A note from JFJO's Reed Mathis
- Mon 11/19/2007 9:16AM
A note from Reed Mathis about "the controversy" of his joining Tea Leaf Green for a string of shows...
Here's a few things i'd like to say:
First, Jacob Fred is the greatest band in the history of the universe. i just got word that we are actually Beethoven's favorite band of all time. Hendrix, too. and Bird. they all like JacobFred almost as much as I do. We just confirmed a 20-night run at Carnegie Hall in 2010, and I'm pretty sure the record we're working on is going to go triple-platinum. for real.
I hear you, though. it is, possibly confusing.
I listen to as much late coltrane as hotchkiss does, and as much ornette as eric dundee. that music is my church and scripture.
Jazz didn't start out elitist. originally, it was FOLK music. made by semi-illiterate accidental-scholars who simply wanted to party and let people party. the fact that the opera houses of 1890's New Orleans could only afford a single pianist (rather than a full orchestra), who coincidentally had a night gig at a brothel and a buddy in a brass band is a happy accident in the culture, and the upside of the karma of slavery. we are so fortunate that this happened.
Bird grew up playing in big bands for dancers. the music he accidently invented was still heavy on melody, and he often still played for dancers. his followers didn't, but they still played melody. THEIR followers didn't play for dancers, and rarely played literal melody, instead becoming true impressionists of the internal realms. those listeners who had bumped into their own internal realms heard evidence of the common struggle, and called this music "higher." Elvis, Dylan, and the Beatles were created by SOCIETY to fill the gap that Bird opened. young people need to dance and get laid, and sing along. jazz once provided this service. then it became "higher music."
Is ornette "deeper" than louis armstrong? is the coltrane quartet "higher" than fletcher henderson? are church-goers catagorically better people than non-chuch goers? does cab calloway belong in the jazz cannon?
This is an important conversation, i think.
Music CAN be a force for unification and community. why are the differences between us our favorite thing about ourselves?
Why do we want coltrane INSTEAD of the rolling stones. why not coltrane AND the rolling stones?
Is there really more heart in charles mingus than there is in neil young? or phish, for that matter?
Why assume that the inward-pointing music is greater than the outward-pointing music? is this the grandchild of the Biblical "you are not of this world" hogwash? why should we be so proud of our divorce from earth? because we'll die here? is that why the inward-pointing music is greater than the outward-pointing music? because we wish we didn't have to die?
Are we trying to make the world in our own image? it cannot be done.
Musicians can be prophets and heralds, it's true. thank god. musicians can also be a loving friend to a people in need. and people don't always need to be taught. sometimes they need to be hugged and listened to. just ask my wife. :) we musicians are in a state of RELATIONSHIP to the listener. doesn't a healthy relationship take the needs of the Other into account? doesn't a loving partner try to affirm and please the Other? you can't tell.
REVIEW: Seth Walker in AUSTIN SOUND
- Fri 11/9/2007 10:42AM
SETH WALKER / Seth Walker (HYENA)
Guitarist-vocalist-songwriter Seth Walker, raised in rural Altamahaw-Ossipee, North Carolina and an Austin resident since 1995, comes from a long line of talented musicians and began training on classical violin and cello at the age of four. On Seth Walker, his fifth album originally released on Jerry Hall’s Pacific Blues label and now recently reissued on Hyena Records, Walker treats listeners to a "different point of blue." This record is a delightful tour of the blues that encompasses soul, swing, R&B, and a handful of jaw-dropping slow ballads.
One of the first things that impresses is Walker’s vocals. Much like the voice of the late Portland harmonica player and vocalist Paul DeLay, Walker’s conveys a wisdom and honesty beyond its years, so much so that Taj Mahal once called him a "little, white Ray Charles." That description couldn’t be more appropriate, as Walker proves on his deeply soulful cover of "By the Water," originally written by New Orleans legend Dave Bartholomew. I’ve had the chance to see Walker perform that song many times at the Continental Club and in juke joints on Austin’s East side, and this studio recording captures the magic of those live shows (no small feat, mind you). Mark Hays’ drumming is right in the pocket, accented with beautiful reserved B3 organ from Italian expatriate Stefano Intelisano.
