Tuesday, December 31, 2019

I Feel a Lot More Like I Do Now

Sleepy LaBeef has died.  I caught at least five performances by the towering musical encyclopedia in the 1980s.  It’s really not much of an achievement.  LaBeef seemed to roll through town every few months, and I was neck-deep in roots music in that bygone era.  LaBeef was on the same touring circuit as Luther Allison, Marcia Ball, Lonnie Brooks, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Joe “King” Carrasco, Otis Clay, Eddie Clearwater, Albert Collins, Johnny Copeland, Joe Ely, John Lee Hooker, the Morells, Queen Ida, Hound Dog Taylor, Koko Taylor, Barrence Whitfield and Webb Wilder.  I attended plenty of shows by each of those acts as a young man.  My allegiance to conventional bar bands seems entirely peculiar now.  Hooker aside, I don’t think I listened to a single song by anyone on that list in 2019. As LaBeef sang, I feel a lot more like I do now than I ever did before.

I write concert previews for The Kansas City Star every week.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, December 29, 2019


Dozens of neglected 2019 releases are still in my virtual queue.  I haven’t heard a note of potentially excellent albums by artists including Benjamin Bernheim, Ali Farka Touré, Gang Starr, Joe Henry, Londynn B, Thurston Moore and Xylouris White.  I got around to checking out recent efforts by Soweto Kinch and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra only after publishing my best-music-of-2019 list.  Kinch blends the trad-jazz of New Orleans with London grime on the 64-minute concept album The Black Peril.  The harmonious mashup of the styles associated with Jelly Roll Morton and Dizzee Rascal validates my assertion that jazz and rap are marginally different components of the same continuum.  The Iceland Symphony Orchestra introduces four new works on the riveting Concurrence.  Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s “Metacosmos” sounds like an instant classic and Páll Ragnar Pálsson’s composition “Quake” may be even better.

Bobby Watson is The Plastic Sax Person of the Decade.

From the Redemption of Kanye West department: “Mary” isn’t actually an opera.  Instead, it’s like an extremely ambitious variation of a church’s traditional Journey to Bethlehem presentation.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, December 27, 2019

Redemption Songs

Mea culpa.  Just two months after I retracted my longstanding support of Kanye West following the release of the loathsome Jesus Is King, the troubled icon redeemed himself with the release of the Sunday Services Choir’s glorious Jesus Is Born on Christmas.  It’s the gospel album I wanted from West all along.  The consecrated versions of West’s “Ultralight Beam” and “Father Stretch” as well as a reworking of SWV’s “Weak” will receive the most attention, but the rest of the selections are just as powerful.  My favorite tracks are “Follow Me,” a loopy workout that bounces between the church and the dance floor, and “That’s How the Good Lord Works,” a praise song as invigorating as a riverside baptism in January.  The best part?  West never opens his mouth.  (Almost) all is forgiven.

I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

I consider Eldar Djangirov’s new solo piano album Letter to Liz at Plastic Sax.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Hold Your Own: The Top Albums, Songs and Performances of 2019

The 50 Top Performances of 2019
1. The Art Ensemble of Chicago- Tennessee Theatre (Knoxville, Big Ears Festival)
2. Lauryn Hill- Kauffman Stadium
3. Logan Richardson’s Blues People- Capsule
4. Alisa Weilerstein, Sergey Khachatryan, Inon Barnatan and Colin Currie- Folly Theater
5. Rickie Lee Jones- Crossroads KC
6. Tomeka Reid, Nicole Mitchell and Mike Reed- St. John’s Cathedral (Knoxville, Big Ears Festival)
7. Jupiter & Okwess- 1900 Building
8. Meredith Monk’s Cellular Songs- Bijou Theatre (Knoxville, Big Ears Festival)
9. Little Joe Hernandez- Barney Allis Plaza
10. The Art Ensemble of Chicago- Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago Jazz Festival)

11. Carrie Underwood- Sprint Center
12. Wilco- Midland theater
13. Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl- The Mill & Mine (Knoxville, Big Ears Festival)
14. Khatia Buniatishvili- Folly Theater
15. The Greeting Committee- West Bottoms (Boulevardia festival)
16. Max Richter with Grace Davidson and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble- Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater (Austin)
17. The Sextet- RecordBar
18. Khalid- Sprint Center
19. Kane Brown- Silverstein Eye Centers Arena
20. Elton John- Sprint Center

21. Tech N9ne- Silverstein Eye Centers Arena
22. Ehud Ettun and Henrique Eisenmann- 1900 Building
23. Riyaaz Qawwali- Cathedral of Saint John the Divine (New York City)
24. Mary J. Blige- Starlight Theatre
25. Rodney Crowell- 04 Center (Austin)
26. Matt Otto, Danny Embrey and Brian Steever- Black Dolphin
27. Bobby Watson & Horizon- White Recital Hall
28. Cardi B- Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
29. The Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet- Jay Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago Jazz Festival)
30. Al Foster Quintet- Smoke (New York City)

31. Orville Peck- RecordBar
32. Leo Wadada Smith- The Standard (Knoxville, Big Ears Festival)
33. X- Knuckleheads
34. Nadia Larcher with Ensemble Ibérica- MTH Theater
35. Gov’t Mule- Crossroads KC
36. Alessia Cara- Sprint Center
37. Squeeze- Chicago Theatre
38. Aaron Parks’ Little Big- Blue Room
39. Metallica- Sprint Center
40. AACM Great Black Music Ensemble- Fred Anderson Park (Chicago)

41. Lana Del Rey- Uptown Theater
42. Snarky Puppy- Muriel Kauffman Theatre
43. The Metropolitan Opera’s “Iolanta and Bluebeard’s Castle”- Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (New York City)
44. Eric Church- Sprint Center
45. Stanley Clarke Quartet- Church of Scientology Center of Kansas City
48. Celine Dion- Sprint Center
49. Mama Said String Band- Churchill Downs (Louisville)
50. Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax and Pamela Frank with the Kansas City Symphony- Helzberg Hall

