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9:19 p.m. - 2006-07-05
the new cds
There are four of them:

*"Goo" by the Sonic Youth. This is an album that came out in about 1990. I didn't even know about Sonic Youth until well into the nineties, when I read one of the "Ghost World" comix and one of the two protagonists used the band's name in a pejorative way. I was curious, but only mildly so. Years later, Jamie who now lives in Massachusetts was in town for part of the holidays, and in order to stave off cabin fever and murdering each other and all we trooped off to the used record store for part of an afternoon, Kia and Jamie and I. I had no money so I borrowed ten bucks from Jamie and bought a cassette tape copy of "Goo". When we got home, we gave a listen. The group consensus was: meh. But I soon became smitten with all the noisy guitars and feedback and such. Later I realized that all their scrunchy, overdriven guitar noise was how I wanted to make the marimba sound, which I would try to achieve in later years, to little or no avail. I lost the cassette eventually, during a move, and haven't heard "Goo" for about five years...until now! I'm glad it's back in our house, especially the poignant "Tunic (Song for Karen)". If you ever wondered what it sounds like when your favorite emaciated vocalist/drummers go to heaven, here's your song.

*"Long Gone Before Daylight" by The Cardigans. It might be their latest. It's kind of a...little bit of a country record. By Swedes. The Swede band whose other two records that I've heard I like, which two records are not at all country, put out a country record. Which is not to say that it's not good, just that it's country and they're Swedes. The thing is, I usually don't like country done by Americans. But, you know, their singer still has a nice voice and it sounds nice and everything. I may never get through the whole cd.

*"Dialogue" (Blue Note, 1965, so you know it's good) and "Oblique"(Blue Note, 1967) by Bobby Hutcherson. "Hutch", as his friends probably call him, has been my favorite vibesist forever. He phrasing is amazing, and he plays very melodically without throwing notes around all willy-nilly. This is hard to do on your mallet instruments; take it from someone who knows. Plus, he played on "Out to Lunch" and is therefore a full-fledged jazz legend. But what sort of fruit has this jazz legendness bore, you ask? Or, if you're trying to sound "street", you may ask: Yo, what's the four-one-one on the Hutch rizzecords, G?

*"Dialogue" might be the album that sounds most like "Out to Lunch" without being "Out to Lunch". This is partly because Richard Davis and Freddie Hubbard both play on it, along with Sam Rivers, Andrew Hill, Joe Chambers and Hutcherson. Also, because the kind of exploratory spirit that pervades "Out to Lunch" is apparent on much of "Dialogue". Angular melodies and comlicated improvisational interplay abound, especially in the title track (by Chambers) and "Les Noirs Marchant" (by Hill). Meanwhile, Hill's playing and writing (plus maybe his intrument being the piano) help ground the whole thing in the jazz tradition, but in a nice way, not a moribund way. His "Ghetto Lights" is a striking re-imagining of the blues, and the solos it draws from Hubbard, Rivers and Hutcherson are just magic. Yes, there was a time when Freddie Hubbard was a great trumpet player, and here's the evidence.

*And as for "Oblique": HOLY FUCKING JESUS FUCK, why didn't I know about this until now? Shit, I hadn't even heard of the bass player, Albert Stinson (who died young of an overdose or something). The quartet is rounded out by herbie Hancock and, once again, Joe Chambers. (By the way, no one ever talks about how good Joe Chambers is, so I'll do it now. Joe Chambers is really good: versatile, tasteful, solid. A drummer's drummer, if you will!) I'm still in the process of disseminating "Oblique", but so far I've been totally knocked on my ass by the amazing energy of it, by the sound of such talent at the height of its power. And it's never loud, brash or hackneyed; all of the excitement it generates is purely musical, much of it based on the rapport between two great keyboardists.

I also bought some gum last week. Next time I'll go on and on about the gum.


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