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April 01, 1983 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-04-01

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ARTS

S

Page 6

Friday, April 1, 1983

The Michigan Dail

- '

Weather Report's
high tech
cosmopolitanism

qm

By Jerry Brabenec
EDNESDAY NIGHT'S Weather
Report concert at Hill
Auditorium showed the current edition
of this decade-old band to be the
liveliest and most exciting ever.
Saxophonist Wayne Shorter cranked
out several virtuosic solos with joyous
abandon, Joe Zawinul displayed the
newest effects in his synthesizer ar-
senal, and the new rhythm section was
a model of interplay and invention.
Hill Auditorium seems to suit this
band very well. The subtle mix of soun-
ds was very clear ata volume level that
was commanding without being over-
powering. The band's fascinating array
of drums and synthesizers sounded
great and looked good just standing
there.
Zawinul and company turned in a
comprehensive performance nearly
three hours long. Up to the encores, the
group stuck to the high points of their
more recent material, playing most of
the new album, Procession, and other
material from the 1981 album Night
Passage: The opener was the title tune
from Procession, a long rising number
that carries a mysterioso walking beat
quietly up to a Phil Collins-style drum
break and then fades away again on
Zawinul's long melodic lines. Stage fog
shrouded the band as the tune opened
and Zawinul set up a growling, hum-
ming ostinato by altering the
keyboard's tone vocally with a device
called a Vocoder.
"Fast City," from the album Night
Passage, followed with the raw speed

and excitement that no other band can
equal: Wayne Shorter is widely
recognized as one of the masters of
saxophone sound, and in recent years
he has often pared his phrases to a
minimum, playing with an economy
that throws each note into vivid relief.
Not Wednesday night, though, as he
met the surging rhythm section head on
at an incomprehensibly high tempo and
proceeded to play circles around them.
The powerful, gutsy tenor sound is still
there, but Shorter displayed technical
resources that he has rarely touched
since the early '60s. Zawinul followed
on keyboards, but seemed more con-
cerned with smoothing down the
rhythm section's opening jitters and
shepherding them through the tune's
complex form than in soloing. New
drummer Omar Hakim closed the tune
out with the first of several energetic
and entertaining solos: He later
emerged as the clown of the band as the
night went on.
Two new numbers followed, one a
moody folksong with soprano sax over
clay drums, bells, and percussion, and
the other a medium tempo backbeat
groove that rocked the house with a
vengeance. This tune ended up in
Zawinul's "big band bag," with sax,
vocals, and keyboards simulating a
Basie-style shout chorus. "Plaza
Real," by Shorter, featured per-
cussionist Jose Rossy on concertina (a
tiny accordion), which he followed with
a percussion intro to the tune "Two
Lines." Hakim came over and gawked
during Rossy's solo in a bit of
Vaudevillian slapstick. Bailey got his
bass solo on this number, adding his.

Zawinul
... melodic synthesizer
name to the list of hot bassists we've
seen this year thanks to Eclipse, in-
cluding Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and
Melvin Gibbs and Rev. Bruce Johnson
from Ronald Shannon Jackson's band.
The best -thing about Bailey is that he
doesn't throw his bass on the floor and
play Jimi Hendrix like former bassist
Jaco Pastorius.
There were encores aplenty, in-
cluding a medley of most of the band's
well known tunes, and the obligatory
section from their biggest hit, "Bir-
dland." The guy in the audience who
yelled for "Boogie Woogie Waltz" all
night probably left complaining that all
the band does now is new stuff. Shorter
sent an unaccompanied soprano sax
solo bouncing around in Hill's
balconies, and the show finally closed
out with "Where the Moon Goes," a new
number with lyrics about travelling and
playing around the world, a manifesto
of Weather Report's high tech
cosmopolitanism.
Grins, signals, and quizzical glances
flashed around the stage all night, and
the new members played with verve
and excitement. (They also seemed to
wallow in the several standing ovations
the band received.) Shorter's playing in
particular was amazing, but the whole
show was filled with a fresh exuberan-
ce. For this band, life seems to begin at
13.

