New wave has enjoyed resurgences since the s, after a rising "nostalgia" for several new wave-influenced artists. Subsequently, the genre influenced other genres. Department S - Is Vic There Fad Gadget - Coitus Interruptus Visage - Fade To Grey Normal - Warm Leatherette Killing Joke - Turn To Red Virgin Prunes - Baby Turns Blue Dave Ball - In Strict Tempo No More - Suicide Commando Leather Nun - Gimme Gimme Gimme Mission - Wasteland Cult - Rain Sound - Winning Cocteau Twins - Peppermint Pig New Order - Temptation Tubeway Army - Are Friends Electric  Flying Lizards - Money  Japan - Quiet Life  Paul Haig - Heaven Sent  Gene Loves Jezebel - Desire  Ultravox - All Stood Still  Devo - Girl You Want  Soft Cell - Bedsitter  Altered Images - Happy Birthday  John Foxx - Underpass  Quando Quango - Genius  Liquid Liquid - Cavern  Sisters Of Mercy - Body Electric  Skeletal Family - Promised Land  Siglo Xx - Dreams Of Pleasure  Marine - Life In Reverse  Names - Calcutta  Au Pairs - Sex Without Stress  Shriekback - Lined Up  Stranglers - Peaches  Tom Robinson Band - Motorway  Jam - Going Underground  Runaways - Cherry Bomb  Karen Finley - Tales Of Taboo  Creatures Uk - Miss The Girl  Dalis Car - Dalis Car  Laibach - Live Is Life  Grauzone - Film 2  Rheingold - Dreiklangs-Dimensionen  Animotion - Obsession  Tones On Tail - War  Love And Rockets - So Alive  Fields Of The Nephilim - Moonchild  Glove - Like An Animal  SPK - Metal Dance  Lene Lovich - Lucky Number  Arbeid Adelt - Death Disco  Honeymoon Killers - Decollage  Psychedelic Furs - Heaven  Residents - Kaw-Liga  Wire - I Am The Fly  Bollock Brothers - The Bunker  Nitzer Ebb - Murderous  Clock DVA - Resistance  Executive Slacks - Our Lady  Cabaret Voltaire - Crackdown  He Said - Could You  Church - Under The Milky Way  The group was based in a farm near Florence, and had a krautrock-like attitude that leaves them as a unique band in the Italian prog field.
Mainly an electronic band, based on keyboards and with very little use of voice, they released no less than three albums inone of them only intended for promotional use, and all based on instrumental-only themes in the same style as many German bands of the Cosmic Couriers genre.
Their albums were self-produced and recorded in the band's own studio, with an amateurish sound quality. With the entrance of keyboardist Stephen Head, the fourth album Finest finger is their first containing many vocal parts, a more accessible work than their previous ones.
In the same direction their next LP, Boxes paradise. The band went to California, where another US-only album, Vision's fugitives, was released, with no success. The most American-sounding of their album, this also includes former Campo di Marte drummer Carlo Felice Marcovecchio credited as Marco Marcovecchio in a couple of tracks. Their late album was Flying tapes, released in and including reworkings of tracks from their earlier LP's.
When Ursillo left the band to go back to Italy, the group went on as a trio nearly all of with new bassist Gary Falwell, but only playing live once.
The break-up followed, at the end of that year, when Falsini decided to move to New York to work as studio engineer. Andy Just Don't Cry. Jubal Kane Flying High. Etcetera nightclub, the disc captures the high-energy excitement of Lonnie Brooks' live show.
Many familiar titles from his Alligator catalog, along with a handful of never-before released tunes and a marathon "Hide Away" where Brooks pulls out all the guitaristic tricks at his command. Last of the Big Spenders was released in and is their second CD, a great collection of some old time blues.
The songs on this CD are very diverse and just a whole lot of fun to listen to and, no matter what style they decide to play, they pull it off. The CD starts off with a bang with "Sweet Dough Baker," a great old time blues song with very nicely played guitar by Nick Adams and vocals by Racky, who also plays harmonica.
The next couple of songs are very solid and well played, with "Rack'em Up" a great instrumental showcase for Racky's harp playing. Track eight, "Tears Fell Down Like Rain," is the best song, and it is unlike anything else on the CD as it is a ballad about a relationship that did not work out that well. This CD is very much worth getting. You can find it at cdfreedom. It is well worth the search.
