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July 25, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-25

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Ron, Betty Carter
mesmerize Hill
At its best, jazz has the capacity to bring an entire audience under its
musical spell. And that's what happened Friday night when the Ron Carter
Quartet, along with Betty Carter and her trio, held a Hill Auditorium crowd
spellbound. This was not an evening of "jazz-rock" or "free jazz," but music for
the jazz purist.
When the Betty Carter Trio opened the show without Carter, it seemed she
was simply waiting for her walk-in cue. But it didn't happen that way, as the
trio, composed of pianist John Hicks, drummer Clifford Barbero, and bassist
Razoel Harris, played the entire number alone. The dynamic keyboards, thick
bass lines, and well-commanded drums served as ample initiation to Carter's
WHEN CARTER HERSELF appeared, her impact was like that of a
musical sorceress: her charm both repels and attracts you. Carter brings to
scat-singing a full resonant tone that sets her apart from more acclaimed
singers like Ella Fitzgerald. Carter's technique of kneading low and high notes
may sound odd at first, but her voice soars and scoops bebop phrases with such
ease that one soon feels she is performing in her natural language. Her hand
gestures seem to mold the notes, transforming standards by infusing them with
her own unique idiom.
"The Trolley Son," for example, was given sporadic delivery, as Carter
slowed down to 4/4 time, then reverted to a faster tempo, all the time singing
with vibrant but precise intonation.
CARTER'S ARRANGEMENTS were distinguished by abrupt harmonic
and rhythmic shifts, musical demands the trio handled well. Barbera displayed
fine control on drums. On acoustic piano, Hicks was a harmonic asset, pla:'ing
swinging melodies and leaving the real ornamentation to Carter. Harris' bass
lines seemed too muted when compared with that of a former Carter bassist,
Lysle Atkinson. On the whole, the trio was not an accessory, but a framework
for Carter's vocals.
The trio played appropriately in a rather subdued mellow mood which let
See RON, Page 13

The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, July 25, 1978-Page 7

Daily rPoto by PTi ER S5LING
Betty Carter, pictured above, performed along with Ron Carter last Friday
evening at Hill Auditorium.

Black Sheep's witty 'Forum' fills the bill

Stephen Sondheim, the musical
genius of the sixties and seventies,
master of assonance and inner rhyme,
is having one of his earlier works, A
Funny Thing Happened on the Way to
the Forum, performed by the Black
Sheep Repertory Theater Company,
A Funny Thing Happened
On The Way to the Forum
Book by BurtbShevelove
and Larry Gelbert ,
Music and Lyrics by
Stephen Sondheim
Robert G. Horner, director; Douglas Estlund,
set designer; Barbara Thorne, costumes; Robert
Beaupre, lighting;bRoert Ferris, musical
Presented by the Black Sheep
Repertory Theatre
huddled away in Manchester,
The musical has Burt Shevelove's
and Larry Gelbert's clever book, a
treasure-trove of pun and wit, however
only two or three of 5ondheim's
melodies are memorable. The play
drives its appeal not only from its
parody of ancient Rome, but also from
its parody of the musical genre itself.
Director Robert Horner caught this
aspect ,of the show's hilarity nicely,
developing it throughout the perfor-
THE ACTION is narrated and com-
mented upon by Pseudoles, a wry,
freedom-thirsty, craft slave, owned by
We specialize in
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Hero, the cherubic protagonist, if you
haven't already guessed. Hero
promises Pseudoles his freedom if he
can devise a way for the naive,
seemingly post-pubescent young man
to gain the object of his comic affec-
tions, a virgin courtesan (somewhat
hypocritical) residing in the house of ill-
repute located conveniently next door.
The slave, obsessed with his freedom,
hastily agrees, and the comedy begins.
It is unfortunate that the Black Sheep
Theater has such a limited stage, one
with little depth. In order to keep the
movement fast-paced, Horner kept the
characters running frantically back
and forth, having the action frequently
resemble a well-played tennis match. It
kept things lively, but became tedious
after a while. It seemed that once he
had a good piece of shtick, he con-
tinually employed it until it became an-
TAKE THOSE flying leaps which
were strewn through the first act. When
Hero employs an air-born pirrouette
while singing of his love, it is funny
because it is awkward and mocks him-
self at the same time it reinforces his
character. Yet, when Pseudoles kicks
his heels together in mid-air, the first
time it's gleeful, the second cute, the
third common and bordering on boring.
Sondheim often writes long show
stoppers, building the intensity by ad-
ding a new person each verse, and
frequently tossing in the brass towards

the end, building to a triumphant finale.
In Pacific Overtures, it's "Please
Hello." In A Little Night Music it's "A
Weekend in the Country," and in
Forum it's "Everybody Ought to Have
a Maid," a delightful romp on the-
sexual pleasures and obligations of
& rinnwn
domestic servants. The number was
performed well, but of all the numbers
in the show, this one should be laden
with gimmickry, bits, and be comically
entertaining. Horner's staging fell
slightly short. Here the repetition
amused, but the number would have
been more powerful if it had ended with
a tableau or chorus line.
I HAD A bit of trouble with two of the!
character interpretations, one with
Hero's father and the second with Mar-
cus Licus, the owner of the bordello.
Hero's father is henpecked, an honest
and respected citizen who, when of-
fered a nubile young maiden, jumps,
or, perhaps at his age, crawls at the
chance to seduce her. He is not sleazy,
nor does he lift his toga at unsuspecting
young ladies. The actor (unfortunately
the program does not list who is whom)

playing the part had this slimy sheen
about him, that aura of depravity which
accompanies perverse pederates.
Marcus Licus, the purveyor of flesh,
was played as a modern pimp, cool, hip
and enticing. Though carried off welf,
however, the interpretation did not fit
See FUN, Page 1:3

Sot-sn-Wed 130-330-5:30-730-9:30
hilippe DeBrocas
ins pco ir -"R"

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
based on "Peanuts" by Charles M. Schulz
presented by
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
July 26-29 Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Tickets: CURTAIN 8 pm
$4.00 Weds. & Thurs. $4.50 Fri. $ Sat.
Children 16 and under who are accompanied by an adult ore $1.00 off the
regular price. Weds., July 26
M JtxOffice (in the theatre lobby) will beopen on. July24 through

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