he Michigan Daily
Thursday, January 22, 1987 Page 5
Blakey drums it up at Mendelssohn
3y Marc S. Taras
Tonight at 8 p.m. at the Lydia
endelssohn Theatre in the Mich -
an League, Art Blakey will de -
iver his newest jazz message.
Blakey, 68, has been in the
orefront of the music scene since
-is stint with Billy Eckstine in
1944. In '55 he formed the first
3dition of the much acclaimed Jazz
4essengers and has been moving
orward ever since.
Now Eclipse Jazz affords us the
pportunity to see and hear one of
lhe grandfathers of bop and the
post-bop revolution with his new -
est group of young cohorts. In one
;ense the message is the same as it
was in 1955 - you swing, and you
swing hard. No room for slackers in
he Jazz Messengers.
Blakey had been a pianist in
Local Pittsburgh bands. Having
rarried at 16, he was working to
support his family. He.came to the
drums through a quirk of fate. As
he tells it, a gangster with a .38
told him, "You hit the drum."
Given the circumstances, and need -
ing the work, Blakey offered little
resistance. He went on to drum
with Mary Lou Williams and
Fletcher Henderson, eventually
finding his way to St. Louis and
the Eckstine organization.
Along with Max Roach, Art
Blakey was largely responsible for
moving drums from the background
of jazz music to the front line.
Those men followed the lead of
Papa Jo Jones and Kenny Clarke;
drummers would never have to take
the back seat again. At first, the
change in status was met with
mixed reactions: confusion, suspi -
cion, even shock.
Saxophonist Dexter Gordon re -
calls working with Blakey in 1944,
"...they had an opener they use
called 'Blitz'...I don't think I made
one right note in the whole thing,
'cause it was flyin'! Buhaina
(Blakey) was dropping all those
bombs back there. I just kept
comin' up out of the seat."
Blakey recorded with a seven
piece band for Bluenote in 1947 and
afterwards with larger groups. It
wasn't until the middle fifties,
when he teamed up with pianist
Horace Silver, that what we know
as the Jazz Messengers was born.
That first group included trumpeter
Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley on
tenor, and bassist Doug Watkins.
The ensuing editions of the
protean Jazz Messengers have
featured an amazing number of
gifted young musicians who have
gone on the lead their own bands,
and indeed, come to be considered
the key players of their day. Jackie
McLean and Bill Hardman, Johnny
Griffin; giving way to the funk-
based lineup with Bobby Timmons,
Lee Mogan and Benny Golson. As
well as the classic Morgan-Wayne
Shorter Messsengers with their
riveting compositions. Everybody
writes in Blakey's band. Trombo -
nists like Curtis Fuller and Julian
Priester had their turns, and the
trumpet chair was held by many,
including Freddie Hubbard and
Woody Shaw. There were the great
collaborations with Monk. And on
and on and on and...
For the younguns out there one
of Blakey's newer groups of
Messengers featured a pair of
brothers who have gone on to be
new heroes of a new generation.
Then, Wynton and Branford
Marsalis were teenagers. Now they
collect Grammys and work with
pop stars. It has always been
Blakey's way to select younger
players for his jazz academy, and
hone their talents before unleashing
them upon a loving world. They
have come in all sorts, from Sun
Ra's screaming tenor giant John
Gilmore, to the main man of
mellow, Chuck Mangione.
The new crew promises to be as
exciting as any. Trumpeter Wallace
Roney was a ball of fire when he
was here last fall with Tony
Williams. Kenny Garrett is a great
alto player who has come to the
fore with his own group, Out of the
Blue. It will be a pleasure to catch
up with this young cat. Newcomer
Jovan Jackson will fill the tenor
chair, and lookout! It's another
young Marsalis, Delfio, on
trombone. (Are there enough others
to front an entire band?) Donald
Brown on piano and Peter
Washington on bass will hold down
the rhythm section, and as usual,
Buhaina will be flyin'! Urging his
young pals to explore and expand
the limits of their abilities.
Art Blakey is 68 with no time to
slow down. Jack Tracy related a
possibly apocryphal ArtBlakey
story ... the Messengers were on
one of their long road trips.
Coming to the edge of a town they
saw a large group of folks milling
about. They got out to stretch their
legs and check out the scene. It was
a funeral. The minister asked,
"Does anyone have anything to say
before we inter these mortal
remains?" Silence. He repeated his
question to further silence. As
Tracy tells it, it was at this point
that Art Blakey stepped forward and
said, "If there is nothing anyone
wants to say about the deceased, I
hope no one here minds if I say a
few words about jazz."
Whaddya say we meet at
Mendelssohn tonight at 8:00 p.m.
and see what Art Blakey and the
Jazz Messengers have to say about
Fridays in The Daily
By Christine Fulton
"Love, marriage, and relation -
ships a la mode is what it's about,"
said Wendy Wright, director of
oose Ends. The Ann Arbor Civic
heatre will be holding perform -
sances of Michael Weller's play
Loose Ends which premieres this
week. Weller, also the author of
Moonchildren, has been critically
acclaimed for his works.
