email at

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Let the bubbly flow! Washington DC has a baseball team!

Ypee! As of this moment I am spinning off all baseball commentary to a dc baseball specific blog at:

GO to your record store and pick this up!

Dexter Gordon’s “Go” (Blue Note LP 4112) is one of my favorite jazz recordings. GO is a recording of a standard jazz jam by four "cats" that took place on August 27, 1962 in New York. The cats? Dexter Gordon on the tenor saxophone, Sonny Clark on piano, Butch Warren on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums.

At the time of this recording Dexter Gordon was about to turn 40. He had spent most of the 1950s battling drug addiction instead of recording but by the early 1960s he was clean and newly signed to Blue Note Records and his initial blue notes, including the appropriately titled “Doing Allright” had reestablished him. However, GO, the third of his six original blue notes, would become his crowning achievement.

On this recording Dexter was paired with pianist Sonny Clark who would die within a year of this recording at the age of 31 from drugs. Sonny Clark had led his own Blue Note dates including the wonderful “Cool Struttin’.” His contributions to hard bop jazz and this recording in particular cannot be overstated and his premature death was a tremendous blow to jazz. Sonny Clark’s piano style is elegant and the phrase “tinkling the ivories” is particularly apt. His playing is crisp and light and sometimes seems to float. The interplay between Dexter and Sonny is what elevates GO to desert island status. Their playing on GO is extremely self assured and confident while at the same time improvisational. They are supported on GO by the extremely competent and experienced rhythm section of Billy Higgins and Butch Warren who played together on a great number of classic blue notes.

Upon putting on GO the first impression is that Dexter Gordon’s tenor saxophone tone is easily distinguishable and recognizable. To quote Marc Greilsander’s review on “He possesses an enormous tone, yet he never overwhelms the song or the listener.” The record begins with the wonderful Dexter Gordon composition “Cheesecake” on which Dexter blows almost nonstop. The next track, “I Guess I’ll hang my tears out to dry” showcases Dexter’s excellence on ballads on which he is supremely romantic. His lyrical playing oozes complete control and confidence. Dexter Gordon’s playing is not free jazz. One has no trouble following the melody and you can almost hear his sax singing the words. This song includes some wonderful brushes by Billy Higgins.

GO is a classic hard bop swinging album and “Second Balcony Jump” returns to the swinging fold with a fun vibe. On this track Dexter really soars when he lets loose although he restrains his tone. Sonny Clark throws in a nice tease before plunging into his solo. The song conveys unbridled joy and Sonny Clark and Dexter conclude by playing in unison with some nice drums thrown in for good measure at a climactic end. The fourth song, another swinger, “Love for Sale” written by Cole Porter took me a while to appreciate. I was very familiar with the Miles Davis/Cannonball Adderley version on another classic Blue Note date: “Somethin’ Else.” This version features some nice comping by Sonny and some great interplay with Dexter Gordon eliciting responses from Sonny (at about 3 minutes 45 seconds into the song). Dexter Gordon throws in an unbelievable “La Cucaracha” (i.e., “Mexican Hat Dance”) quote at about 6:15.

The next track, “Where are you” is a ballad featuring some beautiful bass plucking by Butch Warren and Dexter sounds positively joyous at about 3:30. This gives way to the soaring, and in my opinion highlight track among highlights, “Three O’clock in the Morning” which has got to be one of the happiest jazz songs this listener has ever heard. Dexter just flies and throws in the kitchen sink with a “Take me out to the ballgame” quote at 4:38. As Greilsaner points out “He’s always quick with a humorous quote, yet it always seems to fit just right.” Dexter Gordon’s tone on this number is warm and happy and borders on ecstatic at times.

I can’t get enough of music like this and if you have not heard this session I urge you to rush to your nearest record store and pick it up.

GO!!!!!!!!! Blue Note lp 4112

Montreal Expos moving to Washington DC

The 33-year wait for a baseball team is coming to an end as Major League Baseball will announce later today that it is moving the Montreal Expos to DC. In order to placate Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos MLB is taking the unusual step of guaranteeing Angelos a revenues floor.

