||This old house was only a few blocks from the state Capitol in Madison,
Wisconsin. All the neighborhood cats lived in the basement during the
winter. The house has long since been torn down, but in 1972 there were
AR2ax speakers in the front room, and a lot of good music was heard there.
In the 21st century I am just as opinionated as ever,
and I now have an outlet. I shall pontificate here about anything
that catches my fancy; I hope I will not make too great a fool
of myself. You may comment yea or nay about anything on the
site; I may quote you here, or I may not. Send brickbats etc.
May 3, 2012A toast to the beautiful couple!
A splendid weekend in New York City for the wedding on April 28 of Amy Goldman and Cary Fowler on the Armory rooftop in Central Park, followed by drinks and trays of delightful hors d'oeuvres, then by dinner and music at the residence, and lunch the next day at the excellent Caravaggio Restaurant on East 74th Street.
Amy is an advocate for heirloom fruits and vegetables, which she grows herself, as well as a writer, a sculptor, a philanthropist and much else, and has exquisite taste in everything she does. Cary started swimming against the tide as a young man, hoping to keep the world from starving itself; he was active in Seed Savers for many years, then the executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, based in Rome, now deeply involved with the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic, inspired by the Trust and sponsored by the government of Norway, where Cary was a professor of life sciences: the vault preserves seeds that agribusiness and bureaucrats all over the world don’t care about.
May we all live long enough to appreciate how lucky we are to share the planet with people like Amy and Cary! May they live to be 100, still planting their seeds!
May 3, 2012Live music is best!
The music at Amy’s wedding party was provided by an acoustic quartet, and the pianist was Janice Friedman. She’s also a singer and a composer, an arranger, a copyist, a teacher, and has several CDs out. But mainly at Amy’s she played and comped the others with such wit and intelligence that, as I wrote to her subsequently, I could not take my ears off her. This was no accident: she’s been playing since she was about five, and she wrote that she loves it
especially when I can reach for just a little more freedom but still have it be connected to what’s going on amongst the players/listeners and the tune. So much to learn and keep learning…
So she is my kind of musician, a helpful and supportive member of the group yet who doesn’t sound like anybody else. No wonder she has a hell of a resumé. Her website is here.
Playing the string bass, by the way, was Murray Wall, another original: his work was nicely laid back, the best kind of intimate swing, each note a surprise, yet exactly right.
May 3, 2012#@$% Internet
And in between the quartet’s sets at Amy’s house last Saturday night there was a star turn by Peter Cincotti, who sang and played mostly standards. I said to Ethne, “Okay, he can sing, but listen to that piano!” He was like Fats Waller on speed, never dropping a beat, every note in the right place. He sang a bunch of the last century’s best songs – Ethne particularly liked “People Will Say We’re In Love”, which was one of her Dad’s favorites. Cincotti has had some hits in Europe and has a few CDs out, and he sang a couple of originals which I think he said he had co-written with his sister for a show they are composing, and they were very interesting songs indeed: I wanted to know more about that.
Unfortunately I did not speak to Cincotti, and I can find out nothing more about him or his sister, because his website consists only of a picture of him and an invitation to buy his new CD, called Metropolis, and a free download of a song called “Do Or Die”, an energetic piece with the usual popcrock beat about a young man in an elevator trying to get up enough nerve to speak to a female co-worker. No way to contact Cincotti: I could leave a comment at his MySpace page, but I would have to join MySpace, and I am not about to do that.
In the middle of Cincotti’s star turn, speaking of social media, there was a turn within the turn, as Tony Danza burst on the scene, singing a couple of duets and pretending to play the ukelele. I had never heard of Danza, because he became something of a TV star while I was living overseas: I have always been interested in the series called Taxi, which also starred Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd and Andy Kaufman, but never saw much of it. Danza has also acted on Broadway and in several films; he was full of energy and, like Cincotti, obviously a born entertainer. So yesterday I was trying to Google Danza, and an item dated May 2 said that he had fallen to his death in New Zealand while making a film. This was shocking: such a vibrant personality a few days ago, now suddenly gone? I immediately called Ethne and she was shocked. Then we discovered it was a hoax. The same item appears today with today’s date, and appeared last year.
Who the hell would start a hoax like that? And in such a world, why should I join and register and sign up and nominate a password and yield my underwear size to every damned website I might visit?
Thanks but no thanks.
May 3, 2012A snapshot
Bluebells in Central Park, April 28.
May 3, 2012John Litweiler
John Litweiler is a very clever fellow. He has written for Downbeat and the Chicago Sun Times and the Tribune and I don’t know who else. His books include The Freedom Principle: Jazz After 1958 (1984) and Ornette Coleman: The Harmelodic Life (1992).
Nowadays of course John has a website, where he explains what probably happened to jass pioneer Buddy Bolden. In this very amusing piece, each great jazzman will recognize what the others are doing, and they will all be able to play together if they want to, from 1907 to 2007. Also on the site is a piece called 21st Century Jazz, which he wrote for the SIMA website (the Sidney [Australia] Improvised Music Association), full of sound opinion and good advice about what to listen to.
John’s Goodbait Books has published his novel, Mojo Snake Minuet, set in our beloved Chicago, which is seen in a mirror image: black people are in the majority, white folks are the oppressed minority, and the city is in an uproar because an historic mojo belonging to an autocratic newspaper publisher has been stolen. There’s lots of room for satirical chuckles: the hero is a hapless music critic, constantly afraid of losing his job, yet certain that only a music critic can save the world. The book would make a very amusing cult film, if anybody had the nerve to make it.
Discosure: I’ve met John a couple of times, and we have friends in common. I have a memory of grooving with him in the back room of Fred Anderson’s original Velvet Lounge of blessed memory. (I understand it’s moved around the corner; I must get back to Chicago sometime soon.)