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November 14, 1981 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-11-14

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The Michigan Daily

Saturday, November 14, 1981

Page 5

Curson'5 horn
strong, lyrical
at Eclipse jam

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By Nancy Lord
In its continuing effort to provide a
forum for musical exchange among
local musicians, Eclipse Jazz found on
Thursday night the spark to make it all
work. That spark was Ted Curson, who
flew in from New York to give a
workshop and organize the evening's
jam session at the University Club.
Curson, who grew up in Philadelphia,
has played with Cecil Taylor and
Charles Mingus, and he has sat in with
the Heath Brothers. Like many jazz
musicians, during the early '60s Curson
found the unresponsiveness of
Americans to jazz frustrating, so he left
for Europe.
There he found that he was able to
exercise every aspect of his music. He
played a lot, recorded a lot, and direc-
ted several music festivals. This
background was evident in the job he
did leading the performance.
During his first set Thursday night,
Curson was accompanied by a trio con-
sisting of the II-V-I Orchestra rhythm
section-Paul Keller on drums,
Lawrence Williams on bass, and Bruce
Barth on piano. They played a Kenny
Dorham tune, with a Latin flavor. Cur-
son alternated between playing the
trumpet and the cowbell. This was
followed by a ballad, "Loverman,"
during which Curson played a soulful
solo interjected with phrases from
Things warmed up during this first
set. When they started the uptempo,
"Summertime," they were loosening'
up and starting to cook. Curson, staying
mostly in the higher range, was im-
pressive. The trumpet is by nature a

declarative instrument, making em-
phatic statements that leave a strong
after-image in your mind.
During "Cherokee," Curson used this
quality to its fullest. He played a suc-
cession of rapid quarter notes that trip-
ped over the melodic line in his solo.
For the second set Curson brought in
the workshop participants and lined
them up across the stage. They were in-
troduced as "The Eclipse Jazz and Ted
Curson Big Band. The line-up consisted
of three alto saxophones, three trum-
pets, and vibes. With the aid of charts
the group kept together fairly well, but
it was apparent that most of the brass
players were inexperienced. They did
"Straight Eyes," with solos that were
fairly evenly distributed.
In the third set the trio returned with
Curson, and it was time for a real jam-
session. Curson signaled, the sidemen up
from the tables in front of the stage,
jamming with them individually and in
unison. The set included "Night in
Tunesia," "Misty," "Bye Bye Black-
bird," and finally "Oreo," a tune based
on "I Got Rhythm.'' The last number
was the peak, going from lyricism to a
percussive counterpoint between the
bongos, the drums, and the cowbell-a
rousing finish.
On the whole, the evening was cer-
tainly an enjoyable exercise in music.
Curson is very knowledgeable: he has
worked hard at perfecting his
technique. He is publishing a book for
other players that he has been working
on most of his career, explicating his
Eclipse should do this again.The com-
munity benefits from such interchange
between musicians.

Tashi (counter-clockwise from upper left): Ik-Hwan Bae,
Theodore Arm, Ida Kavafian, Fred Sherry, Richard Stolt-
'Tashi' quinitet adds
clarinet to classics

By Jane Carl
E DOES NOT play in an orchestra,
teach, or do studio or administra-
tive work; yet he is a successful
clarinetist. He is Richard Stoltzman,
winner of the 1977 Avery Fisher Award
and co-founder of the highly-apelaimed
chamber group, Tashi whicl;wakgive
a recital at 4 p.m. tomorrow in
Rackham Auditorium.
With a father who played jazz
*saxophone, Stoltzman's musical career
begap at a very early age on a clarinet
that his father had played in church. Af-
ter being rejected from Julliard and the
Eastman School of Music, Stoltzman
completed his undergraduate work .at
Ohio State and did his graduate work at
yale with Keith Wilson, and at Colum-
bia with Kalmen Opperman.
In the turbulent '60s at the Marlboro
Music Festival, Stoltzman met pianist
Peter Serkin. During their
collaboration with cellist Fred Sherry
and violinist Ida Kavafian on
Messiaen's Quartet for the End of,
Time, the group Tashi was formed.
Tashi, the Tibetan word for good for-
tune, is now regularly comprised of
Stoltzman, Kavafian, and Sherry. Its
guest artists for tomorrow's concert
are violinist Theodore Arm and violist
Ik-Hwan Bae. They tour only six weeks
a season, two weeks at a time. This
season they are the first chamber en-
semble to be sponsored by the Mid-
America Arts Alliance program.
Says Stoltzman of the other members
of Tashi, "They've influenced me
greatly. Being with the same people for
several years molds and helps break
your own molds of musical ideas.
"The clarinet is a natural for cham-
ber music," he says. "The highest
quality literature written for the
clarinet is chamber music, like Mozart
and Brahms. I just happened to be in the
right place at the right time for the rare
1 combination involved in the Quartet for

the End of Time and the beginning of
the exciting collaboration of Tashi."
Unfortunately, the clarinet is rarely
accorded the same respect as the violin
or piano. Says Stoltzman, "We're
slowly doing away with the notion that
t)ie clarinet doesn't have a legitimate,
weighty voice, that it's just a 'color' in-
strument." This attitude is largely
because of the lack of opportunity= to
hear chamber lusic with the clarinet,
he explains. Now, partly because of
Tashi, pieces are being written for that
combination by people like Toru
Takemitsu, Charles Wuorinen, Bill
Douglas, and William Thomas
McKinley. Notable from McKinley,
composer at the new England Conser-
vatory of Music, is a very dramatic
work, called "From Opera."
Stoltzman has also been known to ex-
periment in some avant-garde areas,
such as his audio-visual collaboration
with photographer John Pearson.
"Don't call them avante-garde," Stolt-
zman said. "They're not that, just call
them 'homey.'
"I met John on a Marlboro tour and
once while he was showing some slides
at his house I took out my clarinet and
started to improvise. Improvisation is a
playfulness with ideas, something that
is not frozen but liquid. The
madrigalists were improvisers.
"I'm always for trying to do things
that feel good and the collaboration
with John does," Stoltzman says.
"Sometimes I bring pianist Bill
Douglas along, but we don't try to be
contemporary, we just do what feels
very natural and new. Mozart can be
new with a fresh attitude."
Tomorrow's program will include
Mozart's "Divertimento for String Trio
in E-flat major, K. 563," "Evocation de
Slovaquie" by Karel Husa, and the
"Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B-
flat major, Op. 34" by Weber. It should
be a program representative of the
diverse repertoire this talented ensem-
ble has mastered.


Kurtis Blow-'The Deuce'
The Deuce symbolizes all of the
things that could possible go wrong af-
ter a smash debut album. Kurtis Blow,
a young New York disc jockey, was one
of the first artists to popularize an en-
tertaining new category of soul music
called rap with his chart-topping song,
"The Breaks,"
Rapping is, essentially talking to the
beat of a driving bass guitar and per-
cussion section. The Sugarhill Gang's
"Rapper's Delight" was the first
popular rap song, and it created sgch a
flurry of excitement that performers
like Sequence, The Funky Four Plus
One, and Kurtis Blow quickly picked up
on the trend.
But rapping is not only. Blow's
strength but his weakness simply
because that is all he can do. The Deuce
quickly becomes little more than a
repetitious jam session with a lot of in-
cessant babbling by Blow.
Apparently, Blow calls this album
The Deuce (a slang term for the mid-
town area of New York City around
42nd Street) because he wants his work
to be a serious comment on ghetto life.
But most of his lyrics don't ring very
true; his only remaining interest in the
ghetto seems to be making money off of
it. This is made most obvious by the cut

on the album where he raps much more
believably about the joys of driving a
Cadillac and living in a penthouse.
The bottom line, of course, is that
nothing on The Deuce can even com-
pare to "The Breaks." You can't
always come up with a hit, I guess,
especially if you try to do so by ex-
ploiting others. Well, Kurtis, that's the
-Beth James
'Jah Wobble-Holger Czukay-Jaki
Liebezeit' EP (Island Import)
Wobble (Late of Public Image),
Czukay and Liebezeit (prime movers of
Can) have arrived from different direc-
tions at what can only be described as
the demonic underbelly of
physchedelia-dub effects collide, a
sound is preceded or superceded by its
own echo, half-remembered voices
waft in on disjointedly serene keyboard
themes, noises float by half submerged
or burst unexpectedly to the surface.
The only constant is Wobble's
tremulous bass lines, each note
hovering like an overripe thunderhead.
There's no denying that it is his classic
basswork that keeps this whole
chaotically creative venture afloat.
I'd say this was a collaboration made
in Heaven if its work didn't sound more
like music from hell.
--Mark Dighton

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