Saturday, May 19, 2007

RIP Rod Poole and more

On an incredibly sad, tragic note, Rod Poole died last Sunday. Rod Poole's music is singularly beautiful. I had the good fortune to hear him several times in LA over the years - solo, with the Acoustic Guitar Trio, and with Chris Heenan I believe. The circumstances surrounding his death are terrible and senseless, and the new music community has lost a distinct musical personality.

On a more uplifting and life-affirming note, from last Friday May18 at noon until next Friday May25 at 9pm, the great Columbia University radio station WKCR is having a Sam Rivers Festival. All of Sam's discography including tons of never-before-heard music. Who else would do something like this? Talk about a much-deserved, long-underrecognized master getting some props. A week... wow wow! Its been a pleasure to tune in on-line when I wake up in the morning, come home in the afternoon, evening, or before going to sleep. And insightful interviews - I'm listening to Hal Galper being interviewed about Sam's Boston days and his impact on Tony Williams at the moment. Bravo WKCR.

I feel blessed to have recorded Vista with Sam and Adam Rudolph in LA in Adam's beautiful backyard studio in the fall of 2003. Sam's incredible musical spirit and good nature were a joy to be around. We talked about making a record the night before it happened. I picked him up the morning of at his hotel, and we spent the afternoon and early evening recording. It was one of the greatest days of my life.

Jason Mears Trio gigs with Nate Wooley this week at Goodbye Blue Monday (May 22) and Lucky Cat (May 24). Jason's a fantastic, totally individual saxophonist/composer who's just moved back to the US from Japan, where he lived for two years. Great to have him back, psyched to play with him!

Then we'll all play Nate's Large Ensemble gig later this week. The group is called Atack, Adorn, Decay and features a stellar cast of players, as part of the New Languages Festival. Should be great.

Just finished Let it Come Down by Paul Bowles. What a beautiful, despondent book. Bleak in a lot of ways but inspiring ultimately in Bowles' gorgeous prose. Slow going, but worthwhile. I should check out his music; I'm guessing the same slow, careful architecture at work.

Tearing through Absolute Friends, John Le Carre's 2004 bildungsroman novel. As in a previous post when I discussed his more recent The Mission Song, bravo to Le Carre for his recent work. I know some old guard aren't into it, but I am! I look forward to what comes next... may it be 2008 at the latest.

Been watching Prison Break, Lost, and 24. What can I say, they don't even deserve to be hyperlinked. Crack central! None hold a candle to HBO classics like Deadwood, The Wire, and Carnavale. But hey, gotta get the time on my practice pad in each day and this has been a good way to do it.

A couple kinda so-so films as well, The Good Shepherd and The Illusionist. The Good Shepherd is overlong and Matt Damon et al make for an extremely boring cast (apparently this is the point?), but the one saving grace was the cinematography (good work director De Niro, you hired a great cinematographer in Robert Richardson). The Illusionist was ok, but for recent turn-of-the-century magic films check out The Prestige. Less sappy, plus a film-making turn by David Bowie as Nikolai Tesla. Was glad to see my colleague in the blogosphere Hank Shteamer give props to this film a little ways back.