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Cecil Taylor, Home At Last

December 1989, sitting next to my best friend at the time, young men drawn to exciting and daring artistic ambitions that we couldn’t quite understand. We’re in Town Hall, witnessing Cecil Taylor and Max Roach playing a concert celebrating the ten-year anniversary of their historic live recording at the Miller Theatre.

(Indie) Rock School

Jarnow’s book, ostensibly a YLT bio, also encompasses many of the related arms of the American indie rock explosion of the 1980s and ’90s, managing to link a slew of disparate fragments to make an affectionate and entertaining narrative.

Just Add Rain

May—which, unlike March, isn’t famous for going out like anything—went out in warm weather and raindrops, which provided a fitting atmosphere for pianist and impresaria Vicky Chow’s performance at the Stone. Chow, who recently curated an avant-garde series at the Gershwin Hotel, played a ranging, mostly minimalist set by ten mostly contemporary composers.

When Worlds Don’t Collide

The poet, translator, and editor Robert Pinsky was the U.S. Poet Laureate for three years. Ben Allison plays upright bass, recently debuted at Carnegie Hall, and is perhaps best known for composing the theme song for NPR’s On the Media. The two of them got together with guitarist Steve Cardenas and percussionist Rogério Boccato on a Tuesday evening in early May at Hunter College for a performance of what they called PoemJazz.

“If I Make It Out Alive From Hollywood and Vine”

There’s nothing quite like a highway road trip to exorcise a creative malaise. When J. Tillman motored away from his grey Seattle home, he was looking to shatter an “immobilizing depression” and the bleak confines of his prior solo work. Steering his van out of King County with no destination in mind, he was determined to find the fun in his “wound-licking” music again.


I am writing this in a crowded subway car on my way to a gig, afraid that if my foot touches someone somewhere, or I say “God bless you” to someone who sneezes, my photo will be snapped, my soul stolen, and I’ll be hauled off in handcuffs.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2012

All Issues