Directed by Wendy Wright, a
graduate from the University of
Michigan, and starring Todd Sage
and Cassie Mann, the play is a
phronicle of the lives of Paul and
usan, a couple of the seventies.
The play opens with Paul and
Susan on a beach in Bali. They fall
in love, marry, and are even happy
for awhile, until they are diven
apart by choices made concerning
careers and children.
Says Wright, "I had two main
objectives in directing this play: to
have the characters as real and
attainable as possible, and to make
it a period piece. The time period is
crucial." To ensure the authenticity
of the time, musical pieces by Paul
McCartney and Wings, Carly
Simon, the Carpenters, and songs
like "The Hustle" have been
included. Ann Arbor was searched
thoroughly for bell-bottoms to
outfit the cast.
The supporting characters of the
play provide some comic relief to
it to be
the seriousness of the material.
Caroline McKnight plays Celina.
Other actors include Tom Cohie as
Ben, John Amman as Doug, and
Patty Piper as Miranda, the latter
two a couple of throwbacks to the
sixties. Wright described the play as
"entertaining, but not a piece of
This is Wright's second directing
challenge. Last year she debuted
with Bourbon and Laundry and
Lone Star, two one-act plays. The
set for Loose Ends is an original
design by Lisa Snapp consisting of
Wright brought the up the
possibility of producing 'Loose
Ends' with some hesitation because
of its complexity with eleven
characters, eight ,sets, and 16
costume changes- a difficult feat
Wright, however, is enthusiastic
and confident. She has every faith
in her cast, and is prepared to meet
every challenge. "I think you're
going to be surprised," she told me,
"I'm not making any promises, but
I think you're going to be
Loose Ends opens tonight.
Performances will continue Friday
and Saturday of this .week and
Thursday through Saturday on
January 29-31 and February 5-7.
All performances will begin at 8
p.m. For ticket information call the
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre at 662-
TIL ) Utc0
R CS b I ALIT~
Musician/student Dave Crossland at Ark
3y Andrew Comai
Dave Crossland, University sen -
or and bona fide rising star, will
play the Ark tonight at 8 p.m.
Those of you who caught
Crossland's performance in the
University's annual Star Bound
competition may remember him as
the second place finisher behind the
guy who juggled ping-pong balls
with his mouth. Crossland de -
monstrates his easygoing nature by
praising the juggler. "He is really
amazing and there are no hard
feelings between us."
Though his throat will spout no
ping-pong balls, Crossland should
give an admirable performance with
a voice that has been compared to
Steve Goodman's and John Den -
ver's, and his songwriting skills
that have earned him three national
songwriting awards. Crossland has
also gone where all jugglers fear to
tread - he's cut an album, Don't
know where I'm Goin', soon to be
Crossland says his heroes in -
elude Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie
and Pete Seeger, but that his music
is not bounded by the folk tradition.
"It's hard to categorize my stuff,
whether it's blues or country or
folk or rock. If there's a sound I
like I use it."
His performance tonight should
reflect this varied interest as well as
material he picked up in Europe.
Crossland spent his summer wan -
dering around the Emerald Isle of
Ireland with his guitar, swapping
songs, exchanging stories and
rubbing elbows with a number of
Gaelic bards and minstrels. "I was
introduced to David Hammond, a
terrific guy, who showed me around
and introduced me to all sorts of
musicians," he reminisces. His trip
culminated in his first radio
performance on a station in Belfast.
"Being on the radio was a great
experience, except for the sheer
The show starts at 8 p.m. at the
Ark, 637 S. Main above the South
Main Market. Tickets are $6; $5
students and members.
Meet the editors
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.,
Date: January 27, 1987
Sign up at your
Place: Career Placement Office today!
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Gack! Yet antoher label
purveying that most nebulous new
sound, New Age Music. I call it
classical music for people who
don't like classical and jazz music
for people who don't like jazz. It is
always pretty, occasionally
beautiful, and ususally
insubstantial. Predigested. Like it
}has already been listened to, so that
you don't really have to bother.
OK. Finis. That's my bias, eh?
GOn the bright side this is a
release that transcends the usual
limitations of its forms in its best
7 00 S. Flower St., Suite 3210
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Tel. (213) 683-1081
Other (800) 325-9759
moments. At its worst, it's a sorry
sounds-alike George Winston meets
the Eagles. Really.
Much of the music was
originally scored for use in several
German films, which may account
for some variety and grit. The title
cut is compelling with its exotic
percussion and piano tradings.
There is some interesting
saxophone Nordique a la Garbarek.
Then comes the L.A. Eagles guitar
riffs. An unsettling blend.
The sound quality is very
strong. But the music had a
disturbing sameness. Ah, well.
-Marc S. Taras
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