Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio, "Return of the Lost Tribe" (Live at the River East Art Center, 2005)

Begin with a short but complicated and intricate bass solo from fezzed wise-looking Yosef Ben Israel, which turns into a two-bar rhythm that he keeps up for the next four minutes. Drunken-sounding melody repeated in sloppy AACM-style unison by sax player Ari Brown and violinist/2005 breakout star Billy Bang, bandleader/composer El'Zabar on drum kit with understated funk beat. Brown takes first solo, honking and exploring, twisting and turning, not really Coltraning but not really NOT Coltraning. Ben Israel starts walking and Brown turns into Sonny Rollins. Not sure how much title has to do with song. El'Zabar does the goat moan thing when he plays. Bang's first solo starts about six-minute mark, he's fascinating in his approach, slicing the air with harsh scrapings and then precise dive-bombing runs, a touch of hoe-down when he essays both solo styles from "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" (narrator AND Satan, very Manichean). Eventually disappears into ether, then reappears with little squalling notes that come into sharper focus. Finally stops, exhausted, three minutes later, so that El'Zabar can solo, which he does like Art Blakey, accompanying himself with little vocal interjection phrases and laughs at his own legerdemain. Audience seems charmed and appreciative, remind self to watch DVD of show. Pulls back at 10:30 mark so melody can be repeated, this time a little tighter. Final dissolve coda lets Bang and Brown riff a little like they're whispering little secrets to each other, Bang doing a funny little pizzicato deal. Slide into nothingness. Feel like something has been learned.


I am sore aggrieved at something, but I'm not saying what it is. If it doesn't change, though, then I will let you know. (Not something personal, something music-writing-related.)

Also, I am not feeling well, but again I will spare you details.

This grumpy entry is just a place-holder for another, happier one which might follow soon. If it doesn't, have a nice weekend. I plan to do just that.


1. Absolutely LOVING "So You Think You Can Dance" on Fox, it's just "American Idol" with dancing and even more British judges but it's hot anyways, because the dancers are good and we can all watch together and Sammy can do breakdancing spins on the living room floor. I have to rent "Breakin'" for him sometime or "Krush Groove," so he can see how it's done. Any additional suggestions should go into the comments section below.

2. This is less a blog than a LiveJournal. I'm okay with that.

3. Now that Man City has lost SWP, there isn't really anyone on that club that I love, other than maybe Kiki Musampa and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Oh, and Sun Jihai is back, so that's good news, he's pretty great; not sure about Trevor Sinclair and Willo Flood, Robbie Fowler is fun to watch when he's on, but that happens pretty rarely anymore, and it's too much to hope that Andy Cole will be any kind of good at all. I'm kind of looking for a new Premiership side to root for. I'd switch over to Wigan or Sunderland, but that's how I ended up rooting for Man City a few years ago when they were promoted, so what's the point? Anyway, my other clubs are: Barcelona (La Liga), Juventus (Serie A), Toluca (Liga Mexicana), Racing Club (Argentina), CSKA Moscow (Russia), Olympique Marseille (Ligue 1), and Corinthians (Brazil).

4. Oh, and I have a new one. The assistant coach on our baseball team, Andrew, is a huge fan of football (both kinds), and when we figured this out yesterday we spent the rest of the game chatting about it. He's into Bolivian teams, especially two teams, with the excellent names of The Strongest and Always Ready. I'm so there.


Yesterday, I bitched about my bad karma to a dear friend. Wasn't anything huge, just a general feeling that I'm nicer to everyone than they are to me. Then, I went home to my weirdo surreal wonderful kids, this beautiful and intelligent wife, a house, a job, a life, family in Oregon and California that loves me, the whole thing. Somehow, this failed to turn me into a grateful man with a big smile. I didn't get there until the Brewers came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat St. Louis on their turf.

This morning, as I was driving to work on Highway M through a rainstorm, a bolt of lightning hit about 100 yards from my car. So okay then, universe, I get it. No more bitching.

I have a lot to do today so not much from me. Just go appreciate something, even if it's just the taste of Edy's Fruit Bars, lime flavor although I also like tangerine. Also, crank up some P.Funk and take off an item of clothing at random every hour until you are happy.


1. I don't want Karl Rove to quit. I want him to try to hold onto his job with both hands locked in a death grip. I want everyone in the administration to continue to try to support him. I want this to be a long, drawn-out process that burns everyone it touches, and keeps on burning, like when you've chopped habanero peppers and then put in your contact lenses. Please, let's not have any messy distractions like new Supreme Court justice nominations or Michael Moore statements. Just all Rove backtrack claptrap, all the time.

2. "The 4400" just keeps getting better. Betta recognize.

3. Sadly, I have come to the realization that the Brewers' recent slump is all the fault of Brady Clark's regression to the mean. I also think that Rickie Weeks may never be the superstar I want him to be, because his defense is for crap: two errors last night and another that could easily have been scored that way. Oy vey, even first-half hero Bill Hall striking out a lot more and Lyle Overbay hitting his by-now-unsurprising slump... The only Brewer who is improving is J.J. Hardy, but he really had nowhere to go but up.

