Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Picture this: A touch of jazz

by Steven Scarpa, Record-Journal staff

MERIDEN — The third floor of 21-23 Colony St., a former office space just above Fischer's Fine Foods, is nothing but an open space — blank white walls, large open windows and unfinished hardwood floors, at least for now. But when businesswoman Floresia Allen takes you on a tour of the place, it is an exercise in imagination.

She asks you to see tables of seafood, hors d'oeuvres and desserts straight ahead as you walk into the room. To the immediate right, just around the corner, is a long oak bar. To the left, silhouetted against the bank of windows above the railroad tracks, will be a set of jazz musicians, playing to a group of people dancing on the floor right in front of them. Opposite them, a group of businesspeople will relax in comfortable couches overlooking the increasingly trafficked Colony Street. - complete article

JK comment: Jazz is a very tough business to sustain, but it can be done. The old 880 Club on Maple Avenue in Hartford lasted quite a few years because it cultivated a devout following and had ties to college jazz programs. Szechuan Tokyo, corner of South Main/New Britain Avenue in West Hartford, seems to be presently flourishing. Let us hope for the best; actually, hope isn't enough, we must patronize.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Special contest - guess Aretha Franklin's current weight

Caught a glimpse of the "Queen of Soul" at Luther Vandross' funeral and wondered.....(the guess must be to the closest 100 lbs)

  • 200 lbs. (yeah, right)
  • 300 lbs.
  • 400 lbs.
  • 500 lbs.
  • 600 lbs.
  • 700 lbs.
  • 800 lbs.
  • 900 lbs.
  • 4-digit club
  • Friday, July 22, 2005

    Please help Southington Town Council secrecy!

    Music system proposed to block town hall eavesdropping

    SOUTHINGTON, Conn. --Whether music soothes the savage beast may be put to the test in Southington Town Hall.

    In an effort to protect against eavesdropping outside closed-door executive sessions, the Town Council decided to install a $1,200 sound system to pipe music into hallways outside Town Council chambers. The measure, however, was left in limbo when the finance board deadlocked on a 3-3 vote last week. Town officials were uncertain how the finance board's action would affect the town council's plan and were looking into the issue. - complete article...

    YOU CAN HELP! Music suggestions for Southington, CT town hall eavesdropping:
  • I Am, I Said - Neil Diamond
    "I am," I said
    To no one there
    An no one heard at all
    Not even the chair
    "I am," I cried
    "I am," said I
    And I am lost, and I can't even say why
    Leavin' me lonely still

  • The Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel
  • Silence Is Golden - The Tremeloes
  • Suspicion - Terry Stafford

    Please help with more suggestions before our political system gets completely out in the open!!!!!! Heaven forbid!
  • Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Wanda Jackson/Rosie Flores at Cafe Nine

    It's a day after George W. and I shared our 59th, so what the fuck am I doing out 10PM on Thursday night in this urban, bohemian Sam the Clam's waiting for the show to start! Cafe Nine is modestly full as I pay my twenty bucks and amble (yes, I amble) in, wedge myself into a spot halfway down the bar from the tiny stage, and order up a Guinness.

    Johnny Gumbo and I discovered Rosie Flores on Labor Day past at the 2004 Rhythm and Roots Festival in Charleston, RI. They throw alot of music at you at those events, but her brand of rockabilly left me thinking I would like very much to see her in a smaller venue. Therefore, when I found the Rosie/Wanda Jackson date on the Cafe Nine schedule, I decided to make the effort. Gumbo had to opt out to care for Suzi, who is recovering from double knee replacement (hope everything is coming along smoothly, Suzzzzzzzz). The boys, JFK and GDK, were willing to accompany me as a birthday tribute, but I let them off the hook. Now, to try to look occupied for a half hour waiting for the show!

    Rosie is up first, her cool/hot lead guitar playing backed by upright bass/keyboards/drums. According to AMG, "In 1995 Flores recorded Rockabilly Filly, a spirited tribute to the music she grew up with. The album featured duets with her longtime idols Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin, both of whom Flores brought out of retirement for the project. The album led to a cross-country tour with Jackson, who hadn't played in nightclubs in over 20 years." Her set was a thoroughly enjoyable mixture of rockabilly, blues and even a little tango thrown in. The Jon Voight-ish keyboard player was impressive both interacting with Rosie on the jams and taking his solos.

    Good show. Break. I kinda wish I'm going home, but I owe it to myself to see someone about whom Elvis Costello, in an open letter, says "This is to propose that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally nominates Wanda Jackson for induction. For heaven's sake, the whole thing risks ridicule and having the appearance of being a little boy's club unless it acknowledges the contribution of one of the first women of rock and roll." Ok, I'll stay.

    I'm more curious than excited. Turns out that Rosie and the boys serve as backup for Wanda, who squeezes (she's a few years/carbs removed from those 50's pinup shots) onto the stage looking like the grandmother (perhaps great?) she probably is. Self-effacing and a little shy, she fiddles and chats until she's finally satisfied that everything is in place. Then, suddenly, Wanda turns into a growling cat as she jumps into her set with startlingly energy and impressively strong voice. I'm relieved that it isn't going to be a pitiful nostalgic act; the chick can still bring it. She introduces each song with a bit of history (Elvis Presley's One Night With You preceeded by a mention that she and Elvis toured together before he was a star and that they 'dated' for a year). Charming. I waited for the biggie and she finally did a rocking, if abbreviated, Let's Have a Party toward the end of her show. I'm going to pay for this tomorrow, but I'm glad I stayed for Wanda.

    The concert was sponsored by Go Kat Go Radio, a show on WNHU (University of New Haven) "specializing in rockabilly and psychobilly" on Tuesdays from 8-10 PM. Some photos of Rosie from their website - Here

    New Haven Advocate article

    MSNBC Great Disc Debate

    A wholly subjective look at the best, and worst, album by an artist or group

    The Rolling Stones By Michael Ventre - Article
    1. "Exile on Main Street" (1972)
    2. "Let It Bleed" (1969)
    3. "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out" (1970)
    4. "Sticky Fingers" (1971)
    5. "Some Girls" (1978)

    THE DUD: "Undercover" (1983)

    Bruce Springsteen By Randy Abramson - Article
    1. "Born to Run" (1975)
    2. "The River" (1980)
    3. "Darkness on the Edge of Town" (1978)
    4. "Nebraska" (1982)
    5. "The Rising" (2002)

    THE DUD: "Human Touch" (1992)

    Stevie Wonder By Tony Green - Article
    1. "Innervisions" (1973)
    2. "Songs in the Key of Life" (1976)
    3. "Talking Book" (1972)
    4. "Fulfillingness First Finale" (1974)
    5. "Hotter Than July" (1980)

    THE DUD: "Jungle Fever" (1991)