There’s jazz, there’s jazz. Charles Mingus covers both. His bassline goes beyond the staves on which it is nominally written, and his two dots in the clef are merely symbols marking the beginning of the music. In 1972, Mingus had a line-up almost as formidable as any other group of musicians he had taken to the stage with. Young John Faddis on trumpet, veteran Charles McPherson, who has occasionally played Mingus and alto saxophone since 1960, older Bobby Jones on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Jon Foster on piano, drums and musical saw. Veteran percussionist Roy Brooks. yes. musical saw. This ensemble was recorded at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London during his two days on 14th and 15th August 1972. 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of Mingus’ birth. It’s safe to say that the music here comes close to some of his best work. As most jazz lovers know, his live performances are where the music truly soars. That statement is not meant to reduce studio work with mixing overdubs and best takes. it is just a statement of fact. Improvisation tends to achieve its greatest synchronicity when musicians are asked to create in front of an audience. More than that (if such is possible), Mingus’ sentiment, commenting on black oppression and black celebration, is a reference to Arkansas Governor Orval Forbath’s Little Rock Nine’s infamous “Faubus Fable.” ”, reflected in his composition nominally about a tribute to Louis Armstrong. Next is “Pops”.
In 1976 Patti Smith and her group played three shows in Washington, DC. Her first two were at a cozy club on her M Street in Georgetown called the Cellar Door. There were less than 200 seats. As a result, most of the seats at these shows were assigned to knowledgeable people: reviewers, DJs, industry insiders, and lucky fans and hangers-on. The show was also broadcast on the syndicated King Biscuit Radio Hour. Later that year, Smith and her band performed at Georgetown University’s McDonough Her Arena. The latter venue was basically a basketball court. The sides were lined with bleachers, the floor was wooden, and on a hot day it smelled like a gym changing room. It was the perfect place to go down and see some dirty, raw rock and roll. In 1976, the Patti Smith Group played that kind of music. I went to a concert in Georgetown with a friend. The opening was a rookie group called Bebop Deluxe. The pairing was interesting, to say the least. Most of the attendees were there to meet Patty and her guys. By the halfway point of their set, there were only a handful of people seated. It was too hot in the gym, and everyone else was on their feet, bones shaking and sweating. Patti’s oversized T-Her shirt was drooping down her slender body and dripping with sweat, and so was I. When the band started the song “Horses”, the audience sang along with the refrain “Horses, horses, horses…”. Lenny Kaye’s guitar crescendoed to the roar of the crowd, and Smith hopped like a frenzied wildcat, raising her fist in a challenge to God.
In any case, recordings of two of Cellar Door’s shows have recently been released. The energy of the McDonough Arena show is present and barely contained. My guess is that this is due to the cramped space the Cellar Door must have certainly had that night. It’s a wedding with poetry, physical energy, and just enough sarcasm (Bob Dylan’s best tradition) directed at the delegates and their money and expensive haircuts. In other words, it’s 1970s rock music, all its contradictions, energy, despair and joy.Punk and Poetry. Desires and dollar bills.
In the late 1970’s and 1980’s, when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had two harmonica players and I caught them as often as possible. The first is Will Scarlett, perhaps best known for his work with the rock-blues combo known as Hot Tuna. We caught him in bars all over town, sitting with different bands. He also performed at a free concert at Berkeley’s Peoples at his park, but also when the police didn’t shut it down.
Another harpist is bluesman Charlie Musselwhite, who has played with everyone from Howlin’ Wolf to John Hammond. Musselwhite moved to the Bay Area in the mid-1960s after the influential Vanguard release. stand back!Charlie Musselwhite’s South Side Band Appears I gave him due notice. He quickly became a popular sideman in the burgeoning San Francisco music scene and a friend of the accompanying counterculture. His one particular performance featuring Musselwhite was at a campaign fundraiser for Gus Newport, his CPUSA member running for re-election as mayor of Berkeley. I don’t remember who was in his band, but I do remember him playing the harp.
In the spring of 2021, Musselwhite and the group calling themselves New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers will release their second disc titled Volume 2. This group includes Cody and Luther Dickinson and Chris Chu of the North Mississippi All-Stars. ) Jim Dickinson on piano, Alvin Hart Youngblood, Jimbo Mathas of Squirrel Nut Zippers and Paul Taylor, bassist of Washtab. According to various sources, the name comes from something Musselwhite and Luther Dickinson said while he was on tour. This music is the product of several days of performances and jam sessions in 2007. Jim Dickinson finished his production work before his death in 2009, but the tape was left in storage. After doing some studio work early in the COVID shutdown, Volume 1 was released in 2020, followed by Volume 2.
The music here is blues. Some songs are bluestake rock tunes, while others are straight blues. From the hilarious “She’s About a Mover” to “Greens and Ham,” half a dozen or so songs will keep you on your toes. Their casual yet sophisticated music is a testament to their ability, talent and years of playing. Every song here is foot-thumping, tongue-smacking and soul-stirring, but the one that really sticks out the most is jazz composer Charles Mingus’ “Oh Lord, don’t drop the atomic bomb on me.” Please” is a rework. ”