Monday, August 29, 2016

Dumb Blonde


I’m not sure why so many otherwise reasonable people are praising Frank Ocean’s Blonde.  Aside from three or four decent tracks, it’s a calamitous effort.  As you can see in the column to the right, I loved Ocean’s 2012 album Channel Orange.  Yet I’m disappointed rather than despondent.  With good-to-great new neo-soul/hip-hop albums by BJ the Chicago Kid, Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Maxwell, Anderson Paak, Rihanna, Kanye West and Adrian Younge to keep me company, I’m not compelled to pretend that Blonde is good.


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I reviewed a concert by Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon and Tesla.

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I featured Soul Revival’s “If You Ask Me Again (I Do)” on KCUR last week.

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

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I take note of Mike Metheny’s new literary endeavor at Plastic Sax.

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Tomorrow's Dixie Chicks concert at the Sprint Center is my big show of the week.

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Juan Gabriel has died.  His concert at the Sprint Center last November was a delight.  I snapped a good photo at the show.

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Rudy Van Gelder has died.

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Gilli Smyth of Gong has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

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Derrick Hodge’s Second is RIYL: Jaco Pastorius, 21st century swing, Robert Glasper.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bobby Hutcherson, 1941-2016


As the first album I heard that made me realize that jazz could be just as confrontational as rock or R&B, Out To Lunch changed my life.  Bobby Hutcherson’s entry at the five-second mark of the opening track ”Hat and Beard” on Eric Dolphy’s famous 1964 album is one of my favorite moments in jazz.  Following the news of Hutcherson’s death last week, I investigated a few albums I’d never heard.  ”Rain Every Thursday” from the vibist’s misunderstood 1972 funk album Natural Illusions is my new favorite jam.


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While I hadn’t looked forward to covering the show, I adored Josh Groban’s appearance at Starlight Theater last week.  Here’s my review.

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I’ve attended six, seven or eight Snoop Dogg concerts.  Last week’s show in Bonner Springs with Wiz Khalifa, Kevin Gates, Jhené Aiko and Casey Veggies was one of the best.  Here’s my review.

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Friends don’t believe me when I tell them that being in the midst of thousands of giddy teens energizes me.  I relished Saturday’s concert by 5 Seconds of Summer, Hey Violet and Roy English.  Here’s my review.  I documented 15 representative seconds of screaming at Instagram.

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

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I discussed Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear on KCUR last week.

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I wrote an extended preview Beach House’s concert at the Uptown Theater.

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I reviewed a release by the Brandon Draper Quintet at Plastic Sax.

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Toots Thielemans has died.  The Brasil Project was one of my favorite albums of 1992.

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Ruby Wilson has died.

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Various Blonde created a video for ”All Bases Covered”.

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I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.  Steve Aoki’s remix of Soundgarden’s “Spoonman” pleases me.

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Dolly Parton gets freaky on the delightfully odd Pure and Simple.  Here’s “Can’t Be That Wrong”.

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Do not- I repeat, do not- click on this link.

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Deborah Joy Winans’ ”The River” is a wondrously sensual gospel song.

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Lars Danielsson’s Sun Blowing is a thrilling Scandanavian jazz outing.

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I have yet to listen to Frank Ocean's long-awaited new release.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Album Review: Stirrup- Cut


In the past week I’ve attended performances by banda, honky tonk, mainstream jazz and folk artists.  I also wrote a short essay about an indie-rock group and talked about a heartland rock band on an NPR affiliate.  While it’s all of a piece to me, I’ve regularly employed Cut, a new album by Chicago’s Stirrup, as a proverbial palate cleanser.  Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm makes a Sonny Sharrock-esque racket in the unconventional power trio.  It's the sort of room-clearing noise that's long appealed to me.  Here’s correspondingly unpopular live footage.


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I reviewed a concert by Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda and Poncho Barraza at the Sprint Center.

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I wrote an extended preview of Gwen Stefani’s concert at the Sprint Center.

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I pondered the carreer of the Rainmakers with Steve Kraske on KCUR last week.

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I reviewed Lee Ann Womack’s concert at Knuckleheads.

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

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I wimped out at Plastic Sax by not identifying the perpetrators of a dismal jazz performance.

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The folk star Glenn Yarbrough has died.  Fun fact: he and Jac Holzman, the founder of Elektra and Nonesuch Records, were college roommates.

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I love E-40.  The Bay Area rapper’s latest single ”Petty” tickles my ears.

(Original image of KCI floor tile art by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, August 08, 2016

Blow by Blow


I was transported back to my suburban youth as Jeff Beck played the 1975 jazz fusion classics “Freeway Jam” and “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” at Starlight Theatre last week.

On the cusp of the punk revolution, the garage bands in my subdivision near Kansas City International Airport were still in thrall of jazz fusion and progressive rock.  Selections from Beck’s Blow by Blow, Kansas’ Masque and Rush’s Fly By Night were studiously covered by the musically-inclined big brothers of my hoodrat friends.

In other words, I come by my abiding affection for unfashionable jams like “School Days” and ”You Know, You Know” honestly.


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I reviewed a concert by Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck.

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I talked about Steddy P on KCUR last week.

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

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I previewed Corinne Bailey Rae’s concert at the Uptown Theater for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I paid $35.50 to hear David Sanborn perform at Muriel Kauffman Theatre last week.  My thoughts on the show are posted at Plastic Sax.

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The Kansas City musician Dan Doran has died.

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Pete Fountain has died.

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Einojuhani Rautavaara has died.

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Charlie Hunter’s Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched In the Mouth is insanely fun.   RIYL: Lester Bowie, parties, Medeski Martin & Wood.

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Sarah Borges’ “Tendency to Riot” is one of my favorite songs of 2016.  Her Good and Dirty EP was produced by Eric Ambel.  RIYL: The Bottle Rockets, alcohol, Tim Easton.

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoy DJ Khaled’s summer blockbuster Major Key.  RIYL: radio, Jay-Z, Instagram selfies.

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The 1970s redux!  Nels Cline’s Lovers is a wondrous evocation of the adventurous side of CTI Records.  Admirers of third stream albums by Jim Hall and Paul Desmond are likely to adore Lovers

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, August 01, 2016

Album Review: Descendents- Hypercaffium Spazzinate


I passed on Warped Tour last week.  The reduced number of stages and a disappointing lack of variety meant that the chances making a new discovery weren’t very good.  And the idea of paying $45 to stand on black asphalt in extreme heat to hear Good Charlotte just didn’t appeal to me. 

I wouldn’t have hesitated to pony up had the Descendents been on the bill.  The group has been talkin’ ‘bout my generation for decades. 

The new album Hypercaffium Spazzinate contains 21 brief songs that address the concerns of guys my age.  “No Fat Burgers” is my new theme song and the discontent of “Business A. U.” is all too relatable.  Here’s ”Victim of Me”.


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I reviewed a concert by Miike Snow and Jack Garratt.

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I reviewed a concert by the Indigo Girls.

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I discussed Rachel Mallin & the Wild Type on KCUR last week.

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

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I wrote an extended preview for Umphrey’s McGhee’s upcoming concert.

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I graded every concert in the forthcoming seasons of the American Jazz Museum’s Jazz at the Gem and the Folly Theater’s jazz series at Plastic Sax.  Spoiler alert: Jack DeJohnette!

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Until Friday, the most expensive concert tickets I’d purchased were for a Kraftwerk show in Toronto.  I splurged on a pair of 11th row tickets for Dolly Parton’s concert at the Sprint Center last week.  The entirely delightful show was worth the breathtaking expense.

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The Conquerors created an entertaining video for “Wyld Time.”

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Elliot Galvin makes jazz seem boring.  The wild experimentation he and his band display on Punch indicates that most mainstream jazz is hopelessly prosaic.

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Date night fail #541: Unaware of the intent of the new solo album by the Lady Antebellum vocalist, I cued up Hillary Scott & the Scott Family’s Love Remains for the drive to Dolly Parton’s concert on Friday.  I expected to hear slick love ballads.  Instead, my date and I got an earful of songs about Jesus.