The Top 50 Songs of 2019
Spotify playlist
1. Purple Mountains- “All My Happiness is Gone”
2. Billie Eilish- “Bury a Friend”
3. Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus- “Old Town Road”
4. Ariana Grande- “NASA”
5. Kate Tempest- “Hold Your Own”
6. 2 Chainz featuring Kendrick Lamar- “Momma I Hit a Lick”
7. Rapsody featuring D’Angelo and GZA- “Ibtihaj”
8. Lauren Daigle- “You Say” (piano version)
9. Reba McEntire- “Stronger Than the Truth”
10. Michael Kiwanuka- “Living in Denial”

11. Summer Walker with PartyNextDoor- “Just Might”
12. Bonnie Prince Billy- “In Good Faith”
13. Jon Pardi- “Heartache Medication”
14. Sarathy Korwar featuring MC Mawali- “Mumbay”
15. Freddie Gibbs and Madlib featuring Anderson Paak- “Giannis”
16. Tropkillaz featuring J Balvin, Anitta and MC Zacc- “Bola Rebola”
17. 10k.Caash featuring Matt Ox- “Kerwin Frost Scratch That”
18. Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus- “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” (acoustic version)
19. Townes Van Zandt- “Sky Blue”
20. José James with Ledisi and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah- “I Need Your Love”

21. Natti Natasha- “Pa’ Mala Yo”
22. Randy Rogers Band- “Drinking Money”
23. Charles Bradley- “Lucifer”
24. Tyler Childers- “All Your’n”
25. PJ Morton featuring Jazmine Sullivan- “Built For Love”
26. Kanye West- “God Is”
27. Brittany Howard- “He Loves Me”
28. Lana Del Rey- “Bartender”
29. P.P. Arnold- “Baby Blue”
30. Lizzo- “Jerome”

31. Megan Thee Stallion- “Big Drank”
32. The Highwomen- “Cocktail and a Song”
33. Leonard Cohen- “The Hills”
34. Bill MacKay- “Birds of May”
35. Kvelertak- “Båtebrann”
36. Luke Combs- “Beer Never Broke My Heart”
37. Beast Coast- “It Ain’t Easy, It Ain’t Easy”
38. City Girls- “JT First Day Out”
39. Dinosaur Pile-Up- “Back Foot”
40. Wilco- “Bright Leaves”

41. Bill Frisell- “Everywhere”
42. Keaton Conrad- “What Am I Supposed To Do?”
43. Fontaines D.C.- “Roy’s Tune”
44. Pusha T featuring Kash Doll- “Sociopath”
45. Tiwa Savage- “49-99”
46. Fidlar- “By Myself”
47. Gucci Man- “Mr. Wop”
48. Karol G- “Punto G”
49. Tedeschi Trucks Band- “Hard Case”
50. Mavis Staples- “One More Change”

The Top 50 Albums of 2019
1. Jamila Woods- Legacy! Legacy!
2. Solange- When I Get Home
3. The Art Ensemble of Chicago- We Are On the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
4. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds- Ghosteen
5. Tyler, The Creator- Igor
6. Miranda Lambert- Wildcard
7. Kris Davis- Diatom Ribbons
8. Mike and the Moonpies- Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold
9. Caroline Shaw and the Attacca Quartet- Orange
10. Flying Lotus- Flamagra

11. Earthgang- Mirrorland
12. Little Simz- Grey Area
13. Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan- Epistrophy
14. Jóhann Jóhannsson- 12 Conversations With Thilo Heinzmann
15. Lee “Scratch” Perry- Rainford
16. Brockhampton- Ginger
17. Brother Ali- Secrets & Escapes
18. Laura Jurd- Stepping Back, Jumping In
19. J. Cole and Dreamville- Revenge of the Dreamers III
20. Raphael Saadiq- Jimmy Lee

21. Sampa the Great- The Return
22. Anderson Paak- Venture
23. Alasdair Roberts- A Fiery Margin
24. Santana- Africa Speaks
25. Calvin Weston- Dust and Ash
26. Matana Roberts- Coin Coin Chapter Four: Memphis
27. Torche- Admission
28. Brooks & Dunn- Reboot
29. Beyoncé- Homecoming
30. Jamie Branch- Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise

31. Hilary Hahn- 6 Partitas for Violin: Antón García-Abril
32. Beast Coast- Escape From New York
33. Aldous Harding- Designer
34. Michael Fabiano- Verdi & Donizetti
35. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah- Ancestral Recall
36. Avery R. Young- Tubman
37. Oren Ambarchi- Simian Angel
38. Terri Lyne Carrington- Waiting Game
39. Samantha Fish- Kill or be Kind
40. Danny Brown- Uknowhatimsayin?

41. Miguel Zenón- Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera
42. Volbeat- Rewind, Replay, Rebound
43. YBN Cordae- The Lost Boy
44. Romeo Santos- Utopia
45. Rhye- Spirit
46. Jimmie Vaughan- Baby, Please Come Home
47. Angel Bat Dawid- The Oracle
48. Becky G- Mala Santa
49. Black Mountain- Destroyer
50. DJ Shadow- Our Pathetic Age

The Top 25 Reissues, Reconstructions, Reimaginings, Compilations and Historial Releases of 2019
1. Eric Dolphy- Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 N.Y. Studio Sessions
2. Prince- 1999 (Super Deluxe Edition)
3. Prince- Originals
4. John Coltrane- Coltrane ‘58: The Prestige Recordings
5. Marvin Gaye- You're the Man
6. Jay McShann- Live in Tokyo 1990
7. Anthony Braxton- Quartet (New Haven) 2014
8. Burial- Tunes 2011-2019
9. Prince- The Versace Experience
10. Azymuth- Demos (1973-1975), Vol. 1 & 2

11. The Time for Peace is Now: World Spirituality Classics 2: Gospel Music About Us
12. The Band- The Band: 50th Anniversary
13. Oklahoma! (2019 Broadway Cast Recording)
14. Esbjörn Svensson Trio- Live in Gothenburg
15. Leonard Cohen- Thanks for the Dance
16. Miles Davis- Rubberband
17. Outro Tempo II: Electronic And Contemporary Music From Brazil, 1984-1996
18. Stan Getz Quartet- Live at the Village Gate, 1961
19. Creedence Clearwater Revival- Live at Woodstock
20. David S. Ware- Théâtre Garonne, 2008

