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July 07, 1989 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1989-07-07

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ARTS

I _

* The Michigan Daily

Page 7
Sax legend is still rollin'

BY LIAM FLAHERTY
Even if Sonny Rollins has never driven
across New York City's Williamsburg
Bridge, the legend of his late night practice
sessions there remains intact. What other
saxophonist has the gargantuan tone to en-
velop five boroughs and eight million stories,
the range to touch every light of the skyline?
Nobody, as Rollins will prove Tuesday at
the Power Center. A native New Yorker, the
59-year old began his career 35 years ago in
the midst of the progenitors of America's
most complex musical language - be-bop.
Even today it's startling to.hear his studious
and methodical style on those early sessions
with Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk.
The heavy curriculum proved worthwhile,
though. After a mid-50s pause to confront his
drug addiction, Rollins returned with a ven-
gence in the great Max Roach/Clifford Brown
hard-bop groups. Their high-flying, no-safety-
net improvisation lent itself to Rollins' bur-
geoning talent, but the group's professional-
ism and total musicianship provided him a
context to fully realize his gift. Rollins

dropped out for a while in the'early 60s to
study harmony and composition.
Rollins' genius has always been in ex-
panding the vocabulary of his singular
achievement within the traditional structures
of melody and theme. He-has immersed him-
self in Eastern culture and absorbed Carribean
rhythms, but is just as likely to play "The
Tennessee Waltz" as a calypso. Everything he
plays is transformed irrevocably; Rollins
simply explodes a melody. His solos are so
intuitively and propulsively rhythmic as to
wear out even the finest drummers.
Rollins must be seen live - even he ad-
mits his studio recordings don't match up.
Rollins needs the crowd to approach his goal
of not knowing where the next note will
come from. It involves absorbing a composi-
tion so completely that it is expressed
organically in every note, but without the
constraints - Rollins awaits the day when.
sound and fury converge, and total improv-
isation is the result.
SONNY ROLLINS plays his saxophone at
the Power Center Tuesday, July 11 at 8 p.m.
Tickets (763-TKTS) are $17, $14, and $11.

I Records
The Fixx at times faulty talent for writing
Calm Animals complete songs-is a volume of
RCA hauntingly evocative moments. The
England's Fixx is one alumnus of gently chiming refrain of "World
the 1983 "new wave" movement Weary" carries the ephemeral beauty
who unfashionably maintain the of a Joni Mitchell number easing
genre's sonic trademarks. But con- through the AM radio of childhood.
sidering the jittery futurism which And through the ymble psychede ic
was the joie de vivre of post-punk Jamee West-Oray generates arod
pop, the sighing nostalgia conjured neon fog sustained by the "Rio"-
by Calm Animals-the band's fifth esque xylo-rhythms of the surging
studio LP-seems eerily timeless. title track. The oblique "oh-oh-oh"
Credit the way this quintet infuses chorus of "I'm Life" is vintage Fixx
new wave's affinity for vague exis- circa "Red Skies."
tentialist lyrics and oscilloscope at- Beside the churning melancholy of.
mospheres with a healthy strain of West-Oram's guitar on the memo-
historic rock-and-roll elements: the rable single "Driven Out", singer Cy
go-go organ and 50s-ish guitar Curnin seeks a balance for survival
chords of "Driven Out," a wealth of between man's animal nature and
electric U2 siren-sounds, and the ex- technology's traps; "Let's escape
perimental vigour of "I'm Life," this cold world comfort," he invites
which recalls 70s art-rock innovators in the anthemic chorus of
Roxy Music and Robert Fripp. "Subterranean." And although The
And the result-despite the Fixx's Fixx still bathe their varied elements
"ps'o Oaw "Bright" "90gj-9..
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
MainStreet Productions Presents
Te 7 The Mich
The pgn in h
Sidney $rustein's Fall Positions,
W ow Display Adverti
by Lorraine July 6.78, Apply now to be
Hansberry 13, 14, 15 Executive or Assista
Drceby and 20 21, & 22, i
Directed by
Marvin Sims at 800yPick uan
Peformanaces a 1'Pc up anappikc
For Ticket 1035 S. Main St. Student Publication
Information Tiicketn ss.oo Deadline: Tue
Call 662-7282 o"'*day ay

in a coolly fluorescent green, it's The group is at its best when RPO's conceptual leader, Mykaell
intriguing to witness these reliable taking full advantage of the contrast S. Riley-an original founding
survivors of the "new wave" waver- created in the pairing of two unre- member of reggae greats Steel
ing between a brave new world and lated musical elements; a reggae beat Pulse-shows far more talent as an
R&R tradition - no longer looking combined with different string arranger than singer. His skill is best,
to the future as an escape in itself, idioms. In the tune "Sharpeville," shown in the complex blending of
but instead tracing steps backward t strings create Hispanic, Gypsy-type layers in the instrumental tacked
gen cato melodies on top of typical reggae onto swing legend Cab Calloway's
anticipate it with the urgent caution offbeats. Classical strings meet the "Minnie the Moocher"-yet another
of the here and now. Jamaican beat in "The Fool." unpredictable choice. Being deliber-
- Michael Paul Fischer "Work, Eat, Sleep" mixes down- ately different in this hybrid sense is
home, hillbilly fiddles with a con- RPO's ambitious claim to dis-
stant reggae undertow, a really sur- tinction - and the measure of their
The Reggae Philhar- prising twist. success. -Sherrill L.Bennett
monic Orchestra
Mango/Island
Sound a little strange to you? It O a A TENTION:
helps to know that the "reggae" part U M -frAHM
refers mainly to the cultural origms
of the group (second generation Ja- participants=
maican). Although rasta rhythms
dominate most cuts on the London- We are your
based Reggae Philharmonic Orches- , neighborhood pharmacy.
tra's eponymous debut, the addition: .
of a full string section (violin, viola, * e 12. Universty 665533
cello, and string bass) creates a new, $.6 udy
unique blend of sounds and styles.

igan Daily
as
Available in the
sing Department
come an Account
ant Account Executive
cation today at the
s Bldg., 420 Maynard
sday, July 18th

f'GARDEN 1
Restaurani
Szechuan, Hunan & Peking Cuisine
DINE IN CARRY OUT
DELIVERY
COCKTAILS SUNDAY BUFFET
Open 7 days a week
Mon-Thurs: 11:30 am-10:00 pm Sat: 12:00 noon-11:00 pm
Fri: 11:30 am-11:00pm Sun:12:00 noon-10:00 pm
3035 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor
971-0970

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