Friday, October 23, 2009

Death Of A Pieman

I'm the age where I'm seeing a lot of my heroes pass away. Just over the last few months Hugh Hopper, Chris Connor, George Russell and Les Paul have all left us, and now Soupy Sales.

I don't remember seeing Soupy here in the Washington, DC area as much as he was in other parts of the country but I do remember a Saturday show on ABC and a show on Channel 20 when it first started in the late 60's. I fondly remember the shows though, all the goofy vaudeville jokes, his "dogs" White Fang and Black Tooth, the singing lion puppet Pookie, the hipo jazz and rock music and of course the pies. Watching a fedw clips on YouTube I see his goofy humor still holds up today and that many people have moved to write little tributes to him in the last few hours. He was someone that radiated a sense of fun and whenever I saw interviews with him in recent years he always seemed proud and happy of the work he did and all the people who loved him. Here are a few clips I pulled out from his glory days:

First a rendition of his hit single "Do The Mouse"...

Then Pookie doing Stevie Wonder...

And finally a few minutes with White Fang and "Daniel Boone" star Fess Parker and the classic Soupy finish.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Overtone Quartet

Unfortunately I got sick the weekend after my last post so I couldn't make the Parker - Rothenberg show but I did get a couple of good ones in the last few weeks, including the Overtone Quaret at the Kennedy Center.

The Overtone Quartet is one of those "band of bandleaders" deals, a group comprising three musicians well known as leaders, bassist Dave Holland, pianist Jason Moran and saxophonist Chris Potter along with celebrated drummer (as well as ordained minister and model) Eric Harland.

They were at the Kennedy Center on October 10 and played with fire and virtuosity for over an hour. Holland lived up to his fearsome reputation in his features. Moran played tricky bop to gospel to ragtime in one spot and dreamily funky electric piano for an ambiance that recalled the Miles Davis electric bands that Holland played in. Harland, who I knew the least about, was a wonder working in African and hip hop flavors on one long solo turn with extreme shifts in dynamics.

The audience was properly appreciative though I got the impression this was all pretty new to them. From the little talk I overheard as I left, I had a feeling there were a lot of moonlighting classical fans there, which isn't that much of a shock considering the venue. The same place will have McCoy Tyner and Lee Konitz playing there separately next month. Hopefully I can make it to one of those shows.