Monday, August 29, 2005

Happy Birthday Charlie "Bird" Parker!

I was was first introduced to Charlie "Bird" Parker on the corner of 55th and Madison Ave -- in the jazz archives housed in the building that I worked at in New York City. Although I'd already been turned on to jazz by the trombone player in a band I'd played with at university, I wasn't ready for it in my early twenties. I really didn't start "feeling it" until I moved to NYC to work at a record company where I was availed to a grip of recordings made by the greats like Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, etc...Since I got all my tunes for free, I sampled everything I could get my hands on from Dylan's Blonde on Blonde to Public Enemy's Greatest Misses LP and then there was the jazz catalogue which required some heavy lifting -- there was so much of it to ingest, I couldn't do it all in a couple of sittings, this was going to take some sort of syllabus,or so I thought...

I soon got into the habit of reading bios I found lying around and parsing through the pages for the names of significant singles, LPs and whatnot -- it took a while before I started to get a clue but, in hindsight, I now see that the research enhanced my listening pleasure exponentially. A lot of people I'd met who'd been bitten by the jazz bug could be musical snobs to put it mildly -- probably taking their cues from old school critics like Stanley Crouch or the lot who scribed for DownBeat Magazine back in the day -- but occasionally I'd meet an enthusiast who was coming in from the cold on the jazz scene also; who was trying to get a toehold on the "vibe" from between the vinyle grooves as they went along, as was I - learning in that amatuerish way that either deepens one's affinity for the subject-matter of study or sours them on it completely -- I opted on the former which was also Nat Henthoff's approach...

I think in order to truly "feel" jazz, you've got to possess the facility to absorb a little history, the shit you won't find on album jackets and is buried in the lore of the players' lives, where all those cats were coming from creatively and biographically. While the whole aura of the jazz idiom has become imbued with the cliche of "urban-ness", most of the genre's trailblazers -- like Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Mose Allison and Charlie Parker -- were from the deep South, as am I. I felt a connection to Bird while thumbing through the pages of his backstory in Kansas City and how he'd recognized early on that he was wanted to be someplace else...someplace more germane to his sensibilities...I guess we all felt that way while experiencing that one-of-a-kind hell that adolescence can be -- very few of us, however, have the minerals to follow through and act on those youthful impulses because we let our lives get in the way; get tied down by the ecoutrements of adulthood. Before I realized it, I got sucked into Charlie Parker's world while listening to a live recording of a performance he'd cut in 1945 with Dizzy Gillespie at the Town Hall in New York and it was all over..."Salt Peanuts, Salt Peanuts" I listened and read and got reborn on the ontological level; I was shown a new facet of being...a little clarification's in order...

In 1945 Charlie Parker was 25 years old (Gillespie was a couple of years older ) and they were at the top of their game and weaving pastiches of notation while hacking, in unison, deeper into the sonic hinterlands leaving those without the chops light years behind -- intentionally. "Go hard or go home." They were doing what they felt had to be done to take the genre to the next logical step in craftsmanship and were unrepentant. "Salt Peanuts, Salt Peanuts." Taken contextually, it's east to see that Bird and Dizzy had plans. The train was pulling out of the station. Initially, the stalwarts accustomed to bigband swingers like the Glenn Miller Orchestra loathed bebop, some because you couldn't dance to it; some thought it was pretentious but Parker and his bebop brethren forged ahead anyhow. Hindsight 20/20 and all that, what can you say? The task these cats had set for themselves took a hell of a lot of power -- both of the will and skill...

More context: In the early days of jazz, when it bubbled up from under speakeasy door cracks after gestating in the womb of the blues artists like Sidney Bechet, Satchmo, Lester Young on up to Duke Ellington had helped introduce jazz to the masses up North in places like Chicago, D.C., Philadelphia and NYC and soon enough white acts like Miller and Benny Goodman began to appropriate the new style while watering it down into what became a pop-ish; a formulaic hit parade and pasted a caucasian face on it to make it palatable for mainstream (:white) consumption. Don't get me wrong a grip of black music would've been lost if people like Glenn Miller and later Dave Brubeck, others didn't serve as racial conduits. After the tastemakers who ran the handful of labels began to realize that "race records" -- black music -- could make them lots of scratch this phenomenon would repeat itself many times in the future in other genres with acts like Bill Haley & the Comets, Elvis, The Beatles, Pat Boone, The Righteous Brothers, Paul Butterfield, the Rolling Stones and more recently the Beastie Boys and Eminem and...whatever, we've been there and bought the t-shirt...

When one considers the harsh racial climate that were the 40s and the difficulty black artists had trying to procure paying gigs and the requisite union cards for getting session work (which most didn't), simplifying their idiom into jazz-lite did not bode well either fiscally or from an aesthetic perspective. Bird, Dizzy and co. knew this, acted on it and thus their concoction of stylistically challenging note-stacking and tandem riffing which helped them carve off a piece of the codified jazz paradigm and knead it into the subgenre that they christened bebop. Together they careened into the vastness of the vanguard while simultaneously leaving those who lacked the stones or vision bobbing in the ripples of their wake as they cut swaths of sound onstage during the witching hours in smoky nightclubs all over America...

Songs like Gillespie's "Shaw Nuff," "Hot House" and "Groovin' High" and later Bird's "Ornithology" left a labyrintine trail of cleft notes for me to follow decades later, pulling my ears in directions I'd yet to travel while staring at my bedroom ceiling in my tiny apartment back on the Upper West Side of Central Park. I followed in earnest and haven't stopped. Contrary to what those "star-bellied sneetches" (as Dr. Suess would call 'em) of the jazz world might imply, one doesn't have to be an encyclopedia of musicology to appreciate the "message between the blue notes" of a jazz song. That said, a proper dose of background helps throw everything you hear into sharper relief in a whomever's world you're listening to was living in when he cut whatever you're listening to. Besides, most of those self-styled "afficianados" are dilettantes or at least started out as such - they just won't admit it. Nobody knows everything about anything. That's one of the first lessons you learn: when you're listening closely to a really tight outfit "breathing" together all that pretension is eviscerated, the nut gets cracked open and something else reveals itself -- you know it when it happens too...that's jazz, yo. I came into this world a decade and change after Charlie Parker had moved on and I wasn't really feeling him/ his music until I'd gathered a gaggle of troubles and vices of my very own which required me to unlock a couple of tumblers within...and then I couldn't get enough. It was in my DNA, like a primordial insect sealed in amber and it made me follow the example given me, then stand in front of the looking glass and acknowledge things about me that I don't like to talk about at parties...

Charlie Parker's personal lifestyle choices left a lot to be desired; his many stays in psychiatric wards on both coasts, his lifelong struggle with heroin, then alchol when he quit doping and then his return to horse which inevitably abbreviated his stay on the planet. I guess some spirits have to move through this world faster than others and those of us not in the fast lane only get to see them streak past like comets in a fleeting blur of sound and light. And still, there's those of us who hadn't the chance to merge onto that fray at all and can only rubberneck at the treadmarks, flames and smoke that these travelers leave behind in a smoldering, crumpled heap of tangled remains; the glowing aftermath of a life lived four times the speed of most...

To apply the word "genius" to Charlie Parker would be a misnomer because although he had more talent in his pinky than an entire nonet, I think the what he had was a heightened sense of intuition which he embraced fully and used it to alter the direction of the music that he loved to play and forcing it to evolve. Going beyond the latter and all that that might encapsulate, Bird was, above all else, human. The ease with which he accepted his foibles, infused them with his life experiences, smelted it all together as his muse and spun it out of the loom of his saxophone's bell is mind-blowing because he lived hard and the way he played was a metaphor for his lifestyle...

Bird's solos have been reverse engineered and picked apart by thousands of aspiring artists searching for their voices by tracing the blueprint of Parker's quest for the same thing. They often try to no avail - maybe because they couldn't lather up their necks for the cutting board and Occam's Razor. It's all well and good to live vicariously through the exploits of those you admire but "eventually" you're going to have to float out into the abyss of the real tethered to the gossamer twine of whatever really matters to you; your truth and only you can know what that is...Bird taught me that the hard lessons come straight at you from the deep, dark crevices in your soul and without warning. I think he knew this all too well, so whether he was kicking junk in the bathroom of a Harlem flop house or while sitting in the great room of a baroness' mansion he had to be him. That last forced those around him (and those he'd never meet) to either accept him or get left behind which he ultimately did anyway when he overdosed in 1955. What a waste...

