the last rent party…a tribute/fundraiser for my grandfather…

i kept my mouth shut about it for months…perhaps irresponsibly so…because while this was an intensely personal event for me, it was a public event…one that a wide variety of people have interest in…well, i can only make up for my negligence by shining a light on those who have done the work that i have not…

i cannot say enough about Mr. Ethan Iverson’s excellent contribution…considering the depth and breadth of the research he’s done, it’s not surprising that his renditions of my grandfather’s work was the most mind blowing of the night…god, i wish i had video to show you…anyway, here’s a sample of his preparations…

It’s a life and death matter, the clave, and what makes it so is its unyielding consistency and precision. It’s just like the ride cymbal beat of a good jazz drummer: you put the drummer in front a cymbal, give him a stick, and if they are a professional, they will deliver a “spang-a-lang” that is immutable. If the drummer is an artist as well as a professional the interpretation of the beat will be as distinctive as a snowflake.

In stride piano, the left hand going “oom-pah” is like that clave or ride cymbal beat in its unyielding consistency and precision. It’s very hard technically: there is a big jump between the “oom” and the “pah,” and the pitches change constantly.

There are examples of “oom-pah” in Liszt and Chopin, and some of them are very hard indeed. (In Chopin’s Op. 25 etudes, No. 4 in A minor and the “Butterfly” in Gb are good examples of proto-stride.) However, you don’t need the grooving, “clave-aspect” for Chopin and Liszt. In stride piano it is essential. It’s like the Energizer bunny with soul. Probably for eternity, James P. Johnson will be the gold standard for the stride “feel.” (link to full text of his blog post)

if you’re a fan of the bad plus like i am, i highly recommend subbing his feed…

the NY Times even wrote up the event…especially making note of a new artist who’s work i hope to discover more of…

The evening’s revelation was Aaron Diehl, a pianist in his mid-20s who has played with Wynton Marsalis and Wycliffe Gordon. His style, on “Scaling the Blues,” “Over the Bars” and the second movement of Johnson’s “Jazzamine Concerto,” was modest, secure and insinuating, with an iron sense of time. A few different pianists worked in their own tunes as Johnson tributes; Mr. Diehl’s was a slow, gorgeous blues.

Mr. Diehl’s website is here

anyway, a big thank you to Smalls Jazz Club for working with The James P. Johnson Foundation to put this all together…

today's cool shit…old NYC tv ads…

today is Stevie Wonder day…in my house at least…and i can’t listen to You Are The Sunshine Of My Life without thinking about the goofy ad that used to run on television back in that day that had people bungling the lyrics…i searched and searched, but the damned internet can’t help me find it…i did find these…enjoy…

i love this block…cable for $15 a month!!!Scooter shilling for The Money Store…Carvel pimping miss half pint…and Space 1999…oh my fraking God…

i’d forgotten all about Korvettes…check out the original Atari at the end…

today’s cool shit…old NYC tv ads…

today is Stevie Wonder day…in my house at least…and i can’t listen to You Are The Sunshine Of My Life without thinking about the goofy ad that used to run on television back in that day that had people bungling the lyrics…i searched and searched, but the damned internet can’t help me find it…i did find these…enjoy…

i love this block…cable for $15 a month!!!Scooter shilling for The Money Store…Carvel pimping miss half pint…and Space 1999…oh my fraking God…

i’d forgotten all about Korvettes…check out the original Atari at the end…

NYC movie week wrap up…

new york has been on my mind all week…and not just for the obvious reason…thank you Mad Men…also this week’s monday night movie…Roger Dodger…and to a lesser extent, Elegy…you just can’t make Canada look like NYC…and tonight…Joshua…

first up…Mad Men…

great episode…I suspected Don was gonna have to pay for his dalliances, and it looks like the shit storm has come to town…what will our man Don Draper do now…I can’t wait…

and then we have Roger…

this is my fourth or fifth viewing of this one…i’ve come to see it differently since 2002…i first saw this as a descendant of honest movies about the darker side of american manhood…think jack nicholson in Carnal Knowledge…not roger…roger swanson is what passes for an alpha male at the opening of the 21st century…a silver tongued, sharp eyed word shyster…an ad man…he probably thinks he’s a modern Don Draper…roger couldn’t carry Don Draper’s piss in his shoes…it takes his 16 year old nephew nick…played with a perfect balance of innocence and worldliness by jesse eisenberg…to show roger just how pathetic his life is…

still a good entertainment…and the opening dialogue is brilliant bullshit…but this one may have to come off of my shelf…

saw this one last weekend…and Penelope Cruz is having a great year…first vicky cristina…and now this…she’s not only gorgeous to look at in this movie…and in a completely different way than VCB…she delivers this movie’s heart…she’s more than just eye candy…

problem is, i didn’t buy Toronto…Vancouver…or is it Montreal…as NYC…i never do…producers would be better off ponying up the dough and filming the real thing…if a creepy small budget movie like Joshua can pull it off…surely a movie with Ben Kingsley, Dennis Hopper, the aformentioned Ms. Cruz…and Patricia Clarkson…Best Supporting Actress, anyone…can afford to shoot on location…

this one just popped up in my queue…creepy and tense, i wanted to see it last year, but ms scribe doesn’t like the scary…oh well…a great way to spend an hour and 45 minutes…if you can ignore a gap in logic or two…i won’t give too much away except to say they could easily call this movie…Dexter: The Beginning

that is all…