Not poets as in “writers of poetry,” but as in “p*ss off early, tomorrow’s Saturday.” Or, more precisely, the Memorial Day weekend. Here’s a quick 5 to take us into the weekend:
The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, “As This Moment Slips Away”: I keep sleeping on this album, which is a mistake. The Bad Plus are astonishing on their own, but as a rhythm section they keep Joshua Redman on his toes and bring out some really strong playing. This tune is a little more controlled than some of the stuff on the album, but I dig the way Redman and Ethan Iverson make improvisation seem effortless, even over 9/4.
The Lonely Island, “Sax Man”: Just silly. Jack Black as a lead vocalist who’s intimidating the saxophonist is hysterical. “Okay, movin’ on!”
Amahl and the Night Visitors, “Oh No, Wait”: Yeah, it’s going to be one of those days where everything turns up on the random shuffle, isn’t it? Amahl was a holiday staple in my house. This moment where the mother acknowledges that she has allowed her despair to overcome her moral center and offers the gold back to the child, followed by Amahl offering to give the only possession he has, is the key turning point, and Menotti pulls it off in just over a minute and a half.
David Byrne, “What A Day That Was (Live from Austin, TX)”: From David Byrne’s superb Austin City Limits show, this key track from The Catherine Wheel gains a little meat on its bones from a string arrangement that owes a little to western Swing.
My Morning Jacket, “Cobra”: An early indication, from the Chocolate and Ice EP, that Jim James and MMJ owed more than a little to funk and R&B. Very different from their earliest stuff, but in retrospect pointed the way to some of the later surprises on Circuital. Heavy heavy bassline. And then after 7 minutes it gets really weird.