In closing, saxphonically speaking (and in broad strokes for brevity), Charlie Parker was the concrete pavement on a bridge extending from the roots of jazz in New Orleans and Bechet and Armstrong and Young to the days of Davis, Coltrane, Artie Shaw&si=rhino">Julian "Cannonball" Adderly,, Coleman and Yusef Lateef. The latter artists, in turn, formed the mile markers that takes the listener to players like Gato Barbieri, Grover Washington, Jr., both Wynton and Branford Marsalis and (dare I type it) Kenny G and Dave Koz. That last two have created an angry froth among "tech-heads" (like Parker and Gillespie themselves were back in the day) but maybe it might comple some group of young machers in the future to turn "cool jazz" on its ear and make it (once again) hip to be challenging. To thin out the herd of popsters by forcing their audiences (yet again) to follow them down the rabbit hole and return the genre to the level of sophistication that it was at back in Bird's day instead of the beastly elevator pap that it has become...I'm still a believer, though.

The simple fact that the music Parker cut sixty years ago is still influencing musicians, painters, writers, actors, architects and whomever else is telling. While today he'd probably get written off as a basket case, a junkie or worse, I don't think it would matter to Parker in the least. Despite the fact that he grew up in the Jim Crow South and died in the segregated North, his muse couldn't be squelched; he broke on through anyway. Sometimes you got to listen to the metronome ticking within and fuck the mea culpas. Charlie "Bird" Parker had a hand in teaching me about that last little bit and for that I'll always be grateful. Happy Birthday Bird! You're gone but certainly not forgotten...Happy Birthday Bird! You're gone but certainly not forgotten...

-- Timeline --

1939 Leaving Kansas City for Chicago, Charlie Parker ultimately ends up in New York City, the new jazz mecca, following the mass exodus of musicians previously rooted in the fading scene in the south.

1941 Jay McShann's ensemble is signed to record on Decca, which is Charlie Parker's professional recording debut.

1942 The McShann band debuts in NYC at the Savoy Ballroom, which effectively introduces Parker to the jazz cognicenti in Manhattan,shortly after which he transplants himself in New York for good.

1943 Parker plays in pianist Earl Hines’ band, which leads to work backing Hines’ resident vocalist, Billy Eckstein. The group also features the trumpet player John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie in it's lineup- the two hit it off.

1945 Parker and Gillespie record together with Clyde Hart and his All Stars and later with Sarah Vaughan. Parker begins to come into his own as a leader under the auspices of a recording deal with Savoy Records. The sessions yield classic records of "Now's the Time", "Cherokee" and "Ko Ko" with a backing ensemble comprised of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Curly Russell and Max Roach, dubbed "the Ree Boppers". Later, Parker and Gillespie take a journey out to the west coast with a new sextet featuring the two. Shortly after the LA gig, Parker, Gillespie et al are set up to record for Dial records before returning to NYC. Parker does not show for the secondary scheduling and it is here that he and Gillespie cease to perform as a unit- although the two would work together in the future, their professional collaborations would never again be codependently based.

1946 Recording sessions with Dial Records are set with Parker ,after the rest of the group goes back to NYC, producing "Yardbird Suite", "Ornithology" and "Moose Mooche". Conversely, Parker's proclivities for heroin use begins to consume him and he is arrested in LA which results in his detainment at Camarillo State Hospital for the rest of the year.

1947 Upon his release from Camarillo, Bird returns to Los Angeles and arrangements are made for him to record at Dial. These sessions yield "Cool Blues" and "Past Due"- later called "Relaxin' at Camarillo". At this point Bird fan Dean Benedetti begins to record the saxophonists performances. Returning to New York, and his drug habits of old, Parker is initially invited to play with Dizzy again but the trumpeter forgoes the proposal after learning of Bird's rekindled addiction. In spite of the latter, a recording opportunity opens at Savoy Records after which he forms a performing quintet. Later, he plays Carnegie Hall for the first time, first in a quint set featuring Dizzy and later backing Ella Fitzgerald with Gillespie's Big Band in the last half of the show. With another recording ban looming in the horizon set to begin on Jan. 1 of the proceeding year. Dial Records' Ross Russell comes to NY from LA to record Bird on behalf of his label. The composite of these sessions scheduled over the last quarter of the year unsheaths a slew of Parker classics, most prolifically, "Bird of Paradise", "Scrapple from the Apple" and "Quasimodo."

1948 Savoy records Parker, irrespective of the current ban, while the saxman performs in earnest all over New York City at the top clubs on the circuit. Additionally, Parker is consigned by Norman Granz who begins recording Parker in efforts to take his music genius to a wider audience. While his active playlist is relegated to a few jazz staples, the Granz sessions presents an opportunity to record in the Afro Cuban idiom supplying a fresh supply of brilliant new Parker improvisations culminating in a recording contract with Granz.

1949 Charlie Parker takes a triumphant tour of Europe at the Paris International Jazz Festival, triumphantly returning to New York to play a gig at Carnegie Hall. Later, Bird switches gears, making more pioneering inroads, by recording "Charlie Parker with Strings".. At the year's end, the Broadway jazz club is opened and christened "Birdland" in commemoration of Parker's contribution to the genre- his band is featured in the establishment's opening night performances.

1950 A highly anticipated reunion with Gillespie in the recording studio comes to fruition with an ensemble comprised of Curly Russell, Buddy Rich and Thelonious Monk. Later, Bird takes his strings set up to the Apollo Theater in Harlem following a secondary "Parker with Strings" submission. The hornman also goes back to Europe to perform.

1951 In addition to recording with a quintet featuring Miles Davis and Max Roach and a recording summit with Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges, Bird records with Gil Evans and Dave Lambert.

1953 Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie perform together for the last time with Charles Mingus, Bud Powell and Max Roach at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada.

1954 Following the death of his daughter, Parker sinks into a deep depression followed by erratic behavior and drug binges as his health goes on the wane from the hard living he'd grown accustomed to.

1955 Charles Christopher Parker dies at 35 from a combination of health complications due to his heroine use.

1984 Charlie Parker is post humously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Grammy as one of the trailblazers of jazz.

-- Mo' Facts --
-Parker had no formal jazz training, meaning he didn’t learn improvisation fundamentals from the swing jazz bands like Louis Armstrong and His Hot Sevens. He did, however, grow up in Kansas City in the ’30s—hearing artists like Count Basie, Lester Young, and R&B trailblazers who made the Missouri city a hotbed of black talent.

-Charlie’s first professional gig of note was working with alto saxophonist Buster Smith. At 17, Bird was surrounded by influences, mainly competitive, that would force him to streamline his writing skills.

-On his first visit to New York City, Yardbird gets to see forerunners of contemporary sounds such as pianist Art Tatum.

-Recording with Jay McShann between 1940 and 1942, Parker really got a chance to sharpen his jazz “chops.” He had already begun pushing the swing sound envelope with breakneck improvisation perceived as noodling to some—just barely within the structure.

-Though his skills were improving exponentially in the early ’40s, Parker’s learning went unheralded, primarily due to a recording ban issued by the musicians’ union.

-Bored with the standard fare offered by the founders of the jazz movement, Parker heard something else he dubbed “this thing,” that other technically “learned” seemed to overlook. He found that by using higher intervals of a chord as a melody line (backing them with changes in the correct key arrangement), he could indeed play what he kept “hearing” in his head that apparently no one else could. This principle is the foundation of the bop sound, which would soon dominate the jazz scene.

-Charlie Parker’s only real contemporary in artistic skill was Dizzy Gillespie, with which he recorded the genre-altering tracks “Shaw Nuff,” “Salt Peanuts,” and “Hot House.” Along with Dizzy, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, Mile Davis, and Milt "Bags" Jackson he made inroads toward a choppier, harmonic knowledge driven palette on which to play individually in a constantly shifting setting- exercising thier dexterity in the evolving stylus, some of the musicians would play "upside down",literally following the written sheet music in reverse of what was scripted on the staff in front of them.

-With artistic complexities beyond the grasp of most big band jazz enthusiasts, the intricacies of bop would divide fans of the genre, Parker’s music made the “hipsters” of jazz a closed circle, where Bird found his freedom to express himself once liberated from the "pop" music market.

-Bird’s rapid fire style of soloing revolutionized the artistic approach to harmonic improvisation, the compression of “so much language” into “so little sonic space” created a medium of expression in its own right, additionally, he brought the saxophonist to the fore of live performance. Before Parker, the saxophone was used traditionally as a melodic foundation for the rest of the ensemble to bounce off of, By re-phrasing modal structure and re-emphasizing melodic notation during his solos took the sax off the sidelines and onto the playing field o
f the live dynamic.

-Parker eventually began to lead groups into tonal forays like “Now’s The Time” and “Billie’s Bounce,” which were even more complex than the recordings done with Gillespie. This would rapidly change jazz
from just a danceable music form to one that forced the listener to actually “listen” to what was being played.

