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Doug DeLoach

Atlanta Writer/Critic

Bio to come

Articles By This Writer

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  string(14009) "When it comes to incarceration, the United States of America is far and away the global leader in all the major categories. Based on data compiled by watchdog organizations, such as World Prison Brief and the Prison Policy Initiative, the American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, 80 Indian Country jails, and a smattering of military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in outlying U.S. territories.

In 2015, the country with slightly more than four percent of the world population held 21 percent of the world's inmates. Every year, some 630,000 men and women are released from U.S. prisons. In the near total absence of rehabilitation programs, within three years, nearly half of those released are back behind bars.

“Mass incarceration has crushing consequences: racial, social, and economic,” declares Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, in the foreword to Ending Mass Incarceration: Ideas from Today’s Leaders, a 2019 survey containing essays by presidential candidates, community activists, authors, journalists, and policymakers. “We spend around $270 billion per year on our criminal justice system. In California it costs more than $75,000 per year to house each prisoner — more than it would cost to send them to Harvard.”

The cost comparison between incarceration and education is a telling point, one of many discussed in the national broadcast premier of College Behind Bars next Monday and Tuesday, November 25-26, at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The four-hour-long documentary (two hours per night) follows a small group of men and women grappling with the rigors of obtaining a higher education through the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). Among the students are people who are serving time for serious crimes, including murder.

Shot over four years in maximum and medium security prisons in New York state, College Behind Bars was directed by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Lynn Novick (The Vietnam War, Frank Lloyd Wright), produced by Sarah Botstein, and executive produced by Ken Burns. Intense and compelling, the film offers an insightful glimpse into an existential crisis that should be a platform plank for every candidate during the unfolding election cycle.

“Through the personal stories of the students and their families, the film reveals the transformative power of higher education and puts a human face on America’s criminal justice crisis,” notes a PBS press release. “It raises questions we urgently need to address: What is prison for? Who has access to educational opportunity? Who among us is capable of academic excellence? How can we have justice without redemption?”

Named for the college where it was founded by undergraduate students in 1999, the Bard Prison Initiative provides incarcerated men and women with an opportunity to earn a fully accredited diploma from the 160-year-old liberal arts institution in Annandale, New York. Currently, some 300 students in six prisons are enrolled in BPI at a cost of about $6,000 per student per year. Most of the funding is gleaned from private sources. Since BPI was launched, more than 500 alumni have been released; fewer than four percent have been sent back to prison.

Closer to home, the Georgia Department of Corrections administers one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. with nearly 52,000 incarcerated people under its supervision. Common Good Atlanta (CGA), a nonprofit co-founded in 2008 by Sarah Higinbotham and Bill Taft, teaches courses through Georgia State University to students at Phillips State Prison in Duluth, through Bard College (Clemente Course in the Humanities) at Whitworth Women’s Facility in Hartwell, and at the Metro Reentry Facility in south Atlanta. CGA recently launched a course in downtown Atlanta for previously incarcerated people.

“While we have no formal relationship, CGA is inspired and influenced by BPI's emphasis on the humanities,” Taft explains.

CGA students enroll in a non-degree bearing program, which offers enrichment courses in subjects including literature, mathematics, history, and philosophy. The courses focus on critical thinking, written and oral communications, time management, teamwork, and self-advocacy. Since the program’s inception, more than 250 incarcerated men and women have taken CGA courses.

CGA’s campaign to bring the rehabilitative power of education to Georgia’s criminal justice system has not gone unrecognized. On October 24, in a ceremony in the Georgia State Capitol, Governor Brian Kemp presented Higinbotham and Taft with the 2019 Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities. The award recognizes individuals and organizations for their “significant contributions to Georgia's civic and cultural vitality through excellence and service to the arts and humanities.”

