Thursday, September 29, 2005

Playlist for 9/28/05

Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane- Monk's Mood
Randy Weston- Berkshire Blues
Sonny Rollins
- Brownskin Girl
Bennie Green
- The Shouter
Clare Fischer
- Nigerian Walk
The 3 Sounds
- Georgia
Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane
- Blue Monk
Eddie Lockjaw Davis
- Afro-Jaws
Freddie Hubbard
- Pensativa
Johnny Lytle Trio
- Blue Vibes
Thelonious Monk & Jhn Coltrane- Nutty
Blue Mitchell
- I Should Care
Allen Houser Quintet featuring Buck Hill
- No Samba
Composers Workshop Ensemble
- Sub-Structure

Johnny Coles- Hobo Joe
Roland Kirk
-Serenade to a Cuckoo
Richard Davis
Gene Ammons
- Son of a Preacher Man
Blue Mitchell
- Where It's At
LaMont Johnson
- Libra's Longing
Bobbie Humphrey
- Don't Knock My Funk
Candido- Succulent
Marlena Shaw
- Feel Like Makin' Love
Frank Strazzeri
- Rush Hour

Byron Morris & Unity-Panamanian Aire
Mike Longo-Wyyowa
Weldon Irvine- Fat Mouth
Music Inc.
- Abscretions
Dizzy Gillespie featuring Lalo Schifrin
- Incantation
Donald Byrd
- Places and Spaces

Also screened the classic Karloff film
The Mask of Fu Manchu to kick off the Halloween Season!
Will this ever come out on DVD?

Quote of the Day

When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it - don't back down and don't give up- then you're going to mystify a lot of folks.
-Bob Dylan

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Jazz Corner : Wednesday September 28
Come on down Wednesday to Cafe Saint-Ex's Gate 54 lounge to the only Jazz DJ night of it's kind in DC. I promise good music by the trunkful. Artists like the great underrated piano giant Randy Weston will be featured, along with Charles Tolliver's Music Inc., Bobbie Humphrey, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bennie Green, and many many more. So come early, stay late and make sure you tip Benji the Bartender, who is only one of the reasons the night is such a success!

I may even break with our vinyl tradition and drop a special selection or two from a very important new release on Blue Note Records. Recently discovered Voice of America Radio recordings of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane playing together at Carnegie Hall in 1957. The quality sounds great, and the backstory is truly amazing, as it was unearthed right here in DC at the Library of Congress by accident last year. It came out today, so I will be picking it up in time for tomorrow's Jazz Corner. I am really excited for this release!

Check back on Thursday for a full set list.

Quote of the Day
"Originality is nothing more than judicious plagiarism."

Monday, September 26, 2005

On Any Given Saturday
So I thought I might take you on a little excursion documenting what my Saturday mornings have been about lately.
While the rest of the world sleeps in after a night of drinking and dancing (or TV and homework for that matter), record collectors are scouring the city streets all over the world looking for the big score. More often than not, it's the little scores that add up over time, but it's the dream of a collection of rare records in one spot that motivates most of us.
Saturday morning is when the Flea markets open early and garage sales start setting up to rid basements of useless junk. Thankfully, this junk often includes records, as fewer and fewer people even have working turnatbles to play them on. Unfortunately, lots of folks have left their LPs in damp basements, stored incorrectly and sloppily, so finding large quantities of LPs that are not completely worthless also gets harder and harder. Here on the streets of DC, there is always the possibility of running into nice veins of jazz, R&B, and Hip Hop. And on any given Saturday AM, that's what we are combing the streets for.
There is competition on the streets early and you have to have your game together, or these guys will scoop you with no remorse. On the other hand, once you get on a first name or face recognition basis with folks, most of these cats are pretty nice and helpful and will often look out for you as well as hip you to things you wouldn't otherwise be aware of. Just learn your digging ettiquette and the flea market is a kind and generous place. In other words, don't be a goofus, be gallant.
The picture below is not what most flea market stashes in DC look like. Many resemble a hastily unpacked yard sale or worse, and when you add the elements to the mix you have potential for some true adventure stories. On this day it actually began to rain for a bit, and that's always fun.
Some dudes like Harry(on the left) swear by their portable turntables to assist them from buying stuff that isn't worth the wax it's pressed on, or for finding those secret-squirrel drum breaks. Me, I play it fast and loose, figure that I am just wasting my time listening there instead of looking for another vendor to dig thru. It's a matter of preference, and with or without a portable, Harry has the golden touch. Every collector I know in town has a story of getting scooped by his magic touch.
Lots of gems are found everyday in every city in the world, and that's what keeps us going. From the hand-painted covers of Mingering Mike to original blaxploitation soundtracks, the promise of a great score encourages persistence and rewards patience. I may not be back out THIS Saturday, but you can bet I will be back.

