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November 05, 1985 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-11-05

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Tuesday, November 5; 1985

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

Inspirational jazz

By Marc S. Taras
O NE COULD not have hoped for a
happier 10th birthday for Ann
Arbor's Eclipse Jazz. The student-
operated promotion organization
celebrated in style at the Ark Satur-
day night, and it was pianist Stanley
Cowell and saxophonist/reed monster
David Murray who brightened the
evening with song. Overflowing
It was exactly 10 years earlier, on
November 2, 1975 that Eclipse spon-
sored their first show when they
featured pianist McCoy Tyner. Satur-
day night's bash was all the proof any
doubter could require that Eclipse and
the music that they sponsor is still as
vital as life itself.
Cowell and Murray offered a
program of duets and solos that was
often quite romantic, occasionally
fiery, and always inspirational. They
paced themselves well through two
sets that featured originals such as
Cowell's "Brilliant Circles" and
Murray's "Flowers For. Albert" and
time honored classics such as "Body
and Soul" and Coltrane's "Naima."
The show opened with this titanic
pair holding forth on Stanley's
"Testifying." And they were! Cowell
flashing that teenage grin pounding
out quirky rhythm questions to which
the sleepy-eyed saxophonist would
respond. Little oceans of piano
smoothing out softly. Wind eating
fingers painting Oriental pastels of
coral in labyrinthine frames.
Next, the beautiful David Murray
ballad "Lovers" was the highlight of

the first set. Murray has a sort of
drunken man alter ego that emerges
when he plays ballads. Sleepy eyes
turn infinitely sad, and as he sobs in
his beer you feel a tugging inside and
that lump in your throat that you only
get when you are missing that
someone too much. Sniff. Cowell is a
romantic and thoughtful player as
The two men were gently stretching
and challenging each other all night
and to judge from their (and the
crowd's) response, it was a rippin'
success. Stanley was rhapsodizing
here like a Bill Evans stiffened with a
double shot of Thelonious Monk..
A couple of loving solo tributes filled
out the set. Murray's dedication to the
Duke, rendered on bass clarinet,
showed that he is unquestionably the
prime exponent of that deepwood
reed. And in a mild surprise, Cowell's
solo was a nod to Monk. You can hear
Monk in those quirky Cowell inter-
vals! The set closed with a gently
lunatic reading of the classic blowout
"Tenor Madness."
Yeeesh! The second set was even
more inspirational. I had been sick all
week and the medicine in this music
was taking hold. I squealed with new
vigor. They checked in with Cowell's
"Brilliant Circles," a wonderful mid-
tempo thing with Murray wafting lush
and Cowell levitating great bears and
spinning them around. Murray was
seen thinking of Dolphy while Cowell
tended tesselated gardens.
Their rendering of "Body and Soul"
was an emotional one. Murray's
treatment of this tune, an inter-
national hit for Coleman Hawkins in

'38, sounded more like it was coming
from Lester Young of the mid-'40s.
Soft and breathy. Understated
emotions. Tears brimming. David
Murray is multitudes. Soft and loving.
Or a hungover Teddy Bear bent on
vengeance. Incredible.
More solo space for each player in
round two with Cowell being beautiful
enough to woo George Winston's Win-
dham Hill public (and he could offer
them so much more in the way of
substance!). Murray gone wild,
slathering and squeenking; all breath
and bowels. Nuts. No two ways! This
was a way (times 2) way concert.
The wrap up was just the
denouement every reader of mystery
loves. A joyous version of Murray's
"Flowers For Albert." Cowell played
Capetown rhythms a la Dollar Brand
while Murray found The Late'Mystic
Ayler while exploring the inside of his
partner's piano with his saxophone. I
was shivering inside with a warm
glow. Did they save the best for last?
You bet your ears and hearts they
did! They returned to the stage and a
whooping crane crowd to share
thoughts of Trane. It was an encore
recital of John Coltrane's stunning
ballad "Naima." It was structurally
perfect and emotionally over-
whelming. Possibly the most moving
performance of this piece that I have
ever heard. Anywhere. It was a
spiritual thing.
Whew! I am gonna go back to bed. I
am healthy again now and as I
remember the sounds Saturday
night at the Ark (really the best room
in town folks!) my cells replenish

Uaily Photo by DEAN RANDA
Tommy Makem (from left), and Pat, Tom, and Liam Clancy shared their legacy of Irish folk music
during their reunion tour at Hill Auditorium on Friday.

