Saturday, May 21, 2011



May 15, 2011
Skoodlum Blues - Jimmy O'Bryant

If there is such a thing as hot, this is it. Punk rock eat your heart out.

Song of the Islands - Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans - Ray Noble

There are an astounding number of arrangement ideas in this 3 minute piece. It made me wonder what the live dance-hall arrangements were like, since I presume they were longer.

Ko-Ko - Duke Ellington
Blue Skies - Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong
Southern Hospitality - Moon Mullican

It's such a little thing, the bluesy shake. But here it is rhythmically dead on.

Shake, Rattle and Roll - Elvis Presley

May 16, 2011
Symphony No. 8 - David Diamond - Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz

All in the acceptable muscular style of music as it was taught to be written.

Musique du Burundi - various

May 17, 2011
The Madcap Laughs and Barrett - Syd Barrett

The production of these records may have constituted a form of session-musician abuse, but the result is often nothing short of brilliant. They are quirky and deeply personal, not in the squishy heart-on-sleeve sense, but in the "nobody but Syd could have come up with this" sense. They veer wildly into near incompetence while simultaneously incandescing at white heat. His imagination may have pushed him toward ideas he didn't have the technical capacity to accomplish, but the fact that he tried so valiantly and so publicly is to his everlasting credit. One wonders if anyone else ever took the possibilities of Psychedelic Rock as seriously.

Gospel Noble Truths - Alan Ginsberg
A Different Kind of Tension - The Buzzcocks

May 20, 2011
One: twotext commentary - Benjamin Boretz

A slow progression over 35 minutes from single tones widely spaced through dyads widely spaced and pairs of dyads widely spaced through to sensual tetrads - widely spaced. The gold-standard for considered pianism.


May 14, 2011
Seattle Opera at McCaw Hall
The Magic Flute - Mozart

I sincerely hope that one day I will have an epiphany in regard to this opera, but in the past 20 years or so I have liked it less and less every time it comes up. It's weaknesses as a piece of theater are legion, the foremost among them being that there is no conflict that isn't resolved within the space of TV commercial. On top of that the text is preachy and hopelessly outdated. It provides full employment for costumers, and the staging looked very good - I only wish it had been in the service of something worth doing.

But my real complaint is that the music isn't even very good Mozart. Aside from the overture and the Papageno/Papagena duet at the end it is square and plodding, one damned thing after another. We look forward to the birdcatcher song IF the singer has enough charisma to pull it off, but then it just comes out as "hey, here's Mozart doing stupid".

May 16, 2011
Gradus 192 - Neal Meyer

May 19, 2011
Ensemble Rhizome - Cafe Venus / Mars Bar, Seattle

Amy Denio (vocals and accordion)
Jesse Canterbury (clarinet and bass clarinet)
Greg Sinibaldi (tenor saxophone)
Tom Baker (fretless guitar and electronics)
John Seman (bass)
Evan Woodle (drums)

Due to some confusion about bus schedules we didn't catch the first number or so, but I think we did hear most of this set by a big crew of the usual suspects. This is free jazz with no discernible heads, all scrapes and howls and rubbings and discovered intricacies of melody and rhythm. Gobs of fun - and balloons too!

We couldn't stay to hear the rest of the bands. Next time!

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