Monday, August 01, 2005


It wasn't like I was cryin' or anything, but it was sure sad to see this series of avant/freeform music end. Especially ending the way it did, under the cloud of the entire CBGB empire crumbling due to the threat of a huge rent increase thanks to a buncha do-gooders who hadda turn a flophouse into a "homeless shelter" (mainly a higher-class flophouse with tax dollar funding) and sorta "lord it over" alla the businesses on the block. But enough sour grapes, it was sure great seeing Dee Pop onstage between sets talking about the times and acting a little more composed than Soupy Sales on his last day on the air (even trotting his son out just like Jerry Lewis used to do!), and it was greater to see such a big turnout especially when some of these shows seemed so sparse they might've well been happening in your basement, and it was even greater seeing some of the Freestyle Faves of the past four years playing their hearts out for one last time on the Lounge stage. And it's sure gonna be hard for ME finding another way to get over the Sunday night blues.

Got to check out the first four "special groupings," the first featuring steel guitarist Susan Alcorn with a cellist whose identity I didn't catch and a clarinetist (whose name also eluded me though I think it was Mark Whitcage) putting out a wild atonal free-play yelp ending with the cellist (who I originally thought was Zusann Kali Fasteau but she "looked" black from behind the pole where she was positioned) emitting some great Linda Sharrock-styled yelps and moans. After that was a setup with the underappreciated Dom Minasi "leading" yet another improv bunch whose names I forget offhand (I'm sure someone will fill me in) putting out some avant-guitar sound that ain't totally atonal but kinda reminds me of the lines John Scofield laid down when he sat in with the Social Climbers at CBGB back in '82 that you can hear on the STATE OF THE UNION album if you're lucky enough to have that. Afterwards was a grouping featuring not only guitarist Joe Morris but tenor saxophonist Roy Campbell Jr. that also continued on with the hot stuff (I got that line from Albert Goldman if you can believe that!), and following all of that was this trio featuring a black woman on vocals and hand drum, Matana Roberts on alto sax and yet another unknown-to-me player whose name I hope will come to light eventually on tenor. Roy Campbell's mother had died just this past week so in memory of her these three did a freeform take of "May The Circle Remain Unbroken" (audience members urged to join in!) bearing no resemblence to the Thirteenth Floor Elevators' with Roberts and the other sax player doing some mighty out-there moves on their instruments. Didn't catch the rest and I hope the entire shebang was recorded for posterity (and imminent release along with everything else of worth this series produced).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I doubt the Bowery Neighbors Assn. or whatever they're called will REALLY use the space as a homeless shelter if they prevail in shutting CB's. Once Hilly's out, they'll make a deal with some developer to use the space for some "upscale" yuppie oriented chain like Banana Republic and rake huge amounts of money, and they'll say it'll be so they can expand their services elsewhere and also help bring "quality shopping" to the Lower East Side. Having worked with nonprofits and also knowing something about real estate, I can say that the "homeless shelter" is probably not going to occur. I do hope though that CB's is preserved - CB's somewhere else wouldn't be the same.