Archive for January, 2009

in performance: donna the buffalo

tara nevins and jeb puryear of donna the buffal. photo by jordy risk.

tara nevins and jeb puryear of donna the buffalo. photo by jordy risk.

“This is the nicest place we’ve ever been in a city we’ve never been to when it turns out we’ve actually been here.” That was the mouthful that guitarist Jeb Puryear let loose with by way of welcoming a sparse but spirited Kentucky Theatre crowd to the rootsy groove music of Donna the Buffalo last night.

The Buffalo gal, multi-instrumentalist Tara Nevins, and guys seemed to think the band had never previously played Lexington. A few enthusiastic fans near the lip of the stage insisted otherwise. Frankly, I don’t think it has been here either, at least not with the sort of headlining set that last night utilized pop-infused folk, jam band grooves, reggae, ska and zydeco.

Puryear and Nevins rotated lead vocal duties during the two-hour-plus performance. Puryear’s songs went for deep pocket rhythms, whether it with the fat pop-soul power chords and guitar hooks of Biggie K or the peppery island sway of Positive Friction. Nevins added feathery harmonies and washboard percussion to the latter. Throughout Puryear’s tunes, she also offered alert turns on electric violin and bayou-flavored accordion..

But on her own fine material, Nevins stuck to acoustic guitar, left the instrumental tightrope walking to the guys and emoted with a voice curiously steeped in traditional country. The resulting mix often leaned toward bittersweet pop-folk. But on Temporary Misery, churchy organ orchestration by David McCracken brightened and heightened Nevin’s’ world weary storyline.

Of course, when the two leaders played directly off each other, the fireworks flew, as on a reworking of Ring of Fire with Nevins again on washboard, percolating a New Orleans groove under Puryear’s massive Bo Diddley guitar strut. That’s when the Buffalo got to roaring but good.

Update: Well, the debate is settled. Donna the Buffalo has indeed played Lexington before. Bobby Ray, who booked shows during the glory days of Lynagh’s Music Club, informed me the band played there on Oct. 17, 2000. Total attendance that night: 92.

RUFFIN’ IT; Bake your own pet treats and maintain control of your animal’s diet. (It’s economical and fun to do, too.).(TASTE)

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) November 3, 2005 | Smith, Judy Romanowich Byline: Judy Romanowich Smith; Staff Writer Cliff came trotting into the kitchen as soon as the cooked chicken livers plopped into the food processor. He sat mesmerized, his tongue hanging out, as they whirled into a puree. He licked his chops as I measured out what I needed and as I put the rest in a freezer bag. “Do you want a treat?” I asked. His tail slapped the floor. Why bake your own dog treats? You can use all-natural ingredients. You know exactly what your pet is getting. Many commercial treats have artificial coloring and preservatives. But beware that you don’t add ingredients that can be harmful to dogs. (See accompanying list on T4.) It’s economical. Many recipes use basic ingredients, such as flour, rolled oats and eggs, that you usually have on hand. You can use items that might otherwise be thrown away, such as chicken livers or small portions of leftover meat, pureed. I boil scraps and bones to make chicken broth after boning chicken breasts. After straining, the broth is perfect for dog treat recipes. You can satisfy your desire to bake without having to deal with the calories. There’s nothing like baking to warm up the kitchen on a cool fall day, but sometimes having sweet baked goods around the house can sabotage your commitment to healthful eating. You’re not likely to be tempted by these biscuits. It’s fun. Have your kids help mix them up and roll them out. The recipes are very forgiving, so it would be difficult for a child to ruin a batch. Let them use whatever cookie cutters they wish, even the Santas and Easter bunnies. The dog won’t care. see here dog treat recipes

Your dog will love you for it. Cliff sat at my feet until those chicken livers were finally baked into treats. He snoozed a bit while they cooled and then eagerly sampled them. Now they are his favorite, and I can’t visit the freezer where they are stored without him trailing behind me and gazing up at me expectantly.

WITH TREATS, SAFETY FIRST There are thousands of recipes on the Internet for baking dog biscuits. Many contain ingredients that may be harmful to dogs. If you are using a recipe from the Internet, be sure it is from a trusted source. If you have questions, ask your veterinarian.

Here is a partial list of ingredients to avoid with dogs, from “Cooking the Three Dog Bakery Way,” by Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye.

– Bones from fish, poultry or other meat sources: Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.

– Chocolate and coffee: Contain theobiomine and caffeine, which can be toxic and affect the heart, perhaps fatally.

– Fat trimmings: Can cause pancreatitis.

– Macadamia nuts: Contain an unknown toxin that can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscles.

– Onions: Contains sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia.

– Raisins: Newly discovered to contain unknown toxins that may damage the kidneys when consumed in quantity.

