By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
"If it was Miles or Coltrane, who cares?" Elliott says. "Every scrap of tape is valuable with those guys. I don't know if Red is of quite that status, unfortunately. But it's a joy to listen to them, to hear him play in that informal of a situation. He reacts with the players, makes interjections while they're playing. It's fun to hear the excitement in his voice. I just don't know if, with all the money factors, it makes sense to do anything with the tapes."
It was Ivery who helped Elliott get his hands on those tapes--no doubt, because he wanted something to remember his friend by, some proof that their partnership was not the stuff of which dreams are made. He'd love to hear those tapes again, to remember those nights at the Recovery Room, the late-night visits, and the years spent studying beside so important a man.
And it would be nice to have those Recovery Room tapes for another reason: A substantial gap exists in Garland's discography because he didn't record much between 1962 and 1977, when he was lured out of retirement to play on a few sessions. He made only a few albums in the 1970s and early 1980s--every one of them amazing, the final one (1982's Misty Red) being among the very best. The man got better as he got older.
"What I took away from Red was the musical knowledge he gave me, the musical theory, and how things are done and when to do what," Ivery recalls. "He explained things to me I wouldn't have learned in school. It was on-the-job training with someone of his caliber. It was amazing. Him and Bud Powell were two people cut from the same mold, because they had the same kind of mannerisms. They both were geniuses. Anyone who heard them play would tell you the same thing. He was like a father to me, because he saw something in me I didn't see in myself and no one else saw. He took a chance on me.
"Even musicians in New York asked me what was it like to play with him--guys with names, guys who never played with him but always longed to play with him. They were in awe of him--even though the people in Dallas didn't appreciate him or know who he was. Every time we were in New York, it was a red-carpet experience. They hugged him, kissed him; the press was all over him, asking him, 'What is it like being away from the scene?' I ate all that up, because I enjoyed being with someone that great. I can't explain how much it meant to me."
Yes, he can.
The Jazz Legends Festival begins at 11 a.m. June 12 at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh. There will be a panel discussion of Garland's work, followed by performances from Robert Sander, Simone Jackson-Rogers, the Roger Boykin Quintet, and the Marchel Ivery Quintet. An exhibit will feature Garland memorabilia. Call (214) 943-1449 for more information.
A Slavens to radio
A wise man once said that radio is a sad salvation. Maybe Paul Slavens and his Green Romance Orchestra bandmate Dave Abbruzzese (who's gotta be sick of being referred to as Pearl Jam's ex-drummer, so we won't) will have something to say about that. The duo are taking the recordings of 10 performances of Dr. Paul Slavens' Texclectic Radio Hour (And a Half), made during the past year at Fort Worth's Caravan of Dreams, to Los Angeles to be mixed at producer Daniel Lanois' studio. Slavens and Abbruzzese will produce the show in 30- and 60-minute formats, with the hopes of pitching a Texclectic radio show to National Public Radio.
"As far as the NPR thing goes, I have been trying to keep my intentions somewhat quiet until I had fully realized the entire show," Slavens says. "Once I get done mixing in L.A., that will be complete." In the meantime, Slavens will release the final product for free on the Texclectic Web site (www.texclectic.com) and may eventually burn CDs of it himself.
For those not in the know, The Texclectic Radio Hour (And a Half) is an hourlong live radio show featuring improv comedy and music by The Texclectic Unsemble, which includes Slavens on keyboards and vocals, Reggie Rueffer on violin and vocals, Gary Muller on Chapman Stick, and Pete Young on drums. Other local musicians sit in regularly. Indeed, on May 27 at Club Dada, bassist Fred Hamilton (of the Earl Harvin Trio) and Brave Combo's Jeffrey Barnes sat in during a performance. The Radio Hour (And A Half) takes place monthly at Caravan of Dreams, and The Texclectic Unsemble performs every first Monday at Dan's Bar in Denton and every last Thursday at Club Dada.
It has been four years since Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat released a record--which, you know, ain't nothing around these parts. And it's not for lack of trying: Suhler has been attempting for several years to extricate himself from his record deal with the apparently ironically named Lucky 7 label. Finally, he's out of his contract and in the process of completing a deal with Rounder Records or its blues subsidiary Bullseye; he and the band should be in the studio by July, with a new album tentatively scheduled for release in January. "It's not like I haven't wanted to record," Suhler says. "It's just been a nightmare for me." So this summer's tour with George Thorogood and the Destroyers is just gravy, man: Suhler was scheduled to appear with the guy who used to be bad to the bone June 8 on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and he'll back up the band during a summer stint opening for St. Mark's product Steve Miller. For some reason, the tour currently has no Dallas dates, but Suhler expects to be with Thorogood for the long haul--permanently, that is, meaning no more than 100 gigs every year. And is anything ever permanent in rock and roll--except, of course, aging groupies and overdose deaths...?
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