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Glorious

Simply fantastic nite at Desert Rose, with Theo Saunders and Chuck Manning’s thrilling jazz improvisation within a stream of classic tunes–Trane, Newk, Wayne Shorter, lotsa Monk and at least one of Theo’s own compositions–as combo leader Mark Z Stevens wore Chuck Barris’s duds (really) before an exhuberant packed house. Fyl and I kept seeing all these old jazz pals, like we were back at Charlie O’s, me and George Herms lost in the be bop or laughing at the wrong times. Oh it was glorious.

Toshiko Akiyoshi

On another Toshiko Akiyoshi bender. Hard to believe these platters are over forty years old, the music sounds brand new. Lush, complex, burnished, swinging and, like, very smart. A lotta notes, Med Flory told me, and Steve Huffsteter hits a high one, and a higher one, and another.

Edie Adams

Man, Edie Adam’s did a devastating Marilyn Monroe parody. If Marilyn hadn’t been so fucked up she might have sued. It surpassed even SCTV’s Catherine O’Hara and Andrea Martin at their cruelest. I saw it on the Edie Adam’s box set, I imagine some one has put it on YouTube as well. Also, among the many long buried treasures revealed in this collection is a solid dozen minutes of the Woody Herman Big Band c.1963, and what a blazing aggregation that was. You could hear that music in a club now and it would still sound state of the art. Were I Scott Yanow I could rattle off the soloists, but alas I ain’t. A smoking young bunch they were however. And in that very same program the daring Edie gave Jack Sheldon six or seven minutes to go a surreal monologue about falconry that was as hysterical as it was weird. Clean, though. She must have warned him.

I met Edie Adam’s several times. Had a few extended conversations. Wonderful stories, wonderful lady. 

Merle Haggard Christmas album

This Merle Haggard Christmas album begins with a cheery If We Make It Through December and stumbles along in boozy haze till everyone’s miserable. His rotten kid is demanding a puppy and tell me that’s not the most self pitying Silent Night ever. And that’s just one side. Think I’ll flip it over and see if he gets insulted by a drunken Santa. It ends with Daddy Won’t Be Home Again For Christmas, which hopefully is about prison. I’ll probably be playing this every Christmas.

You need to write as well as they play.

Ran into Louis Van Taylor last nite. Damn what a player. Had one of those casually intense conversations that are the hallmarks of jazz players, and I remember how I had to earn my way into those conversations by writing like a motherfucker. I gotta say I miss that rarified air. I vividly remember the moment I realized I’d been accepted into the fold when me and some LA’s finest players were sitting in a Glendale bar between sets, surrounded by drunks and Armenians and insulting each other. You’re one of us, they said. Fuck you, I said. Mutual respect, be bop style. If you’re gonna write about jazz, you need to write as well as they play.

Coffee

Most vile cup of coffee I ever made was in 1979  when my percolator went berzerk and reduced a whole pot to an an ounce or two of bitter meth. I downed it in a single gulp since I was cramming for a final in some ridiculously difficult class, and while catching a couple hours sleep in the wee hours of the morning had one helluva seizure and when I got to the class for the exam had amnesia and couldn’t remember a single thing. I turned in an empty paper and flunked the course. Never managed a cup of coffee like that again.

My fave Christmas LP

Peace by the Rotary Connection is still my fave Christmas LP, a psychedelic hippie stoner funky soul celebration of my fave holiday, complete with groovy Hendrix inspired guitar and Santa so stoned he can’t find the door and comes down the chimney. Minnie Ripperton sounds great on it too. Recommended. I found my unopened copy for a dollar.