1.31.2006

Wayne Shorter at the LA Phil

got back (early due to a death in the family) to LA in time thursday to surprise Ron; Jessica Smith took my place at the house party reading, but Natalie Illum et al will be giving another reading in her own right; many thanks to the wonderful DC poetry community for their understanding

how annoying the whole review just deleted itself

anyway, David Kidd and Wendy Lawless, writers both now, gave us their Wayne Shorter tickets -- they had a conflict, Saturday was my birthday, and they knew we'd had no time to make plans -- it was Wayne Shorter with his usual combo (piano, acoustic / stand up bass, drums), fronting the LA Philharmonic

now, I was intially dubious about this, and would still rather see Shorter for a longer period, with his band alone, and in a club

I wasted a lot of head space thinking about who had organized the concert, and if Shorter was eager for the challenge / oppt'y, indeed sought it out -- note I haven't checked to see if he plays with classical orchestras all the time -- or vice versa, although the assumption was that he was doing his musical mastery thing, not some weird Boston Pops does fusion thing

the program was all shorter arrangements, with six pieces by shorter and one by santana, and one by ... someone else (where is that program when you need it?); it was well ordered, the progression was good; the first piece was Shorter's "hit" -- that got it out of the way -- the piece before the intermission really jammed -- the piece right after the intermission -- the santana, was really pretty, sweet, and calm

there were two major flaws, in my opinion: Shorter didn't use the power of the orchestra well in his arrangements -- he used the horns and bowed bass to amplyfy his sound -- just to follow, really, what he was doing, but make it more expansive -- this actually made his horn mostly disappear, and was also a huge lost opportunity, and not only for counterpoint, but for over development of composition [what would you do if you had an entire classical orchestra? just play the same thing louder?]; additionally, the drummer and bassist had to play their hearts out to ground the whole Philharmonic -- something that they did, and very well, for about half the pieces, but something which wouldn't have taken every ounce of musicianship and performance energy had the pieces been better arranged


Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash by Hans Turley

possibly the dullest book possible to imagine underneath this title, there is no rum, no real lashing, and precious little sodomy; this is a book about PIRATES, and I did learn that buccaneers, privateers, and pirates are three different classes of seamen under BRITISH SEA RULE, but that is all I learned; the author desperately wants to write about sodomy amongst pirates, but is unable to get beyond the paucity of information on this; the fact that pirates were completely outside the social order, and seen to be complete criminals, and that buccaneers were actually given permission from the crown to loot enemy ships [apparently Kidd was hanged for not having one of these -- his sponsor refused to cough it up in his defence due to somesort of political intrigue], anyhoo, the author also has an extremely annoying habit of turning just about everything into easy Latin phrases, such as HOSTIS HUMANI GENERIS for pirate and homo eroticus and homo economicus; the only sodomy is from court cases generated around London in the 16th century, not among seafaring men at all

rum, sodomy, and the lash isn't even a good falling asleep book, dull as it is

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