On Monday, December 16, A Cappella Books will mark 30 years of continuous operation with a special concert benefiting Common Good Atlanta headlined by Chan Marshall. Better known as Cat Power, the singer-songwriter adopted the feline moniker at the beginning of her career when she was living in Cabbagetown. Atlanta-based W8ing4UFOs (led by Taft) and the unflappable guitar duo FLAP will open the concert at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points (for more info, see Listening Post). 

Up until the early 1980s, America’s prison population was somewhat commensurate with the country’s general population numbers. That alignment started skewing apart when “waging the war on drugs” and “getting tough on crime” became expedient mantras across the political spectrum. In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Authored by then-Senator Joe Biden and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the bill contained certain provisions, such as harsh sentencing for non-violent drug infractions and mandatory life sentences for repeat offenders, which sparked a quantum leap in America’s prison population.

One of the bill’s most contentious provisions was a ban on extending Pell Grants — which provide financial assistance to low-income families for college undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs — to incarcerated people. This in spite of multiple studies proving the effectiveness of education as an instrument of rehabilitation.

In recent years, the socio-political pendulum has swung back in the other direction. In 2015, the Obama administration launched the Second Chance Pell pilot program, which reintroduced limited eligibility for Pell Grants to incarcerated people. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump announced his administration’s support for “second step legislation,” which generally professes to seek “successful reentry and reduced unemployment for Americans with past criminal records.” Having seen the light illuminating the poll numbers, presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged to “eliminate barriers keeping formerly incarcerated individuals from accessing public assistance such as SNAP, Pell Grants, and housing support.”

On Wednesday, October 23, Novick and Botstein, accompanied by two BPI graduates, Wesley Caines and Dyjuan Tatro, presided over a preview screening of College Behind Bars in the Morehouse School of Medicine auditorium, followed by a panel discussion moderated by WABE-FM’s Rose Scott. During the afternoon prior to the confab, Novick, Botstein, Caines, and Tatro discussed the documentary with Creative Loafing in an exclusive telephone interview.

Doug DeLoach: What has been the response to College Behind Bars?

Lynn Novick: The reception has been overwhelmingly positive regardless of the setting. We’ve been in city halls, governors’ offices, and on college campuses, and the energy from the audiences has been remarkable.

Dyjuan Tatro: At the launch meeting, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, sent us off on the right foot. Basically, he said, “So much of what we’re used to seeing in the media around people in prison is derogatory and depressing. This is a story about hope. This is a story that inspires. It’s a different type of story about people who are incarcerated in this country.”

What sort of challenges did you face in the process of making the film?

Novick: The biggest challenge was the fact that we were watching and documenting a story, which was unfolding before our eyes over four or five years. We had to let the story happen first and then figure out how to tell it using four hundred hours of film, which was masterfully edited by Tricia Reidy.

The original idea was to follow people over time beginning with their acceptance into the Bard program through graduation. Of course, as things happened within each person’s story, we had to be flexible and follow things where they led us.

What sort of access did you have and how difficult was it to arrange?

Sarah Botstein: It took a long time to get access. Having said that, the New York State Department of Corrections and the State of New York really believe in higher education in prison and the BPI program in particular. They were supportive all along the way.

We were in a maximum security prison. We were always very mindful of what we could bring in, where we could and could not shoot, where we could be and not be depending on the time of day. It was unlike anything we had ever done before. We had to be extremely well-organized and coordinated. At any given moment, we were very much aware that the Department of Corrections or some other authority might decide they had given us enough access and that the production could end.

How did you coordinate the production schedule with activity inside the prisons where you were filming?

Wesley Caines: The prison days are structured into three modules: a.m., p.m., and evening. Those three modules include about three hours of out-of-cell time. Everything happens around that schedule: classes, programming, recreation, study hall. The filming took place within that ecosystem. Lynn, Sarah, and the crew would be in at seven in the morning, but access to the people inside who were studying only occurred during specific periods of about two to three hours each.

Tatro: We never knew when Lynn and Sarah were going to show up. They couldn’t call us to plan things. They would just show up with the cameras and take in what was happening in a spontaneous way.