-When Parker returned to the States after his success in Europe, the popular jazz enclave Birdland was named on his behalf in New York.

-Charlie Parker’s hard-living ways made it easier for his detractors to dismiss bebop as “outlaw music,” although it is now acknowledged that if recordings of Bird’s solo improvisations are slowed down, every note makes theoretic/acoustic sense. Even during his creative heyday, Parker was an enigmatic figure in the jazz world. While establishing himself as an iconoclastic/groundbreaking musician, his visage never appeared on any of his influential Downbeat albums in his lifetime.While jamming on the song “Cherokee” with guitarist Biddy Fleet, Charlie Parker “realized” how to play notes in a way that he’d been “hearing” in his head but could never actualize acoustically—this brainstorm would herald the bop jazz movement.

1946 -- Jazz At The Philharmonic, 1946 (PolyGram) Live -- PolyGram
1947 -- Diz ’N Bird At Carnegie Hall (Live) -- Capitol
1947 -- Charlie Parker -- Verve
1948 -- South Of The Border: The Verve Latin Jazz -- Verve
1948 -- Bird On 52nd Street (Live) -- Original Jazz
1948 -- Bird At The Roost: The Savoy Years, Vol. 1 -- Savoy
1949 -- Swedish Schnapps -- Polygram
1949 -- Jazz At The Philharmonic, 1949 (Live) -- Verve
1949 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 2: April -- Verve
1949 -- Charlie Parker With Strings: The Master Takes -- Verve
1949 -- The Bird Blows The Blues -- Dial
1949 -- Charlie Parker Quintet -- Dial
1950 -- Charlie Parker & Stars Of Modern Jazz At -- Jass
1950 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 4: Bird -- Verve
1950 -- Bird & Diz -- Verve
1950 -- One Night At Birdland -- Columbia
1950 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol.1 -- Verve
1950 -- Bird With Strings (Live) -- Columbia
1951 -- Charlie Parker Sextet -- Dial
1951 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 8 -- Verve
1951 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 6 -- Verve
1952 -- Summit Meeting At Birdland -- Columbia
1952 -- The Complete Legendary Rockland Palace… (Live) -- Jazz Classics
1952 -- Boston 1952 (Live) -- Uptown
1953 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 3 -- Verve
1953 -- Charlie Parker Plays South Of The Border -- Mercury
1953 -- Yardbird: DC-53 -- VGM
1953 -- Quintet Of The Year Debut
1953 -- The Jazz At Massey Hall -- Original Jazz
1953 -- The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever (Live) -- Prestige
1953 -- Collector’s Items -- Dial
1953 -- Bird At The Hi-Hat -- Blue Note
1953 -- One Night In Washington -- Elektra
1954 -- Jazz At Massey Hall -- Original Jazz
1956 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 5 -- Verve
1957 -- A Night At Carnegie Hall (Live) Birdland
1981 -- Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 3 -- Verve
1988 -- Charlie Parker With Strings Mercury
1996 -- Bird (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) -- Columbia
1996 -- Live At The Tradewinds -- Le Jazz
2000 -- Legendary Dial Masters, Vols. 1 & 2 -- Jazz Classics
2000 -- Parker’s Mood -- Jazz Classics
2000 -- Bird Of Paradise (Prism) -- Prism
2000 -- Live Sessions -- Black Label


