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October 22, 1975 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-10-22

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY
E N E records in review Wednesday, October 22,1975

Page Five

Char es Mingus preserves

the old

jazz

By STEPHEN HERSH
CHARLES MINGUS' music turns a lot
of people off because it sounds so
old fashioned. It has the feel of music
which was current when Mingus was
young - in particular, the style of Duke
Ellington: horns, piano, upright bass, and
blues patterns.
So there's irony in the title of his new
albums, Changes One and Two (Atlantic
SD 1677, 1678). What changes the bassist-
composer has made in his sound over the
past 25 years have been subtle. He has
at times gone off on classically-flavored
tangents, but he apparently feels most at
home in straight-ahead jazz. And that's
where he remains right now.
His music has gone through some trans-
formations. While saxophonist George Ad-
ams starts most of his solos in the best
mellow traditions of Lester Young and
Johnny Hodges, he usually ends up
screeching as shrilly as Archie Shepp.
LIKEWISE, pianist Don Pullen usually
plays in a rather sedate style, but occa-
sionally digs his heels into some hard
core chaos a la Cecil Taylor. Shrieks like
these have shown up only recently in
Mingus recordings.
And there's been another important
change. Adams and Pullen, together with
drummer Dannie Richmond, who's play-
ed with Mingus regularly since the 1950's,
constitute the longest-lived group to back
Mingus in his career.
The two new albums, recorded at the
same sessions, also include trumpeter
Jack Walrath, who joined the band six
months ago.

THE RESULT is a new high for Mingus
in the level of rapport he's managed to
foster among his musicians. They're able
to do more with less: they've created a
full, rich sound with a small number of
instruments, and they swing with the
compositions because they're comfortable
with them.
Both of the albums begin with light,
airy, and fast tunes bearing angry titles.
"Remember Rockefeller at Attica" fea-
tures quickly - paced solos all around,
with an especially articulate long staccato
burst from Mingus which proves in the
space of two choruses that though he may
be getting older, he isn't getting slower.
The tune's theme ends with a wry
phrase lifted from a 15-year-old Mingus
composition called "All the Things You
Could Be Right Now If Sigmund Freud's
Wife Was Your Mother," which he re-
corded with a band including saxophon-
ist Eric Dolphy. It's too bad that Mingus
stirs up a memory of Dolphy, because
Mingus's current recordings pale in the
shadow of the work the two did together.
THOUGH AS an acoustic bassist Min-
gus is unsurpassed in jazz, he has to leave
most of the spotlight work in his music to
his sidemen, because the bass has to gen-
erally stay in the background. His quartet
featuring Dolphy worked so well partly
because it was Mingus who was running
things, but also largely because Dolphy
was among a handful of the best soloists
in jazz history.
Pullen, echoing the styles of pianist Mal
Waldron and former Mingus stalwart

Jaki Byard, is a satisfying soloist. Soi
Adams. But Mingus's musicians will pro
ably always feel the sting of compariso
with Dolphy.
The recordings with Dolphy, thoug
were lined with rough edges. And o
Changes, rough edges are absent.
THE FIRST sides of both the album
are filled out with long, pleasant comp
sitions - "Sue's Changes" and "Orang
was the Color of her Dress, Then Si
Blue." The musicians take the opportu
ity to stretch out, and the solos conta
some piercing moments. Adams is nice
long-winded, and Pullen alternates b
tween arresting strings of single notes ar
thick chords.
"Duke Ellington's Sound of Love,"
slow, pretty ballad, works better in tf
long instrumental take than in the fi'
minute arrangement including singing 1
Sy .Johnson.
Trumpeter Walrath's solo on his ov
composition, "Black Bats and Poles,"
attractively delicate and in parts qui
and nimble. The bass line, consisting ft
most of the tune of three repeating note
is neat and engaging.
It's a good thing that we have Mingi
to perpetuate the institution of this kir
of jazz, to modify it a little from its fo
mer shape in acknowledgement of tl
changing times, but preserving its e
sence. Changes is fresh, much more
today than the records pressed when Mi
gus was a sideman 30 years ago. It's vet
fresh. And it swings.

