Outstreched arm

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

This month in music

There's a great little MST3K segment featuring Joel and the bots coming up with their own superhero/monster ideas. Among the rapid-fire descriptions, Joel throws in a particularly hilarious one: "Jazz Trio Man - he can trade fours with himself!"

I said I couldn't remember if it was monsters or superheroes they were talking about - probably both - and that's fine, since both labels apply to my subject, one Roland Kirk, a jazz genius whose music was at the same time intimidating and approachable, angelic and gutter-dirty. He played in styles ranging from ragtime to free - often on the same track. He played the sax and its various brethren, flute and nose flute - often on the same track. His three-saxophone technique, by which I mean that he played all three at the same time, appears gimmicky and silly, as do his homemade instruments (trumpophone, anyone?) until you actually hear it all. Oh, also, he was blind.

So how come you haven't heard of him? Beats me. I discovered him through Mingus, with whom he shares that clown-like attitude for which one could easily dismiss them if it weren't for their frightening musical capability and imagination. Listen to Kirk on "The Business Ain't Nothing But The Blues" from his all-flute I Talk With The Spirits; you can't help but get into the groove as Kirk shouts giddy approval of the piano intro, picks up the blues himself, and delivers a one-note solo that may infuriate you (but just try and argue with the tension/release he sets up here). His style is instantly lovable - lyrics, moans, and humming getting thrown in between and during flute notes. And this is not even nearly the best or goofiest track on the album.

On the other end of the spectrum - really, if there was such a thing as a musical spectrum, this would be on the other end - I finally got around to paying attention to Hot Snakes' Audit In Progress. It's just a half-hour punk album with songs about watching your carbs and hating couples in love, but damn does it rock. It never seems to slow down - riffs just keep mounting and the beat pounds steadily (the whole thing's surprisingly rhythmical, actually.) Maybe it's just the super-energetic, screaming delivery of the lyrics, but I found them awesome: "I'd drink piss for creative control / I'd cut off my dick for creative control." It's no-nonsense nonsense. I like my snakes hot.

There are 0 Comments:

Post a Comment