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March 28, 1986 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-28
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Saturday's show- Shepp's sax sounds

Local duo tackles featur

By Marc S. Taras
Arbor residents will have the op-
portunity to hear the music that
legends are made of at the Ark. Ann
Arbor's folk emporium, rapidly
becoming known as the hottest venue
for jazz in town, will play host to the
Eclipse Jazz presentation of the Ar-
chie Shepp quartet. The original fire-
breathing dragon of the turbulent '60 s
school of tenor saxophony. Spiritual
kin to John Coltrane and Albert Ayler.
Lecturer, poet, and social reformer.
Archie Shepp returns to the midwest
for two anxiously-awaited shows at
7:30 and 10 p.m.
Archie Shepp was born in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida in 1937 but
gravitated to Philadelphia, a musical
spawning grounds, by the time he was
a teenager. He began playing clarinet
and alto sax, landing his first gig-on
clarinet-when he was still 15. During
these Philly years Shepp first made
the acquaintance of Lee Morgan,
Jimmy Heath, and John Coltrane. He
majored in drama and graduated
from Goddard College in 1959, leaving
for New York in search of a job as an
actor. Thankfully, he was unable to
find such work and turned to music

making with a Latin sextet, even-
tually hooking up with the monolith of
modern piano catastrophe, Cecil
Taylor. His recordings with Cecil
revewal a Shepp sound that is already
restless; an insistent, angrified voice
that acknowledged the masterworks
of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins.
He did make it to the stage-as a
musician-in the productin of Jack
Gelber's play The Connection.
By 1962 Archie Shepp had teamed
up with fellow New Thinger Bill Dix-
on for a quartet LP. This association
led to the formation of the stunning
New York Contemporary Five with
Dixon and Don Chery. His fellows in
that group included another fiery
reedman, John Tchicai, with whom
Shepp would record the first of his
many exciting LP's for the Impulse
record label. 'Four For Trane' was in-
stigated and supervised by Coltrane
himself. The LP included hair-raising
readings of Coltrane material as well
as provocative original, 'Rufus
(swung his face at last to the wind
then his neck snapped).' Shepp's own
compositions henceforth would
typically have an element of socio-
political reflection. Archie Shepp was,
and is, an artist with an agenda.
During the '60 s Archie Shepp
recorded regularly with all of the

reigning giants of the new music. He
was a searcher, and his playing took
on new dimensions, greater in-
dividuality, and crystalized vision. He
would be a featured soloist on the awe
inspiring John Coltrane 'Ascension'
sessions. He was spiritually connec-
ted. In a reflection upon the Coltrane
composition 'The Father the Son and
the Holy Ghost' Shepp would observe
that Coltrane was the father, he
(Shepp) was the son, and the Albert
Ayer was the holy ghost. Fair
By the end of the feisty and
frustrating '60s, Archie Shepp moved
to Europe. He held court in Paris,
France with many luminaries of the
New Thing and recorded several out-
standing records for the Actuel lablel
including the magnificent Blase. He
returned to America in 1971 to record
Things Have Got To Change with
singer Joe Lee Wilson.
During the '70s, Archie Shepp spent
a lot of time playing, recording, and
touring in Europe. He worked in
numerous different sessions and
musical collaborations including
exciting sax-piano duets with both
Horace Parlan and South African
giant Dollar Brand (Abdullah
Ibrahim). A couple of years ago
Shepp released a fine new album in

By Martha Sevetson
and Rolf Henrikson
E VER THOUGHT about shooting
a ;film? It would take a lot of
money and experience, right? Not
always the case. Just ask director
Tom Chaney and producer Gregory J.
Lanesy. The two have teamed up to
form Monolith Pictures and will shoot
their first full length feature film,
Whiskey River.
This is quite an undertaking,
especially when one considers that the
pair met only last year. Last sum-
mer, Lanesy landed a lead role in a
low budget film, The Carrier,
produced in Manchester,Mi.
"It was a stroke of luck," he admit-
ted. "When you consider how few
films are produced and how many
people there are in this country, it's
very difficult to get involved in a
Once he was cast, Lanesey contac-
ted the producer, and found himself
and additional position as assistant

producer for the first five weeks.
This provided Lanesey with ex-
perience that would help him pursue
his career in film while making use of
his education.
"I've always been interested in ac-
tors and film," he said, "I realized I
could get my foot in the door on the
buisness side of it."
On the set of The Carrier, Lanesey
met Chaney, an aspiring director and
senior film major at Eastern
Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
Chaney had an idea for a film that in-
terested Lanesey, so the two
collaborated. This quickly developed
into a partnership _ Monolith Pic-
tures - when Lanesey and Chaney
realized the potential in the com-
bination of their varied backgrounds.
Lanesey, 22, a 1985 University
Business School graduate, was em-
ployed in Switzerland working on
computers, but he quit because of a
lack of challenge. He also turned
down job offers from Roadway and
Dupont to follow his dream of a career
in film.
"I don't like the idea of working 9 to

