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September 05, 1985 - Image 83

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-09-05
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I

Page 12D-- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 5,T985

The Michigan Daily - Thurs

JAZZ
Bid for
power

MUSIC E

By Marc S. Taras
I F YOU are already a
jazzhead (you probably turned
to this page first!) you will be
delighted to know that you have made
a significant decision in choosing the
University of Michigan. Read on. And
do try to contain your excitement.
You will be among family soon
enough, alright? If you are unaware,
or have only a passing interest in the
wide world of jazz music . . . brace
yourself. In moving to Ann Arbor you
are joining a community that will
relentlessly, gently, lovingly, and
irresistibly encourage you to broaden
your musical horizons. This is an
academic community, and one
where the learning opportunities ex-
tend far beyond the classrooms, you
dig? Jazz is in the air. It is the music
of life itself!
Since this article is addressed to in-
coming students, the natural place to
start is with students and educational
experiences. The assets of the School
of Music will be evident to those
enrolled there. The School of Music
library has a plentiful selection of jazz
history and literature, including
bound volumes of Downbeat
magazine that go back thirty years or
so. Fascinating stuff. But let's con-
sider a practical education. No
amount of research can replace ac-

tivity, that is to say involvement.
This is where Eclipse comes in.
Eclipse Jazz is a world class
student-run jazz promotion group. As
a booking agency for jazz artists,
Eclipse has rightfully gained inter-
national acclaim. They book most of
the major jazz concerts that occur in
the Ann Arbor area. In the past two
terms alone Eclipse has sponsored
shows by (among others!) McCoy
Tyner, Pat Metheney, the David
Murray Octet, vocalist Abbey Lin-
coln and Bobby McFerrin, new age
pianist George Winston, and the all-
star ensemble Ekaya, led by South
African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim
(a.k.a. Dollar Brand). If you are
already familiar with some of these
artists, you get the point: Eclipse
promotes the entire spectrum of ar-
tists and musics which fall under the
wonderfully amorphous heading
"jazz."
What is important here, besides
having a great time, is that Eclipse of-
fers students an opportunity to
become involved in every aspect of
concert promotion and production.
This year's co-directors are Al
Hudock, Bruce Casler, and Tim
Smith. They will help you find fun
ways to get involved. The oppor-
tunities range from promotion and
graphics design to tech work with the
stage, sound, and light crews. You can
work with the artists on the
hospitality committee and at the ar-
tists' workshops. You can work in
merchandising or in organizing the
annual jazz lecture series. And if you
are adept at fundraising, Eclipse
needs you! Eclipse is funded by the
National Endowment for the Arts but
can always use some help in filling the
coffers . . . and oh yes! Eclipse is a

