Sunday, January 22, 2012
Ioannis and Jamesetta
Johnny Otis was a brilliant work of fiction. And Etta James was much more than one song.
Ioannis Alexandros Veliotes was born in 1921. His story is hard to believe. Thankfully, one version of the truth can be found in Listen to the Lambs, a 1968 book in which Otis examines race in America. He identified as black, although his parents were Greek immigrants. Even Otis' biggest hit was blatantly subversive. (And what is Lionel Hampton doing in that clip?)
Otis is described as "The King of Rock and Roll" in the opening credits to his televised variety show. Although I adore his tributes to Jay McShann and Bill Basie on this amazing album, that characterization works for me.
Otis "discovered" Jamesetta Hawkins fourteen years after her birth in 1938. The lascivious recorded result was James' 1955 hit on Modern Records. Ever since I purchased her excellent album Seven Year Itch as a new release in 1989, I've been mildly obsessed with James. A wild woman until the end, her final performance in Kansas City scandalized me. The obituaries that focused on James' "At Last" miss the point. "It Hurts Me So Much."
Veliotes and Hawkins died last week.
Here's my review of the Jazz Winterlude festival.
I'm included in a KCUR audio feature titled "Where To Next For KC Jazz?"
I could mess around at Paul McCartney's Rude Studio for hours on end. (Tip via Rock Town Hall.)
OFWGKTA in a nutshell.
Welcome to 2012 (Part 2).
Youn Sun Nah covers "Enter Sandman." I love the 21st century.
I never knew him well, but I take pride in once having worked with Glenn Jones. Here's the guitarist's new Tiny Desk Concert.
Winston Riley has died.
I genuinely love about a quarter of the tracks on the massive new Chimes of Freedom album. Inevitably, a handful of selections on the benefit project for Amnesty International make me wonder if torture isn't such a bad idea.
Kansas City Click: Ladysmith Black Mambazo perform Tuesday at the Kauffman Center.
Emilie Autumn does her thing Wednesday at the Beaumont Club.
Death Angel open Thursday's concert at the Midland.
(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)