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November 06, 1984 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-06

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Page 7

A birthday party for Sippie at the Ark

By Andy Weine
If you haven't heard of Sippie
Wallace, your grandparents might
have. In the twenties Sippie Wallace
launched her blues on Okeh Records
with tunes such as "Underground
Blues," "Shorty George Blues,"and
"Up the Country Blues."
After around two decades of public
silence, Wallace returned to singing her
women-be-wise blues, and on Sunday at
the Ark, she celebrated her 86th birth-
She was hardly alone. The Ark buzzed
with a huge crowd that laughed and
tapped their feet as Sippie blued them
out, and later sang her happy birthday
and helped eat the cake. Many notable
blues and ragtime musicians-friends
of Sippie's-also joined the playing and
the party, too. ("This is a party," said
manager Ron Harwood, "not a con-
These pounding pianists hosted the
audience on a musical time trip to the
days of Gatsby, speakeasies, and knee-
shimmying. For an afternoon, the Ark
became Ann Arbor's only speakeasy,
and the belting blues had an authentic,
quintessential flavor.
"It's hard to keep Sippie off the
stage," said Harwood, but he managed
to do just that. In the nearly two hours
before Sippie took the stage, Mike Mon-
tgomery and Terry Parrish used two
pianos to bang out fun rag tunes, in-
cluding "Arkansas Blues," "I Found
Me a New Baby," and that old favorite,
Fats Wallers' "Ain't Misbehavin'."
Mark Brown swayed and rolled his
head as his fingers tapped out a more
rollicking, foot-tapping blues in which a
strong beat dominated the melody, not

unlike the role of rhythm in reggae
Bob Seely stoke the spotlight, though,
is "one of the finest boogie woogie piano
players around today," according to
Harwood. Seeley's blues were smooth,
slow, and sleepy, but not at all unin-
A picture of the past was further
painted by an overly long slide show
documenting the lives of Sippie and her
father (also a blues singer). Shots of
Sippie in her twenties and of her early
music releases were interesting, but
the show turned downright boring with
details such as record company
correspondence, copyright sheets, and
birth and death certificates.
The concert-Oops, I mean party-
was like the way it goes with all
blues-you got to pay yer dues. Just
before you reaches the verge of saying,
"This isn't worth such a wait," Sippie
and the Chicago Jazz Band shuffled on
stage, and soon you knew it was worth it.
"Play it, maestro," she bidded the
Sippie's blues are best described as
slippery and saucy. In her hoarse voice,
she wailed lonely tunes like one that
went, "All I want is a good man... " On
the lighter, spunkier side was the song,
"Everybody Loves My Baby But My
Baby Don't Love Nobody But Me."

"Now, gonna give some advice to the
ladies," sang Sippie, displaying her
true wisdom and most fun music. "Got-
ta be wise: Keep yer mouth shet! Don't
advertise }u man!" Another song war-
ned the ladeez of those cruel gambling
men who "gonna bring you to yer last."
Sippie can shake an audience, too, as
shown in her closing number, "Shake it,
Jelly," which had her shaking and
twisting like the hottest 86-year-old
southwest of Motown.
After blowing out all but two candles
in her birthday cake, Sippie said, "I
done pretty good, din' I?" As with the
candles, Sippie did more than well in
this concert/party. She showed herself
to be a jewel, and the jewel is blue,
through and through.

Sicuib b

Daily Photo by
Sippie Wallace celebrated her 86th birthday with a concert at the Ark on Sunday.

