Monday, May 8, 2017


Music Week

Music: Current count 28119 [28096] rated (+23), 399 [396] unrated (+3).

Something I missed for yesterday's Weekend Roundup, but two TPM stories gave me pause: White House Blames Obama for Trump Hiring Flynn, and Obama Warned Trump Not to Hire Flynn as National Security Adviser. Seems typical that Trump would do the opposite of what Obama recommended then blame Obama when he turned out to be right. This illustrates the extraordinary extent to which Trump has based his own agenda on the desire to reflexively undo everything Obama has done over the past eight years -- to effectively erase the Obama administration from American history. Moreover, this contrasts sharply with Obama's own considered efforts to maintain continuity when he replaced GW Bush, despite the latter's dreadful legacy of failure.

I've long felt that Obama's emphasis on continuity was terrible political strategy -- he gave up the option of continuing to blame the lingering problems he inherited (like the Great Recession and the continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) on the person/party responsible for them, he made it possible for Americans to forget and forgive. The astonishing result was that two years later the Republicans could surge back as the party of resentment against America's corrupt elites. I've long felt that Obama cut not just his own but his party's throat because he bought so deeply into the myths of American Exceptionalism, and that compelled him to rationalize and defend his country even when it had gone wrong. Trump, clearly, has no such scruples or ideals, so it's hardly surprising that his reflexive contempt of Obama so often strikes against Obama's idealized America. One might expect his blind contempt to backfire more often than it has, but unfortunately the Democrats are still more inclined to defend their cherished myths -- e.g., Hillary's "America's always been great" -- than to recognize real problems, identify their causes, and propose real solutions.

I'd also like to add that in thinking about the French elections I posted a tweet, which I'll expand a bit here to get past the 140 character cramp:

One difference between elections in France and US is that French media never let you forget Le Pen is a fascist, while US media never notices our native fascism.

My point is that an honest recollection of what Republicans have done and tried to do since Reagan would have shown them to be as dastardly and disreputable as the Vichy-rooted National Front. But the media insists on treating Republicans -- even ones as vile as Trump, Cruz, and Ryan -- as respectable Americans, even though that requires massive amnesia. I'm reminded once again of Tom Carson's metaphor of America (embodied in the quintessentially all-American Mary Ann) as a perpetual virgin, regrowing her hymen after every act of intercourse. Unfortunately, the only people still suckered by this myth of American purity are elite Democrats, and their disconnection from reality is killing their party and sacrificing their voters.


Not much to say about music this week. Rated count is down, probably just because I've been slow, though I can point to repairing a fence as a distraction, and I took a couple breaks to make nice dinners-for-two (since our social entertaining seems to have withered to nothing). I did find a good record from Buffalo (one of my favorite towns) -- or perhaps I should say it found me. Among the high B+ list (all jazz) the pecking order is probably: Fiedler, Oh, Dickey, Durkin. Three of those came from Napster, as did four jazz records from the next tier down (Preservation Hall, Watson, the two Parker duos). Still have a couple dozen CDs in the mail queue, but lately they haven't been amounting to much. Still, this week's unpacking looks relatively promising.

Christgau's Expert Witness last week featured several rap records: Kendrick Lamar's Damn (an A- here last week), two each by Migos and Future (haven't heard yet). He also publisher two pieces last week: Who the Fuck Knows: Covering Music in Drumpfjahr II (something he did for the EMP Conference), and Rob Sheffield Explores How the Beatles Live on Inside Our Heads. There's also an interview Tom Slater did with him at Sp!ked Review.

Modest progress collecting the Jazz Guide reviews: currently at 635 + 436 pages, through Eliane Elias in the Jazz '80s file (27%).


New records rated this week:

  • Buffalo Jazz Octet: Live at Pausa Art House (2016 [2017], Cadence Jazz): [cd]: A-
  • Whit Dickey/Mat Maneri/Matthew Shipp: Vessel in Orbit (2017, AUM Fidelity): [r]: B+(***)
  • Andrew Durkin: Breath of Fire (2016, PJCE): [r]: B+(***)
  • Feist: Pleasure (2017, Interscope): [r]: B
  • Joe Fiedler: Like, Strange (2017, Multiphonics Music): [r]: B+(***)
  • David Gilmore: Transitions (2016 [2017], Criss Cross): [r]: B+(*)
  • Pasquale Grasso/Renaud Penant/Ari Roland: In the Mood for a Classic (2014 [2017], ITI Music): [r]: B+(**)
  • Larry Ham/Woody Witt: Presence (2016 [2017], Blujazz): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Tristan Honsinger/Antonio Borghini/Tobias Delius/Axel Dörner: Hook, Line and Sinker (De Platenbakakkerij): [dvd]: B+(*)
  • Keith Karns Big Band: An Eye on the Future (2015 [2017], Summit): [cd]: C+
  • Oliver Lake Featuring Flux Quartet: Right Up On (2016 [2017], Passin' Thru): [r]: B
  • Gregory Lewis: Organ Monk: The Breathe Suite (2017, self-released): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Willie Nelson: God's Problem Child (2017, Legacy): [r]: B+(**)
  • Linda May Han Oh: Walk Against Wind (2016 [2017], Biophilia): [cd]: B+(***)
  • William Parker & Stefano Scodanibbio Duo: Bass Duo (2008 [2017], Centering): [r]: B+(**)
  • Sarah Partridge: Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian (2016 [2017], Origin): [cd]: B
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band: So It Is (2017, Legacy): [r]: B+(**)
  • Chuck Prophet: Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins (2017, Yep Roc): [r]: B+(*)
  • Günter Baby Sommer: Le Piccole Cose: Live at Theater Gütersloh (2016 [2017], Intuition): [r]: B+(*)
  • Torben Waldorff: Holiday on Fire (2016 [2017], ArtistShare): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Bobby Watson: Made in America (2017, Smoke Sessions): [r]: B+(**)
  • Alex Wintz: Life Cycle (2016 [2017], Culture Shock Music): [r]: B+(**)

Old music rated this week:

  • Joëlle Léandre & William Parker: Live at Dunois (2009, Leo): [r]: B+(**)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Gonçalo Almeida/Rodrigo Amado/Marco Franco: The Attic (NoBusiness)
  • Anemone [Peter Evans/John Butcher/Frederic Blondy/Clayton Thomas/Paul Lovens]: A Wing Dissolved in Light (NoBusiness): cdr
  • Joseph Bowie/Oliver Lake: Live at 'A SPACE' 1976 (Delmark/Sackville)
  • Fred Frith/Hans Koch: You Are Here (Intakt)
  • B.J. Jansen: Common Ground (Ronin Jazz): June 23
  • Mat Maneri/Evan Parker/Lucian Ban: Sounding Tears (Clean Feed): advance, May 26
  • John McLean/Clark Sommers Band: Parts Unknown (Origin): May 19
  • Itaru Oki/Nobuyoshi Ino/Choi Sun Bae: Kami Fusen (NoBusiness): cdr
  • Mason Razavi: Quartet Plus, Volume 2 (OA2): May 19
  • Tom Rizzo: Day and Night (Origin): May 19
  • Paul Rutherford/Sabu Toyozumi: The Conscience (1999, NoBusiness)
  • Joris Teepe & Don Braden: Conversations (Creative Perspective Music): May 30
  • Klaus Treuheit/Lou Grassi: Port of Call (NoBusiness): cdr
  • Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Five (OA2): May 19
  • Jürg Wickihalder/Barry Guy/Lucas Niggli: Beyond (Intakt)