'Coconut' lacks
is 101R
b-emotional dept
Qn
By LEE BERRY
SINCE HIS split from Traffic in 1968, Dave Mason has estab-
;h, lished himself not only as a brilliant guitarist and performer,
n but also as a serious, top-notch songwriter. Sensitive lyrics and
strong melodies have always been as essential to his music as
his guitar solos.
ns Split Coconut (Columbia PC33698) exhibits no such versa-
m- tility. With minor exceptions, the album's lyrics are boring, and
ge its melodies are uninspired. The LP is left to stand on Mason's
lk guitar and voice alone which, despite ranking among his more
n. competent work to date, are not enough.
in The album opens with the title track, a bouncy, funk-flav-
ly ored song which features some classic Mason guitar lines danc-
e- ing in and out of a curiously "disco" sounding bass line. Like
nd the next number, a reggae remake of Buddy Holly's "Crying,
Waitin, Hoping," "Split Coconut" is charming and entertaining.
However, both cuts seem to lack Mason's usual warmth and
a emotion.
he OF THE seven remaining tracks, four have serious draw-
ve backs. "Save Your Love" comes closest with some sensational
by guitar playing and one of Mason's most powerful vocal perform-
ances, but a syrupy ARP-synthesizer-backed chorus brings the
vn song to its knees. "She's a Friend" is nice but trite.
is Only on "You Can Lose It," "Give Me A Reason Why," and
ck "Long Lost Friend" does Mason build the kind of solid musical
or foundations that seemed to overflow from his earlier Alone To-
s gether and Headkeeper LPs. "Give Me A Reason" and "You
Can Lose It" are slow poced, personal tunes topped by inspir-
ing background vocals by old friends David 'Crosby and Graham
us Nash. The former showcases Krueger's driving leads while Ma-
nd son's slippery slide guitar highlights the latter. "Long Lost
ir- Friend" ends the album with a solid melody and some stinging
he interplay between Mason and organist Mark Jordan.
s- The strength of these three songs (and portions of others)
so is convincing evidence that Mason and his new band are cap-
n- able of producing excellent music, if they want to. Unfortunate-
ry ly, Mason's preoccupation with current musical trends appears
to be preventing the band from achieving its full potential.

Mingus

Crosy-Nash: Mellow
but mature messages

By KURT HARJU
IF YOU LIKED James Taylor's recent songs
"Mexico" and "Lighthouse" that feature the
distinctive harmonies of David Crosby and
Graham Nash, then you're in the perfect spirits
to listen to the latest Crosby-Nash collaboration
Wind on the Water (ABC D-902) that generally
shares the uplifting beat and refreshing feel
of the Taylor tracks.
This is nowhere more evident than on the
opening number, "Carry Me," a Crosby con-
tribution that even has Taylor adding his bit
on acoustic guitar. The excellent lyrics (about
living free and easy), fluid vocals and soaring
melody makes this a standout choice for a single,
although the final decision is,, as far as I know,
still up in the air.
The Taylor influence continues throughout
the album, although it is not particularly obvious
for it largely consists of the duo's use of his
session men like Danny Kootch (on electric
guitar), Leland Sklar (on bass) and his dear
frend Carole King (on keyboards).
WITH THIS GROUP, Crosby and Nash have
put together their best backup ever and the
tightness of these musicians shows on nearly
every cut.
In this respect, the release is a departure
from their solo work, and their previous col-
laboration. It also compares favorably to their
most memorable work with Crosby, Stills, Nash
and Young.
For one thing, they've changed labels, and
this is their first recording on ABC Records.
What is more significant, though, is immediately
evident in the slick album which features Gra-
ham Nash holding an electric guitar for the
first time in ages. These guys have apparently
abandoned, on most of these songs, the acoustic
format that was so popular with CSN & Y.
IN THIS exciting enterprise they are .more
DeodaCMtoplay.
By JAMES FIEBIG THE FIRST se
and BRUCE JORDAN by a number of
Eumir D e o d a t o can make culties. John Tro
anything sound funky. string broke du
Any man who can play "Rhap- tune, "Funk You
sody in Blue," "Speak Low," band had a hard
and "Ave Maria" in Latin: to the echo, plus

