Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Changes afoot in Ni Kantu-land

To quote one of our great modern philosophers, Jim Anchower, "hola amigos - it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but shit's been real crazy around here." It's true, though, because summer posting has taken a back seat to a move across the country (or halfway across, anyway). As of July 28, my wonderful girlfriend and I will be packing up the Penske truck and moving to New York. It's been a long time coming and my hope is that, if nothing else, the city will encourage some of the inspiration that can be hard to dredge up in other contexts. Oh, for sure, it's there, but sometimes one gets set in one's ways and doesn't have the threat of creative retribution to encourage oneself otherwise. Austin has treated me well, though, all told and there are some great people and musicians here. Not enough people dip their toes in to Austin's vanguard sometimes, but if it's any consolation, people don't always engage with creative music in our biggest metropolises either. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Weird Weeds, Plutonium Farmers, Epistrophy Arts, the Austin New Music Coop, The Cutting Edge, and End of an Ear as endemic to my six-and-a-half year Austin and Texas experience.

Also, it was Steve Lacy's birthday on Monday (he would've been 78). I couldn't find embedded video of such classics as "Fork New York" and "La Motte-Picquet" (subway tune), so here is "The Zoo" from the 1966 ESP LP Forest and The Zoo with Lacy (ss), Enrico Rava (tp), Johnny Dyani (b) and Louis Moholo (d). Recorded in Buenos Aires, cover by the great painter Bob Thompson, with a title that probably refers to the American urbanism he'd recently departed. It's funny to think how, at least to me, Lacy during this period of open, completely collective music, was in some ways "straighter" (pun intended) than the very intense and scrappy, albeit more strictly composed music he worked on in the '70s. While free and out, Lacy never left behind the essential nature of the tune. Songs are always there, even in the most challenging of his music - the same goes for Albert Ayler and Don Cherry, and looking to the "song" is also how I began to understand the work of his wife, the (oft-maligned) vocalist and string multi-instrumentalist Irene Aebi. Enjoy.