This band has the verve and juice to go national. Thomas' voice has a deep, resonant tone worthy of an older, more weathered blues veteran. Most of the material was written or co-written by Walker except for the Nick Gravenites classic "Born in Chicago.
Without a doubt, the two strongest moments are the final two tracks. Over the course of 4 decades, Newell's musicianship and encyclopedic knowledge of the blues was intense and inspiring. Born March 9, in Hamilton, the Steeltown ran through Newell's blood but it was the blues music he heard on late night AM radio from the US that filled his soul.
Newell wasn't even a teenager when he got his first harmonica, but playing along with the radio and the 45's he'd hitchhike down to Buffalo to buy would all help shape his 'mouth of steel'.
An instantly recognizable talent, it wasn't long before he was playing with a litany of bands in the 60s including The Barons, The Chessmen and The Mid Knights.
Immediately finding a kindred spirit, Hawkins was so astounded by how well Newell understood and played the blues that one audition later, Hawkins renamed Newell King Biscuit Boy in tribute. A legend was born. It wasn't long before the most recent version of The Hawks decided to go out on their own and call themselves Crowbar. If we had anticipated every song you were going to call out, that.
This study is neither an encyclopedia nor an attempt to uncover every last reference to jazz in American letters. That would have been a long rehearsal. All this is of tremendous interest, but since this is a book that examines writers on the level of Philip Roth or Ralph Ellison, or musicians as vital as Louis Armstrong and Charles Mingus, Mezzrow, a mediocre clarinet player and entertaining, if sentimental writer, could neither write like Ellison nor wail clarinet like Sidney Bechet.
Other modes will reveal much about ethnic appropriation in his wild narrative. A study of equal length could certainly be written about the writers I did not include. What this book does examine is a series of crucial moments when jazz has surfaced in the work of major American novelists, poets, and playwrights, and how, in turn, the musicians chose to represent themselves in autobiographies.
The movement of this book is more thematic than it is historical or syllogistic. Jazz history is an unstable mass of recordings, liner notes, reviews, biographies, documentaries, and endless arguments.
I have let jazz history—more nuanced, distanced, and researched now than it was for many of the writers discussed in this study—serve as a background for the texts, often allowing it to demonstrate how literary writing can be both dated and prophetic. When Ellison wrote about the music, he took all of these factors into account. For jazz to be a guiding principle for a major modernist novel was a remarkable achievement indeed.
In the heart of the so-called Jazz Age—a term F. The music itself, though, remained as indeterminate as a modernist poem. What, after all, is jazz? Is it a radical rejection of popular music or is it just more popular music? Is it about improvisational audacity or structural intricacy?
Does it embody racial strife or transcend it? Is jazz about being in the moment or does it make a self-conscious statement about that moment? Ethnic strife obfuscated an understanding of jazz among many writers during its most fertile moments of development, but among the musicians themselves, interethnic dialogue happened much sooner. If literary texts were the only evidence of blackJewish relations, there would be J. Ellison provided a bridge between literary modernism and the jazz canon with the publication of Invisible Man, which achieved instant status as a modernist classic and made people listen when Ellison argued that Louis Armstrong was as modern as T.
Ellison was a transgressive novelist and traditionalist jazz critic whose criticism, like his poetics, was overtly indebted to T. Manifesting the music itself, Hughes avoided the high-low problem posed by other poets by acting as a participant rather than an observer, but when he teamed up with Charles Mingus intheir contrasting sensibilities were documented on record. All art may aspire to the condition of music, but jazz has presented particular challenges to the American writer.
Salinger looked to Bessie Smith for authenticity in a fraudulent world, and Norman Mailer mythologized jazz as the apocalyptic orgasm itself, I have listened for the music beneath the writing, slipped into the breaks and looked around. This book begins with understanding the jazz process itself as an antithesis to an ethnic divide in the literary world and ends with ghostwritten accounts of jazz legends as streetwalkers and pimps, with modernist poets, hipster essayists, and transgressive novelists giving their accounts in between.
Eliot resides the poetics of jazz, on the threshold of spontaneity and precision. Novels, poems, and hostile letters to the editor are usually written in isolation.
Musicals, songs, and bop lines are usually crafted in collaboration. But because blacks lived in segregated America, the music was an avenue for a genuine collaboration with Jews that was documented in records but largely unacknowledged by the literati. Indeed, the least understood yet most thoroughly developed dialectic between blacks and Jews was achieved not through literature but music, where song provided a haven for two marginalized ethnic groups before integration became the law of the land.
