Saturday, April 12, 2014

In Square (Flat) Circle

Over at the Los Angeles Magazine site, the Beast has two new entries in our United Sounds of Los Angeles series. Check out Part 3 here and Part 4 here. We also haven't done some blogtrollin' in awhile, so here's a smattering of interesting links:


(Pitchfork Media)

(Indiana Public Radio)


(Wax Poetics)


(Bullett Media)

(Fail Better
(Twisted Sifter
(RedDog Music)
(The Atlantic)
(Dangerous Minds)
(Bored Panda)
(The New Yorker)
(The Jazzcat)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bits 'N' Bobs [UPDATED]

Stan Gilbert & Carl Burnett
Los Angeles, 2008
[photo by Warren Berman]
ITEM! With a career that has spanned from the Latin Jazz renaissance of the late 1950s to the Hip Hop renaissance of the late 1990s, drummer Carl Burnett (a.k.a. Karim Saleh) is an indelible part of Los Angeles music royalty. (In the late-1980s, Burnett opened the performance space ARTWORKS 4, which joined musicians from Leimert Park's jazz and hip-hop communities and was the inspiration for Billy Higgins and Kamau Daaood opening The World Stage.) Friday, Mr. Burnett will reunite with bassist Stan Gilbert, his partner in crime from the days of working the rhythm section with Cal Tjader and Gene Harris' The Three Sounds, for "Reviving An American Art Form," a monthlong residency at Leimert Park's Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center. Together with their frequent collaborator, pianist Karen Hernandez, they will play three dates -- March 7, 14 & 28 -- as the Jazz West Trio. All shows are at 8:00 PM and opening night cover is $10. The emcee will be scholar/poet Dr. Derrick Gilbert (a.k.a., "D-Knowledge") and each show will feature vocalists from the World Stage Vocal Workshop, overseen by pianist Howlett Smith.

ITEM! On March 17 at 7:30pm, Mr. Burnett will also take part in a tribute to the late saxophonist George Harper, who recently passed away at age 71. Also at the Barbara Morrison PAC, the concert's all-star line-up will include Jacques Lesure, James LearyRickey Woodard, Nolan Shaheed, George Bohannon, John Beasley, Dwight Trible, Justo Almario, Karen Evans, Roy McCurdy, Theo Saunders, Phil RanelinDee Dee McNeil, Cornel Fauler, Richard Grant, Charles Owens, Donald Dean and many more. The suggested donation is $20, which given the talent present is quite the bargain.

ITEM! Starting March 13, the L.A. Philharmonic is bringing back its mammoth Minimalist Jukebox festival, a citywide, multivenue effort that will last until early May. An oh, the goodies that will be available! Try the much-ballyhooed Kraftwerk 3D Concerts, the Philip Glass Ensemble performing Music in Twelve Parts, and Maximum Minimalism, with L.A. Phil Creative Chair John Adams conducting the Calder Quartet in selections from Steve Reich, Missy Mazzoli and Julius Eastman, among others.

ITEM! Two days before the Minimalist Jukebox, SXSW will premiere Adam Kahan's new documentary about Rahsaan Roland Kirk, entitled The Case of the Three-Sided Dream. Coming down the pike, according to the Beast's confidential sources, is The Sound of Redemption, a documentary about troubled L.A. postbop saxophonist Frank Morgan. Interviews are currently being filmed.

ITEM! On Saturday, March 8th, the jazz/improvised music scene in Long Beach will get its own mini-showcase. Titled Excursions: A Sight & Sound Festival, the daylong event is curated by guitarist Scott Heustis and trumpeter Dave Williams. The lineup includes some of the Beast's old Cryptogramophone pals, including The Mentones (led by contrabassist Steuart Liebig) and guitarist G.E. Stinson and keyboardist David Witham squaring off with live painter Norton Wisdom.

ITEM! On March 14, modern chamber ensemble The Kronos Quartet will celebrate is 40th Anniversary at UCLA's Royce Hall. The program will include two premieres: Philip Glass' Orion: China, with special guest, pipa virtuoso Wu Man; and Views from Here to the Heavens (for Scott Fraser), an original composition by our pal Nels Cline, who will be in attendance with his '59 Fender Jazzmaster.

