Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Musical Passings of 2008























1/04/08 Earl May, 80, jazz bassist

1/11/08 Pete Candoli, 84, big band trumpeter

1/12/08 Gabriel Manelli, 38, Babasonicos bassist

1/15/08 El Koquillo de Sinaloa, 20, grupero musician

1/18/08 John Stewart, 68, folk-rock singer-songwriter

1/19/08 Andy Palacio, 47, Belize musician

1/24/08 Francis Clay, 84, blues drummer

1/31/08 Butch Berman, 58, guitarist and jazz booster

2/04/08 Tata Guines, 77, Cuba's "King of the Congas"

2/0408 Chris Anderson, 81, jazz pianist

2/10/08 Freddie Bell, 76, Vegas rocker

2/13/08 Henri Salvador, 90, French crooner

2/16/08 Charles Ryan, 92, co-wrote "Hot Rod Lincoln"

2/16/08 Jesus Rey David Alfaro Pulido, 26, Tijuana banda musician

2/19/08 Teo Macero, 82, jazz producer

2/21/08 Calvin Owens, 78, Houston blues trumpeter and bandleader

2/21/08 Joe Gibbs, 65, reggae producer

2/26/08 Herschel "Speedy" Haworth, Jr., 85, Ozarks sideman

2/27/08 Buddy Miles, 60, rock drummer

2/28/08 Mike Smith, 64, singer in the Dave Clark Five

3/02/08 Jeff Healey, 41, blues guitarist

3/03/08 Norman "Hurricane" Smith, 85, pop star and music executive

3/15/08 Mikey Dread, 53, reggae star

3/15/08 King Alex Littlejohn, 73, Kansas City blues musician

3/22/08 Israel "Cachao" Lopez, 89, Cuban inventor of mambo

3/26/08 Patti Bown, 76, jazz vocalist

3/21/08 Klaus Dinger, 61, Neu!

4/07/08 Phil Urso, 82, jazz tenor saxophonist

4/08/08 Cedella Marley Booker, 81, Bob's mother

4/09/08 Bob Kames, 82, the "Chicken Dance"

4/09/08 Ozzie Cadena, 83, jazz producer

4/09/08 George Butler, 76, jazz executive

4/09/08 Flora Pereira, 79, Portuguese Fado singer

4/13/08 Robert Reed, 50, keyboardist for Trouble Funk

4/17/08 Chris Gaffney, 58, roots rocker

4/15/08 Sean Costello, 28, blues musician

4/17/08 Danny Federici, 58, E Street Band

4/21/08 Al Wilson, 68, soul man

4/22/08 Paul Davis, 60, soft rock singer and songwriter

4/24/08 Jimmy Giuffre, 86, jazz composer and musician

5/08/08 Eddy Arnold, 89, countrypolitan legend

5/08/08 Larry Levine, 80, engineer for Phil Spector

5/15/08 Bob Florence, 75, jazz composer

5/18/08 Ed Fenner, 72, Kansas City's "jazz activist"

5/19/08 Earl Robinson, 85, founding member of The Scamps

5/23/08 Utah Phillips, 73, folk legend

5/23/08 Earle H. Hagen, 88, wrote TV themes and "Harlem Nocturne"