Meanwhile the Washington DC City Council has told MLB it will approve a $440 million publicly funded stadium for the new team. The financing will supposedly be covered by business taxes on baseball related goods and services (unclear wether this will include the unprecedented move to tax player salaries).

Lauded Expos General Manager Minaya is moving to take the GM position of the New York Mets so the Expos will begin anew in DC.

MLB will sell the new DC team to a private investor in the coming weeks.

My cursory look at the current Expos roster saw two big names: Jose Vidro at second base and Livan Hernandez on the mound. The Expos are currently in last place in the NL East where the new DC team will play. The other NL East teams will be our (and does it not feel nice to say that) main rivals:

Atlanta W 93 L 65
Philadelphia W 81 L 75
Florida W 81 L 76
New York Mets W 70 L 88
Montreal Expos W 65 L 93

Look its baseball!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is do you Mr. Jones

Hugo Chavez comfortably won a recall referendum last month- that is to say was not recalled - concerning his presidency. Specifically, the issue before the Venezuelan voters was whether to allow the president to complete his term or call for new elections for next year. Chavez would have been allowed to stand in the new elections but obviously a loss in the referendum would have weakened his position. Chavez won 59 to 41% in a referendum caracterized by very high turnout (some estimates are as high as 94% of the electorate). International observers, including the Organization of American States (OAS) and Jimmy Carter, certified there was no hanky panky.

The vote was largely split along class lines with the poor or lower class in favor of Chavez and the middle and upper class against the president. The referendum failed to inspire much of a debate about policies and Chavez's track record and instead consisted of class warfare carried concluded via the ballot box. The anti-Chavez forces railed against Chavez’ "autocratic dictatorship" but were unable to convince enough lower class Venezuelans to vote against Chavez. The opposition sought to make the referendum a vote on Chavez and did not do enough to give Chavez supporters reason to turn on him. The anti-Chavez project was perceived as consisting of undoing Chavez’ reforms and returning to the past. Meanwhile Chavez positioned himself as a symbol of the struggle against the elite, oligarchy, rich, the United States and even the ill effects of unfettered capitalism. In its most simple distillation Chavez represents a paternalistic ruler with ties to Castro’s Cuba. In a country that over past decades has continued to count with a very large percentage of impoverished people, and the democratic process (Venezuela counted with the longest standing democracy in Latin America at the time of Chavez’s election) failed to address the concerns and needs of large sectors of Venezuela, Chavez’s "Bolivarian Revolution" has resonated.

A large segment of Latin America lives in poverty. In most countries over half the population is impoverished. Furthermore, while most live in poverty an increasingly select group live in an alltogether different "world" of increasing relative prosperity. In Argentina, in 2002, I witnessed some of the hundreds of thousands of "cartoneros" (i.e., "carton ones") that “make a living” picking through garbage for carton paper, cans, and any other items appropriate for sale for recycling. "Cartoneros", many with children in tow, open garbage bags, comb through them, and close the bags for the next "cartonero" while fashionable "Portenos" (i.e. residents of Buenos Aires) moved along tree lined "Parisian" streets trying to remain oblivious to the reality all around them. Many "cartoneros" used to be among the middle class (albeit the lower echelons) and were pushed into the lower class during the 1990s (precisely the period of Argentina’s supposed resurgence if you go by the Wall Street Journal/Economist or the axiom that large GNP growth translates to development). This process of widescale impoverishment accelerated with the economic debacle of 2001 but existed prior to the "tipping point."

The impoverished largely do not believe the democratic regimes established throughout Latin America in the 1980s represent them. In their eyes politicians take care of themselves and fail to implement the most basic of reforms to improve their lives. Furthermore, after witnessing a couple of electoral cycles, they are less naive and see government officials speak out of two very different sides of the mouth before and after an election. Governments elected at different periods and with different mandates, adopt similar policies seemingly responding to the interests of the United States, the World Bank or IMF, the Washington Consensus, or Wall Street rather than their own. Often times, and at the urging of the IMF or United States, and following heated political debate, reforms eliminating worker protection, opening up markets to imported goods (dampening local production and jobs), reducing government salaries and pensions, or privatizing (selling) national assets are approved. The citizens are presented on the one hand with the international community's veiled threats and on the other with their government's doom and gloom scenarios if the policies are not taken. At some point after these policies have failed to improve things and in fact exacerbated some of the problems people begin to question their government’s actions and begin to view their Government as not standing up for their best interests. They begin to see their democratically elected politicians as not representing or being a part of themselves.

