Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Freeze protection may have worked

In my previous post, I said I would not disclose how I covered my backyard St. Vincent vines. I will say that I used plastic and leave it at that. The temperature at 6 this morning was 30, suggesting that the freeze was not hard enough to do serious damage to the buds. However, when I removed the plastic at 8 a.m., I found mixed results. Some buds that were pressed against the plastic were damaged or killed, and others that did not come into contact with the plastic looked bad but not dead. Still others survived.

I hope that my commercial-vineyard friends, who have so much more at stake than I, are facing conditions no worse, and hopefully much better.

Possible conclusions for the urban vineyard:

  • The plastic covering might have harmed some of the buds.
  • The covering might have saved many buds.
  • It had no effect because the freeze was mild, not hard, causing spotty damage.
Evidence —

Not so good:

Very bad:

In fine shape:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bad timing for a cold snap

One rule of thumb for the onset of frost damage is four hours at 28 degrees. According to KYTV's weather app, temperatures will be in the 27-28 range from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. tonight. 

I covered my vines, which I can do because I have just eight vines. I will not disclose how I did the covering because the materials and the process are absurd. The protective measures probably will do as much harm as the hazard (if it happens).

We'll see.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

MOJO returns to Cartoons

On Tuesday, March 18, the
Missouri Jazz Orchestra
performed for the first time
in four months, at the venue
where they began four years
ago. Cartoons proved to be
a great place to hear the
band — rich, deep and loud.
Brent Vaughan contributed
two new transcriptions
and an original composition. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sweet home: Downstairs from disco

1974 photo of the Happy Medium, 900 Rush St., Chicago.
Retrieved from whatwasthere.com
I have fond memories of Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase in the mid-1970s when it was located downstairs from the Happy Medium at Delaware and Rush in Chicago. On one of my visits, the Happy Medium was doing a disco night (or, for all I knew, it was a dedicated disco club at the time). In any case, I recall entering on the first floor and looking into the club, where I saw the sparkling glitter ball and dancers all in white, with canned disco tunes of high-hat and breezy backbeat. I was hating all of that, of course, but a wonderful transformation took place as I descended to the basement where jazz had commenced. Halfway down the stairs, the mindless high-hat faded away, overtaken by the driving ride cymbal and the rest of the robust propulsion of the jazz band. I don't remember who was playing, but I clearly recall the feeling of arriving home.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

ACS & Wayne Shorter: kindred spirits

Terri Lyne Carrington, drummer for ACS, chats
with members of the audience after the concert.
Last week at the ACS concert in Springfield, one of the musicians announced between tunes that they had played many dates with Wayne Shorter throughout his 80th birthday year. Maybe Wayne's aesthetic rubbed off, or Wayne chose them because they're kindred spirits. Not only did they play a number of his tunes; they also abstracted almost everything they played, just like Wayne.

Was ACS playing "egghead" jazz?

For several pieces, I heard only a few notes of the melody, somewhere in the middle of the piece. Of course, this approach is one of the major complaints of jazz haters and jazz purists alike, but I love it, and I hardly ever hear it live anymore. I like hearing things that I can't imagine or that seem impossible.

If so, I'm an egghead, too.
Allen: I was surprised to hear her play so little in this standard piano trio format. Of course, that made everything she played very important. I was most looking forward to hearing her because I've followed her music for 20 years, starting with Robert Altman's "Jazz '34," the jam session companion to his film "Kansas City." She portrayed Mary Lou Williams, as shown in the video below. A decade later, Allen made an album with Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland, "The Life of a Song" (right), a standard piano trio work, very intense as you can imagine given the lineup. ACS played one of her pieces from that album, "Unconditional Love," which has a Latin beat.

She also took a minimal approach. I think she could have been happy with just a high hat and a snare drum — and not necessarily the whole drum, just the rim.

Spalding: I expected her to have that facility, but I was shocked at her ability to generate so much vitality without grandstanding.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Guest post: J.D. Pate finds jazz supertrio sublime

Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding

J.D. Pate
Last Wednesday (10/16/14), the supertrio of Geri Allen (piano), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums) and Esperanza Spalding (bass) visited Springfield for a concert at Hammons Hall. It was a huge night for jazz players and listeners.

Here is a guest blog post about the concert from Springfield saxophonist J.D. Pate, who leads a duo called The Jazz Machine and plays in the Missouri Jazz Orchestra. His remarks first appeared on his Facebook page, and he has accepted my request to reprint them here.

I used to ask the question “Why are there so few women in jazz?” But after the show at Hammons Hall with Esperanza Spalding, Geri Allen, and Terri Lyne Carrington, I won’t ask that question any more. Because if there were many more women like these in jazz, us guys would be out of work. 

These ladies inhabit a sublime realm of rhythm and harmony that the rest of us can only speculate about. Carrington was a punchy yet precise orchestrator of a complex drum set, touching the edge of the cymbal so delicately you could hardly hear it and then smacking you upside the head with a tom bomb when you least expected it. The 32-fingered Geri Allen molded changes from air into tears and glued the trio together with sparse punctuated chord snaps that popped the structure of the tune into focus. And Spalding was coiled like a sparky velociraptor around a bass that dwarfed her--but she dominated it with an ease that belied her bird-like stature. And her voice? Words fail me. Description is futile. 

These three are exceptionally well matched, and performed with a smooth facility that made their complex charts easy to listen to. Their renditions of Wayne Shorter's “Fall” and “Infant Eyes” were especially impressive. 

In conclusion: they don’t suck. So see them if you get a chance.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Springfield Jazz Festival: Featured artists

Brad Leali
Elaine Richardson, aka Dr. E
At the after-festival jam, tenor madness broke out
among (from left) Brandon Mezzelo, Tim Broadbent, Corey Puett and J.D. Pate.
Sadly, I put away my real camera before the jam started. Oh, well.