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September 20, 1981 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-09-20

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Page 5

Sunday, September 20, 1981

The Michigan. Daily

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FRI., SEPT.25 SAT., SEPT. 26 SUN., SEPT. 27

Davis

0

Miles to go

7pm

THE TERROR OF
TINY TOWN

before he sleeps

9pm I CHANGED
MY SEX
with Bela Lugosi

7pm PLAN 9 FROM
OUTER SPACE
with Bela Lugosi
9pm HARLEM RIDES
THE RANGE
11pm LITTLE SHOP
OF HORRORS
with Jack
Nicholson

1:30pm THE BLOB
with Steve
McQueen
3:30pm ROBOT
MONSTER
7pm ATTACK OF
THE KILLER
TOMATOES
9pm THE MANIAC
with Phyllis
Diller

11pm

BEYOND THE
VALLEY OF
THE DOLLS

i
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i
j_.
1

By RJ SMITH
Miles Davis was greeted with a tidal
wave of applause the moment he and
his band took the stage at Hill
Auditorium last night. Yet, although
he's making his first stage appearance
in five years, this wasn't blind idol wor-
ship.
Unlike many pop stars coming out of
the shadows after a long stint in the
dark, Davis didn't go through the
motions. He didn't breathe 'easy,
thinking past accomplishments would
see him through the evening. Although
he seems far from sure whereyto take
his music next, tie show proved that
he's looking for a new direction. And
you'd better watch out when he finds it.
IN JUST THE few months since his
album The Man With the Horn has
come out, Davis has already improved
a lot on its songs. This is no great feat:
Though in general it's quite a good
record, it's obvious that Davis hadn't
been spending a lot of time in the
rehearsal room over the past half-
decade.
His chops still aren't that strong, and
this encumbered most of his playing at
Hill. The band, though, has uniformly
improved, arid clams and missed notes
or not, Davis' playing is speaking again
in the beautiful interrogative language
he pioneered long ago.
Doffing the peculiar cap that's been a
constant on this tour, last night's Davis
was the Dark Mysterian on stage that
he's been so often over the years. Who
said he was laughing and talking to the

audience in Detroit last month?
Perhaps it was just that he was tired, as
he seemed rather exhausted. Yet no
sleepy man makes sure to turn his back
on the audience whenever he's not
playing.
THE BIGGEST surprise of the show
was his version of "My Man's Gone
Now," which he constructed quickly out
of the ending of "Back Seat Betty." All
the new stuff was capital at Hill-and
gratefully, there was neither "The Man
With the Horn" nor "Shout," the two
tracks on the record with airplay (and
airplay only) in mind. Yet perhaps at
no time did everything sbund so crisp as
on this standard.
Davis played his most complete solo,
carrying through on ideas in a way he
rarely did other times during the night.,
The solo ended, momentarily with a
stuttering middle-range trill that
seemed to exclaim so much to follow.
What came next was a vintage Milesian
pause, evoking only abyss.
So: Nothing significant, but plenty of
good news. The man is back, and the
word is that this is no comeback of an
atrophied champion.' A lot seems
possible.
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BITTERSWEET ALLEY

I

Daily Photo by PAUL ENGSTROM

Davis: The Man With the Horn

Tosh vs. Ital: The reggae split

By KAREN GREEN
The Peter Tosh concert Friday night
at Hill Auditorium gave us the oppor-
tunity to see and compare original.
Jamaican reggae and the new domestid
variety. Although there is a basic dif-
ference in approach, some similarities
in sound and influence suggest a
possible direction reggae may be
heading as it launches, its, nost serious
attack oi American mainstream
tastes.
A few years ago, it seemed as though
reggae would remain only a small and
exotic cult phenomenon, appreciated
by only a tiny and predominately white
audience.
THE RASTAFARIAN ideals ex-
pressed through the music-including
the divinity of the late Ethiopian Em--
peror Haile Selassie, the importance of
returning to Africa, and a belief in the
mystical , properties of
marijuana-were incomprehensible to
most average listeners. They simply
ignored the message and instead en-
joyed the dominant rhythms and syn-
copated beats of the music.
Peter Tosh seems acutely aware of
this American resistance to reggae; he
blends in liberal doses of soul, funk, and
pop, trying to make a reggae confection
an American audience will find more
palatable.
The influences of New Orleans R&B,
for instance. -an important element in
the original reggae sound-seem much
more overt and deliberate in Tosh's
music.
TOSH IS OFTEN accused of making
"vanilla" reggae; he needs to find a
way ofblending soul and funk into his
music that sounds less blatantly crass
and commercially oriented.

In stark contrast to Tosh stood Ital,
the opening' band: "Who says that
reggae can't rock?" the group asked
the audience. An American reggae
band, half of its members white, Ital
combined a variety of musical styles in
a fashion that is brisk, lively, and in-
vigorating.
Some hybridizations are fruitful, and
Ital managed to infuse rock and funk.
elements into its music, working again-
st the dreamy, almost bliss-out sound
reggae at its purest sometimes falls in-
to.
UNFORTUNATELY, ITAL still han-
gs onto many of Rasta's preoc-
cupations. It can be downright disorien-
ting when the blond female keyboardist
starts singing about "fighting down
Babylon" and "I and I."
Because Ital's sound is based on the
fusion of different musical styles within
reggae, the group can pick and choose
those elements of Rasta which it wishes
to retain in its music without ac-
cusations of impurity or selling out.
Tosh, on the'other hand, has a past
association with Bob Marley and roots
reggae with which he must come to
terms. This leaves his attempts to in-
corporate other musical styles into
reggae open to suspicion or contempt.
SOUL IS ONE of the most obvious in-
fluences on Tosh's sound, and one of his
best songs is a cover of the Temptations
hit, "Don't Look Back." Soul per-
meated much of the rest of the set as
well, and while Tosh isn't David Ruf-
fin, this newer soul influence blended
in well with the soulfulness inherent in
reggae.
Tosh's band consisted of two
guitarists, a bass, two keyboards,
drums, a background vocalist who also

provided additional percussion, and
Tosh doing lead vocals and playing
guitar during the last part of the set.
Over the reggae sound provided by
the rhythm section, the two keyboar-
dists added a funky and sometimes pop
edge to the music. The lead guitarist
played in a Hendrixderived funk man-
ner, but without a sense of economy and
space; his breaks and solos were
usually tastelessly long;and dull, more
in, keeping with rock stadium
histrionics than the tight, meshed
reggae sound.
Ital is a nine-piece band-tight,
funky, eclectic. The group plays a set as
embracing as Tosh's without the sense
of a rejected spiritualism, tossed over-
board as so much uncommercial jet-
sam.
If the reggae of the '80s is to be recep-
tive to funk, soul, and pop influences,
it will hopefully retain the deep
spiritualism that sets it apart from
other musical forms. Ital has the
situation well in hand; Tosh is too
willing to let some of the content slide in
return for airplay.

4

mon-thur 9-7
fri & sat 9-5:30
sun 12-5:30

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f are

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1981
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today...
sept. 20
course books formerly
sold in the ballroom of
the michigan union are
available exclusively
downstairs...%
in the university cellar..

'J

I

LAST 5 DAYS

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