Monday, January 08, 2007

Cuckold, and new dreams

a few quick things...

saw "Notes on a Scandal." it's a funny sort of movie b/c if you've seen the preview, you've basically seen the movie. if you liked/were titillated by the preview, you will like the movie. i must say that i was indeed titillated by the preview and thus was by the movie.

it's always sorta comforting in some sick way to watch a downfall, let alone two, and this one is really well-acted to boot. Cate Blanchett is beautiful and super-believable as a teacher who sleeps with one of her teenage students, and Judi Dench is super evil and fucked-up as her colleague who tries to destroy her reputation. my favorite actor in the film is Bill Nighy (see above), who just 100% *is* his character, a washed-up professor/writer who married Blanchett when she was 20. he's just the ultimate pathetic cuckold and kind of a despicable man in his bourgeois pretension, but at the same time you really feel for him; his outburst when he finds out about the affair might be the strongest scene in the movie.


thinking about more '70s jazz. Downtown Music Gallery has the whole damn Black Saint/Soul Note catalog and i can't walk in there without buying something. in case you're not familiar, these twin labels recorded everyone who was anyone in avant-garde jazz in the '70s and '80s; though the recording quality on a lot of the discs is a little rock-ish and dated, these discs are generally invaluable.

picked up the first record by the Ornette alum superband Old and New Dreams. (the record is simply credited to the players--Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Eddie Blackwell--and is actually called "Old and New Dreams"; the band later took that as its name.) it smokes in a huge way. as any who reads this blog knows, i love the collective ideal--especially in jazz, where it's so rare. all the players except Blackwell contribute tunes here and the soloing is basically communal. the horns are always overlapping and the rhythm section supports but just does what it pleases.

this is truly music where you can listen to what any player is doing at any time and be completely floored--all anyone could ever ask of jazz. Haden has those awesome, slidey chords he does; Blackwell is just swinging and stuttering at ludicrous tempos--the dude was an utter monster; and the soloists sound ecstatic to be playing over such a sick rhythm section. can't recommend this highly enough.

also am digging the title track of Don Pullen's 1975 album "Healing Force." it's a solo piano disc and the piece in question is part of what i indiscreetly call the "sex jazz" school of piano, which is when jazz piano sort of mingles freely and gloriously with a superwistful and borderline (or actually) cheesy melodic vibe. like you could almost hear Steve Perry or Michael McDonald singing over it but b/c it's a jazz master, things start there and get more awesome or complex. Paul Bley's performance in the doc "Imagine the Sound" exemplifies this for me, but this Pullen track is a real gem of this sort as well. it's got this swooning, heart-tugging theme that actually has that effect; it just makes you want to squint and shake your head in that deep-listening way. yeah, kinda cheesy, but so damn soulful.


want to point out that the new Deerhoof album, "Friend Opportunity," is really frickin' excellent. am reviewing it for "Time Out," so don't wanna say too much pre-publication. but let's just say that there are a few of those amazing turbopop gems a la "Milk Man" or "Dummy Discards a Heart" or "Twin Killers" that you just know are going to rule live, plus also many surprises. (lots more keybs/electronix, and an almost hip-hoppy vibe in places!)

am so so happy to hear guitarist John Dieterich (that's him up there) really showcased througout, especially on the long, long last track "Look Away." i've been a huge fan of his since the Colossamite days (check out Natural Dreamers and Gorge Trio as well) and am psyched that he is getting a popular forum via Deerhoof. he is really one of my favorite guitarists--a real post-Beefheart noisy slicer, but at the same time ultra-grounded in gnarly classic rock. he can nod to the whole history of rock, both avant-garde and totally not, without ever seeming to genre hop in a postmodern way.

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