than successful, even though some of the ma-
terial from Wind on the Water falls short of
being downright sensational. Crosby, always the
stronger of the two, has written some of his
finest songs to date including the incredible
"Low Down Payment" which moves like nothing
he's ever done before.
His phrasing and unbeatable sense of rhythm
have rarely served his material better, as
exemplified by "Naked in the Rain" or "Home-
ward Through the Haze.";
The real surprise on this record is Nash's
growth as a ,composer, if not as a lyricist. His
songs "Mama Lion," and especially, "Love
Work Out" (with his trio of "warpath" electric
guitars) are his greatest compositions to date.
Only "Take the Money and Run" and "Cowboy
of Dreams" are indicative of the pop pap that
he usually comes up with.I

Recent and
recommended
. Born to Run-Bruce Springsteen
The Who by Numbers-The Whoi
Tonight's the Night-Neil Young;
Blues for Allah-Grateful Dead
E.C. Was Here-Eric Clapton
Manchild-Herbie Hancock
Changes One and Two-Charles
4IMinguls
Have a flair far
artistic writing?
If you are interest-
ed in reviewhig
poetry, and-music
or writing feature
stories a b o u t the
drama, dance, film
t arts: Contact Arts
Editor, dco The
Michigan Daily.
stll lazy

" "6"* i"'" **o er
-TONIGHT-
Wednesday, October 22
A TOUCH OF CLASS
(MELVIN FRANK, 1973)
Wise, unsentimental and explosively funny; a tale of the
excruciatinq contortions which face a married man and a
divorced woman when they try to have an affair. The first
night is one of the funniest disasters in movies. "An ele-
gant, sophisticated and intelligent work . . . a romantic
comedy about grownups for grownups." Judith Crist, NEW
YORK. GLenda Jackson, Georqe Seqal.
in AUD. A, ANGELL HALL
AT7 AND9:15 $1.25
THURS.: THE BIRDS

13 Alrik Im 10 1 Q 0 In 112/42koft

HE WALKS the thin line between concern!_r au II oI
for his subject matter and the cliches he's
previously delivered. On "Fieldworker," his
part of "To the Last Whale," and "Wind on-
the Water," Nash tantalizes the listener all the a fte r
way to the end without slipping once, and thus*
makes the songs sincere new testiments rather
than the often silly messages he's presented on By JEFF SORENSEN
ON Still Crazy After All These
earlier albums. Years (Columbia PC 33540),
This is a delightful record that is well pro- Paul Simon presents himself as
duced, conceived and executed. Yet, minor the self-confident, highly com-
flaws (like a couple of Nash's more simplistic petent master of cerimonies and
efforts) do exist that mute the total effectiveness a consumate artist in the record-
of Wind On The Water. Crosby himself seems ing studio. But the trouble is,
to sum it all up on his best song on the LP Paul has apparently wasted two
where he asks "Why is it always bittersweet?" years working on songs that are
Why, indeed-for with a little better judge- simply not worthy of his talents.
ment on a few of the cuts, they could have Of these new numbers, the
produced an album that would realize all of their are more prettie the lyros
potential talents. Certainly Crosby and Nash duction is sumptuous-but the
have shown that they're capable of making an overall impression the listener
undeniably great record that would leave other gets from the album is that
rock duos like Loggins and Messina or Seal and Simon is now producing care-
Crofts wondering what had passed them by. fully-crafted pieces of musical
cotton candy that dissolve into
nothing upon closer inspection.
Although pleasantly diverting,
e l ' t fkC -is this material is notup to par
with Paul Simon and There
Goes Rhymin' Simon, his last
et was marred beer from a conveniently lo- two solo releases. On Paul Si-
technical diffi- cated offstage keg. He main- mon, he attempted to deal with
)pea's guitar B tained this image throughout the subject matter of the most in-
iring the first balance of the evening. tense personal, and often de-
rself," and the After an outrageously long pressing, naure. The production
time adjusting break, during which the audi- was simple, almost stark-the
the sound en- ence's frustrations from the first overindulgence of the Simon and
quite get it to- set were compounded, Deodato Garfunkle records apparently a
returned and exploded onstage thing of the past.
ilar difficulties with excerpts from Gershwin'sI
lmost forgetta- "Rhapsody in Blue." This selec- WITH Still Crazy, Simon goes
wever, in "Ave tion set the pace for a lively so far as to include Garfunkle
displayed his second set. He followed "Rhap- on one track, "My Little Town"
y 1 e, complete sody" with another fast tune, and return to the hummable,
te and a cup of which featured excellent per- syrupy sound of the worst Simon
cussion solos by Rubens Bassini and Garfunkle efforts. Simon,
on congas and timbales accom- who has the talent to become
-the one of the major innovative
panied by Nick Remo on drums. forces in contemporary music,
See DEODATO. Page 8 - has a narentlvoted forad-
pprn- J pe ora-

