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November 21, 1982 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-21

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Sunday, November 21, 1982

The Michigan Daily

Page 7

Art Ensemble delivers

By Mike Belford
REAT Black Music-Ancient to
Future' read the embroidered
banner adorning the stage set, and
there was certainly a presence of the
mystical undercurrent of black musical
history running through Friday night's
performance-from the ritual opening
and elaborate make-up and costumes,
to the almost ceremonial ending.
The Art Ensemble played for only fif-
ty minutes, relatively short for a jazz
concert, but on reflection it was around
the right length for their unique style of
There were few pauses or breaks in
the show, which makes it difficult to
analyse separately, but neither was
there completely free musical im-
provisation-the underlying structure
of a number of pieces being clearly ap-
parent with dual horn lines from Lester
Bowie and Roscoe Mitchell, carefully
constructed introductions and thank-
fully no extended instrumental solos.
The set built slowly out of a seeming
chaos of African drums, whistles, bells,
gongs, and the concentrated bass
playing of Malachi Favors into a
smooth solid rhythmic platform for

Bowie's fluid trumpet lines, and Mit-
chell's quiet unhurried saxophone pun-
Drummer Famoudou Don Moye was
particularly outstanding with a vast
array of modern and old African per-
cussion instruments, bongos, and steel
bells, even playing the floor and walls
of the theater and answering the call of
an errant fire alarm at one stage.
The music itself ranged from the
measured pace of the many African
tribal rhythms through Lester Bowie's
cool swing to heavy New York street
funk, complete with wailing police
sirens, flashing red stage lights, and
random gunshots from Joseph Jarman.
I'm sure I also even caught snatches of
Jimi Hendrix in there somewhere.
All this seemingly a long way from
the music's ancient origins but com-
bined together so effectively on the
night that the common bond between
past and present was clearly evident.
The Art Ensemble of Chicago, in this
concise performance or 'projection' as
they called it, conjured up the image of
a unified body of music that was tight
and solid, and yet managed to gather
together and consolidate an
astonishingly diverse range of sounds,
noises, and musical styles into a

coherent, exciting, and dynamic form
that was almost impossible to label or
categorize-a rare feat indeed.
One last word must go to the Eclipse
Jazz organization, celebrating their
100th concert on the night, and over the
years responsible for attracting to Ann
Arbor many well-known names and,
faces within the field of contemporary


thAv.of Liberty 751-9700
ABOUT. . .

Lester Bowie swings cool at Friday night's Art Ensemble of Chicago concert.


Bill Nelson-'Flaming
Desire and other Passions'
EP (Jem)
Top this sucker, Flock of Seagulls.
Nelson, one of the few true artists
-with a clear idea how music tech can
and should be used, always had his
heart in the right place. Ever since his
break with Be Bop Deluxe a few years
back, Bill has generated high level elec-
tricity with synths, home tape recor-
ders, and Red Noise.
He makes no bones about who his
i heroes are, or that he sees music as an
opening, a part, of other creative
,pastimes. His soundtracks for
theatrical productions of Das Kabinet
(The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) and La
Belle et 1 a Bette (he even named his
record company Cocteau Records) go
far beyond accompaniment. His recent
NME profile of French composer Eric
Satie proved that Nelson is no typical
synthopop musician.
He's not an artsy-fart either. With
"Flaming Desire" (also to be heard on
the last full LP The Love That Whirls)
and "Flesh," Nelson whips up some of
the most tasteful erotica I have yet
sampled. Understatement, urgency,
beat, it's in there.
Save a sax solo or two, Nelson plays
pretty much everything on this EP. The
result is; five finely honed tracks,
though surprisingly not as "personal"

(awful word, I know) as previous work
on StopDreaming and Get On the Beam
(take "Banal" to bed one night and you
may hesitate to get up).
Quite simply: I like Bill Nelson's
music. I like this record. I recommend
it and all previous releases to anyone
able to overcome their natural aversion
to unworldly sounds and strange
twinges. (A plug for would-be blunt
reviewing). -Ben Ticho
Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle-
'One From The Heart'
Now here's a peculiar combination:
urban poet and blues fence Tom Waits,
teamed up with country music
sweetheart Crystal Gayle for the soun-
dtrack of a Francis Coppola film which
was a critical and financial bomb. One
From The Heart, the soundtrack which
appeared months after the movie had
vanished from the nation's silver
screens, is the by-product of this odd
match-up, but it works remarkably
To begin with, the album is Tom
Waits' baby from start to finish. Coun-
try fans of Crystal Gayle may be a little
uncomfortable with this recording, as
all the tunes are Waits compositions,