Irish folk warms


By Joseph Kraus
THIRTY-SIX hours after the Clancy
Brothers and Tommy Makem
concert ended, the words and
melodies remain unavoidable. They
strike at seemingly random momen-
ts: in the shower, walking to class, or,
particularly, in the company of frien-
It shouldn't be surprising that the
spirit of the show would linger so long,
because what the group offers is
essentially timeless. They sing folk
songs telling the history of the com-
mon people of Ireland, but translate it
for the rest of the world into a music
that recalls a universal history.
Pat and Tom Clancy look like the
types who make wonderful gran-
dfathers. With broad faces and wide
grins, they belted out most of the
awdier drinking songs.
Tom set the tone for the evening
when, after introducing the rest of the
roup, he said,".. and last, but
most, Tom Clancy," as he patted
ither side of his ample white
Liam Clancy scarcely looked his 50
ears. With burnished cheeks and a
smile that hinted at a reservoir of
warmth, he sang some of the most
beautiful ballads imaginable. His ver-
sion of Chicogoan Mike Smith's "The
Dutchman" (also popularized by the
late Steve Goodman) was one of the
few non-traditional songs of the
evening as well as one of the most
But the single most moving moment
of the night belonged to Tommy
Plagued by a weak voice during his
solo stop at last year's Ann Arbor Folk
Festival, Makem had something to
prove both as a singer and as a perfo-
With his fists clenched to whiteness,
hie sang his own composition, "Four
Green Fields," which draws on the
traditional Irish metaphor of Ireland
as a woman robbed of her lands. Of
the four fields, one, modern day
Ulster, remains lost to her, but as
Makem sang ominously, "My sons
? have sons as brave as mine."
When he finished, the listless (by
Clancy standards) audience erupted
into a standing ovation.

In a few brief departures from song,
Tom and Liam recited assorted poems
by William Butler Yeats, and Tom
recited the entire first page of James
Joyce's Finngegan's Wake.
The show did have several technical
difficulties, but in overcoming them
the group seemed even more im-
pressive. A poor sound mix made it
almost impossible to hear Tommy
Makem's banjo for most of the showy
and a floor light was distracting both
to Makem and the audience.
Judging from the applause, the sell-
out crowd at Hill loved the show, but it
took all oftwo hours coaxing from
Liam to get them to sing along in
large numbers for the final songs.
But in the end, the show was
everything it should have been.
It had been over 16 years since the
brothers and Makem had performed
together when they reunited in May
1984, and this current tour is a one
time only affair according to both
Liam and the group's publicity direc-

tor Charles Comer.
In a recent interview, Liam said
that at other stops on the tour, "A lot
of people who are comin' now are
bringing their children and saying
they grew up on (our records)."
Judging from a few of the young faces
in the audience who seemed to know
the words, the situation was the same
But it wasn't just college students
enjoying themselves. Men in business
suits, white-haired women, and a few
children sang together long and loud.
At one point, Tom Clancy said to sing;
as loud as you please, and if the guy in
front of you turns around to stare,
" ... belt him in the mouth."
There wasn't much belting in the
mouth, but there was, in the end, a lot
of singing. The Clancys and Makem
may not be coming through again in
person, but the legacy they leave in
song and poetry will linger for a long.
time to come.

Assistant Dean and Admissions Officer
Small group discussions on preparation for Law School,
Law School expectations and how decisions are made
TIME: 9:00- 12:00 and 1:30 - 4:30
(Hourly discussions at 9, 10, 11 a.m.
and1:30, 2:30, 3:30p.m.)


310 Hutchins Hall
(Law SchoolAdmissions Office)
November 5, Tuesday
December 5, Thursday


Michigan Alumni work here:
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