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April 01, 1986 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-04-01

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, April 1, 1986

Heraldic

By Marc S. Taras
A RCHIE SHEPP was more than
an imposing figure Saturday
night at the Ark, (way) bald (a)head
and leisure suit, occasionally
removing his shades to cast a curious
intent gaze at the audience with a
mug that makes emotional
delineation a trifle difficult. I mean, is
he mad or just deliberate?
Moving slowly and smoking
strongly, Archie Shepp and a

dynamic quartet b
two gorgeous set
distinction. Shepp
titantic prowess o
forth in a blistering
soprano, and scor
saved us with his c
and song. WHEW!
The first show op
original, "Ujaam
gentle enough for
possessing an inne
venturous spirit th
unattended. Grea
alarming saxopho

Shepp sc:
blew ripe through skank coiling into upper register
s of variety and squealing with effortless grace.
demonstrated a Directing drummer Steve McCraven
n tenor sax, held to stay on the ride cymbal like a
double-reed-toned lifeboat, Urging South African pianist
ched, scathed, and Hotep Cecil Bernard onto wilder
hiropractic poetics flights. Reveling in Detroiter Herman
Wright's magnificent bass pum-
pened with a Shepp meling!
a," music that's Shepp turned "vicious" in what
sipping tea, yet seemed to be (how the hell do I
r strength and ad- know?) good natured badgering of the
at lets the tea cool able sound crew at the Ark. He
t Goddess! What hollered for more sound. A BIG
ony! Bottom end Sound! "I'm not that old yet! Turn it

athes, saves

up like you do for Mick Jagger! Let
me be heard like that !"
Thelonious' "Blue Monk" evolved
into a bit of funk-butt poetry and song
that wasn't afraid to get it's hands
dirty. And the highlight of the first
show was a tribute to John Coltrane
with the beautiful Trane ballad
"Naima."
The second show saw this jam-type
band tightening up considerably as
they cruised through a powerfully
moving set. Shepp continued to write
on soprano and to surprise on tenor.
Sometimes sounding like Trane and

sometimes offering a breathy sort of
voicing that Greg Dahlberg (Ann Ar-
bor's hipcat cabbie) rightly recogni-
zed as nodding towards Rollins;
Shepp was still and always Shepp.
This show kicked off with a Charlie
Parker piece - the name escapes me
- that was bebop gone wild! Way
possible, yes! Then the quartet dusted
off "Body and Soul," the tune that
made Coleman Hawkins a worldwide
household name in 1939.
"Softly As In A Morning Sunrise"
was so deceptive in its beauty, with
Shepp providing ironic voicing, thatz!

tt Ark
reminded listeners that the lyrics
concern love gone wrong. Poignant.
The highlight of the second show
had to be the warm reading of
Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady."
This piece is a Shepp favorite that
was lovingly rendered.
Archie Shepp closed both of his
shows with the same up-tempo funk
groove,dwhich featured an inspired
call and response vocal line, 'It's a
brand new day/It's a brand new
world. Archie Shepp has long been
ready for that world. He is its her-
ald, Viva Archie Shepp!

Sufferin' Sappho what would Aristo]

..

By Peter Batacan
IN CONVEYANCE of one playgoer's delectation, a
miscellany of Ensemble Theatre Company's "ribald
comedy" Lysistrata: MTV meets Thespis; as good-
natured Ezra Pound feared, the walkman "replaces
Sappho's barbitos"; the Eurythmics supervene the
Eumenides; April is the coolest month.
Newfangledness abounds. In Howard Schott's
prologue, a group of theatre students, set to do a little
pro bono work in the local red light district, organize the
marginal folk into a street repertory.
Scripts are sounded. Chekhov is "too sad." Two bag
men (pause) read some lines (pause) from Harold Pin-
ter (pause). The pimp executes a nugget from Beckett,
"Yuh Shoolaces," to the sighs of his chorus of hookers.
The enigmatic janitor, clad in white coveralls and a
red baseball hat, distributes green folders that contain

the script of Lysistrata to everyone. The janitor
becomes Aristophanes, the hookers play the Grecian
beauties, and the bag men and ladies sing the "odes" of
the male and female hemichori.
I am worried.
Where are the well-wrought amphoras, the softbelted
goddesses, the boldly caparisoned charioteers?
Tough luck.
Lysistrasta, the play's heroine and namesake, stands
on a park bench in front of Poppa's Parthenon
declaiming to the female hemichori who are still bag
ladies. She sports the ubiquitous Laura Petri look, black
stretch pants and blousy blouse. She is Greek. She is
modern. She is magnificent.
Her sidekick Kalonika appears, sumptuously packed
into her designer jeans and Hawaiian shirt. Her white
Vuarnet sunglasses and her walkman radiate her bene
esse. She is Greek. She is modern. She is a material girl.

"Like...Sufferin' Sappho!" she cries. An arriviste
"virgin from Corinth" bounces on stage in a
cheerleading uniform. Lampito the Spartan, a strapping
woman of epic proportions, swaggers on stage.
Lysistrata calls a strike on sex, "Operation Cutoff," un-
til their husbands stop the war. Fetch wine, lay out
oblations to the gods, and let the show begin.
Everyone is horny in this comedy. The Spartan envoy
cruises in on a Kawasaki, tugs at his riding chaps, vaun-
ting his virile bulge. The city elders giggle, "hard up,
eh?" The bulge turns out to be a scroll with peace terms,
and the envoy says, "you Athenians have dirty minds."
Quasi-phalloi and pregnant pauses pop up
everywhere. Red fire hydrants, voluptuous bananas,
broomsticks, and soda bottles. "Let's go do it !" cries the
Thebean woman, ...I mean, let's not go do it!"
The husbands are brought up short, to say the least.

