Our new “Think Again” column is called “Sex and the Single Justice” andit can be found here.
(It also contains an update on George Will’s environmental reporting…)
1959: It was a very good year.
I came this close this year to writing a book about 1959, which is funnybecause Fred Kaplan actually did, even though we never talked about ituntil my publisher decided that I wouldn’t be. I planned a chapter onBuddy Holly, one on Goodbye Columbus; one on “The Tragedy of AmericanDiplomacy,” one on Twilight Zone; one on Kind of Blue and one on “Shape of Jazz to Come.” I forget what else, though I remember the politics(Cuba, Vietnam, the Commies in Disneyland, etc).
Anyway, it turns out itwas an even better year than I knew, jazz-wise, and Columbia Legacy istaking advantage of that coincidence by following up its massive Kindof Blue with Legacy Editions of Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Miles Davis’Sketches Of Spain and Charles Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um. They’ll be out in a couple of weeks and feature two CDs and a DVD for the Brubeck, includinga new 30-minute documentary on the making of Time Out, and an entiresecond disc of previously unreleased live recordings from the NewportJazz Festival from 1961-’64. Sketches Of Spain was recorded in ’59but not released until 1960, has a second CD of alternate takes whichyou have already if you have Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The CompleteColumbia Studio Recordings, but not, if you don’t. There’s also the onlyever live performance by Davis with Evans, “Concierto De Aranjuez”performed at Carnegie Hall on May 19, 1961. And the Mingus releasegives you two seminal albums on the same not just Mingus Ah Um but alsoits Mingus Dynasty, and four bonus tracks/alternate takes.
Booker T. Jones-Potato Hole
It’s been a long time since we’ve heard a Booker T. record; fifteenyears since the last MGs record and over 30 since his last solo release.But 2009 sees the Memphis legend back in action with Potato Hole.Jones, along with southern country grungers, the Drive-By Truckers and aguitarist from up north, Mr. Neil Young, has taken his signature organsound and the grooves that he no doubt invented, and created a brilliantcollection of real Memphis grease. (Booker T. & MGs toured with Neil inthe early 90s, so this collaboration is not that weird.)
From the opening Stones-inspired power chords of “Pound It Out,” Jonessets the table for a twelve-course meal that is all meat and no filler.There are some choice covers alongside Jones’ originals including theslinky strut of Tom Waits’ “Get Behind The Mule,” and a fun take onOutkast’s “Hey Ya!”. But the centerpiece of “Potato Hole” is the titletrack, a funk workout with a pocket so deep, you’ll need help climbingout. Buy this record now and throw a party! It’s THAT good!