styled in his usual alleyway blues and
jazz mixture. It is much to Gayle's
credit that she interprets each song so
competently; there's just the faintest
edge in her voice which fits the scenario
extremely well.
The vocal performances are fairly
evenly divided: four duets, four Waits
solos and three by Crystal Gayle. The
album also includes an instrumental
montage arranged by Waits and with
orchestration conducted by Waits' con-
federate Bob Alcivar: Of the duets, the
best is easily "Picking Up After You,"
the funniest song Waits has written sin-
ce "The Piano Has Been Drinking"
from his 1976 LP, Small Change. Waits'
rasping growl and Gayle's im-
maculately smooth vocals provide a
delightful contrast as the two portray
grumbling roommates exchanging
verbal snipes. It's a close contest, but
waits comes out the winner by one line:
... tell me," he asks, "How long have
you been combing your hair with a
Waits' voice sounds better than it has
over his past two or three albums. His
delivery is smoother and he's on-key at
least half the time. Although his vocals
are still half-whisper/half-growl,
they're much clearer and more under-
standable than on his last LP, Heartat-
tack and Vine.

As rough as Waits' voice is,-even in
this improved state, it has always been
the perfect medium for his songs. On
One From The Heart he runs a full ex-
pressive range of emotional settings,
from tender ("This One's From The
Heart") to dangerous ("You Can't
Unring A Bell"), and from repentant
("I Beg Your Pardon") to seedy as hell
("Little Boy Blue").
Crystal Gayle's voice is a remarkable
instrument in a completely different
light. It's as free from blemish as vir-
tually any voice could be, and she uses
it to strike a careful balance with Waits.
During her solo performances her
phrasing is precise, and each song
seems to shape itself for her. One
example is "Old Boyfriends," which
Waits has performed himself in the
past. In his hands the song gives a
feeling of resignation and bitterness.
Gayle's performance of it on the album
is more plaintive and emotionally ac-
tive, rather than passive.
Althoughthey stem from differing
musical backgrounds, Tom Waits and
Crystal Gayle have created a fine
collaboration on One From The Heart.
Their performances complement both
each other and the tight musical
arrangements, and the end result is a

unique pairing with very pleasing
-Michael Baadke
James McLain
Gloria House
Reading from their works
Monday, November 22 8 p.m.
Guild House 802 Monroe

FRI. MON.-6:40, 8:30, 10:20
SAT. SUN.-1:10, 3:00, 4:50,
6:40, 8:30, 10:20
shows before
6:00 p.m.
FRI. MON.-7:10, 9:20
SAT. SUN.-12:40, 2:50, 5:00,
7:10, 9:20

Jazz and ragtime benefit church
overlap but differ in significant areas, mission will be at the door only and will
By Knute Rife promising to give the bash extra be $5, $4 for students and senior
___________________________ dimension. citizens. Refreshments will be served

Open Monday,

Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday 9:30 a.m. 'til 5:30 p.m.,
Thursday and Friday 9:30 a.m. 'til 9:00 p.m.

A BASH, a concert, a festival, and
a jam session all rolled into one.
And heading in this direction.
Bill Bolcom, Jim Dapogny, and Bill
Albright, all piano faculty members
with the school of music, are throwing a
jazz and ragtime bash this Sunday at 8
p.m. in the First Unitarian Universalist
Church at 1917 Washtenaw. Soprano
Joan Morris will also put in an ap-
The music will range from the 1890s
to the 1940s and include such styles as
stride, boogie-woogie, and blues as well
as ragtime and jazz. Composers
featured will include Scott Joplin,
Eubie Blake, George Gersh*in, Jelly
Roll Morton, W. C. Handy, and Fats
Waller. In addition the program will in-
clude, the local premier of James P.
Johnson's "Yamecraw: A Rhapsody,"
which probably has not been performed
in public in 40 years.
The three pianists are all recognized
authorities in the field of traditional
jazz and leaders of the ragtime revival.
Dapogny said that the three were
drawn together by their common in-
terests but that each has his own
favorite era and own distinctive ap-
proach. Their interests and styles

The bash is a benefit for te er irs during intermission.
Unitarian Universalist Church. Ad-
The University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society presents
or The King of Barataria
December 8, 9, 10, 11 Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Ann Arbor, Michigan
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