So, by the way, did Elvis Presley, who, according to the website www. Charlie Parker shared bop lines and a heroin habit with the Jewish trumpeter Red Rodney and died in the arms of the Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter, a Jewish patroness. Goodman did not integrate his band to be a civil rights activist.
But when competing versions of jazz appeared in the works of J. Salinger, Norman Mailer, and James Baldwin, the story was often similar. For Salinger jazz offered an alternative to bourgeois ennui, for Mailer, an orgasmic release from his existential dread, and for Baldwin, an underground, transgressive alternative to a somber algebra teacher.
Beyond the appropriation and transgression, jazz has offered a mode of expression that has brought blacks and Jews together in ways that the literature has largely kept separate, but even when literature visits jazz as a subject, African Americans and Jews Been Here - Various - Live Your Life With Verve (Summer Groove) (CD) often relegated to limited roles.
Max Roach has said that records are the textbooks of jazz, and when 20 CHAPTER 1 it comes to black-Jewish relations in America, records are much better textbooks than conventional literary writing. Salinger and Norman Mailer, and a James Baldwin short story answered back. Charming, even richly evocative fraud on occasion. Instead, the voice of an African American singer and her legend serves as a contrast to the world of privilege he held up for contempt in a bestselling novel.
Although there are no openly Jewish characters in this story, it is set against the backdrop of World War II and implies a correlation between damaged black and Jewish bodies. Holden searches for underground obsessions, and Salinger is not necessarily subtle with his imagery when he has his hero repeatedly badger cab drivers about the fate of the ducks when the Central Park pond freezes.
But it is exactly such a mysterious underworld that fascinates Holden. A record by an African American singer named Estelle Fletcher also provides Holden with access to such a secret underground. I heard it at Pencey. The record had a novelty quality to it, taking a familiar rhyme and setting it not to Dixieland accompaniment, with overlapping contrapuntal lines and loose arrangements, but rather to a tightly wound arrangement typical of late thirties commercial swing.
Holden, looking for a jargon of authenticity beyond the prep school argot he so precisely skewers, is in search of a blues sensibility without quite articulating it. But Holden prefers it, and Salinger apparently does, too, using it for the title of his book. Hotchner infuriated the author by changing the title for Cosmopolitan in September The overtly Rockwell-like Cosmopolitan illustration is an unintentional irony. Go away. Get him right under the kidneys. Black Charles stirred slightly, but slept on without even seriously changing his position.
You gotta hit him harder than that anyway. The children do not beat her, but the white adults of the segregated South ultimately bring her down.
Every note she sang was detonated with individuality. Violence and black music whet their passion. On the way, this car was involved in some minor mishap, which further delayed medical attention. It is no wonder that feminist scholars including Hazel Carby and Angela Davis have claimed Smith as an icon.
Kiss my black unruly ass. There is a recording of Goodman introducing a radio feed where a bluesy cadence is detectable not only in his clarinet lines, but in his introduction as well. There was nothing self-conscious about this adoption: it was the world in which he walked.
The producer of that session was John Hammond, the Columbia Records talent scout who was also responsible for promulgating the Bessie Smith fable that inspired Salinger. He contrived a name from a famous Welsh poet, told reporters and publicists that he learned guitar from Leadbelly, and concocted the phenomenon of Bob Dylan.
It was terribly scratchy now. Frustrated young professionals in posh hotels would never have to look far for the blues again. For Mailer, Monk was hip in the way that homicide and rape were hip: the music was transgressive, dangerous, linked to drugs and outlaw behavior.
To demystify its origins, or complicate it or subject it to analytical scrutiny, would have made it less hip. Mailer practiced what he preached: in addition to growing a goatee and sometimes affecting black dialect, Mailer married Beverly Bently, a former lover of Miles Davis.
Baldwin looked back somewhat bitterly on his period as an essayist for the New Leader. They thought he was a real sweet ofay cat, but a little frantic. Baldwin sets up the divide between an unnamed narrator, a math teacher, and his brother, Sonny, a bebop pianist. The narrator is disturbed to learn that his brother has become a musician, recalling an uncle he never knew who was murdered by a group of southern white men. In hipster New York, the lynch mob is replaced by the drugsaturated subculture of bebop—a place where the narrator fears he cannot watch over him.