1937 -- Last Unissued, vol.1: Bird's Eyes -- Philology
1940 -- Complete Birth of BeBop -- Stash
1940 -- Early Bird (1940-1944) -- Stash
1940 -- First Recordings -- Onyx
1940 -- The Charlie Parker Story, vol. 1 (Stash) -- Stash Budget
1943 -- Birth of BeBop Stash1944 -- Encores, vol. 1 -- Savoy
1944 -- Charlie Parker, vol.3 -- Savoy1944 -- Encores, vol. 2 -- Savoy
1945 -- Every Bit of It -- Spotlight
1945 -- Yardbird Suite: The Ultimate Collection -- Rhino
1945 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol.5 -- Spotlight
1945 -- Charlie Parker Memorial, vol. 2 -- Savoy
1945 -- BeBop's Heartbeat -- Savoy
1945 -- Yardbird in Lotus Land -- Spotlight
1945 -- The Genius of Charlie Parker -- Savoy Jazz
1945 -- The Complete Savoy Studio Sessions -- Savoy
1946 -- The Charlie Parker Story, vol. 3 (Verve) -- Verve
1946 -- Charlie Parker on Verve 1946-1954 -- Verve
1946 -- Bird: Complete on Verve -- Verve
1946 -- Compact Jazz: Charlie Parker Plays the Blues -- Verve
1946 -- Confirmation: The Best of the Verve Years -- Verve
1946 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol. 1 -- Spotlight
1946 -- Complete Dial Sessions -- Stash
1946 -- The Charlie Parker Story, vol. 2 (Stash) -- Stash Budget
1946 -- In a Soulful Mood -- Music Club
1946 -- Carvin' the Bird -- Drive Archive
1946 -- The Legendary Dial Masters, vol. 1 -- Stash
1946 -- The Legendary Dial Masters, vol. 2 -- Stash
1946 -- BeBop and Bird, vols.1 & 2 -- Rhino
1946 -- BeBop and Bird, vol. 2 -- Rhino
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol.3 -- Spotlight
1947 -- Lullaby in Rhythm (live) -- Spotlight
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol.2 -- Spotlight
1947 -- The Complete Dean Benedetti Recordings -- Mosaic
1947 -- The Immortal Charlie Parker, vol. -- Savoy
1947 -- Charlie Parker Memorial, vol. 1 -- Savoy Jazz
1947 -- Rare Bird -- Recording Arts
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol.4 -- Spotlight
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol.8 -- Spotlight
1947 -- The Great Sessions (1947-1948) -- Jazz Anthology
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol. 6 -- Spotlight
1947 -- Alternate Masters, vol. 1 -- Dial
1947 -- The Charlie Parker Story, vol. 1 (Verve) -- Verve
1947 -- The Charlie Parker Story, vol.2 (Verve) -- Verve
1947 -- Charlie Parker Alternate Masters, vol.2 -- Dial
1947 -- Legendary Dial Masters, vol. 1 -- Stash
1947 -- Legendary Dial Masters, vol. 2 -- Stash
1947 -- The Charlie Parker Anthology -- Accord
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol. 7 -- Spotlight
1947 -- The Charlie Parker Story on Dial, vol. 1 -- Stash
1947 -- The Charlie Parker Story on Dial, vol. 2 -- Stash
1947 -- With Dizzy Gillespie & Miles Davis -- Stash
1948 -- The Band that Never Was -- Spotlight
1948 -- Charlie Parker, vol. 4 (Savoy) -- Savoy
1948 -- Charlie Parker (Prestige) -- Prestige
1948 -- Newly Discovered Sides -- Savoy Jazz
1948 -- Sessions Live, vol.2 -- Savoy Jazz
1948 -- Bird at the Roost, vol.1 -- Savoy
1948 -- Historical Recordings, vol. 1&2 -- Les Jazz Cool
1948 -- Verve Years (1948-1950) -- Verve
1948 -- Live Performances -- ESP
1948 -- Broadcast Performances, vol.2 (live) -- ESP
1948 -- Sessions Live, vol. 1 -- Zeta
1949 -- Bird at the Roost, The Savoy years ( -- Savoy
1949 -- Rara Avis -- Stash
1949 -- Bird at the Roost, The Savoy years ( -- Savoy
1949 -- The Genius of Charlie Parker, vol.7 Jazz -- Verve
1949 -- Bird at the Roost, vol.2 (live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Vird at the Roost, vol. 4 (live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Bird in Paris (live) -- Spotlight
1949 -- The Essential Charlie Parker -- Verve
1949 -- Last Unissued, vol. 2: Bird's Eyes -- Philology
1949 -- Last Unissued, vol. 3: Bird's Eyes -- Philology
1949 -- Live at Carnegie Hall Polygram
1949 -- Bird at the Roost (live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Bird at the Roost: The Savoy years (complete…live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Bird at the Roost The Savoy years, vol.1 (live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Bird at the Roost The Savoy years (live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Bird Charlie Parker: 1949 concert (live) -- Forlane
1949 -- Le Jazz Cool, vol. 1 -- JC
1949 -- Le Jazz Cool, vol. 2 -- JC
1949 -- I Got Rhythm, vol. 2 -- Harlequin
1950 -- Bird in Sweden -- Spotlight
1950 -- Live at Birdland (1950) -- EPM
1950 -- Bird at St. Nick's Original Jazz
1950 -- Bird at the Roost, vol. 3 (live) Savoy
1950 -- Apartment Sessions -- Spotlight
1950 -- The Bird You Never Heard -- Stash
1950 -- Charlie Parker in Sweden
1950 -- Alamac1950 -- More Unissued, vol. 2 -- Royal
1950 -- One Night in Chicago (live) -- Savoy
1950 -- And the Swedish All Stars -- Sonet
1950 -- Verve Years (1950-1951) -- Verve
1950 -- Evening at Home with the Bird Savoy Jazz
1951 -- The Happy Bird -- Charlie Parker
1951 -- Live: Boston, Brooklyn…1951 -- EPM
1951 -- More Unissued, vol. 1 -- Royal
1951 -- Bird with the Herd: 1951 (live) -- Alamac
1951 -- Fabulous Jam Session -- Dial
1952 -- September 26, 1952 (live) -- Verve
1952 -- Verve Years (1952 - 1954) -- Verve
1952 -- Legendary Rockland Concert/ 1952 -- Jazz Classics
1953 -- Charlie Parker at Storyville (live) -- Blue Note
1953 -- Big Band -- Clef
1955 -- The Magnificent Charlie Parker -- Clef
1955 -- Yardbird -- Clef
1955 -- The Fabulous Bird -- Vogue
1955 -- Memorial Album -- Jazztone
1955 -- Giants of Modern Jazz -- Roost
1955 -- All Star Sextet -- Jazztone
1956 -- The Saxes of Stan Getz and Charlie Parker
1957 -- Dedicated to the Music of Charlie Parker
1957 -- West Coast Time -- Black Label
1960 -- Les Jazz Cool, vol. 1 -- Les Jazz Cool
1960 -- Les Jazz Cool, vol. 2 -- Les Jazz Cool
1960 -- Les Jazz Cool, vol. 3 -- Les Jazz Cool
1961 -- Historical Recordings, vol. 1 -- LeJazz
1961 -- Bird is Free Charlie Parker
1961 -- A Handful of Modern Jazz -- Baronet
1961 -- Pair of Kings: Stan Getz and Horace Silver -- Baronet
1961 -- Bird Symbols -- Charlie Parker
1961 -- Once the was Bird -- Charlie Parker
1962 -- Bird Lives -- Charly
1964 -- By the Immortal Charlie Parker
1965 -- The World of Charlie Parker -- Roost
1967 -- Bird Wings -- VSP
1967 -- Charlie Parker Plus Strings -- Charlie Parker
1973 -- Comprehensive Charlie Parker (live) -- ESP
1973 -- The Best of Charlie Parker: Dizzy Gillespie -- Roulette
1973 -- The Charlie Parker/ Dizzy Gillespie Years -- Roulette
1977 -- Apartment Jam Sessions -- Zim
1977 -- At the Pershing Room -- Zim
1988 -- Bird: The Original Recordings of Charlie Parker -- Verve
1989 -- Bird Flies High Special Music
1990 -- Memorial Concert (live) -- Polygram
1991 -- Jam Sesion -- Verve
1991 -- Birdology -- Black Label
1991 -- Jazz 'round Midnight: Charlie Parker -- Polygram
1991 -- The Immortal Charlie Parker -- Savoy Jazz
1992 -- Inglewood Jam -- Time Is
1992 -- The Bird (Sound Solutions) -- Sound Solution
1992 -- Historical Sessions -- BL
1992 -- Last Unissued, vol. 8 Bird's Eyes -- Philology
1992 -- Jazz Greats -- BL
1993 -- Don't Blame Me -- Pilz
1993 -- Congo Blues -- Pilz
1994 -- The Charlie Parker Story: In Word & Music -- Black Label
1994 -- Verve Jazz masters 15: Charlie Parker -- Verve
1994 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 11 -- Philology
1994 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 12 -- Philology
1994 -- Birdman -- Royal Co1994 -- Charlie Parker, vol. 1 -- A Makin'
1994 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 15 -- Philology
1994 -- Bird Eyes, vol.16 -- Philology
1994 -- Bird at the Apollo -- Black Label
1994 -- Essential -- Polygram
1994 -- Verve Jazz Masters, vol.28: Charlie Parker -- Verve
1995 -- Birdseed: The Unheard Charlie Parker -- Stash Budget
1995 -- Montreal (1953) live -- Uptown
1995 -- Early Years -- Stash
1995 -- Early Years, vol.2 -- Stash
1995 -- Bop City, vol.1 -- Black Label
1995 -- Bop City, vol. 2 -- Black Label
1995 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 19 -- Philology
1995 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 20 -- Philology
1995 -- Bird's Best Bop on Verve -- Polygram
1995 -- Young Bird, vols. 1 & 2: 1940-1944 -- Masters of Jazz
1995 -- Bird at Birdland -- Charly
1995 -- Bird of Paradise (Eclipse) -- Jazz Hour
1995 -- Blue Bird -- Jazz Hour
1995 -- The Jam Sessions -- Xanadu
1995 -- Unheard Charlie Parker: Bird Seed, vol.1 -- Stash
1995 -- BeBop & Bird, vol.1 -- Rhino
1995 -- Bird Meets Diz -- Charly Le Jazz
1996 -- Autumn in New York -- Le Jazz
1996 -- Bird Eyes, vol.21 -- Philology
1996 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 22 -- Philology
1996 -- Bird with the Herd: (Drive) -- Drive Archive
1996 -- Bird Eyes, vol.9 -- Philology
1996 -- Bird's the Word -- Jazz World
1996 -- Bird Eyes, vol.10 -- Philology
1996 -- Groovin' High (Total Recording) -- Total Recording
1996 -- Groovin' High (K-Tel) -- K-Tel
1996 -- Complete Charlie Parker on Dial -- Jazz Classics
1996 -- Immortal Sessions, vol.1 -- Saga Classical
1996 -- 1945, vol. 3 -- Masters of Jazz
1996 -- Immortal Sessions, vol.2 -- Saga Classical
1996 -- Jazz after Dark: Great Songs -- Public Music
1997 -- Yardbird Suite -- Collector's Ed
1997 -- Charlie Parker, vol. 4 (Masters of Jazz) -- Masters of Jazz
1997 -- 1944-1946 -- EPM Musique
1997 -- Charlie Parker, Member's Edition -- United Audio
1997 -- Roots of Jazz -- Boxsets
1997 -- Revue Collection -- Revue Collection
1998 -- 1945-1946 vol.5: Young Bird -- Masters of Jazz
1998 -- At Birdland (live) -- Ember
1998 -- April in Paris -- Import
1998 -- Gold Collection (Fine Tune) -- Fine Tune
1998 -- Masterworks: 1946-1947 -- Giants of Jazz
1998 -- Jazz at the Philharmonic, 1946 (Giants of Jazz…live) -- Giants of Jazz
1998 -- The 1947 Classics
1998 -- Complete Savoy Live Performances: Sept. 29 -- Savoy Jazz
1998 -- Jazz at the Philharmonic (Indigo live) -- Indigo
1999 -- Masters -- Cleopatra
1999 -- Jazz Archives: Parker -- Century Vista
1999 -- Talkin' Bird -- Polygram
1999 -- Young Bird, vol. 6 (1974) -- Masters of Jazz
1999 -- Ultimate Charlie Parker -- Hallmark
1999 -- Diz n' Bird -- Giants of Jazz
1999 -- Bird (Giants of Jazz) -- St. Clair
1999 -- Forever Gold -- Jazz Archives
1999 -- Cool Blues -- Melodie Jazz
1999 -- 1945-1947 -- Jazz World
1999 -- The World of Charlie Parker (Ember) -- Ember
1999 -- BeBop -- Hallmark2000 -- Les Incontournables -- WEA International
2000 -- Cool Bird Magnum Collection
2000 -- Live Performances, vol.2 -- Calibre
2000 -- New Bird: Rare Live Recordings -- Orchard
2000 -- Jazz Masters -- EM
I2000 -- Gold Collection (Retro) -- Retro Music2000 -- 1947-1949 -- Melodie Jazz
2000 -- At Birdland, vol. 1 (live) -- Ember
2000 -- Bird Goes Latin: Charlie Parker Originals -- Jamey Aebersol
2000 -- Quasimodo: The Dial Sessions -- Definitive
2000 -- The Complete JATP Performances (live) -- Definitive
2000 -- The Street Beat 2000 -- Ornithology: Rare Recordings
2000 -- The Complete Savoy Masters
2000 -- Blue Bird: Legendary Savoy Sessions
2000 -- Best of the Dial Years -- Stardust
2000 -- Jazz at Tiffany's -- Dressed to Kill
2000 -- Au Private -- Object Enterprises
2000 -- Bird: The Savoy Recordings -- Savoy
2000 -- Bird: The Savoy Recordings (Master Takes) -- Savoy
2000 -- Bird: The Savoy Recordings (Master Takes) -- Savoy
2000 -- Broadcast Performances (live) -- ESP
2000 -- Charlie Parker All Stars -- Black Sun
2000 -- Parker Plus Strings -- Black Label
2000 -- Live at the Rockland Palace:Charlie Parker
2000 -- Original Bird: The Best of Bird on Savoy -- Savoy
2000 -- Bird Box, vols. 1-3 -- Jazz Up
2000 -- Bird Box, vols. 7,8, & 9 -- Jazz Up
2000 -- Bird Box, vols. 13,14 & 15 -- Jazz Up
2000 -- Bird Box, vols. 16, 17 & 18 -- Jazz Up
2000 -- Bird Box, 4, 5 & 6 Jazz Up
2000 -- Bird Box, vols. 10,11 & 12 -- Jazz Up
2000 -- Round Midnight and Other Gems -- JCI
2000 -- The Bird: The Savoy Recordings -- Savoy
2000 -- The Bird: The Savoy Recordings -- Savoy
2000 -- The Bird: The Savoy Recordings -- Savoy
2000 -- Bird and Sarah -- Black Label
2000 -- Bird and Miles -- Black Label
2000 -- Gold Collection (Deja Vu) -- Deja Vu
2000 -- Memorial -- Savoy2000 -- Memorial, vol. 2 -- Savoy
2000 -- Bird Flies Deep -- Atlantis
2000 -- Jazz at the Philharmonic (live) -- Verve
2000 -- Rocker -- Jazz Live
2000 -- Charlie Parker, vol. 2 1949-1953 -- Saga
2000 -- Groovin' High (Jazz Time) -- Jazz Time
2000 -- The Best of Bird -- Legacy
2000 -- The Cole Porter Songbook -- Verve
2000 -- Compact Jazz -- Verve
2000 -- The Verve Years -- Polygram
2000 -- The Very Best of Bird Warner Bros
2000 -- Bird's Nest -- Trace
2000 -- Early Bird -- Le Jazz
2000 -- 1945-1953 -- Giants of Jazz
2000 -- From Dizzy to Miles -- Giants of Jazz
2000 -- Immortal Concerts (live) -- Giants of Jazz

