The post Video premiere of Rusty Young’s “Waitin’ For The Sun” appeared first on Goldmine Magazine.
The post Video premiere of Rusty Young’s “Waitin’ For The Sun” appeared first on Goldmine Magazine.
If you haven’t yet discovered the joys of the Dashboard feature in Discogs, you’re for a treat. Shorten the steps it takes to go between checking on your orders, purchases, Collection and Wantlist by having all the options in front of you. The dashboard is a fully customizable homepage that enables you to see orders, […]
Michael Jackson will wear the nameplate of “King of Pop” for the rest of time, it seems— his attitude and confidence has inspired many to sing and dance just like him today. Jackson solidified that identity on Off the Wall, where he, Quincy Jones, and a load of collaborators, including Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, capitalized on the popular genre of the time and created high-detailed pop songs that no one could top. Off the Wall is one of the most memorable moments of 70s disco, and the genre quickly declined in popularity as soon as the new decade began.
The modern artists on this month’s legacy playlist pump their music with just as much swagger to make produce more incredible stroke of pop. All of these artists scream something that will make you think of Michael, whether they’re challenging their vocal range to sing a note like no one else or rotating Off the Wall’s funky sounds into their own output.
Take a listen via Tidal or Spotify!
In 1979, Michael made an ode to transform his identity from a childish Michael Jackson into a sophisticated MJ. This new identity would completely erase his past as the face of The Jackson 5 and into someone who would “study and look back on the whole world of entertainment and perfect it, take it steps further from where the greats left off.”
Many of the artists featured on this month’s musical lead-up playlist helped Jackson realise this before reaching solo stardom with Off the Wall. Sammy Davis Jr., Marvin Gaye, James Brown, The Isley Brothers, The Bee Gees and Jackie Wilson inspired him craft his sugary combination of R&B and disco music, while Carole Bayer Sager, The Gap Band and George Duke took similar steps in funky disco around the same time.
As expected, the Gent Jazz Festival performs its characteristic trick of balancing hardcore jazz with outside forms, though this year the splitting of these types into two separate long weekends was less marked. Instead, there were infiltrations: Grace Jones snuck into the first weekend, and the second stretch was fully populated by the Kamasi Washington/Robert Glasper/Shabaka Hutchings posse. This didn’t seem to matter, as this fest’s audience is noted for its open-mindedness (though the second weekend’s Einstürzende Neubauten nite did bring out an avant-goth element, for one evening only).
The first weekend’s major event was an appearance of the Wayne Shorter Quartet (top) with Belgium’s own Casco Philharmonic, to perform the ambitious ‘Emanon’, which will make up the forthcoming album on Blue Note. They rehearsed in Gent, and also played a show at the North Sea jazzfest. Shorter is seated yet commanding, as he incrementally leads his quartet towards an intense state, over 25 minutes, which is when the Casco players begin to make their presence felt. Shorter has come up with a palette that’s reminiscent of Aaron Copland: very American pastoral, and quite accessible. Following Casco’s territorial establishment, the quartet enters stealthily, and suddenly they’re out in the open. The brass section is aroused, the strings swipe with vigour, and Shorter begins to solo near the close of the first section, continuing with just his quartet. The re-entry of Casco tends to add a hint of swollen blandness, and it soon becomes apparent that the most stirring parts of the new piece feature the quartet in a prominent position.
Shorter is the absolute leader, among this throng of players, the parts that claw into the audience psyche being his soprano issuances, made with a darting hardness, as if he’s so intent on his own expression that the orchestra almost becomes a sidelined entity, supporting his own sharp vision. This is how powerful this 83-year-old legend still remains. Shorter has made the score’s mood a touch too cheerful for what is intended to be a science-fiction concept narrative, accompanied by comix art for the album’s packaging. Perhaps this tale represents the optimistic side of sci-fi? Nevertheless, Shorter is immune and uncompromising, right at the core of his new work.
