August 2001 Notebook
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Wednesday, August 29, 2001

The other shoe drops: what I think is the last remaining Year 2000 saxophone prospect comes through as a remarkably strong, subtle, measured performance: Branford Marsalis, Contemporary Jazz.

Got some new Fela reissues, of which Zombie is the immediate winner. Underground System sounds better than I had remembered it, but the new issue of Army Arrangement is much less striking than the controversial Bill Laswell remix that I had way back when.

Picked up some more old stuff -- Little Milton, Big Joe Turner, Hound Dog Taylor, Big Jay McNeely -- but the one CD I expected to be great if anything exceeds my expectations: James Brown, Sex Machine.

Monday, August 27, 2001

Another notable Year 2000 saxophone: Tommy Smith's Blue Smith. I'm not surprised: Smith has always been an extraordinary player: the only fault I found with his earlier work was too much bravura, but 1997's The Sound of Love overcompensated with a bit too much composure. Blue Smith puts it all together: galloping sax over Scofield funk, elloquent balladry, avant enough to make it interesting.

Saturday, August 11, 2001

Movie: The Score. Another of those reluctant big time crook makes one last big heist and gets away with both the money and the girl movies. Where's the Hays Office when you really need it? Actually, it's not all that bad. The setting in Montreal has some charm (or at least some francais), and the acting has some redeeming value, most notably from the underrated, oft maligned Marlon Brando. B

Friday, August 10, 2001

Added Beautiful South's Painting It Red to the Music Year 2000 list. In the context of their catalog, this may be their second weakest outing (next to Choke), but I count 6 of 7 releases (or 7 of 8 counting the compilation) at A- or better, 3 at A or better, 2 records of the year. I say they're the Band of the 90s.

Also, another saxophone record, Arthur Blythe's Spirits in the Field.

Sunday, August 05, 2001

Added another Music Year 2000 CD: Willie Nelson, Me and the Drummer. It is one of Nelson's most offhand albums: the title seems recycled from Me and Paul, and much of the material is well worn, but Nelson is such a graceful singer that his most offhand, comfortable material can be sublime. I'm less satisfied with his new Rainbow Connection, which may be equally offhand, but with its sing-alongs and family spots has more dead weight for Nelson to lift.

A couple of other newly annointed A- records, a little too late for even last year's list:

  • Terrence Blanchard: Jazz in Film.
  • Charles Lloyd: Voice in the Night.
  • Macy Gray: On How Life Is.
  • Tom Varner: The Window Up Above.

Saturday, August 04, 2001

Back from Detroit. Again, need to backfill trip notes.


Jul 2001 Sep 2001