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April 06, 1990 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-06

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Page 8:

The Michigan Daily

Friday, April 6, 1990


Talkin' all that jazz
by Nabeel Zuberi

The Blue Nile
A&M records
If there is such a thing as a
critics' darling, then surely The Blue
Nile is it. When their debut record,
A Walk A cross the Rooftops, was
released in 1985, large mobs of
critics quickly put them on an altar
and began to worship. And rightly
so. Rooftops, with its wonderfully
rich texture and original sound,
certainly was a gem. The U.S.
public, however, didn't share the
critics' enthusiasm, despite a slew of
glowing press reports of the band's
merits. Nonetheless, the pressure
mounted for a follow-up. Although
Nile has fnally released Hats, an it
appears that they've outdone them-
Made up of three Scots, The Blue
Nile has a unique sound - laid-
back, yet extremely emotional.
Singer Paul Buchanan sounds like
the type that wasn't meant to sing,
yet his voice conveys the total
honesty that all truly great music
has. The other members, Robert Bell
and Paul Moore, create a liquid
backdrop of swirling, orchestral
synths and just enough rhythm to
keep the songs afloat and keep the
attention on Buchanan. Although
fHats features less experimental
sounds than on earlier songs like
"Automobile Noise," the record is
by many measures an improvement
See RECORDS, page 9

T HE Dirty Dozen Brass band are
a polyglot of African-American
musical languages, a melding of
historical moments:
1902. New Orleans. Ferdinand
"Jelly Roll" Morton sits at the pi-
ano in a sporting house in the red
light district. He's tired after a hard
day's pool hustling and a long
night's pimping. A rhythmic
whim causes him to play a four-
beat ground beat rather than two.
Many years later, he claims this
was the moment he invented jazz.
1923. Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Delta bluesman Robert Johnson
sells his soul to the devil, standing
at the crossroads.
1941. New York City. Cab
Calloway calls the things Dizzy
Gillespie does with his trumpet
"Chinese Music." Dizzy and alto
saxophonist Charlie Parker are per-
suaded by Thelonious Monk to
play their squiggles at Minton's
Playhouse. Chinese music be-
comes "bebop."
1949. Los Angeles. Ornette
Coleman gets fired from Pee Wee
Crayton's rhythm and blues band
for constantly playing the "wrong
notes." Ormette goes on to record
Free Jazz many years later.
1954. Memphis. Oedipally-
complexed truck driver Elvis Pres-
ley walks into Sam Phillips'
Memphis Recording Service on
Union Avenue to cut a song for his
Mom's birthday.

Weir's Last Wave returns
If you missed Dead Poets Society in the movie theaters or on video, you
missed an outstanding film. Peter Weir directed that story about a group of
boarding school students and the teacher who awakened them from an
academic stupor.
This weekend Cinema Guild will present The Last Wave, a Peter Weir
film that has been out of distribution for several years. Richard Chamberlain'
(Sho gun, The Thorn Birds) stars as an 'Australian lawyer who must defend a
group of Aborigines charged with murder. The lawyer's mysterious
nightmares tie into the case and motivate Weir's film version of the
A great part of The Last Wave's intensity and mystery springs from the
beauty of Austrailia. Though most of the film's action takes place in
Sydney, the opening sequences, shot in the mountainous countryside,
capture the paradoxical serenity and fear embodied in nature.
Weir, who wrote and directed the film, is principally concerned with
Australia itself, its peoples and their conflicts throughout history. When one
o f the lawyer's clients comes to dinner, his wife embarrassedly confesses,
"I'm a fourth generation Austrailian, and I've never met an Aborigine."
Chamberlain, a corporate tax solicitor not usually confronted with tribal
magic, is drawn deeper and deeper into an ancient world he doesn't
understand. Black and white join together to explore the supernatural forces
in the world around them.
Though Weir shot The Last Wave in 1977, certain stylisic motifs are
still evident in his more recent films, including Dead Poets Society and
Witness. Weir's films have a sense of darkness even in the most optimistic:
scenes. The Last Wave is inundated with foreboding of evil, in the water
that flows in every scene and the Biblical and tribal symbols splashed
liberally thoughout the movie. Weir has chosen a highly stylistic type of
cinematography, with lots of meticulous compositions and camera angles.
The Last Wave follows in the tradition of 2001: A Space Odyssey and
Brazil. Though not set in the future, Wave has something about it that
cannot be grasped or easily understood in one viewing. But Weir's love for
his native land becomes evident through this screen of mystery, and it is
interesting to see how he has progressed in the past 13 years. The film plays
tomorrow night at 7 and 9 p.m. in MLB 3.
-Wendy S hankers


Eight men and some big instruments: that's what The Dirty Dozen Brass
Band is all a bout. They take their rig htful place in the history of jazz.

1956. New Orleans. This is
Fats Domino! is released.
1967. Cincinatti. James Brown
decides to make his drums and bass
fatter and records "Cold Sweat."
People start to bandy around the
word "funk" .
1970. Detroit. Marvin Gaye
asks America what's going on.
1971. Los Angeles. Sly Stone
tells America that there's a riot go-

ing on and thanks Africa for talk.-
ing to him.
1990. Ann Arbor. Crescent
City's Dirty Dozen Brass Band
wows the punters at the Blind Pig
with its mixture of jazz, funk,
R&B and the avant-garde from their
Voodoo and New Orleans albums.
And the possibility of one nation
under a groove becomes slightly
greater. See DIR TY, page 9

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lie 1990-'91 school year

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Earn cash while sharing your knowledge and
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Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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