Saying Goodbye to Spencer Bohren

This year at Jazz Fest, Spencer Bohren finished his set in the AARP Rhythmpourium (seriously!) with his cover of The Impressions’ “People Get Ready.” Bohren was living with prostate cancer, and it was clear that the cancer was winning. In that context, the song’s “train to Jordan” lyric rang with extra significance, but that’s not where he was going with the song. Instead, he introduced it by pointing out the lines that gave the song resonance during the Civil Rights Movement.

The Best on Bowie

[Updated] When I suggested yesterday that many critics and journalists felt David Bowie’s death too strongly to jump in with their strongest stuff right away, it looks like there was something to that. Later Monday and on Tuesday, stronger pieces started to show up, and speaking personally, my own game got a little better.

Saying Goodbye to Tim Green

Last night, a clearly rattled, distraught Facebook post (since taken down) announced the death of saxophone player Tim Green. The nature of the post and ensuing conversation left some confusion, but today his passing is setting in. The breadth of Green's abilities were impressive, so he could contribute with equal taste, intelligence and precission to music by Mem Shannon, the Afrobeat band Kora Konnection, The Indigo Girls, and in improvised contexts with James Singleton, Jonathan Freilich, and Mike Dillon to name a few.

A Perfect Day?

I can identify the exact moment when I stopped paying attention to Lou Reed - 2:40 into “Hello It’s Me” at the end of 1990’s Songs for Drella. The tribute to Andy Warhol performed by Reed and Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale ended with the line, “Good night Andy,” but Reed sang it “good NIGHT anDEE,” forcing it into two awkward iambic feet at odds with the sing-speak that had been his trademark throughout his years with The Velvet Underground and his solo career up to then.