Quote of the Day
"We probably wouldn't worry what other people thought of us if we knew how seldom they do."

-Olin Miller

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Operation: Ceasefire draws thousands to the Mall

The day was overcast but the vibe was anything but dreary as thousands of people from the DC area and all over the country came for the anti-war march and concert on the mall. The line-up was repping primarily underground acts, as assembled by local svengalis Thievery Corporation, who also performed with a full ensemble later in the evening. The entire event was hosted by ex-Dead Kennedy's frontman(and my high school hero) Jello Biafra. His schtick was actually pretty thoughtful and entertaining, not solely embarrassing as I had feared.

The crowd was very diverse, age-wise, and the old and young mingled freely. The music line-up could have benefitted from more populist Hip Hop or R&B acts, but thematically it seemed to be all about the margins and the underground. A Go Go band like Rare Essence, Junkyard or Chuck Brown himself would have really added to a scene like this.

My gang of friends and I arrived later in the afternoon, just as Al Sharpton took to the stage. Just in time to catch The BellRays set. They rocked the mall to it's foundations and were then joined by MC5 guitarist Brother Wayne Kramer. Wayne joined the full BellRay line-up for a fantastic rendition of "Human Being Lawnmower", the 5's anti-Vietnam opus and then was backed by the band for some of his solo songs, the best being a spoken word aggro-noise feature called "Bomb Day".

Peace activist(and punching-bag-for-right-wing-radio-hosts) Cindy Sheehan gave a short presentation, and was then presented with a Star Quilt by representatives of the Lakota Nation. The short ceremony, according to the Lakota elders, was a tribute to Sheehan's courage at having taken the position she has taken despite severe pressure and opposition. having heard her on TV and radio previously, I always wish Sheehan was a better public speaker(I think she would take less heat if she didn't sound quite so shaky and strained). But seeing her up close and personal made me realize that she is just an average person who has assumed a pretty huge yoke of responsibility and expectations, and given that, she carries it pretty well.

Steve Earle started out with a rousing number called "F--- the FCC" complete with an uncensored spelling lesson, but faded a bit into some pretty slow numbers before closing with his classic "Jerusalem".

Washington Wizard Etan Thomas gave the most moving presentation that I saw, a poetic sermon of sorts describing a tour he would take the administration on through the 'hood in DC. Thomas is a tremendous poet, and a real throwback to the days when pro athletes used their platform to address social issues and not just stack their endorsement cash. I had first seen Thomas during a DC HS poetry slam hosted by Nikki Giovanni a few years ago, and was impressed with his committment to the arts and DC kids, but his performance today just enhanced and solidified that perception. The real deal.

The Coup were the last group we stayed for in their entirety, and they were pretty hot. I have only had limited exposure to their politically-savvy rap, but I have always dug their single "5,000,000 ways to Kill a CEO" from a few years back, so I was jazzed that they played that track early in the set. They energized the crowd and got things flowing. A surprisingly energetic performance from these Oakland mainstays who have been bringing it since the days of "Kill My Landlord" and "Genocide and Juice", the Coup really worked the DC crowd.

Although we left after the Coup, we did come back later and caught most of Thievery Corp's reggae-soaked set. Having never seen them live, I was expecting something altogether more sedate than what was delivered. Pretty impressive.

Once they finished up, us old men ambled off into the DC night, illuminated by the Washington Monument, content to leave the kids to their generation's punk rock heroes.