(*Labels given where possible, most imports were left blank)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Glazed Donuts

I've already talked about Camp Casey below but whatever happened to the Karl Rove investigation? When Opinion Trumps History by Sean Gonsalves sheds a little light on remembering the past and what George Santayana was touching on in his essayThe Birth of Reason, I think...

E.J. Dionne, also on featured on WFC had a tight little joint called A House of Ill Reputethat touches on the rampant corruption in the House of Representatives and the Byznatine ways that things get done on "the Hill" and how the Dems shouldn't hesitate at the moment of truth...By the by, you gonna answer me on that Rove thing? Okay, be that way...whatever...Did you hear about the latest tirade made by Pat "African Diamond Mines" Robertson have to say re: Hugo Chavez? a guy who actually won his seat as head of his country?

I'll close this glaze-over on an upbeat not with Will Durst who had a funny take on the whole thing with a piece in AlterNet called Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Gods of War and it's always a hoot to look at the "most viewed/ read lists" to put a finger on the pulse of your peers in cyberspace...Last year I remembered the laughs I had reading this hilarious string of stories about the crazy things bird owners do to get their pet birds off...yeah, that's right...take a look; I guarantee you'll giggle...check out the 2nd series too and remember: the bird's the word. ...I know those donuts are chocolate covered, not glazed...that's a little batter-fried imagery...Laters, yo.

10,000 Maniacs: In My Tribe

Many moons ago my first girlfriend in college turned me on to Natalie Merchant's group 10,000 Maniacs while we were kicking it in her loft and I dug them instantly. I'm all shot of that girl but the music still remains. Recently a friend played me some of their early stuff which I'd forgotten about. I must admit, however, the In My Tribe LP has a special place in my heart...

-- 10,000 Maniacs Timeline --

1982 After officially forming in the previous year, 10,000 Maniacs make their recording debut with a five track EP which is pressed on the label they launch themselves. Still officially unsigned, they distribute their effort at local concerts.

1983 Following the addition of drummer Jerry Augustyniak to it's lineup, the fledgling group began to distribute "Secrets Of The I Ching", their first full length LP, in the same manner as the previous year's debut.

1984 Based on the strength of their popularity in England, Merchant and crew are signed to Elektra Records back in the states.1985 Late in the year, 10,000 Maniacs make their "official" label debut with the album "The Wishing Chair" which is produced by Joe Boyd.

1986 John Lombardo leaves the group to seek a solo career.

1987 Producer Peter Asher helms the sessions that yield 10,000 Maniacs' breakthough LP "In My Tribe" which garners both critical and commercial acclaim for the fledgling act. The new outing becomes the group's first charting LP when it enters the US listings in the fall of the year.

1988 The "In My Tribe" parents two modest pop hits, "Like The Weather" and "What's The Matter Here?" which hit #68 and #80, respectively. The singles push the LP to #37-US at the zenith of it's year and a half long stay on the listings.

1989 The Maniacs return to the airwaves with a new set titled "Blind Man's Zoo"- which also features the production talents of Asher. "Zoo" yields the hit "Trouble Me" which is supported by a popular MTV video that pushes the cut to #44-pop. The new set eventually cracks the US top twenty where it peaks at #13.

1992 At the end of a year long hiatus, Merchant returns to the fold and they hit the studios in sessions that yield the new album "Our Time In Eden" in the fall of the year. Although the album contains only one commercial hit "These Are The Days"(#66-pop) the album itself enters the US charts by years end, where it climbs to #28 at the top of a year long run.

1993 Early in the year, the group performs at the MTV Inaugural Ball for President Bill Clinton in Washington, DC. Later in the year, they featured on MTV again, appearing in an installment of the "MTV Unplugged" series. Elektra eventually submits the live recording "MTV Unplugged" shortly after which Merchant amicably leaves the group to persue a solo career. In addition to parenting the group's biggest hit single "Because The Night" (#11-pop), the "Unplugged" set reaches #13-US- converseley, it is also the group's ultimate release on the label.

1995 Guitarist John Lombardo returns to the group and vocalist Mary Ramsey joins the fold as well.

1997 Signed to Geffen Records in the previous year, 10,000 Maniacs make their label debut with the LP "Love Among The Ruins" which heralds Lombardo's return and also features new lead vocalist Mary Ramsey. The album yields the group's first "post- Merchant" hit, "More Than This" which reaches #25-pop on the US singles charts.

1999 The new set "Earth Pressed Flat" is released on the indie label Bar None.

-- Mo' Maniacs Facts --

Initially 10,000 Maniacs' lineup denoted the group's "revolving door" of artists culled from the talent pool on the campus of Jamestown Community College and the city itself. The group solidified with an ensemble comprised of Dennis Drew (keys), John Lombardo (guitar), Steven Gustafson (bass), Robert Buck (guitar) and singer Natalie Merchant.

-Shortly after they began playing out locally, the Maniacs to play out locally refining their alternative-folksy sound as they went. They cut their first tunes as part of an audio engineering project at the facilities of the State University of New York that resulted in two separate collections of tracks- the EP "Human Conflict Number Five" and the LP "Secrets Of The I Ching." Both of these outings were released on the Christian Burial label, which the group had launched themselves.

-Divided By Five: 10,000 Maniacs derived their name from the title of a B-Movie entitled 2,000 Maniacs.

-In the early 80's the Maniacs had two independent releases under their belts which they "distributed" at their live performances. After they'd signed on with a manager from Britain the group got bookings in the UK to support their growing fan base across the Atlantic. The group's emergence on the British music scene coincided with the budding popularity of UK alt acts like the Smiths and Joy Division, they initially derived their sound from the latter. DJ John Peel (of the famous "Peel Sessions") also began to play their music on his popular UK radio show that expanded their following in Europe exponentially. The group's successes abroad sparked label interest and they were ultimately signed by Elektra Records.

-Joe Boyd, who produced the Maniacs' Elektra debut, also produced for Fairport Convention, The Incredible String Band, Pink Floyd and even Toots and the Maytals- after working with the Maniacs, he even produced for R.E.M., who would also help push the sound of college rock to the fore as the 80's drew to a close.

-In 1986, following the release of "The Wishing Chair", guitarist John Lombardo left 10,000 Maniacs to forge a solo career. He eventually formed John & Mary with vocalist/ violinist Mary Ramsey. In the mid 90's, after Natalie Merchant had departed from the Maniacs, Lombardo returned to the group along with Ramsey (who took over Merchant's role as lead vocalist).

