By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Still, it's not such a bad gig for the Dallas native and Jesuit Academy graduate. After all, he has spent the last little while toiling away in obscure, mediocre Austin funk bands with names as obvious as they are forgettable. (One of them was something called Bisquit, though it was probably spelled funnier than that--like Bizkit. Who knows.)
Pandian's tale is one of those that ought to tug at the guitar strings of every hopeful nobody who wills himself onto a bigger stage. A couple of years ago, Pandian had heard that Wyclef Jean--Hill's padnuh in the Fugees--was looking for a guitarist. He approached Jean's road manager, Michael Hill, with a cassette of his music and offered his services. Hill told him he was mistaken: Jean wasn't looking for a guitarist, but his niece Lauryn was. So Pandian went back, made another demo--this time featuring only guitar and some sparse hip-hop beats--and sent it to Lauryn. In July, she invited him to an audition and offered him the gig.
Flash forward to February 24, 1999. On Wednesday night, during the Grammy Awards, Pandian was scheduled to perform not only with Hill, but also with scheduled guests Carlos Santana and Al Anderson, better known as Bob Marley's guitarist. The Jesuits must be very proud.
Being cut loose from Island Records last year isn't stopping Tripping Daisy from releasing another record this year. But this one, titled The Tops Off Our Head, is available only by mail order. And it's not really even a collection of songs, per se; it's more like a compendium of "sections" (as the band refers to the seven different...songs?) that runs about 22 minutes. On the band's Web site (www.trippingdaisy.com), drummer Ben Curtis explains that the disc is meant to serve as an "intimate look" at how Tripping Daisy fashions its art: The band's songwriting process, Curtis writes, "has always begun with improvisation, finding 'moments' when the musicians have created a particularly moving piece of music. These moments are then organized and constructed into a complete and satisfying song. In finding that some of these moments cannot be re-created, the wish has always been to have a quality recording of the music exactly when it was created." Five of the sections are improvised songs; the other two are largely pre-arranged pieces, one of which is "Never My Love" by The Association--"a large source of inspiration for the band," so they say, referring to the fact that "Cherish" also shows up on the disc. Hey, we're buying 10 copies! You can too by sending $9.95 per copy to Tripping Daisy, Tops Off Our Head, P.O. Box 140407, Dallas, 75214.
Leaning House Records' latest is also its greatest...hits. Sort of. It's actually nothing more than a Sampler, hence the title. Still, 'nothing more' in this case means nothing less than the best of Dallas' jazz under-and-aboveground collected on a single disc. The sampler features selections from the Leaning House release by Earl Harvin (who, speaking of playing with major-label artists, has severed his ties with Seal), Marchel Ivery, Shelley Carrol with Members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Dave Palmer, and Fred Sanders. The Leaning House Sampler is available at CD World on Mockingbird and Greenville.
Send Street Beat your advance CDs to firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, don't.