– Salt: Large quantities may lead to electrolyte imbalances.

– Sugary foods: Can lead to obesity, dental problems and diabetes.

LIVE IT UP CHICKEN TREATS – X Makes about 100 thin strips.

Note: You can make chicken broth by boiling the chicken liver. To puree liver, try a food processor, potato masher or fork. Add broth to make the puree the consistency of mashed potatoes. A pound of liver made 11/4 c. puree. Liver in large amounts can cause vitamin A toxicity and be harmful to dogs, so don’t over feed. From “Doggie Delights & Kitty Cuisine,” by Martha Ward.

– 1/2 c. pureed cooked chicken liver – 1 c. chicken broth, plus up to 1/4 c. to make puree (see Note) – 1/2 c. dry nonfat dry milk – 1 tbsp. Brewer’s yeast – 1 c. soy flour – 3 c. whole-wheat flour – 1 c. rolled oats Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Mix liver puree, broth and dry milk in a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, mix yeast, flours and oats. Add to liquid mixture, blending until all ingredients are moist.

Roll or pat out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 1/4 inch strips on prepared sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Remove treats from oven and cool on a wire rack. Break into small pieces to serve. Store baked treats in an airtight container and place in freezer.

SIMPLEST DOG BISCUITS – X Makes about 75 small biscuits.

You’ll likely have most of these ingredients on hand. From “Tasty Treats for Demanding Dogs,” by Gregg R. Gillespie. in our site dog treat recipes

– 3 c. whole-wheat flour – 1/2 c. nonfat dry milk – 1/3 c. vegetable shortening – 1 large egg – 3/4 c. beef or chicken broth, or enough for processing Directions Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Lightly grease or use parchment paper to line 2 cookie sheets or baking trays. In a large bowl, using a fork or wire whisk, blend the flour and dry milk. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in shortening. In a small bowl, using a fork, beat the egg and broth together until smooth. Using a large spoon, a spatula or your hand, combine the two mixes, blending until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl and a soft sticky dough forms. If the mixture seems a little dry, add a little broth, a tablespoonful at a time. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface, and using a rolling pin, roll out to 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out as many cookies as you can, reworking the scraps as you go. The dough will become stiff as it is reworked. Place the cookies side by side on the prepared cookie sheets or baking trays. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cookies appear very dry and the edges are light golden brown. Remove the trays from the oven and cool to room temperature. Turn off the oven. When the cookies have cooled completely, put all of them on a single baking tray and return them to the cooling oven. Leave them undisturbed, without opening the oven door, for 8 to 16 hours.

Smith, Judy Romanowich

in performance: sarah borges and the broken singles

sarah borges. photo by michelle hudd.

sarah borges. photo by michelle hudd.

Just a postscript, this one. The first portion of Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles’ local debut last night at The Dame had to be sacrificed due the length of the Donna the Buffalo show playing further down Main St. Imagine that – two acts from Sugar Hill Records playing in Lexington on the same week night on the same street. That’s one for the rock ‘n roll book of odd coincidences.

Bostonian Borges proved an extraordinarily well versed rocker who deftly shuffled styles to offer the ‘60s girl group pop of Me and Your Ghost, the roadhouse charge of NRBQ’s It Comes to Me Naturally, the jubilant rockabilly swagger of the original Miss Mary, the almost gospel-esque salvation of Will Kimbrough’s Glory Be and the nocturnal Horton Heat-inspired twang and crunch of Diabilito.

That Borges’ three-member Broken Singles band pumped the rootsy smorgasbord up with the sort of immediacy that sidestepped coy retro trappings worked to underscore the show’s very honest vitality. But Ms. Borges also has a touch of a punk cabaret artist in her.

Between songs, she joked around with patrons (all 20 of them that showed up) and exchanged impromptu banter with bassist Binky (just Binky, thank you very much) about such unexpected talking points as octopus infidelity. In short, this was an artist bent on breaking her name by working a room, even one as meagerly populated as The Dame was last night.

david "fathead" newman, 1933-2009

david "fathead" newman

david "fathead" newman

This year marks the half-century celebration of an album called Fathead: Ray Charles Presents David Newman. At the time of its release, the recording was an acknowledgement by a soul legend in his prime of a prized protégé. But today it stands as a proud introduction of a key architect in an incomparable R&B sound.

Newman, a thoroughly engaging saxophonist and flutist, would go on, after leaving the reign of Brother Ray in 1964, to fashion albums that honed a contemporary soul-based jazz sound of his own alongside several acclaimed contemporaries, not the least of which was Herbie Mann.

David “Fathead” Newman died Tuesday of complications from pancreatic cancer.

