Monday, October 22, 2007

Noble Sissle's Swingsters- Characteristic Blues

No character.

Recorded in New York seventy years ago, "Characteristic Blues" is surely one of the oddest documents of the previous century. Between Sidney Bechet's showy introduction and manic closing solo three minutes later are unintelligible guttural shouting, weird vocal harmonies, apocalyptic lyrics about a bedbug and a bald head and- believe it or not- yodeling. The 1937 session is one of two dozen essential tracks on Bechet's Centenary Celebration. And if you're under the impression that jazz was never a cultural force, you simply must watch the bacchanalian freak show masquerading as his 1951 wedding party. I especially like the "long-haired existentialists from Paris" at the 25-second mark. I'd remark on the footage's elaborate romanticism, but this marriage didn't last long.

I actually watched much of Next Great American Band over the weekend. The premise is promising, but the show was foiled by a lack of talent. I presume that "real" bands simply refused to audition for the show. It's too bad. In my town alone there are several mainstream acts- bands like Pomeroy- that wouldn't have lost any of their fans by participating. And they probably would have won.

Paul Fox of the Ruts has died. Here's the video for "Babylon's Burning," their best known song. Paul Raven of Killing Joke also died.

Kansas City Click: Joel Kraft and Emily Tummons get caffeinated at the Roasterie in Brookside tonight.

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