-When producer Peter Asher was brought on board to helm "In My Tribe", he brought on a slew of artists to support the new effort which included arranger David Campbell (who'd done string arrangements for Aerosmith) jazz bassist Bob Magnusson as well as pianist Don Grolnick. In addition to this groundbreaking release, Grolnick has recorded with singers like Ashford & Simpson, Roberta Flack, Harry Chapin and Chaka Khan- he'd also done sessions for jazz cats like Ron Carter, David Sanborn, Billy Cobham, Art Farmer, George Benson and Gato Barbieri.

-In 1990 Elektra submitted the "Hope Chest" compilation which containing remixed cuts from the early recordings on the SUNY, Fredonia before they went to England and were officially signed to a label.

-By the late 80's singer Natalie Merchant began to branch out in other directions creatively. Around the release of "Our Time In Eden" she announced her intentions to forge a solo career by giving the other members a two year notice which they kept a secret from their fans. In '93 the group's appearance on MTV Unplugged would became her ultimate recording with the act. That same year Merchant's solo debut "Tigerlily hit the charts and in '94 the "Unplugged" effort made platinum sales. Although her solo career was doing quite well, Merchant did return to the Maniacs' fold (in the studio) and supported them on their 1999 effort "Earth Pressed Flat."

-Factoids: R.E.M.'s frontmant, Michael Stipe, sang background vocals on In My Tribe. Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker from James Brown's JB's played on Our Time in Eden. In the early 90's drummer Jerry Augustyniak was accidentally hit by a car, which temporarily prohibited him from performing with the group. Max Weinberg- from the E-Street Band "filled in" for him while he recovered.

Albums by Year - Title - Label

1982 - Human Conflict Number Five - Christian Burial Records

1983 - Secrets Of The I Ching - Christian Burial Records
1985 - The Wishing Chair Elektra
1987 - In My Tribe - Elektra
1989 - Blind Man's Zoo - Elektra
1992 - Our Times In Eden - Elektra
1993 - MTV Unplugged - Elektra
1997 - Love Among The Ruins - Geffen
1999 - Earth Pressed Flat - Bar/ None

Compilations by Year - Title - Label

1990 Hope Chest: The Fredonia Recordings 1982-1983 Elektra

The Bastille Prison vs. Crawford, Texas

...I just got in and switched on All Things Considered and the Cindy Sheehan thing came up and there was a panel of editors from various magazines speaking on 'where their readers' heads were vis-a-vis the war in Iraq, the Crawford thingy, the "Preznitt's" overall performance and where the country's heading ...what these people had to reveal during the segment got my skin leaking with cold sweat...

Is it just me or are the people in the media who are supposed to 'afflict the comfortable' become the proverbial foxes guarding the henhouses of our national braintrust? What in the hell is it going to take to get people in the streets en masse like, dare I write it, the French did when King Louis XVI's administration didn't come correct back in the late 1700s when two different royal finance ministers tried to restructure France's system of taxation...which lead to that little block party called the French Revolution...

See, the French government (read: the king) was up to it's eyeballs in debt to other nations (: creditors) so one of the finance ministers, Charles Alexandre de Calonne, first suggested that the citizens start conspicuously consuming/ shopping to give their creditors the impression that everything was going well...I think that bears repeating. Back in the late 1700s, when France was one of if not the cultural hub of the European world, its governing body (thus the country itself) was essentially going broke while giving off the illusion of living large -- on credit, son. Does any of this sound familiar? ("if we stop shopping...then they win"). De Colonne got the hook only to be replaced by an equally inept politico named Étienne Charles de Loménie de Brienne -- same bat shite, same bat channel but at least they got to flush feudalism down the bidet, reinvoke the powers of the Third Estate over conservative nobles, oh yeah, and the inaugural Bastille Day took place...

...There's a "counter-protest" opposed to the Sheehan view that the war in Iraq wasn't just..."the white-shoed wild bunch" of believers are headed toward Crawford to rally 'round the flag, sling mud at Cindy and her ilk and blindly support the BushDeathStar folks; the energy elites; the very people getting richer by the day as America's hoi poloi push pennies together to pay for the skyrocketing price of the midst of flagging public approval ratings the POTUS is running around stumping for pro-war support with his tent pole raison d'être (du jour) which has become "since we're already there, we've got to stay the course until such time that it's politically convenient to 'cut and run' now that all the monies that can be re-directed through questionable public/ foreign policy (:stolen) has been 'appropriated' " least that's the talking point he's sticking to when I checked about five minutes ago...he's got the whole world in his hands...where's the outrage, yo?

...In Europe, the Dark Ages came to a close with the signing of a boatload of treaties, most prominent, The Peace of Westphalia (also known as the treaties of Münster and Osnabrück) which lead to the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment (Reason) and France's Fête Nationale (National Holiday) which was similar to the blueprint utilized by that little "gathering of insurgents" living in the 13 British colonies over in the New World -- led by some anti-Empire yokel named soon we forget...

...the historic through-line has been the fact that organized religious zeal (yeah, that thousand-headed beast of an enterprise) from the 15th on up to the 17th centuries served as a backdrop for changes in the way the rich kept the poor stuck on the cockroach-ridden side of the proverbial wrong side of the tracks...just like now...Intelligent Design be damned, the GOP has button-hooked on the public with schemes that have been utilized by power brokers who have been on the make since the days that Marcus Aurelius wore his hemlock Kangol... Still, the Achilles Heel of any despotic outfit that's been this successful at hoodwinking the populace it rules has been its own hubris...and time itself...I've always wondered how much mileage could be gotten out of our current state of affairs before the wheels fell off the wagon...too bad the voting public didn't do their own homework right about now last year...oh well, bitterness profits no one. Time marches on and NOBODY can beat the clock, just ask Joseph Stalin or Idi Amin...tick...tock...

...we're getting cornholed without vaseline...who do you know in the real world who can afford to take 5 weeks off for a vacation, anyway? They're living in a different world altogether, yo: they're living in a different world. The Revolution (the French one) wasn't televised but this one will be, contrary to what Gil Scott-Heron hollered from the rooftops while standing on the shoulders of The Last Poets. I'm glad it will be...maybe Ken Burns will slap together a week long DVD presentation for PBS...I'd buy a copy of this administration's downfall for posterity's sake in a New York second...The revolution will be televised, it will be televised, it will, it will, it will be televised...but still, this time, the revolution...will be live...Laters...

Note: Those idiots supporting our "adventure in the sand" have been found to be getting finances from conservative PR Gomer Pyle would say: "surprise! surprise!" Anyhoozle, the picture above is titled "Liberty Leading the People" which depicts the storming of Bastille Prison...ain't she fine?


Friday, August 26, 2005

Behave Yourself!!!

I already know that I'm prone to post lyrics to songs on here -- deal widdit, son...sometimes that's the best way to get one's point that end, read these lyrics from Fishbone -- one of the tightest live bands I've ever witnessed rock out onstage back in the day. Tighter than a drum, yo. The tune is called "Behavior Conrol Technician" from their Reality of My Surroundings LP...remember the words when you're sitting down for your next lab lecture or you show up at work and the "Funky Boss" is on your back...Laters...


Oh, children run away from torturistic ways.
Children still resist the powers that persist...
"will you shut up and sit still?"
I think you should obey...
Having very few rights, we cannot communicate...

...train my brain to work the way you want me to -
"Don't question authority, see."
Be a little zombie that agrees with you.
You are strapped with a double standard clip;
in a battle you won't win...
and when it's all over -
we're gonna dance your memory away!

...sheltering will restrict your babies' mind...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Do You Know What's In This Document?

RedBall Express: Tom Hanks in Black?

When I woke up today I started listening to 1150 AM, Johnny Wendell was passing the ball to Dr. Firpo Carr. I was informed that a guest on today's show would be Colonel Emmitt Simmons, who'd served in the Army during WWII. Carr has promised over the weeks that he'd get the aging hero on the air and thus he did. The good Dr. has written a book called Germany's" Black Holocaust which uncovers some of those glaring historic omissions that seem to have "slipped through the cracks."
In Carr's tome you'll find out about The Red Ball Express which was comprised of black quartermasters fighting in the U.S. the Army. These cats wreaked havoc on the Schutzstaffel from Normandy going into Paris back into the Rhineland...but wait! There's more...