Baldwin, like Mailer, was explaining jazz for a New York Intellectual venue. Philip Roth recalled taking the Jamesian path of literary assimilation as a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Hey ya! I know the answer! Whaddyamean a Jew knows Henry James? It is the very mystery of the music that enhances its eros. But there are other modes of communication going on with the musicians Baldwin describes, too.
His epiphany is not about how jazz musicians actually formulate their ideas or communicate with each other, but how an outsider might view them and impose a narrative on them. There are brief descriptions earlier in the story of Sonny practicing, but what he is practicing is too perplexing for the narrator to fathom.
What the narrator witnesses is a catharsis, but he cannot imagine how the labyrinthine language of bebop would have a logic as complex as the high school algebra he teaches. All you have to do is turn on the radio or put on a record or pick up an axe yourself and blow. It would take a few generations of historical perspective before jazz was written about beyond its context; that is, when the process of acquiring the language and technique of the music could be written about with as much detail as the things around it.
But bebop itself was not treated as a complex path. But whether Mailer was reporting on orgasmic bop and racial appropriation for Irving Howe or Baldwin was crafting Jamesian prose about a narcotic-driven Icarus myth for William Phillips, there was neither the distance nor the perspective for a more nuanced reading of the music.
Powell did time in Bellevue and would have been celebrated by Mailer for his madness more than for his harmonics. But Monk used a tune by a Jewish composer to teach a jazz history lesson. One can imagine Mailer and Baldwin sitting in the Five Spot in taking notes. Only part of the story came out in what they ultimately produced.
This moment of detente occurs when Coleman Silk has a memory ofright before he makes the decision to pass. With his dual ethnic status, Silk gets to play out both sides of the culture wars—as a black victim of racism in the forties and a Jewish casualty of campus politics in the nineties— when ironically, he is brought down after being accused of being racist himself.
She could have raised Gershwin himself from the grave with that dance, and with the way she sang the song. Prompted by a colored trumpet player playing it like a black torch song, there to see, plain as day, was all the power of her whiteness.
What worked on the bandstand and in the bedroom did not work when the last chorus ran out and the dance was over. Race is something Coleman Silk wants to move beyond, but it is only in this musical interlude that ethnicity can be troped and transcended at the same time. The memory of all that is particularly poignant, a recollection of a privileged moment when ethnicity could be forgotten for the duration of a song.
Although he wrote on the classic American theme of corporate ascent in Gain, and in Plowing the Dark even produced a prophetic book about militant Islam a year before the attacks of September 11,the WASP author may seem perhaps the least likely candidate among contemporary literary writers to cross the color line and reopen the question of what it means to be black in America.
Her lips moved silently, as they had for so long in the darkness of the club, keeping me company each night. The warmth of the recording came out of her soundless mouth. My right hand lowered itself onto her leg and began accompanying. I closed my eyes and improvised. I moved from chords to free imitation, careful to keep a decent range, between her knee and hiked-up hemline.
Like Roth, Powers subverts ethnic sterotypes and their musical associations by mixing them up. He brings together a blackJewish couple to produce three extraordinary children at a turning point in American politics and music. What could go wrong? The answer, of course, is America, with its collision between the ideal world of artistic shelter and the brutal world of racial politics.
It is not hard to imagine the obstacles they confront from there. And it is in such cloistered circumstances that they make their discoveries of jazz. Norman Mailer. They can remember, and have the ability of robots. The tumult that surrounds the Stroms indicates that the world is unable to accept this diversity. Only in the music can this cultural crossing truly be accepted. Powers achieves a subtler music, but, for all its fascination, it tends to fade as the pages are turned.
But who has Been Here - Various - Live Your Life With Verve (Summer Groove) (CD) put Marian Anderson in a novel, or imagined in narrative what Jessye Norman or Kathleen Battle must have encountered as they climbed the long stairway up to the Kennedy Center? Powers, a trained oboe player and cellist, was able to do something Salinger, Mailer, and Baldwin could not: describe with learned precision exactly how music is made. That he did so by bringing blacks and Jews together only underscores exactly how crucial this relationship has been in American music, drawing a contrast between its artistic gestation and its political resistance.
We are all lovers and thieves now, and better off for admitting it. Invisibility, let me explain, gives one a slightly different sense of time. And you slip into the breaks and look around. Unlike a musical cutting contest, however, in which two improvisers, usually horn players, go head-to-head with styles that are as distinctive as they are complementary, this one was about the bitter divides of race and politics.