Meanwhile, the poor quality of democracy observed throughout Latin America undermines the legitimacy of the people’s representatives and institutions. For example, Argentina elects representatives, primarily, through party lists wherein citizens vote for lists; for example, List X of the Peronist Party which involves voting for a big name on top (the person that has been largely representing the Peronist Party on television and posters) and, say, 25 lesser known names in small print. These smaller names are those of largely unknown people on lists that sometimes include unsavory characters, or perhaps politicians that long ago lost the respect of the citizenry but still play large roles in the party machinery, outright criminals, or say someone favored by the current president who "installs" him on the list. These lists are known as “listas sabanas” (“linen lists”) and when you vote for the headliner on top of the list you are voting for everyone on the list.

For example, the province of Buenos Aires hypothetically sends 45 representatives to the House Chamber of the Congress. If there are three main parties, then all names headlining the three lists will be voted in irregardless of the percentage. The elected representatives are apportioned proportionally among the lists. Therefore, a resident of the province of Buenos Aires has 45 representatives all of whom represent the entire province. How are the lists cobbled together? Largely through horse trading among party leaders. This is why in countries like Argentina you find former failed presidents, often times widely unpopular, in Congress. Listas Sabanas, among other factors, have contributed to the prevalence of “sham” democracy in many Latin American countries.

In addition since all residents of a province choose between the same lists residents have many people "representing" them but no one specifically accountable to them. The larger political parties that feel they benefit from this system have little incentive to change though polling demonstrates an overwhelming percentage of Argentines oppose the listas sabanas. In addition, millions of people have signed petitions to eliminate this noxious system to no avail. The parties consistently figure out ways to subvert the will of the people (i.e., subservient courts lacking independence are the primary instrument) and the democratic process becomes increasingly corroded.

Where am I going with this? Basically, Chavez, while autocratic, benefits from a widespread perception throughout Latin America that democracy has failed to address the legitimate concerns of the population and that those elected do not in fact represent but rather prey on the voters. Democracy is largely discredited in Latin America and this, coupled with Chavez’s anti-US stand, enhances Chavez’ stature. Chavez, today, is the most popular “politician” in Latin America and only by recognizing and accepting the reasons accounting for his success and popularity can one hope to understand and begin to address the problems currently affecting Latin America.

The future of Latin America? Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Midgets wrestling...

The publication of Bob Dylan's new memoirs have landed him on the cover of this week's Newsweek.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Step Across This Line Susana Magnacca!!!!!!!!!

We here at 47West63rd are happy to report Susana Mercedes Magnacca, the only of the three Magnacca siblings born in Buenos Aires, became a citizen of these United States of America this past Friday September 24. Congratulations Susie!

I feel it fitting to quote from Salman Rushdie's Lecture delivered at Yale in February of 2002 and published as part of the "Step Across This Line" collection of essays:

The most precious book I possess is my passport. Like most such bald assertions, this will across as something of an overstatement. A passport, after all, is a commonplace object. You probably don't give a lot of thought to yours most of the time. Important travel document, try not to lose it, terrible photographas, expiry date coming up soonish: in general, a passport requires a relatively modest level of attention and concern. And when, at each end of journey, you do have to produce it, you expect it to do its stuff without much trouble. Yes, Officer, that's me, you're right, I do look a bit different with a beard, thank you, Officer, you have a nice day too. A passport is no big deal. It's low-maintenance. It's just ID.

