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Monday, June 07, 2021

Music Week

Expanded blog post, June archive (in progress).

Music: Current count 35564 [35522] rated (+42), 217 [208] unrated (+9).

Saddened to hear that Frederic J. Fleron, Jr., died last week. Odd that I haven't found an obituary yet -- I did find one for his mother, Esther, from 1998, but it always seemed like fame was his due. He came into my life as Fritz, when he married my cousin, Lou Jean, and was a huge influence until they divorced. He got a Ph.D. in political science at Indiana, and taught at Kentucky and SUNY Buffalo. His specialty was Soviet Studies, and has his name on several academic books, but seemed to slow down with tenure. He came from a ritzy family, and struck me as a boisterous bon vivant, as well as a serious intellectual. He broadened my horizons, and inspired me to persevere through a very tough period in my life (not that my cousin didn't have even greater influence).

I became reacquainted with him sometime after 2000. I was visiting my cousin. He recognized me in a Buffalo record store, and came up and started talking. I remember him as being into old blues, which now included a fair sampling of folk and country. He occasionally sent me mixtapes. I didn't reciprocate, because I've never done that sort of thing, but I did return occasional tips and reviews. I follow him and their daughter Ingeri on Facebook, which is where I learned of his death. He was quite a character, and will be remembered and missed.

[PS: Here's an obituary for Fred Fleron.]


I made a minor change to the Christgau website recently: I was fixing a security issue with the "Google Search" widget, and decided it would be better to target a new tab for the search results, since going to them would lose the website's navigation menus.

A bit later, I thought I should have that same functionality on my website. Turns out I had implemented it some time back, but it was only showing up on some pages. It shows up on more now, although the historic sprawl has left some pages with older framing. Reminds me that a redesign is in order, but unlikely any time soon.

Redesigning the Christgau website is a higher priority -- one that I've made very little progress towards. I did catch up the Consumer Guide database last week (still not public; probably later this week, but the new stuff is embargoed, anyway; may wait until his June CG comes out).

I started this week off by noticing a Randy Sandke reissue in Napster's featured jazz list. Turns out that a lot of Nagel Heyer releases are now available, so I took a dive, which shortly led me to saxophonist Harry Allen. Nagel Heyer is a German label which released a fair amount of retro-swing in the 1990s and afters. One problem with their discography is that they have a bad habit of reissuing old records under new titles, often changing the artist credits as well. I ran across several such cases below, finally noting it on the Butch Miles release(s).

Harry Allen is one of my favorite saxophonists, so his dive went further. He developed a big following in Japan in the 1990s, with BMG releasing 3-4 records per year there -- only a few appeared in the US on RCA. I've long been frustrated by inability to find those titles, but Slider reissued the Japanese BMG/Novus records in 2007, and they're now on Napster (and probably other streaming sources).

Still, half of this week's A-list records are new music. Having listened to very little new non-jazz over the last couple months, it was easy to pick promising candidates off lists presented on the Expert Witness Facebook Group (one from Sidney Carpenter-Wilson proved most useful: his only A-list album I didn't check out was Black Midi, and the others scored *** or better, while a couple items from his B-list beat the odds). [PS: Gave Black Midi a B: "started better, ended worse."]

I'll follow up on more tips next week, including the latest from Phil Overeem, plus whatever Christgau comes up with. (Meanwhile, enjoying Awesome Tapes From Africa at the moment, especially DJ Black Low.)

Unpacking up this week, after a recent drought, so suddenly I'm behind on new jazz. Still not much there (other than Dave Rempis' The Covid Tapes) I'm really looking forward to. When I do bother to check sources, it seems like I'm getting very few of the top-tier albums (i.e., by artists I'll check out because everyone else will). I didn't have to look beyond Napster's featured list to find Tony Allen, Jaimie Branch, Dave Holland, and Sons of Kemet -- only two of those I knew were coming.