The EllisonHowe match may not have been good for black-Jewish relations, but it was ultimately good for Ellison, inspiring his most vivid piece of writing after Invisible Man. Howe might not have agreed with those ideas, but they would take on a life of their own nonetheless. Eleven years later, though, the massive success and almost instant canonization of Invisible Man had elevated Ellison, rather against his will, to the role of spokesperson, and Howe was no longer endorsing an up and comer but criticizing a literary celebrity.
But Invisible Man is not completely alone in that basement. In his own introverted way, Ellison had the world in a jug and the stopper in his hands. His reading of Armstrong, that provider of strength for Invisible Man and its author, would play a crucial role in how that would take place. From Right to Left, critics as divergent as Norman Podhoretz and Cornel West have believed that Ellison emerged the victor of their duel. How could sitting in the dark listening to Armstrong possibly have any consequences beyond the pleasures of hiding from the outside world?
Ellison was in no emotional state to tell him that Invisible Man was itself a civil rights statement. It is unfortunate that Ellison did not march on Washington or at Selma.
Yet his Invisible Man was staging his own covert operation alone in his basement. Only Armstrong survives his satire, the sole African American icon the narrator could imagine canonizing. Ellison did not feel comfortable as a civil rights spokesman; rather, he intended to give voice to a silenced past. Though Ellison later altered the soundtrack of invisibility in his prologue, the sense of recording the unrecorded remains in the novel and appears in its epilogue. When Ellison was revising his prologue to Invisible Man, his editor Albert Erskine suggested he insert references to Louis Armstrong to make it more topical.
For the Invisible Man, Armstrong inspires anything but indolence, and certainly inspired a counterintuitve critical turn for Ellison. In seven years of writing the novel, Ellison saw the world changing around his Harlem apartment.
Charlie Parker never appeared in a Hollywood movie or recorded for a major label. Without Ellison, such moments of cultural embarrassment could not have begun to be reclaimed. The musical language of bebop was more overtly theoretical than swing, based on long extended riffs, solos built not merely on short eighth-note swing lines, but rather longer, more complex statements based on scales and modes.
There was no such opportunity, however; instead, [only the] continual pressure to produce novelties, to plug new songs, or the same songs under new names. Is there nothing in your head? To be black, in his version, is to be black and blue, a remarkable statement for a pop record.
The Armstrong of this period frequently engaged in jaw-dropping contrasts with his fellow musicians. With Earl Hines out of the rhythm section, Armstrong lacked a peer. The Invisible Man also resists the constraining grips of his cultural moment, running from political orthodoxies and refusing to march lockstep with any political ideology.
He is an antiliteralist, and even though he spends the entire novel searching in vain for a character named Mr. Emerson, he practices Emersonian self-reliance. There is a certain acoustical deadness to my hole, and when I have music I want to feel its vibration, not only with my ear but with my whole body.
Sometimes now I listen to Louis while I have my favorite dessert of vanilla ice cream and sloe gin. I pour the red liquid over the white mound, watching it glisten and the vapor rising as Louis bends that military instrument into a beam of lyrical sound.
And my own grasp of invisibility aids me to understand his music. Why, then, does the narrator wish he could hear recordings of Armstrong, when true jazz fans dream about hearing the real thing?
By the time the narrator turns to Armstrong to provide a soundtrack for his isolation, he has engaged in the silently subversive acts of stealing electricity from Con Edison and, anticipating the Liberty Paints episode—where he will cause an explosion by putting too much black into mixed paint—reddening the vanilla ice cream with sloe gin, dosing its sweetness with liquor. But another concept that Ellison explodes is the distinction between artist and performer in the reception history of Armstrong.
But the Armstrong effect was just too complicated for most people. For Ellison, the Armstrong effect is complicated, indeed. CE, —7 Armstrong, who did, in fact, recommend the laxative Swiss Kriss to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, may not have been a deliberately subversive presence in the corridors of power, but he was certainly an irreverent one, getting away with behavior that would have been unthinkable coming from anyone else of any race.
Who the hell dreamed up Louie? But in the world of criticism, autonomy is itself an invented concept, and there has been recent debate about who, exactly, did dream up Louis. Jazz musicians, however, are searching for the freedom of ascendance. They would often pay visits to Ellison in his Riverside Drive apartment—where Marsalis, with his trademark southern charm, would attempt to disabuse Ellison of his notion that Thelonious Monk did not have technique.
