are detectable as well. The vocals by Amy Long are fantastic. Steel drums, a rarity in ska, make an appearance to splendid effect.

Forverts -- Yid Vicious -- Klezmer

This was my first exposure to Klezmer music. The wife described it as "festive and fun". I fully agree. Though I think this music was on the traditional side, the CD is hardly without innovation -- unless "chosen people" means "chosen to play the electric guitar" and I don't know this 'cause I'm not Jewish. One song begins with an electric guitar riff. I'll confess that such a start usually tempts me to hit the "skip" button. But this was something like the fourth song and by then, I wanted to see where this would go. Alas, if I recall correctly, that was the only song on the CD with electric guitar. Vicious marketing ploy, that!

Belly of the Sun -- Cassandra Wilson -- Blues

Calling this strictly "blues" would be a stretch on my part. Cassandra Wilson, who hails from Jackson, Mississippi, my home town, ranges from blues to jazz to country on this album, which she mostly recorded in a railroad station in Clarksdale to get herself into the right mood.

All three of these would be good for parties. The last will double as background music for my next poker game. I lean towards Cactus Juice as my favorite of the three, but I guess I'll have to listen to each several more times to be completely sure. Anything to get the right information to my readers! Such dedication....

Thanks, Adrian!

That's a wrap!

-- CAV


8-1-05: Added the "magic words" to the CD section.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Glad you liked the CDs so much, Gus! Forverts is more traditional than most of the klezmerish music I listen to, but it's not as traditionalist as, say, The Klezmer Conservatory Band or (from what I've heard of them) Brave Old World. A very fine album well worth keeping an eye out for, one that mixes klezmer and swing, is Tanz! by Dave Tarras and the Musiker Brothers (1955). Dave Tarras was a master of klezmer clarinet; his son-in-law Sam Musiker was both a jazz and a klezmer clarinetist. This album was Musiker's conception, with arrangements of klezmer songs as swing pieces; he played his clarinet in a jazzy style while Tarras (who didn't have a feel for jazz) played a traditional klezmer style. It's a brilliant piece of work and one of the finest klezmer albums ever made, but the record company gave it very short shrift. (It was apparently too "ethnic" for the jazz executives, who for some reason decided to put a couple on the cover who look almost like the Aryan ideal and settled on liner notes that seem to have been written for an audience that had never even met a Jew.) It sank with little trace, taking Musiker's career with it, alas, and he died quite bitter in the mid-70s. By the way, you'll find both Tarras and Musiker mentioned in the liner notes for Forverts!

The klezmer-based jazz albums that I like best are Paul Shapiro's Midnight Minyan, which mixes klezmer and New Orleans jazz, and Steven Bernstein's Diaspora Soul. Both are put out by John Zorn's very uneven label Tzadik, which has some very good albums and many very weird musical abortions. (Devoted to the avant garde, and the albums tend to be self-indulgent.) Another good album of consciously Jewish jazz on the label is Anthony Coleman's Sephardic Tinge, which being Sephardic has a very Latin sound without a trace of Eastern European music.

And finally, a bizarre idea which succeeded brilliantly: Klezmer bluegrass!