4. You don't know her, but congratulate Carla C. She deserves it.


the weekend's two major cultural ventures were a) seeing the madison savoyards perform "the pirates of penzance" on saturday, and b) spending sunday afternoon drinking beer with my brother jeff and watching the entire "kill bill" saga on dvd. guess which one i enjoyed more.

i kind of hate gilbert and sullivan, mostly because it's boring and insular and self-congratulatory...but i figured "so is everything i like", and i loved topsy-turvy, so i figured i'd give it a try. but the production is a little botched, with a bogus forced frametale, and i couldn't understand what the hell they were all going on about in the second act so i took a little nap. emma liked it, sammy was disappointed that there wasn't more swordplay. i agree with sammy.

as for kill bill; i honestly worry about quentin tarantino, because this long-ass epic is pretty much the apotheosis of everything he's ever tried to do, and it did okay critically and commercially, but didn't blow the roof off of anyone's joint. personally, i love his kitchen-sink strategy, and i flatter myself that i understand what he was up to in kill bill. i just wonder if he's sitting around going, 'jeebus, do i have to rely on the fact that this movie won't get its critical due for a goldurned decade?' i am pretty sure that his next move should be a rom-com starring fairuza balk and terrence howard (with shawnee smith and john leguizamo as the wisecracking best friends), but i am pretty sure he's not going to make that move.


man I just can't get my head around any music these days other than jazz and world and crazy r&b/rap stuff (Brooke, Missy, Mannie). that is no surprise, really; just wondering when I lost the will to rock. but what exactly is the point of chasing around genres I am not feeling at all? take, f'rinstance, country music, which I was MAD for last year at this time, and now am all like "eh" about. is it the music itself that has changed? is it me? does it matter?

report on the new my chemical romance video for "helena," with the insane lionel richie dancing at the funeral: liza doesn't like it, sam and I like it, emma didn't like it at first but likes the dead girl dancing ballet before dying again part. not sure what this means. also: sammy is VERY confused by what is going on in the video and song for gorillaz' "feel good, inc." I told him that a lot of people are confused by that, and that it was a mystery unlikely to be solved any time soon. he shot me a look but it's true and YOU KNOW IT.

be prepared for round about weill by gianluigi trovesi and gianni coscia to make an eventual and permanent appearance in the list at right. one accordion, one clarinet, lots of kurt weill songs, liner notes by umberto frickin' eco, who says "Weill is not to be touched, and above all you don't touch him unless you are Germans of the Weimar Republic playing him in some smoke-filled cabaret in Berlin between the two wars, preferably in the grip of Spartacist nostalgia and other heroic Brechtian passions." aw yeah. just last night I was telling the Hellfire Club about my new play idea: a sitcom focused on the young Bertolt Brecht, who is kind of a cross between the Fonz and Richie Cunningham. GANGSTA.


you know what the problem is/ well I'll tell you. it's the lack of time to do all the cool things that the world affords us. what is the point of having all this technology all around us, all the channels and shows, all the gadgets and devices and implements, if we are all too exhausted to appreciate any of it, if we walk around like zombified freekz all the time, if we are actually sad about not having a new cool thing and it gets us all bummed out and then we go get it and then never hardly use it/ what is the point of advancing if we're actually walking backwards, staggering under the burden of the world/
why do we try to shield ourselves from the actual world with electronic gimcracks and gewgaws, gee-whiz stuff that is supposed to mitigate our pain/ oh things were so much simpler when I was a kid and had less stuff, which was already so much more stuff than my mom ever had, probably my dad too, backwards in an unbroken line to the pyramids which were the first status symbol, massive trophy cars sitting in the middle of the desert, never driven, full of all the detritus of the very rich including their slaughtered mummified pets

on the other hand my iPod is still awesome, feeding me Al Green and Charles Mingus and Bollywood jamz and the Platters all on a big silver platter

maybe I'm just cranky because I ate ten cookies last night and now my mouth is all swollen, am I really this old that I have to CUT DOWN ON SUGAR/ man no one tole me I'd be all used up and desiccated at 39, they should tell kids that when they're young so the simple pleasure of eating 10 cookies without waking up all puffy from sugar would seem like a beautiful thing. there are a lot of things they don't tell kids though, probably just as well

also very sad because one of the players on our coach-pitch team had his last game last night, family moving to MN, awesome kid. iceman, we'll miss you. (other team nicknames: "iron," "number nine," "the hammer," "downtown," "sammy sosa". more to come, these kids LOVE their nicknames.)

but happy because...well, because I don't seem to be depressed anymore. I'm prickly, I'm stupid, I'm lazy, I'm a slob, I'm a bad son and a worse father and a horrible writer...BUT AT LEAST NOT DEPRESSED ANYMORE! so I got that goin' for me.

what changed/ my perspective. how/ well I'll tell you about that tomorrow or sometime later. in the meantime, keep your wheels turning and remember that a smile is your passport to a beautiful tomorrow


one more day with me being under the gun, deal with it, unusual circumstances and all that

bobby abreu rocked the world last night, hope you saw it, the kids and I dancing all around the living room like we were venezuelan ourselves