Managed some minor home projects, including a couple bathroom items (faucet aerator, grab bar mounted on tile) that had vexed me for a long time. Trying to figure out what to do about a faulty air conditioner this week -- troubleshoot, repair or replace? I'm already bothered by the heat, and it hasn't hit 90F yet (although it will by Wednesday).

Approaching the end of Jack E. Davis' The Gulf, where he gets into the chemical pollution allowed by the right-wing political regimes in the region, especially in Texas and Louisiana. This after the environmental destruction in Florida, which was mostly the work of developers. One might hope that some of this has been reversed, but for four years Trump gave clear signals to pollute all you want, and the impact of that takes time to accumulate. How much we will pay for the folly of letting his corrupt regime take power is still unfathomable. (Of course, it's not just the Gulf. Look at Turkey this week.)

Part of the reason is that it's hard to see where real change might come from. While the right-wing gets ever uglier, we're still beset by people (especially in the media) willing to patronize them. Especially ugly this week is Netanyahu's panic over the agreement to make someone else (Naftali Bennett, if that matters) prime minister of Israel. Looks like the intent there is to show Trump what a real coup looks like. (See: Shin Bet chief warns against Netanyahu incitement to political violence.) And speaking of ugly, consider this: Younger brother of Michael Flynn takes command of US Army Pacific.


New records reviewed this week:

  • Harry Allen/Mike Karn: Milo's Illinois (2021, GAC): [r]: B+(**)
  • Tony Allen: There Is No End (2020 [2021], Blue Note): [r]: B+(**)
  • Aly & AJ: A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up on Your Feet Gets You Out and Then Into the Sun (2021, Aly & AJ Music): [r]: B+(*)
  • Jaimie Branch: Fly or Die Live (2020 [2021], International Anthem): [r]: A-
  • The Chills: Scatterbrain (2021, Fire): [r]: B+(***)
  • Dave Holland: Another Land (2020 [2021], Edition): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jack Ingram/Miranda Lambert/Jon Randall: The Marfa Tapes (2021, RCA Nashville): [r]: B+(***)
  • Gabor Lesko: Earthway (2021, Creativity's Paradise Music): [cd]: B
  • The Linda Lindas: The Linda Lindas (2020, self-released, EP): [r]: B+(***)
  • L'Orange & Namir Blade: Imaginary Everything (2021, Mello Music Group): [r]: A-
  • Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime (2021, Matador): [r]: A-
  • Maria Muldaur With Tuba Skinny: Let's Get Happy Together (2021, Stony Plain): [r]: A-
  • Olivia Rodrigo: Sour (2021, Geffen): [r]: A-
  • Paul Silbergleit: The Hidden Standard (2018 [2021], BluJazz): [cd]: B-
  • Ches Smith/We All Break: Path of Seven Colors (2015-20 [2021], Pyroclastic, 2CD): [cd]: A- [06-11]
  • Sons of Kemet: Black to the Future (2021, Impulse!): [r]: A

Old music:

