RARWRITER PUBLISHING GROUP PRESENTS

CREATIVE CULTURE JOURNAL

at www.RARWRITER.com      

--------------------"The best source on the web for what's real in arts and entertainment" ---------------------------

Volume 1-2016

MUSIC    BOOKS    FINE ARTS   FILM   THE WORLD

ARTIST NEWS    THIS EDITION   ABOUT   MUSIC   MUSIC REVIEWS  BOOKS  CINEMA   FASHION   FINE ARTS  FEATURES   SERIES  MEDIA  ESSAY  RESOURCES  WRITTEN ARTS POETRY  CONTACT  ARCHIVES  MUSIC LINKS

                                 

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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.


 

 

ARTIST NEWS

For no particular reason, beyond a recent viewing of the documentary "Jaco", this issue is devoted to the history of Jazz Fusion. That documentary is being reviewed on our Cinema page. As a musical form, Jazz Fusion is not for everybody, though to its devotees it is the ultimate expression of the potentials of free Jazz. To those who love it, it is a thrilling high wire act, a musical journey into some place where few musicians have gone before. To those who don't like the form, Jazz Fusion is a little precious in its conceit, which asks audiences to give themselves to the absorptions of another. To those who like their music right out of the American Standards songbook, Jazz Fusion can be a little difficult to connect with. Perhaps a little history, and a richer understanding of the places from where it all came will help. That is what this issue is about.

Jazz Fusion

Modern Music's Demarcation

By RAR

Recently I was watching "Jaco", the long-awaited documentary on the life of bassist extraordinaire Jaco Pastorius, and while watching live performance clips of Pastorius with Weather Report I started to drift a bit. Some people hate Jazz. They hated it coming from Jazz masters Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and they hated it even more when it went electric and eventually turned into Spyro Gyra and Kenny G. I even have to fight the impulse in myself to turn off on it because Jazz doesn't really belong to the listener, but rather to the player. To the person who just isn't that into listening to somebody else get off, even great - in fact, especially great - Jazz performance can sound a lot like a guy practicing. Jazz guys know that and it is why the best marshall their solo time with great discipline. When I was a kid, adults would advise against staying out too late with a date, often saying "if it gets to be midnight and nothing has happened it isn't going to happen and you may as well take her home". Rational thinking can take the excitement of possibilities right out of life, and so it is with Jazz. If the guys haven't achieved lift off after 32 bars or so, it just isn't going to happen and you all may as well go home. Jazz fans accept that this is a possible outcome of an outing with Jazz, while people who don't like Jazz simply will not consider that form, however well credentialed and silky it may be.

So, how did we get this way, locked into this notion about what works in popular music, and what doesn't? I started to look into it to answer that question for myself, which took the form of a historical survey of the development of the Jazz Fusion form.

Mario Bauza and Frank Grillo -"Machito"

Music historians trace the development of Jazz Fusion back to the Afro-Cuban sounds that came to prominence in the 1940s in the work of composers such as Mario Bauza and Frank Grillo. Their music was a fusion of clave-based rhythms with jazz harmonies and techniques of improvisation. I stole that from the Wikipedia entry on the subject and it sounds right to my ear. Latin Jazz is a percussionist's expression, in many ways, and quite a departure from the brassy bombast of Swing. It's musical statements have a smaller sound, a staccato urgency quite different from the lush horsepower of the preceding Big Band era. Music entered an age of austerity in the post-World War II years that it never really came out of. Bands got smaller and a few select instruments were tasked with carrying heavier and heavier loads. This trend has gained momentum with the advent of advanced electronics that put the voice of entire orchestras in the hands of a single player, but we'll get to modern Jazz Fusion a little further down the page.

Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo - "Manteca"

"Manteca" is a blend of Afro-Cuban and Bebop.

While Afro-Cuban sounds were evolving in the Southern Hemisphere, American Jazz musicians, including horn players Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and others, were championing the Bebop sound. There opened the gates of hell, because Bebop was the 1940s version of the 1960s Psychedelic era in popular music, just with fewer adherents; possibly because fewer people were using heroine than would eventually use LSD, marijuana, mushrooms, and peyote.

Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker - "Hot House"

"Hot House" is a Bebop standard. Bebop expanded musical expression through the use of "advanced harmonies, complex syncopation, altered chords, extended chords, chord substitutions, asymmetrical phrasing, and intricate melodies"; there again, lifted from Wikipedia. Bebop demanded small-unit horsepower and in many ways has remained the thing one thinks about when Jazz virtuosity comes to mind. That said, Bebop's influence did not really survive the 1950s, as artists such as Miles Davis opted for other stylistic explorations.

Miles Davis - "So What"

Miles Davis was only 18 years old when he left his native Chicago to move to the east coast, where he played with Charlie Parker. Let that sink in for a moment. Davis was going to become one of the most important figures in the history of music, a visionary who would evolve to become the vanguard of new Jazz forms. His influence was "Bird", Charlie Parker, who was the personification of the Beatnik iconoclast, and a guy whose heroine use contributed to his early death. Davis was keeping company with genius, and soon enough he exhibited genius in himself, originating a form called "Cool Jazz".

 

Miles Davis - "Bitches Brew"

If Miles Davis was "cool" in the 1950s, he was flat-out spooky in the late 1960s. He had played his own form of "hard Bebop" and, in 1957, recorded "Kind of Blue" with pianist Bill Evans, drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. Pianist Wynton Kelly also played on one track. That is the best-selling Jazz LP of all time. Davis went on to explore with a second quintet that included Wayne Shorter (saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums). In 1968, Davis went electric, featuring a band that at various times included keyboard players Hancock and Joe Zawinul along with Chick Corea and guitarist John McLaughlin.

The Tony Williams Lifetime - "There Comes A Time"

Tony Williams was only 17 years old when he was tabbed to join Miles Davis' "Second Great Quartet". He is considered one of the preeminent drummers in the history of Jazz Fusion. Williams led his own band in his post-Miles days and worked with a variety of top Jazz players, while also teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area. He died of a heart attack following gall bladder surgery, only 51 years of age.

 

Return to Forever - "Sorceress"

Return to Forever was a Chick Corea project that featured a revolving cast of players. Among them was Stanley Clarke, who is certainly one of the most virtuosic bassists of all time, as this video below amply demonstrates. Others who came to prominence in that band were Flora Purim (vocal), Airto Moreira (percussion), and Al Di Meola (guitar).  Corea got his start, in the early 1960s playing in the legendary Cab Colloway's band. He went on to become a significant Jazz composer, and when he turned to fusion he became notable for his use of the "ring modulator" for processing his electric piano sounds.

The Mahavishnu Orchestra - "Meeting of the Spirits"

The Mahavishnu Orchestra was guitarist John McLaughlin's project following his stint with Miles Davis. It featured him on acoustic and electric guitars, Billy Cobham (drums, also a Davis veteran), Rick Laird (bass), Jan Hammer (electric and acoustic piano and synthesizer), and Jerry Goodman (violin). "Mahavishnu" is what McLaughlin was called in association with his studies with Indian guru Sri Chinmoy. It means  "Divine compassion, power and justice." or simply "Great Vishnu", an aspect of Vishnu.

Gary Burton and Larry Corryell - "General Mojo's Well-Laid Plan"

Vibraphone player Gary Burton worked with guitarist Larry Corryell, bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Roy Haynes to produce Duster, considered a landmark Jazz Fusion recording.

 

 

Weather Report - "Birdland"

Weather Report was born of Austrian-born keyboard player Joe Zawinul, the American saxophonist Wayne Shorter and Czech bassist Miroslav Vitouš, but it also included noteworthy players including bassists Alphonso Johnson, Jaco Pastorius and Victor Bailey; and drummers/percussionists Peter Erskine, Alex Acuña, Airto Moreira and Chester Thompson.

Zawinul and Shorter worked together with Miles Davis, and both are important figures in Jazz Fusion. Weather Report became something of a crossover unit commercially when Pastorius took over bass duties and brought a whole new level of live performance to the act. Zawinul and Pastorius had a difficult relationship with father-son overtones that may have contributed to the substance abuse and mental illness issues that brought an early end to his life at age 34.

Steely Dan - "November Afternoon / Black Cow"

The video left was uploaded to YouTube recently by someone self-identifying as "edgeofthewind". That person took some dynamite video of Steely Dan performing at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on June 13, 2016.

This video is illustrative of so much about how Jazz became Jazz Fusion and eventually Jazz-Rock. The opening number is pure Jazz Fusion and is expertly performed. People who don't enjoy this sound will point out something that is a feature of instrumental Jazz Fusion: it rarely feels as if it has a destination, but rather is all about the trip, the road to being there with it. When Donald Fagen shows up to perform the familiar pop tune "Black Cow", which borrows so many of the tropes of Jazz Fusion, you experience a level of musical clarity that really delineates and defines the two related styles. This thing that Donald Fagen calls his "fake Jazz" is a story teller's medium, a troubadour's narrative scheme. It uses words. Outside of the Jazz standard songbook, which features tons of great story-telling, what Fagen would probably call "real Jazz" is a musical experience shared between those who express it and those who absorb themselves in that expression. One must be in a mental space to go with instrumental Jazz, which is an emotional/intellectual thing that may live quite well without a melody, let alone words, though the "cooler" it gets (in the McLuhanesque sense) the more its audience narrows.

Georgie Fame - "Walking the Dog"

Some music historian types will tell you that there was a Jazz fusion taking place in British Blues-Rock music since the early 1960s, and it contributed greatly to the Blues craze that accompanied and followed the psychedelic era of Rock. It also had a profound influence on the British Invasion, particularly apparent in such bands as The Animals, The Yardbirds, and later Cream. A key figure in that emerging trend in British music in 1961 was Georgie Fame, who never broke through internationally but was a big star in Britain. As this video illustrates, Fame was the real deal, doing a brand of music that would be popularized by his near contemporary Stevie Winwood with Traffic.

Graham Bond Organization - "Hoochie Coochie Man"

The Graham Bond Organization featured Graham Bond, who was vocally a little like the street side of Georgie Fame. His band featured Ginger Baker on drums and Jack Bruce on bass, with Dick Heckstall-Smith on sax. Baker and Bruce, of course, would go on to found Cream with guitarist Eric Clapton.

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George Bernard Shaw

"Hell is full of musical amateurs."

 

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Screaming Lord Sutch

 

David Edward Sutch, aka the Earl of Harrow, aka Screaming Lord Sutch, had nothing to do with Jazz Fusion, but he was sure entertaining. A contemporary of The Beatles, the dark lord was notable for having as his side men many of the biggest names in that era of British rock, including Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Watts and Nicky Hopkins, among others. As you can see in this video, his technique for getting his female fans to scream was entirely different from that of The Beatles. His is funnier.

 

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Copyright © July, 2016 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)