I've been a British citizen since I was seventeen, so my passport has indeed done its stuff efficiently and unobstrusively for a long time now, but I have never forgotten that all passports do not work in this way. My first- Indian- passport, for example, was a paltry thing. Instead of offering the bearer a general open-sesame to anywhere in the world, it stated in grouchy bureaucratic language that it was valid only for travel to a specified- and distressingly short- list of countries. On inspection, on quickly discovered that this list excluded almost any country to which one might actually want to go. Bulgaria? Romania? Uganda? North Korea? No problem. The USA? England? Italy? Japan? Sorry, sahib. This document does not entitle you to pass those ports. Permission to visit attractive countries had to be specially applied for and, it was made clear, would not easily be granted. Foreign exchange was one problem. India was chronically short of it, and reluctant to get any shorter. A bigger problem was that many of the world's more attractive countries seemed unattracted by the idea of allowing us in. They had apparently formed the puzzling conviction that once we arrived we might not wish to leave.

I once spent a day at the immigration barriers at London's Heathrow Airport, watching the treatment of arriving passengers by immigration personnel. It did not amaze me to discover that most of the passengers who had some trouble getting past the control point were not white but black or Arab-looking. What was surprising is that there was one factor that overrode blackness or Arab looks. That factor was the possession of an American passport. Produce an American passport, and immigration officers at once become color-blind and wave you quickly on your way, however suspiciously non-Caucasian your features. To those to whom the world is closed, such openness is greatly to be desired. Those who assume that openness to be theirs by right perhaps value it less. When you have enough air to breathe, you don't yearn for air. But when breathable air gets to be in short supply, you quickly start noticing how important it is. (Freedom's like that, too.)

Quote from Salman Rushdie's "Step Across This Line" by kind permission of Random House Publishers.

New US citizen Susana Mercedes Magnacca (aka Susie) with a very attractive young man!

Musical Luminaries LUNA Announce Split!

Confirmation that one of our favorite bands over the past decade, Luna, is splitting up. An appreciation will soon follow. Below the announcement from Luna's web site at

9/23/04- On October 26, we will release our seventh studio album, Rendezvous, on Jetset Records. This will be Luna’s final record. We will tour the United States and Europe over the next six months, playing our last shows in 2005.
Tour dates will be posted when they are confirmed, at this point it looks like we’ll be on the road in the U.S. from November 1-24, with more dates in the States and Europe in January and February, 2005.
It also looks like we will be performing in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo in mid-October, we hope to post those dates in the next couple of days.

Luna poster (inverted color) from their show August 15, 2003 at the Black Cat in Washington DC. Thanks to BrittaH! and Dean Wareham for autographs.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Links- Live Music Venues for Washington DC Area

The 9:30 Club located at 815 V Street, NW Washington DC
DC "Alternative" Mecca. Great sound and views at this general admission venue.

DC "Indie" Mecca The Black Cat located almost at the corner of 14th Street and U St, NW
Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap at the red room!

HR57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues is a great sit down venue for live jazz. Bring your own wine bottle and pay a corking fee.

Twins Jazz
Great sunday night jam session.

Iota's is a wonderful intimate venue located in Arlington (metro convenient)
Monday nights half price wine special.

The Birchmere is a sit down venue located in Alexandria, Virginia with dancing at shows on "the bandstand." Casual food fare (good gumbo!) with table service. Area mecca for folk/ country/ zydeco/ roots.

Wolftrap is our favorite venue for summer outdoor lawn shows. Take the metro to the Wolftrap shuttle and avoid driving hassle! Bring a picnic basket with a nice bottle of red for a beautiful night under the stars.

18th Street Lounge in the Golden Triangle area between Dupont and downtown DC features dj's and an international clientele in a modern lounge setting.

The Velvet Lounge is a place to sample potential up and comers (The Apes played their first gig here and Outer Body Llama made this a regular stop) or if you are in a rock'n'roll band to get booked.

Say hello to Dan Wray over at the Warner before catching a musical!

The Kennedy Center is the nation's official home for the performing arts. It features many wonderful free of charge shows at the Millenium State in addition to the performances by preeminent artists such as Cassandra Wilson, Sonny Rollins (scheduled for 2005), and Paco de Lucia. Be sure to check out the view of Washington DC from the terrace.

George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium
Very international eclectic performers (i.e., Serrat, Cesaria Evoria, Tom JONES!)

DAR Constitution Hall is a classy venue and frowns on dancing and strictly enforces a non-smoking policy. "Security" can be a bit overbearing at times.

