Monday, December 05, 2016

I Can't Be Satisfied


Unless your name is Pat Metheny, I probably don’t want to hear you play a three-minute guitar solo. 

The ingratiating Marcus King, 20, did a credible impression of the late guitar hero Duane Allman at his band’s in-store performance at Vinyl Renaissance on Sunday.  I was far more impressed that he sang almost as well as Gregg Allman. 

But so what?  Blues prodigies are a dime a dozen.  Few things interest me less than a flashy blues-rock guitar virtuoso.

That’s partly why the Rolling Stones’ new rough-and-tumble album Blue & Lonesome is so impressive.  Only one song is longer than five minutes and nine selections clock in at less than four minutes. The absence of tiresome guitar solos on the informal tribute to Chess Records puts the vast majority of younger blues-rock artists to shame.


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I reviewed the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s concert at the Midland theater for The Kansas City Star.

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I wrote an extended concert preview about Mac Miller for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I discussed the Snow Globes on KCUR last week.

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I wrote an extended preview for a benefit concert featuring the Fray and David Cook for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I ranked my favorite jazz performances of 2016 at Plastic Sax.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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Childish Gambino’s outstanding Awaken, My Love! is RIYL: Funkadelic, wanting to get funked up, Sly & the Family Stone.  Here’s ”Redbone”.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Our Anthem



The people who follow my social media feeds know that I never acknowledge politics or social issues.  I believe that even the most thoughtfully rendered statements in those forums inevitably lead to divisiveness.  Simplistic memes and the predictable outrages-of-the-day exacerbate the venomous toxicity of the echo chambers.  The result?  Well, just take a look around.  I cosign Joe Thomas’ powerful mashup of Otis Redding and “The Star-Bangled Banner”: let’s try a little tenderness.


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I reviewed Soul Jazz Fridays, the album by Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7, for KCUR.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I listed my favorite jazz albums of 2016 at Plastic Sax.

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I wrote an extended concert preview about Mac Miller for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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Colonel Abrams has died.

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Hod O’Brien has died.

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Holly Dunn has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

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Pauline Oliveros has died.

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At 96 minutes, Soweto Kinch’s Nonogram is 30 minutes too long.  Even so, the British artist’s melding of cosmic jazz and hip-hop is often wondrous.  RIYL: Kamasi Washington, promotionally challenged musicians, A Tribe Called Quest.

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Emeli Sandé’s Long Live the Angels is generic pop.  RIYL: tedium, Whitney Houston, watching paint dry.  Here’s ”Hurts”.

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While I don’t understand the point of Rumer’s This Girl’s In Love With You (A Bacharach & David Songbook), I enjoy the elegant easy listening album.  RIYL: Dionne Warwick, redundancy, the Carpenters.  Here’s ”(They Long to Be) Close to You”.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Album Review: Urgent Jumping: East African Musiki Wa Dansi Classics 1972-1982


Political and social mayhem and personal medical ailments won’t get me down.  Urgent Jumping: East African Musiki Wa Dansi Classics 1972-1982 is responsible for keeping me on an even keel.

Big Steve, a regular There Stands the Glass reader, recently tipped his friends off to the new compilation of restorative East African jams.  Afro 70’s ”Hasara Ya Moto is among the selections with restorative qualities.

There are undoubtedly ominous subtexts throughout the two-and-a-half-hour set, but I’m blissfully unaware of the conflicts that may have inspired the music.  In fact, I’m annoyed when a man speaks in English during Hafusa Abasi & Slim Ali and the Kikulacho Yahoos Band’s otherwise wondrously ethereal ”Sina Raha”.


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I reviewed Karrin Allyson’s concert at the Folly Theater.  I also discussed the performance on KCUR.

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I wrote an extended preview of Young Thug’s show at the Midland for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine..

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I took note of A La Mode’s new album at Plastic Sax.

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I reviewed a magic show for The Kansas City Star last week.

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I saw Mose Allison perform only once.  I was one of a few dozen fans who attended his show at The Tuba on Southwest Boulevard in the early 1990s.  The wonderful wit died last week.

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The heroic Sharon Jones died last week.

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Billy Miller of Norton Records has died.