5/24/08 Sonny Okosuns, 61, Nigerian singer

5/25/08 Connie Vitale, 61, Kansas City retail store owner

5/28/08 Jerry Cole, 68, session guitarist

5/31/08 Pretty Black, 25, Oakland rapper

6/02/08 Bo Diddley, 79, rock pioneer

6/03/08 James DeRigne, 53, Kansas City record store owner and drummer

6/14/08 Esbjorn Svensson, 44, jazz pianist of EST

6/28/08 Ronnie Matthews, 72, jazz pianist

7/07/08 Bobby Durham, 71, jazz drummer

7/13/08 Gerald Wiggins, 86, jazz pianist

7/22/08 Joe Beck, 62, jazz guitarist

7/25/08 Johnny Griffin, 80. jazz saxophonist

7/25/08 Hiram Bullock, 52, session guitarist

7/25/08 Michael Berniker, 73, producer

7/31/08 Yusuf Salim, 79, jazz pianist

7/31/08 Lee Young, 94, jazz drummer, producer and brother of Lester

8/02/08 Erik Darling, 74, folk artist of Rooftop Singers

8/10/08 Isaac Hayes, 65, soul giant

8/11/08 Don Helms, 71, steel guitarist for Hank Williams

8/15/08 Jerry Wexler, 91, R&B producer

8/16/08 Ronnie Drew, 73, Dubliners,

8/16/08 Dizzy Johnny Moore, 70, trumpeter in the Skatalites

8/16/08 Caymmi, 94, Brazilian songwriter

8/18/08 Pervis Jackson, 70, original member of the Spinners

8/19/08 LeRoi Moore, 46, Dave Matthews Band saxophonist

5/31/08 Pretty Black, 25, Oakland rapper

8/20/08 Phil Guy, 68, blues artist

8/21/08 Jerry Finn, 39, producer and mixer

8/23/08 Steve Foley, 49, drummed for the Replacements

8/23/08 Jimmy Cleveland, 82, jazz trombonist

8/28/08 Gilbert Moorer, 67, Esquires vocalist

9/01/08 Jerry Reed, 71, country star

9/09/08 Bheki Mseleku, 53, jazz pianist

9/12/08 Charlie Walker, 81, Grand Ole Opry member

9/15/08 Richard Wright, 65, Pink Floyd

9/16/08 Norman Whitfield, 65, Motown songwriter

9/19/08 Earl Palmer, 84, legendary drummer

9/20/08 Nappy Brown, 78, blues artist

9/20/08 Steve Gray, 64, session musician

9/22/08 Connie Haines, 87, big band vocalist

9/26/08 Marc Moulin, 66, Belgian jazz fusion artist

9/29/08 Pat Crumly, 66, British saxophonist

10/01/08 Nick Reynolds, 75, original member of the Kingston Trio

10/03/08 Johnny "J", 39, hip hop producer

10/11/08 Alton Ellis, 68, reggae star

10/11/08 Neal Hefti, 85, TV and jazz composer

10/15/08 Edie Adams, 81, singer and pitch woman

11/16/08 Tony Reedus, 49, jazz drummer

10/17/08 Levi Stubbs, 72, Four Tops vocalist

10/18/08 Dave McKenna, 78, jazz pianist

10/18/08 Dee Dee Warwick, 63, soul singer

10/19/08 Rudy Ray Moore, 81, comedian, musician and filmmaker

10/24/08 Merl Saunders, 74, keyboardist

10/25/08 Muslim Magomayev, 66, Russian pop star

10/15/08 Frankie Venom, 51, Teenage Head

10/24/08 Ray Ellis, 84, arranger for Johnny Mathis, Bobby Darin, Four Lads

10/30/08 Nathaniel Mayer, 64, Detroit soul singer

10/30/08 Mike Terry, 68, Motown saxophonist

10/31 Frank Navetta, 46, Descendants guitarist

11/01/08 Yma Sumac, 86, quirky exotica artist

11/02/08 Jimmy Carl Black, 70, Native American rock musician

11/04/08 Byron Lee, 73, Jamaican innovator

11/09/08 Miriam Makeba, 76, South African singer

11/09/08 Mitch Mitchell, 61, drummer for Jimi Hendrix

11/22/08 MC Breed, 36, rapper

11/22/08 Nico Rohas, 87, Cuban musician

11/23/08 Richie Edwards, 27 (declared dead), Manic Street Preachers

11/23/08 Robert Lucas, 46, blues man

11/24/08 Kenny Maclean, 51, Platinum Blonde bassist

12/02/08 Odetta, 77, folk artist

12/06/08 Alex McEwen, 73, British musician and businessman

12/07/08 Dennis Yost, 65, Classics IV vocalist

12/15/08 Davy Graham, 68, British folk musician

12/19/08 Page Cavanaugh, 86, jazz pianist

12/25/08 Eartha Kitt, 81, pop star

12/25/08 Robert Ward, 70, blues and soul man

12/27/08 Delaney Bramlett, 69, rock musician

12/29/08 Freddie Hubbard, 70, jazz trumpeter

(Original image of Isaac Hayes by There Stands the Glass.)

Freddie Hubbard, 1938-2008















Farewell, Freddie.

Although I was pleasantly surprised to spot extensive coverage of Freddie Hubbard's death in the mainstream media this week, the bad news was accompanied by a sense of wistfulness. It seems like the end of an era.

Wynton Marsalis (born 1961) aside, it's unlikely the the passing of another jazz trumpeter will receive prominent play. It's highly unlikely that the eventual deaths of Terence Blanchard (born 1962), John Faddis (born 1953), Roy Hargrove (born 1969) and Nicholas Payton (born 1973) will receive much attention. Exceptions might be made for Arturo Sandoval (born 1949), because of his dramatic life story, and Herb Alpert (born 1935), Chuck Mangione (born 1940) and Hugh Masekela (born 1939), for their crossover pop hits.

I'll remember Hubbard for his fiery work with Art Blakey, his contribution in 1964 to Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch and 1971's Red Clay. He made many subsequent appearances, however, including this date with Pancho Sanchez's Latin jazz group.

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Kansas City Click: My New Year's Eve pick is Alacartoona's early show at Jardine's.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Robert Ward, 1938-2008















Goodbye.

That guitar! Technicians explain that Robert Ward's unique sound was generated by a Magnatone amplifier, but I prefer to think that it's the result of magic. I first became aware of Ward when his triumphant comeback album Fear No Evil was issued in 1991. It's now out-of-print. Until then, I had no idea that it was Ward on the Falcons' epic hit "I Found a Love". Ward also was a founding member of the group that eventually evolved into the Ohio Players. And lest loyal There Stands the Glass reader BGO chide me for neglecting to mention it, Lonnie Mack repeatedly cited Ward as his primary influence. Ward died on Christmas Day.

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Present magazine published my list of Top Ten Kansas City-area music blogs. I forgot to include Demencha. Their December 20 post on Mad Marlon was, in the parlance of the hip hop site, dope.

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Kansas City Click: The Nace Brothers should make dancers happy tonight at Knuckleheads.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pentangle- Sally Go Round the Roses















Sally's at rest.

Let's get this straight up front. I don't dislike Fleet Foxes. I actually enjoy their debut album.

As the accolades for Fleet Foxes continue to pile up, however, I can hold my tongue no longer. It's not that I find it increasingly difficult to embrace new recordings that don't swing, thrash or thump. Most so-called indie rock doesn't do any of those things.

The source of my irritation doesn't lie with the music- it's with the self-proclaimed fans. I'd like to ask every advocate of Fleet Foxes these questions:

*Are you high? Seriously, sometimes I wonder if I'm the only guy in the room who isn't smoking something.

*Have you never heard Workingman's Dead? Hey, I genuinely like the Dead's first few studio albums. And so, obviously, do the Fleet Foxes. Yet I'd be willing to wager that most fans of Fleet Foxes wouldn't be caught dead at a concert by Bob Weir or It's a Beautiful Day.

*Can you convince me that you're not engaging in mindless group think? What if Fleet Foxes weren't signed to Sub Pop? What if they weren't from Seattle? What if they were, say, It's Over? As I furiously type this cranky essay, the not-so-dissimilar Kansas City band has three MySpace plays today. Fleet Foxes have 9,000. Even if you don't share my belief that It's Over is the better band, you can't tell me that Fleet Foxes are 3,000 times better. That's a highly suspect bandwagon.

I root for Fleet Foxes' continued success- perhaps a few of their fans will discover artists like John Renbourn. This 1969 effort with Pentangle, for example, is a clear blueprint for Fleet Foxes. It's available on this collection and on this reissue.

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Kansas City Click: Alaadeen leads a group at the Blue Room tonight.

The Rich Boys rock Ott's on Sunday.

Come Monday, Jazzbo hits Jazz.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Graham Parker- Soul Christmas















Boxed up.

Although he's a long-standing personal favorite, Graham Parker has been mentioned only in passing at There Stands the Glass. I own almost everything the crusty curmudgeon has issued. His catalog includes the obscure Christmas Cracker EP from '94. Featured on the disc are bonus demos. My favorite is this fantasy involving the likes of Little Milton, Don Covay and Eddie Floyd. "Hey, when is Aretha gonna show?" This is my favorite GP song. No wait- it's this. And what in the world is this- a shockingly slick 1977 appearance on Top of the Pops. Crazy!

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When worlds collide- my pal Jason Harper offers an alternate perspective of last Friday night's Grieves and Pendergast shows.

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Jason's blog also tipped me off to the impressive new video for the Beautiful Bodies' "Strut."

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I've liked Lily Allen since I became aware of her a couple years ago, but "The Fear" elevates the pop star from the category of merely "adorable" to "important artist" in the intricate internal ranking system at There Stands the Glass.

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Tupelo Chain Sex are so obscure that I used to wonder if I'd merely imagined seeing a band by that name at the Outhouse outside Lawrence, Kansas. They currently have twelve MySpace friends.

