The Books The Way Out
Releasing: July 2010
The Books have jumped from Tomlab to Temporary Residence for their upcoming album. On their Tumblr page, they claim that placing the new record was frought with difficulties: “Finding a home for this record was a pain in the ass. Everyone I’ve played it for says it’s our best, most daring record yet, and still, all of the labels we admired that we thought would go for it wouldn’t touch it.” The band has given us an early taste with the MP3 of “Beautiful People”.
Earlier in June, saxophone legend Fred Anderson had suffered a heart attack and then fell into a coma in a Chicago hospital. He died soon afterwards, he was 81 years old.
The word “legend” gets overused all the time, especially by us music writers who happen to like jazz. It’s about as difficult to define as, say, “classic”. And although Anderson’s name will probably not reach household status like Charlie Parker’s anytime soon, it’s safe to say that modern jazz would have been very different had he never been born. Fred Anderson spent most of his life and career being a big fish in a big pond, lending a hand to his contemporaries (Joseph Jarman, the AACM) while schooling the newbies (Ken Vandermark, Nicole Mitchell, George Lewis, Hamid Drake). With such a far-reaching influence, Anderson has supplied us with a lifetime’s worth of hard-bop, avant-skronk, free-jazz disciples. His death may sadden us, but he already took measures to make sure we wouldn’t be empty without him.
My first and so far only visit to the Velvet Lounge, Anderson’s live music club in Chicago, was in early 2008. As I watched Dushun Mosley’s band tear through their second set of the night, my brother nudged me and said “that’s Fred Anderson taking door money over there.” He had arrived sometime after I had that evening, and his unassuming entrance apparently had done nothing to distract me. His stooped-over figure and slow steps definitely broadcast the fact that he was elderly. But did he set a nursing home schedule for himself towards the end of his life? No way. His 80th birthday was an all-out bash.
The Velvet Lounge’s website has numerous downloadable samples culled from a variety of albums Anderson had appeared on. Just bear in mind that each file is an edited snippet lasting a minute or two.
The gags are obvious, but, hey, the source material is just asking for it. Frankly, with the marketing of Twilight as an experience for the ladies that is all about choosing your kind of “man” to get interactive with (is your flavor of masculinity the sexy, but platonic delight of the undead or the growl inducing, uber-ripped beast man?), this only seems fair.
Not much needs to be said for this one. The book series has sold 400 million. The movies have raked in more than five billion worldwide. If The Order of the Phoenix could be pared down to one book, chances are Deathly Hallows could have done fine with a three-hour run time. Lots of orchestration, lots of shots with Harry and Voldemort and lots of talk about the movie being part of a generation-defining event. Ladies and gentlemen, the likely box office champ of 2010.
At this past weekend’s Glastonbury Festival, Colombian pop sensation Shakira revealed that she too was a fan of the much revered indie wunderkinds the xx. She then launched into a cover of “Islands”, a highlight from the band’s self-titled 2009 debut. Although less intimate than the original, Shakira has managed to amplify the tremendous pop sensibilities embedded beneath Romy Madley Croft’s and Oliver Sim’s hushed coos. And, as great as the xx are, it’s probably safe to say that Shakira can cut a rug better.