In fact, in a personal correspondence, Crouch used Ellisonian criteria to argue that Monk not only had technique, he had elegance, a term Ellison thought too inelegant to apply to Armstrong. The most pervasive images of Monk are as an eccentric icon. Like Armstrong, Monk is now commonly regarded as merely a high modernist in signifying drag. And we have jazz. Boy, what do you know other than how to ruin an institution that took over half a hundred years to build?
The Ellison of jazz writing may have inspired institutions, but the Invisible Man evaded them. At his best, Ellison venerated his jazz heroes with a healthy layer of irony. Eliot and Louis Armstrong with irreverence and abandon. If the result was a canonized novel and an exalted cultural position, Ellison would further exile himself with steadfastly contrarian opinions, and when those opinions became increasingly accepted, he simply went into exile altogether.
After his retirement from his position as the Schweitzer Professor of Humanities at NYU in —ostensibly to devote himself to his writing—he wrote and published virtually nothing of consequence before his death in The Ralph Ellison of Invisible Man is transgressive.
The Ralph Ellison of jazz criticism is traditional. Nameless, he splices together an indeterminate identity in a satirical text that alludes heavily to Homer, Dante, Joyce, and Eliot, while also making references to Armstrong, Ellington, and Jimmy Rushing. Eliot were culturally inseparable, but there was something reactionary about his attitude toward the jazz innovations of his time.
Does blackness mean following the course of the incestuous Jim Trueblood, the Machiavellian Dr. Bledsoe, or the rabble-rousing Ras the Destroyer?
Jazz is Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. The Modern Jazz Quartet, Charlie Parker, the pre Miles Davis, and John Coltrane are now the subjects of numerous reissues, scholarly studies, and repertory festivals. Ellison was an intensely private man who was content to let his epigones do the public speaking.
The publication of Invisible Man had earned Ellison a National Book Award and a respectability never before enjoyed by an African American writer, and the new educational medium presented him with an opportunity to make an impassioned case for what he felt was a sorely neglected subject.
A vacuum does exist in our understanding. It is a fact that for all their important contributions to American culture, no Edmund Wilson, no T. Eliot, no Cowley or Kazin have offered us insights into the relationship between this most vital art and the broader aspects of American social life. Nor did Coltrane help with his badly executed velocity exercises. These cats have gotten lost, man. Ellison found high art in the incongruity between performance and the substance behind that performance.
Davis was emphatically not bell-like, and this was part of his appeal. He was wistfully looking back to something from the past, and bitterly repudiated the present.
Indeed, in calling for a new kind of jazz intellectual inEllison implied that intellectuals had not written on jazz. Each of these approaches— journalistic, musicological, poetic—had its impact on Ellison, but he felt that none of them in isolation gave a complete account of an art that could hold up to close readings, inspire lyrical poetry, and provide an ongoing story for a general magazine audience.
In four people died in a racially charged riot in the Watts section of Los Angeles Bag. In that year Miles Davis released E. This was to be the last period in jazz fully acknowledged to be both innovative and worthy of canonical status, and each of these recordings reveals a restless desire among the musicians to break away from conventional rhythm, harmony, and meter.
The music and the riots both represented a breakdown of the African American communities Ellison loved. Black jazz musicians were less likely to turn to the blues, but to the European avant-garde for expression, and the resulting sounds were a violent assault on the music he cherished, nearly as much as the riots in Watts were a literal manifestation of the same. The jazz of that era, similarly represented a violent break within the black communities for which Ellison felt so much affection.
But the jazz of the era was speaking less and less for the African Americans of that community and more for a white, collegiate, increasingly marginalized elite. Ellison, too, was becoming marginalized from the black community and subject to charges of elitism. That year, Ellison received an award from Book Week for Invisible Man, declared by a panel of writers and editors to be the most distinguished novel of the postwar era, and also participated in a National Arts festival organized by president Lyndon Johnson.
On the one hand, Ellison was proposing a radically new form of critical discourse that would factor race into the equation as never before. He did not believe that jazz was bound for a dialectical journey that would move ever upward to greater harmonic abstraction until it reached the equivalent of the end of history. But while Williams was a champion of avant-garde artists like Taylor and Ornette Coleman, his method for analyzing them—and for inspiring generalinterest audiences of the s to take them seriously—derived from New Criticism.