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Kansas City Click: The Nace Brothers should make dancers happy tonight at Knuckleheads.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Looking Good: Grieves and Pendergast






















What are rock stars and rappers supposed to look like? It shouldn't matter, of course, but Friday night I was forced to ponder the significance of physical appearance.

Neither Tony Ladesich of Pendergast nor Seattle rapper Grieves are candidates for the cover of next month's GQ magazine.

While at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club I wondered again why Pendergast never found a wider audience. The exceptional band toured with conviction. And hearing a few dozen true believers sing along with Ladesich's earnest songs confirmed their universal appeal. Why didn't more people embrace them?

Maybe it's looks. In an amusing profile of Ladesich, Jason Harper describes him as "Stocky. Broad. Ursine. Roughly the same shape but half the size of your average NFL center." While I think Ladesich is incredibly sexy, he's not going to be mistaken for Rhett Miller of the Old '97s.

Over at the Riot Room, Grieves was compelled to address his unlikely appearance. "I know I look like I'm seventeen," the twenty-something artist sighed.

Grieves more closely resembles an ill-conceived cartoon character than a rapper. Yet Grieves' appearance might ultimately work in his favor. He may never win over T.I.'s audience, but the Warped Tour set might eventually wholeheartedly embrace Grieves as a fellow outsider.

His current collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Budo greatly enhances Grieves' prospects. He could successfully open for Fall Out Goy, MGMT or M.I.A. tomorrow.

While Grieves' career in music is on an upward trajectory, Ladesich should take great comfort in knowing that his work with Pendergast meant a great deal to his fans. Count this pudgy, graying geek among them.

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Kansas City Click: Saxophonist David Brandom plays at the Blue Room tonight.

(Original image of Grieves by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

House of Badger- You Give Yourself Away















Hibernating.

Maybe, just maybe, Santa will bring me a turntable with a USB port this year. If that happens, I'll be confronted with a mountain of decisions.

Do I start by ripping my dad's outlaw country albums? I really miss listening to a handful of Solomon Burke obscurities from the '70s. I once bought a huge cache of piano jazz albums from a jittery guy in desperate need of cash; it'd be nice to put those in a digital format. But truth be told, I'd probably begin with "new wave" and "college rock" titles from '79-'87.

I have a pretty healthy collection of rarities by the likes of the Blake Babies, Pere Ubu, Let's Active, the Bush Tetras, Gang of Four and Public Image Ltd. I'll bet that the members of House of Badger already own a lot of that stuff. The Portland band's new album, Death Birds, immediately recalls the excitement and mystery of the left-of-the-dial heyday.

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I wrote a preview of Pendergast's final show. It's tonight at Davey's Uptown Rambler's Club. Yeah, I'll be there.

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I acted as a substitute speaker on KCUR's Up To Date broadcast this morning. It took me about fifteen minutes to settle down but I had a great time. You can even download the show if you feel the need to hear me chat about selections including the Game, Nas and the Streets.

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Sean Byrne, vocalist of the Count Five, died Monday.

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Kansas City Click: Mac Lethal and the Black Clover crew's annual Christmas party moves to the Riot Room tonight.

Kinto Sol perform at Bartle Hall Saturday.

On Sunday, Nelly gets derrty at the VooDoo.

(Photo pilfered from www.houseofbadger.com.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Craig Pilo- Awkwardly Mobile















Moved on.

Drummer Craig Pilo is the owner of a wacky list of credits. Since graduating from the University of North Texas College of Music in 1995, he's toured and recorded with artists ranging from Pat Boone to the Red Elvises. He's also toured with Frankie Valli, Player and Edgar Winter. Pile's fine 2007 release Just Play provides insights into the versatile artist's personal taste. As with the rest of the project, "Awkwardly Mobile" evokes jazz fusion works by the likes of Herbie Hancock. It's a sound well worth revisiting. (Students of drumming will appreciate the performance videos included on the enhanced disc.)

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A painfully revealing fan video of Elvis performing "Blue Christmas" in Kansas City was recently uploaded to YouTube. The star died two months later.

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Connie Dover and the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra have issued a new Christmas title.

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Kansas City Click: Kim Sivils and Steve Rigazzi perform a matinee at Jardine's today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Davy Graham, 1940-2008















Farewell.

British guitarist Davy Graham died Monday.

His innovations influenced folk artists John Renbourn, Bert Jansch and Martin Carthy. Jimmy Page probably learned a thing or two from Graham. And whether they know it or not, today's freak-folk crowd is also in Graham's debt. His '60s recordings fused jazz, folk, blues and rock in entirely new ways.

Presumably, 1977's The Complete Guitarist is so named because Graham offers sixteen vastly differing solo works. Celtic, classical, jazz, folk and blues are represented in a solo format. I selected "Hardiman the Fiddler" for its brevity; I highly recommend all of it.

The Guardian compiles and annotates five Graham videos.

(Tip via BGO.)

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Before heaping praise on the Rum Drum Ramblers, one of the two co-owners of St. Louis' Vintage Vinyl- I assume it's Tom, but it could be Lou- articulates my sentiment about today's blues scene:

"There's a whole lot of what is called blues but really isn't... Do we ever need to hear anyone record that BB King or Elmore James song every lazy bar band can knock out in a slow walk? Yes, we have had so much heaped on our heads, in the name of blues, but so damn little that's original and shows players using the form to drive nails in the head and heart."

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Kansas City Click: KoolAide and the Exact Change Band appear at the Kansas City Blues & Jazz Juke House tonight.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Perhapst- Incense Cone

















Burned out.

Had I heard it earlier, the self-titled debut by Perhapst might have cracked my year-end Top 25 album list. Perhapst is the alias of John Moen, drummer of The Decemberists. Yet his project is largely free of the cabaret and art-song impulses associated with that celebrated band. The delirious pop of "Blue Year," for instance, proudly features more cowbell. "Maryanne" recalls Matthew Sweet's power pop crunch, while the melodic folk of "Cruel Whisk" is reminiscent of acoustic John Lennon. Elsewhere, Moen jangles like the Byrds and jingles like Brian Wilson. It's no surprise that Stephen Malkmus contributes to the recording. Moen is also clearly a fan of Pavement.

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I bought the "new" Fat Tone release at 7th Heaven over the weekend. The store's staff assures me that Da Saga Continues contains only previously unreleased material. The Kansas City rapper was murdered in Las Vegas in 2005.

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Do you remember Kansas City-area shoegaze band Shallow? They had a brief flirtation with international stardom in the '90s. They're now working again as The Capsules.

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I summarize the year in Kansas City jazz at Plastic Sax.

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Kansas City Click: Neil Diamond brings "The Gift of Song" to the Sprint Center on Monday.

(Image from Perhapst's MySpace account.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Helen Kane- Don't Be Like That















It's no longer like that.

