December 10-11, 2014

Noting this here so that I’ll have a referent when I look back in 50 years or whatever: The CIA Torture Report was released this week.

Photo from the Durham Herald-Sun, by Bernard Thomas

That’s a photo from the protests Wednesday night at Southpoint Mall, showing the [white] trucker who literally tried to drive right through the crowd of protesters. The cops took him into custody but then apparently just hung onto him for a bit & then drove him back to his truck.

Thursday night I went to see the Brad Mehldau Trio at Baldwin Auditorium at Duke, part of this season of Duke Performances.

I’m not a jazz critic. I don’t get paid to listen to or write about jazz. I have seen a fair amount of jazz as an adult, from fairly straight/classic to pretty fucking skronky, and a lot of stuff in between. But honestly, I approach it as someone who wants to be moved emotionally, and someone who wants to have his mind expanded by the pushing & bending of melody, harmony & rhythm. I don’t bring a lot of intellectual baggage to the experience.

What this means practically is that 99% of the jazz we listen to at home was recorded between 1955 and 1965. And I don’t really feel too bad about that.

What this means at a lot of jazz shows I attend is that I get really tired of bass and drum solos ;-)

My commentary about loud sets in Baldwin from October still holds true. I was (again) in the 4th row, directly in front of the piano, but there were times during the set when I was getting so much of the drummer that the piano was nearly inaudible. In that room I think you’re probably better off sitting further back, or in the balcony, and just relying on the PA mix.

(Which is too bad, because it’s otherwise a great room, acoustically.)

Anyway, Brad Mehldau. Really remarkable ability to play straight blues, to improvise melodically, and then meander further & further & further afield while still maintaining the slenderest of threads back to the chord changes. The set-closing cover of “Since I Fell For You” featured a 5+ minute piano solo that was utterly brilliant in that way.

December 10-11, 2014

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