As part of its Friends of Chick Corea line-up Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) offered two evenings of two sets featuring 17 year old keyboardists Beka Gochiashvili and Gadi Lehavi, under the banner Musicians of the Future. Along with the legions of budding Beibers out on the Internet there is a growing cadre of gestating jazzers and classicos happy to show their chops so it’s no surprise that Corea was introduced to both these players via YouTube links sent from friends. Though only in their teens both musicians have already amassed impressive résumés.
The venue, JALC’s Allen Room, is a very special space to enjoy a show; a unique New York City experience. The room’s mechanical floor can be configured from flat surface to amphitheater style event. Its stories high, venue wide, window looks out over Columbus Circle and affords attendees a view of Central Park looking up Fifth Avenue. It’s an amazing real world backdrop for the stage. As the sun sets, headlight reflections from cars looping around the plaza below create a light-show effect that looks like groups of darting fireflies.
The showcase leaned heavily on Corea’s Stan Getz and Now He Sings, Now He Sobs era tunes including “Windows,” “Matrix” and the expanded CD edition’s “Samba Yantra.” The Three Quartets album was represented – in quintet – with Quartet 2, Part 2, dedicated to John Coltrane. Lehavi original “January,” a quiet waltz, was presented in trio.
On an improvisational level Beka tends to work longer melodic lines, similar to Corea’s work with Getz on tunes like “O Grande Amor,” while Gadi veers toward the percussive side of the instrument reminiscent of Keith Jarrett’s rhythmic explorations.
Corea, now a spry septuagenarian, joined the quintet for the final number of the May 18th late show. He had just finished his own set in the Rose Theater, the main auditorium of the Jazz At Lincoln Center complex. Beaming with the impish grin of a proud mentor, Corea asked what the last song would be. “Matrix” was the response. “You can’t! We just did that next door” he jibed, then jumped on the piano stool next to Gadi and initiated the melodic lines of the tune, stopping to let each of the young men pick up the piece in round. As the tune progressed Corea alternated between playing alongside each of the teens, plucked inside the grand pianos to embellish a solo line, and tapped out patterns to suggest rhythm changes.
Lehavi and Gochiashvili are two technically strong players who have a nearly a century of Jazz history to mine and an open road ahead to translate and invent. As with any tribute show, it is hard for the musicians to know where homage ends and exploration, even demolition, should begin. It is interesting to note that only after Corea joined in did a real feeling looseness and “self” truly appear in each player. With Chick on stage, neither had to represent or “be” him in the mix. The good news is that – as with any successful coming out party – Gochiashvili and Lehavi transcended the physical and musical surroundings to be the highlights of the show.
If Swing is Your Thing…
JALC ends the current season with Swinging With The Big Bands, on June 12 and 13, 2013. Crooner/pianist Michael Feinstein will host featured performers Wynton Marsalis, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, Connie Evingston, Sachal Vasandani, and a favorite of mine Nellie McKay who will put their spin on 1930′s era jazz/pop. Spotify users can sample a playlist of the artists involved.
The 2013-2014 season schedule has been announced and tickets and subscriptions are available now at JALC.org.
Set your frontal lobes for the final frontier. With the warp engines revving up for the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness it seems the perfect time to show you what Diamond Select Toys has in store for us old school Trek folk in the coming months.
Action Figure Line-Up…
June will see release of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock in 7” action figure representations, both offered in stand alone and Select diorama versions. The dioramas capture peak moments in key episodes with Leonard Nimoy preparing to mind meld with the “Devil In The Dark” Horta and William Shatner engaging in battle with Khan Noonian Singh as in the “Space Seed” episode. Expect those in June. Next Generation Captain Jean Luc Picard will arrive in the fall with a great diorama base that features a battle battered Borg.
On the Mini-Mates front DST adds the Star Trek Legacy Series 1 Set, pairing Captains and their adversaries. I love mini-mates. It always makes me smile to see how DST makes these simple little forms exude the essence of their real life counterparts.
Star Trek II Movie – Captain Kirk and Kahn Noonien Singh
Star Trek: First Contact – Captain Picard and Borg Queen
Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Season 7 – Captain Sisko and Jem Hadar
Star Trek: Enterprise – Captain Archer and Xindi
Diligent collector’s will keep and eye out for Toys R Us (TRU), Entertainment Earth and Action Figure Express (AFX) exclusives on many of these goodies. TRU will have an exclusive Legacy selection, AFX will sell a “Mirror, Mirror” version of the Mini-Mate Starship Enterprise, while Entertainment Earth offers the vessel in “Trouble With Tribbles” mode.
If Seven Turned Out To Be Nine, I Don’t Mind…
The Diamond Select Femme Fatales collection which already includes striking sculpts of some of fandom’s most celebrated ladies will get a Star Trek oriented addition with a deliciously sleek sculpt of Geri Ryan as Seven of Nine from the Star Trek: Voyager series. This figure measures 9” tall and is cast in PVC.
Everything Is Ship Shape…
If spacecraft are your focus DST already offers a full line of electronic USS Enterprise models representing the entire Star Trek timeline. There’s also the beautiful Klingon “Bird of Prey”, which comes in a translucent green “cloaked” variant exclusive to AFX.
DST is currently preparing Star Trek characters for the popular Bust Bank series. Be sure to hit the link above and check out Diamond’s site for their extensive line of full sized replicas ( communicators, phasers, tricorders, Klingon disruptor) for your role playing delight. Some trouble with a “sound and motion” tribble may be in your future.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Michael J. Pollard Mini-Mate to play a game of “bonk-bonk” with. I’m not feeling like a “grup” yet.
