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September 22, 2006 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-22

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rFrday
September 22, 2006
arts.michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

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5A

Courtesy of BBE
Kids, you're looking at the best producer you've never heard of.
Dilla 'Shines' on
posthumous disc

By Anthony Baber
Daily Arts Writer
MUSIC REVIEW * * *
J Dilla is by far one of hip hop's
most influential and acclaimed
producers.
Dilla, born J Dilla
James Yancey, The Shining
the Detroit pro-
ducer got his BBE
start with groups
like Slum Village, The Pharcyde
and A Tribe Called Quest. Those
experiences led him to join the
production group The Soulquar-
ians, along with D'Angelo, James
Poyser and ?uestlove. Before his
death from Lupus complications
last February, he had completed
the majority of a few albums, one
being the hotly anticipated The
Shining.
It's one of the last albums con-
structed by the production wizard
(it was mostly completed at the
time of his death, with the finishing
touches put on by close associate
Kareem Riggins). The Shining is a
masterful effort that sounds unlike
anything else in his discography.
Dilla enlists the aid some of hip
hop's most eclectic, well-estab-
lished lyricists, like Black Thought,
Common and Pharaohe Monch to
lace his beats with inspired rhymes,
while still giving them room to
breathe.
The album starts off with
Busta Rhymes as he introduces
the opus "Beat Down." The song
is composed of "Flight of the
Bumblebees," set in an innova-
tive arrangement - a chorus of
kazoos accompanied by a heavy
bassline that rattles the listener's
brain.
The brass horn and elegant

string ensemble on "Love" has
an inviting sound that proclaims
Dilla's neverending love for sweet
soul music. Pharaohe Monch's
verse puts it best, saying "Love
music, gospel to the thug music /
Some inspire the soul when they
write, some abuse it / I choose
to choose what I choose when I
choose it / Put love in the music,
cuz we must be in love".
Part of Dilla's genius is match-
ing a beat to it's MC's particu-
lar strengths. The electronically
raspy chorus on "E=MC2" is sat-
isfyingly conciliatory with Com-
mon's palatable rhymes. The
rippling sounds of piano keys and
harmonious piping fully accentu-
ate the mellow and beatific R&B
stylings of D'Angelo on "So Far
To Go." Sounding like a comput-
er-generated ghost, D'Angelo's
supernatural vocals spread over
the track like hot butter.
Not all of the production on
the album is smooth beats with
melodic vocals. The cymbal
crashes and rattling chains over
the crescendo of sirens on "Jun-
gle Love" show off Dilla's affin-
ity for commanding bass-heavy
beats, as MED and Guilty Simp-
son tag along with their coopera-
tive flows.
In a touching tribute, at the
end of "Love Movin,' " the- song
switches up to Dilla telling how
he drew inspiration from his
favorite records. "How I feel for
the day. I don't understand how
this shit comes to me or how I
have the urge to work. It just
happens."
For mere mortals, it doesn't
"just happen." But Dilla is no
mere mortal, and The Shining
is another stellar entry in a cata-
logue that will live forever.

She rules. No joke. No snark. She rules.

JAZZ'S FIRST FAMILY
ALICE COLTRANE QUARTET SET TO DAZZLE HILL

By Lloyd H. Cargo
Daily Music Editor
FINE ARPTs 'PREVIEW
Even if her name was still Alice
Mcleod, Alice Col-
trane's concert tomor-
row night at Hill Alice
Auditorium would Coltrane
be a tremendous Quartet
homecoming. Mrs. Saturday at 8 p.m.
Coltrane is a Detroit
native, and the honor Il-$k Rash
of a Michigan date on t
what would be John At Hill Auditorium
Coltrane's 80th birth-
day (and the equinox), was not bestowed
unintentionally.
Alice Coltrane, along with her son,
Ravi Coltrane, and two other jazz legends
- bassist Charlie Haden and drummer
Roy Haynes, will return home to honor
her husband and to celebrate her own sto-
ried career in another in a string of great
sold-out jazz concerts courtesy of UMS
(Rush tickets are available today from
9 am. to 5 p.m. at the Michigan Union
Ticket office, in person only.) Begin-
ning with Ornette Coleman in 2004 and