Williams received an M. The point that both were making was that musicology was too rooted in European conceptions of harmony and rhythm, while jazz journalism was too caught up in hipster auras and New Critical paradigms. Init seemed, Ellison was trapped by his fame, his novelistic ambitions, his antiseparatism, and his increasing disdain for the new voices and sounds emerging around him.
The New Criticism that Williams practiced for his M. The cultural synthesis would propel him away from music and toward novel writing, but also toward a reading of jazz that was as modernist as it was a story of ethnic crossing.
Eliot, Invisible Man would have never been written. Norton, is given the name of a publishing company. The narrator of Invisible Man is placed in opposition to this symbol of cultural production. Ellison, like Eliot, was shoring fragments against his ruins, and like Eliot, ended up creating a critical school in their wake.
These wars were meticulously and somewhat gratuitously detailed in a cover story for the Village Voice that told tales of empire building, rivalry, identity crises, and power plays: in 98 CHAPTER 2 short, the characteristics Ellison skewered with every institution he satirized in Invisible Man.
Those institutions, like any other, were built to be challenged. One of the appeals of Invisible Man is that it grants a regenerative heroic status not to the person following the dictated rules of a cultural form, but to the one willing to cause trouble. Students of literature love these kinds of heroes, and students of jazz should continue valuing them, as well. From this perspective, the greatest tribute to Ellison could be to shake Been Here - Various - Live Your Life With Verve (Summer Groove) (CD) the institutions set up upon his principles.
Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, Ellison could still speak for jazz? Let us invent an idiom for the proper transposition of jazz into words! Something clean, sparkling, elusive! It made sense that Armstrong was a touchstone for Ellison, since Eliot pointed to so many references that Ellison wanted to master.
But Ellison did not come unprepared. Ellison discovered Eliot at the beginning of his creative life; Eliot came looking for Charles Mingus at the end of his. After all, both of them had their encounters with Langston Hughes, a poet who, on the surface, would seem to have more in common with both artists.
A day after Ellison left Tuskegee behind and arrived at the Harlem YMCA, he tracked down Hughes, showed off his musical and literary prowess, and hounded the poet until he secured a job recommendation from him. But once Ellison was given the National Book Award, he no longer had any need for Hughes and cast him aside.
Mingus, always striving for literary respect, recorded and performed with Hughes inbut those Harlem Renaissance lyrics represented a vanquished era for Mingus. They had their virtues, but did not measure up to the neurotic, bombastic, ambitious sound Mingus was hearing in his head, producing on the bass, and scribbling on scores.
Eliot was not alone. What is peculiar about the interest in jazz by such modernists as Crane and Stevens is just how conterintuitive it is—and how jazz musicians also saw an unlikely connection between the two media. It is not so surprising that Crane and Stevens would not have the same understandings of jazz as those who regularly took in sets, listened to records, even talked and worked with musicians; what is surprising is that they tried to write jazz poetry at all.
When poets wrote in empathy with jazz musicians, they spoke for the select few who understood the music, and it made sense that, say, the Black Arts movement embraced jazz. Their poetic misreadings of jazz, in turn, reveal a great deal about its role in American culture as a repository for repressed libidos and allegorical imaginations. And yet Crane, Stevens, and Eliot spent as much time aspiring to jazz as Ralph Ellison and Charles Mingus spent yearning for high modernist credibility.
White modernists and black populists did not always run in the same literary circles, but that did not stop Crane, Hughes, and Stevens from writing their own versions of jazz poems. Stevens wrote his jazz-themed poem when the jazz canon was already being established, but he left no evidence that he took much interest in it. Looking at Crane or Stevens through a jazz lens calls attention not to the mystery or ecstasy evoked by these poets, but rather shows where their aesthetic judgments date themselves.
Charlie Parker wished he could take a year off from performing and study with Stravinsky, but it is inconceivable to imagine Crane wanting to study the music he wanted to appropriate with Jelly Roll Morton or any other black musician. The canons of jazz and American poetry are often debated and challenged; there is also, however, a hybrid lineage of poetry that uses vocalizations, cries, instrumentation, and vocalese in a way that neither Crane nor Stevens could have imagined.
Baraka, Madhubuti, and even Jon Hendricks are part of this line, as are the spoken-word and slam-poetry movements, the Last Poets, the Black Mountain Poets, and a host of other strains.