5 and following a certain schedule,"
he said. "You're just a nut that goes
into a bolt that holds a big machine
together. In independent film produc-
tion you're a very large part."
"Since I studied business, and he
studied film, we can each get things
done," explained Lanesey. "That's
our really strong advantage as an in-
dependent production team."
Currently Lanesey and Chaney are
working to raise $1 million to produce
their screenplay.
The film is about four ex-war bud-
dies who reunite (in 1972), hoping to
leave the war-torn fields of Vietnam
behind. After breaking through the
intitial uneasiness of the situation, the
four rekindle the friendship forged in
war. But what starts out as a happy and
relaxing weekend, quickly becomes
an entanglement of tension, turmoil,
disaster, and death.
"We're making a low budget film,"
said Lanesey, "somewhere bet-
ween $1 and $1.5 million." Lanesey is
using his business degree in raising
the money from private investors.
The two are over half the way there

already and won 't start filming until
early August.
"It will take about eight or ten
weeks to film," says Lanesey, "ten
probably because of the weather."
After that Lanesey and Chaney will
edit, finish, and try to sell the film.
"It will premier in Ann Arbor no mat-
ter what, though, hopefully June 1,
1987. That's our goal."
Lanesey and Chaney do not expect
to make any profit on this venture. To
pay the bills right now, Lanesey has a
20-25 hour a week job with ITT Han-
cock Industries, and Chaney magages
Video Hut in Ypsilanti.
The completed film will easily
make back the invested money
through videocassette sales and
European releases, said Lanesey, but
this money will never find its way
back to their pockets.
"At our stage as an independent
filmmaker - without having ex-
perience - you have to give
away everything, all of your rights,
because you want to get the film in the
market," explained Lanesey.
These rights will be negotiated
away in a settlement with a
distributor at a film festival, and any
excess profit will go to the investors
and crew.
"But it doesn't matter if you make
money in your first film," he con-
tinued, " because once you've done
one film you've earned credibility,
and they'll give you the money for the
next film. Basically you just establish

a na
for f
for t

Saxophnee muster A rchie She ,n
America for Varrick records
The Good Life, was Arch
American release in a decad
fully, material is still pourin
Europe, including his wonde
Note release, Down Home Ne

This LP, teacher-figuratively and literally;
ie's first he is a professor in the W.E.B. Debois
e.Thank- department of African-American
g in from music at Amherst. His performances
rful South and records are peppered with
ew York. reminders and urgent with the heart
of the Shepp agenda. Things have got
is a to change!

The story of a small town boy



Blues Kings B. B., Albert, Bobby Bland hit Detroit

By Alan Paul
T he Kings of the Blues are coming
to town! Tonight, at the Masonic
Temple in Detroit, the two guitarists
who influenced and inspired Jimi
Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Robbie Rober-
tson, and Jimmy Page are perfor-
ming on the same bill. Albert and
B.B. King, as well as vocalist Bobby
"Blue" Bland, are playing at the
Detroit Bluesfest.
The impact of the Kings, par-
ticularly B.B., on rock and roll is im-
mesurable. B.B., who has been
recording for over 35 years, developed
a style of playing featuring his
trademark "bent" note stylizations
that has influenced virtually every

guitarist in the blues and rock fields.
Riley "Blues Boy" King has
dominated the blues scene for more
than 30 years, gigging an average of
300 days a year and spending most of
the other two months in the studio.
Though purists have at times objec-
ted to his bold forays into other areas
- he was the first bluesman to incor-
porate strings, .to reach out and ob-
tain an mass audience, and to
recognize the importance of country
:music ("It's the white man's blues.")
- few could deny that he is THE king.
His record sales surpass every other
blues artist and his mastery of lead
guitar and influence over a wide
range of other players support the
claim. Furthermore, in 1979, he
became the first bluesman to tour

the USSR, playing 20 dates. He has
received honorary doctorates from
Tougaloo College and Yale Univer-
stiy, as well as the keys to several
cities including Berkeley, California,
and Memphis, Tennessee, which have
held "B.B. King Days".
Ironically, for the man regarded by
many (and not just blues freaks) as
the world's greatest lead guitarist,
B.B. admits that he can't really play
rhythm nor can he sing and play at the
same time. Thus, he adopted a call
and response pattern of plantation
work songs, alternating powerful
vocal lines with guitar riffs which per-
fectly complement the lyrics. Most of
King's songs are characterized by his
vocal mix of high falsetto and gospel-
influenced tenor paired with guitar
improvisations featuring a flood of of-
ten "bent" notes. B.B. created a
style which has become an integral
part of the blues tradition.
In the Encyclopedia of Rock, Nick
Cogan wrote of B.B., "A superb
showman, King is one of the world's
greatest guitar soloists, and is cer-