Quote of the Day
"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad."

-Aldous Huxley

Friday, September 23, 2005

It's Not Where You're From, It's Where You're At

I thought I would use the space today to give y'all a brief walking tour of my neighborhood, the beautiful Mt. Rainier, MD. Largely unknown(by name at least) by many in the DC Metro Area, it sits just shy of the NE dividing line of MD and DC known as Eastern Ave. You can find out all kinds of civic details at the city's website.
This is a long shot of
My Block, not too far off from the center of town.

The center of town is essentially a traffic circle and doesn't really constitute the actual center of town. But as a point of reference, it's handy. Sitting right on the edge of the traffic circle is a new Artspace building that is residence to some 30-40 artists I believe, most new to the area.

A view from across the street.

Mt. Rainier has long been an artist's community, putting much of the area's energy and resources into arts programs and businesses. Joes's Movement Emporium has been at the forefront, below is a shot walking by their storefront.

Across the street from Joe's is the best Antique shop in Mt Rainier, my buddy Stuart's Mt Rainier Antiques. I'm not trying to blow up a secret spot, but I have found some really good records there on occasion. But don't think about stepping into my 'hood for records, cuz I have that place on LOCK. But do stop in and buy some antiques from my man Stuart if you are in the area.

Next we have the West Indian homemade ice cream parlor that just opened this year! They make great ice cream (Rum Raisin and Soursop are my wife's faves, I prefer the Guava, but they have the usual flavors too) and you can even get a tasty beef patty for cheap. Highly recommended. Love the plastic palm tree the most.

Finally I have reached my destination, The Glut. the Glut is a Mt Rainier institution and has been around for years. I go there on the regular mostly for my fair trade coffee (always French Roast ground extra fine). They also have great vegetables, organic everything(except meat, I don't think they deal in meat) and really cheap good bagels and nut mixes. The economic lynchpin of the community, this place brings together people of incredibly diverse backgrounds under it's roof, and has been a stabilizing factor in the city since it's inception. Support the Glut!

Heading back home, I just love this block. This is just the type of block that will never be constructed again in America, and it's a shame. It's beautiful. Now dominated by Latino-owned shops, it is finally lively again, after mostly sitting empty for a while. Glad to see it coming back.

Another angle on the Traffic Circle.

The roadway into DC. Rhode Island Avenue, once dominated by liquor stores, those days have passed. Now I just hope some viable locally owned business can work some magic and get the life back onto this stretch. To the left is our award-winning Cop Shop (aka Police Station).

From a backward glance, this is the Latin American Folk Institute, another great place that I don't know nearly enough about. Seriously, they offer music and dance classes (sometimes in conjuction with Joe's Movement Emporium) and provide a superb setting for them with this building. It's places like this that make my neighborhood more than the run of the mill strip-mall towns that surround us and why I love it here.

So that was my trip to get some coffee. Now, can we get a damn cofee shop in this burg?

Quote of the Day:
"A great many people think they are thinking,
when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."
-William James

Don't forget we'll see y'all out the mall Saturday for Operation:Ceasefire

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Operation: CeaseFire Concert storms the Mall this Saturday

This Saturday at the Washington Monument marks the response of the grassroots anti-war effort in America to make a significant showing in the nations capitol. Operation Ceasefire features a wide variety of artists, from rap group The Coup to gospel mainstays Sweet Honey In The Rock. Local DJ collective/exotic electronica collective Thievery Corporation are responsible for bringing this ecclectic happening together, and will also be performing later into the evening .

My personal favorites in the line-up include controversial country troubador Steve Earle, and the always reliable, always killer Brother Wayne Kramer of the legendary MC5.
Brother Wayne will be performing with like-minded rockers the Bellrays(whose Lisa Ray has been serving as a lead voice in the re-constituted MC5 in recent months), who at least seem to have the pedigree to back what I hope will be an incendiary set of MC5 and solo Wayne numbers.

Check out the Operation:Ceasefire site for further info and performance times(yeah, right) .

