Thursday, August 14, 2008
Various and sundry
It's been a busy time, and so it remains. Off I head to the motherland of Kansas City for the weekend in Laal's company to see family and old friends and consume Arthur Bryant's and Winstead's.
I leave you with some of the best webbage I've been onto lately:
*One week ago, Leonard Lopate hosted not only Randy Newman (!)--pictured above--but Elliott Gould (!!!)--and on the same day, no less. Two of most inimitably eccentric and awesome American entertainers of the last 40 years, right there. Gould turns out to be far weirder in person than Newman--my friend Tony, who saw him speak at the current Gould retrospective at BAM, verifies this big time--throwing around endearing yet strangely phrased ideas re: his career being "all about helping the family to grow and prosper" or some such, as though it were a corporation or cult. Behold as Newman namechecks Megadeth (unmprompted!) and admits that he's been most successful "when holding Mickey Mouse's hand." I still have fond memories of his theme song for Major League. His new album is excellent too: Check the irresistible A Few Words in Defense of Our Country, and read my Time Out colleague Jay Ruttenberg's appraisal.
*Inconstant Sol is far and away the best free-jazz blog on the Web right now and there's a ton of competition. Have grabbed copious gems off there recently, including a very intriguing Baikida Carroll solo sesh, but the top find is undoubtedly this incredible Charles Tyler collection, culled from several live appearances on my alma mater WKCR. Track one features none other than Steve Reid on drums, who has garnered many deserved props for his recent work with Kieran Hebden of Four Tet, but the primo stuff is to be found on tracks two and three where Tyler duets with drummer Philip Wilson (of Dogon A.D. fame, among other triumphs). This is some of the funkiest, rawest free jazz I've ever heard, with Wilson laying down lean, harsh beats and Tyler bulling away on baritone. Check track three first: It's a masterpiece. And dig Tyler's hilarious spoken-word riff at the beginning.
*Man on Wire is an outstanding documentary. The film--about Philippe Petit's 1974 tightrope walk between the WTC towers--wouldn't have needed to look as lush and pro as it does in order to convey wonder, but the production values just make it that much more sumptuous. What really killed me w/ this film was the whole notion of "What do you do after you've conquered the world?" As you see in the flick, Petit's feat was so humongously significant to him and to his coconspirators that it's almost as if they've been at sea ever since they pulled off what they refer to simply as "The Coup." And what a brilliant stroke to score the aerial ballet itself to Satie...
Keep an ear out for new recordings from the Hexa camp. I hope that this music--much of it featuring my STATS colleague JEP--does not go unnoticed and something tells me it won't. Timeless, transporting pop sentiment and atmosphericality delivered in reverie-inducing 1.5 minute doses.
Speaking of left-of-center pop enchantment, you must grab Graham Smith's newish 36-song opus here. I am completely floored by the achievement.