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December 07, 1978 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-12-07

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I

Page 6-Thursday, December 7, 1978-The Michigan Daily
Basie swings

the blues at Hill

By LEE LEVINE
Yea! The hill was swinning Tuesday
night. Of course, I'm talking about the
Count Basie Orchestra with Joe
Williams who appeared at Hill
Auditorium Tuesday night.
For the last forty years, the Count
Basie Orchestra has been considered
by many to be the finest big band in
jazz. Similarly, many have felt that the
finest jazz vocalist of the last twenty-
five years is Joe Williams. In light of
these awesome reputations, it would
seem quite easy for a concert featuring

the Count and Joe Williams to fall short
of one's expectations. But if those ex-
pectations were for a fun, fabulous, and
near perfect evening of "swinging the
blues," Count Basie and Joe Williams
didn't disappoint.
FROM THE ONSET, the audience
was treated to the kind of music that
has made Count Basie famous. Ap-
pearing by itself for the first set, the
band performed with its customary raw
power and tightness of sound.
Featuring a number of younger players
alongside old timers such as baritone
saxman Charlie Fowlkes and guitartist

ROBERTO ROSSELLINI' S

1945

11 1OPEN CITY
Shot during"the dying days of the Nazis in Rome, this powerful film of human
drama spanned Italian neo-realism. Most of the people i'n the film are not
professional actors, and much of the footage was shot by hidden cameras.
However, the tensions, the heroic resistance of the main characters are so
intensely recreated as to make the film a masterpiece. In Italian (with
subtitles).

CINEMA GUILD

TONIGHT AT
7:00 and 9:05

OLD ARCH. AUD.
$?.50

The U-M SCHOOL OF MUSIC PRESENTS
THE UNIVERSITY
OF MICHIGAN
nce
~mpany
FRIDAY, DECEMBER $ at 8 PM
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9 at 8 PM
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10at 3 PM
POWER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
PREMIERE PERFORMANCES OF WORKS BY GUEST ARTISTS
" GUS SOLOMONS,JR. (performing in his own work)
* LAURA GLENN (funded in part by the Nat'l Endowment for the Arts)
* GARY LUND
Special performance of Jose Limon's THE EXILES
Tickets available at the P.T.P. Box Office in the.Michigan League
Mon.-Fri. 10 am-1 pm, 2pm-5 pm
Power Center Box Office opens 2 hours before each concert

Freddie Green (who has been with
Basie since 1937), the band exuded an
enthusiasm that proved infectious for
the audience and invigorating for the
musicians.
The band swung smoothly through
old standards such as "Freckle Face,"
"John's Idea," "There Will Never Be
Another," "One O'Clock Jump," and
"Doggin' Around." Following the
Basie-led rhythm section's solid and
unfettered tempos, the band played
with bluesy emotion, riffing in unison in
the classic Basie style. The orchestra
was particularly effective in its playing
behind improvisation. Doing songs such
as "There Will Never Be Another," the
band exhibited, the Basie style of
picking out a blues riff from the solo (in
this case played by alsto saxman Henry
Dixon) and then sounding that riff out
behind the improvisation. This accom-
paniment continually pushed the
soloists to greater heights during the
band's scintilating solo work.
But maybe the most impressive
characteristic of the Basie band is its
simple uncluttered sound. The band,
like its leader in his piano stylings,
never wastes a note. Thus every note
that is played comes shining through
with clear punctuation and power un-
clouded by needless musical ramblings
and fills.
DESPITE THE BAND'S obvious
strengths, the performance was not
devoid of a few weaknesses: Unlike
Basie's laconic improvisation, the
younger members of the band tended to
travel little distance with their solos,
despite adequate solo space. This was
exemplified by trombonist Dennis

Wilson in a Jay Jay Johnson piece.
While possessed of technical vir-
tuousity (rapid tongueing, circular
breathing, and effective gliscando
dominated his solo) Wilson opted for
the maximum number of notes and
techniques-which only served to mud-
dle and confuse his solo. The only other
disappointment of the first set was the
band's arrangement of the uncharac-
teristic "Just The Way You Are." Only
brash young singer Dennis Roland's
smooth cool voice saved this piece from
being a total failure.
Nonetheless, brilliant as his accom-
paniment was during the first set, blues
singer Joe Williams captivated the near
sell-out crowd with his smooth, elegant
and dynamic voicings. Opening the
second set with the classic
"Everyday," Williams was at his
"sweet bluesy" best. The song,
featuring an unison cry of sympathy
from the band members after a typical
Williams lament (throughout the
evening the band had fun with a num-
ber of antics), climaxed with a charac-
teristic Williams wail sliding into the
upper register at the end of the song.
Williams continued to shine with his
super range and emotion on songs such
as "Going to Chicago," "Shake, Rattle
and Roll," and "All Right, Okay, You
Win."
Williams enchanted with his
charismatic stage presence and "down
home" musings during the ribald tune
"Person to Person." He amused the
audience during this number with "If
You're Feelin' Good, You're Supposed
To, But If I'm Not, You Ain't Doin' Me
Right." In the end, Williams' smooth-
as-silk voice, backed by the band that
made it famous, stole the show.
In short, the clean, tight, sound of the
Basie band, with the sweet blues of
Joe Williams provided a fabulous
evening of swing.