non-profit organization (read: a good
cause!).
An auspicious occasion is upcoming
coincident with your arrival in Ann
Arbor. This fall and winter terms of
'85 and '86 mark the tenth anniversary
of Eclipse Jazz. You will be able to be
a part of some of the most ambitious
(and fun!) concerts and events ever
presented. Though the celebration is
still in the planning stages, directors
Hudock and Smith have given me an
inkling of what sort of things we can
expect. Tentative plans include a
parade through town with, a New
Orleans-style brass band, a possible
mini-festival, a glorious concert
series possibly featuring Sun Ra and
his Arkestra, and an evening of jazz
on film presented by renowned
authority David Chertok. I have at-
tended one of Chertok's "concerts in
film" and it was amazing. The
audience roared its approval as Monk
Trane, and Lady Day took to the
"stage" (or screen!). It is a wild thing
to look forward to, and as usual, an
ongoing education.
Before moving on it behooves me to
mention that Eclipse is a professional
organization. It is a workshop for
vocational training. Many Eclipse
grads have gone on to work in the
music industry at home and abroad.
Lee Berry went on to become the
vice-president of Prism Productions,
another local booking group. Peter
Pretzfelder has been working with ar-
tists such as Dewey Redman and An-
dreas Vollenweider. Mary Townsend
has been working with Fleming and
Associates booking the Montreux-
Detroit jazz festivals. Sound man Ed
Learned has literally toured the world
with Chico Freeman and Ronald
Shannon Jackson. So the bottom line
on Eclipse is to go to the shows, have
fun, and get involved in whatever way
you are able or would like.
Other Agencies and Venues:
Eclipse is certainly not the only game
in town when it comes to jazz. There
are other production groups and
numerous clubs which feature jazz.
The newest of the clubs is called
the Bird of Paradise. It is the brain
child of bassist/ban-
dleader/proprietor Ron Brooks.
There is no cover charge and the
company is warm. The music is
generally straight ahead (and
swinging!) and never too loud. It is a
great spot for conversation and
listening which will feature a variety
of world class Detroit-area talent.
And that says an awful lot about the
quality of the fun to be had.
The Apartment Lounge is located on
North Campus. Pete Hodges presides
over the Jazz Company which spon-
sors concerts and jam sessions there.
The jam sessions are a loosely-knit
big fun situation where everybody can
join in, and the concerts have featured
artists such as Marcus Belgrave,
Freddie Hubbard, and guitarist-
phenom Stanley Jordan. This is a
good time, worth going out of your way
to enjoy.
The Blind Pig is one of Ann Arbor's
favorite nightspots, featuring a
variety of musics. Largely through
the efforts of Lee Berry and the Prism
staff they have begun to feature jazz
occasionally at Ann Arbor's
traditional home of the blues. The
Blind Pig Spotlight Series featured
Dr. John,hair-raising pianist Makoto
Ozone, and the incredible Gary Bur-

regular non-concert crowd of local
good ol' boys whose idea of fun was a
drunken brawl-was closed and
remodelled by the management as
Ann Arbor's equivalent of the famed
Studio 54. To complete the concept is a
flashy amalgamation of fascist art
deco decor with lots of lights, mirrors,
and videos on a big screen. The cover
is stiff, as are the drinks, and while
the dance floor is sizeable, the taped
music (most nights) caters to the
latest trends with forgettable dance-
pop-funk-soul 12" remix fare.
And after the good bands attract a
little attention on the bars and clubs
scene, they return for the next
challenge-Ann Arbor's theatres and
halls.
The Michigan Theater, an old movie
palace built in the '20s, is the prime
spot. The Michigan has presented the
notable likes of Laurie Anderson, The
Jam, 'X', and Simple Minds, and done
so memorably. It is roomy enough to
allow performers theatrical license
without compromising the necessary
and intense level of intimacy
associated with Ann Arbor perfor-
mances. The acoustics aren't bad,
and thoughtful mixing and am-
plification-a concept which seems to
escape many a band- can balance out
any real problems.
The Michigan is the perfect place to
catch bands in their prime-just
beyond rough bar gigging, but not yet
having succumbed to arena-sized
deplorability.
Hill Auditorium is the University's
showcase for orchestras and artists of
world reknown; the theater itself is of
high regard. To pay the rent, as if this
were a consideration, Hill opens up to
rock concerts regularly during the
course of the school year. Though the
bulk of these acts are strictly
clearasil, e.g. Billy Idol, there have
been more than a few noteworthy ex-
ceptions- like Joe Jackson, Lou Reed,
Phil Collins, and Elvis Costello.
Several years ago, Peter Gabriel
was offered Crisler Arena by the
University promoters. But he opted to
go with the smaller take up on the
Hill. By virtue of her charms and
unrivaled reverb, Gabriel's concert at
Hill became a part of his Plays Live
album.
Chrisler arena has no right preten-
ding to be a concert hall. While it is a
great place to watch tall people
wearing maize and blue run after a
basketball, the acoustics are lousy;
and seating beyond the sixth row is
worthless.
Crisler is a concrete monument to
entrepreneuralngreed in the music in-
dustry and should be avoided by the
serious spectator at all cost. But the
cost is not high, as the bands attrac-
ted to this sight- The Moody Blues,

