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February 03, 1981 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-03

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ARTS
Tuesday, February 3, 1981

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

De Johnette booming success

By JERRY BRABENEC
Ann Arbor jazz audiences got a look at Miles Davis'
fusion legacy Friday night when Jack De Johnette's
Special Edition quartet appeared at the League
Ballroom. Moving through a wide range of moods,
the quartet utilized open-ended, sketchy
arrangements of free jazz, and balanced the set with
Oterpretations of John Coltrane tunes and a more
conventional ballad.
the De Johnette concert demonstrated both the
strengths and weaknesses of free, fusion-style jazz.
The opening number started in a deceptively ten-
tative, hokey vein, with a bass ostinato figure that
opened into a bass clarinet solo by Chico Freeman.
Freeman's low honks and high squeaks gradually
coalesced into an urgent,, moving riff, and when the
tune returned to the opening mood, the put-on quality
of the theme was humorously apparent.
THE NEXT SECTION (DeJohnette's mumbling
ntroductions and the nature of the music made titles
ifficult to pin down) opened with Peter Warren's
warm sound on bass. Bowing near the bridge to
produce an eerie, whistling overtone effect, Warren
soon gave way to a definitive drum solo from De
Johnette. After working out on his drum kit in a style
reminiscent of his solos on Miles' Live-Evil, sounds
began to drop out.
Finally, playing only with one foot on the highhat,
Mr. D. detached a cymbal mike from its stand, and
proceeded to move the mike around the cymbals as
e played, creating a fascinating variety of sounds.
a recent interview, De Johnette mentioned the
pains he takes selecting cymbals, going through
dozens at' the Paiste factory before finding the ones
that work. This attention pays off in his innovative,
tour-de-force solos.
De Johnette moved to piano next and opened up a
dreamy ballad, "Pastel Rhapsody," from his up-
coming album. This tune was a more conventional
song form, with pretty harmonies and a pensive
mood reminiscent of sentimental old ballads like
"Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most," or even
the music of Peanuts pianist Vince Guaraldi.

PROSPECTS FOR EDUCAT/ON
AND R(/RdI RECONSTRUCIIO
I p
-i i F

Saxophonist Chico
Freeman lets loose during
the concert by the Special
Edition band Saturday
night.

Date:*WedFE 4 at1/30-5:30
Thurs.,FEB 5 at9-noon&1- 4
P/ace: Henderson Rn., Mich. league

Next came two Coltrane tunes from the current
Special Edition LP, "India" and "Central Park
West." "India" is a wide-spread, droning tune. De
Johnette started on piano, then alto sax, bass clarinet
and bass picked up the riff as.De Johnette silently
moved to his drums, picking up the moderate waltz
tempo on the cymbal. The solos here were overly
long, lacking the passion of the rendition by Coltrane
and Eric Dolphy. Freeman had a very smooth,
melodic tone on bass clarinet, but lost pace toward
the end of his solo, and Purcell's flute solo never
completely developed. The lesson here is that
freedom and open solos necessitate constant atten-
tion to formal development.
"Central Park West" showed how much has tran-
spired since Coltrane's passing. Bucking the current
jazz trend toward faithful reaffirmations of older
styles, DeJohnette's arrangements treated
Coltrane's tunes as springboards for stylistic ex-

.. .Daily Photo by DAVID HARRIS
perimentation. His use of a melodica (a windblown,
hand held keyboard instrument that sounds a lot like
a Magnus chord organ) gave the performance a
reedy, quavery feel that was delicate and effective.
The finishing number was the title cut from Special
Edition's new LP, Tin Pan Alley. An intricate head
arrangement led into a strong baritone sax solo by
John Purcell, whose fine tone on this instrument
combines the vigor of Pepper Adams with the light
flexible tone of Gerry Mulligan.
De Johnette's virtuostic drumming stole the show
over Ann Arbor favorite Chico Freeman. Moving all
around the beat with a wide variety of fills, booming
out bass drum rolls like thunder, socking his crash
cymbal, and backing up solos with sure intuition, De
Johnette displayed the musicality that assures him a
position among jazz's top drummers for years to
come.

The UnIversit of mkigon
Michigan State University

Committee on Southern Afrko
African Studies Center

Paris in the spring PiL style

Some things never change. The sun
still rises, the wind blows, and John
Lydon is at :war with the, world. Only
now he wants to fight alone.
The most interesting thing about
OPublic Image Limited's new live
album, Image Publique S.A.-Paris au
Printemps, is Lydon's perpetual and
isolated confrontation with social
idiocies up to and including his audien-
ce. Lydon can make appeals for social
welfare in songs like "Attack" while in-
sistently isolating himself froh his
listeners, and do it without batting an
eyelash.
WHEN AN AUDIENCE member
shouts,, "Attack!" after the song is
over, Lydon counters with "Shut up."
Having taught audiences around the
world to spit in his days with the Sex
Pistols, Lydon now grouses, "I woke up
in this state with you creeps spitting.
Dumb!" And he apparently misses the
irony.
The lyrics are brim-full of the bitter
mead of survival, thankfully sung wit-
tily in Lydon's wonderfully manic,
sliding voice. The songs are undeniably,
finely-crafted, thriving on Jah Wobble's
pulsating basswork and Keith Levine's
curiously dissonant, squawking guitar
blurbs.
Lydon himself contributes occasional
twittering, elongated synthesizer
background and vocals measured both
for effect and to let the lyrics sink in.

They deserve it, for Lydon has added
dollops of wit and subtlety to his me-
against-the-world banter.
FOR INSTANCE, "Bad Baby," has
Lydon warning, "Don't you listen to one
more sob story." "Theme" finds a

Even the uninitiated will find that PiL
is good only in bursts. The music is ex-
cellent, Lydon's voice one of the finest
to emerge from the new wave
movement, but the constant recurrence
of the word "I" gets tiring. The whining
is inspired, eloquent, and often delight-
ful, but when all is said and done, still
amounts to whining.
And this is nothing new. The live PiL
is a placebo for the addicts, but this is
still the story of Johnny Rotten.
-Fred Schill

~ :I.
2 INDIVIDUAL THEATRES
5th Ave at Liberty 761-9700
A FILM BY
AKIRA KUROSAWAII
aww
THE SHADOW WARRIOR
(R)
TUES, THURS: 6:30, 9:15
WED: 12:50, 3:45, 6:30, 9:15
WITH TH1tS ENTIRE AD -
one odrvriss.on $2 00 any fim
Good Non thr'.iThvru'iEwes.
Valid thru 215'81 'M
A ROABERT ALTMAN FILM!
LAST 10 DAYS
(PG)
TUES, THURS 630, 8:30:3
WED: 1220, 2:20, 4:30, 6:30, 8:30
COMING FEB. 13th
"Incredible Shrinking Woman"
-LILY TOMLIN---

desperate death wish countered in-
stantly by reality: "And I wish I could
die/I will survive."
Still, all of the material can be found
on the other two albums, and Paris au
Printemps is interesting only if you
don't have them. The performances are
precise but not new, faithful but not
dynamic.

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