Wednesday, September 09, 2009


my three fave spins o' the moment:

1) mott the hoople - mad shadows. you know these guys -- the "stones with an english dylan" kloodged together by guy stevens, the pilled-up genius/lunatic who gave the world both hapshash and the coloured coat and london calling, subsequently duded up by bowie for their 15 minutes of glam acclaim. while brain capers remains the all-time fave, you can't beat thisun as a soundtrack for generalized ennui and free-floating anxiety. none of the songs are so hot per se (except maybe "thunderbuck ram," which t.tex calls "the best dave davies soundalike tune ever" -- including mick ralphs' wimpy mouse-voice), but they're like brilliant one-color canvases, each one picking a mood and wallowing in it at great length. the second side is epic.

2) ornette coleman - croydon concert. i tried ordering this when it was available as the great london concert on arista freedom ca. '75, but my boss at the time said it'd been cataloged but not shipped. (it wasn't the first time he told an untruth.) with the 1962 town hall concert having been my fave ornette, it seemed logical that this -- which is more of the same (composed piece, this time featuring a woodwind ensemble, followed by a trio set) but longer, a little more evolved (having been recorded three yrs later), and better recorded to boot (you can hear david izenzon's fingers on the bass strings and charles moffett's _entahr_ drumkit in striking detail) -- would be even better. and it is. i've got live in paris 1971 with the redman-haden-blackwell lineup on order now (since crisis!, the very first ornette i ever heard, which featured the same lineup, has managed to elude all of the numerous impulse reissue programs to date, and the amg reviewer was practically salivating over thisun). who knew there was as much "quasi-legit" ornette product from his '65-'71 eurotours as there is, say, illicit mc5, iggy & the stooges, or '64 mingus band material? (i'm gonna pass on the '69 show from bilzen, belgium, howevah, as peter niklas wilson's useful ornette tome sez "the recording quality is appallingly bad," and an amazon customer wrote that the cd reish sounds "actually slightly worse...than the bootleg." fun's fun, but there are limits.)

3) bola sete - ocean. a successful and renowned bandleader and solo performer in his native brazil, this gtrist (born djalma de andrade) came to the states during the early '60s bossa nova craze at the behest of the sheraton hotel chain, and wound up in san francisco, where dizzy gillespie heard him and hired him for his big band. sete subsequently worked with vince guaraldi of "cast your fate to the wind"/"linus and lucy" fame. most of the early stuff of his i've heard is kinda "happy jazz" that i wouldn't give a second thought. he wound up playing for the hipis at the fillmore, making a big impact on cats like jerry garcia and carlos santana, but his greatest moment was this '72 recording, released in '75 on kindred spirit john fahey's takoma label, in which he plumbs the dark night of the soul while allowing for the possibility of redemption. all with just one (nylon-string) gtr. it's out on cd too (you can buy one from his widow -- sete checked out in '87 -- via the memorial website she runs; link above) but i'm happy as a clam to have it on nice warm-sounding vinyl again.


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