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September 10, 1985 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-09-10

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ARTS
Tuesday, September 10, 1985

I

The Michigan Daily

Page 7

Bird,

'Trane,

Sco, Now. Inc.

By arwulf arwulf

x I am become as sounding brass
or a tinkling cymbal. -Corinthians
MONTREAUX/DETROIT '85-The
Pylon stage they call "Show Wagon"
on the lawn off Jefferson, up above
-Hart Plaza. Traffic, Detroit's own
pathless blend, grinds past as we
sprawl on a tapestry, ready for the
music. About this time every year I
try and make it down into summer-
4ikked Detroit in order to catch free,
ive music. Always catch it live,
whenever possible. Watch their faces
a& they make the sounds. Become
directly involved.
I watched a young black man war-
ming up his alto saxophone with the
opening lines of "Ornithology,"
Charlie Parker anthem. He's young,
as are all 14 members of the ensem-
ble, and at 17, this gent is one of the
eldest.
I've seen them as young as six and
seven, striking rhythm logs or diligen-
tly pounding the drums, their atten-
tive little eyes fixed on the man in the
blue dashiki who directs this troupe of
comets, Donald Washington.
;'BIRD-TRANE-SCO-NOW, INC.
That's the name of the band. And in
this line of monosyllables, Donald
Washington has sketched the history
of group-improvisational jazz since
1945.
BIRD is Charlie Parker, brilliant
alto saxophonist who used every
possible note, the legendary dinosaur
of Modern Jazz, as composer and
player.
TRANE is John Coltrane, the tenor
player who took the music past the
bar scene and predictability, and who
picked up the soprano sax shortly af-
ter Sidney Bechet dropped it. Trane

their music will never cease.
SCO, you see, is influencing small
children!
I saw them at Montreaux/Detroit.
And earlier I referred to them as
Comets. In honor of their brilliance at
the moment, and the way they'll
sound next time around. Like Halley's
Comet, Jazz musicians, particularly
young ones, disappear for awhile, sud-
denly popping up next year, brighter
than ever.
A case in point is Little Kevin
Washington, son of Donald. Kevin
first came to my attention one
evening several years ago at the U
Club. This was when Eclipse was
having gigs there. Kevin was playing
with two other drum kits flanking him
just upstage, perched atop the bat-
tery, playing with great deter-
mination, continually dropping his
sticks, and sounding great.
Today he's a little bigger, (initially
it was hard to fathom how his feet
could reach the bass drum pedal), and
sounding even better. I'd put him at
maybe 10 or 11 years of age. And he
carried a 13 piece ensemble through a
sweaty set of classic and original jazz
improvisations.
A boy is fortunate to have such an
encouraging and informative father.
Donald Washington is going about the
business of teaching the kids to sur-
vive, live wholesome lives, and make
ferociously beautiful music together.
Every time he opens his mouth, it is
to offer advice, or to point out the
moral to the situation. This happened
at the outset of the gig, when several
members of the band hadn't shown
yet. Donald announced that he has

been teaching these young folks to
always work with what you got. This
meant two altos, tenor, bass and
drums. They leapt into "Or-
nithology," as more members walked
on, more saxes, a clarinet, a bass
clarinet, finally trumpet, trombone,
and more percussionists.
Without warning, the bottom ,fell
out of Charlie Parker's be-bop
melody. A gong sounded. Donald

raised his arms and the entire band
roared deafeningly. I recognized the
effect;. it's a favorite of Roscoe Mit-
chell's.
And as I watched the gong-player
take a solo on bike horns, one in hand
and the other blown like a tiny trum-
vet, I felt the continuum, SCO will live
in the heart of America for as long as
there are young people who can listen.

MEETING
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
Anderson Room - First Floor Michigan Union
VETERAN USHERS - people who have worked past concerts
7:00-7:30
NEW USHERS - people who would like to work
- 7:45 - 8:30

Charlie Parker, legendary jazz saxophonist, continues to influence
young musicians today.

the logical extension of Bird and Monk
and eventually John Gilmore through
Sun Ra.
SCO is Roscoe Mitchell, co-founder
of the Association for the Advan-
cement of Creative Musicians in
Chicago, America, and founding
member of the Art Ensemble of
Chicago. Roscoe is considered by
many musicians (and listeners) to be
one cardinal influence on the music
since 1965. He, and the Art Ensemble
introduced air pockets and utter sur-

prise into the music, and expanded
the instrumentation to include
literally hundreds of pieces, from the
bass saxophone to antique gongs.
SCO helped establish fertile
territory for innovative musicians in
the Chicago area, and in so doing rub-
bed shoulders with Sun Ra. Sometime
I'll spend a whole page talking about
Sun Ra. Let's just say that Ra and
Roscoe are very much from the same
part of the universe. And their music,
particularly their ensemble sounds,

& LEARNING

4I 1Y 0VA
". w. wrU =c

Records
Cecile Ousset-Liszt Sonata
in B Minor and Six Gr-andes
Etudes de Paganini (Angel)

i
I

It seems as though every major
pianist is recording the Liszt Sonata in
B Minor. The latest, French pianist
Cecile Ousset's recording of the
Sonata, is not just another vinyl disc.
This recording, which also includes
Six Grandes Etudes de Paganini, daz-
zles.
'Playing with fine technical prowess
end musical depth, Ousset affirms
herself as a musician of rock-solid
worth. Her performance of the Sonata
tlls the listener in with well-
developed excitement and tension.
There are only a few areas where she
rushes passages and seems to neglect
some important details of the Sonata.
It's the Six Grandes Etudes de
Paganini, however, that makes this
album special. Ousset manages her
way through these knucklebreakers
with amazing clarity and precision. A
lot of musicians have done that
though, so that isn't what makes this
recording unique; it's Ousset's
musical imagination and inspiration
that does that.
She plays each one of these Etudes
whole-heartedly, chock-full of vivid
details. The second Etude for instance
I NEW!!N

sparkles with its crystalline
passagework. "La Campanella," the
third Etude and probably the most1
famous of the group, is also handled
well-mannered performances.
Even Etude number six, which
contains the ubiquitous theme of
Paganini that almost every composer
has used, rang with emotional in-
trospectivity. Ousset was able to take
a hackneyed musical theme and still'
make it an enjoyable musical ex-1
perience by capitalizing not on the1
fireworks in order to show off but onE
the music itself.1
Ousset will make her debut in theI
area this season with the Detroit
Symphony Orchestra. She is
scheduled to perform the Rach-
maninoff Third Piano Concerto,
commonly called "Rock Three"
because of its extreme technical dif-
ficulty.
-Neil Galanter
Mr. Mister-Welcome to the
Real World (RCA)
According to Mr. Mister, Welcome to
the Real World is the very best thing
they've got. Unfortunately, the "best
they've got" is mediocre. Mr. Mister

suffers from an identity crisis. Every
song changes-quite drastically at
times. "Is it Love" mimicks Howard
Jones, "Don't Slow Down" sounds like
Night Ranger, and "Broken Wings" is
somewhere in between.
Mr. Mister's latest effort offers
nothing exciting, either lyrically or
vocally. Except for one rousing
tremolo bar solo on
"Black/White," the guitar is not
heard on the entire record. ' Welcome
to the World is the MTV album par
excellence. There are lots of dance
tunes, some soft songs, but nothing
requiring too much talent.
-Dave Yount

SKILLS CENTER18
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