Oh yeah...and it's FREE. Let's hope for a nice afternoon, hopefully arrest-free!

DCDigga comes thru with a Jazz Corner playlist!

As, don'tcha wish you woulda gone? Damn.

Roy Ayers-D.C. City
Roy Ayers-Everybody Loves the Sunshine
RAMP-Everybody Loves the Sunshine
Common-Pop's RapIII(inst.)
Lonnie Liston Smith-Journey to Love
Sonny Stitt-Goin' to D.C.
Lonnie Liston Smith-Devika
Yusef Lateef-Nubian Lady
Gary Burton-Las Vegas Tango
Arthur Verocai-Sylvia
Astrud Gilberto-Take it Easy my Brother Charlie
Elizeth Cardoso-Cidade Vazia
Ed Motta-Linduria
Jorge Dalto-I've got you on my Mind
Phil Ranelin-Vibes from the Tribe
Stan Kenton-Inner Crisis
Rashaan Roland Kirk-Never Can Say Goodbye
Sabu Martinez-My Christina
Fania All Stars-Alli Andas
Buddy Rich-Big Mac
Willie Colon-Camino Al Barrio
Grant Green-Down Here on the Ground
Gary Bartz Ntu Troop-Celestial Blues
Eddie Harris-Lovely is the Day
Harold Alexander-Sunshine Man
Chuck Mangione-High Heeled Sneakers
Johnny Lytle-Agapee/Polemos
Eddie Henderson-Inside You
Three Pieces-Concrete Jungle
Herbie Hancock-Oh,Oh, Here we Come
Idris Muhammad-Don't Knock My Love
Wille Bobo-La Descrada Del Bobo
Julius Brockington-Do your Thing
Grover Washington Jr.-Knucklehead

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Jazz Corner Tonight! DC Digga in full effect

Tonight is the night! DC Digga combs the metro area and beyond for a unique brand of jazz which he brings to Gate 54 at Cafe Saint-Ex every other Wednesday. Spiritual jazz on the funky side of the music expertly selected and always exciting, DC Digga sculpts the sound into an experience that is one of a kind. Music starts at 7pm and goes until 10pm, and as always there is NO cover charge. Now where can you have this much fun for free?

Check back for a playlist from tonight's set.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Jump Off! lands at Gate 54

This past Friday was the most recent installment of the Jump Off!, with a host of people enjoying a heady brew of classic disco anthems, dancehall and current club bangers! Thougt I'd provide some DJ-booth-POV pics for your enjoyment.

Guest DJ Fatback holds down the decks, killing the crowd with his Doobie Bros remix!

Take note of local legend and Jazz Corner DJ DCDigga (in red) setting the pace on the dancefloor.

Fatback (who some may remember was a founding party in the Jazz Corner and general nuisance DJ about town before an abrupt move to Richmond VA) was in town to spin a private function in DC, so he graciously sat in at the Jump Off! for an energetic back-and-forth that thankfully lasted most of the evening. On Saturday, we trundled off to Georgetown to DJ the event, and it was a blast. A contemplative cocktail hour(or 3) of classic jazz and much samba led into Fatback's patented ecclectic dance set. The surroundings were beautiful, the guests well oiled, and a good time was had by all.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Welcome to Mumbo Jumbo, home of the Jazz Corner of the World!

The Jazz Corner has been operating as a weekly residency at Cafe Saint Ex in the historic U Street Corridor of Washington DC, birthplace of the great Duke Ellington.

Begiining at 7pm every Wednesday evening in the downstairs lounge at Cafe Saint Ex known as
Gate 54, the JesGrew DJs play a wide variety of jazz, potentially playing everything from Django Reinhardt or Cab Calloway in the 1930s to funky fusion from the 70s and all points in between!
I will be attempting to post setlists, photos, assorted announcements and news items pertaining to all the JesGrew activities.

Nearest and dearest to my heart is The Jazz Corner of the World, of course, but I will be keeping the world informed of our monthly dance nights as well, aptly titled, The Jump Off!

So stay tuned, check back for playlists, some record and movie reviews and to see who might turn up as our esteemed guest DJs on occasion!