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Volume 1-2016

MUSIC    BOOKS    FINE ARTS   FILM   THE WORLD

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Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publishing Group mailing list for updates on activities associated with the Creative Culture and Revolution Culture journals, and other RARWRITER Publishing Group interests.

 

ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.

RARADIO

(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock

 

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Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page

ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance" -AVAILABLE NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM AMAZON.COM. Use this link.

CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.

 

EXPLORE THE KINDLE BOOK LIBRARY

If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.


 

 

 

 

SPECIAL FEATURE

On the Trail of the Late Jaco Pastorius

The following story first appeared in the June 1, 2008 edition of RARWRITER.com, and has been the subject of lively interchange between RAR and other fans of the late, great bassist.

 

The Jaco Connection

The Mysterious Case of Lenny Charles

Back in the early 1980s, when I was living in Boulder, Colorado, I was occasionally visited at my apartment by a guitarist I had met through friends in the New Wave band The Pedestrians, i.e., Gerry Capone, Don Read, Phil Beckett, Steve Ignelzi, et al. The guitarist was a colorful character named Lenny Labanco, who also went by the name Lenny Charles.

Lenny has been the subject of previous pieces on this site (see the Archives article "The Pedestrians Rehearsal House and Lenny Labanco"). A talented and knowledgeable guitarist - if memory serves me correctly, he was a graduate of the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in L.A., and may have worked with that organization for a time before moving to Boulder - he would show up at my door with his hollow body electric in a battered case, and with his amplifier slung over his shoulder with an improvised strap that he used to haul his equipment around. I recall that he also carried a backpack, with cords and effects boxes, and general musician paraphernalia. (I recall being so impressed by this organizational approach that I assembled a similar kit of my own, based on Lenny's model.)  He had the disheveled look of a vagabond musician, or maybe worse, but he always had a girlfriend in tow; one who waited on him hand and foot and acted as his "minder," or so it seemed to me. (I also recall being somewhat in awe of any guy's ability to attract such a devoted paramour, and would admit to being mystified by Lenny's "pull," because his overall presentation would not lead one to immediately understand the attraction. I think I assumed she admired his talent, which was significant.) 

Around this same time, I had a roommate named Stan Kirsch, another guitarist and son of a prominent Denver surgeon, who as I recall was a music student at the University of Colorado, but yearned to travel west and enroll at GIT, around which he had built an elaborate fantasy. He seemed to imagine that GIT was like the portal to music heaven, and that a degree from there was as good as a record deal. One, therefore, can imagine the gravitas Lenny Charles carried, at least in Stan's mind, via Lenny's association with the sacred place. This did not, however, prevent Stan from doing the thing Stan always did, which was to create conflict with anyone who came through the door of the apartment. He and Lenny would engage in the most ridiculous conversations imaginable about fret board technique, a subject of interest only to the most dedicated guitar students. As I recall, Stan was a "purist" and "classically" focused, dedicated to the correct angle of fingers and wrist as taught by the good folk in the CU "guitar department," if such exists. Lenny, on the other hand, was all double-stops and slurs and muted tones and...well, he was the street reality to Stan's theoretical constructs. There was no question who the better guitarist was: Lenny Charles. Lenny could cover everything from The Beatles to Weather Report to Jimi Hendrix, which brings me to the further mystery surrounding Lenny Charles.

Lenny, it seems, was on his way to a rendezvous of fate, on the east coast, with another of his natural ilk, the legendary and ill-fated bassist Jaco Pastorius.

Jaco Pastorius, as most readers of this site will know, was a ground-breaking bassist known for his extraordinarily melodic upper register approach to the instrument. His first recording, Jaco Pastorius (1976) was a sensation, called by some the finest bass LP of all time. The LP featured an all-star jazz band including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, David Sanborn, Lenny White, Don Alias, Michael Brecker, and even legendary R&B singers Sam & Dave. 

Jaco introduced himself, in his usual tactless way, to Joe Zawinul of Weather Report and joined the band. Zawinul blames himself for introducing Jaco to alcohol, not knowing that Pastorius came from a family in which alcohol had been a devastating disease. Jaco immediately became "strange," in Zawinul's words (Wikipedia). "He started throwing things. I knew right away I had made a mistake." (See reader response at the end of this story.")

Though Pastorius was only in his 20s when he joined Weather Report, his demise was imminent, fueled by drug and alcohol addictions and bipolar disorder.

His downward spiral was steady, but he continued to make extraordinary musical contributions. Jaco was instrumental to the brilliant songwriter Joni Mitchell, serving as her "jazz bridge" when Joni segued from her brand of sophisticated folk-rock, supported by Tom Scott and the L.A. Express with Robben Ford on guitar, to the "jazz" oriented sounds of four exceptional albums: Hejira, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, Mingus and Shadows and Light. Joni's tours, particularly in support of the Hejira LP, were always attended by a cult-like following of Jaco Pastorius supporters, who swooned not only for his distinctive bass stylings, but for his general presentation. Jaco exuded charisma from the stage, sharing the spotlight almost as an "equal" on the bill with Mitchell. His fans adored his bohemian personal style, which extended to his sartorial preference for middle-eastern influenced clothing and knit skull caps.

Jaco's mental disorders and drug dependencies culminated in one awful night in September 1987. His personal problems well known, Jaco snuck on stage at a Carlos Santana concert in Wilton Manors, Florida, and was summarily ejected from the premises. Drunk and disorderly, he showed up at the Midnight Bottle Club (now known as The Corner Pocket) in The Shoppes of Wilton Manors, was denied entrance and responded by kicking in a glass door. This initiated a fight with a club bouncer, who beat Pastorius so severely that he lapsed into a coma, lived for a brief time on life support, and then, at the behest of his family, was allowed to die.

Somehow, in the midst of all that '80s awfulness, Jaco, who was often homeless during that period, became associated with the equally bohemian Lenny Charles, sometimes living on the streets with Lenny in Charles' white van.

There is a piece on www.jacopastorius.com that offers some intriguing clues to the relationship between these two unique players, Jaco Pastorius and Lenny Charles, and to the final period in Jaco's life. Click here to read the blog on the Pastorius site.

READER RESPONSE TO THE JACO STORY:

It is a measure of the esteem in which Jaco Pastorius is held in the bass world that the above account almost immediately resulted in a note from a Jaco admirer, who took exception to the way Jaco was portrayed in the Bill Milkowski book "Jaco: The Extraordinary And Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius. 'The World's Greatest Bass Player" (Miller Freeman Books, 1995), which forms the basis for much of the above description of Jaco's later years. The reader wrote - "Jaco did not come from a family of alcoholics. Jaco is kind of an icon in the Jazz world and he is respected despite all the negative stuff that has been exaggerated over the years. He is a Hall of Fame Bassist. Please cut him some respect. The Bass World will love you for it. Please take the negs away. Negs were overdone in the Milkowski Book..." In fact, Jaco's second wife Ingrid and Jaco collaborator guitarist Pat Matheny both took exception to Milkowski's accounts, with Matheny quoted, in an un-attributed Wikipedia entry, as calling the book "a horribly inaccurate, botched biography." Ingrid has a site called Ingrid's Jaco Cyber Nest that endeavors to put Jaco's story into perspective. Writes Ingrid on the site - "Milkowski's delivery lacked the sensitivity of how different Jaco was. What seemed to many as being out of the norm, even unacceptable, was merely an intelligent man, pushing the limits of individuality. Jaco wore his heart on his sleeve... I believe some of his antics were purely out of frustration of being misunderstood. Clearly his actions are not common, but from my perspective, he initially only wanted to have simple fun. He lived to give of himself through his music, assuming his role as a conduit for a higher power. The alcohol and drug abuse, a form of self-medicating, which sadly happens to be the way of the world, especially in the music business, intensified the chemical imbalance he endured." Author Milkowski is a New York-based freelancer who contributes regularly to Jazz Times, Modern Drummer, Guitar Player, Bass Player, Jazziz, Audio, Pulse Guitar Club (Italy), Jazzthing (Germany) and (until its recent demise) Fi magazines. He is also the author of "Rockers, Jazzbos & Visionaries" (Billboard Books, 1999)" (from All About Jazz.com). That site states that the Milkowski book on Jaco Pastorius is "being made into a feature film by Blue Rider Pictures out of Santa Monica, California." Whether or not that movie is happening, it is a sure bet that the legend of Jaco Pastorius is not about to disappear anytime soon. - RAR

 

Part 3 On Jaco Pastorius:

 

Jaco's Wife Ingrid Weighs In

In the June 1, 2008 edition of RARWRITER.com there was a story about the late great bassist Jaco Pastorius (1951-1987), pictured above, who came to fame with the jazz fusion group Weather Report but was legend as an innovator often credited with the greatest bass LP ever produced, his 1976 self-titled effort Jaco Pastorius.

RAR started down a path to explore the friendship between Jaco, who died in 1987 at the end of a late-life bout with mental disorder. Click here to read that original account. It turns out that there is a great deal of misinformation about Jaco's final years out there on the Internet, and RARWRITER.com soon heard from Jaco fans who wanted the record set straight.

We also heard from Jaco's second wife, Ingrid Pastorius, who was not thrilled with RAR's reporting. Her communication, included below, is both eloquent and instructive.

Hi Rick,

Thanks for writing, and your interest in Jaco.

I am assuming the information in your article is drawn from the book, internet, word of mouth, or simple common knowledge.  Is the statement "in his usual tactless way" an impression you received from those sources? His usual way was to be friendly, funny, caring, interesting, genuine, generous, honest, playful, impressive, etc., "tactless" wasn't it.

Jaco had become abrasive during the last two years of his life, his suffering began to be evident in '82, experiencing a mental condition no one had heard of, certainly never discussed at that time, self-medicating with what were then mainstream recreational activities, feeling the stress of the business industry taking advantage of him and his artistry, especially when Warner Bros closed their jazz department canceling his contract, while caring for 2 families on a jazz musician's budget.

If you would like to get to know him through people who loved him, or were deeply affected by him, rather than solely via a writer who acquainted him during his suffering days, and who insensitively interviewed folks for his book while Jaco was in the hospital, then at the wake, please refer to http://www.threeviews.com/stories.htm and http://www.myspace.com/grassrootsop

At 25 Jaco received a Grammy nomination for his first solo album. At that same time he connected with Joe and Wayne, it isn't possible "his demise was imminent" then, especially as you point out, Jaco went on to record at least 8 records with WR, 5 with Joni, not to mention Herbie Hancock, Airto, Albert Mangelsdorff (great work), John McLaughlin, Flora Purim, Tom Scott, Bireli Lagrene, quite a large collection of releases followed in those short 11 years. http://threeviews.com/jacodiscography.html

He was a great father throughout those years, certainly a son to be proud of, and adored/respected by many. Granted, it was at times very difficult for his family and loved one, we often hurt the ones we love most, but none of us would trade loving him for the world, purely enriching and life-changing. He continues to touch a large growing amount of people, affecting all of us still in a positive way.

He didn't "kick in" the glass door of the club, he irritated the bouncer who knew him personally, the beating took place outside about 25 feet from the door, Jaco never fought back, witnesses state that each time Jaco tried to rise up the bouncer pounced him down with bare (martial arts) hands.

Simply, Jaco was an innovator, a provocative history maker, affected an array of areas in music and its listeners, he suffered a disease, then was murdered. Jaco's life wasn't tragic, his death was.

In '86, while spending a day with Jaco at the basketball court, he showed me Lenny's van, which at that time was housing all the master tapes of the controversial release Holiday for Pans.

Regarding a movie, I too have heard rumors over the past few years, read it in a Milkowski bio, but I have not been personally informed, nor do I expect to be, nor would I be involved in the project. You might want to ask either Jaco's two older children John and Mary, or their uncles, Jaco's brothers Rory and Gregory, at Jaco Pastorius Inc. via www.jacopastorius.com.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment,
Ingrid Pastorius

 

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Bass Innovator Edo Castro on Jaco Pastorius

To gain further perspective into the influence that Jaco Pastorius had on subsequent generations of bass players, RAR went to San Francisco bass player extraordinaire Edo Castro (left). The ultra-articulate Edo, who in 2006 released his album Phoenix (Passion Star Records), which explored the range of rhythm and melodic possibilities presented by the instrument - Edo uses the 7-string variation - owes much to the innovative spirit of Jaco Pastorius.

That said, Edo admits that talking about Jaco and the effect his playing had on him was not easy.

"It actually was difficult because it's as if I were asked to describe a religious experience... words fall short and one must just be in the experience to understand it."

With that introduction, here is what Edo had to say about Jaco Pastorius.

 

Photo by Sharon Green

________________

You know I never knew Jaco personally but I wish I had. If there was anything true to what I've read about him, he was larger than life and words didn't do him justice: You had to experience him. We were blessed to have his creative spirit, if ever so briefly in our musical lives.

As most will agree he was perhaps the most influential musician of our time who single handedly changed the paradigm of the electric bass. After 20 years of his passing, there isn't a bassist out there who hasn't been influenced by his work.

It's interesting because my introduction to Jaco, via recordings, didn't start with his solo album Jaco Pastorious or Heavy Weather, it was Joni Mitchell's album Hejira which came out a year before Heavy Weather (1977). I was a Joni Mitchell fan already but when this album came out my hair stood on end. Joni Mitchell took a big step with this album and I welcomed it with open arms.

Track 1 on the album Hejira, "Coyote" mesmerized me. I kept wondering what "that sound was and what instrument that was making it?" I listened to that album for a year constantly to the annoyance of everyone around me. It never occurred to me that was a bass. Because up to that point I had been accustom to "thump, bumpty-bump-bump." (LOL) During that time we had Larry Graham with Sly Stone doing his slap thing, Chris Squire, John Entwistle and Rocco Prestia of Tower of Power pumping those 16th notes. Oh yeah, and Stanley Clarke's Journey to Love (1975) - that is a whole other story. Clearly though, Jaco's fretless tone and melodic approach turned everyone's head. Nobody had this sound.

Anyway that was the first time I clearly heard Jaco, not as a bassist but as a composer, overlaying his fretless bass parts, doubling melodic figures and creating textures using harmonics. By the time Heavy
Weather
hit the scene I was like "oh yeah that's him." Then I got his solo album and Heavy Weather.

Jaco's fretless tone was undeniable. I mean everyone had a fretless bass by then, scrambling to emulate his sound. Even though the fretless bass existed prior to Jaco coming onto the scene, he definitely popularized it.
Oddly enough I did my best not to play a Fender Jazz bass or a Precision because Everyone had one, so I bought a black Gibson Fretless Ripper bass, that had a very unique tone and sound. (Back then you didn't have much of choice, it was Fender, Rickenbacker, Kramer or Gibson.) The sound that Jaco had was partly due to his bass set up: Low action, roto sound Strings and that Epoxy finish on his fingerboard. The rest
of it was his hands.

This may sound controversial but in many ways Jaco's revolution was a blessing and a curse, because in one hand he brought the bass to center stage, made bassists more accountable and raised the bar for musical competence.

On the down side, many tried to play like him sacrificing the fundamental role of the bassist.

The point I think most of us missed when trying to play like Jaco back then was that he had the most sublime and innate sense of groove that was way beyond all of our preconceived notions. His command of the musical language gave him a unique insight to the "other side" of the groove: partly stated, mostly implied. It's a line easily blurred and often misunderstood. Only Someone of Jaco's level could do this. His sense of the groove and time was uncanny.

During that time every bass player was overplaying, trying to play like Jaco and just ruining the musical experience.

There was a plethora of great and not-so-great Jaco imitators but thanks to Marcus Miller, Anthony Jackson and Stanley Clark, these guys made us remember what the bass is all about first and foremost: the Groove.

For me It was a great awakening to understand that I could never be like him as a bassist but as a composer I could emulate his style and achieve the same results in my music. And perhaps that's what people hear in my music and say "wow that sounds like Jaco." That is perhaps the ultimate compliment for any bassist or composer.

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