Last Night’s Roost, More Music Tonight!
Last night was another fabulous roost. Poets Katrina Guarascio, Jessica Helen Lopez and Zachary Kluckman kicked off each set with a-poem-a-piece backed up with perfect accompaniment by Glenn Buddha Benavidez. Stellar and nice nuance. Perfect set up for the trio called “Now Playing”…
I have a mountain of personal reasons for loving the music of “Now Playing”, too hard to articulate, but today we are lucky to have great write-up about the music from Mark Weber. Here’s what he has to say:
Bravo to Robert Muller, Ben Wright, and Dave Wayne of the group NOW PLAYING for building a repertoire on the music of Horace Tapscott, what a tremendous idea. It sure brought back a gang of memories. Horace Tapscott was a deep part of my musical life thirty years ago. Horace Tapscott (1934-1999) was a legend in the jazz world of Los Angeles, rarely venturing outside the boundaries of South Central, a musical visionary who hoped for a better life for Black people in America.
So, it was very interesting to hear this music removed from the cultural milieu from which it was created for. NOW PLAYING made justice ring, and still you could hear majesty in the anthemic militant marches Horace created in the aftermath of the 1965 Watts Riots (“Dark Tree,” “Nyja’s Theme,” “To the Big House”) and still you could hear the beauty of his vision, so close to an Ellington, a Dameron, a Frederick Douglass view of the world, such songs like “Wiletta’s Walk,” (where I had a deja vu experience seeing Mr Muller’s hands dance on the piano exactly the way Horace’s used to — made me think the music calls for such a choreography, that the hand movements are inherent in the music itself). And still you could hear elegance and civility.
It was Dave Wayne’s idea to bring this music to light, and I think, in that, this group is the first to look into this giant trove of great music. (I found it interesting in talking with the pianist Robert Muller at the break that he has studied the music of Andrew Hill, how so appropriate, Andrew and Horace were friends and did, at least, two concerts together in the 80s.)
I had forgot how beautiful the composition “Bavarian Mist” could be. So much of Horace’s music was in catharsis — so much of it designed to hold a community together that was crumbling under the sledge hammer of economic disparities and vacant opportunity. I remember a concert of Horace’s big band The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra where he had 25+ saxophones screaming and wailing a giant angry Dostoyevskian reminder that: WE EXIST and will not be destroyed. Horace could bring all that to the front in huge swirling grandeur, he stood on the stages of America and Europe and proclaimed it over and over and over.
And now it is so gratifying to see a little trio from Northern New Mexico bringing forth this important thing in America.
And for the very groovy and hip new performance space THE PROJECTS standing forth to make such art forms like poetry and protest music be not dead. And these annual summer series of “out” musics, under-valued and avant musics, serious musics, and brilliant expressions of humanity, of THE ROOST curated by composer & tuba maestro Mark Weaver, do what Michael Vlatkovich says, “It’s about fairness.” I said, “Fairness?” “Yeh, Mark is concerned that these types of music have a forum.” Michael doesn’t say much but he says a lot.
Does somebody have a grand piano they could donate to THE PROJECTS?
KUNM Thursday Jazz deejay
I really really love that final question, loved the evening and am grateful Mark Weber took the time to write up a moving night. And tonight, Monday September 5th, DON’T FORGET, Aaron Trumm brings his band to the East of Edith Open mic. See Rich Boucher’s great write-up here