The Michigan Daily
Thursday, September 29, 1988
BY ROBERT FLAGGERT
LOCAL music is a pain in the ass.
Bands that are unique and interesting
receive little or no attention at all
due to the musical mentality of too
many bar-hoppers and party-goers,
and bands that shoot up to the top of
everyone's "favorite" list always tend
to be either cover bands with the
imagination of a comatose 70-year-
old, or pop-slobs crawling their way
to a guest shot on MTV. Which is
why the local music scene becomes
so shook up when a local - and
original band begins to develop a
following. Such is the case with Big
Box of Nines, performing tonight at
the University Club.
Big Box of Nines is a trio
featuring Charlie Edwards on guitar
and vocals, Graham Bergh on drums,
and Ron Jeffries on bass. The three
began playing together in January of
this year, shortly after the breakup of
Edwards' and Bergh's old band,
Why did Big Box of Nines cross the road? So you could read this caption, of course. The
Nines decided to go one up on the Abbey Road "Paul is Dead" scheme by actually killing
their fourth member - the revamped trio is pictured above.
I dies at 71
ROYAL OAK (AP) - Jazz drummer J.C. Heard, who had per-
formed with many of the world's best-known jazz musicians, died
Tuesday. He was 71.
Heard had been scheduled to appear last night in concert with
trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, a close friend who frequently performed
Bonnie Niebel, a spokesperson for William Beaumont Hospital,
said Heard was pronounced dead at the hospital at 11:12 p.m. Tuesday.
She did not know the cause of death.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday afternoon, said
Heard's agent Jim Fleming of Ann Arbor.
"J.C. and I are very close. My first son is named after him," Flem-
Heard performs on two current albums, one titled "Some of This,
Some of That," and another on which he accompanied pianist Mark
"Mr. B." Braun.
Heard's scheduled performance at the Detroit Institute of Arts with
Gillespie was a private affair for the General Motors Corp. A concert
today is open to the public. Fleming said attempts were being made to
see that both performances went on.
Ron Brooks, a bass player and owner of The Bird of Paradise, called
Heard, who frequently played at the club, "the consummate
professional. He was a great model for young musicians. He will be
missed by a number of musicians in the area. He was a great
Heard, who traveled throughout the Orient and elsewhere, made a
name for himself in jazz circles near New York's Harlem.
"He was from the golden age of jazz," Brooks said.
Brooks said Heard's wife was visiting friends in Europe when Heard
was stricken. The Heards had been living in Southfield.
To be or not to
As a Daily theater
reviewer, it's not a
Call 763-0379 for more
Rhetoric. Edwards and Bergh have
been playing together since high
school, but Jeffries was stumbled
upon quite by accident, after meeting
Rhetoric's sound man, Tony Hinds,
in the bar one night.
"They were both drunk, and Tony
kept bugging Ron to jam with us,"
Bergh explains. Jeffries finally
agreed, and shortly thereafter Nines
was born. The band originated as a
four-piece, but problems such as
lack of commitment and personality
conflicts soon led to the drop of the
second guitarist. "We're keeping our
eyes open for a second guitarist, but
I don't think we're lacking anything
without one," claims Bergh. Ac-
cording to Bergh, the problem is
finding not only a talented and
innovative guitarist, but one who is
as committed as the rest of the band
so as to avoid the previous
Musically, the band constantly
continues to mature, as anyone who
has seen Rhetoric or Nines more
than once can attest. "Rhetoric was
more of an entertainment band,
while Big Box of Nines tends to be
actually an interesting, tighter
group," explains Bergh. "I'm not
saying that Nines isn't entertaining,
but not in the same way. Before
(during Rhetoric's time) we just
weren't as good a band. At this point
were just focusing on becoming
more professional while trying not
to be poppy."
Their sound is the product of
many influences, including Bob Dy-
lan and the Talking Heads. "Charlie
and I are sort of like the poles at two
different ends and Ron is in the
middle. We all sort of balance each
other out to achieve the sound we
have." Edward's razor-sharp guitar
chords and smooth but slightly tain-
ted voice leads the band backed by
Jeffries' power bass chords and
Bergh's innovative drumming.
Through no fault of their own,
though, they've been associated too
many times with the likes of
Athens' sell-outs R.E.M. For-
tunately, in the transition from
Rhetoric to Nines, they have been
able to supercede this demeaning
label. Edwards has dropped his habit
of singing in a mumbled word-
jumble, and the three mesh mu-
sically far more cleanly than those
Georgian generics have in years.
"The band is like a machine,.each
member like a gear. If each one of
the gears is working properly and
fits well with the other gears, the
machine runs smoothly. That's how
I see Big Box of Nines, a smoothly
Unfortunately, while the band is
extremely talented, they have not
been getting the local recognition
they .deserve. Bergh attributes this
partially to the scarcity of places to
play in Ann Arbor, and partially to
See Nines, Page 8
BY SATIK ANDiASSIAN
T ONIGHT the University Musical Society will present the
internationally reknowned Tokyo String Quartet in a celebration of the
50th anniversary of Rackham Hall, where each year many distinguished
chamber ensembles appear presenting some of the world's finest music.
The Tokyo String Quartet, now in its,17th season, was founded in
t 1969. Kikuei Ikeda (violinist), Kazuhide (violist) and Sado Harada
(cellist) were trained at the Toho Music Academy in Tokyo. Soon after
its birth, the Quartet won first prize at the Coleman Auditions in
Pasadena, the Munich Competition, and the Young Concert Artists
International Auditions, which brought the ensemble worldwide
attention. Peter Oundjian (violinist), who has recently joined the
Quartet, studied with Ivan Galamian, Itzhak Perlman, and Dorothy
Delay and was first prize winner in the 1980 International Violin
Competition in Vina del Mar, Chile.
Tonight's concert will feature Beethoven's Op. 18, No. 4,
Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" quartet, and Bartok's third quartet.
Beethoven's Op. 18, No. 4 contains both somber and lyrical depth as
well as strong dramatic character. Among Beethoven's early
compositions, this quartet is considered to be one of the most polished
and stylistically sophisticated.
Schubert's quartet, "Death and the Maiden," gets its name from a
previous song cycle of the composer, from which Schubert derives the
See Quartet, Page 8
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