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Steve Lacy + 16–Itinerary/Franz Koglmann–The Use of Memory/Charlie Haden and the Liberation–Dream Keeper/Carla Bley–The Very Big Carla Bley Band/Kenny Wheeler–Music for Large & Small Ensembles/Freddie Redd–Everybody Lov

ITINERARY Steve Lacy + 16 Hat ART THE USE OF MEMORY Franz Koglmann Hat ART DREAM KEEPER Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra Blue Note THE VERY BIG CARLA BLEY BAND Carla Bley Watt MUSIC FOR LARGE & SMALL ENSEMBLES Kenny Wheeler ECM EVERYBODY LOVES A WINNER Freddie Redd Milestone GENIUS OF MODERN MUSIC, […]

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Chillin’ of a Lesser God

CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at Petrillo Music Shell September 21 Is Daniel Barenboim facing rough waters ahead? Even before he was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s highest artistic post, the Argentinean-born conductor was getting a bad rap in the local press. One commentator attributed his strong candidacy to cronyism (the cronies being Georg Solti and […]

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Days of Rose’s whining

There are about half a hundred funny things about Guns n’ Roses’ superhyped pair of new albums, Use Your Illusion I and II, the band’s first real output since their 1987 debut. One funny thing is that the first record starts off with a song called “Right Next Door to Hell,” which takes its title […]

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Truth, love, peace, and get it on

It’s conventional wisdom that modern soul music arose out of the marriage of the sacred and the profane that occurred in the 50s when Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and others melded traditional gospel with secular lyrics. The revolutionary music that resulted was a source of widespread enthusiasm, but it also bred consternation, and not only […]

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Basically Bach

Basically Bach, the enterprising period-instrument ensemble, deserves an “A” for chutzpah for attempting to subject Mozart’s greatest and most complex symphony to the “authenticity” treatment. The profound beauty and formalism of the Jupiter Symphony depend heavily on its contrasts and reconciliations, which can be best expressed by a large modern orchestra. (Even by 1788, the […]

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Composing Women

NEW MUSIC CONSORT at Ravinia August 29 The creative side of music has long been a men’s domain, and it remains astonishingly so even today. Few women figure in any account of the history of music, and none can claim a place in the familiar pantheons of great composers. This dearth can be attributed to […]

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Disco without shame

Disco will probably always be a dirty word. When the Bee Gees came through town to promote a comeback album a couple of years ago (it flopped), the local press was condescending–the Bee Gees, it seemed, still had to live down their status as the kings of disco. And kings they were, of course: during […]

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Notes From a Jazz Fest

Variety has been essential to the spirit of the Chicago Jazz Festival ever since the first one 12 years ago. Chicago’s festival is a smorgasbord of music, and the quality of the music has remained high indeed. This quality is largely due to the festival’s seeking out of original musicians–players and composers who create from […]

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Misery loves Morrissey

Johnny Marr discovered Morrissey—sometime after, one assumes, Morrissey invented himself—in 1982. Within a couple of years, Morrissey’s strangled romanticism and Marr’s extremely pragmatic guitar playing made the Smiths one of England’s most celebrated bands. Besides the press’s absolute infatuation with the enigmatic Morrissey—heightened by his refusal to cop to being either gay or straight, claiming, […]

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Truth or Dare: Madonna’s big lie

To read the awestruck mainstream press on the subject of the Madonna tour documentary Truth or Dare—breathless features, interviews, and reviews marveling at the movie’s unparalleled frankness—you wouldn’t suspect that the film is actually the most baldly manipulative and scarily dishonest piece of propaganda to be recorded on celluloid since at least the Reagan campaign’s […]

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3rd Bass

The relationships of white musicians to black music have always been a bit weird: the whites end up either as exploiters or mired in a too-respectful stasis. 3rd Bass are a consumingly committed pair of rappers from New York’s outer boroughs whose almost obsessive adoption of a black idiom has already produced an amazingly successful […]

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Full circle: Bud Freeman, 1906-1991

“There are four basic precepts you must observe if you wish to score with the world. One, use Wall St. Cologne–in this way you will score with women. Two, use Yardley’s Shaving Cream–in this way, clean-shaven, you will score with the general public. Three, change your socks daily–here you score with earthworms and all the […]