Newman’s illness, let alone his death, was a shock simply because he had seemed so vibrant during a December 2007 performance at Louisville’s now defunct Jazz Factory.

A regal version of Duke Pearson’s Cristo Redemptor summed up the music of the latter day Newman that night. The sax sound was, understandably, more relaxed and patient than the one that led the beefy soul charge of his 70s albums for Atlantic. But Newman’s tone simply glowed. Ditto for the spiritual solace he applied to John Coltrane’s Naima. A perhaps inevitable version of the still-soulful Charles classic Hit the Road, Jack was on the setlist, too. But during this reading, Newman was clearly following his own muse instead of soul spirits from a storied past.

A month after the Louisville show, Newman sat in with Paul Shaffer’s band on the Late Show with David Letterman, played mostly snippets of Charles hits and was rightly hailed as a legend by the bandleader.

Newman left us with a mountain of sublime recorded music. Recommended listening includes House of David (a tough-to-find, out-of-print 1993 anthology of his Atlantic recordings), a 2000 reissue that unearths two of Newman’s finest funk and fusion albums from the early ‘70s (Lonely Avenue and Newmanism) and Life (a 2007 studio effort that reflects the more sage-like playing of Newman’s final years).

But the one to hunt down is the underdog concert album Fire! Recorded at the New York jazz haven The Village Vanguard just before Christmas of 1988, Newman’s tenor sax leads bounce, bop and burn with help from two other sax giants: Stanley Turrentine and fellow Charles alumnus Hank Crawford. The sweet tenor sax turns employed in transforming the blues of Hard Times into a beaming affirmation to end the album is one of the great lost chapters in Newman’s mammoth jazz and soul music saga.

This was a guy, afetr all, who really knew hard times. Watch the Ray biopic again and you’ll get a small glimpse into just how grim they really were. But what ultimately came out of the man’s horn was pure gold.

University of London, Imperial College publishes research in environment.

Ecology, Environment & Conservation July 21, 2008 “A methodology to extract networks from pore space images is used to make predictions of multiphase transport properties for subsurface carbonate samples. The extraction of the network model is based on the computation of the location and sizes of pores and throats to create a topological representation of the void space of three-dimensional (3-D) rock images, using the concept of maximal balls,” investigators in London, the United Kingdom report. this web site university of london

“In this work, we follow a multistaged workflow. We start with a 2-D thin-section image; convert it statistically into a 3-D representation of the pore space; extract a network model from this image; and finally, simulate primary drainage, waterflooding, and secondary drainage flow processes using a pore-scale simulator. We test this workflow for a reservoir carbonate rock. The network-predicted absolute permeability is similar to the core plug measured value and the value computed on the 3-D void space image using the lattice Boltzmann method. The predicted capillary pressure during primary drainage agrees well with a mercury-air experiment on a core sample, indicating that we have an adequate representation of the rock’s pore structure. We adjust the contact angles in the network to match the measured waterflood and secondary drainage capillary pressures. We infer a significant degree of contact angle hysteresis. We then predict relative permeabilities for primary drainage, waterflooding, and secondary drainage that agree well with laboratory measured values. This approach can be used to predict multiphase transport properties when wettability and pore structure vary in a reservoir, where experimental data is scant or missing. There are shortfalls to this approach, however. We compare results from three networks, one of which was derived from a section of the rock containing vugs. Our method fails to predict properties reliably when an unrepresentative image is processed to construct the 3-D network model,” wrote A.S. Alkharusi and colleagues, University of London, Imperial College. universityoflondonnow.com university of london

The researchers concluded: “This occurs when the image volume is not sufficient to represent the geological variations observed in a core plug sample.” Alkharusi and colleagues published their study in Water Resources Research (Multiphase flow predictions from carbonate pore space images using extracted network models. Water Resources Research, 2008;44(6):S601).

For additional information, contact A.S. Alkharusi, University of London Imperial College, Dept. of Earth Science & Engineering, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

The publisher of the journal Water Resources Research can be contacted at: American Geophysical Union, 2000 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA.

singles night

sarah borges and the broken singles: binky, sarah borges, rob dulaney, lyle brewer

sarah borges and the broken singles: binky, sarah borges, rob dulaney, lyle brewer. the band plays tonight at the dame.

On Diamonds in the Dark, her fish-out-of-water 2007 album for the usually bluegrass-heavy Sugar Hill label, Boston songstress Sarah Borges and the her band The Singles rip through roots-savvy country and pop with the uninhibited feel the late ‘60s must have mustered. Her voice is clear, bright and a little on the sly side.