21. Soul Jazz Records Presents: Bunny Lee Dreads Enter the Gates With Praise
22. Mogadisco: Dancing Mogadishu (Somalia 1972-1991)
23. The Beatles- Abbey Road (Super Deluxe Edition)
24. Mary J. Blige- Herstory Vol. 1
25. Attarazat Addahabia- Al Hadaoui

The Top 10 EPs of 2019
1. Drugs and Attics- Clean Their Room
2. Earl Sweatshirt- Feet of Clay
3. Kevin Abstract- Ghettobaby
4. Zara McFarlane- East of the River Nile
5. Channel Tres- Black Moses
6. Rico Nasty- Anger Management
7. Kitten- Goodbye Honeymoon Phase
8. The Greeting Committee- I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry
9. Lil Peep- Goth Angel Sinner
10. Shredders- Great Hits

(Original image of the Art Ensemble of Chicago at the Chicago Jazz Festival by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Personality Test

Several people expressed displeasure in my attendance at an event sponsored by the Church of Scientology of Kansas City on Tuesday, December 17.  I have no meaningful personal experience with the group, but I can verify a friend’s assertion that the majority of organization’s representatives on hand at Stanley Clarke’s concert are inordinately attractive.

I paid $40 to attend a 2016 concert in Atlanta by the most important bassist in the history of jazz fusion.  I wasn’t about to pass on an opportunity to see him for free.  A meager audience of about 250 consisting of jazz geeks, homeless men and Scientologists heard Clarke, trumpeter Mark Isham, pianist Rusian Sirota and tabla master Salar Nader play for about an hour in a heated tent catacorner to the stately Scientology building at the intersection of 18th Street and Grand Boulevard.

The setlist- “India,” “Brazilian Love Affair,” “Lover Man” (a duet between Clarke and Isham), “Three Wrong Notes” (a duet between Clarke and Sirota), “Spain,” “School Days” (Clarke’s only turn on electric bass) and “Sleigh Ride”- covered every base a fan could want.  And given the frigid conditions- my feet went numb on the icy pavement- the quartet’s hour-long outing was just the right length.

In contrast to the heavy-handed tone of the Kansas City Symphony’s pricy benefit concert (I was given a ticket) starring Yo-Yo, Ma, Emanuel Ax and Pamela Frank on the previous night, the Scientologists’ proselytizing was easily digestible.  The Symphony's conductor and artistic director Michael Stern said that “young people” were no longer listening to “music.”  His haughty attitude offended me far more than the subtle sloganeering of the Scientologists.

I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

(Original image of Clarke, Isham and Nader by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

When You Are Sad and Lonely and Have No Place to Go

Even though the last ten days have been miserable for me, I managed to pull off the enjoyable items listed below.  And yes, I’m putting a lot of satisfying time into compiling my year-end lists.

I reviewed Tech N9ne’s Gift of Rap concert at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena for The Kansas City Star.

I named Logan Richardson the Plastic Sax Person of the Year.

I yakked about my favorite music of 2019 on the weekly radio show Eight One Sixty.

I write concert previews for The Kansas City Star every week.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Saturday, December 07, 2019

The Top Albums, Songs and Performances by Kansas City Musicians in 2019

Favorite Albums and EPs by Kansas City Artists
1. The Sextet- Among Friends
2. Samantha Fish- Kill Or Be Kind
3. Matt Villinger- All Day
4. Heather Newman- Rise From the Flames
5. Making Movies- Ameri’kana
6. Adam Larson- Listen With Your Eyes
7. Rich the Factor- The Tonite Show
8. Jay McShann- Live in Tokyo
9. Keaton Conrad- Nova
10. Drugs and Attics- Clean Their Room

11. Dylan Pyles- Popular Songs for the Heart
12. Hmph!- Hmph!
13. The Get Up Kids- Problems
14. Wing Walker Orchestra- Hazel
15. Joyce DiDonato- Songplay
16. Norman Brown- The Highest Act of Love
17. Jan Kraybill- The Orchestral Organ
18. Kevin Morby- Oh My God
19. The Greeting Committee- I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry
20. Julian Vaughn- Supreme

21. Merlin- The Mortal
22. A’Sean- One Big Happy Family
23. The Kansas City Chorale- Artifacts: The Music of Michael McGlynn
24. Le Grand- Plastic Jazz
25. Calvin Arsenia- LA Sessions

Favorite Songs by Kansas City Artists
Spotify playlist
1. Keaton Conrad- “What Am I Supposed to Do?”
2. Drugs and Attics- “Dad Party”
3. Samantha Fish- “Love Letters”
4. The Sextet- “To Be Determined”
5. Heather Newman- “Rise From the Flames”
6. Pat Metheny- “America Undefined”
7. Reggie B and the Popper- “Not Funky”
8. Sara Morgan- “Church in a Bar”
9. Tech N9ne- “Like I Ain’t”
10. The Sluts- “Break Their Heart”

11. Ubi- “Gameshow”
12. Norman Brown- “Free”
13. The Get Up Kids- “The Problem Is Me”
14. Stik Figa- “More or Less”
15. The Freedom Affair- “Rise Up”
16. Matt Villinger- “Shot Roulette”
17. Godemis- “Eye Zkreem”
18. Making Movies- “Accidente”
19. Puddle of Mudd- “Uh Oh”
20. Brody Buster’s One Man Band- “Week Long”

21. JL and Joey Cool- “That’s Him”
22. Drop Dead XX- “Betty Ford”
23. The Creepy Jingles- “Atom & Evolution”
24. Nick Schnebelen- “Crazy All By Myself”
25. Other Americans- “Neon Sunrise”

Favorite Performances by Kansas City Artists
1. Logan Richardson’s Blues People- Capsule
2. The Greeting Committee- West Bottoms (Boulevardia)
3. The Sextet- RecordBar
4. Ensemble Ibérica- MTH Theater
5. My Brothers & Sisters- The Brick (Crossroads Music Fest)
6. Bobby Watson & Horizon- White Recital Hall
7. Jerry Hahn and Danny Embrey- Recital Hall at the Carlsen Center
8. Making Movies- KC Live
9. Heather Newman- Legacy Park Amphitheater
10. Doubledrag- Riot Room