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I’m not nearly as enthralled as most of my hip-hop-loving peers by A Tribe Called Quest’s We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service album.  The ideas it signifies are often more interesting than the actual content.  “Kids”- a cranky get-off-my-lawn tirade- is my favorite track. 

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I’m obsessed with the work of Jóhann Jóhannsson.  His score for the new alien invasion flick  Arrival is out of this world.

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Sharon Jones’ mourners might take heart in Special Night, the solid new album by Lee Fields and the Expressions.  Here’s a live rendition of the title track.

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Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings is the album I’ve long wanted her to make.  ”Keeper of the Flame” is the project’s slickest song.

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The sickeningly cloying Jazz Loves Disney makes me want to break something.

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Daniil Trifinov shreds on Transcendental, two frenzied hours of Franz Liszt.

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Lamb of God’s The Duke benefit EP is RIYL: live souvenirs, Pantera, veteran metal bands that are better than Metallica.

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David Bazan is at his pitiful best on Dark Sacred Night  "Wish My Kids Were Here” is an instant classic in the delectable sub-genre of sad-sack Christmas songs.

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I’m the guy who acts “more stupidly.”  I have more than $200 tied up in tickets to a canceled Kanye West show.

(Original images by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Concert Review: Steven Wilson at the Folly Theater


Steven Wilson reignited my dormant passion for prog-rock last night.  Largely because the debut albums by the Ramones and the Clash pulverized my teenage predilection for the likes of Kansas, Rush and Genesis decades ago, I attended the show as a curious skeptic. 

Wilson, the most significant prog-rock artist of the last 25 years, succeeded in reviving my interest in ponderous bombast.

Wilson and his band- guitarist Dave Kilminster, keyboardist Adam Holzman (son of Jac Holzman!), bassist Nick Beggs (of Kajagoogoo!) and drummer Craig Blundell- were abetted by impeccable quadrophonic sound (ambient sounds emanated from speakers in the back of the venue) and stunning images on a screen behind the stage.

Renditions of new songs including the soul-crushing ”Routine”, the enchanting ”Perfect Life” and the sensual ”Hand Cannot Erase” were wondrous.  Aside from a preponderance of flashy guitar solos and the aberrant behavior of addled concertgoers seated near me, the two-set show was perfect.  Now, where did I put my copy of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway?


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I reviewed Blue Öyster Cult’s concert at the VooDoo.

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Election coverage preempted live on-air audio, but I here’s the text component of my weekly KCUR segment.  I featured Calvin Arsenia.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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Leonard Cohen’s fabled appearance at the Midland theater was my second favorite show of 2009.  Cohen died last week.

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Leon Russell’s music was a prominent part of my life in my teens and again in recent years.  My dad got hip to Russell through his collaborations with Willie Nelson in the 1970s.  He and I bonded over our mutual appreciation of those jams.  I went decades without thinking much about Russell until Frank Hicks of Knuckleheads began regularly booking the legend in recent years.  I reviewed a couple of those shows for The Kansas City Star.  I also admired his 2014 album Life Journey at There Stands the Glass.  Russell died yesterday.

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Noël Akchoté and Mary Halvorson’s duet album is RIYL: Joe Pass, skronk, Fred Frith.

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I don’t know if Alicia Keys and her cohorts tried too hard or didn’t try hard enough while creating Here, but the well-intentioned project doesn’t work.  Songs like ”Blended Family” resemble public service announcements.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, November 07, 2016

Concert Review: Marilyn Maye at Quality Hill Playhouse


If the going rate for a psychologist is $100 an hour, the seemingly exorbitant price of admission to see Marilyn Maye at Quality Hill Playhouse last weekend was a relative bargain. 

I spent $90 on two tickets to hear a 75-minute show by the dynamic 88-year-old cabaret star partly to demonstrate to my life partner that I intended to grow old with her.  Maye complied with my agenda with a set that emphasized putting a brave face on our imminent mortality.

Rather than emphasizing the line “you better chase all your cares away,” Maye’s doleful rendition of “Get Happy,” warned that the members of the near-capacity audience of about 125 should “get ready for the judgement day.”  Tears streamed down my face during Maye’s interpretation of "If He Walked Into My Life," a heartbreaking song of regret that I’d never heard from a musical I’ve never seen (“Mame”).

Maye’s stunning performance reminded me that I’d better get busy living.