Best of all, the record comes packed with irony. Borges makes X’s Come Back to Me all her own with a purple-ly, twilight hued twang. But later, a crunchy original called Lonely Town of Love packs a punch that sounds for all the world like latter day X. And that goes without mentioning the album’s coolest treat: an ambient, torchy and deliciously desperate version of Tom Waits’ Blind Love.

We say this because Borges – who looks a little like actress Marisa Tomei and sounds a lot like Americana empress Neko Case (at least when her music favors after-hours country) – is in town tonight for a Dame debut that, for some reason or another, has received almost zero publicity. $6 gets you in the door, folks – six lousy bucks. Surely, you can’t come up with a better deal than that on a Thursday night.

Borges and her Broken Singles – guitarist Lyle Brewer, drummer Rob Dulaney and a bassist by the name of Binky – are in town ahead of the late March release of a new album called The Stars Are Out. It’s loaded with cool originals, from the pop hullabaloo of Me and Your Ghost to the more brutish Do It For Free to a ‘60s take on a ‘80s Smokey Robinson hit, Being With You. Hats off to Ms. Borges for also having the immense and insightful taste to take a crack at Yesterday’s Love, a 1980 Clive Gregson tune from his early days with the British post-punk pop band Any Trouble.

So there you go: still more reasons to make this Singles Night at The Dame. The purposely primal juke joint music of J. Marinelli and his Angry Young One Man Band will open. Those checking out Donna the Buffalo tonight at the Kentucky Theatre should take note, too. Sarah and company will be playing just up the street and ought to be hitting the stage right around the time the Buffalo head to the range. Go ahead, make a night of it.

Sara Borges and the Broken Singles with J. Marinelli and his Angry Young One Man Band perform at 8 tonight at The Dame, 367 East Main. Tickets are $6. Call (859) 231-7263.

american buffalo

donna the buffalo: kathy zeigler, jeb puryear, tara nevins, bill renyolds, tom gilbert. photo by jordy risk.

donna the buffalo: kathy zeigler, jeb puryear, tara nevins, bill renyolds, tom gilbert. photo by jordy risk.

When it comes to defining the music of Donna the Buffalo, Jeb Puryear doesn’t mind counting the years.

The guitarist and vocalist for the rhythmically charged, roots driven troupe from upstate New York is eager to honor his band’s recent 20th anniversary and the aptly-titled Silverlined album that went along with it. But discussing the origins and musical make-up of Donna the Buffalo means spinning back the years a bit further to the old time folk and fiddle traditions the band grew out of and still owes considerable allegiance to today.

“Musicians have this good, protective mechanism,” Puryear said, who performs with Donna the Buffalo at the Kentucky Theatre on Thursday. “It helps them not look too far into the future. But in a way, I’m not surprised at all the band has lasted 20 years because we come from a tradition of old time fiddle and folk roots music. Those types of musicians don’t just play for a few years and then stop. It’s a lifestyle. It’s just who we are.”

Pinning a specific musical style on Donna the Buffalo is a bit of a trick. Band founders Tara Nevins and Puryear are versed in the ways of old time fiddle music, although Puryear also set his sights on guitar during his Ithaca upbringing. The resulting camaraderie between the two players yielded a band with accents of country, zydeco, reggae, folk, pop, and more.

Jam bands favor the ways Donna the Buffalo’s churchy, cheery melodies give rise to hearty grooves. Americana audiences champion the traditional inspirations that fuel the storylines, as well as the rhythms, of the band’s songs. Take the Puryear tune The Call. A highlight from Silverlined, it is steeped in the kinds of death, faith and regret that were cornerstones of Appalachian and pre-bluegrass country music.

“I would say almost all folk music and mountain music influence everything we do. And, yeah, having subject matter that deals with somebody dying is far more typical of old folk ballads than modern rock songs.

“It’s interesting, really. People ask us all about our influences. I mean, I don’t think there is anybody we’ve ever met that hasn’t influenced us.”

Given the artists the band has collaborated with of late, the level of inspiration that goes into a Donna the Buffalo album must be rich indeed. Nevins’ singing and fiddle work gets a lift from West African kora pioneer Mamadou Diabate on Blue Sky (from 2005’s Life’s a Ride album) and banjo colossus Bela Fleck on Locket and Key (from Silverlined) while four of Puryear’s tunes from the new album feature vocal aid from Ollabelle’s Amy Helm.

But it is the sound Donna the Buffalo produces regardless of the guest list that defines the band. While that music might be drenched in tropical sunshine, lathered in bayou swamp water or served with a slice of old timey charm, it is never mapped out too far in advance.

“It’s a totally an organic process,” Puryear said of the way Donna the Buffalo outlines a stylistic course. “What we do, really, is totally in the vein of an old time session. The thing about old time music is you can play with so many people so easily. If there is a guitar player or banjo player, you just find them and go. A session can very easily just take off.”

