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Jan De Meyer "jazzhermit" (Belgium)
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Frank Zappa - Freak Jazz, Movie Madness & Another Mothers [DVD] [NTSC]
Frank Zappa - Freak Jazz, Movie Madness & Another Mothers [DVD] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Frank Zappa
Price: £12.79

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how all rock documentaries should be made!, 25 July 2015
The music, humor & wisdom of Frank Zappa have accompanied me ever since I was a teenager in the nineteenseventies. I have to admit that the second Mothers Of Invention incarnation was not my favourite. Musically speaking, I found the jazz influenced Hot Rats & Grand Wazoo, and the subsequent records with Ruth Underwood, Ralph Humphrey, George Duke and the Fowler brothers more interesting. But I found this documentary to be exceedingly well made! For once it's not all about rock critics who think that their opinions are the gospel. There is relatively little music in this film, and not that much footage of FZ either, so most of it is talk, but it is talk of the highest quality. The interviews with Max Bennett, Ainsley Dunbar, George Duke, Ian Underwood, Mark Volman and the Zappa biographers are highly informative. I sat & watched, fascinated, and immediately felt that this film was doing nothing less than rekindling an old love affair, which is the highest praise I can think of.


Dead in Tombstone [DVD]
Dead in Tombstone [DVD]
Dvd ~ Danny Trejo
Price: £3.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Waste of talent., 28 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dead in Tombstone [DVD] (DVD)
Bought this DVD because I like Danny Trejo a lot. Alas, the movie is so badly made and so crammed with cliché's that I fell asleep long before the end of the movie.


Miles Davis - Time After Time [DVD] [2010] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Miles Davis - Time After Time [DVD] [2010] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Miles at times outclassed by his sidemen, 10 Jun. 2014
All in all, this is a good-to-great concert. The image is what you might expect from a 1988 concert, and the sound is slightly hollow, with the keyboards somewhat underrepresented in the mix. But the program is great, and especially the sidemen are in wonderful shape. The absolute standouts are drummer Ricky Wellman, percussionist Marilyn Mazur and alto saxman Kenny Garrett.

There's something I have often noticed with Miles Davis live recordings: when cameras were present, his behaviour on stage often betrayed more irritation and sometimes even arrogance on his part than when he wasn't being filmed. Also, the quality of his soloing was better on average when no cameras were present. I saw Miles live in the Fall of 1987, in Antwerp (no film cameras present, as far as I know). He was full of energy, his soloing was very strong, and he was remarkably good humoured. In contrast, this 1988 concert is a tiny bit of a letdown. Miles frequently runs out of ideas while soloing. Take "Human Nature" for example. Miles' solo falls flat like a soufflé gone horribly wrong, and he is saved by Kenny Garrett, who builds up a blistering sax solo. But I guess even demigods (Miles always has been just that to me) have their lesser days. So, on the whole, a good-to-great gig, with some seriously funky music and a band that is inspired & driven by their utmost respect for the master.


Miles At The Fillmore: Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3
Miles At The Fillmore: Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £16.00

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed emotions..., 28 Mar. 2014
More than 30 years ago, I bought this record on vinyl. Although I adored the playing of Miles, Steve Grossman, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, I never really liked the sound of Chick Corea's distorted electric piano, and Keith Jarrett's endless noodling on organ got on my nerves from time to time. But on the whole, the record was totally wild, it exploded with energy, and the sound on vinyl was fabulous.

I was therefore very excited when the complete Fillmore East recordings were finally made public. But what the hell happened to the original sound? True, it sounds clean, but aseptically so. It's as if the remix engineer took away an entire dimension of the music! It positively sounds castrated!

There's another thing I don't understand (forgive me, I'm Belgian) and which i haven't read any comments about, so what I'm going to say is probably stupid, but anyway... What is this cd box doing in a bootleg series? When the original Columbia recording came out, it wasn't a bootleg at all. And now that we get the integral recording, it's suddenly a bootleg. I don't get this. Is this just another marketing trick?
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2014 5:28 PM BST


Many Subtle Channels
Many Subtle Channels
by Daniel Levin Becker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best English Language Book On OULIPO, 18 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Many Subtle Channels (Hardcover)
Daniel Levin Becker, who became a member of the Oulipo in 2009, has written a highly intelligent, personal and informative book about the now 54 years old Ouvroir. If you keep wondering why a number of literary authors actually choose to work under constraints, then read this book. You'll get the whole history and prehistory of the Oulipo, you'll get to know its individual members and their contributions to the workshop, you'll get to know an astonishing number of the techniques that have been applied by those members, and you'll get an idea about potential future paths in making literature.

To be read (and relished) together with the OULIPO COMPENDIUM (edited by Harry Mathews and Alastair Brotchie) and WINTER JOURNEYS, the Oulipo's brilliant hyper-novel.


Flattire - Music For A Non Existent Movie
Flattire - Music For A Non Existent Movie
Price: £13.32

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Allan Holdsworth's most personal musical statement"? I agree., 6 Feb. 2014
Originally recorded in 2001, this "Music for a non-existent movie" was reissued in 2013. It's basically a solo recording, with the exception of 2 tunes, that feature Dave Carpenter on acoustic bass. AH plays guitar on only ONE tune, the short intro to "The Duplicate Man". All the rest is done with the Synthaxe and a relatively primitive array of synths and a cheap drum machine (read the liner notes!). Yet I find nothing lacking in this music. The compositions are beautiful and immensely rich. I listen to this cd almost on a daily basis and keep discovering new things. A very satisfying experience!


