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November 16, 1990 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-11-16

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Page 8 -The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 16, 1990

Geri
Allen
stri es a
jazzy key
by Peter Shapiro
Blending styles from all over the
Diaspora, Geri Allen creates jazz that
cuts across all artificial distinctions
between African-derived music.
Striking a frictional balance between
the earthy pursuits of the blues and
the intellectual discourses of the jazz
avant-garde, Allen's music seems to
be a struggle for self-definiton not
only within a world of stereotypes,
but within a pre-ordained canon of
jazz classics.
Like much of the new vanguard
of jazz that has emerged in the '80s,
Allen makes a conscious attempt to
find an equilibrium between roots
and experimentation. People like
John Carter, David Murray, Oliver
Lake, George Adams, Don Pullen
and Muhal Richard Abrams wear
their musical ancestry on their
sleeves while seeking to push the
'60s innovations into an era of digi-
tally-clean modal adventures instead
of honks, squeaks, blurts and
squeals. Geri Allen has found a com-
fortable place within this relatively
new idiom, particularly within her
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T his Saturday evening at Hill
Auditorium, ambassador of good
will, selfless educator, and virtuoso
jazz pianist Dr. Billy Taylor comes
to town. He will be accompanied by
Victor Gaskin on the bass and by
Bobby Thomas on the drums.
Taylor has been largely responsi-
ble for bringing jazz extensive
recognition and popularity, espe-
cially among younger people. He is
a fervent supporter for the National
Endowment for the Arts, and has
pressured the current government's
administration not to cut back
funding for the organization.
Taylor has also been especially
active on college campuses. Two;
years ago, Dr. Taylor came to this
university for several days, coming1

as a King/Chavez/Parks visiting
scholar, giving lectures and playing
his piano for music students and fac-
ulty, as well as general audiences.
Taylor has won respect and ac-
claim for his work in jazz by people
outside the jazz world, but he has re-
ceived the accolades of hi; peers as
well. Several years ago, he was the
recipient of Downbeat magazine's
prestigious Lifetime Achievement
Award, given to p'ople who have
made outstanding contributions to
the field of jazz.
In the midst of all the work that
Dr. Billy Taylor has done for jazz, it
is all too easy to forget one very,
very important fact: he is a phe-
nomenal musician. In 1988, he was
able to take time out from his busy
schedule to record his first solo al-
bum, as well as the first in a series

of trio recordings titled White Nights
and Jazz in Leningrad. Last year,'he
also appeared on the Jazzmobile
Allstars album. '
Tomorrow night, when the Bil
Taylor Trio takes the stage, expect--
set consisting mainly of standards,
with a few of Taylor's original eom-
positions thrown in. Dr. Billy
Taylor, whose contagious enthusi-
asm for jazz has taken him all over
the globe, will be here in Ann
Arbor, and no jazz fan should iiss
the opportunity to see him perform
It is not everyday that one gets tA
chance to see a living legend.
BILLY TAYLOR TRIO plays
Saturday at Hill Auditorium at 8
p.m. Tickets range in cost from $10-
20 and are available 'it
TicketMaster.

Etheridge's audience will never be the same

Dozens of names can be mentioned when describing Geri Allen's piano-
playing style, but this jazz artist has a flourish all her own.

brilliant trio which also includes
Charlie Haden and Paul Motian.
The Allen/Haden/Motian trio has
produced incredibly vital music
within the last couple of years. Con-
tinuing in the tradition of their 1989
effort Etudes, the recently released
In the Year of the Dragon, unfortu-
nately available only as a Japanese
import, contains music ranging from
sublime ballads to fiery free-jazz
romps. Allen's piano style is com-
pendium of the vast resources avail-
able in African American music.
Using Thelonious Monk's off-
beat polytonal reading of the riotous
stride style of Pete Johnson and
Meade Lux Lewis as a starting
point, she bounces subsequent pro-
gressions of this style off each other
to form a truly individual sound. By
sublimating the revolutionary,
metronome-breaking cascade of six-
teenth notes of Cecil Taylor to the
subtle grace of McCoy Tyner's right
hand, Allen's piano style combines
the horn-like sound of block chords
by the left hand with elegant, sing-
ing flourishes by the right.