Old time music, it turns out, was in generous supply while Puryear was growing up in Ithaca. Fiddle tunes and players were so plentiful, in fact, that he thought the rest of the waking world was equally hip to the tradition.

“Back in the early ‘70s, when I was a kid, there was this really tremendous energy that came with old time music. I thought that was going on all over the world. Then I got with an old time band, took a little road trip and realized that wasn’t the case. In fact, in the certain style we were playing in, it wasn’t happening anywhere else.”

It took connecting with Nevins in the mid ‘80s, a time when both artists where playing Appalachian-based music in upstate New York clubs and coffeehouses, for more electrified, rockish and stylistically diverse music to emerge.

“Ever since I met Tara long ago, we just had a real affinity for understanding what each other was doing and have been able to build on that.”

And the name? That was actually proposed by a patron at an Ithaca coffeehouse, although the suggestion was actually to call the then-new troupe Dawn of the Buffalo. The misshapen phonetics became the moniker for a band that continues to roam over 20 years later.

“The good thing about music is that you learn so much about it every time you play,” Puryear said. “Sometimes when you’ve been doing something for 18, 19 years together, you figure something out about a song or the way you can play it.

“But then, there is also a little bit of you that wants to reject that because you feel so stupid that it took you so long to figure whatever that was out.”

Donna the Buffalo performs at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main. Tickets are $23. Call: (859) 231-7924.

 

CLUETT AMERICA GROUP LOSS DEEPENS.

Daily News Record August 23, 2000 | DODD, ANNMARIE NEW YORK — Hit by a $10.6 million charge tied to its decision to license out its Arrow shirt business, as well as markdowns at its sock group, Cluett America Group announced its second-quarter losses had widened to $11.5 million from $4.5 million.

As reported, Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. last month acquired the license for the Arrow brand for men’s and boys’ dress shirts and sportswear in the United States. P-VH also acquired from Cluett the license for Kenneth Cole dress shirts.

Cluett said income from continuing operations, which primarily consist of Gold Toe socks, slid 27.8 percent to $5.2 million, from $7.2 million. Sales dipped 3.2 percent to $38.9 million, from $40.2 million, which Cluett attributed to the timing of shipments. The hosiery group’s gross margins eroded to 32.7 percent from 35.4 percent as a result of reduced volume and greater promotional sales. The latest period also includes $600,000 in expenses tied to a packaging change for Gold Toe.

Gold Toe accounts for about 60 percent of the sock group’s sales, with the remainder consisting of private labels and licensed brands such as Perry Ellis, Nautica and Jockey. The bottom line includes losses of $10.6 million tied to the disposal of the shirt operations, including $4.5 million impairment charge representing the difference between the carrying value of goodwill versus the amount received from P-VH. P-VH paid $48.9 million in cash and assumed $2.1 million of debt, according to Cluett’s 10-Q. The charge also includes estimated operating losses of $2.3 million during the phase-out period. For the 1999 quarter, operating losses from discontinued operations were $4.7 million. goldtoesocksnow.com gold toe socks

In the half, losses steepened to $18.3 million from $11.6 million due to write-offs in the men’s shirt business, higher interest expenses and higher promotional costs in the sock group. Income from continuing operations fell 12.7 percent to $11 million, from $12.6 million. Sales from continuing operations advanced 4.2 percent to $79.4 million, from $76.2 million.

The 10-Q notes that the trademark license agreement requires P-VH pay a $5 million minimum guaranteed annual royalty fee to Cluett, subject to increases based on the achievement by P-VH of certain sales targets. The initial term of the license expires on June 2007, but P-VH has the option to renew the agreement for two additional five-year terms, provided it meets certain conditions.

Grand National to Take PEI Into Canada MIAMI — Perry Ellis International executives said Tuesday they have signed an agreement with Grand National Apparel to design, source, advertise and market men’s sportswear in Canada under the Perry Ellis, Perry Ellis America, John Henry, Natural Issue and Manhattan labels. go to web site gold toe socks

Grand National Apparel, based in Toronto, currently markets Haggar men’s wear and, under a previous licensing arrangement, plans to launch Perry Ellis sportswear in Canada for fall 2000. According to Jeff Otis, the company’s president and CEO, that license will now be folded into the joint venture signed with PEI.

Product will be available for spring 2001; a full launch for PEI’s labels is scheduled for fall 2001.

“This opens a huge opportunity for us,” said Otis. “We have a stable of labels to offer the few major retailers we have up here. We’re a little late for spring, but we’ll work on it as best we can.