Over on the smaller Garden Stage, it’s often the preferred strategy to present a band playing a trio of sets, sliced and diced to fill the spaces between three of the main stage performances. Sometimes this can visibly freak out a crew, but some artists can take such a platform in their stride, throwing back to the old format for club jazz: multiple sets presented with their own micro-dynamic. The Chicago drummer Makaya McCraven (above) is one such dude. On the first night of the festival’s second long weekend, he sharply drove upwards with each 40-minute segment, uniting a tough funk motion with an uncompromising freedom-edge. The music vibrates with the sense that it’s being negotiated for the very first time, even if this isn’t actually the case. McCraven wants improvisation to possess beats, however involved and complex these might be, topped with blistering trumpet strafes, sinewy basslines, rawk guitar solos and extreme-retro, post-Bernie Worrell cosmic keyboard textures. McCraven and crew are already steaming during the first set, and by the time we reach the third, matters are getting quite out of control..!
On the more local front, there were fewer local Gent groups making a significant mark this year, following 2016’s explosion of indigenous excellence. A pair of the best Belgian acts were Daau (a long-running Antwerpian collective, picture below) and Compro Oro, a much younger multi-directional posse from Gent, fronted by the vibes and marimba of Wim Segers. The latter fine-tuned their style as three sets unspooled, beginning with slinky exotica, then ranging into Ethiopian lands, but still rooted in the 1970s. Daau are celebrating their 25th anniversary, reconvened after a sometimes sporadic existence, following some departures of founding members. They too changed emphasis over a troika of sets, opening with a modern classical, accordion-dominated sound, then introducing increased electronic elements later in the evening, including samples of singers, storytellers and screamers, with their clarinettist increasingly doctoring his phrases via a laptop. Daau were an impressive part of the final night, which was certainly one of the festival’s best.
The French-Belgian Trio Grande played three sets, with the evening’s fourth expanding into the Reve D’Eléphant Orchestra, which features two of the threesome, Michel Massot (trombone/sousaphone) and Michel Debrulle (drums/percussion). The trio adopt a dislocated parading approach, their compositions on the short side, to facilitate the accommodation of their abundance of often romping motifs. Laurent Dehors has the benefit of a rack that includes jaw harp and various clarinets, including bass and contrabass. At one stage he stuffs two clarinets in his mouth at once. Grande’s ‘Bamako’ number has contrabass clarinet, euphonium and a front-marching big bass drum, just to keep us confused, alert and bouncing! Massot hurls his euphonium in the air, then fortunately catches it again. The orchestra features a pair of vocalist-narrators, and has a much more modernised funky rock’n’rap sound compared to when they played here in 2011.
The French duo of Emile Parisien (soprano saxophone) and Vincent Peirani (accordion) illustrated how an intimate sound could exist on the main stage. Opening with some Sidney Bechet, Parisien soon revealed his trademark pixie footwork, which is an integral part of his delivery, helping to power his darting phrases, adding a general vigour to the performance. Even Peirani starts to softly dance as he plays, matching the fluidity of the duo’s music. Between the two of them, we’ve never fingers flit so fleetly, the tunes packed with pauses, false endings, calm respites and sudden awakenings, as Peirani occasionally sings, adding to the potential for increased high velocity simultaneity.
In the headlining spaces, there were another pair of crucial sets: a rather lewd Grace Jones, searching for her mislaid dildo (an unusual onstage complaint), and the industrially extreme Einstürzende Neubauten, from Berlin, with frontman Blixa Bargeld as a completely compelling alternative cabaret singer (and castrato screamer!). Both of these acts are somewhat sideways from the usual Jazzwise territory, but illustrate the great imaginative breadth of the Gent fest’s booking policy. To close, at midnight, the Fire! trio delivered a relatively brief set, treading the line between minimalist, ritual repeats and the enraged, ripping expression of Mats Gustafsson‘s tenor saxophone and electronics, returning to the jazz furnace.
– Martin Longley
– Photos by Geert Vandepoel and Bruno Bollaert
Have you ever been part of a concert in which all of the music was written by living composers? OK, if not a whole concert, maybe a first half? All right, maybe not a whole first half, but a significant piece in the programme? Or if not, how about a sliver of a work by a contemporary composer?