ITEM! Oh yes! How could we forget? The Beast just wrote an article for the L.A. Weekly about plans to transport the art of 35 African-American artists from Southern California to the vaunted international stage of the 2015 Venice Biennalle. The multmedia program, curated by former California African American Museum head curator jill moniz, will including films, poetry and performances from three generations of L.A. jazz musicians that ranging from veterans of Horace Tapscott's Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra to high schoolers currently under the tutoring wand of Leimert Park community organizer Fernando Pullum.

ITEM! We also have Part 2 of our series The United Sounds of L.A. over at Los Angeles magazine.

[photo by Nanette Gonzales]

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two New Music Series, Yo!

Over at Los Angeles magazine, the Beast has just started a new music series called The United Sounds of Los Angeles, in which we offer up 100 must-have L.A.-centric albums from the indispensable to the willfully obscure. All genres will be represented! So get that "Like" button primed and feel free to Tweet/Comment/Repost to your heart's content. Thank you in advance!

A music series of a different stripe has just been announced for the Mayme Clayton Library in Culver City. Following the passing last year of journalist Mimi Melnick, whose Double M Jazz Salon was a vital connective tissue amongst L.A.'s far-flung jazz communities for nearly two decades, the Clayton has decided to continue Mimi's salons. And their starting this new series on April 6 with a corker of a show: A Celebration of the Music of Horace Tapscott. (There's a bit of poetic justice here: Tapscott was an early supporter of Ms. Clayton's efforts to found the Western States Black Research Center, which evolved into the current Clayton Library.) The killer band is made up of Tapscott friends and acolytes: Bassist Roberto Miguel Miranda, drummer Fritz Wise, saxophonists Michael Session and Tracy Caldwell and poet Kamau Daa'ood. There's even a real coup afoot: the great pianist Bobby West is flying in from Europe JUST FOR THIS SHOW. There is no excuse to miss this -- especially if a cat like Mr. West can cross the Atlantic to pay his respects on what would have been his mentor's 80th birthday. You can buy your tickets here. And if you can't make it? GET THE WORD OUT ANYWAY!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nels Waxes...

Two examples of why our friend Nels Cline is as good a writer as he is a guitar player. In addition to his moving tribute to recently deceased guitarist Jim Hall, we also found his brief essay about his beloved 1959 Fender Jazzmaster in a book called Instrument, which the Beast has reprinted below:

My guitar was purchased in the summer of 1995 from Mike Watt after the first tour of The Crew of the Flying Saucer. I had to use my old '66 Fender Jaguar on Watt's first solo record and really didn't know the difference between a Jaguar and a Jazzmaster other than the different pickups and switching configurations. I didn't know then that 1959 is one of the best years for Jazzmasters, and that this would end up being my favorite guitar. I first chose both Jazzmasters and Jaguars for their feel and because they have strings behind the bridge and single-coil pickups. I was copying Sonic Youth and Tom Verlaine, basically. But when I finally played the Jazzmaster, I was smitten with the whole feeling of the neck and body, the sound, and the inherent durability. Watt engraved his name on the base of the neck where it joins the body and on the base of the tremolo assembly.

This guitar has done more tours and records than I can count: all the Mike Watt tours, the Geraldine Fibbers tours and Butch album, later records with the Fibbers' Carla Bozulich and Scarnella, dozens of recordings by various improvised projects, including all my solo records since The Inkling, tours with Wilco, and all three records I made with them. This guitar mostly lives in Chicago in the Wilco loft now, and I have a different '59 at home in Los Angeles so that I don't always have to fly back and forth with it. I have been extremely hard on it, as you can see -- it was in perfect shape when I got it.

