Papillote and the Battle Royale

The sign of some good food in Savannah
Just picked up our food for a hotel-room picnic from Papillote French Cuisine To-Go, a lovely little French kitchen near our hotel. I picked a mushroom soup (not creamy) to start, duck confit for me and a salmon and asparagus quiche for Ellen—both come with green salad and the chef’s ginger vinaigrette—and for dessert the merangue Ellen demanded. (Demanded! Yes!)

The charming Ariana Nice, helpful, gracious Ariana made choosing the food very fun. She offered tastes of the soup, explained what was in the different dishes, told me of her (yet to be visited) relations in France, and made the whole experience a real pleasure before we’d eaten a bite.

While Ariana got everything ready for me, I walked down to the SCAD box office for tickets to the Battle Royale, the culmination of a very prestigious competition among several top-notch high school jazz bands—two from California, two from Washington state, one from Oregon, three from Florida. (See the extended quotation below.) this is some serious business, and we’re going to see the finals. Excited.

The winners of our fourth annual SWING CENTRAL High School Jazz Band Competition & Workshop, three of the finest high school jazz bands in the country, open the show with the music of Thad Jones, Benny Carter and Johnny Mercer.

Then, prepare yourself for an event of unbridled skill and improvisation. For decades, jazz musicians have pushed the limits of conceptual music: engaging in friendly competition known as “cutting.” BATTLE ROYALE pits masters of the art of improv going head-to-head. Selected student musicians from SWING CENTRAL are also featured.

Marcus Roberts Trio vs. The Clayton Bros.
Wycliffe Gordon vs. Andre Hayward
Scotty Barnhart vs. Terrell Stafford
Jeff Clayton vs. Mace Hibbard


Update: Excellent. The three bands were crisp and solid. The third place band got a challenging ballad which though subtle didn’t impress the way the more upbeat songs from the other two bands did. I believe the song didn’t serve them well. Very enjoyable. Then came the cutting: the bands and players they name above were just amazing, and that word is used on purpose. Amazing. Jazz lives, friends.

Going back to the well

Just... amazing, and prophetic,  necessary, and The Who's music still matters

One of the would-be idols rendered a pale shadow of Pete Townsend’s Baba O’Reilly this evening. Which sent me back to the original, full strength. And then Won’t Get Fooled Again. Sometimes, I go back to the music that shaped me, and this was an essential part of the soundtrack for me.

Other authors have described this album and its essential songs, and you can find their words with a minimum of searching. I’ll just tell you to listen, loudly.

The Almost Defunct CompUSA

Griffin's RocketFM

Our local CompUSA has reached the 30%-50% off, all-fixtures-for-sale stage of its closing. I found the RocketFM from Griffin Technology forless than $9, so I can broadcast any audio from my computer over low-power FM. With this hack I extended the range to the clock radio at the far end of the house… which means much more variety than the usual meager fare on the local airwaves.

Tom Waits on his cherished albums of all time

This is an old link I should have posted ages ago, from the UK’s Observer Monthy Music (“OMM”): Tom Waits on his cherished albums of all time: ‘It’s perfect madness’

In the first of an occasional series in which the greatest recording artists reveal their favourite records, Tom Waits writes about his 20 most cherished albums of all time. So for the lowdown on Zappa and Bill Hicks, step right up…

Here’s that take on Bill Hicks:

bq.15 Rant in E Minor by Bill Hicks (Rykodisc) 1997

Bill Hicks, blowtorch, excavator, truthsayer and brain specialist, like a reverend waving a gun around. Pay attention to Rant in E Minor, it is a major work, as important as Lenny Bruce’s. He will correct your vision. His life was cut short by cancer, though he did leave his tools here. Others will drive on the road he built. Long may his records rant even though he can’t.