The State Theatre in Falls Church

The Recher Theatre is located in Towson, Maryland and highly recommended because shows always end up being great fun. Be sure to try some of the NattyBoh brew!

Bossa Bistro and Lounge, Adams Morgan Tel: 202-248-4800
Check out Nayas and their reggae-rock, with diverse influences such as Manu Chao, Bob Marley and Sumo (legendary argentine reggae-rock outfit) during their ongoing saturday night residency. (link currently down)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Visions Cinema and Bar Noir in Dupont Circle Washington

After providing Washington DC four years of eclectic independent and international cinema, in addition to fostering a sense of community for neighborhood residents, we are heartbroken to learn that Visions Cinema and Bar Noir has closed its doors.

We are extremely grateful to Visions for providing an outlet for thought provoking fare such as The Secretary, Fat Girl, Happenstance, Baise-moi, Raising Victor Vargas (a personal favorite of a 47west63rd team member), Seducing Dr. Lewis, He loves me he loves me not, and A Man to Love among others.

Please join us in bidding a fond adieu to this Washington landmark tomorrow Sunday September 26 at 6:00 pm at the Visions Closing Party.

The Boss speaks...

Bruce Springsteen is a man worthy of respect. In addition to the wonderful songs he has gifted the world he is an American who stands up for what is right. It is that simple. I think even Bush, Cheney or the Swift Boat Veterans for the Untruth would have trouble besmirching his patriotism.

Generally he keeps his opinions on politics to himself. However, like many Americans, he is evidently worried about the course this country is on and is participating in the "Vote for Change" tour of swing states being organized in support of John Kerry's candidacy. 47west63rd will be in the HOUSE at the Vote for Change Tour Finale in Washington DC on October 11 so expect a full review! The following is reproduced from a recent Rolling Stone interview (late September issue) given by Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen. Please direct your browser to for the full interview.

Rolling Stone: This has obviously been on your mind for a while. How did you come to this decision?

Bruce Springsteen: I knew after we invaded Iraq that I was going to be involved in the election. It made me angry. We started to talk about it onstage. I take my three minutes a night for what I call my public-service announcement. We talked about it almost every night on our summer tour.

I felt we had been misled. I felt they had been fundamentally dishonest and had frightened and manipulated the American people into war. And as the saying goes, "The first casualty of war is truth." I felt that the Bush doctrine of pre-emption was dangerous foreign policy. I don't think it has made America safer.

Look at what is going on now: We are quickly closing in on what looks an awful lot like the Vietnamization of the Iraq war. John McCain is saying we could be there for ten or twenty years, and John Kerry says four years. How many of our best young people are going to die between now and that time, and what exactly for? Initially I thought I was going to take my acoustic guitar and play in some theaters, find some organizations to work for and do what I could. I was going to lend my voice for a change in the administration and a change in the direction of the country.

Sitting on the sidelines would be a betrayal of the ideas I'd written about for a long time. Not getting involved, just sort of maintaining my silence or being coy about it in some way, just wasn't going to work this time out. I felt that it was a very clear historical moment.

Rolling Stone: So there wasn't a moment of doubt in your mind about what the right thing to do was?

Bruce Springsteen: It was something that gestated over a period of time, and as events unfolded and the election got closer, it became clearer. I don't want to watch the country devolve into an oligarchy, watch the division of wealth increase and see another million people beneath the poverty line this year. These are all things that have been the subtext of so much of my music, and to see the country move so quickly to the right, so much further to the right than what the president campaigned on -- these are the things that removed whatever doubt I may have had about getting involved.

Rolling Stone: How much do you follow this election?

Bruce Springsteen: I think that Senator Kerry has long played it close to the vest, and that's his style. However, the presidency is like the heavyweight championship: They don't give it to you, you have to take it. He has a slow, deliberate style that may not make for an electrifying campaigner, but it may make for a very good president. But, of course, you have to get there.

One of the most disturbing aspects of this election is that the machinery for taking something that is a lie and making it feel true, or taking something that is true and making it feel like a lie -- the selling machinery has become very powerful. Senator Kerry has to make people pay attention to the man behind the curtain. He has to take the risk and rip the veil off the administration's deceptions. They are a hall of mirrors and a house of cards.

