Lucid Culture


Concert Review: Chico Hamilton at Borders Books & Music/Columbus Circle, NYC 4/30/09

The legendary percussionist made his way to the drum kit gingerly but once he got there he was all business. 87 years old and still absolutely vital. This wasn’t Elvin Jones in his last heartbreaking days. Since Chico Hamilton teaches at the New School, he’d brought a couple of proteges – one a reed man, the other on bongos – along with his regular guitarist Cary DeNigris and electric bassist Paul Ramsey. Incongruous, to say the least, to see the jazz legend under the soft lights of a bookstore, but the group played like it was the most normal thing in the world (props to the Borders folks for putting this on), running through a mix of classics, older material and songs from Hamilton’s new cd Twelve Tones of Love.

DeNigris didn’t wait to catch fire on their first number, How’s Your Feelins, slamming out a fiery series of big, expansive chords, Hamilton pushing things along on just a snare, switching to doubletime in a split-second with the whole band behind him. On the swing blues My Brother John, he proved he could still spin a stick and not miss a beat, again punching it when least expected and upping the ante in no time at all. The Lester Young tune Broadway, a favorite from Hamilton’s younger days was a clinic in dynamics, up and down again with bluesy solos from DeNigris and the sax player.

What sounded like Mose Allison’s Fools Paradise was vastly darker than the original, Hamilton building an eerie cymbal wash as DeNigris channeled Django Reinhardt, then took a long, incisive, chordal solo out (he was all about big sound that night). From time to time, Hamilton would ham it up – he mimed taking a drag of a smoke and then missing the beat – and on a couple of occasions cut out completely, making sure everybody was paying attention. And they were: after over an hour, Hamilton announced that it was time to go to the bar (coffee bar?) and that he was glad it wasn’t far. Standard stage patter, but there was nothing commonplace about the show. See him if you can, he still brings it.

May 5, 2009 Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Songs of the Week 5/4/09

We do this every week. You’ll see this week’s #1 song on our Best 100 songs of 2009 list at the end of December, along with maybe some of the rest of these too. This is strictly for fun – it’s Lucid Culture’s tribute to Kasey Kasem and a way to spread the word about some of the great music out there that’s too edgy for the corporate media and their imitators in the blogosphere. Every link here will take you to the song except for #1 which you’ll have to hear live on the 26th at the Rockwood!


1. Jenifer Jackson – Groundward

Brilliantly gloomy, pensive songcraft: “Yesterday the motion had no meaning, yesterday the seasons were careening…Summer rain is falling.” She’s at the Rockwood on 5/26 at 9.


2. Melissa McClelland – Passenger 24

Fearlessly snide ragtime from this Canadian chanteuse. She’s at Union Hall on 5/27.


3. Ron Miles – Since Forever

Absolutely gorgeous guitar-and-trumpet ballad. He’s at the Jazz Standard 5/26-27.


4. Damian Quinones – Shadow in the Sun

Sounds like the Zombies! He’s at Tillie’s in Ft. Greene on 5/29. 


5. Amy Speace – Haven’t Learned a Thing

Pretty devastating breakup song, in the Matt Keating vein. She’s at Symphony Space on 5/7 at 8:30ish.


6. Gaida – Indulgence

Absolutely exquisite Levantine epic by this Syrian-bred chanteuse. She’s at Bowery Poetry Club on 5/15.


7. Erin Regan – Building Jumper

Self-explanatory and solo acoustic – beautiful despite itself. She’s at Sidewalk on 5/12 at 10.


8. Jay Vilnai’s Vampire Suit – Space Oddity

Odd, all right – this is a gypsy Bowie. 


9. Bobtown – Take Me Down

Gothic acoustic Americana. O’Death only wish they were this good. They’re at Spikehill at 9 on 5/17.  


10. Spanking Charlene – Where Are the Freaks

Damn right, we wanna know. Oh, look, they’re back since all the tourists and trust fund kids got called home to mommy! At Lakeside on 5/16 at 11.

May 5, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 5/5/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Tuesday’s song is #449:

Al Stewart – Life in Dark Water

For several years in the 70s, when he was at the top of his game this British rocker was sort of a one-man Pink Floyd. Produced by Alan Parsons and backed by several of the crew who would later be the Alan Parsons Project, his songs were dramatic, historically imbued and gorgeously orchestrated. Stewart is also a notorious thief: he never met a good idea he didn’t want to blatantly steal. Here it’s the “ping” from Echoes by Pink Floyd, put to good use in this haunting, aptly watery epic about the 19th century ghost ship Mary Celeste. From the Time Passages lp, 1978; mp3s abound. The link above is to a torrent of the whole album.

May 5, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment