Friday, July 25, 2008
This Kansas boy will plant his toes in the sands of California tomorrow. I'll return in August. Here are my recommendations for this weekend:
Kansas City Click: Join me at tonight's Mac Lethal, Grieves, Approach and Soulcrate Music show at the Beaumont.
The great Marty Stuart returns to the Folly Theater on Saturday.
I'm disappointed that I'll miss Rancid and the Architects at the Beaumont on Sunday.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Bye bye, Bobby.
My friend BGO hurt my feelings by once characterizing There Stands the Glass as "the obituary site." That's part of the reason I've delayed noting the passing of jazz drummer Bobby Durham. But as there's still not a single mention of Durham at either of the two primary music blog aggregators, I feel obligated to give the man some attention. Durham gets plenty of solo space on this track from the out-of-print 1995 date Me n' Jack. "Me" is the late trombonist Al Grey, and Jack, of course, is organist Jack McDuff.
And the death toll continues to mount- I just heard that jazz guitarist Joe Beck died.
A profile in East Bay Express alerted me to The Bayliens. They're a little too Black Eyed Peas-ish for my taste, but these guys sure sound like the next big thing.
I tried to watch KeAnthony's A Hustlaz Story on BET last night. The vocalist impressed me in his brief opening slot for Tech N9ne and T.I. a few weeks ago, but he's no actor.
Big rock show of the year alert: Motorhead, the Misfits, Airbourne, Valient Thorr and Year Long Disaster have announced thirteen North American dates. One of them is in Kansas City on September 7.
Kansas City Click: The excellent Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are back in town tonight. They open at Crossroads for moe. one of only a handful of There Stands the Glass-endorsed jam bands.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Back in another lifetime I would load a U-Haul truck with bluegrass and folk albums and drive to Winfield, Kansas, as the representative of the on-site music vendor at the annual Walnut Valley Festival. In that pre-internet era, it represented a rare chance for fans to purchase specialty music. I recall this now because Artie Traum died Sunday. He and his brother Happy sold guitars a few feet from my booth. Rubbing elbows with the noted folk musicians was one the first times I felt like I'd finally arrived. "In Paris," a wry song from 2002's South of Lafayette.
Slipknot was great last night. Seriously. Here's my review. I'm not a fan of Richard Cheese, but I suddenly find this parody hilarious.
Kansas City Click: Jerome and the Townspeople relocate to Jardine's tonight.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Some social historians claim that "G.I." Jo Stafford's lovely voice helped the Allies win World War II. Listening to the war era "I Remember You" today, it's hard to imagine how it might inspire a soldier in foxhole. A guy in a dancehall? That's a different matter. The selection is available on this compilation. Stafford died last week. Sad news, indeed. But watch this Stafford goof for a delightful pick-me-up. Wait- it gets even weirder. Stafford's last hit was a parody of "Stayin' Alive," recorded under her Darlene Edwards persona. Here's an "interesting" lip-synced version.
I reviewed Friday's concert by Avant, Boy Big and Bishop Young Don. Last night, I covered Ted Nugent and Alex Winston.
The best-sounding song on radio right now has to be Jazmine Sullivan's "Need U Bad".
Kansas City Click: Excellent primitive punk-blues duo Hillstomp returns to the Brick today for the Rural Grit Happy Hour.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Until I discovered "Check My Posture," I'd wasted a lot of time trying to determine if "Lookin Boy" by Hot Stylz and Yung Joc was the best or the worst song of 2008. The as-yet undiscovered Kansas City song rendered such thoughts irrelevant. Its willful goofiness is even more appealing than the absurd mayhem of the national hit. In fact, "Check My Posture" just became my official song of the summer. The self-proclaimed "gritter's choice" introduces the song in this video. "Check My Posture" and the more menacing "Get This Money" are available for download at Donta Slusha's MySpace.
This footage from the Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival is in desperate need of a ruthless editor, but I still welcome anything featuring Myra Taylor.
Kansas City Click: The Danny Cox benefit previewed here a couple days ago goes down tonight in Kansas City, Kansas.
If Dave Grohl's voice holds up, the Foo Fighters will revive Kemper Arena on Saturday.
Ted Nugent wallops the Uptown Theater on Sunday.
Farewell, Mr. Wiggins.
"Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe" encapsulates Gerald Wiggins' career. Just when it appears that the pianist will get an opportunity to elaborate on his elegant background support with a solo of his own, date leader Red Holloway takes another breathe and extends his monologue. Wiggins was surely accustomed to it. Although his trio achieved acclaim, he's best known for his association with artists ranging from Louis Armstrong to Marilyn Monroe. He's heard here from a wonderful out of print 1989 session. Wiggins died Sunday. (Tip via BGO.)
I caught the 311, Snoop Dogg and Fiction Plane tour last week. My review is here.
I had the highest of expectations for the new Nas and the Hold Steady albums. I'm slightly underwhelmed by both. I trust they're growers.
A friend just tipped me to Esperanza Spalding. Whoa!
Kansas City Click: An email sent by Roger Wilder contains two reasons to attend his gig at the Blue Room tonight: "Jazz is good; plus, there's no cover."
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Good luck, Danny.
His name might be somewhat obscured in the national consciousness by the relentless march of time, but Danny Cox remains a prominent figure in Kansas City.
