May 22, 2010

Playlist Week of 5-22-10

* Rebel: Violin Sonatas (Manze/Egarr/ter Linden) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* J.S. Bach: 7 Harpsichord Concertos (AAM/Manze/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* J.S. Bach: Musikalische Opfer (Maroney, et al.) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* Satie: L’Ĺ“uvre pour piano (Ciccolini) (d.1) (EMI Classics 5CD)
* Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges: Side By Side (Verve/Classic LP)
* Duke Ellington: Blues in Orbit (Columbia/Classic LP)
* Duke Ellington: Jazz Party in Stereo (Columbia/Classic LP)
* Sun Ra: Soundtrack to the Film Space Is the Place (Evidence CD)
* Sun Ra: ESP Radio Tribute (d.2) (selections) (FM 5CDR)
* Sun Ra: Unknown venue, Berkeley, CA circa. 1972 (AUD/boot CDR)
* Sun Ra: Unknown venue, circa. 1972 (SBD?/boot 2CDR)
* Cliff Jordan & John Gilmore: Blowin’ In from Chicago (Blue Note LP)
* Baby Face Willette: Stop and Listen (Blue Note LP)
* Charles Mingus: Tijuana Moods (RCA/Classic LP)
* Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um (Columbia/Classic LP)
* The Crusaders: Free As the Wind (ABC/Blue Thumb LP)
* Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On (Motown/MFSL SACD)
* Marvin Gaye: Let’s Get It On (Motown/MFSL SACD)
* Bootsy’s New Rubber Band: Blasters of the Universe (d.1) (Ryko 2CD)
* The Beatles: Rubber Soul (2009 mono remaster) (Apple/EMI CD)
* Grateful Dead: Steppin’ Out With the Grateful Dead: England ’72 (d.1-2) (GD/Arista 4CD)
* Grateful Dead: Capital Center, Landover, MD 7-29-74 (SBD 3CDR)
* Grateful Dead: Dick’s Picks, Vol.31 (8-74) (d.1-3) (GDM 4CD)
* Grateful Dead: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, LI, NY 11/1/79 (d.2-3) (SBD 3CDR)
* Grateful Dead: RFK Stadium, Washington, DC 6-24-95 (AUD 3CDR)
* Yes: The Yes Album (Atlantic/MFSL CD)
* Yes: Fragile (Atlantic/MFSL CD)
* King Crimson: The Nightwatch: Amsterdam Concertgebouw 11-23-73 (DGM 2CD)
* Jeff Beck: Truth (mono) (Epic/Sundazed LP)
* Jeff Beck: Beck-Ola (Epic/Sundazed LP) iridescent
* Jeff Beck: Blow By Blow (Epic LP)
* Jeff Beck: Wired (Epic LP)
* Jeff Beck with The Jan Hammer Group: Live (Epic LP)
* Eric Clapton: Slowhand (RSO LP)
* Chicago: III (Columbia 2LP)
* Chicago: V (Columbia LP)
* Chicago: VI (Columbia LP)
* Chicago: VII (Columbia 2LP)
* Chicago: VIII (Columbia LP)
* Chicago: X (Columbia LP)
* The Doobie Brothers: The Best of the Doobies (Warner Bros. LP)
* Steely Dan: Aja (ABC/Cisco LP)
* Rickie Lee Jones: Rickie Lee Jones (Warner Bros./Rhino LP)
* Mudcrutch: Mudcrutch (Warner Bros./Reprise 2LP)
* U2: The Unforgettable Fire (Deluxe Edition) (Island/Universal 2CD)
* U2: The Joshua Tree (Deluxe Edition) (Island/Universal 2CD)
* ABC: The Lexicon of Love (Mercury LP)
* The Pixies: Surfer Rosa (4AD/MFSL SACD)
* The Pixies: Doolittle (4AD/MFSL SACD)
* Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs (Matador CD)
* The Flaming Lips, et al.: The Dark Side of the Moon (Warner Bros. CD)
* Robert Pollard: Elephant Jokes (GBV, Inc. CD)
* Robert Pollard: We All Got Out of the Army (GBV, Inc. CD)
* Boston Spaceships: Zero to 99 (GBV, Inc. CD)


I so enjoyed Rhino’s vinyl reissues of Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago II that I decided to poke around the local record stores and see if I could find the rest of their 1970s albums on LP. It was not very difficult. Of course, Chicago sold a bajillion albums in their day and these records are common as dirt and, therefore, quite cheap -- so long as you’re willing to forego such niceties as near-mint jackets, posters, etc. Fortunately, the vinyl was in decent condition, if extremely dirty. However, my patented deep cleaning process brought them back to life and, gosh, it was like visiting with old friends whom I hadn’t heard from in many, many years -- decades even.