Records-
The Yardbirds - 'The
Yardbirds' (Epic)
In the early 1960s, England's youth
discovered America. Small clubs
around the country became the
hangouts of mopheaded, young, white
Englishmen who played black
American rhythm and blues music.
English R & B bands like the Beatles,
the High Numbers (later called The
Who), and the Rolling Stones began in
these clubs and went on to become the
most successful musicians in rock and
roll. One somewhat less successful
group, whose only American tours bor-
dered on disastrous, whose lead singer
only had one lung, but whose members
may have had more talent than those of
any of the aforementioned
"supergroups," was the Yardbirds.
The Yardbirds were formed in the
early 60s by singer/harmonica player
Keith Relf, rhythm guitarist Chris
Dreja, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith,
drummer Jim McCarty, and a young
lead guitarist named Eric Clapton.
Before their break-up in 1968, the band
also enjoyed the services of a couple
other "pretty good" guitarists: Jeff
Beck and Jimmy Page. (In fact, Led
Zeppelin began as "The New Yardbir-
ds.")
Clapton left the band after they
recorded their biggest hit, "For Your
Love," because he thought the band
was getting too commercial (ironic
considering his latest stuff, ay?). He
was quickly replaced by Jeff Beck,
whose first hit with the band was the
classic "Heart Full of Soul." Due to his
own disinterest, Beck was replaced in
the middle of an American tour by
Page, who had originally joined the
Yardbirds as a replacement for Sam-
well-Smith at bass. Page stuck with the
band until they split up. He, Clapton,

and Beck went on to fame and fortune,
while the founders of the band drifted
into semi-oblivion. Keith Relf died in
1976 when he was electrocuted by his
guitar, just two weeks before he was to
begin recording a new album.
Anyway, the reason for all this
history is that Epic records has just re-
released an album full of Yardbirds
material, mostly from the Beck period,
called simply The Yardbirds. Its white
cover features some way-out Chris
Dreja cartoons, and the sleeve notes
from their 1966 album, Over, Under,
Sideways, Down. In fact, this re-release
contains eleven of the twelve songs that
were on Over, Under, Sideways, Down,
as well as three that weren't on that
album.
Side one opens with "Happenings Ten
Years Time Ago," an eerie sounding
semi-psychedelic song that, for some
reason, reminds me of Bowie's "1984."
The rest of this side is a mix of blues
and semi-psychedelia. "The Nazz Are
Blue" is a great blues song which
features not only Beck's superb guitar
work, but his lead vocals as well. "I
Can't Make Your Way" is a wonder-
fully strange song which incorporates
several very different musical styles. .
"Over Under Sideways Down" is a rock
and roll classic. The closing song on the
side is "Farewell," a creative little dit-
ty which mimics a kindergarten song.
This tune, like many of the Yardbirds'
songs, was way ahead of its time.
Side two opens with "Hot House of
Omagarashid," a strange-but-fun
number which the Yardbirds sup-
posedly made up in the studio the same
day they recorded it. Although its only
lyrics are "Ya ya ya, ya ya ya," it's
really quite interesting. "Hot House" is
followed by "Jeff's Boogie," a fun,
soulful, and extremely well-executed
instrumental that some of you will
recognize as the theme song of "The
Electric Brunch," WRIF's Sunday
morning oldies show. Next are a few
more "eerie" songs, which incorporate
wild background vocals and tam-
bourines: "He's Always There" and the
death motif song, "Turn Into Earth,"
The next two songs involve social
commentary, something that wasn't
popular or even all that acceptable in
the Yardbirds' day. "What Do You
Want" is a hard driver with interesting

lyrics and a guitar style which becanme
the standard for the industry in the late
'60s and '70s. "Ever Since The World
Began" is an anti-money statement
which I find more interesting than
either the Beatles' or Pink Floyd's
variations on the theme.
The album closes with "Psycho
Daisies," a neat little rocker that
travels around the United States a-la
"Sweet Little Sixteen" or "Route 66.".,
The Yardbirds were an art-conscious,
socially-conscious, yet fun fivesome,
who were both extremely innovative
and immensely talented. Despite the
eerie and "psychedelic" nature of some
of these songs, the Yardbirds play them
all in a sharp, "comin'-at-ya" style.
I can't find a bad song on the album.
Although this album was recorded
seventeen years ago, it still sounds
fresh. These songs are more creative
and better executed than most of the
overproduced songs that pass for "new
wave" on stations like WABX, and the
"rock" played on WRIF/WIQB type
stations. If you're a Yardbirds fan, a
'60s rock fan, a new wave fan, or just a
music fan, you'd do yourself a favor to
give The Yardbirds a listen.
-Mike Cramer