Bettie Page died yesterday. She was 85.

I'm not familiar enough with Page's dramatic career arc to know if she intentionally channeled the persona of cartoon character Betty Boop. The resemblance certainly didn't stop at their first names. In any case, the two icons occupy the same general excitable area of my mind.

The Betty Boop character, at least in part, was modeled on Helen Kane. The "boop-boop-a-doop" catchphrase was Kane's invention. I'm tempted to listen to nothing but this excellent collection all weekend.

"Don't Be Like That" was recorded eighty years ago. It's still irresistibly sexy. Just like those snapshots of Bettie Page.

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Need to smile? Here's Kane singing "He's So Unusual." It's priceless.

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Present offers a clever extended inside joke about Mongol Beach Party.

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Kansas City Click: E-40 is scheduled to appear with Rich the Factor at Club Dallas tonight. (Details are sketchy; the show is not listed at E-40's official sites.)

Hidden Pictures and Andrew Morgan make a fine double bill Saturday at Czar Bar.

On Sunday the Record Bar offers its bi-weekly "alternative jazz series".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Charlie McCoy- Staggering Blues















Fallen.

I'm a devotee of acoustic blues. I rarely feature the style at There Stands the Glass only because a handful of specialty sites already do an outstanding job of presenting the form. But I'm in the mood today.

The 24 tracks on Complete 1928-1932 Recordings reveal the remarkably prescient voice of Charlie McCoy. Working under his own name or in groups including the Mississippi Mud Steppers and the Jackson Blue Boys, McCoy's creative arrangements presage the music of today. The vocal interjections of Rosie Mae Moore on "Staggering Blues" could have been made by Lady Sovereign or Missy Elliott.

According to the invaluable liner notes, McCoy died in 1950 at "a Psychopathic Hospital in Chicago." I featured Charlie's brother "Kansas" Joe 13 months ago. Need more? Try "Last Time Blues".

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Dennis Yost of Classics IV died Sunday. Check out Yost's slacks on this vintage video. (Tip via BGO.)

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Kansas City Click: Gerald Spaits and Charles Perkins collaborate tonight at the Blue Room.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Aaron Neville- The Shadow of Your Smile















Closed lips.

A popular Kansas City jazz, soul and gospel vocalist is renowned for her incredibly powerful voice. She's fully capable of shaking the rafters in spite of her diminutive size. At Plastic Sax, I mention the effect her rich voice had on an audience Sunday.

She's the opposite of Aaron Neville. His large frame contains a thin, small voice. Yet it somehow manages to bypass most emotional filters to strike directly at the human soul. "The Shadow of Your Smile" is just one of a dozen standards on Neville's lushly recorded 2003 album. Although the setting is worlds removed from early New Orleans hits like "Hercules", it's no less compelling.

The 67-year-old performs tonight at Harrah's Casino.

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"Top City, what's up!" Ill Roots offers It Ain't Easy Bein' Skinny, a free Stik Figa mixtape. The Topeka rapper is a There Stands the Glass favorite.

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Kansas City Click: Aaron Neville will fill the VooDoo Lounge with delighted sighs tonight.

Friday, December 05, 2008

J.J. Cale- Sho-Biz Blues















Shuffled away.

Live music almost never bores me, but I'm still recovering from a stultifying J.J. Cale concert I witnessed as a teenager. I was just looking for something to do; opting for the man's laid-back charm was not a wise choice. Cale turns 70 today. While I'm still significantly younger than Cale I'm old enough to understand the appeal of the Okie's trademark shuffle. "Sho-Biz Blues," from the 1991 release Closer To Home, is representative of the man's sensibility.

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Last night a guy asked me if I was a "rock journalist." I don't think I qualify- a genuine rock journalist would never give Hinder a positive review.

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Cuban musician Nico Rojas died November 22 in Havana. (Tip via BGO.)

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Blip continues to destroy my productivity. The sole upside of the addiction is that I haven't purchased recorded music in weeks- CDs and albums would only eat into my Blip time.

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Kansas City Click: Carol Duboc sings at Jardine's tonight.

The Tambourine Club hits the Brick on Saturday.

Community Christian Church hosts Carol Fest on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Odetta, 1930-2008















Goodbye.

Odetta was part of my childhood. When the producers of televised events wanted to add a sense of dignified importance to their broadcasts, it seemed that they'd often call on the regal woman to perform. Sunday school teachers and elementary school staffers sometimes followed suit. Consequently, Odetta was the type of artist that I admired but rarely enjoyed. "All the Pretty Horses" captures the sense of hushed importance I associate with the folk singer. It's available on this fine compilation of folk classics. Odetta died yesterday.

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One-time Kansas Citian Mike Terry, a saxophonist heard on Motown hits including "Heat Wave" and "This Old Heart of Mine," died October 30. (Tip via BGO.)

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Charles Ferruzza composed a fine tribute to Kansas City composer and critic Virgil Thomson.

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Kansas City Click: New Vintage Big Band swings into B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ tonight.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seeing Sounds: 2008 In Review






















The 25 Best Albums of 2008
1. Erykah Badu- New Amerikah Part One (4th World War)
2. Atmosphere- When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Sh*t Gold
3. The Game- LAX
4. Julieta Venegas- MTV Unplugged
5. Tech N9ne- Killer
6. Duffy- Rockferry
7. Chick Corea & Gary Burton- The New Crystal Silence
8. Girl Talk- Feed the Animals
9. Wynton Marsalis & Willie Nelson- Two Men With the Blues
10. Lil Wayne- Tha Carter III
11. N*E*R*D- Seeing Sounds
12. The Streets- Everything Is Borrowed
13. The Hold Steady- Stay Positive
14. 9th Wonder & Buckshot- The Formula
15. Nas- Nas
16. Ice Cube- Raw Footage
17. Ron Ron- Mr. No It All
18. The Saturday Knights- Mingle
19. Adele- Chasing Pavement
20. Two Cow Garage- Speaking In Cursive
21. The Gaslight Anthem- The '59 Sound
22. Steddy P- Dear Columbia
23. Coldplay- Viva la Vida
24. Dizzee Rascal- Maths + English
25. Kanye West- 808's & Heartbreak
For the first time in years, I haven't fallen in love with any new albums. Each of these titles is flawed. I placed Badu's glorious mess on top because she seems to be laughing at the blemishes in her music.

