I filed my review of the staggeringly good new Kurt Rosenwinkel album, Star of Jupiter, in time for last Tuesday's paper. Space constraints bumped it back a week: you'll find it in today's New Music column.
I'll add that Peter Hum did a great job with his review for the Ottawa Citizen.
And some enticing news from Rosenwinkel's team: the guitarist has been booked on Eric Clapton's next Crossroads Guitar Festival, at Madison Square Garden in April. Also on the bill: John Scofield, Gary Clark Jr., Earl Klugh, and a whole mess of others.
I caught up with him in
Austin recently, at what felt like a pivotal moment, and came away with an even
higher opinion of him. The back story is in the piece, but I thought I’d fill
in a few blanks here.
Clark is a real product of
Austin, born and raised: he came up through that city’s intensely vibrant music
culture, forming his voice on the bandstand in a way that most musicians don’t
anymore. (New Orleans seems like only the other place in America where this
still happens regularly, as a matter of course.) We talked about what that has
meant for him, and some of his descriptions reminded me of testimonials from
the jazz life, as it used to be lived:
The new column is all about banjo and guitar player Brandon Seabrook, who appears on one of this year’s most slyly inviting jazz albums, If the Past Seems So Bright, by Jeremy Udden’s Plainville.
My piece doesn’t deal much with Plainville, focusing instead on Seabrook himself, and his approach to the banjo, and his demonic presence in Seabrook Power Plant, the band he formed with his brother, drummer Jared. Two years ago, sometime between their first album and their second, I reviewed the band in Brooklyn.
There’s a pull quote from my review at the band’s website, though it’s not the one that goes “...a manic clusterfuck of merciless banjo torture...” (That phrase comes from Christopher Weingarten’s blog post for the Village Voice. He’s not wrong, btw.)
I can’t make it to the 2011 EMP Pop Conference next weekend at UCLA, which is really too bad -- the conference is an unmatched opportunity to catch up with a bunch of fellow obsessives, find out what they’re working on and bask in (mostly) original thinking about music. It’s also just an excellent hang.
Last year’s EMP was, for me, a lot more hectic than most, because I spent a lot of my time in Seattle dashing around to talk to jazz musicians. (This story was the intended result.) In fact I found myself, late on the eve of my presentation, facing down a blank screen. This is standard practice for some EMP regulars -- holla at cha boy, Jody! -- but not the way I usually roll. Thankfully I knew my subject, the above-pictured Pat Metheny Orchestrion, pretty much top to bottom. I pulled an all-nighter and everything was fine.
I say all this now because audio from my presentation has just been made available at iTunes University, free of charge. Click this link, which should open your iTunes. Then scroll down to my name, or item #31. And when you finish with that, check out some of the other presentations. I certainly will -- I know there’s some really good stuff there that I missed the first time around.