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November 20, 1981 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-11-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 8-Friday, November 20, 1981-The Michigan Doily

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WE NOW
DELIVER
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1140 S. University and Church

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By James Clinton
ACTIVIST, SONGWRITER, and
Uniiversity Law School graduate,
Fred Small returns to Ann Arbor
tonight to perform a benefit concert for
the Arbor Alliance at East Quad's
Halfway Inn.
Small has recently released his first
LP, Love's Gonna Carry Us, on Aquifer
Records. Among the concerns voiced in
his songs are nuclear power, racism,
sexism, and worker's rights. In these
songs both his love for the music and a
sense of urgency concerning the issues
emerge.
Songwriting for Fred Small "is an in-
credibly effective means of com-
munication, less threatening than a
speech or editorial," he says. His songs
are reminiscent of Phil Ochs and Tom
Paxton, leaders in the protest song
genre that gained considerable
popularity in the '60s.
"I grew up with the topical song ex-
plosion of the mid '60s and know first
hand the power and persuasiveness of
songs that deal with vital issues,"
Small explains.
Small is a curiosity in the music
business. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa

from Yale, undergraduate, and
received a law degree and a degree
from the School of Natural Resources
at the University of Michigan. He
recently left his job at the Conservation
Law Foundation of New England,
where he practiced environmental law,
to pursue music full time.
While a law student in Ann Arbor, he
wrote his first song on the morning of
his first law school examination. "My
writing songs arose from my sense of
vacuum," he explains.
Small also claims that he learned
much about songwriting in Peter San-
dman's class, "Mass media and En-
vironment," at the School of Natural,
Resources. "Essentially, I learned
about persuasion theory, the importan-
ce of simplicity, positive imagery, and
making people feel good."
Small has incorporated what he lear-
ned very effectively in his songs, which
are powerful and often reach the
listener through a humourous story
line. One of the difficulties in singing
topical songs is veiling the fine line
between getting the message across
and preaching. In Small's best work, he
tells a story and in the course of the
narrative a message emerges.
In "A Modest Proposal," Small

suggests that "the energy source that's
best is of course thermal underwear."
The song is humorous, yet the political
and environmental content is evident.
"I think that humor is an effective
device in getting the message across
without being threatening or didactic.
Humor is disarming," he says.
Not all the songs are humorous,
however. "Three Mile Island" is a
scathing denunciation of the event in

Small communicates with music

Mangione spop jazz
satisfies the .crowd

Pennsylvania and the imminent threat
of nuclear power. "I wrote it about ten
days after the incident at Three Mile
Island. One of the reasons why I sing
the song is to preserve the story
nationally and not let it die."
In this regard, the same could be said
of his recently-released "No More Viet-
nams" on the flip side of "For El
Salvador."

.0

(Continued from Page 7)
genre of jazz-like popular instrumental
music, including later bands like Spiro
Gyra and Auracle, also comprised
largely of Eastman alumni.
The Chuck Mangione Quintet filedon-
to the stage without fanfare Wednesday,
with Mangione leading, instantly
recognizable with his long brown hair
and beard, clad in the velour shirt and
the wide-brimmed hat that have
become his trademark. This getup is a
crucial factor in the childlike, an-
drogynous persona he projects on
stage. The opening tune "Hill Where
the Lord Hides," is one of Mangione's
oldest, with a form that practically
plays itself-all the soloist need do is
play the right changes, and a nicely
paced solo emerges. Mangione led off
with a fairly brief solo. He has good
technical fluency, but he tends to play
rather sloppily in the horn's upper
range, relying too much on the
flexibility of his chops, and not enough
on firm breath support. Saxophonist
Chris Vadal followed on soprano,
displaying pretty much the same vir-
tues and faults.
Mangione's tunes are all very
similar, and can be divided into two
categories. Tunes like "Hill Where the
Lord Hides," including "Give It All
You've Got" and "Feels So Good,"
form one category. The second number,
"Land of Make Believe," is a good
example of the second category. These
tunes, including "Chase the Clouds
Away" and "Bellavia," feature longer
phrases over a single chord, a con-
trasting bridge, and very simple,
ostinato bass figures. The rhythm sec-
tion, incidentally, was rather hampered
by this quality of Mangione's charts,
and tended to sound rather bland and
homogenous. "Chase the Clouds"
followed 'Make Believe," and it must
be pointed out that the electric piano

and piccolo scoring in this tune are ab-
solutely gorgeous, beautifully utilizing
the tone qualities of both instruments.
Mangione is a very skillful arranger for
all his simplicity, and tunes like this of-
ten simply state the melody three or
four times and close, using changes in
instrumentation to great effect.
The fourth tune of the first half was
Emmy winner "Give It All You've
Got," commissioned by ABC TV Sports
for the Lake Placid winter olympics.
This tune rocks, and Vacal played a
fairly gutsy tenor sax solo. Guitarist
Grant Greisman followed on acoustic
guitar with a very busy, technical solo
that roused the audience more than
anything on the first half.
Closing the first half was a number
from Mangione's most recent album,
Fun and Games, entitled "Pina
Colada." This proved to be the most in-
teresting number of the night, from the
humorous, scat-sung melody to the
very high tempoed, Latin tinged solos
and an effective bridge section that up-
sets the momentum temporarily with
syncopated horn figures and sudden
rests. Electric bassist Dave Pilch got
off the night's most adventurous solo,
playing at a high velocity in a style and
sound borrowed from Weather Report's
Jaco Pastorius.
The second half of the concert was
basically more of the same, with the
highlight being the obligatory reading
of "Feels So Good." The crowd was good
natured and enthusiastic, and well
satisfied at show's end, but seemed
rather dull and conservative for Ann
Arbor. There was a conspicuous absen-
ce of pot smoking in the lobby during in-
termission, and the WCBN/Eclipse
crowd was nowhere to be seen. Chuck
Mangione really communicates, though,
and there's plenty of room in the music
scene for his brand of innocent, good
feeling pop.

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