Highly Opinionated

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Sing a Mean Tune, Kid: Chicago for people who hate Chicago

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When people rebuff my attempts to share my love of jazz-pop-rock group Chicago with them, I understand their qualms. Really, I do. Few bands went from being quite so inventive to quite so predictable in the long, tough slog between 1968 and 1984. (The political parallels alone are terrifyingly relevant: many of the exact same people who were in SDS went on to become Yuppies by the midpoint of the Reagan years, but I digress.) So, I understand ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Sacred Cows, Led Zeppelin and Does the Song Remain the Same?

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"Sacred cows make the tastiest cheeseburgers" -- after Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989) I have always said of popular culture, that like a McDonald's cheeseburger, it is to be consumed but never considered. Much of music is nothing more than a reflection of popular culture and certainly falls beneath that grand proclamation. A good deal of hip hop and all of dubstep, electro house, post-hardcore and what passes for R&B today will not be remembered, much less heard ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Roswell Rudd: The Musical Magus Turns 75

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"Years ago it would have seemed an impossible dream to get to record with this musical magus, but here we are... and what a thrill!" class="f-right s-img">--Charlie Kohlhase, From liner notes to Eventuality: The Charlie Kohlhase Quintet Plays the Music of Roswell Rudd (Nada, 2001)

I see him suddenly as if in a dream. His eyes are somewhat cynical, questioning and beautiful. Wrinkles of laughter pucker up at the edges, and he reminds me of my ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Free Jazz: The Jazz Revolution of the '60s

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[Editor's note: Revised and expanded here, this piece originated as an oral essay for an installment of the Cosmoetica Omniversica internet radio series on the arts and sciences. The series was hosted by Dan Schneider and Art Durkee.] More or less officially unveiled with the first New York appearance of the Ornette Coleman Quartet at the Five Spot Café in the fall of 1959, free jazz (or new black music, space music, new thing, anti-jazz or abstract jazz ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Tcha Limberger: Gypsy In The Footsteps Of Bela Bartok

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The hair of the bow gently caresses the string, catching an “A" high on the upper register. Then, in a series of sweeping glissandos, it descends the diatonic scale in a minor mode. I am caught in its downdraft like a bird on a rapidly cooling thermal, falling... falling through air thick with saddening notes. The violin is never alone. It is pursued and coaxed ever onward by the dense clusters of notes played by the bracs of Olah Norbert, ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Don Cherry: From Out of the Shadows

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It was cool in Bombay that July in 1985, or was it 1986? Somehow the year does not seem to matter quite as much as it did when the phenomenon first occurred. The other details, of course, I remember clear as day. Association PC were tearing it up on stage at the fabled arena of the historic (for India at that time) Jazz Yatra an international jazz festival hosted by Jazz India since 1978. The Max Mueller Bhavan was responsible ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Why George Russell Will Always Live in Time

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A measure of just how underrated a musician he was in his lifetime is reflected in the fact that even three days after he passed on most of the major publications had not even reported his death, much less celebrated his life in the glowing terms that he so richly deserved. Perhaps this was because oddly enough he may have spent a lifetime mostly in the quietude of musical intellectualism rather than in its practice. That is, after all how ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Toronto Jazz '09 Festival Journal: 'Round About Midday to 'Round About Midnight

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T.D. Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 26-July 5, 2009

To begin at the beginning: close encounters in a war against the abolition of free will by methodical conditioning and the servitude made acceptable by regular doses of chemically-induced progress and happiness from: canned food, vitamins, and the business side of music and writing (including appropriate shelving and categorization such as: “File under ...



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