Catching Up

During the more than two years I was mostly closeted writing Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond, CDs kept materializing in my mailbox. There wasn't much I could do about them but write an occasional review. When I emerged from isolation, I sampled many and paid close attention to a few. In the next few days, I'll share with you my imprssions of some of them. Now that any eighteen-year-old tenor player is likely to be a record company, the CDs come pouring in. Some weeks, … [Read more...]

Someone To Crow About

Don't miss DevraDoWrite's update on Bill Crow, bassist, anecdotist, musicians' champion and good guy. Excerpt: Bill Crow was a musical chameleon in his youth, playing trumpet, baritone horn, alto sax drums, and valve trombone. He didn’t take up the bass until he was in his early 20s. Within a few years he was playing bass with Stan Getz, Marian McPartland, and Gerry Mulligan, to name just three, and he never looked back. Read the whole thing, and see a great recent picture of Bill, here. … [Read more...]

Czeching In

The Czech Frantisek Uhliř is one of the greatest bassists in the world. He works frequently in the trio of his countryman pianist Emil Viklicky, another great European player about whom most Americans know little. I just ran across a brief note I made when I was in Prague twelve years ago, helping American economists teach market economics to Czech journalists newly released from communism. June 10, 1993: Went to Agartha last night to hear Frantisek Uhlir, the wonderful bassist. Earlier in the … [Read more...]

Other Matters

This may be a subject better suited to Nancy Levinson’s Pixel Points than to Rifftides, but here goes: what has happened to house design? I don’t mean high-end design by top-rung architects working with wealthy clients, but design of houses for ordinary folks. Not far from where I live, a small orchard has disappeared—almost overnight, it seems—and been replaced by a half-dozen houses that will probably sell for a couple of hundred thousand dollars each. They are builder houses, not so much … [Read more...]