Daily Photo by WAYNE CABLE
Count Basie brought his big band sound to Hill Auditorium Tuesday evening.
REC...ORDS

Thurs., Dec. 7, 8 pm
Rackham Auditorium
Free Admission
The Ili i eIrsit' ofNMic iig
azz
and!

Sessions for counselors
Experienced counselors who would
like to improve their skills in
developing structured group programs
for adult clients are invited to take part
in a workshop Dec. 4-5 sponsored by the
University Center for Continuing
Education of Women (CEW), the
University announced.
The workshop, titled "Designing
Structured Group EXperiences," will
be held in the Rackham Building. Ad-
vance registration is required. The fee
is $25, with continuing education units
available. CEW can be contacted at 763-
1535 for registration or further infor-
mation.

Seger 's night moves
rock home audience

(Continued from Page 5)
blin' Gamblin' Man," and "That Old
Time Rock'n'Roll." The later is already
a classic in the company of Chuck
Berry's great ones, even though it is
one of Seger's newest songs. Tuesday
night, he turned it into a spiritual num-
ber, exhorting the massses to rise to the
beat, which they did. It wasn't hard to
appreciate Bob Seger's vision when he
sang lines like:
Today's music ain't got that some soul-
I love that old time rock'n'roll...
But too often, Seger seemed a slave
to hissongs, offering up live versions
that hardly differed from their studio,
predecessors. This was especially true
with ballads like "Beautiful Loser,"
"Still the Same," "Main Street,'' "Till
it Shines," and "We've Got Tonite."
The encores, however, were great.
Seger came on wearing a Bruce
Springsteen t-shirt and an acoustic
guitar, and began to strum "Night
Moves." A series of white lights, sen-
ding down delicate luminescent rays,
filled the stage, and an orange spot
illuminated Seger. Two mirror( balls
were lit, sending tiny spots of white

throughout the arena. Suddenly, Seger
reached the end of a verse, and the
mirror balls and he stopped dead. It
was like a freeze frame. "Night Moves"
led right into "Hollywood Nights," a big
rocker from Stranger in Town.
We danced our way into oblivion, but
Seger decided we hadn't heard enough,
so he returned a second time, this time
wearing a maize and blue t-shirt
reading "1" on all sides. The sizzling
chords were familiar-it was a Chuck
Berry tune all right. "Little Queenie,"
to be precise. A fantastic rendition of
"Little Queenie" to be even more
precise. Seger turned this old gem into
a tour-de-force, imbuing it with all the
character of the Silver Bullet Band.
Towards the end, the saxophone rang
out from the right, we turned our heads,
and la and behold! -Reed was standing
way over in right field, ripping holes in
the universe as the people around him
cheered him on.
As we left, some were humming
"Hollywood Night," some "Still the
Same," and some "That Old Time
Rock'n'Roll." No one was humming
Gino Vannelli tunes.

