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  Listen Up! 1/28/03 Listen Up!

Tuesday, Jan. 28

Beethoven, “Symphony No. 3 in Eb Eroica, the Cleveland Orchestra,” Telarc. I’m crazy enough on a day with the loud loud heater and the loud CD cleaning machines and people talking loudly to play a classical CD that has lots of quiet parts. The loud parts sound good. Wish I could tell you more.

Jack Kerouac, “The Jack Kerouac Collection,” Rhino Records. The cliché of beatnik poetry is that it’s accompanied by meandering saxophonists and bongos. Kerouac is mostly accompanied by decent saxophonists. I don’t hear any bongos yet. Despite having read “On the Road” twice and “The Dharma Bums” all the way through, I don’t have a lot of fondness for this guy. I can’t make out any of the words he’s spouting, but I don’t know that it matters. The sound is the message, and it’s all affectation.

Marty Erlich’s Traveler’s Tales, “Malinke’s Dance,” Omnitone Records. Erlich and Tony Malaby wind their squawking alto (or soprano or flute) and tenor (or soprano) around each other, Bobby Previte pounds the heck out of the drums, and Jerome Harris holds down the harmonic fort on bass. Intensely passionate music, with invention and wit and character. Erlich’s original material is fabulous, he pays homage to his late mentor Julius Hemphill, and he covers “Tears of Rage.”

Larry Graham & Graham Central Station, “The Jam: Larry Graham & Graham Central Station Anthology,” Warner Archives/Rhino Records. The first disc is made up of some of the finest, most fiery, and most exuberant funk material ever. The second disc, which moves into Graham’s solo career, is spottier, but still full of great stuff. Plenty of party material is right here.

Ornette Coleman, “Broken Shadows,” Sony Records import. We’re going way back to 1972, when Ornette was leading a pretty large unit of folks that built upon his classic acoustic quartet of the early 60s (Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and either Ed Blackwell or Billy Higgins). Actually, the original liner notes are too small for me to read this, but it sure sounds like outtakes from the early days a lot of the time. Doesn’t really matter. It’s prime Ornette, which isn’t to say Prime Time Ornette; that would come later. Like when he took “School Work,” included here, and turned into the nearly album-length “Dancing In My Head” in the late 70s. Ornette is a fountain of melodic invention, furious frenetic energy, beauty, glory, and pleasure. I never fail to get a charge from his best records, which is about 80% of the ones with his name on them.

--Steve Pick


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