11. Matt Otto Quartet- Black Dolphin
12. The Kansas City Symphony- Helzberg Hall
13. Una Walkenhorst- Songbird Cafe (Middle of the Map Fest)
14. Ben Tervort’s Classically Trained- Westport Coffee House
15. Rod Fleeman and Gerald Spaits- Green Lady Lounge
16. Brian Scarborough Quintet- RecordBar
17. Tech N9ne- KC Live (StrangeFest)
18. Soul Revival- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
19. Peter Schlamb Trio- Capsule
20. Guitar Elation- Green Lady Lounge

21. Midwest Chamber Ensemble- Lutheran Church of the Resurrection
22. ARQuesta Del SolSoul- RecordBar
23. Katy Guillen’s Womanish Girl- The Brick (Middle of the Map Fest)
24. Black Creatures- West Bottoms (Boulevardia)
25. Jason Vivone & the Billy Bats- PorchFestKC

(Original image of the Matt Otto Quartet at Black Dolphin by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Everybody’s Got a Bomb

I went from pariah to popular kid in my college dorm hours after acquiring 1999 on October 27, 1982.  Few of my peers appreciated my compulsion to blast current albums- the Clash’s Combat Rock, the Gap Band’s IV and Steel Pulse’s True Democracy were in heavy rotation- at the start of the fall semester.  Prince’s instant classic made my cinderblock room with the dorm’s loudest stereo a hub for teenagers of multiple races, nationalities and sexual orientations.  Everyone loved 1999.

Wading through the five-hour-and-53-minute sprawl of the new Super Deluxe Edition of 1999 incites déjà vu.  We’d listen to all four sides of the album for hours on end during weekend dorm parties.  The bacchanal genius would have approved of the D.M.S.R. he instigated.

Almost all contemporary pop music contains echoes of 1999, so it’s difficult to appreciate how bracingly innovative Prince’s unifying funk sounded 37 years ago.  I’ve been startled anew by the freshness of a few of the tracks on the box set.  For instance, “Purple Music” sounds like Thundercat’s next single.  I’ve long believed Fulfillingness’ First Finale was the album that had the most profound impact on my life.  It’s time to amend that declaration.  If Stevie Wonder informed my childhood, Prince redirected my second decade with 1999.

My latest concert previews for The Kansas City Star include shows by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Kitten.

I was put on the hot seat by Steve Kraske for 30 excruciating minutes on KCUR’s Up To Date.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, December 01, 2019

November Recap

Top Five Performances
1. Logan Richardson’s Blues People- Capsule
My review.
2. Wilco- Midland theater
My review.
3. Lana Del Rey- Uptown Theater
My review.
4. Bobby Watson & Horizon- White Recital Hall
My review.
5. Doubledrag- Riot Room
My review.

Top Five Albums
1. Miranda Lambert- Wildcard
My review.
2. Matt Villinger- All Day
My review.
3. Brother Ali- Secrets & Escapes
My review.
4. Terri Lyne Carrington- Waiting Game
Dreams and Desperate Measures, the 42-minute suite that concludes the contentious album, is perfect.
5. Cecilia Bartoli- Farinelli
Baroque bops.

Top Five Songs
1. José James with Ledisi and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah- “I Need Your Love”
The collaboration of my dreams.
2. Earl Sweatshirt- “East”
West of the moon.
3. Norah Jones featuring Tarriona Tank Ball- “Playing Along”
I knew she had it in her.
4. Atmosphere- “Bde Maka Ska”
Slug takes the plunge.
5. Michael Kiwanuka- “Living in Denial”
Haunting throwback soul.

I conducted the same exercise in October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February and January.

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

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Draggin’ the Line

I was in bad shape when I stepped inside the Riot Room on the afternoon of Sunday, November 24.  A spate of terrible news had taken a toll on me.  Drawn to the nebulous blare coming from the stage, I pushed through a cluster of about 50 people at the free show to claim a spot in front of a bank of speakers.  Doubledrag, a Kansas City band I hadn’t previously encountered, was toying with the violent feedback drones associated with the Jesus and Mary Chain.  The extreme volume made it impossible to tell if Doubledrag was attempting to play actual songs.  I didn’t care.  Completely surrendering to the caustic sound was profoundly therapeutic.  Subsequent sets by the Austin shoegaze bands Blushing and Ringo Deathstarr didn’t do much for me.  I wasn’t bothered by the absence of funk, soul and swing in Doubledrag’s violent barrage, but the touring bands’ disregard of grooves grew wearisome.

I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star.

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

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Album Review: Junius Paul- Ism

I muddled through 2019 by taking the long view.  Rather than getting bogged down in minute-by-minute minutiae, I try to focus on the big picture.  The deepening of my longstanding affinity for Chicago’s fertile improvised music scene reflects my outlook.  The elements I admire about the AACM community are amplified on Junius Paul’s debut album Ism.  In addition to exuding a profound sense of spirituality, the bassist’s free jazz demonstrates a willingness to transcend swing and an eagerness to incorporate electronic elements.  The disorienting cut-and-paste techniques associated with co-producer Makaya McCraven as well as Paul’s affiliation with the Art Ensemble of Chicago are clearly evident.  Although I could do without a couple of the extended jams on the 82-minute Ism, the album is emblematic of the aesthetic I’ve embraced during the last 11 months.  Given that traveling to Knoxville and Chicago to catch performances by the reconstructed version of the Art Ensemble of Chicago was an integral component of my quest, the ancient-to-the-future motto espoused by Paul serves as my rallying cry of 2019.

I break down the Thanksgiving blues breakfast dance options in the latest edition of the weekly KCUR Creative Adventure email.

I’m cited in a The Kansas City Star article about Grammy-nominated musicians with area ties.

(Original image of the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble at Fred Anderson Park in Chicago by There Stands the Glass.)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Album Review: Brandee Younger- Soul Awakening

Almost everything about Brandee Younger’s new album Soul Awakening is confounding.  The jazz harpist’s project was recorded in 2012 but was self-released released five months ago.  In spite of contributions from the jazz heavyweights Ravi Coltrane and Sean Jones, Soul Awakening has received so little visibility that I only became aware of it last week.  And in spite of being as accessible and groovy as the work of crossover artists like Kamasi Washington and Sons of Kemet, it’s gained little traction on streaming services.  A stellar video of a recent concert makes it clear that Younger is a proud acolyte of the spiritual jazz icons Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane.  I don’t ordinarily fall for throwback recordings, but the potent Soul Awakening stirs me.