  • The Harry Allen-Keith Ingham Quintet: Are You Having Any Fun? A Celebration of the Music of Sammy Fain (1994, Audiophile): [r]: B+(**)
  • Harry Allen: Tenors Anyone? (1996 [1997], BMG Novus): [r]: A-
  • Harry Allen: Here's to Zoot (1997, BMG Novus): [r]: B+(***)
  • Harry Allen/Randy Sandke: Turnstile: Music of the Trumpet Kings (1997 [2007], Nagel Heyer): [r]: B
  • Harry Allen: Day Dream (1998, BMG Novus): [r]: A-
  • Harry Allen: When I Grow Too Old to Dream (1999 [2000], BMG Novus): [r]: B+(***)
  • Harry Allen: One Upon a Summertime (1999, BMG Novus): [r]: B+(***)
  • Harry Allen: Cole Porter Songbook (2001, BMG Novus): [r]: B+(***)
  • Harry Allen: Dreamer (2001, BMG Novus): [r]: B
  • Harry Allen: I Can See Forever (2002, BMG Novus): [r]: B+(*)
  • Harry Allen: I Love Mancini (2002, BMG Novus): [r]: B
  • Harry Allen: The Harry Allen Quartet (2003, self-released): [r]: A-
  • Harry Allen/Joe Cohn: The Harry Allen & Joe Cohn Quartet (2005, self-released): [r]: B+(**)
  • Harry Allen/Rossano Sportiello: Conversations: The Johnny Burke Songbook (2011, GAC): [r]: A-
  • Harry Allen: Love Songs Only! (1993-2001 [2013], Nagel Heyer): [r]: B
  • Alan Barnes/Harry Allen: Barnestorming (2006 [2007], Woodville): [r]: B+(*)
  • Butch Miles and Friends: Cookin' (1995, Nagel Heyer): [r]: B+(***)
  • Butch Miles and Howard Alden: Soulmates (1995 [2002], Nagel Heyer): [r]: B+(***)
  • New York Allstars: The Bix Beiderbecke Era (1993, Nagel Heyer): [r]: B+(**)
  • The New York Allstars: We Love You, Louis! (1995 [1996], Nagel Heyer): [r]: B+(*)
  • Randy Sandke: Randy Sandke Meets Bix Beiderbecke (1993 [2002], Nagel Heyer): [r]: B+(**)
  • Randy Sandke and the Buck Clayton Legacy: All the Cats Join In (1993 [1994], Nagel Heyer): [r]: B+(***)
  • Randy Sandke and the New York Allstars: The Re-Discovered Louis and Bix (1999 [2000], Nagel Heyer): [r]: A-
  • Vladimir Shafranov Meets Harry Allen With Hans Backenroth/Bengt Stark: Dear Old Stockholm (2016, Venus): [r]: B+(**)
  • Shaolin Afronauts: Flight of the Ancients (2011, Freestyle): [r]: A-
  • Shaolin Afronauts: Quest Under Capricorn (2012, Freestyle): [r]: B+(**)
  • Rossano Sportiello/Matthias Seuffert: Swingin' Duo by the Lago (2005-06 [2008], Styx): [r]: B+(*)
  • Allan Vaché and Harry Allen: Allan and Allen (2001 [2002], Nagel Heyer): [r]: A-


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Duck Baker: Confabulations (1994-2017, ESP-Disk) [06-25]
  • Keshav Batish: Binaries in Cycle (Woven Strands) [07-10]
  • Michael Bisio/Kirk Knuffke/Fred Lonberg-Holm: The Art Spirit (ESP-Disk) [06-25]
  • Dan Dean: Fanfare for the Common Man (Origin Classical) [06-18]
  • Sean Michael Giddings: Red Willow (Origin) [06-18]
  • Doug Lofstrom: Music for Strings (Origin Classical) [06-18]
  • Jason Nazary: Spring Collection (We Jazz) [06-25]
  • Larry Ochs-Donald Robinson Duo: A Civil Right (ESP-Disk) [06-25]
  • Pluto Juice: Pluto Juice (Contagious Music) [07-16]
  • Will St Peter/Steven Heffner/Steve Barnes: Honestly (Origin) [06-18]
  • Marta Warelis/Frank Rosaly/Aaron Lumley/John Dikeman: Sunday at De Ruimte (Doek RAW)

Friday, June 04, 2021

Daily Log

Sidney Carpenter-Wilson May 2021 listening report:

A-List
Sons of Kemet: Black to the Future [A]
The Chills: Scatterbrain [***]
Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime [A-]
No-No Boy: 1975 [A-]
Khaira Arby: Live in New York 2010 [A-]
Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert & Jon Randall: The Marfa Tapes [***]
James Brandon Lewis: Jesup Wagon [A-]
black midi: Cavalcade [B]
Olivia Rodrigo: SOUR [A-]
B-List
Aly & AJ: a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun [*]
Bachelor, Jay Som & Palehound: Doomin' Sun
serengeti: curse of the polo [*]
DUDA BEAT: Te Amo Lá Fora
Rochelle Jordan: Play With the Changes
L'Orange & Namir Blade: Imaginary Everything [A-]
CHAI: WINK
Maria Muldaur & Tuba Skinny: Let's Get Happy Together [A-]
Honorable Mentions
81355: This Time I'll Be of Use
Mannequin Pussy: Perfect - EP
Iceage: Seek Shelter
Young M.A.: Off the Yak
Mach-Hommy: Pray for Haiti
CZARFACE & MF DOOM: Super What?
easy life: life's a beach
Weezer: Van Weezer
Allison Russel: Outside Child
Serengeti: Keep Winning 
Tee Grizzley: Built for Whatever
Mustafa: When Smoke Rises
But Not For Me
The Black Keys: Delta Kream
Juliana Hatfield: Blood
St. Vincent: Daddy's Home
Jorja Smith: Be Right Back
Squid: Bright Green Field
J. Cole: The Off-Season

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Daily Log

Jim Marsh posted this on Bobby Jenkins (photo link):

Sharing a post from H. David Pendleton to old childhood neighborhood friends about Bobby Jenkins. Linda may be too young to remember Bobby. We also called him R.E. Thank you for your service and sacrifice Bobby.

"Sergeant (SGT) Robert Earl "Bobby" Jenkins was born on 3 August 1947 and listed Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas as his Home of Record with the military. He died on 19 May 1968 in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam at the age of 20 due to an explosive device He is buried in the White Chapel Memorial Gardens in Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas.

Bobby was an Infantryman (MOS 11B) in the Army and must have been proficient having been promoted to SGT with so little time in service. He arrived in Vietnam on 6 October 1967 and joined B Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry Regiment, 198 Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. The 52nd is a relatively young regiment whose history only dates back to World War I. Units of the 52nd are still around and fought in Afghanistan. The unit was given the nickname "Ready Rifles" and its motto is Fortis et Certus (Brave and True)

"Bobby is carrying the M-60 Machine Gun in the photo. The M-60 Machine Gun was the most important weapon in an infantry platoon. The platoon's 2 M-60s provided as much firepower as all other M-14s/M-16s combined. This must have been taken when he was not a sergeant because he would have relinquished his position as Machine Gunner when he became a Team Leader."

SGT Jenkins military decorations include the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Division, and the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB). SGT Jenkins place on the Vietnam Wall is on Panel E63, Line 11."

Steve Hull commented:

Thank you for posting this. Bobby picked on and teased me relentlessly. I am better for his time. He was a top athlete. Loved fast cars and knew how to fix them. He was supposed to be on leave that week. He traded with someone who needed it more. He was smart, tough, and a leader. A bright future lost too early.

Linda Appelhans [Joplin] commented:

I do remember Bobby, we were next door neighbors. He was older than me so we didn't really know each other very well. I remember how his death in Vietnam shook our neighborhood. Thanks for sharing this, Jim.

I commented:

Thanks for sharing this post. Virtually all the kids, at least on our side of the street, were younger than me: Wayne and Bobby were the exceptions, but Wayne was so much older I never had much to do with him. Bobby used to come over and shoot baskets -- trying to play against him was ridiculous, so we mostly played HORSE. As he got older, he pulled away. He got a Pontiac GTO, and always burned rubber from his driveway to Blake, hitting 50 before skidding around the corner. I never thought of him as being smart -- just a big jock who could be a lout. He left, got married, had a kid, got sent to Vietnam, and died senselessly. I was already totally against the War, but his death made it personal, and I've often thought of him. (There was, by the way, another guy, who grew up just on the other side of Blake, who got killed in Vietnam -- can't remember his name, but have a vague picture in my mind.) I hated every aspect of the American War in Vietnam, but the one that Bobbie's death signified to me was how callously the generals wasted the lives of draftees. One last point is that Tony worshiped Bobby, and was hugely affected by his death. Tony once told me that he was haunted by death. His parents were gone by then, maybe Wayne too, but I took that as mostly about Bobby.


May 2021