Hardly Strictly Jazz

9

Marty Sheller: The Name Behind The Sound You All Know, Part 1

Read "Marty Sheller: The Name Behind The Sound You All Know, Part 1" reviewed by Skip Heller


There are certain musicians who embody eras, even if they're not the player with their picture on the cover. In our contemporary musical climate, Greg Leisz comes to mind. Since 1991, he has popped up on hundreds of acclaimed albums, and without ever really changing his style, he has become centrifugal beyond the considerations of genre —without having made an album as a leader. But it's difficult to think of the last 35 years of American music without him as ...

14

Philadelphia, Mon Amour

Read "Philadelphia, Mon Amour" reviewed by Skip Heller


I was born in 1965, in West Philly, so I met the world in 1980 or so. My city was then recovering from two terms of mayor Frank Rizzo, whose corruption was on a level not seen since the glory days of New York mayor Jimmy Walker. Rizzo hated anyone who was young or of color. If you were a young male of color, every day was potentially Kristellnacht. He was a brutal authoritarian, and that the city charter was ...

5

Death Is Not The End and the Law of Periodical Repetition

Read "Death Is Not The End and the Law of Periodical Repetition" reviewed by Skip Heller


"Will this wonderful civilization of today perish? Yes, everything perishes. Will it rise and exist again? It will—for nothing can happen that will not happen again. And again, and still again, forever. It took more than eight centuries to prepare this civilization— then it suddenly began to grow, and in less than a century it is becoming a bewildering marvel. In time, it will pass away and be forgotten. Ages will elapse, then it will come again; and not incomplete, ...

3

2020 and Me

Read "2020 and Me" reviewed by Skip Heller


As I type this, it is December 8, 2020, the fortieth anniversary of John Lennon's murder. I was then a newly-minted barband guitarist, fifteen years old and thinking how the world —via the election of Ronald Reagan —and music had just suffered the worst season that could ever be. 2020 has been an ongoing parade of American horrors. No matter what city you're in, the town is paused. I live in Hollywood, three blocks from the former site ...

8

Back To... SOUL

Read "Back To... SOUL" reviewed by Skip Heller


While everyone else seems to have been attending jazz festivals, I've been flying under the radar with film and TV music jobs, so I haven't had the time to write about the summer's recorded music treasures, and it has been bountiful for record/CD fans. Not least of all because some really careful and wise music fans have made sure that round things with a hole in the middle deliver something digital downloads can't: a real package. Two come from Memphis, ...

6

Pryor Experiences

Read "Pryor Experiences" reviewed by Skip Heller


If it seems like everything is being anthologized into a box set these days, that's because it is. While on a trip to Amoeba Music (the enormous record store from where I live about a block), I took stock of all kinds of box sets. There was even one of the Mitch Miller Sing Along With stuff. Oh joy. The thought of being trapped in a room with someone who could get through even one disc of that... Horrors.

13

Reliving Elvis

Read "Reliving Elvis" reviewed by Skip Heller


No matter how much is written, or by whom, Elvis Presley remains impossible to explain. The usual “young white rocker who could sing black" is as inaccurate as any standing American mythology. His legacy has been as mangled as his career was, often to the detriment of the work itself. Yes, at the time of his death, Elvis had become (to use Frank Zappa's description) “that poor guy, that drug-infested blimp." Yes, by 1962 he had become the star of ...


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