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October 13, 1982 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-10-13

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily Wedne

asday, October 13, 1982

Page 5

Groovin' with Rushen

By Mare Hodges
P ATRICE Rushen burst onto the
stage of the Power Center Monday
evening with the explosive musical
talent that is so characterisitc of her
style. If you were unfortunate enough to
miss the show, either preempted with
midterm studies or just suffering from
the Monday-night-blues, then you
missed a performance not soon to be
forgotten.
Dancing across the stage in a flashy
turquoise mini-skirt with beaded braids
flying behind, Rushen opened with an
enthusiastic "The Funk Won't Let You
Down." The uncertain reception of the
audience turned into hand-clapping ap-
proval and dancing in the seats as
Rushen and her eight-man, one-woman
back-up band established a funky beat
that was maintained throughout the en-
tire performance.
Rushen kept this fast pace rolling
through the next four numbers, which
included two singles from her latest LP
Straight From The Heart, "I Was Tired

of Being Alone" and "All We Need."
She slowed it down with sweet vocals
for a mellow "Settle for My Love," af-
ter which she unleashed an enthusiastic
"Never Gonna Give You Up," one of
her earlier hits.
By this time the crowd was groovin'
along with the funky beat. Rushen
never let them down, despite the fact
that she was to perform two shows in
one evening. Since this was Rushen's
first appearance in Ann Arbor, she ex-
pressed her gratitude to her loyal fans
and dedicated to them a seven-song
medley of her most popular hits ("and
near misses" as Patrice so humorously
put it). Such hits as "Look Up" and
"Haven't You Heard" were woven in
with slower tunes such as "When I
found You" and "Changes (In Your
Life)" which blended together well to
display Rushen's musical versatility.
The band then broke into an in-
strumental arrangement, during which
Rushen introduced the members, each

of whom performed a solo. Included in
Rushen's band was background
vocalist Roy Galloway, co-producer of
"I Was Tired of Being Alone" and
"Remind Me," off her latest LP.
Following the introductions, Rushen
seduced the audience with a romantic'
version of the latter of these two ,songs,
during which she performed her own
solo on the electric piano, an excellent,
display of her talent enhanced by the
acoustically superior auditorium.
After an hour and a half of displaying
her powerful vocals and instrumentals
through a thirteen song set, Rushen tied'
things up with her most popular hit to
date, "Forget Me Nots." This was the
song that brought the audience to their.
feet, begging for more. Rushen reap-
peared to perform the encore "This Is
All I Really Know," a beautiful love
song that ended the dynamic perfor-
mance on a sweet note and sent the
audience into a standing ovation.

E.TOE.T.
It's E.T. squared at the State Fair of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. Life-sized stuffed versions of the million-dollar star
will be used for prizes at the Fair's midway.

A

"

By Jerry B
T WO STAND
Lfilled the Ua
night for perfor
Griffin Quartet
eventh annive
first concert.
Griffin's thre
Arbor have b
distinguished c
warm rappor
developed with
strates once a
tribution that E
music scene in
Griffin, the "
sax, is firmly
*radition of Cha
Stitt. One of the
jazz, Griffin's
complex, forma
and exciting.
Technically,
and while he ca
peggios effortle
perhaps even m
inobtrusive litt
he uses to embe
lines, little clus
Subtle contour
feature of style
old masters lik
few younger p
stand the tas
requires: Griff
with the exqu
details of a four
Griffin's me
Monk and Bud
from bebop's v
*ies. Monk, the
enigma, taug
volumes of ha

