Friday, April 22, 2005

Music: Reunions and Magazines with an appreciation of history

TWO REUNIONS

Cream (Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker) will be appearing at the Royal Albert Hall on May 2,3,5, and 6. The RAH is the site where Cream played their last gig in 1968.



From April 26 to May 1 the John Handy Quintet for a series of concerts at New York's Lincoln Center celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band's "Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival" album, which was one of the biggest-selling jazz recordings of the '60s and is still regarded as a classic of the era. The Handy Quintet features Wichita's own Jerry Hahn, one of the most under-rated jazz guitarists.

TWO FINE MUSIC MAGAZINES

..which appreciate the history of music. One from the US and one from the UK.

Wax Poetics, is a quarterly, which says in its FAQs

Wax Poetics is like an art history course at a prestigious university.
Wax Poetics is a magazine of the highest caliber.
More specifically, it is a quarterly journal.
You may say it is a clever cross between an academic journal and a hip magazine.
Q: What is the magazine about?
Sticking to our slogan, "It's all about the beats," Wax Poetics is about beatdigging, for beatdiggers, by beatdiggers. We will put crate digging, sampling, and DJing in its proper historical context. We also intend to raise the bar on the discussion of these phenomena and treat sampling as the art that it is. Wax Poetics will dig deeper than anyone has yet to—shedding an awaited light on people, places, techniques, nuances, subtleties, poetics, politics, and polymers. Wax Poetics is about art, music, literature, and culture. We are not afraid to take the big risks. Wax Poetics will deliver interesting content.

Still confused? Wax Poetics is specifically about record collecting, and how the obsession over small snippets of funky jazz, soul, and rock led to the creation of hip-hop.
Now even though I am not much of a fan of hip hop, I picked a copy of Wax Poetics recently at Wichita's City News, my neighborhood newstand/bookstore. It definitely delivers interesting content. A profile of jazz organist Jimmy McGriff, a look at Bob Ciano record designer for the CTI label in the 1970s (lots of great album cover reproductions), Part II of a history of Wattstax (the great southern soul label which moved to the West coast in the 1970s), and "I Know a Place," a piece on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights era in Memphis.

But what piqued my interest enough to actually buy issue #11 was an article on John Klemmer. Allmusic.com says that '90s hip hop artists have sampled the music of this white tenor sax player who recorded for Cadet, part of the Chess music empire, starting in 1967. I remembered buying two of Klemmer's LP back in high school and playing them a lot. As luck would have it they are still in my collection, though I hadn't played them in years, hadn't even thought about it. I pulled them down and put them on the turntable. They held up amazingly well. As the Wax Poetics article argues they were two of the pioneer jazz-rock fusion recordings, apparently even predating Miles Davis' revolutionary Bitches Brew.
This time when I played Blowin' Gold I heard something that had escaped my attention years ago. Their is passage on Blowin' Gold that sounds like a key theme on Bitches Brew, if I recall correctly, "Miles Runs the Vodoo Down."
There's an interesting comment from Klemmer about how the fusion sound came to be. He says that after having recorded two typical jazz LPs, Marshall Chess steered him in a new direction by telling him to hire as sidemen some "long haired hippies".

Uncut is a UK monthly on "music and movies with something to say." It might remind you of Rolling Stone. though devotees of each might object to the comparison. The April issue has a cover story on the Band, which has may give you some new perspectives on the music of the 1960s and an intriguing revelation from Eric Claptonabout Cream and the Band.

And, oh yeah, Unut apparently comes with a free CD. This issue's was Across The Great Divide" Music Inspired by the Band.

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