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April 02, 1978 - Image 11

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Michigan Daily, 1978-04-02
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Page 8-Sunday, April 2, 1978-The Michigan Daily

eclipse

(Continued from PageS)
meshed electronics with a heavier,
funkier rock sound.
Then the sound wafted back to the
traditional with Keith Jarrett, whose
improvisational piano recitals are
classified as "jazz" mostly because of
his roots in the old Miles Davis band.
One critic said that both Tyner and
Jarrett avoid the electric piano "like
they were afraid of electrocution."
After the mellower sounds of Jarrett,
the series again swung back to the
fusionists, witi Weather Report, the
most highly-regarded of today's jazz-
rock groups (with the possible excep-

lesser-known acts.
"We try to keep it cheap," Grof-
sorean said. "If you're paying seven
bucks a ticket you can't afford to ex-
periment."
Grofsorean explains that season
tickets also allow people room to ex-
periment. By putting lesser-known ar-
tists like Anthony Braxton into a season
schedule with heavies like Chuck
Mangione, the unknown can ride in on
the coattails of the more popular jaz-
zman. "Chuck Mangione doesn't need
dates," Grofsorean said. "Anthony
Braxton does."
By the time the second Eclipse
season got under way, the series was

joined the Residential College in
presenting a series of concert-
workshops by lesser-known artists. The
series, dedicated to the late Rahsaan
Roland Kirk and held in the East Quad
auditorium, is being billed "Bright
Moments" (the title of a famous Kirk
tune). To cut back on expenses to make
the smaller series possible, Eclipse
Jazz is spending less on advertising,
using only a small, fold-out poster. -
Eclipse operates under the auspices
Qf the Major Events office, and is par-
tially funded by a federal grant from
the National Endowment for the Arts.
"To do something in this town, you have
to have a haul," says Grofsorean. "'And

stage, the keyboard virtuoso reconfir-
med that he did not need an amplified
Rhodes piano to make beautiful music.
His Spanish-flavorea improvisation
showed enough of Corea's variance of
temperment and meticulous attention
to detail to reaffirm his command of the
instrument, and the standing ovation
audience still wonders why he ever left.
With vibist Gary Burton in duet,
Corea again showed not only his
mastery for improvisation, but most
impressive was his ability to mesh like
a finely-tuned machine into what looked
more like a symbiotic relationship than
the free-wheeling improvisations of two
musicians who had not played together
for months.
Eclipse's Grofsorean said that the
Corea/Burton concert was one of the
series' success stories.
"We got Corea back into acoustic
music," Grofsorean asserts. "We made
him realize it was"fun and he could
make some money doing it."
And with his own rediscovered
acoustic talents fully mastered, Corea
returned to show his gratitude just this
March in another acoustic duet, this
time with fusion-renegade Herbie Han-
cock.
H ANCOCK STARTED the rush
to jazz-rock with his 1973
Headhunters LP, which be-
came a million seller. Next
came his Man-Child record, where the
formerly traditional jazz keyboardist
succumbed to the commercial audience
appeal of the heavy-handed fusion
sound. On that album, Hancock handled
five different synthesizers as well as his
electric Rhodes piano.
Hancock, 37, has recently "seen the
light," and began his move back into
the kind of jazz that made him famous.
With saxophonist Wayne Shorter,
trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, bassist
Ron Carter and Tony Williams on
drums, Hancock's VSOP group began
touring in a string of sold-out concerts,
pumping new life into traditional Han-
cock standards like "Maiden Voyage."
When Corea and Hancock came
together at Hill in March, the last stop
on their concert tour, it was like an
inevitable meeting of the minds. And
for Eclipse Jazz, the concert marked
the watershed between a fledgling
operation and a respected, well-
attended jazz showcase. Like the Corea
and Hancock re-birth, Eclipse Jazz had
come of age.
Likewise, thanks to Eclipse, and to
the unknowns it has brought to town
and the new musical modes it has
helped introduce, Ann Arbor audiences
have broadened their appreciation of
the various spokes of the wheel that
make up jazz.
"People always play well when they
come here," Grofsorean says. "I don't
know what it is. When they come to Ann
Arbor they get a little spark."