Yet just because a poet knows about John Coltrane does not mean he will have the talent of a Hart Crane. Hart Crane had abundant talent, but he lived in an age when the music was being invented, not historicized. These poets were not necessarily writing with a comprehensive awareness Been Here - Various - Live Your Life With Verve (Summer Groove) (CD) jazz history—a subject still in the process of revision—but the jazz history to which we currently have access allows us to examine some jazz poems in a larger historical and aesthetic context.
In other ways he was not — he was easily the most educated musician in the band and we quickly discovered and exploited his knack for finding the way into or out of a troublesome bridge or verse melody. Around that time — say the spring of 93 — we had crossed paths with Nathan, a super-mellow sound engineer who happened to have a truck full of equipment and, for whatever reason, liked us and our music enough to offer his gear and services for little more than credit on any recordings and an equal share in the nights beer- and pot-runs.
In our early practices with Brian, we began working up a song brought to the table by Nick. It had some of his trademark open, ringing chord progressions, and Brian immediately showed his value by adding a fat-assed, descending bass melody. I broke out the delay pedal and came up with a complementary rhythm part and a tidy little solo although the rhythm of this one always jacked with my head. It went…OK. We got a decent drum sound and then Been Here - Various - Live Your Life With Verve (Summer Groove) (CD) the track up, with Nathan bouncing things down to make room for 4 instruments and a vocalist on 4 tracks.
We definitely got a great, fat bass sound and everything sat well together, but it was a challenging track. Regardless we got it done and dusted. One track down. By mid-summer Brian was fully integrated into the band. We were gigging regularly and had honed a solid minute set list via regular gigs at the Steamboat and the Back Room. Soon we had two very promising gigs on the horizon.
This was a radio show, hosted by local DJ Loris Lowe, that ran every Tuesday for 10 or 12 weeks in the summers. Then at the end of the summer each band would get one song on a compilation CD which was sold to benefit a local charity.
Although we were way more lightweight than the average band who appeared on the show, Joe had in his Jedi-like way made a friend of KLBJ legend Johnnie Walker, who seemed always willing to advertise our shows during his drive-time slot. Second, we were given a chance to audition at the Black Cat on 6th Street. This was a big deal. Paul Sessums, the owner, would audition new bands on weeknights.
If he liked what he heard, he would give you a residency — you would play the same slot on the same night of the week every week for a year.
Everyone knew that if it was Thursday night Soul Hat was playing at the Cat. Now, we felt like we had a real shot. But before those two potentialities, we needed a demo tape. We decided to just find a place to set up and record our set live to DAT. We knew three young ladies two of whom were six footers while the third was barely five who lived in a classic Austin craftsman; we of course dubbed it the Amazon House.
They threw good parties. We spread amps and drums around the house, put Joe down a hallway while Brian, Nick and I congregated in the living room. Nathan ran his cable snake out into the driveway and used his trailer as a control booth.
After an interminable setup recording really is quite boring we played through our setlist, recording live to two-track so that if anyone fucked up we had to start all over again.
Unfortunately Joe was really sick with the flu and spent the afternoon slumped down his hallway guzzling orange juice and rousing himself to a really impressive level of performance. His voice was definitely rawer than usual, but there was a desperate edge to his singing that day that added something to the recordings. We got through as much of the material as we could then packed up and vacated. One is that, overall, we did a solid job and Joe was a trooper to even get up there, much less make it through that set with only a couple of blown notes.
Second, I will leave you with a quote from Bill Johnson, the legendary engineer who recorded the set. Oh, and we were pretty out of tune Sorry Bill. We solved this by having Brian fly a bass part in via some sort of alchemy or witchcraft. There, now we have two tracks. And we had the upcoming set at the Black Cat. It was basically a shambles with a false front.
The PA was only for vocals — everything else was live including the drums. And that was it. It was one of the best live music venues in town because Sessums fucking loved music and had a good ear and hand-picked the bands. It was always packed, sometimes with frat boys, sometimes with bikers, sometimes with both.
We rolled in and set up and Nathan brought his DAT machine and two microphones and set himself up against the far wall facing the stage. It was a custom-built show closer. Unfortunately our show only lasted 4 songs that night. Backwards-Hat Pat, our drummer, was an extremely gifted player with a unique style and he contributed a lot to the sound of the band. That said, he was an asshole that seemed to delight in sabotaging us at key moments and fomenting conflict between members.
That night, at the Black Cat, he claimed to have some sort of diabetic attack after three songs. University of New Orleans?? That said, he did look sweatier and paler than usual, and there was a note of panic in his voice.
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