Friday, July 23, 2010

Zappa festival set for September 19



BALTIMORE - Since last month's confirmation of the September 19th date for
Baltimore City's dedication of a bust of Frank Zappa, community support has been
growing for a concert and festival in tribute to the legendary musician,
composer and social icon, whose birthplace is Baltimore. The bust, donated by a
Lithuanian fan club, will be placed at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Southeastern
Anchor Branch in Highlandtown, and plans now include an outdoor concert
featuring Zappa Plays Zappa (fronted by Frank's son Dweezil), and various events
at the library and nearby Patterson Theatre in support of the dedication

The date itself is especially significant as September 19th is the anniversary
of Zappa's 1985 testimony on Capitol Hill in favor of free expression by
Recording Artists at the Senate hearing instigated by certain congressional
wives (members of the PMRC) concerning record labeling. Frank Zappa's widow
Gail commented on the remarkable coincidence, stating, "Frank's legacy rests in
his uncompromising defense of the First Amendment and his uncompromising pursuit
of excellence clearly demonstrated in the standards he set in all areas of Music
and the arts and sciences associated with it. He was self-taught and
self-realized. It is hard to imagine how that is possible except for the 4
cornerstones he had going for him: a talent for music, a hard-core curiosity, a
keen sense of humor and access to a library. He was a cheap date for History."

The broader scope of events, being developed by Clearpath Entertainment in
collaboration with the Zappa family, the Southeastern Community Development
Corporation, Enoch Pratt Free Library, and the Creative Alliance, are intended
to help anchor the new Highlandtown Arts and Entertainment District and plans
now include a library exhibit, symposiums, and after party in addition to the
dedication and concert. Sean Brescia of Clearpath stated, "Baltimore has a rich
entertainment heritage dating back to its iconic theatres and jazz ballrooms,
and opportunities like this are a chance to re-capture that spirit. We wanted
to build an event that was a truly fitting tribute to the Zappa legacy, but also
something that can grow into a signature cornerstone event for the Highlandtown
Arts and Entertainment District, and Gail [Zappa] has shared that vision from
the beginning." In the interest of what the events could mean for the
community, Brescia reached out to a broad group of community organizations to
help plan and raise support for the events.

Echoing that sentiment of community interests, Chris Ryer of the Southeast
Community Development Corporation added, "The bust coming to Highlandtown and
these events are high-profile, flagship opportunities to position the
Highlandtown Arts and Entertainment District as major reasons for visitors to
come to Southeast while they're in Baltimore. We're excited to work with
Clearpath and the Zappas to leverage this year's events as a catalyst for great
things to come."

Remarking on the concert lineup, Clearpath's David Christensen said, "Frank
Zappa's musical genius and influence is undeniable and it has always been a must
for us that Dweezil headline this show in the ultimate tribute to his father.
This is going to be Zappa Plays Zappa, next to Zappa's statue, on Zappa's
street, on Zappa's day; it couldn't be more fitting."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Philip Walker: Feb. 11th 1937 - July 22 2010

Singer/guitarist Phillip Walker, 73, died this morning at 4:30 AM of heart failure. Walker played guitar on the Specialty and Chess recordings of Clifton Chenier. He moved from Louisiana to California in 1959. Walker's first album, Bottom Of The Top, was released in 1973 on the Playboy Record Label. He also made recordings on Galaxy, Vault, Joliet, HighTone, JSP, Black Top, Rounder, Alligator, P-Vine, MC, and most recently on Delta Groove. Phillip was a noted sideman who contributed to albums by Lonesome Sundown, Eddie Taylor, Percy Mayfield, and Johnny Shines.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Threadheads for Gulf Aid

Check out this Gulf Aid song by an All-Star cast of New Orleans musicians including Paul Sanchez, John Boutte and Craig Klein: Knows Nothin' (Proceeds Benefit, by Threadhead Records

1. Nobody Knows Nothin' Released 08 July 2010.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Village Voice hates on Trombone Shorty

Very strange review of Trombone Shorty's Backatown in the current Village Voice. Tom Hull does back of the envelope reviews of 40-some releases in an installation of the "Jazz Consumer Guide," an idea of pretty useless merit to begin with. Naturally some flip put-downs need to be included for "balance." Out of all the releases out there Hull chooses Backatown for his "duds" section. Hull is creating a straw man to knock down because whatever you might want to call what Shorty is playing on this record, "jazz" is not the first description that comes to mind. Backatown is a an album of short songs played by what is essentially a funk rock band without significant solo passages. It's no more of a jazz album than recent releases by Galactic or Juvenile, two albums that are pretty similar in feel. Shorty is an outstanding soloist but you won't hear that on Backatown because that's not what the album is about. Hull's view is that it's a "New Orleans horn line" (what????) "tricked up with synth beats" (all the drum tracks are live in the studio, no samples or 'synth beats') "bogged down with guest vocals" (Shorty has many strengths but singing is down the list so the addition of Lenny Kravitz and Marc Broussard is hardly a distraction) "and a stab at grunge" (it's a jazz review, so the writer can be forgiven for such a complete misrepresentation of Pete Murano's guitar playing, which will never be confused with Kurt Cobain's). Just another example of the implosion of credibility the Voice's music coverage has suffered in recent years. The days when Robert Christgau and Gary Giddins made the Voice a must read music publication are as dead as the oysters in the Gulf of Mexico.