“With our expertise in the Canadian market, and Perry Ellis’s strong sourcing, marketing and merchandising capabilities,” he said, “it assures our role as the market leader in men’s sportswear in Canada.” DODD, ANNMARIE

critic’s pick 55

On the surface, the piano trios of Matthew Shipp and Keith Jarrett could not seem more dissimilar. True to that notion, their respective new recordings operate with seemingly different mind sets. Shipp’s Harmonic Disorder is another exploration of rhythmic disassembly and discovery while Jarrett’s Yesterdays continues to reshape jazz standards into vibrant new melodic molds.

Both recordings will be released on Tuesday.

matthew shipp: harmonic disorder

matthew shipp: harmonic disorder

Curiously, the two trios cross paths in fleeting and wonderfully unexpected ways on these albums. Shipp, who remains one of the most original improvisatory piano voices of his generation, doesn’t hide inspirations at all on Harmonic Disorder. The album opening GNG, for example, reflects the spirit of Thelonious Monk in its playful, harmonic abandon. Of course, the pianist and his rhythm mates, bassist Joe Morris and drummer Walt Dickey, sound in no way sound derivative of the great Monk. Harmonic Disorder is instead a friendly tug of war. You hear in the taut piano processional of Compost the solemn, almost brittle way Morris follows the pianist’s every move. That the tune also possesses a lyrical structure that lovingly implodes upon itself – a trait that surfaces on Shipp’s fine solo piano recordings (most notably 2007’s brilliant One) is a bonus.

Shipp has a taste for standards, as well, although the light melody of There Will Never Be Another You is taken to the shadows with rich percussive rolls and the sort of dark swing that approximates a car chase. That’s the sort of reinvention that has become a Shipp trademark. Almost as stormy is Shipp’s take on Someday My Prince Will Come. Coincidentally recorded by the Jarrett trio in 1986, Shipp lets the melody, still full of abundant warmth, rise out of a rhythmic firestorm. It enters and fades like a voice in the distance. Like much of Harmonic Disorder, there are simply too many other improvisatory ideas at work to give a melody so familiar complete run of the trio’s playhouse.

keith jarrett: yesterdays

keith jarrett: yesterdays

With Yesterdays, we are presented with something of an archival recording cut in Tokyo in April 2001. Jarrett aficionados might remember this as the time and locale that gave us Always Let Me Go, a stunning 2002 album of improvisations. While melody is still king during Yesterdays‘ jovial performances of Horace Silver’s Strollin’ and the Charlie Parker staple Scrapple from the Apple, there is a wonderful expansiveness to the recording. Credit much of that to bassist Peacock, who, frankly, has seldom played with more cunning during his 25 years with the Jarrett trio than on this album.

On You’ve Changed – performed over the past 60 years as a vocal tune by everyone from Nat King Cole to Joni Mitchell – Jarrett balances warmth and melancholy with beautiful piano reserve and a commendable lack of sentimentality. But listen close and Peacock follows his footsteps to create a conversational give-and-take that mirrors the dynamics, though not necessarily the tone, of what Shipp and Morris cook up on Compost.

Sure, the pianists remain stylistic variants of different generations. But on these two recordings, Shipp and Jarrett link the lessons of melody and improvisation as well as the ways they compliment, agitate and spur their respective trios on.

in performance: the jerry douglas band

jerry douglas

jerry douglas

Late into his stylistically and technically stunning performance last night at the Southgate House in Newport, Jerry Douglas outlined a tune he co-wrote over two decades ago with longtime guitar pal Russ Barenberg called Pushed Too Far. A typically breathtaking display of the wiry, wily ingenuity the one-time Lexingtonian has long been known for designing on the dobro, the tune was penned for a songwriting context in Weiser, Idaho that required all competing compositions to cram at least 25 notes into the first bar.

Pushed Too Far took home no trophies back then. But last night, with guitarist Guthrie Trapp ably taking Barenberg’s place, the song summed up an acoustic music approach rooted in bluegrass instrumentation but rigged with the kinds of technical demands that approximate jazz fusion. The complexities of such material, though, in no way stifled the music itself.

For example, on an immensely respectful cover of Josef Zawinul’s gorgeous Weather Report ballad A Remark You Made, dobro effectively translated the deep tenor sax remorse performed on the original version by Wayne Shorter while Luke Bulla employed fiddle drones to reflect Zawinul’s powerfully emotive orchestration on keyboards.

The bluegrass roots showed more prominently during the merry fiddle and dobro exchanges of The Emphysema Two Step while the deep pocket bass grooves of Todd Parks neatly balanced out the grassy, runaway string leads on Union House Branch.

A stirring affirmation of the great Shetland fiddler Aly Bain titled Sir Aly B ended the evening with a lovely Scottish air that was geographically, emotively and stylistically removed from the songwriting contest trials of Weiser. But then, as the entire program proved, Weiser’s loss was our enormous gain.