tainly the best known and most in-
fluential bluesman of them all."
There are many similarities beyond
the obvious between B.B. and his
unrelated counterpart Albert King.
Both are in their early 60's, were born
and raised on plantations outside of
Indianola, Missippi, sang in church
choirs for years, and were
"discovered" by Ike Turner.
Albert is probably B.B.'s closest
rival for the "King of Blues" title.
A 6 foot 4 inch, 250 pound giant of a
man, Albert King's blues lean toward
rock and country, while B.B., though
he has experimented widely, tends to
closer ties with jazz.
The left-handed Albert plays a
rocket shaped guitar slung upside-
down, which practically looks like a
ukelele in his massive hands. The
man looks cool. In the late '60s,
Albert garnered a large white rock
audience who liked his mumbled
vocals and sharp, stinging guitar

lines. Blues Power, a live album
recorded at the legendary Fillmore
West, captured Albert at his hard-
driving, gut-wrenching best.
Rounding out the Blues Fest lineup
is Bobby "Blue" Bland. He too has
been a dominant figure on the blues
scene for over 30 years, hitting the
charts in 1957 with the gritty "Farther
Up the Road", which was a top-40 hit
for Eric Clapton almost fifteen years
later. Bland has recorded several
albums with B.B. King, with whom he
frequently tours.
Tonight's concert promises to be
more than exciting, more than great;
it will be awesome. It's not every
weekend that three people who have
influenced popular music to the extent
of the Kings and Bland perform in the
area, much less on one bill. So, hey,
all of you people who think yourselves
classic rock fans and listen to Hendrix
or Clapton, get off your butt, round up
a car, dig into your wallet, and GO TO
DETROIT to see this show!
Home of the $3.85 cassette tape
Jimmy Buffett
Marvin Gaye
Billy Joel
Paul McCartney
Steely Dan
The Who
... over 700 CBS & MCA titles
Send for our FREE catalog.
You'll never buy any place else again
612 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 217,
Chicago, Illinois 60611

American Fool: The Roots
& Improbable Rise of John
Cougar Mellencamp
Martin Torgoff
St. Martin's Press, 222 pp.,
Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Probably die in a small town
W:ITH HIS last album, John
Cougar Mellencamp returned to
his roots, and embraced the reality of
his life. He also made it okay to be
from the Midwest and a small town. In
fact, he made it a source of pride. Both
delighted and curious by such facts,
Martin Torgoff sets out on a pilgrim-
mage seeking John Cougar Mellen-
In his introduction, Torgoff
declares: "(I had) the intuitive sense
that, yes, I know this person. We
were, after all, the same age...I knew
we'd have a lot to talk about...he sur-
mounted each obstacle thorugh sheer
will, tenacity, the power of his per-
sonality, and his ever-developing
talent. He succeeded despite the od-
ds..." Each page that follow gushes
with admiration and the adolescent
awe of a fan until finally it seems
Torgoff has lost objectivity.
In' relaying a television interview
that went poorly, Torgoff writes:
"Felicia (the interviewer) came after
him like a shark after bloody meat."
Torgoff continually explains that
Hohn has always been taken out of
context and misunderstood.
If one can get beyond Torgoff's
nonobjectivity, his style and substan-
ce are palatable. He is a conver-
sational writer with contemporary

perception. He provides images like:
"To walk the peaceful, treelined
streets of Seymour on a drowsy sum-
mer day is to realize that Andy Hardy
lived in a place like this..." The style
fits the material: pure Americana.
Torgoff packs the book nicely,
beginning with Mellencamp's family
history and ending with the death of
John's grandfather, Speck Mellen-
camp. The whole family offers in-
sights into John, as do his friends,
thereby giving the work credibility.
One begins to see the same Cougar
Mellencamp Torgoff sees: loyal,
giving, misunderstood, poet and
frustrated artist.
Each record falls in the chronology,
enabling the reader to see it in the
context of John's life. One sees his
maturity and the price he pays for it.
One begins to understand his lyrics as
he meant them, and feel what he felt.
Besides the insight, one is also privy

to photos of John throughout his life.
The book provides all the material
necessary for a comprehensive
biography. Most significant however,
is John's own input into the book. The
development of his philosophy is
tracable, so when he finally says, "I
guess I started realizing that I get my
strength from my roots. Indiana's my
home and everbody I love is here. I
actually stay home a lot - I'm pretty
reclusive by nature. I decided to just
live and work here - write songs and
record them about very basic, human
emotions," the reader wants to pat
him on the back.
In spite of all the odds, John Cougar
Mellencamp rose from being a Mid-
western, small-town misfit to become
a rock and roll success. He owns
several cars, motorcycles etc. and
still talks to his old friends. What a
story! Now ain't that America?
Gloria SanaA


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