For Senator Kerry, the good news is he has the facts on his side. The bad news is that often in the current climate it can feel like that doesn't matter, and he has to make it matter.

Rolling Stone: What do you think of how the election is being covered and conducted through the press?

Bruce Springsteen: The press has let the country down. It's taken a very amoral stand, in that essential issues are often portrayed as simply one side says this and the other side says that. I think that Fox News and the Republican right have intimidated the press into an incredible self-consciousness about appearing objective and backed them into a corner of sorts where they have ceded some of their responsibility and righteous power.

The Washington Post and New York Times apologies about their initial reporting about Iraq not being critical enough were very revealing. I am a dedicated Times reader, and I've found enormous sustenance from Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd on the op-ed page. There has been great reporting, but there has also been some self-consciousness in some of the reporting about the policy differences in this election.

This is going to be an issue after the election. I don't know if it began with the Iraq War, but shortly thereafter there was an enormous amount of Fox impersonators among what you previously thought were relatively sane media outlets across the cable channels. It was very disheartening. The job of the press is to tell the truth without fear or favor. We have to get back to that standard.

The free press is supposed to be the lifeline and the blood of democracy. That is the position of responsibility that those institutions have. Those things are distorted by ratings and by money to where you're getting one hour of the political conventions. No matter how staged they are, I think they're a little more important than people eating bugs. I think that for those few nights, the political life of the nation should take priority, and the fact that it so casually does not means something is wrong. If you want to watch people eating bugs, that's fine, I can understand that, too, but let's do it on another night.

Real news is the news we need to protect our freedoms. You get tabloid news, you get blood-and-guts news, you get news shot through with a self-glorifying facade of patriotism, but people have to sift too much for the news that we need to protect our freedoms. It should be gloriously presented to the people on a nightly basis. The loss of some of the soberness and seriousness of those institutions has had a devastating effect upon people's ability to respond to the events of the day.

Rolling Stone: Do you think the press is leading us away from a fair and objective reading of this election?

Bruce Springsteen: It's gotten very complicated, and I think it's blurred the truth. Whether you like the Michael Moore film or not, a big part of its value was that it showed how sanitized the war that we received on television at night is. The fact that the administration refused to allow photographs of the flag-draped coffins of returning dead, that the president hasn't shown up at a single military funeral for the young people who gave their lives for his policies, is disgraceful. You have the Swift-boat guys who have been pretty much discredited, but there is an atmosphere that is created by so much willing media exposure that it imparts them credibility.

political button 2004 election

Friday, September 24, 2004

is it really so strange that Kerry windsurfs while on vacation? is it at all relevant in this election?

Future Nobel Prize for Literature Winner?

Baseball: ICHIRO!

Seattle Mariners baseball phenom Ichiro Suzuki is on pace, with 247 hits as of last night, to set the record for hits in a season. Some baseball fans and less avid followers in particular tend to focus almost exclusively on home runs and other feats of gargantuan powahhh (Watch ESPN baseball tonight or sportscenter any night and its seemingly all homers) BUT to me hits are what its about in baseball (home runs are just ONE type of hit) and the fact that this marvel called Ichiro is about to best a record that has stood since 1920 is remarkable!!!.. interestingly enough Sisler's feat of 257 hits in 1920 was overshadowed by the new guy on the block and his home runs: Babe Ruth!... never mind that Sisler batted over 400 that season!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Glaciar Perito Moreno, Patagonia, Argentina, July 2002
picture by 47West63rd

All Star Blue Note Lineup!

first attempt at selecting the most representative blue note musicians (i.e., played on the most blue note sessions at a consistently high level) at each chair:

Trumpet: Lee Morgan
Sax: Hank Mobley
Piano: Herbie Hancock 60s
Horace Silver 50s
Sonny Clark (Honorable Mention)
Organ: Jimmy Smith
Guitar: Grant Green
Drums: Art Blakey

Cat Stevens & 6-year old daughter foiled in attempt to blow up plane en route to DC!

