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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Ross Boissoneau - November 25th, 2004
Christine McVie – In The Meantime (Koch Records)

If you thought that 20 years between records would augur change, in the case of Christine McVie you’re wrong. The former Fleetwood Mac singer and songwriter’s new solo disc doesn’t sound all that dissimilar to her “Christine McVie” from 1984. Like that disc, “In The Meantime” is pleasant but not exceptional. “Friend” is this album’s “Got A Hold On Me,” a Mac-ish piece of soft pop, empathetically delivered by McVie and her band, which includes her nephew, Dan Perfect, on guitars and backing vocals. Other standout tracks include “So Sincere” and “Easy Come, Easy Go” which has some of those funky clavinet sounds and backing vocals like “You Make Lovin’ Fun.” McVie’s best singing comes on “Liar.” Overall an engaging but less than scintillating excursion.

Incognito – Adventures in Black Sunshine (Narada Jazz)

Guitarist/composer Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick has built Incognito into a juggernaut of sorts. Over the group’s 11 albums, Maunick has developed a sound borrowing from ‘70s soul and ‘90s acid jazz, while introducing a bevy of talented singers and utilizing the cream of Britain’s jazz and funk musicians, such as Patrick Clahar, Bud Beadle, Richard Bailey and guests such as former Jam frontman Paul Weller. “Adventures” reunites Bluey with vocalist Maysa Leak, who sings most of the leads. Whoever is singing, Incognito delivers the goods. The punchy horns, synths, and electric piano leads galvanize the songs while Maunick stays mostly in the background. Even on the instrumentals he lets others get the bulk of the solo space, as on “The 25th Chapter,” which features Andy Ross on flute and Nichol Thompson on trombone.

Aria 3 – Metamorphasis (Koch Records)

Producer/pianist Paul Schwartz continues to concoct ambient masterpieces from classical and sacred song. Here he reaches into operatic arias and reimagines them with ambient and electronic treatments with vocal interludes. Whether it works or not certainly depends on your perspective. Classical purists will probably run screaming from the room, while those whose ears are tuned strictly to pop will also be left wanting. Like his previous Aria efforts, or his combinations of sacred and electronic on the State of Grace projects for Windham Hill, Schwartz finds his audience in those looking for new expression and combination of beats, electronics, and classical or sacred works. An arranger rather than composer, Schwartz pushes the envelope with sometimes heady results.

Wallace Roney - Prototype (High Note)

Wallace Roney is one of the most consistently inventive trumpeters currently working on the jazz scene. As it harkens back to such ground-breaking albums as “Bitches Brew” and Herbie Hancock’s “Crossings,” “Prototype” is not music for the faint-hearted. Like his mentor, Miles Davis, Roney is totally unafraid, and the fearlessness shows in his innovative combinations of textures over which he and his fellow horn players assemble their sounds. On the opening “Cyberspace,” for example, he brings in DJ Logic on turntables, while the following “Shadow Dance” includes bass clarinet and trombone. Both are wistful, exploratory songs, which rely on the leader’s trumpet lines to tie together the electronic soundscapes and the more typical jazz rhythms. And Roney’s arrangement of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” is a tour-de-force.
 
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