The Red Ball Express was a top-deck group of soldiers who supplied the American forces with ammunition and food. They were all black. Europeans had never seen anything like it, son...and Colonel Simmons had a few more surprise to tell during the course of Carr's" broadcast. This guy called in whose grandparents had told him about Simmons' outfit had stormed in and liberated the prisoners at Dachau. I'd heard/ read about the Tuskegee Airmen but the Red Ball Express, it was another story altogether: "it was another story." These dudes were doing the same sort of heroic service as their black airborne counterparts were but with an infantry on the ground. The Tuskegee heroes played a pivotal part in obliterating one of the largest munitions depot/ supply facilities located in the Dresden region by request of all white bomber crews embarking on the mission who knew that black or no, the Tuskegee crew had the minerals to cover thier asses in the air...the black airmen escorted the U.S. bomber pilots straight into the airspace without a hitch -- this helped effectively cut off necessary channels of supplemental materiel to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei Völkisch party line of white supremacy...

Simmons touched on how white U.S. soldiers would tell Europeans that their black countrymen had Eleanor Roosevelt made remarks in the press about the history books excluding black soldiers...Carr also spoke about Hollywood's whitewashing of that sepia-toned chapter in our nation's past and about how it felt getting "whited out" of history, going to officers school in the south and having to "straighten out" white subordinates -- the film Saving Private Ryan was essentially lifted from Simmons' real-life exploits...about talking to Jesse Owens in an L.A. speakeasy and how Owens never got over never receiving his propers for breaking track records at the '36 Olympics -- and he never did in his lifetime -- he eventually died penniless which is the inverse of what happened to Mark Spitz who could pay the bills with endorsements for his swimming feats...

Col. Simmons went on to reflect on the revolting turn of events he had to negotiate when he got back to the states in '46 -- after having helped squash Hitler's whole "master race" theory, he had to "come back home" to shake Jim Crow's hand...The Colonel went even further still by touching on how it fucked with him to see signs that barred him from water fountains and applying for jobs that he was more than qualified, right here in America, in Santa Anita, CA there were internment camps for Japanese the government considered Hispanics and Filipinos "whites" because the U.S. was afraid that the Germans were going to try and come up through Mexico/ South America and that only until the 70s was this modus operandi eschewed for the (dated) way we still do things on that front to this day...isn't it ironic? Don't ya think? History's always been written by the winners and that's the triple truth, Ruth...what's amazing is that Colonel Simmons is a prescient, living piece of history...and resides right here in Los Angeles...and few people know about his story...remarkable, yo...

Note: The picture above is one of the fabled Buffalo Soldiers whom Bob Marley sang in tribute to. These men helped the US settle the America's Western "frontier" which ultimately brought an end to the Native American horse culture of the Great about dirty work...Laters...

Buffalo Soldier

Buffalo Soldier.
Dreadlock Rasta.
There was a Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America...
Stolen from Africa; brought to America.
Fighting on arrival; fighting for survival.

I mean it.
When I analyze the stench - to me it makes a lot of sense:
How the Dreadlock Rasta was the Buffalo Soldier!
And he was taken from Africa; brought to America.
Fighting on arrival; fighting for survival.

Said he was a Buffalo Soldier. Dreadlock Rasta.
Buffalo Soldier -- in the heart of America.
If you know your history, then you would know where you're coming from.
Then you wouldn't have to ask me, who the heck do I think I am.

I'm just a Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America.
Stolen from Africa; brought to America.
Said he was fighting on arrival; fighting for survival.
Said he was the Buffalo Soldier win the war for America.

Woah, yo, yo. Woah yo-yo-yo.
Woy yo-yo, woe-yo, yo-yo-yo...

Buffalo Soldier troddin' through the land, woah, yo!
Said he wanna ran, then you wanna hand -
Troddin' through the land. Yeah, yeah!

Said he was the Buffalo Soldier; win the war for America.
Buffalo Soldier!
Dreadlock Rasta!
Fighting on arrival; fighting for survival.
Driven from the mainland [of Africa] -
to the heart of the Caribbean...

Woah, yo, yo. Woah yo-yo-yo.
Woy yo-yo, woe-yo, yo-yo-yo...

...troddin' through San Juan in the arms of America.
Troddin' through Jamaica...the Buffalo Soldier.
Fighting on arrival; fighting for survival.
Buffalo Soldier.
Dreadlock Rasta...

Woah, yo,-yo. Woah yo-yo-yo.
Woy yo-yo, woe-yo, yo-yo-yo...

Note: I got into Bob's lyrics way back when I was in high school and I played his LPs often, so much, in fact, that when I came back home to visit during Spring break all of my little cousins -- ages 3 to 10 -- knew all of the lyrics to his tunes verbatim -- my mom had played mix tapes of reggae I'd made for her so many times that the children who frequented her house knew Marley tunes ithat they'd never heard elsewhere nside and out...I often wonder how much of the wisdom therein they've that they're adults...

Birdie Num-Num: The Party

Well the party went off without a hitch. I had a great time at the Brass despite the fact I had to mingle with some former colleagues who were buck wildin' once the oat sodas started flowing and those true colors surfaced -- now I know why, a few seconds after they show cowboys & vaqueros gulping their first shots of tequilla, they cut the cameras to chairs and tables whizzing around the saloon in those old westerns...BUCK WILD, yo...My homeboy got faded and I got to rap with his can always learn interesting things about themselves when talking with older heads. You definitely learn about the past...sometimes these things are not savory: one man's cookie is another man's cake. The truth shall set you free and all that -- I'll give an extra pat of butter to Henry and his wife Christina who rolled out the after-party red carpet at their new house like a couple of pros...big ups playas...

A Coupla Glazed Donuts...

I always found it dope that the BBC News Service puts the news out there in over 43 languages -- I've always wondered why more media outlets over here don't follow the Beeb's lead... Mother Jones has two informative entries on the Hiroshima Bombing coverup and the Twilight Era of Petroleum that should be checked...

As I perused through The Nation I came across a joint that sheds a little more light on the whole Emmett Till case and how the kid-killing "nightriders" were acquitted of the murder 40-plus years ago -- after the all-white jury stopped the proceedings long enough to have a Co' Cola. I got chills reading Stuart Klawans' description of how those thugs did what they did to that child...and got away with it ...Truly fucked up, son...since we're talkin' people of color, I recall at one point I was working on something else and came across this thing in PBS' "Frontline" web page covering the "dusky past" of Heather Locklear or at least the branches of her family tree...and I thought she was whiter than Wonder Bread...genetics: the gift that keeps on giving...

...On a lighter note, I realized that I bookmarked this little number in Slate months ago and forgot about it. It was called The Church of Liebling, as in A.J. Liebling. He's the press critic who coined phrases like "freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one" and "people everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news"...too, I uncovered an "oldie" in the Village Voice written by Ta-Nehisi Coates from back in the lead-up to the "pricks fix/mandate" we got handed to us in a steaming pile on a silver platter last November. It's kind of quaint to look back on what was going on in cyberspace back then before all hope got scattered to the winds by those red-state gooks who're now bitching about the petrol prices...remember all that noise Get Out the Vote made?...those were the days...Four more year? You got it! Now grab your ankles and brace yourself...just for for shits 'n giggles I re-read the transcripts from Crossfire episode on which Jon Stewart handed Tucker Carlson his ass ...Oh yeah, Dave Lindorff has a site called This Can't Be Happening that's worth a look-see, check out that story about Hillary Clinton at the top right of the landing page...good stuff,yo...Laters...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Four, Oh! Happy Birthday, Son.

A friend of mine just turned "the big 4-0" and I spoke with him on the phone earlier about the party his better half is throwing for him tomorrow. As we spoke on the blower we talked about all manner of things -- work, his 10 month old baby girl, his forthcoming wedding, this chick he thinks I should meet, when would be a good time to exchange the books and records we've swapped over the months, know, shite like that. Sometimes we don't talk for weeks but everytime we link up we hit the ground running, like we'd seen each other yesterday. It reminded me of something Khalil Gibran had to say about friendship...

On Friendship...

And a youth said, "Speak to us of Friendship."
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."

And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth:
and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?

Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Sidenote: I peeped the very picture above of Bill and Hillary Clinton tacked on the wall of my homebiscuit's office back when I first met him; when I used to work in the same building with him and I thought, "I'm gonna like this tosser." I was right. It made me laugh then and it still does, look at all the promise on their faces. "As in the mountain to the climber" is our friendship... Raising an oat soda over my keyboard with a pinky extended: Happy Birthday MJ, I gotta shot glass with your name on it so read closely...if you're gonna be a bear, BE A fuggin' GRIZZLY...see you at the Brass...Laters...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Joy Division & New Order: Get You Some...

I came across another one of my buried tapes from back in the day and found a mix I'd made back at university. The tape labeled "Power, Corruption & Brotherhood" was comprised primarily with cuts from Joy Division and New Order...two groups that more people should know about...but don't...I highly recommend a listen if you got access to the old stuff on vinyl, if not...the shite on C.D. will do you right...Laters..

