Let’s Hear It For Burt Bacharach!!!!

In the first half of the 20th century, something wonderful happened in America. Out of vaudeville and music hall theaters, jazz and folk, and the native songs of Stephen Foster, there arose an amazing outpouring of great songwriting. Popular songs, Broadway show tunes, jazz standards, and eventually songs from movies. Some were all four. Some …

June Music: What Do You Think I Am, Some Kind Of Idiom?

June 20-25, five shows in six days. Let’s save the best for the first, on Tuesday, June 20th Pharrell ‘Pharoah’ Sanders, one of the last titans of jazz still with us, concluded a three-day run at Seattle’s Triple Door dinner club. At 76, he continues the journey that he began by the age of 21 …

The Grateful Dead Are That Good The legendary Grateful Dead show from Barton Hall on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York on May 8, 1977, sometime in the late evening, night even—is really great. And I’m thrilled to have all four shows of that May 1977 run, loving Buffalo, New Haven, Ithaca/Cornell, and …

…and here’s the Education Plank of the Kind-of New Kind-of Left in Seattle

What Seattle’s New Left Wants: Education   A Marxist Critique of Identity Politics …and my response: I commend our new left social justice educators for continuing the fight to end institutional racism and address social equity. But this activism leaves the job only half done. Calls for social justice ring hollow when they do not …

Six Songs Each From Six Great 1966 Albums

    If the Beatles of 1963 were the arrival of modern rock, 1966 was the year it moved into its second phase.  I think of 1966 as a year of pregnancy.  The momentum built by the British Invasion and the American Response signaled support from the record companies and sureness from the artists, as …

Fake News: dada Did It!

   During the summer of 1919, two expatriated dadas living in Zurich were bored. Hans Arp (1886-1966) and Tristan Tzara (1896-1963) spiced things up by fabricating a duel between them. They planted the story in Swiss newspapers and falsely reported that fellow dadas Francis Picabia, Oskar Kokoschka, and Walter Serner were at the duel as …

Musical Improvisation and Play: Dead Beatles

Dead Beatles The play of children and the play of ensemble improvisers like the Grateful Dead share numerous co-identifying qualities. Definitions of play and improvisation precede a comparison of the Dead and the Beatles. These two bands have been exhaustively described, but herein is a focus on the quality of play and the play ethos …