I reviewed Wilco’s 25th anniversary concert for The Kansas City Star.

I reviewed Lana Del Rey’s concert at the Uptown Theater for The Kansas City Star.

I write concert previews for The Kansas City Star every week.

I consider The State of This City, the new album by the Myers Swingset, at Plastic Sax.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A New Age for New Age

A conversation I overheard during the intermission of Max Richter’s concert in Austin last month provided insights into the revival of dreamy new age music.  Describing the unobtrusive background music he listened to at work, a painfully fashionable twenty-something said “just give me a cello and a tinkling piano and I’m good.”

That guy probably accounts for some of the more than three million Spotify streams of “Staircase Sonata”.  The tranquil ditty is a standout track on Absent Minded, the debut album of the young Icelandic pianist Gabríel Ólafs.  It’s among the dozens of recent releases that fall somewhere between the effervescent work of George Winston and Brian Eno’s innovative sonic wallpaper.

Is Absent Minded shallow new age noodling or weighty ambient music?  I’m not sure it matters.  As someone who worked at a record store during the height of the Windham Hill era in the 1980s, I never derided the middle-aged people who were desperately eager to purchase therapeutic sounds.  I rightly suspected that I’d eventually come to understand their need for aural consolation.

I write weekly concert recommendations for The Kansas City Star.

I reviewed Matt Villinger’s All Day at Plastic Sax.

(Original image of Iceland by the spouse of There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Something Sinister To It

I recently stumbled upon Rap For Grown Ups.  The site claims to offer “notes from the intelligent side of hip-hop.”  Rather than providing thoughtful analysis, it mostly supplies notifications about new releases.  Even so, it’s a helpful reference for old heads eager to discover relevant music that doesn’t get the shine of the latest work of ostensibly “unintelligent” hip-hop stars.

While I abhor cretins like Lil Mosey, I’ve never hid my affection for intentionally lowbrow stars like Cardi B, Doja Cat and DJ Khaled.  That’s another way of suggesting that I object to killjoys who summarily dismiss the best party music of the last decade.  Three recent releases falling more-or-less under the nebulous banner of “intelligent hip-hop” captured my attention.

Although he’s just 25, Thebe Kgositsile, the world-weary rapper who makes dyspeptic music as Earl Sweatshirt, already sounds like an old man.  Feet of Clay is 15 minutes of murky avant-garde experimentation.  Nothing he creates is likely to hit me as hard as Doris did in 2013, but I’ll always be more than willing to give Kgositsile the benefit of the doubt.

The Kansas City collective Drop Dead XX creates a simulacrum of Earl Sweatshirt on Dirtbike.  They’re also in thrall of Brockhampton, EarthGang and Tyler, the Creator.   Dirtbike is solid, but I hope the members of Drop Dead XX are able to move beyond their influences on future projects.

Now that I’ve regretfully demoted Kanye West, Brother Ali might be my favorite rapper.  Secrets & Escapes is filled with his grateful mysticism and producer Evidence’s dusty grooves.  Brother Ali's seventh studio album overflows with sublime rap for grownups.

I define terms at Plastic Sax in advance of my appearance on the Ask a Jazz Dude show.

I make weekly concert recommendations for The Kansas City Star.

The Chicago Reader gave me a photo credit for an image that accompanies a story about Bill MacKay.  I took the shot of MacKay and Nathan Bowles at the 2018 edition of the Cropped Out festival in Louisville.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, November 01, 2019

Music City Moan

Did you record your solo banjo album in a bathroom?  I want to hear it.  Your new Chicago footwork track was made entirely on your phone?  Send it over. 

Decades of listening to do-it-yourself punk bands and murky bootlegs surreptitiously recorded by jazz fanatics conditioned me to low fidelity.  I didn’t flinch at the ostensibly revolutionary sonic mayhem created by the latest wave of devil-may-care Soundcloud rappers.  Unintentional distortion, background hiss and the clatter of silverware can’t phase me.  That’s why I’m occasionally stunned by gilt-edged studio trickery. 

The sound of Miranda Lambert’s new album Wildcard floors me.  In addition to being a rollicking cosmic country album, the exquisite fidelity of Wildcard makes it moonlight as a psychedelic adventure.  Each component of the mix bounces around the sound field like a frenetic bouncing ball.  Jay Joyce, the Nashville producer closely linked to Eric Church’s success, is responsible for the album’s sonic thrills. 

I’d love Wildcard even if the production didn’t tickle my eardrums and reshuffle my synapses.  That it sounds like a shimmering version of Exile on Main Street makes it that much sweeter.

I reviewed Celine Dion’s concert at the Sprint Center for The Kansas City Star.

I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Album Review: Kanye West- Jesus Is King

My Uber driver involuntarily swerved when I told him Kanye West was my favorite artist as we sped down Mopac Expressway in Austin last week.  I was blathering about my high hopes for the imminent release of Jesus Is King.
As a day-one West fan and avowed Christian, the prospect of a committed gospel album made me giddy.

My faith is gone.  Jesus Is King is a disaster.  Religion has always played an integral role in West’s art, but the tension between God and Satan is supplanted by imperious moral superiority and self-centered pettiness on Jesus Is King.  To top it off, the production is uninspired.  Only “Use This Gospel” and “God Is” contain glimmers of West’s genius.  I would have vastly preferred a live recording of one of his occasionally inspiring Sunday Services. 

As a zealous West fan since the release of “Through the Wire” in 2003, I’ve tolerated mountains of nonsense.  I draw the line at mediocre music.  West’s peace of mind is obviously more important than my selfish needs as a fan, but at least I’ll no longer run the risk of horrifying strangers with an extremely controversial take on music.  West’s three-year artistic rut- and all the baggage that comes along with it- makes him the man who used to be my favorite artist.

I make weekly concert recommendations for The Kansas City Star.