The 25 Best Songs of 2008
1. Noel Gourdin- "The River"
2. Marvin Sapp- "Never Would Have Made It"
3. Nas- "Be A N***** Too"
4. T.I.- "No Matter What"
5. Wiley- "Cash In My Pocket"
6. Jazmine Sullivan- "Need U Bad"
7. Ashton Shepherd- "Takin' Off This Pain"
8. Coldplay- "Viva La Vida"
9. Dolly Parton- "Jesus & Gravity"
10. Jaheim- "Never"
11. Trace Adkins- "You're Gonna Miss This"
12. Airborne- "Too Much Too Young Too Fast"
13. AC/DC- "Rock 'N Roll Train"
14. Idle Warship- "Fall Back"
15. Lil Wayne- "A Milli"
16. Kid Rock- "All Summer Long"
17. Eric Benet- "You're the Only One"
18. Hot Stylz- "Lookin' Boy"
19. Lyfe Jennings- "Never Never Land"
20. Lee Ann Womack- "Last Call"
21. Young Jeezy- "Put On"
22. Solange- "I Decided"
23. Janelle Monae- "Many Moons"
24. Sevendust- "Prodigal Son"
25. Ben Folds with Regina Spektor- "You Don't Know Me"
Lord, how I love "The River."

The Ten Best Songs of 2008 By Kansas City Artists
1. Donta Slusha- "Check My Posture"
2. XTA-C- "2 Fingers and a Hook (KC Anthem)"
3. Tech N9ne- "Crybaby"
4. The Abracadabras- "Petty Politics"
5. Ghosty- "Dumbo Wins Again"
6. Sliccs Gotcha- "Off Da Chain"
7. Barclay Martin- "Queen of This Town"
8. Innate Sounds- "Raise Up"
9. Mac Lethal- "Black Widow Spider"
10. Koufax- "Any Moment Now"
Although the rest of the world isn't paying much attention, it's been a great year for local music.

The 25 Best Live Performances of 2008
1. Alison Krauss & Robert Plant- Starlight Theater (fan video)
2. Maxwell- Uptown Theater
3. Tech N9ne- Uptown Theater (April show) (fan footage)
4. Stone Temple Pilots- Liberty Memorial (fan footage)
5. Kid Rock- Sprint Center (fan footage)
6. Sarah Buxton- Power & Light
7. Luciano- Beaumont Club (backstage footage)
8. Nikka Costa- Record Bar
9. Fourth of July- McCoys
10. The Mars Volta- Beaumont Club (fan footage)
11. Mac Lethal- Riot Room
12. Wynton Marsalis & the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra- Folly Theater
13. ZZ Top- Midland Theater
14. T.I.- Sandstone Amphitheater
15. Rodney Crowell- Frontier Park
16. Stefon Harris- Folly Theater
17. The Misfits- VooDoo Lounge
18. Busy Bee- Liberty Hall
19. Kristin Hersh- house party in Lee's Summit, MO
20. Ashes Divide- Liberty Memorial
21. Slipknot- Sandstone Amphitheater (fan footage)
22. Drowning Pool- VooDoo Lounge
23. The Redwalls- The Record Bar
24. Say Anything- Power & Light
25. Atmosphere- Liberty Hall
These are the best of the 253 individual performances I've witnessed so far in 2008.

The Five Best Opening Acts of 2008
1. Brandi Carlile (for Sheryl Crow at Starlight Theater)
2. Thrice (for Rise Against at the Uptown Theater)
3. Tesla (for Queensryche at the Midland Theater)
4. Meg & Dia (for Plain White T's at the Beaumont Club)
5. Lil Mama (for Chris Brown at the Sprint Center) (fan footage)
The headliners never stood a chance.

The Five Most Disappointing Live Performances of 2008
1. The Roots- VooDoo Lounge (fan footage)
2. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band- Sprint Center (fan footage)
3. Lazy Lester- KCK Street Blues Festival
4. M.I.A.- Liberty Hall (fan footage)
5. Matisyahu- Crossroads KC (fan footage)
I had high hopes for each of these concerts; my expectations were not met.

(Original image of Dia Frampton of Meg & Dia by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Robert Lucas, 1962-2008















Farewell.

Robert Lucas was signing autographs the last time I saw him. He had just played a set with Canned Heat at a blues festival in Kansas City three or four years ago. I didn't catch the performance; I have a strong antipathy for recycled boogie. Yet I recall that image for two reasons. Almost every one of his fans was a biker. I was also struck by the thought that Lucas seemed far too young to be in the band. He was just 46 when he died Sunday. Layaway is one of several solid solo albums in which Lucas splits the difference between Howlin' Wolf and Tom Waits. (Tip via BGO.)

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MC Breed died Saturday.

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Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers has been declared dead. It's a sad story. (Tip via BGO.)

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I reviewed Tech N9ne's show Saturday night.

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Mac Lethal's life almost ends at the 3:30 mark of this otherwise pointless Soulcrate Music tour vlog.

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I briefly ponder MURS, the Clash and the concept of selling out here.

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Kansas City Click: I could stop at the Czar Bar after tonight's Kansas-Syracuse game to catch Ghosty.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Corey Crowder- Love















The affair has ended.

Mainstream country radio hasn't quite figured out that dudes don't want to hear Taylor Swift. Most men want beer-drinkin' music with brains and (please forgive the crude indiscretion) balls.

That's Corey Crowder. He's staked out some valuable property on the musical landscape somewhere to the south of Dierks Bentley and just a little to the west of the Allman Brothers. He'd be an appropriate opening act for both Kid Rock and Tim McGraw.

I could use a little more punk-styled grit on his new Tooth & Nail release Gold and the Sand, but Crowder's tendency to keep James Taylor's melodic monolith in sight will probably serve him well.

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Stop the presses! There's a late contender for 2008's song of the year. It's Wiley's "Cash In My Pocket". The accompanying video is also great.

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This video moves me, and I'm not even a big Coldplay fan. (Found via a Twitter pal.)

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Hammerlord is my new favorite local metal band.

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I finally got around to watching an episode of Celebrity Rehab. A Google search confirmed my immediate hunch- one of the counselors is Bob Forrest of Thelonious Monster!

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Kansas City Click: Tech N9ne returns to the Uptown Theater tonight.

Stefon Harris plays vibes Saturday at the Folly Theater.

Soulfly top the bill Sunday at the Beaumont.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Suzpecial- Break Away

















Broken.

Musical epiphanies inevitably become less frequent with age and experience.

While sound still sends chills down my spine on a regular basis, the most recent life-changing musical revelation I experienced came via the Run the Road compilation in 2005. It was my first exposure to British grime. The combination of Joy Division's iciness and hip hop's street poetry stunned me.

Much like many tracks on Atmosphere's When Life Gives You Lemons..., "Break Away" by Suzpecial bluntly addresses immediate domestic concerns. "I wish things were better..." I don't know if Suzpecial is guy, a duo or a collective. The British act doesn't blow my mind, but it's definitely effective.

