Friday, January 18, 2019

Sign of the Times


Like a full-fledged creep, I examined a stack of confiscated homemade signs near one of the entrances of Silverstein Eye Centers Arena last night.  The children and teens who created the fan art must have been devastated upon learning that the symbols of their devotion wouldn’t be seen by the headliner Kane Brown.  Friends and colleagues have long asked me how I suffer through concerts by mainstream country artists, facile pop stars and over-the-hill rockers.  I respond to their queries with indignant disbelief.  Seeing joy on the faces of fans and hearing their unreserved screams of appreciation never fails to thrill me.  I unreservedly adored last night’s concert by Brown, Granger Smith and Lacy Cavalier.  I reviewed the show for The Kansas City Star.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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I’m not quite sure how or why, but I’ve always been aware of Carol Channing.  She died earlier this week.

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Lorna Doom of the punk band Germs has died.

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My ongoing appreciation of Future’s druggy, vulgar materialism shames me.  Even so, I'm willing to confess that I’ve already derived enormous pleasure from the new release Future Hndrxx Presents: The Wizrd.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Joseph Jarman, 1937-2019


I’ve coveted the 21-CD box set collecting the works of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and affiliated ECM Records projects since its release six weeks ago.  I own physical copies of just a handful of the titles, but catching the group twice in the early 1980s transformed me from a curious listener to a fully committed jazz enthusiast.  The inability or unwillingness of subsequent jazz-oriented acts to attempt similar sorts of outlandish showmanship and surprising improvisations is an ongoing letdown.  The late Lester Bowie commanded most of the attention, but Joseph Jarman was one of the group’s most vital members.  The saxophonist died last week.


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I created an audio profile of the Kansas City producer and engineer Justin Wilson for KCUR.

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I reviewed a performance by Ben Tervort, Matt Otto and Brian Steever at Plastic Sax.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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Trombonist Urbie Green died on New Year’s Eve.

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I adore Liz Brasher.  It’s a drag to report that her debut album Painted Image consists of warmed-over soul.  RIYL: (forgettable) Shelby Lynne, disappointment, (generic) James Hunter.

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Chris Potter, James Francies, Eric Harland and Linley Marthe?  Oh man.  Circuits will be released on February 22.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Album Review: David and Tamela Mann- Us Against the World


I took objected as I spotted people clowning on David and Tamela Mann’s new album (and book) Us Against the World.  The couple’s suggestion that the album is intended to serve as a sensual soundtrack for Christian couples struck some wags as hysterical.  I can only assume these heathens are unfamiliar with Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and Al Green.

The explicitness of a lot of contemporary R&B eradicates its appeal.  For instance, Trey Songz’s two repulsively graphic 2018 albums 11 and 28 make me queasy.  I’m entirely on board with the gospel-based Manns making grown-and-sexy soul.  Besides, I’m a longtime fan.

Unfortunately, Us Against the World is merely adequate.   Babyface and Toni Braxton’s like-minded 2014 collaboration Love, Marriage & Divorce and Womack & Womack’s 1988 classic Conscience are far more effective.  Even so, Us Against the World songs including “Feels Like” are refreshing examinations of marital grace.


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I touted the music of Logan Richardson, Cardi B and Kanye West on a “Best Music of 2018” program on KCUR’s Up To Date two days ago.

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I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

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Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show has died.  “Sylvia’s Mother” and “The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone’” were among very few radio hits my dad and I both enjoyed.

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Pegi Young has died.

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The versatile lyricist Norman Gimbel has died.

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My childhood loathing of Captain and Tennille may have been my first brush with music criticism.  Even as a credulous child, that zippity doo-dah offended my sensibilities.  Daryl Dragon has died.

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Howard Begle, the “legal eagle” who helped Big Joe Turner and Ruth Brown obtain back royalties, has died.  (Tip via BGO.)

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Honey Lantree of the Honeycombs has died.  Here’s “Have I the Right?”.  (Tip via BGO.)

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)