Director: Dan Algrant
(Tribeca Film/Focus World)
Select Theatrical release:
May 3 Los Angeles – Laemmle Noho 7
May 3 New York – Village East
May 10 Denver – SIE Film Center
May 17 Columbus – Gateway Film Center
May 17 Toronto – TIFF Bell Lightbox
May 24 Seattle – Northwest Film Forum
May 24 Portland – Hollywood 3
Also available as Pay On-Demand viewing and iTunes purchase.
What It Is…
Director Daniel Algrant’s rumination on the late singers Tim & Jeff Buckley is slyly named Greetings From Tim Buckley. I say slyly because it is not only a nod to an album title but an ironic nudge that the protagonist must “meet” his estranged, deceased, father solely through his music and other’s perceptions of that music. At its core the film is the story of a talented young person boxing with an ancestral ghost. It is an imbroglio magnified by Jeff’s uncanny likeness to the images on Tim’s vintage record albums.
The film illuminates the story of Jeff’s participation in a tribute to his father held in Brooklyn at St. Anne’s Church in April of 1991. The Hal Wilner production was essentially Buckley the younger’s coming out party. It’s a single facet of the prism that was Jeff Buckley but a key perspective on the history that drove him. Similar to Dream Brother, David Brown’s dual biography which alternated chapters between father and son, Algrant offers us Pen Badgley’s Jeff and Ben Rosenfield’s Tim in doppelganger juxtapositions that highlight their commonalities, particularly their will-o-the-wisp ways. I call it decisively indecisive, those on the receiving end might just call it self-serving or just plain selfish behavior.
Badgley, embodies the young singer in the same peripheral OMG glimpses that Jeff himself embodied his father. It is very hard in this post video world to portray an entity of recent note. Your audience has a lot of audio-visual information to compare. Badgley gives you his take on “the guy inside,” and it works as mercurial amounts of self-doubt and obstinate pride come through with facility. That is, you don’t see him acting.
As a musician and songwriter myself, I particularly enjoyed the scene in which Frank Wood as Gary Lucas and Badgley’s Jeff cobble together the riffs that would eventually become the song “Grace,” the title tune of Buckley’s only non-posthumous album. An unintended slight comes when guitarist Lucas compliments Jeff on his Qawwali style vocal technique then suggests he use it to embellish one of is father’s tunes at the tribute. The scene is a great illustration of how – for Jeff – Tim’s legend is both a stepping stone and pitfall for his own aspirations.
Co-Star Imogen Poots plays Allie the fictionalized foil who acts as love interest, play friend, muse and talented competitor. The center of the movie finds Jeff and Allie cavorting around town where they end up flipping through LP’s in a used record shop. When Allie flashes Jeff the cover of one of his father’s albums, Jeff counters with a Led Zeppelin LP and launches into a chipmunked pastiche of Zep tunes that scares the crap out of the staff. It’s a performance that is worth the price of admission. If you’ve never heard the real Jeff render “’Kashmir’ at 78 RPM” you owe it to yourself to seek it out. There’s a short version on the Live at L’Olympia concert disc released in 2001 by Columbia/Sony Australia.
When Greetings From Tim Buckley succeeds or fails it is for the same reason, its “one – piece – of – the – puzzle” scope. While Jeff fans know what eventually transpired during the rest of his short lifetime, the film leaves casual viewers in the lurch wondering “why should I care?” Therefore Jeff devotees may want to own this film while newbies will have to hit Wikipedia for the complete 411 – or just buy Grace to be enlightened.
Though the interpersonal content of the screenplay often allows the audience to glean some pointers to future developments in Jeff’s life, its ending – the concert reenactment – ultimately falls flat. Why? Because the performances do not convey catharsis and because as an “origin” story there can be none of Jeff’s own spectacular output. His troubadouring at clubs like Siné would ultimately blossom into the creation of Grace several years later.
Turnabout being fair play, I’d say that 20 years since the release of Grace, few would know who Tim Buckley was if not for his famous son.
Klose to the Edge…
In addition to Badgley, singer/songwriter Jann Klose is featured “in the mix” playing and vocalizing on Tim Buckley’s “Pleasant Street,” “Song For Janie, and “Once I Was.” I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Jann’s excellent group and photographing the gig.
This season he will be previewing songs from his new album Mosaic. The album will be released on CD on June 7th, with iTunes download following later in the month. In addition to Klose’s original songs, the album closes with his a cappella version of Tim Buckley’s “Song To The Siren” and in an art imitates art ouroboros he has recently been writing with aforementioned Jeff Buckley collaborator Gary Lucas.
I highly reccommend you make a point of hearing him perform.
The roll out for Square Enix/Play Arts roster of DC Universe figures, as previewed at NY Toy Fair 2013 in February, has begun with The Dark Knight Trilogy Batman and Bane currently available. Catwoman Selina Kyle as portrayed by Anne Hathaway, and Heath Ledger’s Joker will follow in the coming months.
Arkham Gals Won’t You Come Out Tonight…
Rounding out the Batman related characterizations, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy will add a twisted feminine touch to the Batman Arkham City series. Both are scheduled for mid-June 2013 release.
Also scheduled for release throughout spring and summer are the Anime-esque “Kai” Variants of DC’s revered heroes and heroines. Along with a samurai sword wielding Batman, the series will include sleek and angular spins on Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and down the road Batgirl and Flash. The latter two were displayed in early prototype pre-painted versions that I think highlighted their beautiful geometric look. That said, The Flash should be spectacular in full color.
Many of the characters were displayed with a host of swappable parts, including hands, weapons and masks. Please keep in mind that all photos here were taken of prototypes – in some cases still pending licensor approval. Final products may vary. You can see the official product images of these and other Square Enix/Play Arts collectibles at their website.