So when Cox's home in Kansas City, Kansas, was ravaged by a fire in January, his many friends rallied behind him. The latest event to assist Cox is a benefit concert at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens on Friday, July 18. Fast Johnny Ricker plays first. He'll be followed by Ida McBeth and Cox.
Admission to the event is free, but organizers home to raise $10,000 "to complete Danny and his family’s new home." Details are here.
Cox was a prominent player in the folk scene of the '60s and '70s. In recent years, he's found success in regional children's theater. It's my understanding that "Break That Colored Line" is a relatively new song from Major League Dream, a forthcoming musical about baseball's racial barriers.
The song reflects Cox's warm spirit. Give the man a hand.
(The first image is an original photograph originally published at this site in 2006. That's Malford Millgan in the background. The second picture is a publicity shot lifted from Cox's site.)
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Anyone's who's attended a Willie Nelson concert in the last twenty years knows that the country legend loves to unleash mean Django Reinhardt-influenced guitar solos.
And anyone's who's purchased a ticket to even the stuffiest of Wynton Marsalis' jazz gigs knows that the trumpeter likes to conclude his shows with loose, informal romps.
So while the partnership of Two Men With the Blues may strike casual observers or genre elitists as odd, it's actually completely natural. Nor is it surprising that the two men find common ground in the blues.
The collaboration, recorded over two nights at the Allen Room at Jazz At Lincoln Center in 2007, feels like a relaxed, after hours session. "Stardust" is typical. Framed by Dan Nimmer's piano, Nelson's wistful vocal, Walter Blanding's smoky sax and Marsalis' masterful solo meld perfectly.
Don't let the fact that Two Men With the Blues ideally suits There Stands the Glass' sensibility scare you off. In fact, the project should be considered an automatic favorite for multiple Grammy awards.
Here's a bold statement guaranteed to make both Nelson and Marsalis cringe- Two Men With the Blues may prove to be the best non-hip hop album of 2008.
Additional information about the project is available at WillieandWynton.com
My recap of last week's Warped Tour stop in Bonner Springs, Kansas, is here. Katy Perry fans in particular won't want to miss it.
Kansas City Click: I hope British blues cat Scott McKeon makes it to tonight's gig at at Knuckleheads. He mistakenly lists the Missouri juke joint's location as "Kansas (USA)" at his MySpace page.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
"That was loud and scary for real," Ingrid Michaelson told her tormentor July 1 at Kansas City's Beaumont Club.
An overly enthusiastic man had been inappropriately whooping and hollering his appreciation at the conclusion of each of Michaelson's sublime songs.
The New York-based singer-songwriter finally confronted the culprit.
"I see you," she told him. "You're a very large man hiding behind a very small woman."
"Sorry- my bad," he apologetically bellowed.
It was an odd twist to an otherwise thoroughly feminine evening. Almost all of the audience of about 250 were women aged twelve to fifty.
"You look like an ad for cute people wearing nice clothes," Michaelson told the fans pressed against the stage.
Material from albums Girls & Boys and Slow the Rain, along with a slew of unreleased songs, delighted the audience.
Had she entered There Stands the Glass' ticket giveaway contest in which the winner named the best cover song for the rising star, Michaelson would have easily won. Her intuitive version of Death Cab For Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" was tremendous.
Michaelson's appearance was part of her first national headlining tour. It begged the question- just how popular will Michaelson become?
Given her prodigious talent, I suspect Michaelson will enjoy a career not unlike Randy Newman's. Any hits will be almost accidental. It's just as possible, however, that she'll veer to the center and become a Sheryl Crow-style pop star.
Selfishly, I hope that doesn't happen. I kind of like sharing Michaelson with 250 women. (Plus one rowdy guy.)
Greg Laswell didn't need to deal with boisterous fans. Most people listened attentively to his ballad-oriented opening set.
(Photography by Shannon Schlappi.)
Saturday, July 05, 2008
I just wasn't feeling the Roots last Thursday night at the VooDoo Lounge.
The frustration I felt was akin to sitting astride a surfboard waiting for a good wave that never comes.
Initially, I blamed MC Black Thought. He struck me as uninspired and dull.
I shared my consternation with J. Lee of Heet Mob. He gave me a politically correct response.
"He's considered to be one of the best," J. Lee said.
Heet Mob had opened the show; I thought a few members of the Kansas City-based crew were superior to Black Thought. (That's a Heet Mob video above.)
Then again, maybe I just couldn't get past Black Thought's Yankees cap. Or maybe it was the mix. I'd also spent much of the previous day at the Warped Tour's hip hop tent. And I'm still reeling from an electrifying show by Tech N9ne, T.I. and Guerilla Zoe a couple weeks ago.
Then it hit me- the last time I felt so uninspired as most everyone around me was lost in rapture was at a Grateful Dead concert in 1994.
Come to think of it, the parallels between the Roots and the Dead are astounding.
*Both bands are celebrated for their ability to play many different styles of music.
*Both play long shows filled with extended jams.
*Both feature lengthy drum solos.
*Both lack strong lead vocalists/rappers.
*Both favor Dylan covers.
*Both are large ensembles.
*Both are considered "live" acts; studio recordings are afterthoughts.
*Both have cult-like fan bases.
Disagree? Try this proper review of the show.