l%

EU

Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG
Eclipsoids en masse: Those wonderful folks who bring you jazz in Ann Arbor.

tion of Hancock's). And finally, the first
season of Eclipse Jazz closed with
avant garde artist Cecil Taylor, again a
return to the acoustic sound, albeit in
its most extravagant improvisational
form.
the traditional and the jazz-
BY FLUCTUATING between
rock styles, Eclipse man-
aged to attract both of the
warring factions of the jazz world. And
with that successful balancing act, a
new credo developed for the Eclipse
series-to introduce Ann Arbor audien-
ces to the many facets that make up
jazz.
Jazz pianist Count Basie once
described jazz as a wheel, and all the
various forms were the spokes. At one
extreme is the tight acoustic jazz of
Tyner and Taylor. At the other is the
commercialized funk-sound of Les Mc-
Cann. Eclipse tries to cover the entire
spectrum, and discover some. new
spokes of the wheel along the way.
"Our functi6n essentially is to get
people into the hall," said Eclipse's
Grofsorean, "to convince people that
it's worth a chance to experiment. Jazz
has different sounds. You can have
very avante garde sound or commer-
cial sound.
"If someone hears an avante garde
concert and they don't like it, they don't
have to sell jazz down the river. There
are different kinds of concerts."
Grofsorean said that one way Eclipse
gets Ann Arbor jazz buffs to "open up"
to unknown kinds of sounds is -by
keeping the ticket prices low. Tickets
for Eclipse Jazz concerts never cost
over $4.50, and are usually $3.50 for the

already beginning to look like a suc-
cess. The season beginning in Septem-
ber of 1976 again spanned the jazz spec-
trum. It began with the acoustic duet of
Chick Corea and Gary Burton and
finished on a high note with the unique
sound of the late Rahsaan Roland Kirk,
who played on instruments of his own
invention, like the manzello and stritch.
The next season cut a similar path
through the various facets of jazz, from
the bop of old-timer Dizzy Gillespie to
the folk-reggae-blues sound of Taj
Mahal.,
The Fall, 1977 season began with the
commercial fusion-oriented violin of
Jean-Luc Ponty and blended into the
jazz regulars, like Sonny Stitt. Eclipse
also introduced audiences to the
unheralded Dexter Gordon, for many
years a Parisian expatriate, and the
new jazz of the Art Ensemble of Chicago.
F REE JAZZ workshops which
accompany many of the
concerts also help expose
local artists and interested
jazz listeners to improvisation sessions
and historiographies. Both Sonny
Rollins and Dexter Gordon held far-
reaching discussions while the Art En-
semble had a "jam session" for local
musicians and a jazz lecture for the
non-musically inclined.
"A lot of musicians are educators,"
said Lee Berry of Eclipse. "A lot of
those guys leap at the chance to have
people hear what they've got to say."
At least one jazzman, Archie Shepp,
applied for a professorship.
In addition to the regular five-concert
schedule and workshops, Eclipse Jazz

to have a haul you have to be affiliated
with the University."
The concert series usually loses
money on the less popular artists like
Braxton, and can barely break even on
one of the jazz heavies like Ella Fitz-
gerald, who charges some $15,000 for a
performance. The federal grant offsets
some of those losses, as well as big
dollars made by big names like Chick
Corea.
Corea is an Eclipse Jazz tradition in
himself. Known to Ann Arbor from his
tour with his Return to Forever band,
when he was delving into that enticing
and lucrative new ballpark of jazz-
fusion, Corea was "reborn" to his
acoustic roots when he opened the 1976
Eclipse series in a duet concert with
Gary Burton at Hill.
That concert marked Corea's return
to acoustic piano. Despite-what Corea
claimed was an attack of nerves on

ndaxCn-diksizine
Co-editors

1

Iinside:

Patty Montemurri

Tom O'Connell

Books Editor
Brian Blanchard
Cover Photo of Archie Shepp
by Andy. Freeberg

Krishna

Books: Patti

,,

consciousness Smith's poetry
in Ann Arbor of communica

Film:
Monday
tLion Oscar fe

Supplement to The Michigan Dail)

Ann Arbor, Michigan--Sunday, April 2, 1978

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