Tiny conductors

I just got noted that in Philly coming up, thanks to Mark Christman’s excellent Ars Nova series, two great jazz or out music events.

The first is called Ballrog which is a Tolkein reference — the ballrog was a monster that I think fought Gandalf in the mines, it means “under-ground”, and was also, apropos of Jim Harbaugh in the previous post but not Chris Strausser in what launched most of this today, was once parodied in “Bored of the Rings” as “ball-hog” — and features, like Brunhilde, some Norse dudes.

The second is a Todd Sickafoos joint, The Bear (and that is not a Shakespeare reference?). It features, and this is my nut graph, the following players who appeared, but not all at once, and not with Todd per se as a whole, the following all of whom have appeared with or for Earthwise, 1994-2012, or actually more like 1999 to 2014 because it took me five years as a promoter to develop that good of an ear: Sickafoos, Allison Miller, Jenny Scheinman, Ben Goldberg, Adam Levy (appeared not at Cubberley, but at my brief series at Cabana, with Joey Baron and Steve Cardenas). Come to think of it, I think I sent random word to Adam Levy suggesting or asking something something.

Also, I rang Leah Garchik of the Chron yesterday to relate the story of taking Henry Butler to the 49ers game at the old Candlestick Park and what an ear he had for football; he exclaimed “he’s in!” about a 3rd-and-goal Niners effort; he could hear the fans reaction and pass it on to me before I could tell with my eyes AND ears the same thing. I told Leah, who identified me by voice or maybe voice AND caller i.d. but practically never uses my stuff, that I live vicariously thru her column; I missed the Ai Wei Wei show and VIP arts dudes tour and missed Steven Bernstein Henry Butler duo Hot 9 — the music of Jelly Roll Morton. I was busy putting on Earthwise@20 featuring Colin McMurty and Rachel Garlin; I had a mind to go see McMurtry at Hotel Utah but was literally oblivious to the show at SFJazz, I normally might have wanted to see. As I told Garchik: Bernstein’s “Diaspora Suite” debuted live at my Earthwise@15 at Bottom of the Hill in 2008, with, going full-circle, Goldberg and, in that case, Will Bernard AND David James on guitar; Steven kept saying “my new best friend, David James.” Goldberg, meanwhile, literally meanwhile, played September 20, 2014 that is to say two months ago with Taylor Ho Bynum a site-specific event called !Taylor Ho! in which Taylor a cornet player biked to the hit from SF, then post-event, which is the only one of his 12 or so hits to be performed in actual bike gear, he and I biked about four miles to corner of Foothill Expressway and Arastradero Road. I also told Garchik–whose seed she calls Jake has grown into a pretty decent bone player, regardless of whether he has or has not gone Ars Nova in the 215 — I would wager “yes” — that Steven and Henry met on set of Robert Altman “Kansas City” and that Steven could –literally, this is my third literally, fourth, just today, a new personal best or worst — it was also a Jane Fonda joke the other night on Aaron Sorkin “News Room” she claims the new dictionary definition of ‘literally” is “not literally” and that there is no other synonym for the old usage — Steven can sneak up on Henry – -who is blind, not since birth but crucially since a few days or weeks later, i.e. that is to say, he once saw some thing or things — and say “Hello, Henry” and HB can or will and does without syncopation or missing a beat reply “hello, Steven” — he recognizes that voice. Anywhere. On the road. In foreign countries should such roads rise up to meet them. Speaking of France, if you permit the digression, those fuckers — they actually asked at the airport Henry to remove his glasses to inspect his empty orbs, for purported security reasons. Then made it a point to seat us in the very back of the plane on the frog-jumper-alike between Paris and -The-Akron-of-France whatever it was called, where Michellin got started; they seated us in the back on the off chance the plane goes down you wouldn’t want a blind New Orleans piano player blocking your French egress. Gives new meaning to “did you see that S-car go?”

A clam was when I asked Henry if he could get out and direct traffic so that I could back into the crowd post-game my dad’s white Lexus. There were a lot of clams, those six months. But I did tell my parents “whatever else happens this is one of the best six months of my life”.

I also told Eric Hanson the mensch-agent (Nina Simone) that Henry with a flick of the wrist caned me in my testicles to protest my whistling or humming as a led him thru one of those airports. He asked me once, and I probably complied, to bribe two ladies who were searching his bags by gifting them each copies of the Basin Street release “The Game Has Just Begun”.

He shortly thereafter explained himself and shared some of his wisdom about proclivities of certain ethnic groups he can tell from her voice, too dirty for Plastic Alto even if I did say “fuckers” directly above. Use your other senses on this one.

And if Leah Garchik writes back four words, to my 929, “thanks for this info” I will scream.

If Henry Butler met this fellow traveler in an airport, he might say "Have you seen my Hot 9?"

If Henry Butler met this fellow traveler in an airport, he might say “Have you seen my Hot 9?”

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About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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