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July 24, 1974 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-07-24

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Wednesday, July 24, 1974

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Markovitz: Insanity and su

By BRIAN SUTTON
I was waiting to review Diane
Markovitz at The Ark last Sa-
turday night when this woman
walked in, clad in the loudest
bathing suit I've ever seen, with
goggles on her head and flip-
pers on her feet. She sat down
at the piano and sang a song
that began --
"If I was a three toed sloth,
Supposing I was one, sup-
posing t was".
After finishing the song, this
woman said, "Why, this isn't
Atlantic City! I guess I've nev-
er recovered from losing t h e
beauty contest." Then, she left
the stage.
This was not precisely what I
had expected.
When Markovitz returned to
the stage a few minutes later,
she was somewhat more con-
ventionally dressed. But the
mood of the evening had been
set.
Markovitz plays piano, mostly
ragtime, sings songs, mostly
her own, and provides commen-
tary based on pointed, often bit-
ter satire, and manic humor
Her songs lampoon everything,
most of all herself. They a 1 s o
cover a lot of musical ground,
dropping references to every-

thing from light opera ("I am
the very model of the William
Morris Agency") to national
anthems ("Even God has a job
- He saves the queen.")
A fall appreciation of her
humor requires a background in
Yiddish (of course) and history
(introducing a song about a girl
having an affair with a horse,
she said, "This one is dedicated
to Catharine the Great.")
Her blend of insanity and sub-
tlety can backfire - a song
about her early career in her
native Canada mentions "A ll
those times you booed me off
the stage". But after a few more
traumatic experiences, such as
an unsuccessful audition for a
part in Hair ("They said I was
deranged."), she signed with the
aforementioned William Morris
Agency, and was sent on tour
with Sha-Na-Na. ("It was ter-
rible - the audience was all
15-year-olds on reds, trying to
outgrease the band.") Finally,
she signed with Columbia Re-
cords, and now has an album
scheduled for release in Aug-
ust.
Markovitz delivered monolo-
gues between songs that were as
carefully rehearsed as the songs
themselves. In a casual atmos-

Page Five
b t ety
phere such as The Ark's, this
can be disconcerting. However,
once the audience made the ad-
justment, they had a great time.
Sensing she was among friends
("It's so nice to look forward
to an audience's comments for a
change, rather than dreading
them."), Diane eventually 1 et
herself show through more, do-
ing a number of more serious
songs.
hater, seriousness and comedy
ran together, as she did a laving
rendition of "Falling In Love
Again" - Marlene Dietrich's
song from The Blue Angel -
then breaking up laughing, tell-
ing about Dietrich falling into
the orchestra pit while doing the
song recently.
At the end, Diane came back
for two encores, the first care-
fully set up ("This will be my
last song. I don't believe in
pumping for an encore. When
I'm done, I plan to go into the
kitchen and rot."), the second
spontaneously called for by an
appreciative audience.
As I left, somebody in front
of me said to his friend, "What
a crazy lady."
"Yeah," the other said Then
they both laughed.

. Di ly os os yS EveKA
Diane Markovitz

Montreux Jazz Festival springs

By IDA MONDRY
Special to the Daily
MONTREAUX, Switzerland - T h e
eighth International Montreaux J a z z
Festival contained a surprising diverse
range of performing styles.
The first night was strictly solo jazz
piano, and was subtitled "A Tribute to
Duke Ellington." Earl Hines stole the
show as he performed several Ellington
ballads in his own lyrical way and then
did a fine improvisation of Bernstein's
score for West Side Story. Jay Mc-
Shann, a Kansas City, blues and boogie
pianist, whose band included Charlie
Parker, did a superb rendition of "Satin
Doll", and Toland Hanna swung with
"Take The A-Train".
Cecil Taylor, the avante-garde modern-
ist, finished the night with his disturb-
ing, strange music, a large part of which
is visual.
The next evening was devoted to Swiss
Jazz, and although many states were re-
presented, they were all weak imitations
of American jazz. Particularly boring
was a "progresive jazz" group called
OM, whose four members' played as if
they were not listening to each other.
Still, they were brought back for the en-
core which has become obligatory.
The third concert belonged to Billy
Cobham, the former drummer of Maha-
vishnu, and his new group. Their music
was harsh and much too loud, bu it was
worth it just to watch Cobham attack
his drums so vigorously. The mostly rock
crowd loved this amazingly strong drum-
mer, and brought him back for two en-
cores.
The following show began with Larry
Correyell and his-group The Eleventh
House. Although he is a good guitarist
(shown in particular by his solo acous-
tic numbers), and his group is talented,
their performance was hurt by Coryell's
need to act like a rock-and-roll star. The
drummer, Alphonse Marzan, is a defin-
ite copier of Cobham and caught the
audience with his pounding. Their music,
however, is harsh without really being
good, and definitely lacks subtlety.
The night ended with the Thad Jones
- Mel Lewis band, who did a rousing 2%
hour set which did not end until 3:30
a.m. The band includes such great old-
timers as Pepper Adams, Quentin Jack-
son, and of course Thad Jones, but the
young members were particularly im-
pressive. Jon Faddis, a Dizzy Gillespie

protege, was superb on trumpet, as was
the vocalist Deedee Bridgewater whose
version of "Stormy Monday Blues" was
tremendous.
Saturday, the next to last night, proved
to be the best of all. The Charles Earland
sextet did a good opening set,
and Flora Purim, a Brazilian singer, fol-
lowed. With her husband Airto Moreira
on percussion and the great bassist Ron
Carter behind her, she combined Brazil-
ian and American songs into a pleasing
act.
Then came Sonny Rollins, unquestion-
ably the highlight of the entire festival.
The incomparable master of the tenor
saxophone thrilled the audience with the
sheer magnificance of his playing. His
group, whichincluded the great Rufus
Harley on bagpipes, was very tight, and
Masuo, the Japanese guitarist, soloes
beautifully.
Rollins, whose music defies ordinary
classifications, played ballads, calypsos,
blues, and free jazz. His deep, sonorous
tone filled the auditorium. After an hour
he closed with his customary "Alfie's
Theme", but the crowd would not let
him go and brought him back for an un-
heard-of three encores.
For the first one Sonny played the bal-
lad "There is No Greater Love" and an
unaccompanied five-minute cadenza was
magnificent. The second encore was
"The Everywher Calypso", he ended
with his 1957 piece "Sonnymoon for
Two". A drained Rollins came back to
acknowledge the applause, but would
not play any more.
Woody Herman and his Thundering
Herd finished the night with a good set
that was not over until 4:30 a.m.
The final night began with the Gil Ev-
ans Orchestra, whose layered, amor-
phous music was very interesting. The
musicians were all superb, in particular
Howard Johnson on tuba, bass clarinet,
and baritone sax, and Hannibal (Marvin
Peterson) on trumpet.
The festival closed with John Mc-
Laughlin and the Hahavishnu Orchestra,
which now includes a string quartet and
Jean-Luc Ponty on electric violin. They
sounded beautiful, despite a bad sound
system and an ear-splitting volume. The
drummer, Michael Walden, easily made
up for Billy Cobham's loss and McLaugh-
lin played with amazing speed and dex-
terity.
They were truly a fitting ending to a
marvelous festival.

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The Duke
Not forgotten
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