Archive for the Of the Week Category

Song of the Day: “Marrow” by St. Vincent

Posted in Music, Of the Week with tags , on 14 January, 2010 by Ally

St. Vincent is the “nom de tune” of Annie Clark, a very fine musician comin’ straight outta Tulsa. Having heard the name bandied about by numerous trustworthy sources, it only occurred to me a few days ago to actually listen to some of her music, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The music seems to fuse the ethereal melodic arrangements of Sufjan Stevens with the crunchy electro-funk of TV on the Radio, not to mention the occasional distorted guitar assault reminiscent of Glenn Branca. These elements are perhaps best represented in the song “Marrow”, embedded below for your viewing pleasure:

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Album of the Week: Members, Don’t Git Weary

Posted in Music, Of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , on 12 August, 2009 by Ally
Max Roach - Members, Don't Git Weary (1968)

Max Roach - Members, Don't Git Weary (Atlantic 1968)

Max Roach was one of the premier drummers of the bebop era and beyond. As well as playing on landmark sessions with jazz legends like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, he recorded several celebrated albums as a leader. In the words of fellow drummer Stan Levey, thanks to Max Roach “drumming no longer was just time, it was music.”

Although best known as a bebop player, Max Roach flirted with post-bop and the avant-garde. His 1968 album Members, Don’t Git Weary is one such flirtation. The ensemble consists of Gary Bartz (alto sax), Charles Tolliver (trumpet), Stanley Cowell (piano), Jymie Merritt (electric bass) and Roach himself (drums).

Despite the use of electric instruments, Members is far from a fusion album. However the electric bass does lend an edge of funk to opening track Abstrutions; a short ‘n’ groovy piece punctuated by angular brass fanfares, but grounded by that funky bass and Cowell’s bluesy rolling piano.

My favourite track Libra takes us further out. During the main theme, the rhythm and horn sections appear to be playing in separate time signatures. The effect is equally compelling and unsettling, the divided ensemble conjuring complex and stimulating syncopations. The group eventually joins forces to provide a propulsive backing for solos by Bartz and Tolliver. Roach then blasts a furious drum solo before the group restates the theme to close.

Title track Members, Don’t Git Weary features a gospel-inspired vocal performance by Andy Bey, and is an uplifting call for strength and unity in the society of the time. When you consider the album was recorded soon after Martin Luther King was killed, it becomes all the more potent. Other tracks include Effi; a dreamy waltz which is oddly reminiscent of The Stranglers hit Golden Brown, Equipoise; a gentle modal piece with especially lyrical playing from Charles Tolliver, and Absolutions; the closing track to which Cowell’s electric piano and Merritt’s mantra-like bassline give an exotic quality.

I only bought the album yesterday, and have listened to it several times both for enjoyment and reviewing purposes, and could happily listen to it again tomorrow. Critics and experts may not see it as an essential album, but I couldn’t recommend it more highly. I won’t git weary (a-ho-ho-ho) of it any time soon.

Ankles of the Week!

Posted in Of the Week with tags , , on 5 September, 2008 by Ally

Each and every Friday I will be awarding an… award… to the most outstanding candidate in the field of my whimsical whim. This could be a particularly amusing or touching piece of dialogue, a song-and-dance routine, a ridiculous piece of scenery or, as in this case, a body part. The award for Ankles of the Week goes to Ginger Rogers. For more pictures of Ginger Rogers and other Hollywood stars, visit Doctor Macro.

Ankles of the Week