The Michigan Daily
Tuesday, October 4, 1988
BY MARK SWARTZ
4 YES, as a matter of fact, you are interrupting me,"
jazz composer, keyboardist, and bandleader Carla Bley
tells the bumbling Daily reporter.
Panic and a flurry of apologies follow, then a
worrisome silence over the telephone. "That's OK,"
she finally offers in consolation, "Everybody always
,does, because composing is all I do."
S:Composing jazz music is all Bley has done for over
25 years, and she seems to have gotten pretty good at
it. Her work has been interpreted by all the greats, in-
eluding such names as Keith Jarrett, John McLaughlin,
and Charlie Haden. Ranging from subtly expressive
pieces for piano all the way up to explosive pro-
d'ctions for big bands, she demonstrates a unique mu-
-sical sensibility as well as a constantly interesting
Her explanation of her methods shows a modest,
work-ethic outlook on what she does. "Composing in
the jazz field is one of the service occupations. It isn't
the compositions that sound great, it's the players that
sound great," she philosophizes. In refreshing contrast
to the stereotypical egomania of a composer who will
never be satisfied with the performers who mangle their
Precious Works of Art in front of misunderstanding
audiences, Bley writes with the musician in mind.
"I think of who I'm writing for," Bley said. "That's
what's important. I ask myself, 'What are the talents
and peculiarities of the player?"' Her dedication to the
noble cause of uniting composers and musicians is
evident in her founding of the New Music Distribution
Service and the Jazz Composers Guild.
Recently, virtuoso bassist Steve Swallow is the one
she's been writing for. "I was looking for a soloist to
write an entire record for," she explains, referring to the
recent Night Glow, Swallow's album of Bley material.
"I thought I'd write for one great trumpet player, or one
great saxophone player. But I never could find that
person, and then I realized it was my bass player."
Swallow appears with Carla Bley at the Ark tonight
to perform two sets of mostly Bley's compositions.
"No pop tunes, and no standards," she warns.
CARLA BLEY and STEVE SWALLOW soar into the
Ark for two shows at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets are
BY JENNIFER BERMAN
"Persons attempting to find a motive
in this narrative will be prosecuted;
persons attempting to find a moral
in it will be banished; persons
attempting to find a plot in it will
- Mark Twain,The Adventures of
Don't panic; you probably won't
be shot, but you probably should be
if you miss Hal Holbrook in Mark
Twain Tonight. Holbrook conveys
not only a narrative, but a motive,
moral, and plot as well. As Twain,
he performs selections from a list of
over 57 excerpts from Twain's
novels and writings. His repertoire
includes over 12 hours of material
allowing Holbrook to design each
night's program differently. This
spontaneity is what makes each
performance so exciting.
But Holbrook doesn't just change
the program at random; rather, he
selects the excerpts according to their
Mark Twain Tonight is Hol-
brook's original creation that began
as an honors project at Denison
University in the '40s. In addition to
his Mark Twain character, Holbrook
has been involved in numerous
(Holbrook) selects the excerpts according to their
current relevancy, using Twain's timeless 19th
century commentary to shed light on timely 20th
Critics' Circle Special Citation for
Need more convincing? Mark
Twain Tonight is a virtual popular
classic: funny, moving, and insight-
ful commentary on today's world.
Holbrook appeals to our sense of
humor, our sense of life, and our
concern for today's wofld. Tonight's
performance marks Holbrook's third
visit to Ann Arbor in his 34 years of
production. Percentage wise, an
immediate encore seems unlikely.
Holbook, like Twain himself, is a
virtual legend in his own time.
:BY BRIAN BERGER
current relevancy, using Twain's
timeless 19th century commentary
to shed light on timely 20th Century
issues. As Richard L. Coe of The
Washington Post states, "What
makes the portrait so remarkable is
that as the world changes, Holbrook
changes his Twain with it."
television, theatre, and film perform-
ances, including The Great White
Hope, All The President's Men,
Capricorn One, and Wall Street.