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I reviewed Lil Uzi Vert’s concert at the Uptown Theater.

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I reviewed a concert by Aida Cuevas and Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles at Yardley Hall.

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I discussed Emmaline Twist on KCUR last week.

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I wrote an extended preview of a Car Seat Headrest show for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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Bob Cranshaw has died.

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Kay Starr has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

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Bap Kennedy has died.

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I’ve worked my way through the first three-and-a-half hours of the six-hour Otis Redding document Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings.  Otis and the band are (obviously) great, but the brutally repetitive sets, Otis’ awkward stage patter and the Whiskey’s atrocious emcee make it a slog.

(Original images by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Concert Review: Gingger Shankar at Polsky Theatre

Gingger Shankar’s intriguing appearance at Polsky Theatre on Saturday was intended to illuminate the underappreciated artistry of her mother and grandmother, but the multimedia concert raised more questions than it answered.

A short documentary narrated by Shankar, her performance with multi-instrumentalist Vivek Maddala and drummer Carlo Ribaux and a question-and-answer session left me more confused than ever about the family trees and music of the Shankar and Subramaniam clans.   I sense that Shankar told the audience of about 200 only one side of a very complicated story.

Yeah, but what about the music?  The most interesting bits featured the prerecorded voice of Shankar's mother (the provenance of the source material was hazy) accompanied by the sort of crossover fusion once associated with L. Subramaniam (the man I thought was Shankar’s father until Saturday’s presentation clouded my understanding).


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I reviewed Elle King’s return to the Midland theater.

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I reviewed a concert by Purity Ring and Health.

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I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I discussed Berwanger on KCUR last week.

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I wrote an extended preview of Sturgill Simpson’s appearance at the Midland theater for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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Lecrae’s bravely existential “Can’t Stop Me Now” could kill his career as a Christian rapper.

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Donny McCaslin’s Beyond Now is an essential companion to David Bowie’s Blackstar.   The least appealing moments of the daring album remind me Sting’s work with Branford Marsalis, but much of Beyond Now is precisely the sort of fusion I dream about.

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Jah Wobble is a gem.

(Original images by There Stands the Glass.)


Monday, October 24, 2016

Bury Me Deep: Andre Williams’ Morbid Checklist


Old friends are dropping like flies.  And even my hair ached when I crawled out of bed yesterday.  Maybe it’s time to begin making funeral arrangements.  Andre Williams’s “Bury Me Deep” indicates that the process needn’t be joyless.  Here’s the beginning of his outlandish checklist: “when I die, I want six female pallbearers, and I want a Jewish hearse driver, and I want a black preacher preaching for me, and I want a pink hearse- gotta be pink…”  The outlandish song is from Williams’ forthcoming Don’t Ever Give Up album.


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I reviewed concerts by Bonnie Raitt, Toni Braxton, Il Divo and Bob James for The Kansas City Star.

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I reviewed the Conquerors’ Wyld Time album for KCUR.

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My most recent weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine are published here and here.

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I recently discussed Various Blonde and Kansas on KCUR.

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Tonight’s Schoolboy Q concert is my Big Show of the week for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I recently reviewed jazz concerts by Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle and the Hermon Mehari Quartet at Plastic Sax.

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Helado Negro found ways to transcend the quandry faced by laptop pop artists at RecordBar last night.  Rather than merely singing into a microphone after pushing the play button on his MacBook, he and his computer were flanked by two costumed dancers and were supplemented by a nifty light system.  The experimental artist is also a convincing guitarist.

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Phil Chess has died.

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I’m all about Joyce DiDonato’s latest video.

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Time/Life: Song for the Whales and Other Beings by Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra is a nice surprise.  The late bassist is heard on two of the five tracks.

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Jamie Lidell’s Building a Beginning is RIYL Hall & Oates, old-fashioned love songs, Bobby Caldwell.  Here’s ”I Live To Make You Smile”.

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The intentionally absurd album cover of D.R.A.M.’s Big Baby D.R.A.M. reflects its contents.  ”WiFi” features Erykah Badu.

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Metal na Madeira, a collaboration between vocalist Paula Santoro and guitarist Ian Faquini, is RIYL Gal Costa, cool water on a hot day, João Gilberto.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)