Walker takes a trip down to the Delta on Jimmy Reed’s "I Know It’s a Sin," accompanied by guests Mike Keller (currently a member of Marcia Ball’s touring band) and Fabulous Thunderbirds front man Kim Wilson, whose reserved harmonica riffs follow Walker’s leads hand-in-glove. "Miss Ann" is a fine swinging jump blues, and Walker even channels a bit of John Lee Hooker on the intro to "Change My Way". One of the album’s finer moments happens on "2’ Left to the Ceiling," a heart-wrenching number co-written with Hays that tells the story of a Katrina victim, trapped in his or her home in the lower Ninth Ward. Lines like "the G.I. Bill and Jesus both split for higher ground, and I can’t find my way to the door" deliver the message as the flood waters slowly rise through the song’s end. Powerful stuff.
Walker’s confidence, versatility, and artistry offer a refreshing perspective on the blues genre, and no doubt the Seth Walker reissue on Hyena is going to propel Austin’s best kept secret from the Lone Star State to a town near you. When it happens, don’t miss the chance to catch him live.
- Roger Gatchet
Click here to full article at AustinSound.net...
CONCERT REVIEW: BLOOD in the Miami New Times
- Tue 10/23/2007 9:27AM
Last Night: James "Blood" Ulmer at the Colony Theatre
Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 01:17:33 PM
James Blood Ulmer
October 20, 2007
The Colony Theatre, Miami Beach
Better Than: A back alley brawl between jazz and blues.
The Review: Back when I first moved in New York, one of the greatest musical pleasures I had was catching James Blood Ulmer get all "avant-gutbucket" at a dingy little Theatre called Squat. The cat, interminably regal even then, had been first among royals such as Ornette Coleman, Art Blakey, and Ronald Shannon Jackson, and would weave some of the most cacophonic stringwork in the kingdom of free jazz. It was adroit, it was possessed, and it was surprising – and it opened my ears to a whole new way of listening to the world.
So it was with great anticipation – and even greater pleasure – that I got to catch the cat last night at The Colony in Tigertail Productions' latest booking coup.
But though the master remains immensely free-wheeling on the fretboard, his flurry is now steeped in another even older tradition: the blues.
Seated on a low-slung stool all by his lonesome, Blood began the evening with a triptych about Katrina and the hole it tore in the soul of the Big Easy – and in our hearts. Here we heard the wind rip, felt the rain bruise, and touched the pain. But Ulmer wasn’t crying the blues on behalf of a catastrophe; he was using the blues to represent the mad he feels in catastrophe’s aftermath.
And to be sure his is some stirful, mournful, meaningful mad. Ulmer’s voice dips from low growl to high holler, while his fingers flay a sermon of surge, even in the wake of weep. In just three songs the man managed to encompass both a terrible storm, and a terrible storming.
When he was joined onstage by bassist Mark Peterson and drummer Aubrey Dayle, Blood’s mad got boiling – then it got even. Working from a repertoire that stretched from Son House to John Lee Hooker, “Hey Joe” to “Little Red Rooster,” Ulmer and his trio drove the blues down the dirty back crossroad that leads straight to our secret spot, the place where all we have hidden becomes revealed.
And unburdened. Blues at its root is about unburdening the soul from the trials and tribulations of a hard life, Ulmer knows this, and he uses the tradition to his great good advantage. But it was when he stood and faced off against the band during “Babytalk” that the true transformation took place, for it was then that Blood unburdened the blues.
- John Hood
Personal Bias: I was raised between the city and the swamp, so urban muggy suits me fine.
Random Detail: Blood sports a very fine pair of snakeskin cowboy boots.
By the Way: Ulmer’s latest Bad Blood In The City: The Piety Street Sessions is out now from HYENA.
Click here to read full concert review at MiamiNewTimes.com