Miles Davis Septet - Stadthalle, Vienna 1973 [DVD] [2009]
Miles Davis Septet - Stadthalle, Vienna 1973 [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Dave Liebman
Price: £12.99

2.0 out of 5 stars What a shame..., 3 Feb. 2014
I've been a diehard Miles Davis fan since the nineteenseventies, I've been fortunate enough to see the man live in Antwerp and I've been grateful for any concert footage, from whatever period in Miles' life. But I found it almost impossible to watch this DVD. With a sound & picture quality so poor, it is simply impossible to do justice to the great tunes by this great artist and his great band.


The End of Oulipo?: An attempt to exhaust a movement
The End of Oulipo?: An attempt to exhaust a movement
by Lauren Elkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A biased and limited view, 27 July 2013
I must admit that I don't spend a lot of time reading literary criticism, focusing instead on the original works that are the critics' only raison d'Ítre. But because I am fascinated by the Oulipo, I decided to give this book, or rather this extended pamphlet, a try. The book basically consists of two parts: a sixty-odd page article by Scott Esposito ("Eight Glances Past Georges Perec") and a thirty-odd page article by Lauren Elkin ("Oulipo Lite").

The book gets two stars because of Esposito's contribution. I got to know something about authors I was unfamiliar with, who are not part of Oulipo but who utilize techniques one might describe as oulipian. Esposito has lots of sympathy for Perec and some other Oulipo authors, but the gist of his article is that the most interesting oulipian activity is now taking place outside of the group. I found Lauren Elkin's contribution very disagreable to read. It is little more than one long diatribe against Hervé Le Tellier, who is accused of sexism and described as someone who gives you "the distinct impression that he's trying to validate his own banality by attributing it to his characters." In her final note, Elkin concedes that she "believe(s) there is hope for him." Well, dear Lauren Elkin, in the name of Hervé Le Tellier I thank you for these kind words. As part of an "attempt to exhaust a movement", Elkin's contribution is a bit meagre though.

The overall message seems to be: unless the Oulipo quickly adopts authors such as Christian Bök, Tom McCarthy and the alas already deceased Edouard Levé, and unless the movement becomes thoroughly feminist in its approach to literature, the end is near for Oulipo.

And thus I gladly return to Jacques Roubaud's monumental "le grand incendie de londres". At least now I'm not wasting my time.


Legends of Acid 2
Legends of Acid 2
Price: £20.58

5.0 out of 5 stars High Octane Groove!, 27 July 2013
This review is from: Legends of Acid 2 (Audio CD)
Two more gems from the Rusty Bryant Prestige catalog are teamed up on this cd: Fire Eater and Wildfire, both recorded in 1971. Rusty Bryant's playing is flawless and full of energy as always. The program is varied and includes relentless funky grooves such as "Fire-Eater" (9:30) and "The Alobamo Kid" (7:48), slow burners such as "Free at Last" (8:35) and a slick but beautiful rendition of "Riders on the Storm" (The Doors, 6:55).

The sidemen are excellent: among them Idris Muhammad on drums (both albums), and Wilbert Longmire and Jimmy Ponder on guitar. The absolute revelation to me, so many years ago, was Bill Mason on organ. Some will say that Mason lacked subtlety, and perhaps he does, but so what?! The man is a pure preacher, bursting with a kind of primitive energy that will put the listener into a trance. Whenever I feel like recharging the battery of my heart & soul, I listen to Billy Preston's "All That I've Got" (5:30), the final tune on this cd. The interplay between Bryant and Mason is pure magic!


Red Sorghum
Red Sorghum
by Howard Goldblatt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs a new (faithful and complete) translation!, 14 July 2013
This review is from: Red Sorghum (Paperback)
This review is not about the story (readers can glean enough from older reviews) but solely about the translation. The American translator Howard Goldblatt must have been working under considerable stress, i.e. with a killer deadline, because there is so much he did not translate. I admit that "The Clan of the Red Sorghum" (that's the actual title) is not at all an easy book to read in Chinese. In his first novel Mo Yan clearly wanted to impress his readers with his knowledge of obscure vocabulary and dialect, and with impossibly long sentences. The budding author was desperately trying to show off what an original writer he was, by heaping up adjectives and by inventing highly unusual ways to describe simple things. The results are often ugly and irritating.

I know from experience that rendering this particular novel in a foreign language is extremely difficult, time-consuming and frustrating.
Yet what Goldblatt does I find hard to swallow: wherever the vocabulary gets too weird or too hard to look up in dictionaries, he skates across it; often, entire sentences and sometimes entire paragraphs are simply not translated. About three quarters into the book, a section of almost two pages long (more than one thousand Chinese characters) is simply left untranslated! All references to Marxism and to Mao Zedong are deleted too, probably because Goldblatt or his editor/publisher was afraid the American readers wouldn't want to be reminded that the narrator has a certain fondness for Marx and Mao. In this way, huge chunks of text just disappear. This is mutilation, not translation. But perhaps the greatest infidelity committed by the translator is that he gives his translation a poetic quality which the Chinese original simply lacks.

In my view, a complete and honest translation of Mo Yan's first novel would not have garnered the amount of extatic praise it received in 1993.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 26, 2013 4:25 PM BST


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