main: December 2010 Archives
There's not much time left, so here are three of my best memories of live music over this crazy year, and a couple handfuls of favorite recordings that promise to be listenable for quite a while forward --
In 1966, long before the original Hairspray, black and white teens danced together to the bass overdrive and deep croak of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. Today blues lovers, avant-gardists and fans of dada, surrealism and abstract expressionism mourn and celebrate the Captain, aka Don Van Vliet. If you don't believe people jitterbuged to "Diddy Wah Diddy," watch the clip. And thanks to Jim Macnie for bringing it to my attention.
Sad news: Jazz giant James Moody died of pancreatic cancer today, age 85. This is confirmed on Moody's own website. A brilliant improviser who emerged from Dizzy Gillespie's big band to join the young turks of bebop (Monk, Bags, Klook, Blakey) in the late 1940s, he became internationally admired for his tenor sax and flute mastery and on-stage good cheer, as when he'd sing both male and female parts to "Moody's Mood for Love," his etched-in-gold solo given lyrics by his pal Eddie Jefferson.
Fusion, fission, energy and virtuosity reign supreme over coming holiday weeks as jazzers beyond genre constraints fill New York clubs. Starting tonight (Dec. 9) double-necked guitar madman Dave Fiuczynski fires up Iridium with ripping alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and jam-band idol John Medeski on keybs; jazz sambas and tangos, ex-Milesian Mike Stern and smooth trumpeter Chris Botti, soul-drench organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and the Bad Plus follow. Details here, at my new column for City Arts-New York. And below -- Fuze, vocalist Dean Bowman + Roy Hargrove knock out Miles Davis' "What It Is" from Decoy (1984, and still state-of-jazz-funk).