I reviewed a concert by Stefon Harris and Blackout at Plastic Sax.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Saturday, October 26, 2019

October Recap

Top Five Performances
1. Nadia Larcher and Ensemble Ibérica- MTH Theater
My review.
2. Max Richter, Grace Davidson and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble- Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater (Austin)
My review.
3. Rodney Crowell- 04 Center (Austin)
Ain’t living long like that.
4. Tatsuya Nakatani- The Ship
My review.
5. Orville Peck- RecordBar
Who was that masked man?

Top Five Albums
1. Kris Davis- Diatom Ribbons
Unit structures.
2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds- Ghosteen
My review.
3. Robert Glasper- Fuck Yo Feelings
My review.
4. Danny Brown- Uknowhatimsayin?
Don't know nothing but I do know this.
5. Jaimie Branch- Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise
Jazz musicians with punk attitudes are inestimable.

Top Five Songs
1. Summer Walker and PartyNextDoor- “Just Might”
Self-awareness can be excruciating.
2. City Girls- “JT First Day Out”
3. Miranda Lambert- “Tequila Does”
4. Bill Frisell- “Everywhere”
Sweet dreams are made of this.
5. Kanye West featuring Clipse and Kenny G- “Use This Gospel”
Kenny G takes a solo on Jesus Is King's best track.

I conducted the same exercise in September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February and January.

(Original image of Tatsuya Nakatani by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Concert Review: Max Richter, Grace Davidson and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater

I delivered an unsolicited screed to the stoned stranger seated next to me at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater on Friday, October 18.  My tirade prior to a concert by Max Richter, Grace Davidson and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble was instigated by an odd handout given to members of the audience of about 1,000.

Damon Lindelof, the co-creator of the HBO series The Leftovers, praised Richter’s “incredible music” and its frequent use in television and film productions on the leaflet that enraged me.  The hapless stranger graciously endured my harangue about how Richter’s music will prove far more enduring than the ephemeral creations of Hollywood.  While Richter is best known for his contributions to productions including Arrival, Black Mirror and the current Brad Pitt vehicle Ad Astra, much of his work is on the commanding level of composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Jóhann Jóhannsson.

I felt vindicated by Richter’s refusal to “enhance” his presentation with video projections.  The concert opened with a reading of his score for The Leftovers.  The music soared without the aid of Lindelof’s images.  Unfortunately, the spell was regularly disrupted by dozens of barbarians who applauded between movements and heedlessly let doors slam during their trips to the bar.

The second half of the concert consisted of a 90-minute version of the eight-hour song cycle Sleep, a project Richter introduced as “a protest album.”  Rather than inducing drowsiness, Sleep’s insistent minimalism arouses a fevered sense of agitation in this listener.  Davidson’s repeated “ooh-ah” refrain and the unrelenting cello bows became increasingly jarring as the piece progressed.  The ensemble occasionally broke off, allowing Richter to toy with decaying sound loops on his laptops like an ambient dub DJ.  As with many of the most exciting experiments, the performance challenged assumptions about the nature of music and how it’s meant to be consumed.

I reviewed Shoulder to Shoulder: Centennial Tribute to Women’s Suffrage by the Karrin Allyson Sextet at Plastic Sax.)

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Concert Review: Nadia Larcher and Ensemble Ibérica at MTH Theater

Nadia Larcher called Beau Bledsoe a dreamer during her North American debut at MTH Theater on Monday, October 14.  After taking in her astonishing performance, I now think of the leader of Ensemble Ibérica as an expert talent scout.

Bledsoe told an audience of less than 100 that he stumbled upon Larcher in an out-of-the-way theater in Buenos Aires by happenstance last year.  Even though the Argentinian was showcased in a 75-minute symphonic concert in 2017, Larcher is still so obscure that the video of the exquisite performance in Buenos Aires has less than 2,500 views.

The $34 I paid for my ticket covered only a pitiful fraction of what was almost certainly a huge investment to get Larcher to Kansas City, but her show was an artistic windfall.  Accompanied by guitarist Bledsoe, violinist (and translator) Christine Brebes, multi-instrumentalist Amado Espinoza, pianist Brad Cox, bassist Jeff Harshbarger and percussionist Brandon Draper, Larcher demonstrated that her tiny frame houses a massive voice and an even bigger personality.

A few of Larcher’s songs were about cowboys and the travails of agrarian life in Argentina.  That’s misleading.  Larcher is clearly professionally trained.  Her approach is no less refined than the sophisticated sensibility of the Broadway star Kelli O’Hara.  I can’t speak for Bledsoe, but the magnificence of Larcher made my dreams come true on Monday.

I contribute weekly concert previews to The Kansas City Star.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Concert Review: Kelli O’Hara at Helzberg Hall

What constitutes an ideal date night concert?  I’d suggest that the performance should be romantic, engaging, sophisticated, brief and affordable.  By those specifications, Kelli O’Hara’s appearance at Helzberg Hall on Saturday, October 12, was perfect.  My date shed tears of gratitude during the Broadway star’s renditions of romantic standards including “All the Way”, and she gleefully sang along to a rendition of the cheerful “Getting to Know You”.  Accompanied only by pianist Dan Lipton, O’Hara’s appearance lasted less than 90 minutes.  The brevity of the show might have bothered me had I not purchased rush tickets at an enormous discount.  Light attendance meant that we had an entire section in a posh venue almost entirely to ourselves.  Suddenly, I’m bright and breezy.

I reviewed an appearance by Tatsuya Nakatani at Plastic Sax.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, October 11, 2019

Album Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds- Ghosteen

I’ve attended only two funerals in 2019.  That number is certain to multiply in the next several years.  Knowing that my end is also coming sooner rather than later, I spend a lot of time pondering death, grief and God.  I once would have dismissed Ghosteen, the stately new song cycle by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, as an exercise in morbidity.  Yet like everyone who has managed to stay alive for more than half a century, I’ve taken enough hits to make Cave’s unblinking musings on mortality entirely relatable  Ghosteen is grim but not macabre.  Cave admirably attempts to overcome melancholy without devaluing the source of his pain.  In treasuring the good that remains, he honors the memories of those he’s lost.  That’s the best any of us can do.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Album Review: Robert Glasper- Fuck Yo Feelings

A rapper accosted me in a bar a few years ago.  He told me that while he appreciated my detailed analysis of his latest work, my review mistakenly referred to the recording as an album.  “It’s a mixtape!” he hollered.  Even though the project was sold on Bandcamp and iTunes and wasn’t available at mixtape sites like DatPiff, I let it go.

