April 24, 2010

Playlist Week of 4-24-10

* Rebel: Violin Sonatas (Manze/Egarr/ter Linden) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* Vivaldi: Cello Sonatas (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics 2CD)
* Handel: 12 Solo Sonatas, Op.1 (d.2) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Handel: Trio Sonatas, Op.2 & 5 (AAM/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Handel: Organ Concertos, Op.4 (AAM/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi SACD)
* Handel: Organ Concertos, Op.7 (AAM/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi SACD)
* J.S. Bach: The Works for Lute (Kirchhof) (Sony 2CD)
* John Coltrane: Fearless Leader (d.1-2) (Prestige 6CD)
* Sun Ra: Nidhamu + Dark Myth Equation Visitation (Art Yard CD)
* Sun Ra: Soundtrack to the Film Space is the Place (Evidence CD)
* Cecil Taylor: Conquistador! (Blue Note CD)
* Paul Bley Quintet: Barrage (ESP-Disk’ CD)
* Paul Bley: Solo in Mondsee (ECM CD)
* John Abercrombie Quartet: Wait Till You See Her (ECM CD)
* Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: The Middle Picture (Firehouse 12 CD)
* Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (hatOLOGY CD)
* Mary Halvorson/Reuben Radding/Nate Wooley: Crackleknob (hatOLOGY CD)
* Bob Marley & The Wailers: The Complete Wailers 1967-1972 Part II (d.1) (JAD 3CD)
* Various Artists: Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (d.3) (Rhino CD)
* The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Night (mono) (Apple/EMI CD)
* Frank Zappa: 200 Motels (United Artists 2LP)
* Grateful Dead: Truckin’ Up to Buffalo: July 4, 1989 (GD/Rhino 2CD)
* Grateful Dead: Crimson, White & Indigo: RFK Stadium 7-7-89 (GD/Rhino 3CD+DVD)
* Santana: Santana (Columbia/Legacy CD)
* King Crimson: The Power to Believe (Sanctuary CD)
* Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: Echo (Warner Bros. CD)
* Lucinda Williams: Little Honey (Lost Highway CD)
* U2: The Unforgettable Fire (Deluxe Edition) (d.2) (Island/Universal 2CD)
* U2: The Joshua Tree (Island CD)
* Amorphous Androgynous: Tales of Ephidrina (Astralwerks CD)
* Robert Pollard: Kid Marine (FCS LP)
* Fleet Foxes: Sun Giant (Sub Pop CDEP)
* Jim O’Rourke: The Visitor (Drag City LP)
* Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino CD)
* Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind (Domino CDEP)


The new Grateful Dead “vault” release is pretty sweet, containing the complete show from RFK Stadium in Philadelphia on July 7, 1989 on three CDs and a DVD. It makes for a nice companion to 2005’s Truckin’ Up to Buffalo, being the next stop on the tour. 1989 was undoubtedly a good year for the Dead: Jerry Garcia was three years out from his diabetic coma and he had by then recovered (most of) his prior facility on the electric guitar. Furthermore, the band was still riding the wave of their first and only top-ten success and they sound about as polished and professional as they ever did. I watched the DVD last night and it was definitely a lot of fun to watch a smiling, animated Jerry bopping around, clear-eyed and sharp. But, truth to tell, this probably isn’t going to convince anyone who never had the opportunity to see Grateful Dead live of what made them so special. For one thing, they weren’t much to look at. Weather-beaten and unkempt in rumpled lounge-wear, they basically just stood there and did their thing. For another, the on-stage perspective of the DVD is wholly different from what the audience experienced and, as such, somewhat insular and clinical. On the other hand, the multi-camera shoot is expertly directed by longtime GD videographer, Len Dell’amico and it offers a well-considered glimpse into the band’s inner dynamics. For example, watching the group think its way through the long “Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain” sequence is revelatory if you already understand the subtle, improvisatory intricacies of the music. Nevertheless, I mostly felt a weepy nostalgia watching it. I still miss Jerry intensely and, really, I cannot be objective. A Grateful Dead show was not just a concert, it was an experience. Whether the music any good or not was really quite beside the point -- in fact, it could be very bad indeed! But because of their willingness to try for something extraordinary and fail more often than not, their fleeting successes could be moments of utterly transcendent music that were utterly impossible to rehearse and perfect. There are a few of those moments here and, like a said, the band’s playing and singing is at a remarkably high level throughout. And the repertoire encompasses the panoply of American music from New Orleans zydeco to Chicago blues, Bob Dylan to futuristic jazz rock fusion – and original songs like “Ramble on Rose” sound like electric string band music from a hundred years ago. Yet I suspect most folks will watch/listen to this and wonder what all the fuss was about. Capturing the magic of the Grateful Dead is like trapping lightning in a bottle: impossible! As an unrepentant Deadhead, I am grateful for everything they put out; others, however, may want to familiarize themselves with the rest of the canon before picking this up. Then again, what do I know? This is a fine example of the Dead at a late peak and may just turn you on like nothing else can. Available in record stores as of 4-20 (get it?).


Sam said...

Hey, really enjoyed the bug pictures!

Here's my lists for last week. The Roscoe Mitchell quartet from Tivoli took my breath away: his playing is sublime.

Playlist 2010-04-26

*AMM: 2001-04-15 Chicago (CDR)
*Art Ensemble of Chicago: Reese & the Smooth Ones
*Anthony Braxton: 4 (Ensemble) Compositions 1992
*Ornette Coleman & Prime Time: 1983-11-11 Wax Museum, Washington DC (CDR)
*John Coltrane: 1961-11-29/1963-11-04 Stuttgart (CDR)
*Miles Davis: Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings Of Miles Davis 1963-1964, disc 6
*Roscoe Mitchell Quartet: 2009-06-28 Tivoli (CDR)
*David Murray: Live at the Lower Manhattan Beach Club volumes 1 & 2
*New Loft: 2010-03-17: "Stop, Start, and Don't Forget the Juice" (wav)
*New Loft: 2010-03-31: "Map the Corner" (mp3)
*Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: Toward the Margins
*Sun Ra: Nidhamu + Dark Myth Equation Visitation (Art Yard)
*Sun Ra: Detroit Jazz Center, discs 24, 25 (1980-12-31) (CDR)
*Sun Ra All Stars: 1983-10-29 West Berlin (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor Quartet: 1969-11-10 Stuttgart (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor: 1971-07-24 Town Hall, NYC (solo) (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor: Indent
*UYA: UYA Plays the Music of Sun Ra
*Wavelength Infinity: A Sun Ra Tribute, disc 2
*Bollywood compilation, from soundtracks at "Music From the Third Floor" disc 2
*Feelies: Crazy Rhythms
*Jimi Hendrix: Jazz Stuff (Studio Outtakes) (CDR)
*B.B. King: compilation CD
*King Crimson: Earthbound

Reading log 2010-04-26

*Bolano, Roberto. 2666 (finished)
*The Complete Frontline Combat (EC) (in progress)
*Larson, Gary. The Complete Far Side (in progress)
*A New Literary History of America (ed. Greil Marcus & Werner Sollors) (in progress)
*Palmer, Robert. Blues and Chaos (in progress)

Rodger Coleman said...

Thanks for reminding me -- I have yet to even listen to that Roscoe Mitchell set! Too much music!

Sam said...

Is there such a thing?