A plane on which Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) was flying to Washington DC was diverted to Bangor, Maine where he was promptly arrested and deported. According to the US government he is on the "no fly" list. This begs the question of why he was actually flying to the US in the first place (perhaps an attempt to help the airline industry?). Apparently, there were concerns Cat would blow up the plane with his 6 year old daughter on it.

From an AP story:
"Islam was denied entry to Israel in 2000 after the authorities there accused him of supporting Hamas. He denied the charges then and said his charitable donations were for humanitarian causes. Among the charities he has supported are children affected by war in Bosnia and Iraq as well as victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against America, which he condemned."

Lets see... Government of Israel on one side and a supporter of children affected by war and victims of September 11.. hmmmmmmmmm..... tough choice..

I have always loved the Cat Stevens song "Peace Train".... 10,000 maniacs covered it on "In my tribe" (subsequently removed by Natalie Merchant who was offended by some comments made by Cat).

Now I've been happy lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun
Oh I've been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be, some day it's going to come
Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again
Now I've been smiling lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun
Oh peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Come on now peace train
Yes, peace train holy roller
Everyone jump upon the peace train
Come on now peace train
Get your bags together, go bring your good friends too
Cause it's getting nearer, it soon will be with you
Now come and join the living, it's not so far from you
And it's getting nearer, soon it will all be true
Now I've been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can't we live in bliss
Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again

Can it be that Washington D.C. is about to get a baseball team?

All signs are that Major League Baseball (MLB) will decide sometime in the next few weeks (perhaps in coming days) to relocate the Montreal Expos to Washington DC. The team would begin play, next season, in DC and initially play home games at a remodelled RFK Stadium. After a year or two at RFK the team would move in to a new baseball stadium to be constructed overlooking the Anacostia River in SE DC.

As a baseball fan I am drooling at the prospect of 81 home games.. think Barry Bonds, Clemens, Pujols, Randy Johnson etc regularly coming to DC!!!!!!!!... For too long DC baseball fans have been shunned by MLB despite representing the most lucrative untapped market (i.e., could the rocket scientists that awarded a team to Tampa Bay please stand up...).

Current MLB sentiment seems to be that MLB team owners OWN the Expos and can ill afford to move the team to a city that would fail maximize its investment (i.e., selling team to DC investor(s) will maximize profits on the investment for the 28 major league team owners- each has about $5 million invested in the Expos)....In addition, all signs indicate a team in DC is a viable long term proposition

Conventional "wisdom" is MLB will look to work out some sort of compensatory arrangement with Peter "Attila the Hun" Angelos , owner of the Baltimore Orioles, who believes a DC team will cut into his revenues and therefore opposes the move. I speak for a lot of DC baseball fans when I say I will never again set foot in Camden Yards (Orioles home park) until DC gets a team.

So on to specifics.. the DC team would play in the National League in the NL East. The Expos currently have some interesting players.. I think of Jose Vidro particularly.. a phenomenal second baseman who has been signed I believe to a long term contract... The Expos manager, Frank Robinson is no slouch either and the General Manager (I think the name is Minaya) has done a good job.

Obviously one has to wonder what the new DC baseball team's name will be... I say odds are they will revert to the "Washington Senators" moniker they used with the two previous DC baseball teams... Other suggestions include the "Masons" and the "Monuments". If anyone has any others I'd love to hear them... I am partial to "Democrats" but for obvious reasons this name will not fly!... I also like "Hill People" in recognition of Capitol Hill residents...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

this is funny HA HA- Latest George Bushism

"Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat."—Washington, D.C., Sept. 17, 2004


story developing... press bulletin to follow....stay tuned

Blakey and Monk

Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk
Atlantic 1278
Original Black Label Deep Groove

I was recently talking to a friend about how one of the wonderful things about jazz was that the great talents "jammed" with one another...because most albums are made up of performances semi-improvised over the course of afternoon or evening jam sessions and because record company contracts/control over artists had yet to become as restrictive/prohibitive as it would artists were freer to participate in so called "blowin' session"...and I'm betting they needed the cash...I also told my friend of the existence of an album featuring both Monk and Blakey at their prime...