The distinction between albums and mixtapes is even more meaningless today.  That’s why I think Robert Glasper’s insistence that Fuck Yo Feelings is a mixtape is merely a defensive posture intended to deflect accusations of sloppiness.  And sure enough, the 71-minute recording is a self-indulgent mess, a tone he cops to in the album trailer.

Almost every time a groove catches a towering wave, the vibe is unceremoniously interrupted by a social message or a grimy verse.  But when the list of contributors reads like a Who’s Who of my favorite jazz, funk and hip-hop musicians- Bilal, YBN Cordae, Chris Dave, Denzel Curry, Herbie Hancock, Derrick Hodge, etc.- even the disruptions are nice.

On the DJ Screw-inspired “Daf Ftf,” Glasper slurs “anybody can just be a killing musician… it takes courage to step out and be a fucking artist…”  Glasper continues to prove that has plenty of guts.  I’d rather hear him goof around than listen to the most polished work of ninety percent of the artists listed on the JazzWeek radio chart.  Fuck their feelings.

I contribute weekly concert recommendations to The Kansas City Star.

I reviewed Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges at Plastic Sax.

(Original image of a light switch at the Folly Theater by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, October 07, 2019

Middle Muddle

I spent seven hours at the two-day Middle of the Map festival last weekend.  Much of it wasn’t time well spent.  A cover band's faithful back-to-back interpretations of “Helter Skelter” and “Love Shack" forced me to question the curation of the ninth edition of the event.

The headlining acts at the Uptown Theater on Friday were particularly dissatisfactory.  For an alleged industry plant, Clairo was shockingly lackluster in her Kansas City debut.  She performed prosaic pop with the reticence of an unwilling participant in a high school talent show.  Clairo’s tourmate Beabadoobee was similarly stilted in a set that sounded like Kidz Bop interpreting Pavement.  Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail is a major talent, but she made it explicitly clear that she wasn’t happy to be there.  A drab collaboration between Clairo and Snail Mail on “Speaking Terms” was the ostensible highlight of the evening.  The giddy teens in the audience of about 600 deserved much better.

I would have stayed home if I had known that the clutch of singer-songwriters featured at Songbird Cafe were going to be my favorite component of Saturday’s day parties.  I defaulted to the folkies when few of the rock bands at the three other venues proved worthwhile.

Una Walkenhorst was a revelation.  I’d written her off after witnessing a dismal set a couple years ago.  Walkenhorst made huge strides while I wasn’t paying attention.  She may be the best folk artist to emerge from Kansas City since Iris Dement played open mic sessions in the 1990s.  Walkenhorst justly heaped praise on the precocious teen Jo MacKenzie: “she’s gonna be selling places out soon, so you’d better get on that train early.”  She may be right.  I detect similarities between MacKenzie and Addie Sartino of the on-the-cusp Kansas City indie-pop band the Greeting Committee.

I expected bracing blues-rock at the debut of Womanish Girl.  The duo of guitarist Katy Guillen and drummer Stephanie Williams didn't disappoint.  I left during the two-hour break between the festival’s day parties and the evening sessions.  A friend’s invitation to join him at the Tyler, the Creator concert in Independence didn’t work out, but the momentary prospect of seeing a musical giant made the idea of returning to the unassuming festival untenable.

(Original image of Jo MacKenzie by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, October 04, 2019


The owner of a Kansas City jazz establishment does an uncannily accurate impression of me.  Rolling his eyes while whining about “that f*cking organ,” the entrepreneur mocks my longstanding dislike of the Hammond B-3.  Three convincing recent releases forced me to reassess my bias.

The presence of the mighty Pharoah Sanders compelled me to check out organist Joey DeFrancesco’s In the Key of the Universe.  The grooviest tracks almost make me believe that “The Creator Has a Master Plan”.

The James Carter Organ Trio emits as much energy as the sun on the radiant Live From Newport Jazz.   The saxophonist, organist Gerard Gibbs and drummer Alexander White are committed to getting backfields in motion.

Steve Howe- yes, that Steve Howe- is joined by organist Ross Stanley and drummer Dylan Howe on New Frontier.  It’s a tasteful blend of prog-rock, jazz fusion and the conventional organ trio sound.

A few hours after composing the previous paragraphs, I plopped down in a chair three feet from the Hammond B-3’s auxiliary speaker at the Green Lady Lounge last night.  I was unexpectedly overcome with a newfound appreciation of the vintage analogue sound.  Here’s actual footage of my ecstatic response.

I write weekly concert recommendations for The Kansas City Star.

I contributed to KCUR’s guide to the Middle of the Map Fest.

I extol the addition of Adam Larson to Kansas City’s jazz scene at Plastic Sax.

(Original image of an organ combo at the Green Lady Lounge by There Stands the Glass.)

Monday, September 30, 2019

September Recap

Top Five Performances
1. Eddie Palmieri, Ben LaMar Gay, Camila Meza, et al.- Millennium Park (The Chicago Jazz Festival)
My review.
2. Carrie Underwood- Sprint Center
My review.
3. Little Joe Hernandez- Barney Allis Plaza (Fiesta Hispana)
My Instagram clip.
4. Logan Richardson, Peter Schlamb, Dominique Sanders and Ryan J. Lee- The Ship
My Instagram clip.
5. The Sextet- RecordBar
My Instagram clip.

Top Five Albums
1. Jóhann Jóhannsson- 12 Conversations With Thilo Heinzmann
My review.
2. Alasdair Roberts- The Fiery Margin
My review.
3. Samantha Fish- Kill or Be Kind
4. Monty Alexander- Wareika Hill: Rastamonk Vibrations
My review.
5. Dylan Pyles- Popular Songs for the Heart
Lo-fi KC freak-folk a la Eugene Chadbourne and Jeff Mangum.

