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September 25, 1986 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-25

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ARTS
Thursday, September 25, 1986,

Tie Michigan Daily

Page 7

Jazz

greats

Last

Exit

storm the Ark this Friday

By Marc S. Taras
Welcome ladies and
entlemen to Tales of the
nexpected. This is your in-
vitation to join in an earwitness
encounter with the mysterious, the
bizarre, and the beautiful. This
Friday evening in two shows at
the Ark (7:30 and 10:00 p.m.)
Eclipse Jazz plays host to one of the
riost exciting improvisational
*new music bands on the scene.
After Ann Arbor experiences the*
energies of Last Exit our ears
may never be the same, to say
nothing of our hearts.
Last Exit came together in
'Europe this Spring and took the
continent by force; a force of four
in fact. Four distinct musical
personalities who, after two
weeks of touring, recorded a
spontaneous live album during
their final show in France last
'February. They had never
rehearsed. They never discussed
logistics or intentions. Last Exit
is a completely improvisational
-band that delivers pure music.
This stuff is the cutting edge anc
Big Fun to boot! I wouldn't say
these things lightly. You are
probably wondering what all this
brouhaha is about. Who are the
new musical demi-urges
anyway?

Peter Brotzmann has been
re cording outward bound
saxophonics in Europe for years.
His 1968 LP Machine Gun has
been likened to John Coltrane's
Ascension in terms of its
influence on his peers. He is
considered one of the most open-
minded of European improvisors,
having charted wildly diverse
musical terrains. His journeys
have taken him from gentle
workshops with infant school
children to forays with the
masters of electro-technic space
soundings, Tangerine Dream.
He is a player of tremendous
energy and stamina.
Sonny Sharrock is arguably the
first fusion guitarist. His playing
defies easy terminology and he
has influenced every experi -
mental player from Henry
Kaiser and John McLaughlin to
James Blood Ulmer. He scored a
hit with a piece called "Memphis
Underground" that he recorded
with Herbie Mann's group, and
recorded with Pharoah Sanders
on the classic Tauhid LP. He is a
player of stunning originality
and nobody who fancies himself a
guitar afficianado should miss
his all too rare appearance in this
area.
Drummer Ronald Shannon

Jackson is no stranger to Ann
Arbor audiences. He has offered
public workshops here while
appearing with several
incarnations of his remarkable
outfit, The Decoding Society.
Originally from Fort Worth,
Texas, Shannon is the only
drummer to have worked with
both Ornette Coleman and Cecil
Taylor. He is a player of
relentless strength and
imagination.
Rounding out Last Exit is a
man who has become something
of a household name. Bill
Laswell came to the attention of
the new music community with
his peculiar bass stylings and the
advent of his band Material. But
he was welcomed into the
listening rooms of the world after
scoring a mega-hit. with his
production of Herbie Hancock's
"Rockit." He has since gone on to
the Production Hall of Fame,
having lent his unusual pulsings
to Public Image,Ltd., Jagger, and
reggae royalty Sly and Robbie.
Laswell is the common
denominator in Last Exit. He is
the only player to have worked
with each of the other three. He
knows them well enough to have
no expectations on stage other
than a good time and lots of

music.
I spoke with Sonny Sharrock on
the phone Tuesday afternoon. He
compared leading his own bands
with his participation in Last
Exit.
"Playing with this band is like
being really naked," he said,
"There are four leaders in this
group." He spoke with delight
about the improvisational nature
of the group. "We just clown
around a lot and have fun,
especially if the equipment is
right. We never talk about the
music."
I had heard rumours of stacks
of Marshall amps used in concert
that summoned images from rock
'n' roll mythologies. "It is a very
physical band, and I have always
been a loud player. [laughs] But
it's the clarity that I like about the
Marshall's. I can hear every note
as if it were surrounded with its
own little bubble of light."
I asked him about how he
developed the splintered
technique that reminded me so
much of the fire-breathing
saxophones of the sixties. "I
always wanted to play saxophone.
Iwanted to be John Coltrane.
[emphatically] Asthma prevented
me from playing the horn so I
developed the language of the

Peter Brontzmann, Sonny Sharrock, Ronald Shannon Jackson, and Bill
Laswell will be playing together as Last Exit tomorrow night at the Ark.
Pictured above is guitarist Sonny Sharrock.

current sax player and
drummers and translated for
guitar." The occasion of our
conversation happened to be
Coltrane's birthday. "It's the only
religious holiday that I celebrate
"

Ann Arbor will have ample
cause for celebration this Friday
night as Last Exit offers the
perfect egress from the realm of
the predictable. And after Sonny
Sharrock the structure of the Ark
may require rehabilitation.

Books-
he. Adrian Mole
Lanes
By Sue Townsend
Sue Townsend's novel The
Adrian Mole Diaries is the story
of a young boy (Adrian Mole)
struggling with the anxiety and
exhiliration of adolescence. The
'novel is comic, witty, and
sensitive, characteristics which
Townsend brings together in the
;young voice of Adrian Mole to
produce a novel with a fine sense
of balance and timing. It is a
story of pain, yet the pain is
hilarious.
Townsend has written this

novel in the form of a secret diary
composed by Adrian Mole,
through which we are given
access to his story. Although the
format is not traditional,
Townsend evidently chose this
style not because she is unable to
handle the demands of a
traditional narrative, but because
it fits her sense of comic wit much
better than a traditional story ever
could. The diary entries are
short, easily readable, and move
at a balanced pace.
The characters are presented to
the reader through Adrian's
perception of them, a perception
which suffers from his youth and

inexperience. Adrian sees
himself as a young intellectual,
an up and coming poet dealing
with the basic aspects of despair.
He unwittingly watches his
neighbor having an affair with
his mother. Ironically, everyone
in the neighborhood, except
Adrian and his father, knows that
his mother is having an affair.
Townsend also has a deft sense
of satire in treating the condition
of the social class system in
England. Adrian has a
girlfriend, Pandora, a friend
named Bert, a senior citizen in
need of constant attention (from
Adrian, of course), a bully named

Kent who beats him out of his
lunch money, and a grandmother
who doesn't like his mother.
Although these characters all
come together at various times
through contact with Adrian, they
are yet alienated from each other
by the difference in their social
classes. Pandora is the daughter
of wealthy parents, and shares
many of Adrian's feelings.
However, when he secretly lends
her his mother's fox fur coat, she
expects it is a gift from him. Bert
would rather die than go to a

home. Adrian's mother and
father have problems stemming
from poverty. But Townsend does
not present these situations as
overwhelming or crippling.
Instead, they are subtle
mechanisms lurking in the
background of the entries of
Adrian's unsuspecting diary
which add to her comic touch.
The Adrian Mole Diaries
presents the struggles of its hero
with sensibility, skill, and
precision. As Adrian ages from
thirteeen and three quarters to

sixteen years, Townsend shows
us a range of life that is perhaps
the most painful. The novel,
however, is not painful to read.
More than once, the novel evoked,
simultaneously, both a disturbed
feeling, and laughter. The
Adrian Mole Diaries is good,
healthy reading for anyone who
was once an adolescent, and can
still re-call what that time of life
was like.
Thank God for comedians.
--Colin Hutchison

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