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The Plain White T's are woefully misunderstood. Their effort Sunday night represented the second best power pop performance I've seen this year. (The Redwalls were better.) Here's my review. And look out for Meg & Dia in '09.

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"We're the Get Up Kids from Kansas City, Missouri."

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I did my best to provoke Kansas City's jazz community today.

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I'm Weezer-neutral but I love Rivers Cuomo for his "Let's Write a Sawng" series. The new chapter is particularly interesting.

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Kansas City Click: Eldar's run at Jardine's continues through Thursday.

(Image from Suzpecial's MySpace.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Gaslight Anthem at the Uptown Theater






















"Welcome to Casual Friday," Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem told early arrivals Friday night at the Uptown Theater.

It was more like Opposite Day. The four bands on the tour- the Gaslight Anthem, Thrice, Alkaline Trio and Rise Against- were billed in reverse order of my personal preference.

Serving as the sacrificial opening act, the Gaslight Anthem were the most compelling band of the night. A thirty-minute opening slot at a punk show isn't the ideal forum to make a case for being the future of rock'n'roll. While the Gaslight Anthem didn't send shivers down my spine, they also did nothing to dissuade my faith in their potential.

Significantly, they weren't manic, sloppy and self-destructive like comparable true believers the Hold Steady or the Replacements. The Gaslight Anthem tried their best. Welcome to the new sincerity.

The emotional dynamics of "We Came To Dance" recalled fellow New Jersey resident Bruce Springsteen. (It was sort of like this.) "Angry Johnny and the Radio" sounded a lot like "Breakdown"-era Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. (It felt something like this.)

Only time will tell if Fallon can achieve Springsteen-esque success. He may instead become a cult favorite like Joe Grushecky or Garland Jeffreys. Either way, I intend to be listening attentively. (The band returns to Kansas City December 10 for a radio station event at the Midland Theater.)

Thrice was second. Their brawny post-punk floored me. I had no idea that the Californians had progressed into an incredibly interesting band. Imagine Tool without the arena-rock impulses. A faithful cover of "Helter Skelter" seemed only natural.

Alkaline Trio provide the answer to an awkward question: What would have become of Green Day if Billie Joe Armstrong had never been struck with inspiration? The near-capacity crowd of about 1,400, however, didn't share my cynicism. Many sang along with every punk anthem. The Gaslight Anthem's Fallon joined them for a set-ending Misfits cover.

Blame it on election fatigue. I just wasn't in the mood for the strident political protest punk of Rise Against. I found watching the sea of people on the floor more entertaining than listening to the headliners. I left early.

After all, it was Opposite Day.

(Image of Brian Fallon taken from Rise of Beachmont's Flickr account.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jose Feliciano- Hot Burrito #1















Consumed.

Juanes may have cleaned up at last night's Latin Grammy Awards, but it also seemed that Jose Feliciano was everywhere. Univision made him the star of their red carpet coverage. He was visible when the cameras panned the audience. He was featured on the tribute to Gloria Estefan. And he even won the Best Contemporary Tropical Album award.

I had no idea that the 63-year-old remains so relevant. Young readers may be startled to hear that Feliciano's version of "Light My Fire" was probably more popular than the Doors' original. And do any of you remember his theme to Chico and the Man? Oh, (bad) memories.

Feliciano also recorded a soulful version of this Gram Parsons classic. It's contained on an insanely great collection. As good as it is, it makes me long for an Elvis Presley treatment.

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My favorite performance last night was by the wonderful Julieta Venegas. Banda El Recodo blew my mind. Just look at the size of that band! It's also going to take a lot of tequila to erase the memory of Karyme Lozano snogging Kenny G's soprano sax.

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I also watched the CMA Awards Wednesday night. How tedious was it? I thought the three best performances were by Kid Rock, the Eagles and Kenny Chesney.

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Kansas City Click: The Gaslight Anthem, the subject of the previous There Stands the Glass post, open the show tonight at the Uptown Theater.

Kelley Hunt has a Kansas City-themed show Saturday at the Blue Room.

The Get Up Kids reunite for a Sunday show at the Record Bar.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Gaslight Anthem- Miles Davis & the Cool















On to the next town.

Passion. Desperation. Sweat. Faith. Simplicity. Hope.

Perhaps it was Chuck Berry who first successfully combined these disparate elements in a rock'n'roll song. He's been followed by the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bruce Springsteen, Social Distortion and the Hold Steady. Add the Gaslight Anthem to that distinctive list.

I'm just one of thousands who have fallen hard for the band this year. I was actually disappointed when I first heard "The '59 Sound" on commercial radio. I selfishly wanted the band to myself for a while; I'm angry that I hadn't discovered them a year or two ago. The New Jersey-based quartet is clearly the breakout rock act of 2008.

How could I resist "Miles Davis & the Cool"? In addition to the explicit reference of the title, the song alludes to Otis Redding, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello. The '59 Sound is loaded with similarly memorable anthems.

The Gaslight Anthem's world tour takes them to Denver tonight. I hope to catch them at Kansas City's Uptown Theater on Friday. They'll also be featured on tomorrow's Fuse's "On Tour" broadcast at 6:30 p.m. EST.

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Mac Lethal, Grieves and Soulcrate Music unite for this new Black Clover video.

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Mitch Mitchell died this week. I was shocked to learn that he was only 62; Mitchell was just a baby while drumming for Jimi Hendrix. This essay is disrespectful but highly entertaining. The author references this remarkable video footage. It's probably how Mitchell would like to be remembered.

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Kansas City Click: Bram Wijnands is joined by Hal Melia at the Blue Room.

(Image from the Gaslight Anthem's MySpace.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Miriam Makeba, 1932-2008















Farewell.

I can't find the link, but I recently read about a prominent entertainer who had set funding aside for the making of a biopic with an as-yet undetermined subject. "That's crazy," I thought at the time. "Just pick a person already." If that celebrity read an obituary of Miriam Makeba this week, that speculation has surely ended. What an epic life "Mama Africa" lived! The high political, social and personal drama of Makeba's life spanned continents. She's heard here on a 1959 selection available on a typically excellent Rough Guide disc.

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Cafe Tacuba disappointed me Saturday night. Here's my review.

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Blip continues to wreck my life.

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Kansas City Click: I continue to believe that "Dumbo Wins Again" is one of the best songs of 2008. Ghosty will play it tonight at the Czar Bar.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Esbjorn Svensson Trio- From Gagarin's Point of View















Farewell.

Five months have passed since the accidental death of Esbjorn Svensson. It's become increasingly apparent that the loss is one of the most significant of 2008. The European musician was 44. The Swede might have had decades of innovative, groundbreaking ahead.