Gout symptoms

current listening 01/18

david byrne and brian eno: everything that happens will happen today (2008)

david byrne and brian eno: everything that happens will happen today (2008)

David Byrne and Brian Eno: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today: Unlike their mindblowing 1981 bag of groove narratives, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, this is a pure pop package. The melodies are sunny yet urgent while the lyrics profess hearty faith. The title tune is an unassuming milestone for both artists.

ollabelle: before this time (2008)

ollabelle: before this time (2008)

Ollabelle: Before This Time – At last a live chronicle of the gospel, blues and soul matrix of New York’s exquisite Ollabelle. The music is alternately rootsy and ghostly, thanks largely to Glenn Patscha’s keyboard colors while vocals alternate between the regally jubilant (Ain’t No More Cane) and spiritually sexy (Elijah Rock).

john cale: process (2005)

john cale: process (2005)

John Cale: Process – Designed as a stark solo piano soundtrack to a CS Leigh film of the same name, Process is a stark, sometimes discordant and darkly evocative instrumental work for solo piano. No doubt, this was suitable accompaniment for a presumably grim movie. On its own, though, it’s a lovely but disquieting listen.

isotope: golden section (2008)

isotope: golden section (2008)

Isotope: Golden Section – British prog rock meets vintage jazz fusion in these newly unearthed concert performances by guitarist Gary Boyle and company from 1974 and 1975. A showcase for Laurence Scott’s propulsive Fender piano solos and Hugh Hopper’s always sleek bass work.

duke pearson: the right touch (1967)

duke pearson: the right touch (1967)

Duke Pearson: The Right Touch – Pearson was a triple threat talent for the Blue Note label during the 1960s as a pianist, arranger and composer. On this 2006 remastering of 1967’s The Right Touch, he is teamed with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and sax giant Stanley Turrentine. The slow, soulful blues nugget Scrap Iron steals the show.

in performance: bryan adams

bryan adams last night the opera house. photo by herald-leader staff photographer mark cornelison.

bryan adams last night the opera house. photo by herald-leader staff photographer mark cornelison.

Early into his sold out performance last night at the Opera House, Bryan Adams determined the small eternity that had transpired since his last Lexington concert – a period just shy of 26 years, to be exact – was full of “a lot of white lines down the highway and a lot of songs to catch up on.”

And so, for two full hours, the Canadian rocker got his Central Kentucky fans up to speed with a loose fitting and immensely audience friendly acoustic concert that covered nearly three decades worth of hits, material from nine of his eleven studio albums and, of course, multiple scoops of sweetly sentimental movie ballads.

Anyone suspecting that the rockier fare from the Adams catalog might not translate in the unplugged setting should have been in their seats for a show opening revision of what arguably remains his best hit, 1984’s Run to You. The tune’s wintry arpeggios certainly suited an evening where outside temps dipped to near zero. But the acoustic alteration also worked because Adams’ scratchy vocals still maintained a youthful edge and confidence.

Similarly, 1996’s The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me is You and a modified version of his 1985 hit with Tina Turner It’s Only Love emphasized that most elemental device of pop songsmiths: the power chord. Even within sparse acoustic frameworks, the melodic strength of Adams’ most electric fare was still potent.

Of course, the singer didn’t disappoint those who came to hear the movie ballads. Just as the rockier material possessed ample drive in the acoustic presentation, the lighter fare lost none of its overt and unapologetic sentimentality.

Some of those tunes, such as When You Love Someone, possessed surprisingly honest warmth. Featured in the 1998 Sandra Bullock film Hope Floats, When You Love Someone contrasted favorably to the more popular (and vastly more sugary) All For Love, Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman and (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, all of which secured spots late into the performance. When You Love Someone proved the more efficiently emotive acoustic time piece.

The concert was billed as a strictly solo affair. But Adams happily cheated by inviting along keyboardist Gary Bright, who stuck exclusively to grand piano just as Adams employed only 6-string acoustic guitar. Aside from looking eerily like Adams (same haircut, same clothes… it was pretty creepy, at first), Bright nicely orchestrated the movie tunes, punctuated a few rockier delights (including 1987’s Heat of the Night) and crisply complimented two works that summoned the spirit of Ray Charles: a little known blues reverie called The Right Place (Adams commented he had wanted to pitch the song to the soul maestro but never did) and a cover of  Seven Spanish Angels (cut as a duet by Charles and Willie Nelson in 1986).

Oddly enough, the show highlight was a quietly plaintive tune from Adams’ 2008 album 11 called Walk On By. There, the sentimentality was capped and the rock ‘n’ roll elements were corked. All that remained was quiet, unaccompanied pop that was as stately as it was elegiac.