The rhythm work of Haden and
Motian accentuate the tension be-
tween "high" and "low" by subvert-
ing the typical blues underpinnings
of the bass and drums. Haden injects
jerks and skips into the walking bass
line which he plays with frightening
speed, while Motian's variations on
the accents on the second and fourth
beats threaten to wreck havoc on the
music's structure with his collapsing
cymbal work and polyrhythmic
comping. This same blend of
African "folk" music with its first
cousin, the blues, and its second
cousin, avant-garde jazz, will con-
tinue tonight as Allen performs with
similar-minded Tracy Wormworth
and Pheeroan AkLaff rounding out
her new touring trio.
The GERI ALLEN TRIO with
TRACEY WORMWORTH and
PHEEROAN AKLAFF perform at
the Ark tonight at 8 and 10 p.m.
Tickets are $12.50 or $10 with
student i.d., available at all
TicketMaster outlets, PJ's Used
Records and Schoolkids' Records.

by Kim Yaged
Melissa Etheridge
Hill Auditoium
Nov. 14, 1990
[ elissa Etheridge set a playful
tone Wednesday night at Hill Audi-
torium as she sang "Hello, hello"
the first two words of "No Sou-
venirs," but strummed into "The
Angels." An unlikely tease, with
hair as free flowing as she is, in her
torn jeans that surely must be one of
her favorite pairs, Etheridge
proceeded to provide an audio-visual
orgy.
The seduction began with "You
Used To Love To Dance" and be-
came physical when Etheridge turned
her twelve-string over and, in her
now -trademark style, banged out the
beat that comprises "Occasionally."
She paused to hug her guitar before
exploding into a solo that included

drummer Fritz Lewack using his
sticks on the back of Etheridge's
guitar and concluded with an episode
of Lewack playing the strings with
his sticks until one of the "long cool
steel strings" broke.
Etheridge melodically fingered the
guitar as she flirted with the audi-
ence, telling us, "It's not heartache
and sadness. It's about experience,"
and screeched into "Precious Pain."
She toyed with bassist Kevin Mc-
Cormick during "Brave and Crazy,"
daring the audience to have as much
fun as she was having, sighing into
the microphone, as she did during
most of the songs, to entice the
audience members.
At times Etheridge danced seduc-
tively around the mic. She passed
her hand across her cheek as she
belted out "Skin Deep," driving the
lust out of everyone in the room.
With her guitar pointing erectly
from between her legs, Etheridge

used her phallic symbol to mainaO
power over everyone. During "Let's
Get It On," the cover song Etheridgf
has grown fond of performing, sl
declared, "I'm the best you ever had"
signalling that foreplay was over. -
The climax came during thefiift
encore in the form of "Let Me Oii'
Etheridge, staring seductively into
the eyes of guitarist Bernie Larson,
played her way over to Larson's sid
of the stage. Swinging her guitar oW
to her side, she slipped her hands
around Larson and the pair played
together, lasciviously, on his guitar
The concert closed with the only
new song of the night, "I Will Never
Be The Same." In typical Melissa
Etheridge form, she stood on tI~e
stage alone, except for her a-
pendage-like twelve-string, and de-
livered in soliloquy-type fashion
grabbing her chest and extending h
arm to offer her heart. Because, after
all, this is more. It's love.

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Big Daddy Kane
Taste of Chocolate
Cold Chillin'
FG: Well Nabeel my man, I was
headed to the barber shop to get my
top faded, but then I listened to Big
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The University of Michigan
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Sun. Nov.

18

Mon. Nov. 19
Tues. Nov. 20

French Classical Music Series
Michele Johns, organ; Vita Brevis Choir
Music of Bach, Homilius, Charpentier,
Goudimel
Blanche Anderson Moore Hall,
School of Music, 4 p.m.
Michigan Youth Organizations
Michigan Youth Band, Dennis Glocke,
conductor; Michigan Youth Symphony,
Donald Schleicher, conductor; Michigan
Youth Chamber Singers, Jerry Blackstone,
conductor
Music of Mozart, Bart6k, Dvorik,
Sweelinck
Hill Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.
University Symphony and
Philharmonia Orchestras
Stenhen Shinns and Markand Thakar,

Service
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RETURN: November
10am-12 midnight 7am-llpm

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LEAVE: November
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Stop by and see a Jostens representative,
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