Saturday, January 10, 2009

Musical Questions Update—& Other Updates


I know quite a few folks out there like the Musical Questions series, so here’s some good news: there will definitely be Musical Questions’ posts both this weekend & next, & I think there’s a pretty fair chance there may be one the weekend after that; & all three folks are people whose interviews I’m really jazzed to have on Robert Frost’s Banjo.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the Musical Questions from Lois Fry. If you don’t know Lois Fry—well, for one thing, that would mean you’d never spent any time around the Southwest Idaho music scene—you have missed one of the finest musicians it’s been my privilege to know. In tomorrow’s interview, Lois talks about “out-of-body” experiences when she solos; I can tell you that even as an “’umble rhythm guitar” player backing her up, it’s almost an out-of-body experience to play along while Lois takes a solo. Eberle & I had the pleasure of playing with Lois Fry when the three of us provided background music for the McCall-Donnelly Drama Troupe’s productions of Alice in Wonderland, Under Milkwood (for which all the music was improv—one recording I wish we had, but don’t), & Antigone; & then Lois joined us in the Alice in Wonder Band. Speaking for myself, I’ve always had a huge amount of admiration for Lois’ musicality, & also have a lot of gratitude for her enthusiasm about playing with me in various musical settings—I’m still not in Lois’ musical league, but when we were first playing together, I don’t think I was even on the same musical planet. It does make me recall something that another of our Musical Questions folks said; Dale Fisk advised musicians to “work with people who are better musicians or more creative than you are; that has major benefits.” I can speak from experience that what Dale says is true; I’ve played with a lot of folks who are better than me, & Lois Fry is one of the foremost among them.

To give you some idea of Lois Fry’s musicianship, the slideshow below features Eberle’s composition “Wind in the Willows”; Eberle wrote this specifically for Lois, who's on violin, of course, & Eberle's on piano. Yours truly is on electric bass trying to hard not to mess up during the gorgeous playing that’s going on. Our wonderful sound guy was Joshua Housh, assisted by Dani Leone; the song was recorded in 04 at the Marymount Chapel—thanks again to the Marymount Sisters for making this available to the Alice in Wonder Band!

While I’m on the topic of blog news, you may have noticed that I added a feature to the front page: a list of non-blog websites. It would be a looong boring post for me to discuss them all, or even a lot of them; & a lot of the site names are pretty self-explanatory. I would like to draw attention to a few: The Blue Notes: South African Jazz Exiles is a site dedicated to group of musicians (including the great Johnny Dyani) who interest me a lot, & who aren’t as well known as they should be. Another one worth checking out is The Bureau of Public Secrets, which has lots of poetry & poetry in translation, including contrasting translations of Bashō’s Narrow Road to the Deep North. Two others: Wowhaus Crafts—about the only place you’re likely to see a glass banjo; & The Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, because most anything about Kate is good by me.

I’ve also added a few blogs to the Blog Roll. Thanks to Citizen K, I did find a poetry blog I like a lot, & one that has fun with poetry (what a concept!). That’s Radish King. Poetry folks: you do need to check this blog out, because this person can write poetry that’s wild & fun to read & good, & can also come up with some hilarious non-poetic posts—I’m sorry I missed the full version of the rant about how the internet has been horrid for poetry, especially when this got caught up with Robert Schumann’s mortal remains. In addition: a very well-written & engaging blog from the UK (filed under Blog Gumbo, since it covers a lot of territory): Beau Monde Library. Everything from musings on synchronicity & Twelfth Night to droll art & film critiques. Another blog with some general & intriguing interests is Deep Craft, which is the bloggish sibling of Wowhaus Crafts. Some gorgeous photos & delightful tales of life in the greater Bay Area from a banjoist/craftsman. & speaking of music, anyone interested in uke should check out Ukulele Ghetto—well-written uke-related posts by a thoughtful fellow who also happens to be quite an accomplished player, as evidenced by his videos.

So check these out, & be sure to check out Lois Fry tomorrow!

The picture of Lois Fry is by an excellent photographer named Earl Brockman; it was taken at an Alice in Wonder Band Show at Bistro 45 in McCall; also in the picture are Deadre Chase, right behind Lois, our fantastic singer, & our two drummers Barb Dixon (l) & Deb Cahill (r). The picture of Lois in Mardi Gras attire that appears during the slide show also was taken by Mr Brockman.

The slide show uses several pix of our property (& environs) in springtime during the years 97-02. For those of you who read the blog frequently & have seen more recent photos, you may notice that things looked a lot different back then, before our new house was built.


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