111011 s

ill these years

mittedly easier role of the rich
and contented pop star.
"Gone at Last" is this LP's
version of the highly successful
single from the last album.
"Love Me Like a Rock" as the
Jessie Dixon Singers backup
Simon and Phoebe Snow on this
overproduced gospel number.
"Silent Eyes" was used in an
abbreviated form in the movie
Shampoo, and is nothing more
than Paul Simon's special brand
of muzak as he sings along with
the Chicago Community Choir.
THE LYRICS certainly reflect
a 180 degree shift in Simon's
perspective. Instead of detailing
the down-and-out, almost tragic
figures from Paul Simon and
many of the S & G albums, he's
just "Having a Good Time.'
On thedeplorable cut of the
same name, Simon says "God
bless the goods we was given/
And God bless the U.S. of A./
And God bless our standard of
livin'/ Let's keep it that way."
Unfortunately, I'm afraid that

as long as Simon intends to'
keep his music in this vein,
America will have lost a song-
poet and gained another, manu-I
facturer of cotton candy.

INDOWNTOWN
H NN ARrOR
PICK YOUR NIGHT
" Sunday-Tuesday
OLD TIME MOVIES
No Cover-No Minimum
s Wednesday & Thursday
HOT COUNTRY MUSIC
with the GREVIOUS ANGELS
No Cover-No Minimum
" Friday & Saturday
SING ALONG with
THE GASLIGHTERS
only 50c cover
BEER-WINE-COCK TALS
FINE FOOD AVAILABLE
114 E. WASHINGTON

PAUL SIMON

a

American funk rhythms on elec-
tric instruments at about 300
decibels deserves some recog-
nition. Despite terrible acous-
tics, Deodato played to what he
termed a "mildly responsive"
but small audience Monday eve-I
ning at the Michigan Theatre.I

I gineer never did
gether.
These and sim
resulted in an a
ble first set. Hor
Maria" Deodato
quasi-baroom s t
with a lit cigaret

I

'El Hajj Malik'-

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UNIVERSITY SHOWCASE PRODUCTION
N. R Davidson's

V1

i

_ __ .. _ ..,a .. iccw

ite of ilatcotm X
JOHN FORD'S
By LISA BREY words of Malcolm X. With no STEAMBOAT
N. R. Davidson's treatment of I one particular person portraying
El Hajj Malik, the biography of this leader, it showed that his
Malcolm X, contains the mess- philosophies were to be for all T
age that no matter how deeply' men. AT 7 P.M
repressed a person may be, if'. A little known Ford gemr
he is not willing to fight he can MALCOLM X was placed in a sentimentality, he depicts
never expect to satisfy his per- detention home at an early age.. anti-belium South.
sonal goals. He was allowed toattend school,nti-bel.um.outh.
Tn thi.., a ,;i i i..lt !but was told that even though I n DL 1 VA DI CAMM'

1935
C ROUND
END
n with typical Irish
the lost world of
err

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