phanes say?
Dressed in punk clothes, karate outfits, and love-larded
boxer shorts, they agonize throughout the play.
Kinesias, husband to Myrrhina, played with abundant
randiness by Jeff Schneiter, must be carried off stage
after a truncated tryst. The women don chasity belts to
stave off the male phalanx. Everyone is frustrated, save
Diana goddess of chasity and the hunt.
The Athenians and Spartans finally bury the hatchet,
in the broadest sense. Husbands and wives recouple in
bliss to the siren-song of the Eurythmic's "Sisters Are
Doin' It For Themselves." Aristophanes, the janitor,
leads the chorus in some platitudes about bed-partners,
love, and war, concluding that "he hasn't a clue."
So what does it all mean? I am still worried. Where
are the buzzing cicadas, the strong-thewed hoplites, the
soft-belted goddesses? Tough luck. This is the 1980's.

'Visionary new music-American jazz in Jerusalem

By arwulf arwulf
T HE NINETEEN EIGHTIES offer
more possibilities for creative
improvised music than ever before,

i
U

I was pleasantly surprised when
WCBN FM received a recorded dose
of newly-formed Jazz, conceived,
performed and recorded in Israel.
The album is Collages Jerusalem '85
by Stephen Horenstein. Stephen is an
American sax and flute man who
came up under the wing of Bill Dixon.
Who? I said Bill Dixon. Bright
trumpeter who led some innovative
ensembles in the sixties, and who
singlehandedly persuaded the usually
straight-ahead Savoy record com-
pany to take on some of the newer
elements in the Jazz scene of the day.
This included Archie Shepp, Mar-
zette Watts, Ted Curson, Don Cherry,
Ken McIntyre, Sunny Murray and
Paul Bley in conjunction with the Sun
Ra tenorman John Gilmore. A
fascinating bubble in the continuity of

Savoy, Inc.
Horenstein carries Dixon's energy
into the future with a brilliant album
of layered imagery. "Piece for Large
Ensemble" is dedicated to Mr. Dixon,
and in fact it echoes the ideas and
visions he stood for. "Meditation on a
Line" is an involved duet between
cello and baritone sax.
"Chiasmus," subtitled "for soloist
and sound environment," is full of
images and insights, Horenstein says,
"I'm interested in the artist as
chronicler of his time and place. Here
in Israel, I'm dealing with a feeling of
compression of living in a volatile en-
vironment, of the difficulty in finding
artistic solitude."
To quote the liner notes, Horen-
stein:
"... uses disturbing material:

taped statements of survivors of the
Nazi horrors; readings from the
diaries of partisan fighters; com-
pilations of news broadcasts from the
times of trouble in Israel, pulsating
rhythms dredged up from the uncon-
scious; eerie bells, tones somehow
threatening."
Indeed, there is a threatening
flavor to much of this. When voices
come swirling up behind his
saxophone, nearly drowning out his
flute, the effect is real and life-
immediate.
If you look for this record you can
find it. Perhaps it will be in print for
more than a few months. The
American artist has taken up life in
Israel, and the Italians have issued us
an album of his life's weather. Soul
Note record SN 1099 - Stephen

Horenstein, Collages Jerusalem '85.
Available wherever phonograph
records are still sold.

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Underground artist Chilton emerges

By Julie Jurrjens
This writer first heard of Alex
Chilton some five years ago, when a
hep schoolmate from Memphis
l played her copy of the excruciatingly
rare 45" of "Bangkoj," backed with
."Can't Seem To Make You Mine."
Don't know how she got it, but I sure
coveted it subsequently . .. It was
undoubtedly one of the most amazing
tunes I'd heard; punk energy applied
to twisted pop-rockabilly. I got a
cheap cassette made of it, which died
pronto-like and made me covet it that
much more. It seems as if that's the
model for the rise of Chilton as the
toast of the underground - Passing of
tapes in the absence of available
records. Now, thankfully, the records
have been made more attainable
through re-release, and the Chilton
cult continues to grow. It'll probably

be even bigger in Ann Arbor, after
Chilton himself appears at the Blind
Pig tonight, in support of his 1985 EP
Feudalist Tarts and an upcoming EP.
Chilton's career has been pun-
ctuated with a series of breaks from
recording, after which he generally
reappears with a new stylistic direc-
tion. A case in point was the respite
taken between Tarts and Chilton's
previous LP Like Flies on Sherbert.
When I spoke to him last week, he
shed some light on what motivates
these breaks.
"Well, (then) I really didn't have a
recording contract.. . and I guess I
got tired of making records and not
making any money for them...that
had something to do with laying off
for a while. All during that time I was
playing with Panther Burns in Mem-
phis, so I wasn't laying off completely
- I just wasn't doing projects of my
own."

Now, however, Chilton's growing
populatiry empowers him to do more
in the way of personal projects, as
well as gigging and production.
"I do a lot of things in New
Orleans.. . (There) I've got the op-
portunity to just hang around and do
things with people that aren't really
record-company projects
yet . . . more speculative projects."
It is bewildering for Chilton to get
attention now for projects of more
than a decade ago, especially the
LP's from his days with the band, Big
Star?
"Not really . . .I was a little upset
that they didn't achieve commercial
success, but if you put out a record
and it doesn't go anywhere you,don't
dwell on it...or at least I didn't."
About accumulating fame, he says:
"I guess it'd be good to make a
record every year.. .I didn't really
have a chance or backing to do it

before. I'd rather avoid (large-scale
fame) and take things at my own pace
if possible."
Do not miss tonight's show. Chilton
will be backed by jazz musicians
Rene Coman and Doug Garrison, who
reputedly form an extremely tight
unit.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT!
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