Top Five Songs
1. Fat Joe featuring Cardi B and Anuel AA- “Yes”
I apologize in advance.
2. Earthgang featuring T-Pain- “Tequila”
“Life is full of catchy hooks and uppercuts.”
3. Ameer Vann- “Emmanuel”
Cancel at your own risk.
4. The Highwomen- “Cocktail and a Song”
“Time’s running out.”
5. Alexandra Billings- “Let Her Be Okay”
I’m a crier.

I conducted the same exercise in August, July, June, May, April, March, February and January.

(Original image of Eddie Palmieri by There Stands the Glass.)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Album Review: Jóhann Jóhannsson- 12 Conversations With Thilo Heinzmann

I was so entranced the first time I listened to Jóhann Jóhannsson’s 41-minute song cycle 12 Conversations With Thilo Heinzmann that I was surprised when it ended.  The album was seemingly over just moments after it began.  It’s my understanding that it’s the first full-length recording of Jóhannsson compositions by a string quartet.  Each of the instrumental selections played by the Echo Collective is the length of a pop song.  Several are just as catchy- and as heartbreaking- as ballads written by Paul McCartney and Smokey Robinson.  Jóhannsson was at his artistic peak when he died last year at 48.  I’m not prone to extended periods of mourning, but I may never stop selfishly grieving the forestallment of the new music that would have enhanced the remainder of my life.

I reviewed an extremely loud concert by the Jonas Brothers and Bebe Rexha at the Sprint Center for The Kansas City Star.

I write weekly concert recommendations for The Kansas City Star.

I wrap up my three-part examination of the Chicago Jazz Festival with a litany of fussy grievances at Plastic Sax.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Friday, September 20, 2019

Are You Ready for the Country?

A musician friend recently repeated Steve Earle’s assertion that contemporary country music is “hip-hop for people who are afraid of black people.”  I objected.  In addition to reeking of sour grapes, Earle’s quip epitomizes the sort of divisive cultural classism that’s contributing to the ongoing societal rupture. 

I’m living proof that owning a MAGA hat isn’t required to appreciate current country hits.  Sure, the audience at last night’s Carrie Underwood concert was almost entirely white.  So what?  The audience at the Little Joe Hernandez concert I attended last weekend was almost entirely Latino.  I may not like the elective (or the officially mandated) segregation policies in Kansas City, but that doesn’t mean every music lover is racist.

As someone raised on the songs of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, I take it personally when an outsider puts down any form of country.  I may prefer Colter Wall to Rascal Flatts, but it’s never occurred to me to categorically impugn the character of fans of pop-country.  Even though I often joke that lots of people like bad music, I'm won't slander those who choose to listen to sounds I deem inferior.

I reviewed a concert by Carrie Underwood, Maddi & Tae and Runaway June for The Kansas City Star.

I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

I critique every set I caught at the Chicago Jazz Festival at Plastic Sax.

The audio component of my KCUR feature about Robert Castillo and the Sextet is now available for streaming.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Album Review: Alasdair Roberts- The Fiery Margin

As a white Midwestern male of humble stock, I’ve had the luxury of never needing to give much thought to my identity.  My American ancestors- a long lineage of obscure farmers, teachers and preachers- allow me to follow a path that’s largely free of expectations, obligations and encumbrances.

The results of the genetic test I recently took weren’t particularly surprising.  While it’s amusing to confirm my hunch that I’m a modern-day Neanderthal, I learned that a substantial chunk of my nuts-and-bolts are directly traceable to Glasgow.

Do my roots explain my dark disposition?  I account for ten of the 200 views of the stark solo performance of "A Keen" filmed in the home of Alasdair Roberts.  The bleak song about “the grief of a parent upon the early death of a child” is agonizing.  It could be the Scot in me that’s compelled to relish the misery.

The expanded instrumentation of the reading of “A Keen” on the Scotsman’s new album The Fiery Margin is reminiscent of Joe Boyd’s brilliant production for the likes of Nick Drake and Richard Thompson.  While based in tradition, Roberts has more in common with his Drag City labelmate Bonnie “Prince” Billy than with a typical folk purist.

My adamant rejection of the concept of historical trauma led to a heated argument with one of my children last year.  Yet Roberts’ brooding songs about uniquely Scottish forms of torment seem to stir dormant memories in my soul.  The Fiery Margin sounds so much like a home I’ve never known that I may owe my kid an apology.

My audio feature about Robert Castillo and his Kansas City groove-jazz band The Sextet aired on KCUR yesterday.  The sound will eventually be added to my text.

“Look at all the murderers and rapists here!” Joe Hernandez exclaimed as he surveyed the harmonious crowd of more than 3,000 at Fiesta Hispana last night.  The Tex-Mex legend who rose to fame as the leader of Little Joe y La Familia pilloried the President’s attacks on the Latin American community.  He asked for a moment of silence to acknowledge victims of gun violence and for “children in cages” before leading his band in a heartbreaking reading of “America the Beautiful.”  Hernandez insisted that “I know who I am and what we are- we don’t need a target on our backs.”  I captured a bit of Hernandez’s defiant “Redneck Meskin Boy”.

The discounted five-dollar tickets I bought for yesterday’s matinee concert by The Four Italian Tenors at the Folly Theater paid off in the form of complimentary champagne and chocolate.  The ensemble’s hammy popera was just a bonus.

“I run the town daily like Super Jesus.”  Here’s the music video for “Super Jesus”, the Popper’s new song about the Kansas City cult figure Mike Wheeler.

I first saw Eddie Money at Royals Stadium in 1978.  Kansas, the Steve Miller Band and Van Halen were also on the bill of Summer Jam.  I last saw Money at the suburban festival Old Shawnee Days in 2012.  Here’s my review..  The bookends are a perfect encapsulation of the career arc of a typical pop star.  Money died on Friday.

The familiar sample of the Sylvers’ “Stay Away from Me” on Sampa the Great’s “Final Form” sent me down a dusty R&B rabbithole yesterday.  I discovered the bonkers “I’ll Never Let You Go”.  I’d like someone to explain the lyrics on to me.  It’s a metaphor, right?

Three good songs- “Old Soul”, “Loose Change” and “Cocktail and a Song”- salvage the otherwise drearily mundane self-titled album by The Highwomen.

You’d be correct if you suspect that I’m over the moon about (almost) everything related to this.

(Screenshot of my 23andMe’s site by There Stands the Glass.)