By February 21, 2013 2 Comments Read More →

News items that just kill us. Dead.

lichtenstein

Musing away on a sunny. cold day in Michigan, we figured an aimless web search was in order. It’s amazing what one can turn up.

First—and we’re filing this under the “Are You Serious? I Must Have a Closed-Head Injury!” column—news comes to us that Molly Ringwald—yes, that Molly Ringwald—is accepting payment as a jazz singer. She even (gulp) has a contract with the quite legit Concord jazz label. Apparently, papa Ringwald was a jazz piano player, and little Molly picked up the bug from him. She tours with a quintet, and her singing is, uh, well, um, simply not very good. Not embarrassing, not incompetent, but not what we would call acceptable from a supposedly pro jazz singer. Hear for yourself and decide at this link. We’re not very tolerant of celebrity vanity projects, and this positively reeks of that. At best, she sounds a little like Michelle Pfeiffer in “The Fabulous Baker Boys”, with that sort of breathy, overheated torch song delivery that amateurs with a long leash tend to have. Sorry, Molly, but when you decided to sell tickets, and sign with a label, you gave up your free pass.

Here’s more proof that jazz is dead: a website here announces “Northfield Unitarian Church to hold jazz service“. We’d call holding a service for it proof that it’s dead. Whaddaya mean, “it’s not a funeral, ya morons”?

Next, we see that Frank J. Barrett is a Professor of Management in the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School and that his latest book is, “Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz Improvisation.” No, we haven’t read it, and we’re not reviewing the damn thing. It just, oh, begs some questions. You be the arbiter of what those questions might be. As for us, our heads hurt, and we’re heading for the bar while we ponder whether Julliard is awarding MBAs yet.

One of our favorite revivalist blue-eyed blues acts has always been Little Charlie and the Nightcats. Led by the Charlie Christian-inspired guitar of leader Charlie Baty, they were on the national third tier club circuit for years, and really cooked on a good night. Baty decided to semi-retire a few years ago, so it was with great excitement that we noticed he’s now doing limited touring again with an outfit he bills as Little Charlie Baty and His Gypsy Jazz Caravan. Here’s a link to a video of the boys. It’s low-budget, and it seems to be taking place in Baty’s living room. Wish we were there, given that he’s now apparently covering the Django Reinhardt side of things. Tasty. For Nightcats stuff, go to the Little Charlie and the Nightcats store at Amazon.com.

Finally, we shouldn’t be surprised at this, but it was still cool to hear that famed pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (that’s his stuff pictured above—look familar?) was a huge jazz fan. An interesting interview with his widow at Bloomberg.com reveals that he always dabbled on clarinet, and that she ultimately bought him a saxophone for his 70th birthday. He apparently played quite a bit, and fairly well. He doesn’t scream “JAZZ” like, say, Jackson Pollock does, but it does fit, somehow.

Posted in: Blues, Jazz, Odds & Ends, Rants

2 Comments on "News items that just kill us. Dead."

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  1. Nancy Pollard says:

    Poor Molly, lol. Maybe had a few too many pop tarts with the Breakfast Club. Odd way for her to attempt a comeback. Listened to the tape on the link… hmmmmm. Too bad so many mediocre to horrible singers(?) try to embrace jazz late in life.

  2. jridetroit says:

    I’m glad more don’t try. 😉

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