On this record my original thoughts were that Monk was pretty much the show as he always is...first of all they are his "standards" (i.e., "evidence", "in walked bud", "blue monk", "i mean you", "rhythm-a-ning") and his piano is so original and inimitable that it seems to take everything is interesting of course to have Blakey and Monk on the same record as Monk's piano playing style is quite percussive.. He seems to bang out the notes..

Johnny Griffin on the tenor saxophone is no slouch here either and in fact part of me almost feels like he too ought to be recognized in the album title....

I was recently reading in the all music guide how Blakey was often undervalued in the 50s and 60s while the hype and critical favor descended on Miles, Coltrane and say the even more experimental free jazz of Ornette Coleman BUT how in the 80s there emerged a renewed belief that the type of jazz Blakey and his messengers had been spreading (call it post bop or hard bop) was the real mcoy.

What are the characteristics that distinguish Art Blakey in my mind. First of all Blakey seems to pound the time rather than mark it. There is a "Blakey style"..there it is.. its right in the first song of Side 2 ("I Mean You")- its the CLAT-CLAT-CLAT drumming where he seems to be hitting the side part of the drum with his drumstick..sometimes i get the impression he's hitting the two drumsticks together...... he always keeps the time while seemingly interjecting all these breaks.... are these "snare and cymbal strokes"?

Blakey is of course much more than the style.. he also presided over a band that became an incubator for talent.. i mean how many people got their chops together playing with Blakey? not just as jazz players but as, perhaps more importantly, composers.. Wayne Shorter immediately comes to mind, and Lee Morgan, and Hank Mobley and on and on... heck all the way to Branford and Wynton is as if he ran an internship program where the interns were allowed, on the surface of it, to take charge..or maybe its an asylum where the inmates take charge?.. of course Blakey always put his stamp on the proceedings...

When I think of Blakey I also think of longevity... i believe he played until the late 1980s...i'm guessing he was not one of the cats battling it out with heroin...

I also think of one of his signature tunes: "Moanin".. i think of blues and soul in jazz.. i think of melody...the liner notes point out that the group he introduced in 1954 proclaimed the funky style... However, I must confess, listening to this record, that I do not think of Monk as adding the funkiness of say a Bobby Timmons on "Moanin'" but I digress..

The description by Martin Williams in the liner notes of Blakey on "I Mean You" reall serves to tell the story:

"Clearly he not only accompanies but directly leads the trumpet into ideas and motifs. It is a dangerous role for a drummer, demanding constant discretion and sympathy with the soloist. The second change is illustrated in some of Blakey's solos: probably more directly than any other drummer, Blakey saw the possibility of sustaining polyrhythmic linjes and he can keep serveral rhythms going with an unusual kind of continuity. But the most important point for me is the one we can hear illustrated by what he does on the opening chorus of I Mean Youl He carries the accompanying 4/4 pulse, but, at the same time, he improvises a parallel percussive line which interplays with both the melody and the fundamental time: the jazz drummer becomes an improvising percussionist on a plane almost equal to that of the horns."

So i may have said earlier that Atlantic 1278 is dominated by Monk but perhaps it ain't necessarily so!

The original deep groove black label of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk...BOOYA! Posted by Hello

Current Listening

Thelonious Monk
"Alone in San Francisco"
Riverside 1158
Original Pressing (Black Label)

This LP, originally purchased with a friend in mind, arrived too late for bestowal.. it was not meant to be!!!!!!! :) anyways, its Monk solo doing what only HE does.. the LP cover is pretty cool with Monk hanging on to a trolley in San Francisco...its a mixture of standards and classic Monk tunes played live at the "Fugazi" in the city we built on rock'n'roll... What is the difference between a Stereo and Mono pressing of a record featuring a single piano?

Thelonious Monk LP Cover Posted by Hello

Native American Indians

congratulations to the native american indians who tonight obtained the keys to a museum on the mall!!!!.. mickey hart of the grateful dead was there adding some drums...rita coolidge sang the "anthem" of the cherokee and other indian nations' ; it is evidently set to the music of "amazing grace" and sung by indians during the 1830s forced march of the trail of tears...there are some mixed feelings i have about this WAS, however, inarguably great to see native american indians on the mall..

Blog Archive