Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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4Play: Brian Wilson, Madlib, Lloyd Miller, Various Artists

Kristi Kates - November 8th, 2010
Brian Wilson - Reimagines Gershwin - Disney
The uber-talented Brian Wilson keeps evolving as a creative musician, this time taking on two pieces of music left by the equally skillful George Gershwin when he passed away (with the approval of the Gershwin estate.) Wilson’s gift for melodies blends perfectly with Gershwin’s
lush, beautiful compositions, adding modernity to the likes of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “Summertime.” And Wilson completes the unfinished “The Like in I Love You” and “Nothing But Love” with his gift for songcraft; he adds beachy buoyancy and delicate emotion to both of these tracks that Gershwin unintentionally left in very good musical hands.


Madlib - Medicine Show No. 7: High Jazz- MLS
The always-busy Madlib presents another of his Medicine Show installments, on which he works out various jazzy themes with his jazz quintet; on this set, he experiments with more of a jazz-fusion selection, chopping up bits of psychedelic music, funk, soul, and worldbeats into his own blended array of sounds. “Electronic Dimensions” throws robotic bass and futuristic chords into a blender sassed by a hi-hat, while “Steppin’ Into Tomorrow” offers galloping spare guitars, and the humorously named “Funky Butt, Pt. 1” is definitely funky with its choppy rhythms, catchy-repetitive harmony bass, and background vocal throw-ins to cut up the mix even more.


Lloyd Miller - Lloyd Miller and Heliocentrics - Strut Records
The UK musical collective (Heliocentrics) pairs up with jazzy multi-instrumentalist Miller for this collection of songs, which blends New Orleans jazz and Middle Eastern flair together perfectly, bouncing the angles of the more American jazz harmonies off of the more freeform, pitchy tones of the Eastern instruments and Oriental soundscapes. “Electricone” focuses the album’s sound right from the beginning (it’s the opening track) with its massive range of notes and expansive feel, and “Spirit Jazz” veers around and around within its own arrangement, adding surprising elements on each layer; other standouts include “Nava” and “Sunda Sunset.”


Various Artists - Book a Trip: The Psych Pop Sounds of Capitol Records - Now Sounds
This album collects a variety of rare late ‘60s psychedelic singles from the Capitol Records roster, some included here in stereo for the first time. A full-page booklet guides you through each track’s liner notes, which include production by David Axelrod, arrangements by Leon Russell, and compositions by a host of famed songwriters. You’ll hear Capitol pop from the era by the likes of The Moonpark Intersection, the Teddy Neeley Five, The Staccatos, and This Side Up, among others; some of these kitschy retro tunes are even presented in (whoa!) new stereo.
 
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