I play hard. There is actually a very deep and ever-deepening gouge above where the strings stretch from the bridge to the tailpiece, where I play a lot and, apparently, with considerable vigor! Admittedly, the finish was delicate. It is easy to scratch the paint, revealing a purplish hue, much like eggplant. I used to wear my keys on my ant loop, and after hopping up and down on stage with Watt, I created an interesting and rather sizable stippling on the back of the guitar. In the Geraldine Fibbers, I would sometimes throw the guitar to our drummer Kevin Fitzgerald and play my effects pedals while he savaged it with drumsticks, sometimes ripping out the strings, which is difficult to do on a Fender guitar, and bleeding on it. I have bled on it plenty. The Geraldine Fibbers' "Dusted" caused some wounds, and these days Wilco's song "A Shot in the Arm" might be another danger, though I am much smarter now about things like fret wear. The body. . .well, I think it looks great. It's a work in progress, just like me.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

(Ripped & Torn)


(Arts Journal)

(Moving Image Research Collections)

(Pitchfork Media)



(The Undisputed Champian)

(Pacific Standard)
(Rolling Stone)

(Brain Pickings)



(West Coast Sound)

(Open Salon)



(L.A. Weekly)


(Resonant Frequency)


(Boston Globe)



(Current Research in Jazz)


(Here, There and Everywhere)

(Tape Op)


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Holidays From The Beast

We're going dark for about a month.
We're not taking a vacation BTW, we're going to be working on IT.
Peace + Love To Y'all.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

THE SNERD'S STOCKING Pt. 2: The 51 Best Music Books of 2013

Sorry, Nick Carter, your book was not included. Oh, and by the way, Horace Silver is NOT dead. And neither is Ricky Lawson. Jeez-Louise...

Tony Allen: An Autobiography of the Master Drummer of Afrobeat (Duke UP) by Tony Allen & Michael E. Veal

Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD (The Friday Project) by Martin Aston

Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography, Volume 1 (Da Capo) by Paul Brannigan & Ian Winwood

Late Life in Jazz: The Life and Career of Rosemary Clooney (Oxford UP) by Ken Crossland & Malcolm MacFarlane

D. Epperson

ECM: A Cultural Archaeology (Prestel) by Okwui Enwezor & Markus Mueller

Eminent Hipsters (Viking Adult) by Donald Fagen

Willin': The Story of Little Feat (Da Capo) by Ben Fong-Torres

Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven (Knopf) by John Eliot Gardiner

Mingus Speaks (University of California Press) by John F. Goodman & Sy Johnson

Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork (Insight Editions) by Scott Gutterman

Verve: The Sound of America (Thames & Hudson) by Richard Havers
I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp (Ecco) by Richard Hell

Johnny Cash: The Life (Little, Brown & Co.) by Robert Hilburn

Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division (It Books) by Peter Hook


Songs in the Key of Los Angeles (Angel City Press) by Josh Kun

Beatbox: A Drum Machine Obsession (GetOnDown) by Joe Mansfield

Beatles vs. Stones (Simon & Schuster) by John McMillian

Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge In Europe, 1989 (Bazillion Points) by Bruce Pavitt

Dreadnaught: King of Afropunk (Rare Bird) by D.H. Peligro

Benjamin Britten: A Life For Music (Henry Holt) by Neil Powell

Writing the Record: The Village Voice and the Birth of Rock Criticism (University of Massachusetts Press) by Devon Powers
The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of Bebop (University of California Press) by Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr.

Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith (Bloomsbury) by William Todd Schultz
Brian Eno: Visual Music (Chronicle) by Christopher Scoates

Nilsson: The Life of A Singer-Songwriter (Oxford UP) by Alyn Shipton

The Leonard Bernstein Letters (Yale UP) ed. by Nigel Simeone

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop (Faber & Faber) by Bob Stanley

Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris and the Renegades of Nashville (It/HarperCollins) by Michael Streissguth

Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington (Gotham Books) by Terry Teachout
Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove (Grand Central) by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson
Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation (Harper Design) by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson

Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal (It Books) by Jon Weiderhorn & Katherine Truman

Yes Is The Answer: (And Other Prog-Rock Tales) (Rare Bird), ed. by Marc Weingarten & Tyson Cornell