But, Mark Twain Tonight has
continued to be his trademark. Ho&,
brook has been awarded both a Tony
Award and a New York Drama
MARK TWAIN TONIGHT will be
performed tonight, October 4 at 8
p.m. at the Michigan Theatre, 603
East Liberty. Tickets are $22.50 and
SO I'm just chillin' one day and the Grand Poobah Music Editor of
this here bitchin' rag tells me that he's got a tape and press kit from
some Los Angeles band called the leonards.
Yeah, I was skeptical. I mean, really, who the hell are the leonards
and who the hell cares? I flipped through the press release and asked,
"What are they, some kind of country act?"
"No, even though they are on Rock Ranch Records and the label's
logo is a horseshoe, the leonards aren't some saccharine country-politan
crapola. Rather, they are supposed to be kinda like the Replacements,"
said the Grand Poobah.
Well, I went home with a "special advance copy" of the leonards'
self-titled debut album. As soon as I pumped up the volume, I was
struck by the catchy choruses and hard, driving guitars - yeah, kinda
like the Replacements, just like the Grand Poobah said. Also kinda like
the Pontiac Brothers, Soul Asylum, and the Rolling Stones, which is
good company to be in with for a hard-rocking, melodic band like the
I hung out with the leonards Saturday evening and I can honestly say
that they are very friendly and nice guys. The leonards are John Pozza
(guitar, vocals), Lenny Grassa (lead guitar), Thomas Payne (bass), and
Tom Million (drums). The band's manager, a true fashion plate in his
navy waistcoat, is Rich Robinson.
Over some Killian's Red and Brown Jug nachos, the leonards and I
discussed their drunken flight from Los Angeles, drive by shootings,
bestiality as an alternative lifestyle, Hunter S. Thompson, Guns'-
n'Roses, the L.A. club scene, day jobs, groupies, drugs, skate-boarders,
leonardsheads, the weather, punk rock, the "real" names of the band
members (the Pizza Brothers, a Patriot, and a Millionaire), cover songs,
and much, much more.
After this stimulating discussion, I went out with the guys to post
some of their fliers. If you look closely, you'll notice that each flier is
hand written. Either this is a true testimony to the personal care and
devotion the leonards give to each and every member of their audience
or Lenny carelessly ran off the copies before they thought to put the
time and place of the gig on them. You figure it out.
So... as good as the leonards are on vinyl, I think that they'll be
even better live. I'm confident that the sometimes too-clean sound of
the record will get dirtied up right once the beer starts flowing, the
people start dancing, and the amps are cranked up to 11.
The leonards will play two sets tonight at Rick's American Cafe. The
first set starts at 10 p.m. No opening act; but what do you want for two
for Johann Strauss' operetta
A NIGHT IN VENICE
TUES., OCT. 4, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
First Baptist Church - Washington near State
2 rehearsals/week " Principal and Chorus roles
*Production runs Feb. 9 - 11 & 18, Michigan Theater
CALL COMIC OPERA GUILD (973-3264) FOR INFO
A play in one act
The setting: The arts office of the
Michigan Daily. A theater editor sits
pensively at her desk. The lighting is
somber; a lone bird warbles mournfully
from outside the window. The editor
sighs wistfully. She is missing
something: a group of people to write
articles and reviews about theater...
Join the cast. If you're interested r
in writing theater, contact the Arts
office at 763-0379.
"One more chance
to own a MACINTOSH
at Kickoff Prices!"
Even though it's past deadline,
you can still take advantage of
the Computer Kickoff '88 prices
on a Macintosh if you order
before October 5.
Prices are Going UP!
Apple Computer, Inc. announced product price increases which will
affect certain CPUs, peripherals and upgrade kits. U of M's
Computer Kickoff '88 is your opportunity to purchase a Macintosh
BEFORE prices are increased. Equipment ordered after October 15th
willr eflect the following increases.
Macintosh II (single floppy)..................30%
Macintosh SE (dual floppy)..............15%
Macintosh SE w/ 20 mb hard drive......6%