I'll confess that I've resisted acknowledging the fact that much of the most interesting jazz of the last decade has come from Europe. Perhaps it's because musicians there are not confronted daily with the American politics of jazz. Europeans are freer.

Svensson infused jazz with elements of rock, new age, classical and electronica without cheapening the music. That's a rare feat. This track from an out-of-print 2001 release is a fine example. This stylized video is also instructive.

I'm a strong advocate of forward-thinking jazz acts like the Bad Plus. While Svensson was certainly part of that generational surge, he was also doing something that felt deeper and even more promising.

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I must have a minimum of five hours of sleep in order to function as a human being. The outstanding Atmosphere show I attended Thursday night/Friday morning wiped me out. Here's my zombie-esque review.

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Ray Ellis, arranger for the likes of the Four Lads, Bobby Darin and Doris Day, died October 24. (Tip via BGO.)

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Kansas City Click: Tim Finn composed a great feature about Abigail Henderson. I previewed Saturday's benefit show at Davey's Uptown and Sunday's benefit show at the Record Bar in Tuesday's post.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Welcome To the Future


"Welcome to the future" is the annoying catchphrase of one of my good friends. It serves as an appropriate theme as I break with the usual format of There Stands the Glass to comment on three irregular topics.

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I caught Hat Triq at my neighborhood shopping center the other day. Their very existence brings to life the theory that Guitar Hero and Rock Band are changing the way popular music is being consumed. I don't know these pre-teens and this video of them struggling through the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California" isn't mine. The original version of the song is featured on Rock Band; I'd be willing to wager everything that the band grew directly out of video play. Is this a good thing? I think so.

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I laughed at the recent spate of essays suggesting that Twitter will render blogging irrelevant. How could a 140-character post compete with this format? Well, I discovered Blip last week. The ingenious site marries the social networking of Twitter with the joyous sense of discovery provided by music blogs. I became addicted instantly. Here's my Blip account.

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While I'm on the subject, here's my Twitter account and my new Facebook account. There Stands the Glass will return to its usual format tomorrow- if I find the willpower to break away from Blip.

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Kansas City Click: Joey DeFrancesco hits the Blue Room tonight.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Benefit For Abigail Henderson





















Thanks, Howard.

Start making your plans for the weekend. Two of the best parties in Kansas City will be benefits in support of Abigail Henderson. The full schedule is here.

Friends and fans of the songwriter and vocalist, best known as a member of The Gaslights, are assisting Henderson with medical bills incurred by a bout with inflammatory breast cancer. Details are at Apocalypse Meow. I also recommend Hope Is My Middle Name, Henderson's deeply affecting blog.

Ten acts are participating Saturday at Davey's Uptown. Highlights include a reunion of local favorites Parlay and Sandoval. It's also likely the only time that the off-color sleaze of Bacon Shoe and the sincere folk of Kasey Rausch will share the same bill.

The nine acts Sunday at the Record Bar may be even more impressive. They include a Sister Mary Rotten Crotch reunion, the Pedal Jets, Kristie Stremel and Pendergast.

There Stands the Glass favorite Howard Iceberg is performing at Davey's Saturday. He'll also be selling November Nights, his first CD in five years. The package includes a DVD containing footage of Henderson performing with Iceberg and the Titanics. All proceeds from the sale of November Nights will go directly to Henderson.

The Pitch recently designated Iceberg as Kansas City's Best Songwriter. "Sentimental"- available on the benefit CD- shows why.

EDIT: The Titan Records listening party at the Record Bar Saturday afternoon is also part of the Henderson benefit. Read more about the new reissue Titan: It's All Pop! at Back To Rockville.

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There Stands the Glass trainspotters: While composing this post, I discovered that this is the third time I've featured Iceberg. Ike Turner is the only other artist I've highlighted more than once in about 700 posts.

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Yma Sumac died Saturday. Man, I hadn't even realized that she was still with us. (Tip via BGO.)

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Jimmy Carl Black died Sunday. His late-career freak-folk collaboration with Eugene Chadbourne was remarkably prescient.

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My pal BGO recently let me know that Frankie Venom died on October 15. I loved Teenage Head.

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Kansas City Click: Hat Triq will almost certainly be pedestrian when they perform at Foo's this afternoon. But I love the idea of pre-teens playing Green Day and Ramones covers.

(Photo of Henderson lifted from Facebook.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chet Baker- Balzwaltz
















We all miss Chet.

Because jazz still held a bit of cultural currency when Chet Baker died in 1988, the circumstances of his somewhat notorious demise received a great deal of media play. The stunning documentary Let's Get Lost was released the same year, and Baker's association with young rock artists including Flea had the trumpeter enjoying a late-career vogue. In spite of the presence of Larry Coryell, Buster Williams and Tony Williams, this German session from 1979 is the most obscure title in my library of Baker recordings.

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The constant campaigning is really starting to bug me. It's not politics. Horrified that I wasn't even considering Santogold for my year-end top ten list, two of my best friends are demanding that I open my ears. I don't dislike her; I just can't get over the strong sonic resemblance to Missing Persons, a band I associate with bad times.

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I'd like to begin using Yahoo's Media Player, but I'm having a hard time getting it properly installed. Please let me know if you're willing to hold my hand or give me any insider tips.

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Kansas City Click: Around the time of Baker's death I loved to hang out at the Levee. The last of the Blue Devils- including Sonny Kenner and Claude "Fiddler" Williams- regularly played there. I haven't been inside the club in ages, but I've been meaning to catch their reggae night. Elisha Israel and AZ One are featured this evening.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Merl Saunders, 1934-2008
















Goodbye, Merl.

What's that saying? "Don't hate the player, hate the game."

I've always taken the opposite approach. I love the game; it's the players I don't always care for.

There Stands the Glass rarely references the jam band movement.

But in my world view, exceptions aren't just made- they're embraced.

Merl Saunders is a prime example. The man made all sorts of compelling music and diligently played small club dates both before and after the death of his sometime associate Jerry Garcia.

The genial groove of "M.S." is found on this 2000 release. And for personal reasons, I also have great affection for Saunders' Blues From the Rainforest.

Saunders died last week.

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Miles Bonny offers a free "Soundtrack to a Presidency" mix featuring the likes of Donny, Stevie and Curtis.

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Popular Russian vocalist Muslim Magomayev died October 25. This nationalist video is really creepy. (Tip via Meesha.)

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The new album by The Cure really appeals to me, and I'm not even much of a fan.

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Kansas City Click: The wonderful Alexi Murchoch opens for Alanis Morisette tonight at the Midland.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mac Lethal As "The Local Opener"






















With ears ringing and a bounce in my step, I hustled from the Sprint Center to the Riot Room Saturday night.

