Daily Archives: September 4, 2020

FORTY SECONDS OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL DANCE MUSIC

I’ve known and admired the drummer and thoughtful man Kevin Dorn for fifteen years and more.  I could see Kevin in a jazz club, lifting the rhythm and making the other musicians happier — to say nothing of the audience.  In fact, Kevin came by and sat in at Cafe Bohemia for the last pre-pandemic gig, whose date is seared into my neural pathways, March 12, 2020.

Years gone by: 2008.

Kevin is also one of those musicians able to talk about what he is doing in terms that do not bore the insiders nor puzzle the civilians: he is a superb teacher / explicator with no hint of pretension . . . and he is one of those who “can do” as well as explain.  I know this because of the gratifying YouTube videos he has been creating for a year now: just him, his drum set, assorted essential paraphernalia, and a fine clear soundtrack of music and words.  Here is his YouTube channel.

He’s explored the work of Gene Krupa, George Wettling, Cozy Cole, Morey Feld, Nick Fatool, Jake Hanna, and Cliff Leeman so far, and I know his one-man seminar on Buzzy Drootin is in the works.

But this wonderful solo performance caught me in many ways.  Many drum solos lack a compositional shape, but not this.  And in this wildly “busy” world where no one has much time for anything, this solo is forty seconds long.  I urge you to take the time and immerse yourself in the world Kevin creates in honor of Cliff Leeman.  I call it “three-dimensional” because not only can we hear the songs Kevin creates on Cliff’s snare drum, but we can watch the ever-changing human sculpture of his moving arms, one visible leg, and hands.  Art, dear viewers.

 

The back covers of long-playing records (“microgroove”) that I grew up with often wooed the prospective buyer with IF YOU LIKED THIS LONG-PLAY RECORD, YOU’LL LIKE THESE — and then showed tiny cover portraits.  That appeal is a long way back into the past, but if you enjoyed the video above, let me direct you to a more elaborate one: Kevin’s variations on WOLVERINE BLUES:

Such expressive music.

May your happiness increase!

WE LIKE THEM LITERATE

The Imaginary Love Object can be stunning from coif to pedicure, but if I were to ask her, “Darling, would you like a book for your birthday?” and the answer was, “Oh, honey, no. I already have a book,” we wouldn’t get far.  It’s not snobbery, but the pleasure in literacy, in following the story.

So I was delighted by Keenan McKenzie’s song, “WELL-READ BABY” when I first heard it on his 2017 CD, and I am delighted by it now.  The participants work together beautifully, and even though I know there is a certain artifice in remote recording, the pleasure of seeing everyone’s face (and several bookshelves!) is considerable.

Laura Windley in one of her many lives.

Here is a delightful new remote musical extravaganza by Keenan McKenzie and the Riffers, “My Well-Read Baby,” music and lyrics by the erudite and witty Mr. McKenzie.  The participants in this swinging book group are Josh Collazo, drums; Annie Erbsen, guitar; Lynn Grissett, trumpet; Haruka Kikuchi, trombone; William MoBetta Ledbetter, string bass; Keenan McKenzie, clarinet; Mark Wells, piano; Laura Windley, vocal.  The song — with splendidly hilarious lyrics — was first presented to us on the 2017 CD, FORGED IN RHYTHM, by Keenan and the Riffers.

You could subscribe to Keenan’s YouTube channel — much easier than finishing that Thomas Pynchon novel — and hear some of his other creations.  A favorite of mine:

As to Laura and the other literate men and women: you know how to follow them on Facebook, idolize them on Instagram, blaze a trail to Bandcamp, wrap yourself in their websites, and so on.  Their music will make you feel better even if you feel splendid already.  Now, go off and find someone to Socra-tease.

May your happiness increase!