Archive for the Bill Laswell Category

EARS WIDE OPEN 2

Posted in Bill Laswell, David Bowie, Evan Parker, Fred Frith, George Lewis, Keith Richards, Lester Bowie, Robert Wyatt, Rolling Stones on November 25, 2010 by candymachine

In my previous post,  I suggested that musicians tend to be wide open to the musical universe while listeners en masse are inclined toward a narrower focus. Today, I’d like to offer a follow-up illustration.

In the previous post, I used three references to three musicians to suggest this openness. Those musicians were Keith Richards, George Lewis and Robert Wyatt.  At first glance, these three musicians – titans in their respective fields – might seem like a wildly incongruous mix of musical characters. In a sense, they are. And yet, even though they are at home in  different genres, they turn out to be close neighbours.

I like the notion of ‘six degrees of separation;’ that any 2 individuals can be linked together via 6 other individual contacts. I think we can take this notion and map it onto the world of musicians and indeed link any 2 individuals through 6 (or 5 or 4 or 3) others.  Let’s take a closer look at our seemingly incongruous three musicians above. Keith Richards might seem light years away from Robert Wyatt to some, but Richards’ Rolling Stone bandmate Charlie Watts also runs the Charlie Watts Big Band, which lets Watts indulge his love of jazz.  Radical saxophonist Evan Parker has been a part of Watts’ band, and Parker has also appeared on record with Wyatt, most notably on Wyatt’s great ‘Shleep.’  That makes for a separation of merely 2 musicians between Richards and Wyatt. In fact, I’m sure there is an even more direct connection between the two musicians that I’m not aware of.

How about George Lewis?  Lewis has played with Evan Parker too, so he is situated on the same line we just traced. I know Lewis has also played with Fred Frith and Chris Cutler, who in turn have both enjoyed a long, friendly history with Wyatt.  As for connecting him up to Richards, off the top of my head I know that Lewis has worked with bass maverick Bill Laswell, who also produced one of Mick Jagger’s solo outings. Jagger has, of course, an acquaintance with Richards.

We could do this all night.  How about George Lewis and late 60s/ early 70s teen idol David Cassidy of Partridge Family fame? The AACM seems light years from old schlocky TV sitcoms.  However, David Cassidy once tried to shake off his candy floss idol image and stake a claim for himself as a reputable musician by hooking up with Mick Ronson to produce a solo album. Ronson, of course, had been a guitarist with David Bowie’s band, circa Ziggy Stardust, and Bowie had invited his namesake Lester Bowie (of the Art Ensemble of Chicago) to bring his trumpet along to Bowie’s ‘Black Tie, White Noise’ sessions. In 2006, Lewis released a recording, titled Sequel, which was dedicated to the late, great Lester. So, that’s just 3 musicians separating George Lewis and David Cassidy.

We could do this all night.

Advertisements