By LEE LEVINE
Current electric jazz and present
variations on the "fusion" theme have
propelled many one-time obscure jazz
musicians into the forefront of today's
popular music. While garnering mass
acceptance, the trade-off for these
musicians has been scorn from critics
for their commercialism and the com-
promising of their talents. The
criticism has been deserved in some
cases, and unjust in others.
- The Pat Matheny Group, however,
has. not suffered from criticism on this
count, either just or unjust.
THE GROUP revolves around 23-
year-old guitarist extraordinaire Pat
Metheny. A Kansas City native,
Metheny started playing with
vibraphonist Gary Burton right out of
high school. Having created some ex-
citing music with Burton to 'rave
reviews, Metheny decided it was time
to break off and begin his own unit. The
group has just recorded its third album,
and is finally receiving its due in
recognition.
Although the first two albums were
critical successes, the group dawdled in
obscurity, partly because of poor
promotion. But you can't hide a good
thing, and the Pat Metheny Group has
arrived. The group's most recent
release, Pat Metheny Group, has been
very successful and is currently No. 10
on the Billboard jazz charts. In ad-
dition, the group has already been
named number one top new jazz group
of 1978 by Record World and was rated
number one in national jazz air play in
October and November by Radio Free
Jazz.
It is very easy to understand
Metheny's critical acclaim. The Pat
Metheny Group is brilliant. The album
is one of the finest contemporary jazz
works released in a long time.
Categorizing the music is not simple
and not entirely fair. But for those un-
familiar with Metheny's music, I will
say it is a type of sophisticated fusion
with much more emphasis on jazz than
on the style's other elements, though it
is electric with the exception of acoustic
piano. But the Metheny band is unique
in its presentation, sound, and concept.
Its music is visual, in that it inspires
imagery, using layers of sound derived
from a polytonal approach interspersed
with image-rendering accidentals and
related effects. The group weaves a
tapestry of sound that envelops the
listener and leaves him with his senses
reeling.
SIDE ONE HAS only two songs, and
they might just be the finest works
Metheny has ever written. The opener,

"San Lorenzo," which with the other
song on this side has received the
majority of the air play, begins em-
phasizing Metheny's unique guitar
work. For this song, Metheny restrung
and retuned his 12-string guitar to
produce a stunning and beautiful sound.
This sound serves as the foundation for
a colorful and textured sound excursion
into the serene and yet sometimes
disquieting solitude of San Lorenzo.
Layered over Metheny's guitar effec-
ts and discreet synthesizer work, which
lend dabs of color to the San Lorenzo
picture, is a Lyle Mays acoustic piano
solo reinforcing the tranquil yet alar-
ming theme. Mays, a North Texas State
Jazz Band prodigy, amazed critics with
a solo piano performance at that school
a couple of years ago. Though he invites
comparisons with Keith Jarret, Mays is
still quite unique in his sound. As his
solo wanders from a quiet and sensitive
state to a briefly powerful crescendo
and then once again to a pensive and
sedate one, the listener feels the
building tension camouflaged at first by
the sensual melody. This eloquent solo
plays the major role in the song.
Metheny doesn't solo hereasMay's
piano work makes this unnecessary.
But Metheny lets loose in the next
song, entitled "Phase Dancer." His
playing, understated and laid back at
first, slowly evolves into a sensual apd
imaginative solo, occasionally inter-
spersed with quick licks of speed, bu
more often soft and caressing, in con-
trast to May's more brooding and sen-
sitive keyboard work. The group plays
this song with extraordinary precision
and builds to a furious climax as tie
song finishes.
THE SECOND side is much the same
but also includes an acoustic guitar in-
terlude, a light jazzy piece, and a
tribute to bassist Jaco Pastorias.
Metheny's bassist Mark Egan,
playing fretless electric bass, aqd
drummer Dan Gottlieb, who plays on
Gubert Laws' most recent album, are
both impeccable musicians who lend a
creative and driving rhythmic force
backing the solos of Metheny and Mays.
Overall, Metheny and his group.
weave an amalgam of clean, textured,
and resonant sounds for the listener
that are guaranteed to make Pat
Metheny Group a breathtaking sound
experience.

Student gets scholarship
James Baumgartner, assenior at the
University, has been awarded a two-
yearPower Exchange Scholarship to
study at Magdalene College in Cam-
bridge, England, the niversity an-
nounced.
He has been on the varsity track and
field and cross country teams for three
years and earned three varsity distance
records.

SEE Abbott & Costello Curse... SEE Mr Spock Laugh
SEE Red Skelton's Cow drop a load onstage...
All this and more dl
, BL0 R S"
Never Before Shown Censored Scenes From Movies & T.V.!
Featuring Outtakes You'll NEVER See on Television!
Including . JOHNNY CARSON eSTAR TREK
"*ABBOTT &COSTELLO #eBORIS KARLOFF 9*WC. FIELDS
s RICHARD BOONE " SAMMY DAVISWJR C JAMES ARNESS
" ORIGINAL" LAUGH IN a DON RICKLES * DON ADAMS
SCRAZ COMMERCIALS *"RED SKELTON * WILLIAM CONRAD
*OLD TIME MOVIES esTHE BE ATLES " JACK BENNY
e ROD SERLING "WAGON TRAIN *TV NEWS
J DEAN aDICKE VAN DYKE s SOB HOPE
s HOGAN'S HEROES # JAMES GARNER a NIXON. ETC ETC.

MIDNIGHT
SHOWS
FRIDAY
AND
SATURDAY
ONLY
Tickets on
sale at
11:30

i

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