Embarrassingly enough, 1974’s Chicago VII is still my favorite. I played it to death as a kid. Believe it or not, I had it on 8Track! I absolutely loved this stuff. You see, I was a total band geek who took classical piano lessons and hung around trombone players and trumpeters. It seemed to us that Chicago had it all: sophisticated composition, big-band chops and great pop songs everybody seemed to love. Perfection! I remember in the eighth grade a group of us hacked our way through an arrangement of “Saturday In the Park” imagining we sounded pretty good (even though we didn’t). I loved Chicago VII because it marked a return to the sprawling double-album format of their first two records, opening with thirty minutes of audacious jazz-rock fusion but also featuring such radio hits as the Philly-soul infused “I’ve Been Searchin’ So Long” and the lush, dreamy, “Wishing You Were Here.” Moreover, Terry Kath plays typically brilliant guitar throughout and closes side three with two excellent songs, “Song of the Evergreens” and “Byblos.” How could I have ever turned my back on this beautiful music?

Here’s how: I went away to college and was exposed to free jazz and punk rock and Chicago, who, after the tragic death of Terry Kath, became self-parodying purveyors of bland top-40 cheese, was suddenly totally uncool. Their albums were some of the first to be sold off in the name of urban hipsterism -- and also because of a lack of money and space in which to house my growing record collection. That’s OK. I certainly experienced a lot of different music over the years and if it required rejecting one thing to take on another, then so it goes, I guess. But as I get older, I no longer feel the need for such snobbery and exclusion and hearing this music again for the first time after all these years has made me very happy. So am I just another middle-aged loser, vainly reclaiming the ephemera of my lost youth? A look at this week’s extended playlist suggests the answer is, perhaps, yes. Yet listening to these albums again feels like more than just a nostalgia trip -- it is simply good music! What more needs to be said? Nothing.


Sam said...

Wow, Rodger--inspiring post! You are there! I have had this revelation over and over for the past 10-15 years. While it's true that a lot of what I listened to in the past I now think is, well, crap, there's so much more that in fact still stands up, as just good music. Thanks for keeping my ears (and mind) open.

I see you did pick up those two Yes artifacts! Don't forget "Close to the Edge"! :)

You managed to plow through quite a lot of stuff last week--ain't it fun to be home for a change! har har --Sun Ra Sundays are interesting a quite interesting time period now...much to look forward to!

Here's my list for last week:

Playlist 2010-05-24

*Art Ensemble of Chicago: America - South Africa
*Leroy Jenkins: Space Minds/New Worlds/Survival America
*Last Exit: 1990-02-02 Johnny D's, Somerville MA (CDR) disc 1
*Roscoe Mitchell Quartet: 2009-06-28 Tivoli (CDR)
*New Loft: 2009-09-30: "Bohemian Buck Rogers' Night Out" (wav)
*New Loft: 2009-11-18 : "The Tents of Today" (wav)
*Herbie Nichols: The Complete Blue Note Recordings, disc 1
*Wayne Shorter: 1965-08-01 Village Vanguard (NYC) (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor: Live in the Black Forest
*Cecil Taylor Unit: 1978-06-10 Koln (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor Unit: One Too Many Salty Swift and Not Goodbye
*Cecil Taylor Unit: It Is In the Brewing Luminous
*Cecil Taylor Unit: 1980-12-20 Blues Alley, D.C. (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor Unit: 1981-11-06 Paris (CDR)
*Beach Boys: Today/Summer days, Summer Nights (two-fer)
*Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
*Beatles: With the Beatles (2009 stereo remaster)
*Bollywood compilation, from soundtracks at "Music From the Third Floor" discs 7, 8
*Bill Fay: compilation CD
*Deerhoof: Bibidi Babidi Boo (web release)
*High Llamas: Beet Maize & Corn
*Dionne Warwick: compilation CD (selections 1963-1967)

Reading log 2010-05-24

*Peace, David. Occupied City (started)
*Peace, David. Tokyo Year Zero (started/finished)
*Peace, David. Nineteen Eighty-Three (finished)
*Larson, Gary. The Complete Far Side (in progress)
*Musil, Robert. Man Without Qualities (in progress)
*Palmer, Robert. Blues and Chaos (in progress)

Rodger Coleman said...

I neglected to mention that I traded in a whole bunch of records at Grimeys...and picked up a bunch of Mobile Fidelity discs and some all a fair trade! Those Yes MFSL discs sound amazing! What crazy music! I'll be keeping an eye out for "Close to the Edge" on vinyl...

Thanks for the correction on the Sun Ra Sunday post. It's fixed now. We need to consult again when we get to 1973...!

Hey, I notice you're reading Musil. I actually read the first volume years ago and was blown away. But when I tried to get into the second volume, I just sputtered out. Would love to hear your thoughts about that book. I'm getting back into reading for pleasure. Muriel Barbery's "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" is an incredibly moving novel about art and life. You'd like it, I think.

Sam said...

Well, I have a lot to say about Musil, but not really enough time to type it all out or even articulate it. I'm reading the complete edition which includes all the posthumous unpublished drafts, etc. It's been rough going. I enjoyed the way he moves between characters, but a lot of the philosophical ramblings are a drag. I go through stages where I read it a lot, then get bogged down and don't pick it up for a while. I have gone weeks without reading any, then find I can pick it back up and keep going as if I never stopped. I'm on page 1500 or thereabouts, so I've got maybe 200 pages left. I'll be happy to put it behind me. I plan on finishing it this summer. I've been reading it for at least 2 years!