The Masterplayers. Excellent, classical

By Mike Gallatin
M AESTRO Schumacher and The
Masterplayers appeared at
Rackham Auditorium for the first time
this past Sunday afternoon and gave a
performance which puts American
groups to shame.
The ensemble is composed of 17
leading solo and chamber music
players from all over Europe whose
only common language is the universal
language of music. Their performance
left no doubt as to the integral relation-
ship between Baroque music and
chamber music.
The program consisted solely of
works from the Baroque period;
namely Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, and
Telemann. Baroque in this instance is
also synonomous with chamber music,
the kind of music that might be played
in both intimate and stately chambers
of an aristocratic court:
While each of the six concertos per-
formed featured at least one soloist, the
group played in a democratic fashion
with every part having equal importan-
ce and no one star outshining the rest.
The sound was one homogenized
murmur, balanced and was polished to
Perhaps the first piece of the program
the Concerto Grosso in C major,
"Alexander's Feast" by Handel best
displayed the high quality of musician-
ship the Masterpalyers possess.
The strings played with a light and
'Thief of
Hearts' is
a crime
* (contined from Page 6)
man investigating, and delves. into
:Scott's past.
He even finds the abandoned
warefoue where Scott keeps his stolen
cache, and finds among the mountain of
pilfered possessions, his own stolen
property. This startling information in
hand it's off to Mickey's rescue, and he
lumbers along to its hackneyed con-
Thief of Hearts would have been
greatly improved had the director,
Douglas Day Stewart (who wrote the
screenplays for Blue Lagoon and An Of-
ficer and a Gentleman) ditched all the
,dialogue and spent the entire 90
minutes of film on Bauer, the film's one
and only interesting diversion, who
might be best described as a modern
Greek god.
Canadian actress Barbara Williams,
as Mickey, offers little to male viewers
in compensation because (and I'm not
,eing cruel) she's no beauty and
doesn't come across as that bright.
It's the film's greatest mystery why
Scott the thief would be so obsessed
with her.
Pleading for some comic value,

refreshingly bouyand sound, the in-
tricate passages were cleanly executed
and the entrances were precise and ex-
cellently timed. Yet the group was syn-
chronized without being military or
mechanical but rather a refined grace
and regal elegance.
The next Concerto for Violin, Oboe,
and Strings in D minor by Bach was
played even better if that was possible.
The opening Allegro was bright and
aggressive exuding the kind of never-
ending drive and energy that is charac-
teristic of music in the Baroque period.
The subsequent Adagio featured the
oboe accompanied by pizzicato in the
strings outlining the major chord
changes. It was one of those long,
warm, lingering Adagios that have a
hypnotic effect of which the audience
was not exempt from.
As the strings changed from pizzicato
to a sustained-type pedal point, the
spellbound audience sat enthralled in a
rare moment of passionate stillness as
the afternoon slowly wore on. The final

Allegro no sooner concluded then it was
greeted with a wild burst of applause.
The next composition was a Concerto
Grosso in D minor from Vivaldi's
popular "Estro Armonico" which was
made even more famous by J. S. Bach's
transcription of it for two harpsichords.
While a harpsichord accompaniment
would have been a welcome addition to
the continuo, the Masterplayers under
the close direction of Richard
Schumacher performed the opening
Allegro with a bouncing lyrical quality
that charged the music with electricity.
Again the larghetto through a subtle
downward, chromatic movement
communicated that sense of
time-always passing slowly but
The second half of the concert opened
with Bach's Double Concerto. The mid-
dle movement, Largo ma non tanto,
like Bach's "Air on a G String" is one of
those sublime slow movements where
time for an instant is temporarily

suspended and each measured note is a
single drop of water in the sea of eter-
nity. The program concluded with the
full ensemble playing a suite from Han-
del's Water Music.
The Masterplays are a welcome ad-
dition to The University's musical
community. Chamber music is always
a pleasure when a few instruments can
make so much music, create so many
contrasting moods, and express such a
broad range of emotions.
In that sense Baroque music in par-
ticular is generally the most accessible
to the neophyte classical music
CALL 764-0557

17i: .,i i~r

'... . .,







":r" "".

proudly presents
in the Kuenzel Room of the Michigan Union
Special Guests:
BILL SPINDLE: Editor-in-Chief of The Michigan Daily
SCOTT PAGE: President of MSA

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