Monthly archives:March 2017

  • The second film from Swedish director Kasper Collin, I Called Him Morgan is an evocative, beautifully filmed documentary of a remarkable life cut short and a remarkably fertile period in New York City’s jazz scene. In February 1972, acclaimed 33-year-old trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot to death by his common-law wife Helen in an East Village club. The murder shocked all who knew the couple, including Morgan’s fans and fellow musicians, many of whom tried to make sense of the tragedy afterwards.Using interviews; gorgeous, iconic, black and white still photos; archival film clips, and moody reenactments—all underscored by a fabulous soundtrack—Collin constructs compelling portraits of both Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen, making their way in New York City’s hopping jazz scene from the late 1950s through the early '70s. The story slowly builds up to that fateful night, providing details that many have apparently pondered for years. In doing so, Collin gives us a glimpse of the great talent possessed by Morgan, along with poignant memories of the people who nurtured and appreciated it. With its potent music, atmospheric footage of vintage NYC and artfully abstract recreations, the film also gives us a palpable sense of time and place.Collin's main resource is an interview that Helen gave to radio host and jazz scholar Larry Reni Thomas in 1996, a month before she passed away. This fortuitous conversation came about when Thomas was teaching adult education a[...]
  • With each year the staggering list of shows grows larger, but we're here to help with this not so shiny, quite diverse list of recommendations to help you sort it all out.Monday, March 13thIdgy Dean  - The Parlor Room, 88 Rainey St – 7pmSylvan Esso - AV Club Presents Just Another Manic Monday @ The Mohawk - 10:45 pmGirl Pool - Do512 Party @ Hotel Vegas - 1 amTuesday, March 14thWu Tang Clan w/ Thievery Corporation - ACL Live at the Moody Theater - 11:00pmThe Districts - Buffalo Billiards - 1:10amSpoon - The Main - 1:00amSleigh Bells - Stereogum Party @ Empire Garage - 1:00amPlastic Pinks - Fine Southern Gentlemen - 2:00amWednesday, March 15thMaybird - Taco Bell Feed the Beat  - 1:00 pmThe Avett Brothers - ACL Live at the Moody Theater - 11:00pmTokyo Police Club -  Bungalow - 12:00amGrandmaster Flash - Clive Bar - 11:00pmThe New Pornographers - Stubb's - 12:20amField Trip - The Market - 1:00amThursday, March 16thJulie Byrne - Pitchfork Day Party @ French Legation Museum - 12:30 pmLo Moon - YouTube @ The Coppertank - 3:00 pmThe Big Moon - South by San Jose @ San Jose Hotel - 4:00 pm BBC 6 Music Presents @ Latitude 30 - 12:00 amBeach Slang - BrooklynVegan @ Cheer Up Charlie's - 5:00 pmPell - Stub Hub party @ Bangers - 6:00pmEcstatic Vision  - Grizzly Hall - South By South Death - 9:00pmGirl Pool - Anti- Records Party @ Elysium - 11:00pmFriday, March 17th[...]
  • In some recent discussions with musicians, bands, DJ's and musical creatives, I made the point that for me, a flat performance is pretty much a worthless one. If you can't take people on a musical journey than it's just plain boring. It's the bands and DJ's that can cross genres that get my attention.  Case and point, Tell All Your Friends PR  turned us on to the new album from rock trio, Slothrust.  After listening to the album, I decided to do a review for the blog.  I have to admit, sometimes I don't get past the first track, but "Surf Goth" got my attention.  The idea that they would start the album with an instrumental track was enough  for me, and when the show began on Saturday evening at Mercury Lounge it was the first track they played.Let me start by saying, their sound is on-point and very powerful. Particularly for a trio. They have great chemistry on stage, and their fans (including me) are really into them.  Musically, the band members are equally impressive as they effortlessly worked through songs that range from blues to grunge with elements of jazz.While Kyle Bann (bassist) had a continuous grin on his face, Leah Wellbaum maintained a certain attitude as drummer Will Gorin fiercely hit the skins as if it was possibly his last opportunity to play this year. Highlights from the new album- "Like a Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone," "Mud," "Sleep Eater," and "Trial & Error," which Wellbaum explained she wrote in high school.  From the older mat[...]
  • Written and directed by Boo Junfeng (2010’s Sandcastle), Apprentice is a quiet yet gritty drama about a newly hired young prison guard who is “promoted” to working on death row. (It was Singapore’s official entry for the 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.) Unlike other movies of its genre, Apprentice doesn’t go for big, sweeping statements or emotions, but instead shows one man struggling with a soul-wrenching job as he comes to terms with his own family’s past.We first meet Aiman (newcomer Fir Rahman) as he’s being interviewed for a position as a guard in a maximum security prison. His stated reason for being there is idealistic: he wants to help people change. Initially, pending a background check, he has limited security clearance, i.e. no access to the “condemned cells.” Scenes of him joking around with prisoners in the yard and helping them with shop equipment indicate that he truly does want to help. He glimpses an older, white-haired man in the cafeteria and there is a wary recognition. This is Chief Rahim (played by the excellent Wan Hanafi Su).Later, when helping another guard move equipment in the condemned block, Aiman brings himself to the attention of Rahim by volunteering information about where to get a certain type of rope. As the camera casually hovers over an open trap door, we realize that this is where hangings take place. The no-nonsense tone and mundane conversation illustrate the businesslike nature of death here.Scenes at the pr[...]