mazing saxop
rabenec sophistication, all wrapped in a decep-
tive facade of naivete and humor. Bud
Powell played piano with the Young
)ING-room-only crowds Turks of bebop, Charlie Parker and
'nion Ballroom Saturday Dizzy Gillespie, and pushed Griffin to
rmances by the Johnny heights of high speed virtuosity while
, in celebration of the impressing on the saxophonist a deep
rsary of Eclipse Jazz' respect for the emotional subtleties of
old standards like "Body and Soul."
ee appearances in Ann The only real problem with Saturday
een highlights of this night's performance was its location-
oncert series, and the the Ballroom-held there due to the
rt that Griffin has Union's renovation. Music tends to
local audiences demon- bounce around in "this large,
again the special con- acoustically live room, and as a result
,clipse has made to the the drums were slightly overbearing,
Ann Arbor. while the bass lacked clarity and
little giant" of the tenor definition. Bassist Peter Barshay was
rooted in the bebop further hampered by a distortion in the
arlie Parker and Sonny PA system that made many of his more
greatest technicians in powerful lines sound like some sort of
solos are extended and acid rock.
ally polished, expressive The group seemed slightly nervous
during the opener, a very fast "Autumn
Griffin is prodigious, Leaves." Barshay is a new addition to
n crank off runs and ar the group, having spent the last couple
ssly at, blinding tempos, of years with alto saxophonist Richie
nore impressive are the Cole, and is still finding his niche in the
le ornaments and frills tight interplay between pianist Ronnie
ellish his medium tempo Matthews and drummer Kenny
sters of notes that lend Washington. "Autumn Leaves"
s to the melody. This featured some extra chords that turned
e identifies Griffin with sections of the tune into cascades of
e Parker, and there are notes, and Griffin stepped right out, in
layers who can under- complete command even at this furious
ste and virtuosity it tempo. Drummer Washington turned in
fin's solos are tailored an imaginative solo that built fragmen-
uisite proportions and ts of rhythm up into rhythmic
hundred dollar suit. paraphrases of the melody reminiscent
ntors were Thelonius of Max Roach.
d Powell, two pianists Following "Autumn Leaves" was a
anguard back in the Fif- Thelonius Monk tune entitled "Trinkle
master of whimsy and Tinkle." This number places a melody
ht Griffin unwritten full of deceptively complex ornaments
armonic and rhythmic over an amiable, moderate tempo,

phone musicfrom Johnny Griffin

capping off the chorus with a cheerful
little cadence figure. Griffin's solo was
at times complex, at times easygoing
and gruff in the manner of Monk's other
longtime saxophonist, Charlie Rouse.
Pianist Matthews followed with a solo
that was one of the night's highlights,
keeping to a simple, funky mood while
sticking close to the 'contours of the
tune, demonstrating a deep understan-
ding of Monk's unique piano style. Grif-
fin stood in the wings during the other
solos, watching attentively and clap-
ping along. .
The classic Coleman Hawkins
vehicle, "Body and Soul," followed the
Monk number. An ornate, florid piano
introduction led into the melody, played
in the old style without the alternate
chords introduced by John Coltrane in
his re-interpretation of this jazz
monument. Griffin's solo led the crowd
through a variety of moods, sometimes
abstract, other times unabashedly
romantic, before the rhythm section
dropped out and Griffin went on into an
unaccompained cadenza.
Running a gamut of arpeggios,
quotes, and runs full of shifted accents
in the manner of Charlie Parker, Grif-
fin tossed in phrases from "Over the
Rainbow" and punctuated his lines with
vocal exclamations and grunts, then
stood grinning in feigned amazement at
the crowd's enthusiastic response. The
rhythm section generated the ex-

citement next, with bass and drums
constructing rhythmic counterpoints to
Matthew's piano solo, which featured
quotes from "Surrey with the Fringe on
Top."
The evening's closer was a tour of the
blues, from "Blue Monk" to "Things
Ain't what They Used to Be," ending up
with another long stretch of high speed
straight ahead cruising.
Griffin held the stage briefly after the
set, telling the audience to support jazz,
calling it the music of the street, music
of Chard times, but you have decided to
THE DAILY
CLASSIFIEDS
ARE A GREAT
WAY TO GET
FAST RESULTS
CALL 764-0557

feel good in spite of whatever." He
pointed out that these are hard times
for jazzers, saying that the ubiquitous
"They" are out to suppress jazz, and
that "musicians are running across
deserts for their lives, or the prairies,
oir the lakes when they're frozen, or
whatever.. .," but that the music is an

influence on the world, and that
"positive vibrations will emanate from
the building and help all the
Ayatollahs."
On the basis of his show Saturday
night, nobody can say Johnny Griffin
isn't doing his share to keep those good
vibrations flowing.

'I'.

you de tadaN t
a break
Wmconaldis
ca

The
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