Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

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4Play

Ross Boissoneau - April 13th, 2006
Robert Berry – Prime Cuts (Magna Carta)
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Berry is a prime mover on Magna Carta’s series of tribute albums, and here you can hear his versions of Yes’s “Roundabout,” “Karn Evil 9” by ELP, Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage,” even Ambrosia’s “Life Beyond LA.” Problem is, despite his brilliant mimicry of these and other famous prog artists, you don’t really hear enough of Berry. He plays everything, from drums to bass to guitar and keyboards, he sings, and produces. He even made a fun Christmas album where he used his one-man band approach to update holiday fare in the styles of King Crimson, Kansas, and others. He’s got the tools, as his previous solo discs and stints in the Three alongside Emerson and Palmer and in post-David Pack Ambrosia demonstrate, but “Prime Cuts” is just an excuse to hear him sound like his inspirations. Great fun though . . .

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – The Hidden Land (Columbia)
Jazz’s preeminent banjoist – okay, pretty much jazz’s only banjoist – returns more than three years after his group’s last album, and “The Hidden Land” is one of its strongest efforts. The Flecktones rearrange and reimagine Bach’s Fugue, while “P’lod in the House” is fairly straightahead jazz. Jeff Coffin gets most of the lead lines here, alternating among sax, flute, even clarinet, so much so that you start to long for Fleck to essay a foggy mountain breakdown. That doesn’t happen till “Weed Whacker,” and then Fleck follows his solo with some comping on wah-wah banjo. “Labyrinth” has a bluesy, call-and-response feel as Fleck and Coffin trade the melody, before Victor Wooten steps out for a typically audacious bass solo, while his brother, Future Man, serves as drummer for the band through a variety of percussive sounds. It’s obvious there is no one else out there who sounds like the Flecktones.

Duke Robillard – Guitar Groove-A-Rama (Stony Plain Records)
Guitarist Duke Robillard formed the acclaimed Roomful of Blues at the tender age of 17 and later replaced Jimmie Vaughan in the Fabulous Thunderbirds. His solo career has encapsulated numerous blues styles, and as the title suggests, he romps through many of them here. The titles often tell the tale: “Do the Memphis Grind,” “Gambler Blues,” “I’ll Do Anything But Work” show Robillard as a canny, soulful guitarist (and occasionally a singer of distinction as well). “Sunday Morning” has quotes from “I’m In The Money,” along with soulful lines from Doug James on bari sax. Robillard  plays it straight on “Danny Boy” before doubling the pace halfway through, allowing him to bend a few notes. The 16-minute “Blues-A-Rama” allows Robillard to stretch out as he emulates the styles of several of his influences and favorite players, from Johnny Guitar Watson to Lowell Fulsom and Freddie, B.B. and Albert King, among others. All told, this is one groovy disc.

Incognito – Eleven (Narada Jazz)
Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick’s latest brings together his sense of funky melody, his ultra-tight band, and great vocals from Maysa Leak, Tony Momrelle and others. Incognito has always brought together 70s funk and soul, colorful vocals, and snazzy horns, with an acid-jazz beat, and “Eleven” is no exception. “Come Away With Me” melds an urgent melody with percussion, keyboard breaks and a shouting horn section, the beat driving the song ahead while Maysa’s effortless vocals keep pace. “When Tomorrow Brings You Down” is a tale of heartbreak so soulful you almost can’t wait for it to happen. The second half of the album starts to drag, however, as “Show Me Love” gets repetitive, and “I’ll Get By” suffers from a desultory melody line. The concluding cuts get Bluey and band back on track, though, making “Eleven” enjoyable if not among the band’s best.
 
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