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Amina Claudine Myers’ harrowing new solo album Sama Rou is staggeringly heavy.  RIYL: Nina Simone, avant-garde Jesus, Bessie Smith.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Concert Review: Adia Victoria at the Riot Room

I attended Adia Victoria’s show at the Riot Room last Monday on a hunch.  While I was underwhelmed by the recordings of the Nashville based artist as I researched a preview I wrote for her Kansas City debut, I suspected that I was missing something. 

My hunch paid off. 

I was one of about three dozen people in attendance for what’s certain to be one my favorite performances of 2016.  Backed by an impressive band of Nashville cats, Victoria prowled the stage like the feral grandchild of Howlin’ Wolf and Dolly Parton. 

Victoria repeatedly suggested that she was playing the blues.  Accordingly, a noisy cover of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues” was my favorite selection.  She was entirely credible as she insisted that she was going to “beat my man until I’m satisfied.”

I was so gobsmacked that I failed to take a decent picture.  Fortunately, Todd Zimmer documented the show with a remarkable set of photos.


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I reviewed of a new collection of 58 previously unissued Charlie Parker tracks for KCUR.

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I reviewed Brian Wilson’s concert at Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

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I reviewed a concert by Duran Duran, Chic and Tokimonsta.

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I previewed Drake’s return to Kansas City for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.

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I reviewed a concert by Shinedown, Halestorm and Black Stone Cherry.

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I talked up Rooftop Vigilantes on KCUR last week.

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

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The last 132 Hastings stores have been shuttered.  I spent a significant portion of my life in Amarillo soliciting the buyers of the once-powerful chain.  By and large, my contacts at the Hastings headquarters were good folks.

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I’m all about Revocation’s Great Is Our Sin.  RIYL: Exmortus, metallic hooks, Lamb of God.

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The unfortunately named Dinosaur exemplifies the look and sound of modern jazz.  (For the record, I dig the London ensemble.)

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Many readers of There Stands the Glass are vocal advocates of Goat.  Requiem, the band’s new album, will be released in October.

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Grady Champion’s preposterously old-school ”Move Something” just might be my favorite song of 2016.  (Not kidding.)  RIYL: Marvin Sease, dance songs, Mel Waiters.

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The things I liked about Z-Ro’s purple-drenched Houston rap are largely absent on Drankin’ & Drivin’.  Z-Ro knows it.  He raps “if you don’t like my new sh*t you can go back to my old sh*t… gotta get this money, man.”  RIYL: 2Pac, the slickness, UGK.  Here's "My Money".

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Give It Away Give It Away Give It Away Now


My social media feeds are clogged by heartfelt confessions inspired by recent events.  In that spirit, I’ll reveal one of my deepest prejudices: I involuntarily roll my eyes when I spot a dude in a Red Hot Chili Peppers t-shirt.  My eye muscles get a workout at almost every non-classical concert I attend that attracts a throng of white guys.  I’m not sure why the fashion choice bugs me.  I’ve always been down with the band.  Like the members of RHCP, I fell under the spell of George Clinton while attending high school in the 1980s.  I admire much of RHCP’s work, including the new Danger Mouse-produced The Getaway.  Come to think of it, maybe I should buy one of those shirts the next time I’m at Target.


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I reviewed Trampled Under Foot’s marathon reunion show at Knuckleheads on Friday.  I also highlighted the concerts on KCUR last week.

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I reviewed the first day of the Buzz Beach Ball festival at Children’s Mercy Park.  I also wrote an extended preview of the event 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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Alan Vega of Suicide has died.

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Bonnie Brown of the Browns has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

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I’m happily stuck in the quagmire of Rich the Factor’s Smile.

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I’m still over the moon about catching a performance by trumpeter Kirk Knuffke a couple weeks ago.  Fierce Silence, his new duet album with drummer Whit Dickey, is nice and skronky.

(Original image of Buzz Beach Ball by There Stands the Glass.)