"the closer" is a really good show, I think, mostly because of the "minor" characters, who are all very distinct in their own ways, the romance with jon tenney isn't very good though, no time, plus we all think he must have been a bad husband to poor sexy insane teri hatcher so we hate him

sorry to miss 'rock star' last night, someone tell me how it was

if you feel like linking to this thing go right ahead

love you all


crazy crazy craziness, just saying hello, i had a good weekend, tomorrow i'll be back with the cool stuff that will be interesting


oh man under the gun at work, hoping to get away for an extra-special romantic weekend somewhere, yipes

new missy elliott is probably as great as music gets these days, koo koo bananas all over the place, satisfyingly weird and cool and attention-lusting, oh missy we luv U again

sammy got hit by a kid in his day camp yesterday, water bottle at point blank range, big thing under his eye, hope it's not a scar or something, scary

super-scary, the london bombings, hope all of you and yours are safe

okay back to the grind


Quick update: the Blue Yankees had our best. game. ever. last night. Our big slugger, Sunhyok K., hit three triples, our gutsy utility player Lexi A. kept her head up despite being out three times on the bases through no fault of her own; Matt "the Iceman" D. held it down; Sammy still swinging like David Eckstein but saved at least two home runs through hustle in LF...oh very satisfrying.

How will I hear the new Missy album, when I have no cash and no opportunity to get to the wrecka sto before any time soon? Grr. A lot of people have it slated as album of the year so far. I have a little list myself, but it consists mostly of records that you guys have never heard, like Indian movie soundtracks and classical/blues hybrids and jazz organists and stuff from the Czech Republic, like that. Oh, and Brooke Valentine, rowr.

Review of Saul Zonana album in PopMatters today, check it out. I'm so far behind on reviews it's disgusting. Don't barf.

You know that Philip Sherburne is the coolest guy in the world, but you didn't know that he's back from Spain with pictures. Now you do.

Who's reading this thing, anyway?


Yesterday: massive headache strikes during 4th of July party! OMG! Everyone cooing over wife's cousin's new baby, people laughing and drinking and joking and eating my kick-ass ancho salsa, and me hunched in a corner massaging my forehead. Eventually it passed, and watched Elver Park fireworks out the window. Something primal about fireworks, not sure I can put my finger on it. Cool as hell though.

Night before: dinner with Bob T., whom I haven't seen since high school. Great guy, took me under his wing when I was a lonely sophomore on the varsity football team; by the end of the season we were cruising 82nd in his Chevy Impala (which we called the "Mexicruiser," very un-PC for white guys); we double-dated at prom with hot babes, etc. A great guy. Finally learned that one of the other reasons that everybody hated me freshman year was that I had dated Stephanie M., another hot babe. Damn, we only dated for like two months, and then guys stalked me and tried to lure me into fights for another year and a half! High school, wtf. The other reason for the hatred of me, of course, was that I was different. (sniff) Oh, yeah, and the fact that I bumped shoulders once with Tim S., who then got all of his friends to hate me for YEARS.

Anyway, Bob T., top guy of all time. His wife awesome too.

I have to destroy my iPod playlist tonight, in an attempt to be able to load songs on it again. 3000 songs and we're back to zero. I love it, but I hate it a little too. Should I be rockist about it and only load "important" albums? Poppist, and load only "insignificant" records? Comments, as always, appreciated but not expected.


Okay, so it's July, which means I got to change my Sesame Street calendar at work. Out with Ernie in the bathtub, and in with ROOSEVELT FRANKLIN, looking like the younger skinnier cousin of Posdnuos. God, I loved Roosevelt Franklin:

Hail to thee, our alma mama / Roose-velt Frank-lin (baaaaaaa) El-e-ment-ary School!

Sure, he was kind of a stereotype, but he brought dignity and uncompromising blackness to the Muppetworld. One might track the decline of Sesame Street itself to the phasing-out of Rosey on PC terms; from there, it turned all urban-renewal-y and upwardly-mobile-y, Susan/Gordon/Miles and Luis/Maria/Gabriella notwithstanding. Sick.

Also: bonus: apparently, today is Guy Smiley's birthday. That's what it says right here on the calendar, so you can't front on that. Ol' Hinge Head is now 70 and fending off lawsuits from sexually harassed employees...but he looks great.

Hanging out last night with the kids, as my wife was at Spanish class, reading to them from The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle. It's an hour-themed book of occasionally grisly fairy tales, and it has them pretty much spellbound, so much so that they actually WANT to turn off Nick at Nite reruns of "Full House." (Kimmy Gibler, why must you haunt my life?) When the Great Black Raven who has manipulated his way into marrying the most beautiful daughter of the king turns into a handsome prince, Emma literally gasped in shock, and Sammy actually looked up from his Bionicles and Lego Knights. Why I don't do this more often, I don't know. Of course, as soon as it was over they rushed for the remote so they could watch "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Oy vey.

Newly received: Marty Stuart's gospel project, Soul's Chapel (one of three albums coming this year from Marty Party), and the new Rodney Crowell, The Outsider. God love 'em both.