Even though we were both totally beat, Liz and I ventured out last night to hear Lambchop and the Matthew Shipp Trio—it was just too special an event to miss. Accurately described as “Nashville’s most fucked up country band,” Lambchop is way more popular in Europe than in the states and only plays their hometown once a year or so. And, of course, Matthew Shipp (and MaryHalvorson and all the other interesting jazz players) rarely play in the U.S.A. outside of New York – much less someplace like Nashville. Fortunately, there is a small but vibrant community trying to force “Music City” to live up to its name. But the sad truth is: an opportunity to hear either of these groups will not be happening again anytime soon so we had to seize the opportunity despite our exhaustion.
The good thing was that the venue was on our side of town, meaning an easy drive there and back. Plus, it was to be a low-key, sit-down affair. But the VFW Post 1970 is a funky place for sure and, in true southern rebel fashion, allows smoking inside. Now, I must sadly admit to being a smoker myself but the atmosphere permeated with the smell of stale tobacco and cheap beer was more than a little nauseating—especially since I was already feeling under the weather. Nevertheless, it was a sublime evening of music. Lambchop (who, much to my embarrassment, I have only recently discovered) was absolutely riveting, exhibiting extraordinary restraint and subtle dynamics to deliver their powerfully emotional songs. And the Matt Shipp Trio cooked from the get-go, climaxing with a gut-wrenching deconstruction of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” in honor of the veterans, whose post we had invaded for the evening. While much of the crowd had come to hear Lambchop, a goodly number stayed for the out-jazz part of the program, which was nice to see.
I got a chance to speak with Matt and Whit Dickey, both of whom I briefly knew at The New England Conservatory, and it was great to see them both after many years. I gave them a copy of my CD and told Matt that his music had long been an inspiration to me—even after I had given up on performing myself. He was friendly and quite funny, just as I remember him. In all, it was another fabulous night in a long week of fabulous nights.
Now, I need some rest.
What does any of this have to do with Sun Ra? Well, nothing except the connection to the jazz tradition (and the fact that Matt introduced his players as being “from outer space”). But, as you might have noticed, I have been ridiculously busy and have simply not had the time write. Moreover, the next several records in the chronology are particularly challenging, both musically and discographically, and it’s going to take some time to sort it all out. I know: excuses, excuses! Please do stay tuned.
However, I'm overjoyed to see that the long-delayed 2-disc reissue of Continuation is now available from Corbett vs. Dempsey. Not sure if this is a limited edition or not, but I'd jump on it sooner rather than later. I'll let you know my thoughts after it arrives.
SHAMELESS PLUG DEPT.
Would you like your own copy of Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Indeterminate (Improvisations for Piano and Drums)? Just click on the link below. You can also stream the entire album at our website, NuVoid Jazz Records, if you just want to check it out. Thank you for your interest and support!