-- New Order Timeline --

1978 After officially forming in the previous year Enigma Records releases the premiere Joy Division EP, the band consists of Ian Curtis (vocals), Peter Hook (bass), Bernard Albrecht (guitar) and Stephen Morris (drums) which contains four cuts: "Warsaw", "No Love Lost", "Leaders of Men" and "Failures" which are all heavily influenced by the punk movement.

1979 The move to the Factory label is followed by the release of the single "Transmission", Joy Division are featured on the group's debut LP, "Unknown Pleasures"- they also appear on John Peel's "Peel Sessions" on the BBC.

1980 In the wake of lead singer Ian Curtis' death, Factory Records releases Joy Division's pending sophomore set "Closer." Albert, Morris and Hook decided to regroup in the few months that follow and later in the year the group makes its performance debut in the U.S. as New Order- they also expand on their sound by adding keyboardist Gillian Gilbert to the lineup.

1981 New Order make their album debut with "Movement" released by Factory Records in the UK which cracks the top 40 in England.

1982 The first New Order record hits the shores of the US in the form a six selection compilation of UK releases from the previous two years.

1983 Early in the year New Order returns with a new 12 inch "Blue Monday" that is followed by the full set "Power, Corruption & Lies." In the fall, Arthur Baker introduces New Order to US listeners via his StreetWise label with the single "Confusion." The new single is produced by Baker himself and becomes NO's first mainstream charting single in the states when it enters the US R&B charts and reaches #71. StreetWise subsequently releases the first version of the cut "Blue Monday" that gains them further notice on the international scene- most prolifically in America as label interest there begins to rise. Later in the year "Blue Monday" cracks the top ten on the singles charts in Europe.

1985 New Order signs on with Qwest Records which is owned by super producer Quincy Jones. The group debut on their new label with the LP "Low-life" which becomes their first set to appear on the U.S. album charts where it peaks at #94 during a five month stay.

1987 The LP "Substance", a composite of European singles released since 1980, is released on the Qwest label and is their first set to crack the top forty in America when it climbs to #36-US. In like manner, the single "True Faith" follows its parent album becoming the first single to hit the U.S. pop charts- it too surges into the top forty listings where it stops at #32-pop. Additionally, Bernard Sumner begins to work on side projects in his off time.

1988 Early in the year the video for the previous year's "True Faith" is named Best British Music Video at the Annual BRIT Awards in England. Later, Quincy Jones produces "Blue Monday 1988"- a remix of an earlier UK hit that reaches #68 in the States.

1989 The new LP "Technique" is released early in the year containing the single "Round and Round" (#64-pop) which helps push the album itself to #32-US. Bernard Sumner and the rest of his side group, Electronic, make their full length debut with the album "Getting Away With It."

1990 As the year begins, Sumner's side project, named Electronic, make their debut on the US singles charts with the title single from the previous year's group debut that stops at #38-pop. Principally collaborating for studio recordings, Electronic make their performance debut in the fall- their LP eventually peaks at #109-US in the following year.

1991 Following Sumner's lead, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert begin to moonlight in a side project of their own which they call the Other Two.

1993 After a two year absence on the charts in America, the single "Regret" is released and tops out at #28-pop (the group's highest charting US single as of this writing). The Stephen Hague production that contains it, "Republic", follows suit by climbing to #11-US at the zenith of a four month stay and eventually goes gold.

-- Mo' New Order Facts --

-The story of New Order cannot be told in its entirety without mentioning the four year stint in which most of the group's founding members performed together as Joy Division. In 1976 guitarist/ vocalist Bernard Albrecht (last name later changed to Sumner) and bassist Peter Hook joined forces in hopes of forming a full band. By the next year the two added Steven Brotherdale and singer Ian Curtis to their complement and christen their new act Warsaw- Brotherdale would soon leave the fold to be replaced by Stephen Morris. Following the recording debut of the group Warsaw Pakt, Albrecht and crew changed their name to Joy Division.

-After making their debut on the UK performance circuit in early '78, Joy Division began to build a local fan base but remained unsigned until 1979. Defying conventional wisdom, JD turned down a couple of offers from larger labels (among them, the Warner subsidiary WEA) and settled on a deal with the small independent Factory label in England. The group made their LP debut on the indie label with the set "Unknown Pleasures" which eventually garnered critical acclaim. The inertia created by their first album was brought to a crawl in a year's time, however, when Ian Curtis took his own life on May 18th- less than a before the group was set to make it's premiere supportive tour in the USA.

-Though some have speculated that interest in Joy Division and the subsequent New Order was prompted by the public's morbid interest in Ian Curtis' suicide, Sumner, Morris and Hook decided to reform a group a couple of months after Curtis' death that would sever ties with the latter group's music but comparisons were unavoidable nevertheless- before settling on what has become their "signature sound" the members of New Order were not above utilizing/ expounding on a couple of the textures that raised eyebrows (musically) during the JD days.

-In 1983, following the release of "Power, Corruption and Lies", New Order recorded an EP that was produced and co written by Arthur "the Shaker" Baker. The 12 inch entered the U.S. R&B charts on which it peaked at #71. Baker co produced on Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force's 1982 hip hop template "Planet Rock"(#2-R&B, #48-pop) while working at the hip hop label Tommy Boy -- he was also one of the "men behind the curtains" at the NYC nightspot called The Danceteria -- one of the venues that helped an "unknown" singer/dancer named Madonna get her start. Along with producers/ svengalis like Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, Baker was one of the New York City-based producers who expedited spread of hip-hop into the ears of "bridge and tunnel" mainstream mainstream audiences in the Big Apple years earlier in the early days of the genre.

-Joy Division's music would resurface in the late 80's and early 90's when their music became more accessible to the mainstream's palate (during the height of Seattle's grunge movement ) which the JD had started playing almost a decade beforehand).

-In 1990 New Order hit the top of UK singles charts with England's World Cup soccer team with the single "World In Motion"- the team's official World Cup theme song.

-The cut "Blue Monday" from New Order's 1987 breakthrough LP "Substance" was originally released five years prior as a single (when it was reached the top ten of the dance charts in the U.S.) the tune would eventually become one of the UK's top grossing singles and yielded multiplatinum sales worldwide.

-Electronic, the group Bernard Sumner formed began to form as a side project in '87, was initially a studio based conception that also featured the talents of Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys), Johnny Marr (the The and the Smiths) and Anne Dudley (Art Of Noise).

-In the wake of lead singer Ian Curtis' death, Factory Records releases Joy Division's pending sophomore set "Closer." Albert, Morris and Hook decided to regroup in the few months that followed and later in the year the group makes its performance debut in the U.S. as New Order- they also expand on their sound by adding keyboardist Gillian Gilbert to the lineup.

Albums by Year - Title - Label

1981 - Movement - Factory
1983 - Power, Corruption And Lies - Factory
1985 - Low-Life - Qwest
1986 - Brotherhood - Qwest
1989 - Technique - Qwest
1992 - Live 1987 Tour - Alex
1993 - Republic - Qwest
2001 - Get Ready - Warner
2001 - Live In Concert - ROIR

Compilations by Year - Title - Label

1987 - Substance - Qwest
1990 - The Peel Sessions - Strange Fruit
1992 - BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert - Imported
1994 - The Very Best Of New Order - Alex
1995 - The Best Of New Order - Qwest
1995 - The Rest Of New Order - London
1995 - The Rest Of New Order (Remixed) - Phantom
2000 - BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert - Varese

A Word from Kramerica Inc., Founder: "Giddiyap!"

A 3-Decker Toadstool & Saurkraut Sandwich...

You're number one! I came across this pic a few weeks back and forgot to post it. The "1,000-wordness" instantly reminded me of the lyrics to Dr. Suess' fictional character the Grinch...never made the connection before but when I did, I couldn't stop laughing...Remember this picture when you're at the gas pump, yo...then sit 'n spin...

Mr. Grinch:

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus. You're as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch...
You're a bad banana with -- a greasy black peel!

You're a monster, Mr. Grinch.Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,You've got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch...
I wouldn't touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch.You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile, Mr. Grinch...
Given the choice between the two of you... I'd take the seasick crocodile!

You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch. You're the king of sinful sots.
Your heart's a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots, Mr. Grinch:
You're a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich... with arsenic sauce!

You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch, with a nauseous super "naus".
You're a crooked dirty jockey and you drive a crooked hoss, Mr. Grinch...
Your soul is an appalling dump heap -
overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of rubbish imaginable...
Mangled up in tangled up knots!

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch, you're a nasty, wasty skunk!
Your heart is full of unwashed socks,your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch...
The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: