May 2001 Notebook
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Sorting through a batch of records from the library. I never seem to get around to jotting words down (tongue tied except for grades), but let's give it a try here:

  • Louis Armstrong / King Oliver. This anthology, on Milestone, combines the 1923 Creole Jazz Band recordings with the 1924 Red Onion Jazz Babies cuts, leading up to the famous "Cake Walking Babies from Home." The King Oliver sessions always seemed like an historic curiosity to me: one might mine them for hints, but the real progression comes later, in the Hot Fives and Sevens. A-
  • Branford Marsalis: Requiem. Having a hard time with this one, perhaps a generic problem, since I always like his records, yet always reluctant to push one above B+. Not a breakthrough so much as an accident, the record left unfinished by Kenny Kirkland's death. A-
  • A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry with Charles Mingus. Title doesn't sound promising, but the only spoken stretch is a Mingus meditation on jazz, with asides on his landlord. The music is early but classic Mingus, not as finely wrought as it would be in the next few years. A-
  • Jean-Luc Ponty: King Kong. Compositions by Frank Zappa, jazzed down to occasionally funky fusion. B
  • Ned Rothenberg: Power Lines. Avant garde saxophone in a large band context, this has a lot of interesting, stimulating music. B+
  • Zoot Sims / Bob Brookmeyer: Tonite's Music Today. Early, something of a mixed bag, but Sims kicks in with several marvellous stretches. B+
  • Eddie Vinson: I Want a Little Girl. Perfunctory Pablo record, good sound, warm band, standard repertoire. Big Joe Turner made 'em by the dozen, so why not Cleanhead? B
  • Larry Young: Into Somethin'. Not exactly your average organ groove, but closer than usual. Not your average cacophonous Sam Rivers, either, but the moderate spicing helps. B+

Monday, May 28, 2001

Threw together some tuna salad: can of chunk white tuna, a couple of quarters of sweet lemon pickle that's getting past its prime, a couple of even older roasted garlic cloves, capers, sweet tomato pickles, scallions, dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garam masala, black pepper, and a little parsley.

Sunday, May 27, 2001

Big bad weather day. We watch radar on TV, storms slipping north and south of Wichita. Garden City gets hit pretty hard, 80mph winds, hail, tornado scares, flash flooding. Forecast was for partly cloudy. I stepped out around 3PM for a look at the skies: it was, indeed, partly cloudy, but the cloudy part was an amazing mix of partly formed thunderstorms, mixed in with patches of sun. Temperature dropped ten degrees in the next twenty minutes. We decide to stay in, watch basketball game: utterly boring, but almost half of the time was taken up with interruptions for weather updates. At one point there were severe thunderstorm warnings or tornado warnings for something like 15 counties. Sedgwick had three separate warnings.

I found a red snapper fillet in the freezer, so I blackened it. Sauteed a red onion and a yellow bell pepper, and made roasted potatoes. Fabulous.

Saturday, May 26, 2001

Got two new cats. Small females, 1-2 years old: one black with brilliant onyx eyes, the other white with faint streaks of tan and blue eyes. Debating names; they couldn't care less. Allergies kicked up something nasty. I'm really bummed.

Friday, May 25, 2001

Movie: The Putz. Local talent, shot on video, monochrome no less, a film much like its namesake hero: over-ambitious, too self-conscious, clumsy, sweet, yet more often than not quite funny. I could nitpick: some things work, some fall flat, but the movie is brimming with ideas and characters. A-

Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Kathy's birthday. I throw together a quickie dinner:

The clams recipe was scaled up, with shrimp, sea scallops, and a couple of lobsters thrown in: a pretty good approximation of the Mariscada in Green Sauce that I inevitably order in Spanish restaurants. Never found a recipe under that name.

Sunday, May 20, 2001

Movie: The Tailor of Panama. Handsome movie, the Panama scenes providing a very credible allure. However, the story line leaves much to be desired: the corruption and indifference are easy enough to follow, but the gullibility of the masters in London and Washington is tough to swallow. When Bush took out Noriega, he at least was cleaning up his own dirty laundry. B

Friday, May 18, 2001

Lou Jean Fleron popped up in KS, so I fixed dinner:

I've made the Salmon dish a couple of times before: it's probably the single most surefire amazing dish in my repertoire. The rice was a revelation: bacon and chicken stock made it a sumptuous background for the sharp flavors of the other dishes (pickled ginger, fermented black beans, and cilantro on the salmon; fish sauce, palm sugar, and tamarind on water chestnuts, shrimp, and chicken; chile, garlic, and the whole Chinese repertoire melded with the eggplant). The ice cream was a fitting finish: the first actual success I can report with the new-fangled ice cream maker I bought last year. One of the very best dinners I've ever made.

Wednesday, May 09, 2001

Added yet another saxophone record to the Year 2000 list: Harry Allen, Plays Ellington Songs. Allen is a mainstream swing player, with a big, full sound and around-the-melody improvisational style that he gleaned from Coleman Hawkins. I have a soft spot for this style, and have always found Allen's records immensely enjoyable. (My favorite is the 1994 ballad album, Blue Skies). I've played this one reguarly, and always found it immensely enjoyable, but have only slowly come to recognize its distinctive genius.

Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Took a belated look at Advogato. When I went to comment on a software patents article, I found that the "trust metric" had busted me back to Observer.


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