summer album of the week: 05-23-09

Welcome to a new feature we’re planning for every Saturday here at The Musical Box from now until Labor Day weekend. It’s called simply the Summer Album of the Week – a chance to briefly celebrate a great pop/rock recording released during the summers of yore, be it last year or decades ago.

Our entries each week will reflect an album released during the corresponding month – meaning records issued in May will be written about in May and so on. But after that, we toss chronology out the window. We might feature a 2002 album one week and a gem from 1966 the next. It’s all intended to simply expand the notion of what is commonly viewed as “summer music” and recall (and maybe even re-introduce) sounds that helped fuel the fun in the sun of summers past.

We lead off with a beaut:

roxy music: avalon (released may 1982)

roxy music: avalon (released may 1982)

From its cover art work of some Nordic lord surveying an inverted horizon (clouds are the ocean, the ocean is the sky) to the gorgeous dark elegance of its immensely rhythmc tunes, Avalon is where British art rock fave Roxy Music grew up. All of its trademark sounds are still there: Phil Manzanera’s chiming guitar, Andy MacKay’s woodwind punctuations and, of course, the hapless crooning of Bryan Ferry. But add discreet keyboard and percussion orchestration along with a landmark mix by Bob Clearmountain that makes Roxy sound royal and you have a true vanguard record. When faced with the daunting task of a producing followup to Avalon, Ferry and Roxy did what any honestly discerning pop troupe band would do. They broke up.

Boy gets replacement valve without open-heart surgery: Device lets 16- year-old breathe deeply again: ‘This is the future’

Chicago Sun-Times December 16, 2005 | Jim Ritter Sixteen-year-old Justin Reaves’ diseased heart left him so out of breath that just talking made him tired.

Justin needed a new heart valve. But he wasn’t a candidate for open heart surgery because previous heart operations had created too much scar tissue.

Using a remarkable experimental device, a University of Chicago doctor this week placed a quarter-size replacement valve in Justin’s heart without doing open heart surgery. go to website open heart surgery

The procedure was similar to balloon angioplasties commonly used to open clogged arteries. The replacement valve was compressed on the tip of a pencil-thin catheter. Dr. Ziyad Hijazi inserted the catheter in Justin’s groin and threaded it through blood vessels into his heart. Once the valve was in the proper position, a tiny balloon inflated it to the size of a quarter, and it wedged in place.

Justin woke up minutes after the three-hour procedure Tuesday, able to take deep breaths. On Wednesday, Justin was released from Comer Children’s Hospital, and he headed back to the family farm in South Dakota.

“He’s much better now,” Hijazi said.

Each year, more than 100,000 Americans undergo open heart surgery to repair leaky aortic valves. A healthy valve consists of three flaps. When open, the valve allows blood to flow from the heart to the body. When shut, the valve prevents blood from flowing back to the heart.

Open heart surgery typically requires seven to 10 days in the hospital, followed by six to eight weeks of recovery.

As many as 1 million patients a year could benefit from aortic valve replacements, but most are too sick for open heart surgery, Hijazi said.

The new heart valve is made by Edwards Lifesciences of Irvine, Calif. The company has tested the device on about 75 patients, mostly in Europe, and has begun a study in the United States. The company hopes to receive approval in the European Union as early as 2007 and the United States in three or four years. openheartsurgerynow.net open heart surgery

The company wants to use the device as a replacement aortic valve. But Justin’s problem was in his pulmonary valve, which regulates blood flow from the heart to the lungs.

Under its “compassionate use” provision, the U.S. Food and Drug provision allowed Hijazi to use the device for the first time as a replacement pulmonary valve.

Edwards Lifesciences hasn’t decided whether it will seek approval to use the device for pulmonary valve replacements, which are much less common than aortic valve replacements.

Installing the new valve is a “very high-skilled procedure,” Hijazi said.

However, the skill can be taught. “This is the future,” Hijazi said. But “it will take time to perfect the technology and make it available.” jritter@suntimes.com Jim Ritter



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