After that song, Adams’ mission statement for the evening was complete. As far his music went, Lexington was now officially caught up.

Hyperthyroidism symptoms

the great bennedetto

tony bennett. photo by paul drinkwater.

tony bennett. photo by paul drinkwater.

Several years ago, a friend and I were discussing the seemingly resilient renaissance of Tony Bennett.

At the time, the celebrated concert album MTV Unplugged that had re-established him as pop music royalty was already part of his legacy, countless TV appearances were underscoring his appeal to multiple pop generations and a succession of new and re-issued Columbia recordings were reaffirming a knowing jazz heritage that has always ignited Bennett’s finest music and most engaging singing.

But that didn’t answer the burning question. Why did the appeal of this New Yorker with a 60-plus year career seem so engaging? Why did a repertoire of jazz and pop standards, a library pillaged by everyone from the most pedestrian of lounge singers to the most bankable of rock stars, seem so vital when Bennett was at the helm?

We cited all the references, from his recorded affiliations with such jazz immortals as Count Basie to an awards show appearance alongside the Red Hot Chili Peppers to singing, in animated form, on The Simpsons. We looked at the numbers – specifically, the staggering 50 million recordings Bennett has sold. We looked at the sheer historical scope of his career, which has placed the singer in performance before nine presidents.

But none of that explained the magic.

The Bennett dynasty, it seemed, came down to one word: attitude. Not a brash or smug attitude, mind you – but a love of performance art that beams every time a microphone is in his hand. In short, this 82-year old son a New York grocer lights up anyone and everything around him when he sings. But no one beams more during a Tony Bennett performance than the man himself. In concert, he sings like he’s the happiest guy in the world

“I think stress and negativity is a real threat to anyone’s well being,” Bennett said last week in an email interview. “I always try to keep things positive. I think it is important to always keep that in mind.”

The artist Frank Sinatra famously dubbed “the best singer in the business” was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in Queens. He was already attracting attention at the age of 10 by singing alongside then-New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at the opening of the Triborough Bridge in 1936. Since then, Bennett’s storied career has led him around the world. And while his signature song, the 1962 Grammy-winning hit I Left My Heart in San Francisco may define the cool romantic command of his music, Bennett has never sidestepped his love of New York.

A case in point came last summer when Bennett was invited by another New York pop ambassador, Billy Joel, to sing a duet on – what else? – New York State of Mind – at the closing of Shea Stadium.

“Well, I usually perform in concert halls around the world rather than stadiums,” Bennett said. “But it was a real thrill to be on stage with 59,000 people in the audience.”

Rightly termed “a rock of integrity” in a New York Times commentary published just before the singer’s 80th birthday in 2006, Bennett has performed for the Queen of England and sung duets with everyone from k.d. lang to Elvis Costello. But his pop artistry has always been rooted in jazz, be it When Lights are Low, a 1964 tribute hit to lifelong idol Nat King Cole, or the 1992 album nod to Sinatra, Perfectly Frank. The latter also presents Bennett in his most ideal performance setting: a lean, complimentary jazz combo.

“Jazz has always been my musical passion,” Bennett said. “I always love working with jazz musicians because they keep things spontaneous. We never perform the same song the same way. It keeps things very live and in the moment.”

Still, if one album best personifies the Bennett renaissance of the ‘90s, it was MTV Unplugged. Admittedly, the commercial appeal of Bennett’s career sagged greatly during much of the ‘70s and ‘80s despite recorded triumphs that included a pair of album collaborations with jazz piano giant Bill Evans. But the Unplugged success was especially sweet because it came without compromise.

Aside from a pair of duets with lang and Costello, Unplugged simply presented Bennett as he always was: an assured singer of traditional jazz and pop standards backed by a complimentary, unfussy trio.

“It was a real vindication of the music that I have been performing all my life – the Great American Songbook,” Bennett said of Unplugged. “I have always been anti-demographics and have performed to the whole family.”

Perhaps the reason Bennett’s family appeal is so pronounced is because he treats his audience, in essence, as family. That explains much of the intimacy surrounding his performances today. But it also details some of the ageless joy Bennett finds onstage. After all, the singer’s first audience was, quite literally, his family. Shouldn’t a 21st century fanbase be received just as cordially?

“When I was younger, my family would gather at our house on Sundays and everyone would make a circle,” Bennett recalled. “And my brother, sister and I would perform for them.  I remember waiting all week until Sunday would come again so I could get a chance to entertain.

“I still feel that way every time I go on stage.”

Tony Bennett performs 8 p.m. Friday at Newlin Hall of the Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College in Danville. The concert is sold out.

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