5CT for June

In between Beethoven and Kafka, there is a Merton-like silence. And two versions of solitude. Plus Dylan! It’s the 5CT Sublime Summer Music Festival Edition, bringing you Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, a refreshing slice of Thomas Merton, Bob live in Newport, Red Garland with John Coltrane, Duke and Louis Armstrong and two brothers in jazz. Oh, and a mini book review in the sidebar. “You are free, and that is why you are lost,” Franz Kafka is reported to have said, to which we can find no rejoinder whatsoever, except maybe Happy Summer!

Sir Colin & Mitsuko

They are a bit like chalk and cheese, but Sir Colin Davis (September 25, 1927 – April 14, 2013) then conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and Mitsuko Uchida’s love for Beethoven’s music is a note to behold. Watch how each of them (he, restrained, she, highly expressive) speak about the majesty of this music and about performing with the other. Fascinating obituary of Sir Colin here —>

Mitsuko, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4 in G major

Thomas Merton

MERTON ON SILENCE: “Now let us frankly face the fact that our culture is one which is geared in many ways to help us evade any need to face this inner, silent self. We live in a state of constant semi-attention to the sound of voices, music, traffic, or the generalized noise of what goes on around us all the time. This keeps us immersed in a flood of racket and words, a diffuse medium in which our consciousness is half diluted: we are not quite ‘thinking,’ not fully present and not entirely absent; not fully withdrawn, yet not completely available. It cannot be said that we are really participating in anything and we may, in fact, be half conscious of our alienation and resentment…We just float along in the general noise…”

Bob Dylan in Newport in 1964

By Lucy Tonic:

In Fear and Loathing in America, Hunter S. Thompson (prescient, he) wrote, “I’ve been arguing for years now that music is the New Literature, that Dylan is the 1960s’ answer to Hemingway.” He also wrote, “Dylan is a goddamn phenomenon, pure gold and as mean as a snake,” and “Bobby Dylan is the purest, most intelligent voice of our time…nobody else has a body of work over twenty years as clear and intelligent…He always speaks for the time…Let’s see…I just got the new Bob Dylan box set from the Rolling Thunder tour from 1975…It’s kind of a big package with a book and several CDs in there…It’s maybe the best rock and roll album I’ve ever heard.” He dedicated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to “Bob Dylan, for Mister Tambourine Man.” Thompson even chose this song to be played at his funeral.

Solitude x 2

Red Garland – piano, John Coltrane – tenor sax, Donald Byrd – trumpet, George Joyner – double bass, Art Taylor – drums. For a little context:

Garland’s trademark block chord technique, a commonly borrowed maneuver in jazz piano today, was unique and differed from the methods of earlier block chord pioneers such as George Shearing and Milt Buckner. Garland’s block chords were constructed of three notes in the right hand and four in the left hand, with the right hand one octave above the left. Garland’s left hand played four-note chords that simultaneously beat out the same exact rhythm as the right-hand melody played. But unlike George Shearing’s block chord method, Garland’s left-hand chords did not change positions or inversions until the next chord change occurred. It is also worth noting that Garland’s four-note left-hand chord voicings frequently left out the roots of the chords, a chord style later associated with pianist Bill Evans.

Louis Armstrong/Duke Ellington: The Great Summit Complete Sessions

by Larry Applebaum
Ellington and Armstrong were contemporaries who enjoyed long, successful careers, but while their paths crossed often on the road, they rarely met in the studio. This 1961 meeting was originally issued as two LPs, Together for the First Time and The Great Reunion of…, pairing Ellington with Armstrong’s working group (oh, if only it had been the other way around!), including clarinetist Barney Bigard, trombonist Trummy Young, bassist Mort Herbert and drummer Danny Barcelona. While Bigard and Young have their moments, it’s Armstrong’s exceptional vocal and trumpet work, and Ellington’s subtly modern intros, solos and comping that make this a special session.

The The Great Summit’s CDs are neatly divided: all the master takes from the two LPs are on disc one, the alternate takes, false starts and in-studio chatter are on disc two. Blue Note has done a good job with the 96kHz/24-bit remastering and the only sonic drawbacks are the bass is still somewhat boomy and there’s some print-through from the original session tapes. Dan Morgenstern’s informative liner notes add some necessary context.


The Le Boeuf Brothers + JACK Quartet

This promises to be quite a collaboration not least because one of the Le Boeuf Brothers spent a year reading Kafka in preparation for this project which he compares to a book with a plot. This musical partnership and the music itself, does recall Third Angle, a long time favorite of 5CT based in Portland, OR. Find out more about the Le Boeuf boys here —>


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