Although Metallica's concert was immensely satisfying, I also wanted to catch Mac Lethal's semi-secret show at the Riot Room.

He was billed as "The Local Opener" on a Black Clover label showcase and was on stage when I arrived. I was told that he'd spent the first portion of his set premiering new material. Someone had joined him on the new electro-style track "Go! Motorcycle"- I assume the guest was next-big-thing XV, although I never spotted my fellow Kansan. (It's interesting that both Mac and Kanye West are gravitating toward an electro-techno style.)

What I saw of Mac- particularly the renditions of "Black Widow Spider" and "Rotten Apple Pie"- was typically cathartic.

Mac's at an important crossroads in his career; the top-quality video for "Calm Down Baby," perhaps his definitive song, was officially unleashed on the world last week.

Soulcrate Music, three amiable guys from South Dakota, had improved markedly since their previous Kansas City show. Their goofy Halloween-themed "Stealing Kid's Candy" was particularly fun.

The unappealing sight of Grieves, the night's headliner, swapping spit with an attractive young lady at the bar, combined with the sudden realization that my ears were practically bleeding, had me out the door before Grieves took his turn in the spotlight.






















(Original images of Mac Lethal, top, and Soulcrate Music, bottom, by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Paul Mussan- 59fifty






















Bald.

I don't wear a hat. And on the rare occasions when I feel the need, I just slap a beer gimme cap on my melon. Kansas City rapper Paul Mussan gets all scientific about the subject on this song. Our sartorial differences aside, I recognize that Mussan is one of his town's most promising hip hop artists.

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Maxwell was everything his fans had hoped for last night. Here's my review. Don't miss the professional photographer's stunning documentation.

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Kansas City Click: The latest reports indicate that LL Cool J will open for Janet Jackson tonight at the Sprint Center. This is one of my all-time favorite recordings.

The Black Clover Records roster will pack the Riot Room on Saturday.

Akil The MC is Sunday's headliner at the Record Bar.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rudy Ray Moore, 1937-2008




















Thanks, Rudy.

I clearly recall the smackdown I received when I made a sales call on an urban-oriented retailer about twenty years ago. The store owner made a series of references that sailed way over my head. "That's Rudy Ray Moore, son!" he chided. "Don't tell me you don't know about Dolemite!" I didn't. That entrepreneur would still disapprove of me- I can hardly listen to Moore's material to this day. It's just too dirty. "Health Department" is easily the least objectionable track on This Ain't No White Christmas. I know it's heresy, but I actually prefer the Little Richard-style material found on this collection. Moore died October 19.

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Rod Warner, one of my favorite music bloggers, is working on a book about "the street music scene in London, Paris and beyond during the sixties." Check out this evocative post.

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Here's my review of Sunday's concert by Queensryche, Tesla, MiniKiss and the Leo Project.

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I'm pretty sure I have some Dee Dee Warwick in my collection, but for now I'll just note that the R&B vocalist died October 18. (Tip via BGO.)

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Kansas City Click: Olympic Size and American Catastrophe make themselves at home at the Czar Bar tonight.

Dave McKenna, 1930-2008

















Farewell.

His obituary in the New York Times quotes Dave McKenna as once suggesting that he played "saloon piano." He repeated the assertion in the liner notes to the gorgeous 1989 Maybeck Recital series session. If that's the case, I need to start hanging out in better saloons. His swing and bop-informed stride style will be missed. Thankfully, a great deal of fine McKenna footage is available on YouTube. He wrings every bit of wistfulness out of "Some Other Time".

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I've been at a loss as to how to memorialize Levi Stubbs. He died October 17. Substantially rougher, grittier and more emotive than Smokey, Marvin or any of the Temptations, Stubbs was easily my favorite male vocalist among Motown's top stars. The Four Tops were featured at There Stands the Glass eight months ago.

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Edie Adams died October 15. Until Friday, I'd never seen this crazy Muriel cigar spot co-starring Stan Getz.

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A drunk rock chick deliberately doused my camera in beer last night. It's ruined. Is photographing Mini Kiss really that objectionable? Until I buy a new camera I'll be copping images online. I know you're disappointed, but look at the bright side- it allows me to feature this atrocious McKenna album cover.

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Kansas City Click: I don't care what you think- I love Straylight Run's "Existentialism On Prom Night". They're on the bill at the Beaumont tonight.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Iain Matthews- New Shirt

















Clean.

It was odd at the time and it seems even stranger now.

NBA fans attending a Kansas City Kings game one night in the late '70s were handed copies of an album by British folk rock artist Ian Matthews. I recall being delighted, but I can't imagine that many other people who came to Kemper Arena to see Otis Birdsong and Sam Lacey play would have had any interest in Matthews' music.

I hadn't yet heard of Matthews or his previous bands Fairport Convention (don't miss this primal footage), Matthews Southern Comfort and Plainsong, but I've kept tabs on his career ever since.

Complicating matters, Matthews changed his first name from "Ian" to "Iain" with the release of Pure and Crooked in 1990. It's filled with great songs that are somewhat hampered by an overly polite production. "New Shirt," for instance, could have been a power pop smash in the hands of someone like Marshall Crenshaw or Lindsey Buckingham.

(Incidentally, iTunes lists the song as "New Shift." The mistake is appropriate given Matthews' history of near misses.)

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European jazz/electronica artist Marc Moulin died September 26. I have a weakness for grooves like "Into the Dark". (Found via ContemporaryJazz.com.)

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Kansas City Click: Octarium sing tonight at Visitation Church.

Tickets for Luis Miguel's concert Saturday at the Sprint Center start at $50.

I'd love to see the reactions of the volunteer ushers Sunday at the Folly Theater when Los Lobos starts playing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Johnny Darrell- Come See What's Left of Your Man

















Nothing's left.

The only thing better than a drinking song is a hangover song. With its references to the shakes, "Come See What's Left of Your Man" is one of the most extreme examples on record. Bad luck, an alleged obstreperous nature and hard-living habits tagged Johnny Darrell as one of country's original outlaws. There's no reason for fans of Waylon, Willie, Cash and Kris not to own this insanely great collection. It includes the original version of "With Pen In Hand", Darrell's sole big hit.

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Say it ain't so, Kanye! You issued my favorite album of 2007. And 2004's The College Dropout almost single-handedly revived my love of hip hop. I'm all for artistic exploration, but I'm sensing that I'm not going to appreciate the electro-pop of 808s & Heartbreak.

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Kansas City Click: Broken Social Scene and Land of Talk visit the Beaumont Club tonight.