continuing with Sonny Rollins last year,
we've been treated to a series of legend-
ary jazz-men who have both given reve-
latory performances - this one should
be no different.
Mrs. Coltrane will play material
from John's vast catalogue, as well as
music from her own critically acclaimed
Translinear Light, released in 2004, her
return to Impulse Records after a 26 year
recording hiatus. She will perform on
the Wurlitzer organ and piano in one of
only three concerts scheduled. A private
woman, Mrs. Coltrane lets her impres-
sive discography speak for itself, staying
out of the spotlight in recent years.
Highlights abound from throughout her
career, with her era on Impulse records
proving particularly fruitful - both with
her husbands group after McCoy Tyner
left, and when she lead her own groups
after John's death in 1967. Journey in Sat-
chidananda, Universal Consciousness,
and World Galaxy are all ethereal avant-
garde workouts that display not only her
Bud Powell-trained chops, but also her
deeply spiritual improvising. It ought to
go without saying, but Alice Coltrane has
had a marvelous career, with her associa-
tion with possibly the greatest jazzman

just being the icing on the cake.
Her band mates aren't lacking creden-
tials either. Her son, Ravi Coltrane, is
the spitting image of his father, though
with a tenor tone more similar to Joe
Henderson's.
Charlie Haden is known as one of free
jazz's key figures and arguably greatest
bassist on the strength of his work with
the aforementioned Ornette Coleman and
his own Liberation Music Orchestra.
Rounding out the rhythm section, Roy
Haynes has laid down the beat for a stun-
ning list of jazz's biggest names - from
Lester Young, Charlie Parker and Miles
Davis to Thelonious Monk, Eric Dolphy,
Rahsaan Roland Kirk and John Coltrane
himself. Basically, he's played with just
about everyone.
This afternoon (free, 3 p.m., fourth
floor Rackham Ampitheatre) Mrs. Col-
trane and the rest of the group will
field questions about the legacy of her
husband's music in the American jazz
canon. It'll to be an excellent primer
for a concert featuring some of the most
important jazz musicians, paying tribute
to one of jazz's most respected figures
and playing some of jazz's greatest com-
positions.

Mamet-penned 'Edmond' disgusts

By Sarah Schwartz
Daily Arts Writer
"You are not where you
belong," a gypsy with tarot cards
warns the
title char-
acter of Edmond
"Edmond."' At the Michigan
She could Theater
really be First Independent
talking to
the audience,
since they should be doing any-
thing other than watching this
horror show.
"Edmond" boils down to
a midlife crisis with loads of
unnecessary violence. Sick of his
job, his wife and his life, Edmond
leaves his home and tries to get
laid. After haggling over price
with three women (yes, it goes on
for that long), he gets beat up by
street hustlers, buys a knife and
proceeds to cut people up - all
the while extol-
ling the virtues
of the white W hy does
race. of
"Edmond" is do any
an unmitigated awful shit
mess, which is a
surprise, since does? W h
it was writ-
ten by David sentence
Mamet. A wide-
ly appreciated with raw
playwright and
screenwriter, Mamet has a way
with words, and the dialogue
in "Edmond" carries many of
his signature dialogue: overlap-
ping and high-minded questions.
So why is the movie, reworked
from Mamet's own one-act play,
reduced to such a disaster?
Is it the inability to feel any-
thing other than revulsion toward
the main character?
That's not too strong a word

to describe a man who leaves his
wife, goes looking for sex, refuses
to pay more than $50 for it, buys
a knife and finally slashes a pimp
and a waitress.
There's another telling
moment after Edmond verbally
abuses a woman on a train simply
because she doesn't answer him.
Walking alone with nowhere to
go, Edmond breaks down crying
until he suddenly comes upon a
Baptist Church. Typically, this
would be saving-grace time,
when the audience embraces
Edmond and hopes he sees the
error of his ways. Instead, I was
worried he was about to attack
the minister.
Or maybe the problem was
the number of C-list actresses
who appear randomly and spout
their lines without any sense or
feeling. Bai Ling and Denise
Richards both play strippers
who ask for too much money and
Mena Suvari returns to seducing
older men. Julia Stiles plays a
homopho-
bic waitress
s Edmond who allows
th Edmond to
the sleep with
t he her, and gets
turned on by
-y is every the fact that
he's not sure
filled if the pimp
he slashed is
hatred? dead.
The rea-
son the movie really fails is most
likely the fact that after every sen-
tence, every action, the constant
question is "Why?" Why does
Edmond do any of the awful shit
he does? Why is every sentence
filled with raw hatred? Why is
William H. Macy naked? Throw-
ing around racial expletives and
talking frankly about sex doesn't
make a movie sophisticated. It
just makes it disgusting.

l
e
.t
h
f

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