02
0
0

Pat Metheney: Jazz so clean it hurts.
last term alone. Full speed ahead
guys!
The Del Rio is a cozy bar that
features jazz and jam sessions on
Sundays, while the Earle is a good
place to take your folks for easy
listening-type jazz. The Pantree
restaurant features a series they call
Jazz on the Plaza. This is a sweet out-
door situation during warm weather.
Jazz in the Media: As you might
guess by now, there is a lot of action
here, too. The Ann Arbor News
carries regular jazz features by
national and local writers including
regular "around town" stories by
WEMU jazz-DJ Michael G. Nastos.
The Michigan Daily prides itself in
its coverage of the jazz scene
(ahem!). Our student-run newspaper
features a weekly Tuesday column on
jazz written by local jazz lunatic Prof.
arwulf arwulf as well as regular
stories and raves by yours truly.
The local radio dial is jam-packed
with jazz as well. The sister stations
with NPR provide jazz music all day
long; WDET broadcasts out of Detroit
and WEMU from Ypsilanti.
Programming ranges from the
swinging straight ahead to occasional
forays into new jazz. The DJ's are an
exceptional bunch of folks with wide
and diverse backgrounds. WEMU is
also particularly active in promoting
local concert events. There is annual
summer festival on Frog Island, and
during the school year they provide
top-flight concerts- as part of the Depot.
Town Jazz Series. Performances
range from blues, to bop, to Big Band

C'I
01

Is

UNIVERSITY
TOWERS
The Best of Campus Life!
FURNISHED APARTMENTS
GREAT LOCATION
Corner of
S. University & Forest
536 S. Forest Ave.
761-2680

At the University of Michigan there
are two affiliated stations that broad-
cast jazz. WUOM features jazz on
Saturdays with former Eclipse direc-
tor Michael Grofsorean and the
nationally syndicated program Jazz
Revisited with our own Hazen
Schumacher as host. WCBN is a horse
of a different color. Infinite different
colors in fact. WCBN is the student-
run alternative radio network of the
University. arwulf arwulf will no doubt
spell out the particulars of WCBN's
zany, free-form approach elsewhere
in this issue. Let me confine my com-
ments therefore to WCBN's Jazz Til
Noon programming. Monday through
Friday from 9a.m. til noon WCBN of-
fers what I called "Alternative Jaz-
zcasting." Where else can you hear a
concert by the Ganelin Trio of Russia,
or three hours of Cecil Taylor?
Nowhere. Who else would sponsor an
Albert Ayler Radio Marathon? Not
many. You really have to listen in to
get the scope of the sounds. You'll find
me broadcasting Monday mornings.
Tune in.
Record Stores: Ann Arbor is a
record buyer's town. And again lots of
jazz to be found and heard. As jazz
goes, Schoolkids' Records is number
one. An incredible selection: cutouts,
imports, independents, the works! Be
prepared to loose your purse strings.
Discount Records also features a wide
selection of jazz titles worth perusing.
For the jazz collector, the great used
record stores in Ann Arbor will
provide substantial appeal. Wazoo,
RATX, and PJ's Used Records all

Compare and contrast: R.E.M.'s innovative Michael Stipe (left) storms
the Michigan Theater with his lulling inarticulate voice, and everybody's

The Police- tend to be long past their
prime anyway.
Over the years, Ann Arbor has
welcomed a respectable slew of new
artists- The Who, The Doors, Pink
Floyd, XTC, Springsteen, The Velvet
Underground, R.E .M .-often before
these monsters were cool on a mass
scale.
Despite the city's success with
arwulf arwulf on
jaz z. )I2 ?Z every
tuesday on arts.

potential biggies, the local scene has
never borne a significant harvest. For
starters, this is not a town par-

ticularly rich in adventurous music
clubs. While the scene does manage to
provide a few good acts every couple

U

favorite innovator Lou Reed takes a H
leisurely stroll to the wild side.

Capp e (b's
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