I’m guessing that the answer to at least the last of those questions is ‘yes’ if you’re a member of an amateur or professional orchestra, ensemble, choir, or chamber group, or if you’re part of the musical life of your community at school or university. But I’m pretty sure that it’s less likely that the answer to all of my first three questions is in the affirmative.
If so, that makes you part of a majority of music-makers in the country, for whom there is often an association between ‘contemporary music’ and ‘that’s not for me’ or ‘it’s too difficult to play’. Why has that happened? Why is there a gap between today’s composers and the repertoires of most of the musical ensembles in the country – which are not the professionals, but the amateur groups of all kinds who are the fabric of our musical life? It’s a situation that’s a historical anomaly in the wider course of the story of music. The clichés about the 18th and 19th centuries are largely true: markets for domestic and amateur music-making were driven by a desire for the new, in terms of what people wanted to play, with hundreds of composers only too happy to write for them.
Music was new music, in other words, and it was a culture of participation, from the piano in the parlour to the organ at church, from the choral society in the assembly room to the orchestra in the concert hall. The newest symphonies, operas and chamber music by composers from Brahms to Tchaikovsky, Gounod to Wagner were performed by thousands of amateur music-makers who played and sang arrangements of operatic showstoppers and busked through symphonies from Haydn to Schumann.
That meant that composers were used to thinking of their audiences not as passive recipients of their music but as potential performers of their works – and that’s exactly what they were. Without the existence of countless amateur pianists who could play their music, there would not be much point in composers writing it or publishers printing it. Composers like Mozart or Brahms, Schumann or Schubert were not compromising their artistic standards in order to write music that people could play, or which they could aspire to play. There was a continuum of participation that connected composers with musicians of all levels, so there was no separation between the producers of musical works and their participative, engaged recipients, who weren’t so much an ‘audience’ as a community of music-makers.
Fast forward to today. Where has that connection gone? In certain contexts, there are ties that still bind composers to amateur performers – especially, perhaps, in choral music, where contemporary composers remain part of the lives of singers up and down the country. But in many situations, those threads have become gossamer-thin, if they exist at all. It’s the flip-side of the specialisation which has produced such brilliant composers and performers in our musical culture, in which professional composers are often trained to think that music that stretches the abilities of the finest virtuosos is what matters the most for their lives, their reputation, and for the art-form. In terms of not diluting their artistic vision, it’s not hard to see how this way of thinking has become the norm. But it is possible – and even more compositionally challenging – for composers to achieve a wider community of music-makers with their works: as Judith Weir has said, it’s one of her missions as the Master of the Queen’s Music that composers should be trained to write music that amateurs have access to as performers and participants, but which remains true to their essential creative voice.
And yet, in Britain especially, there is another history of music in the 20th and 21st centuries. In different but equally profound ways, our major composers – from Vaughan Williams to Holst, Tippett to Cornelius Cardew, Jonathan Dove to Judith Weir herself – have always reached out to communities of participants, writing music to engage amateurs as well as professionals, composing music designed to be ‘ours’, rather than ‘theirs’. Most powerfully, think of Britten in Aldeburgh, or Peter Maxwell Davies in Orkney, and their career-long catalogues of music for young people and whole communities. And thanks to another of the other great British contributions of the last few decades – the growth of education and outreach projects, and their symbiotic connection to our classical music institutions, as well as the place of composition and creativity on the National Curriculum – there is a wider movement to return our new musical culture to its fundamentally participative state. It’s that ethos that needs celebrating and putting back at the centre stage of our musical lives.
Discogs sponsored Crate Diggers Record Fair comes back home for its fourth event in Portland, hot on the heels of its Canadian debut in the great cities of Montreal and Toronto! Crate Diggers is the ultimate event for record collectors, vinyl junkies, and music fans, taking place on August 26th, 2017 at White Owl Social Club. The day begins with a record […]