.Jim Brewer blinds the Pig

764-0558
764-0558

0
0

By Deborah Robinson
PLAYING MUSIC used to be one of
the few ways a blind man could
make a living, and so Jim Brewer,
deprived of his sight at a young age,
took up the guitar. He played blues and
religious music first around his native
Mississippi and for the last forty years,
on the streets of Chicago.
Although Blind Jim's father thought
playing the blues was the best way to
make a living, his mother preferred
religious songs. Jim tried to get away
from the hard life of a blues musician
for a while, but was discovered (while
playing sacred music) in the '60s as a
classic blues artist. Since that time,
Brewer has been a regular feature at
Chicago's No Exit Cafe and all around
the Chicago Blues scene.
Jim Brewer will be in Ann Arbor
tonight and tomorrow, crooning and
picking both blues and more pious
songs at the Blind Pig. Opening the
shows at 9:30 p.m. will be Andy Cohen,
also a gifted guitarist, playing a variety
of styles he has picked up from

musicians like Brewer over many
years. He is sure to heat up the
basement of the Blind Pig for a smokin'
time. Pay $3 at the door to get your
weekend dose of the Blues.

Blind Jim Brewer will be playing, along with
Friday and Saturday nights at 9:30 p.m.

Robin Flower
& Band
Saturday, April 2
8 pm Sharpl
St. Andrews Hall, Detroit
431 E. Congress at Beaubien
2 Blocks N. of Renaissance Ctr.
Tickets: $6, $7, $8 at the door
Based on Ability to Pay
A Benefit For
Detroit Women's Voice
833-3938
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A NEW SOUND rocked 1421 Hill
StreetaWednesday night when
Queen Ida and her Bon Temps Zydeco
Band cooked up two shows of San Fran-
cisco-style rocked-out gumbo jive. I
don't know where they all found out
about this hot Cajun rock, but the rowdy
crowd that packed the house was not
disappointed. When someone shouted
out, "But there's no room to dance!"
Ida was ready with one of her handy
Bayou quips - "C'est la vie."
It was not an ordinary night at the
Ark, and it's likely that when this band
turns up in Ann Arbor again, it will be
at one of the dance bars. But it's not
likely to be any less crowded; Zydeco
has come to Ann Arbor. You might
notice mad crowds giving the "sign of
the crawfish" (I'll let you figure that
out when you see it), or screaming out
"Bon Temps tout le temps!" And you

might ask, what are these jokers
talking about?
Zydeco is the most modern form of
what was once called Cajun music, the
folksongs of the swampland. The dif-
ference between traditional Cajun ar-
tists and groups like the Bon Temps is,
roughly, electric guitars, a drum kit,
and a lot of hype.
Ida Guillory, who is the only woman
in Zydeco, has a large, winning smile
and the charm of a true performer. She
plays button accordian, and sings in a
slightly swampy yet strong voice. Her
biggest strength is as the binding per-
sonality of the band, though.
Ida, along with Willie Lewis on bullet-
proof vest (washboard), are the
Louisiana contingent of the band. The
other members of the California-based
group could easily fit in with any brand

X rock band. Violinist ("Pierre Le
Rouge") Peter Allen, who was indeed
dressed in red, was a combination of
Charlie Daniels and Mick Jagger. Yes,
he could ball that jack and bow behind
his head and he even - ooh! - used his
teeth. He played a mean Orange
blossom special, and did some heavy
lead swapping with Ida.
The Queen seemed a bit worn out by
the end of the second show, and not en-
tirely happy with Pierre's wild solo
rampaging, but she didn't fail to keep
the hot sauce flowing. As Queen Ida
suggested, the audience didn't fail to
"laissez les bons temps roullez." The
band had people dancing in whatever
space they could find, proving that
Queen Ida's Zydeco Band knows how to
have a good time allthe time.
-Deborah Robinson

THE DAILY
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