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September 05, 1996 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-05

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_16B -'!e Michigan Daily Weeke d aaine -Thursday, Rtember 5, 1996




The Michigan Daily Weekend M

Ann Arbor Blues and
Jazz Festival returns,
carries on tradition

Guitarist Taj Mahai (left) is one of the headliners for this year's event, while Dr. John (right) was featured last year.

By James Miller
Daily Arts Writer
Lollapalooza. Horde. What do
these names mean? What images do
these hallowed music festivals con-
jure? For me, it brings to mind
sweaty, pink, well-fed Dead mourn-
ers and more hair than a French nude
Face it, the music festival scene has
rotted away from its true roots. Gone
are the days of the Newport and
Playboy Jazz Festivals, the Monterey
Pop Festival and other great eruptions
in musical history. Now the show
consists of a giant fashion show,, a
huge monument to the "I'm cooler
than you" pop music mentality. But
these events used to mean something.
They used to be exactly what the
name suggests: a festival. They were
actually a group of people who were
looking for a
day of their
favorite music, Formor
not an open-air
fraternity party. years (tli
Thank God un
for the Ann Arbor Blu
.mroor .azz ano
Blues Festival. Jazz Fest
It is one of the
few remaining a~ttractdd
music festvals,
certainly in this talented
moethat i
con- of the daj
cerned with
music than
marketing. For
more than 20 years, the festival has
attracted the most talented musicians
of the day, and of days gone by, for a
weekend of hip-lubricating and
The festival draws its roots from
the hippie/blues movement of the
1960's. As the children of the sixties
began to open themselves up to new
music, the Delta blues of the
Mississippi experienced a renais-
sance and the waning Chicago scene
received a much-needed infusion of
life. The Rolling Stones reveled in
the music of the terrifying Howlin'
Wolf. Jimi Hendrix soaked himself in
the music of nearly everyone, from
Albert King to Albert Collins. And
everyone prayed at the altars of
Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson.
For every Junior Wells, there were
five Paul Butterfield's chasing his
Some of the greatest musicians
ever to bend a string, blow a harp,
wail a horn or pound a keyboard have
passed through the auspices of the
festival. Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy,
Dr. John, Lightnin' Sam Hopkins,
Bonnie Raitt, Joe Henderson, Etta
James and B.B. King, only to name
the most lofty of names. Consisting of
both oindoor and outdoor shows, the
festival offers everything a young
Turk could want.
This year. like many other years, is a


salute to eclecticism. The line-up repre-
sents masters of nearly every corner of
the blues and jazz spectrum.
Leading the charge is the great and
powerful Maceo Parker. Parker has
played the role of the angel Gabriel in
the history of soul music, testify'ing on
the alto saxophone for more than 30
years. Parker got his start in the big time
playing with James Brown's seminal
"first band" in the middle and late 60's.
He, along with Fred Wesley on trom-
bone, combined gut-wrenchingly earthy
playing with surprisingly intricate
arrangements to form an unparalleled
horn sound for James Brown that
helped make him the demi-god he is
On top of this, Maceo is a master-
ful soloist and a peerless showman. A
Maceo Parker concert is about as
close as a person can come to total
salvation while
still trapped in
than 20 the prisons of
the flesh. His
? Ann shows frequent-
ly go on for
Ds an d three and a half
haS nours or more,
val) a taking breaks
for water only
the most occasionally.
Any soul fan
"USIC IanS who has not
heard Maceo's
r wastwenty minute
version of
"Let's Get It
On" cannot die
a happy person. Sunday the 15th,
Parker descends.
Bringing up the blues side of the
equation is Taj Mahal. The Taj is one
of the grand old men of the blues,
who has not received as much com-
mercial success as some of the lucki-
er brothers. His name has been bol-
stered by extensive touring and
records on smaller labels. Listening
to a Taj Mahal record or seeing a
show is representative of every musi-
cal style that is thrown into the cate-
gory "black." He flows effortlessly
from reggae to country blues to rock-
abilly to old school Kansas City bar-
relhouse. His most recent effort,
"Phantom Blues" spans from the old
war-horse "Love Her With A Feeling"
to a rock-styled duet with Bonnie
Raitt called "I Need Your Lovin'."
The last time Taj played the festival
his show consisted of only him and
his guitar, a stark contrast to his latest
album. This set will be totally unpre-
dictable and totally superlative. Taj
takes the stage on Friday, 8 p.m. at
the Michigan Theater.
The oddball of the lot is Pharaoh
Sanders, but in a good way. Sanders
carried the free jazz torch after the
passing of John Coltrane. Even a
casual perusal of Sanders's will yield
the words "anguished,"' "raging"~ and
"searching.'' This will not be a show
for the light of heart. Sanders's music

Continued from Page 4
"'We give them a river map, a personal
flotation device and a river briefing
before they set out,"he said. "It's pretty
hard to get lost.'
LaPointe said the department's only
guided canoe trips, called "Wetlands by
Canoe, run only in the spring.
While attending an instruction ses-
sion is not mandatory for canoe
renters, certified park staff teach
such courses each week, The courses
cost $7.50 per person, including
equipment rental and instruction.
"We have plenty of instructors certi-
fied by the American Canoeing
Association and the Red Cross,"
LaPointe said.
"Our safety record is pretty good,"
LaPointe said. "People are kinda care-
LaPointe said the parks experience
a huge influx of business when stu-
dents return to the University campus.
He said several student groups have
already taken advantage of the water
sports this semester. "Already this
week we've had a couple sororities
and dorm groups come out" he said.
"We serve a lot of students," Bushaw
Bushsaw said the park activities are
planned with students in mind. "We
look at all age groups and areas where
they're from when planning.' she said.

LaPointe said those who want a
water experience less exercise-inten-
sive can take advantage of the paddle
boat rental available at the parks. The
boats can be rented for $6 per hour on
weekends and $4.50 per hour on
weekdays. The weekday discount
price for paddle boats is $8 per two
Many elect to stay closer to shore and
fish the river, LaPointe said. "There's
good quality fishery in the river," he
said. "There's pan fish, bass, walleye,
pike, catfish and carp."
LaPointe said bait and fishing tackle
are available at the parks, although the
department does not provide any fish-
ing equipment rental.
Several local sporting goods stores
sell fishing poles and other equipment,
but the cheapest poles can be found at
Meijer Thrifty Acres on Ann Arbor-
Saline Road. You can even get a Snoopy
pole there.
For those who would rather stay dry,
the recreation department offers bicycle
rental. The bikes can be rented for $5
per hour and S.50 per each additional
half hour.
Thrifty student park-goers should
head out to recreate on Tuesdays, stu-
dent discount days. LaPointe said any-
one with a valid student I.D. can
receive 50 percent off the second item
they rent that day. He also said
coupons are circulating around town to
make the rental prices even more

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