How does the BPI admission process work for incarcerated students?

Caines: First and foremost, Bard is a liberal arts college. The global nature of a liberal arts education is intended to cultivate in the individual a sense of civic mindedness, a humanistic viewpoint, and critical thinking. The admission process for BPI is the same as if you walked up to the front door in Annandale and announced your intention to attend college. It’s an extremely competitive process. Each academic year, anywhere from 10-16 people are admitted out of between three and four hundred submitted applications.

How does someone who did poorly in school or might not have graduated from high school qualify for admission to BPI?

Tatro: When you take the essay-based entrance exam, you are given a series of prompts by authors you have never read before, people you are not familiar with, and they ask you to respond to those prompts in a way that is meaningful to you. What is amazing about this process is that the subjectivity in it allows people to be smart in different ways. It is not a formulaic, standardized test. It’s not a test intended to measure intelligence or academic ability or whether you know how to take a test. It’s designed to measure the student’s interest in and engagement with the subjects and ideas placed in front of them. When I took the exam, I did not know what to expect, and I sweated the whole time. Then I sweated, waiting for that letter to come. (Laughing)

What sort of reaction or response did you get from the prison population?

Caines: I was in the very first cohort of BPI students. My greatest support when I entered the program came from the people in prison with me. They saw in my admittance to the program and in my subsequent success the potential for their own success. They were very considerate and supportive of me and my fellow students. They were conscious of the noise level when we needed to study. They encouraged us when things got tough, when we questioned why we were enduring this academic rigor. They would say, “What’s wrong with you? I wish I could be there.” The impact of their support cannot be over-stated.

College Behind Bars is a remarkable documentary in its advocacy for expanding educational programs in the American prison system and, in particular, the effectiveness of the BPI model.

Tatro: While the film features all BPI students, it exemplifies the type of talent and genius that we have locked away in our prisons all across America. Rather than this film being a commercial for BPI, it is a film that demonstrates the transformative power of education and makes an argument for a greater need or access to education in this country in a very broad and general way.

Caines: Education is the vehicle in this documentary. BPI is the fuel in that vehicle. As a mirror of society, it reveals some of the choices we have intentionally made around mass incarceration. It shows the value of public education and the ways in which we grant access to quality education in and out of prison.

Tatro: Some people are going to watch this film and continue to disagree with what we’re doing. The film creates a space where both sides can come together and have a reasonable and balanced conversation around this issue."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(14685) "When it comes to incarceration, the United States of America is far and away the global leader in all the major categories. Based on data compiled by watchdog organizations, such as [https://www.prisonstudies.org/|World Prison Brief] and the [https://www.prisonpolicy.org/factsheets/pie2019_allimages.pdf|Prison Policy Initiative], the American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, 80 Indian Country jails, and a smattering of military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in outlying U.S. territories.

In 2015, the country with slightly more than four percent of the world population held 21 percent of the world's inmates. Every year, some 630,000 men and women are released from U.S. prisons. In the near total absence of rehabilitation programs, within three years, nearly half of those released are back behind bars.

“Mass incarceration has crushing consequences: racial, social, and economic,” declares Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, in the foreword to [https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/publications/2019_EndingMassIncarceration_digital.pdf|Ending Mass Incarceration: Ideas from Today’s Leaders], a 2019 survey containing essays by presidential candidates, community activists, authors, journalists, and policymakers. “We spend around $270 billion per year on our criminal justice system. In California it costs more than $75,000 per year to house each prisoner — more than it would cost to send them to Harvard.”

The cost comparison between incarceration and education is a telling point, one of many discussed in the national broadcast premier of ''College Behind Bars'' next Monday and Tuesday, November 25-26, at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The four-hour-long documentary (two hours per night) follows a small group of men and women grappling with the rigors of obtaining a higher education through the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). Among the students are people who are serving time for serious crimes, including murder.

Shot over four years in maximum and medium security prisons in New York state, ''College Behind Bar''s was directed by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Lynn Novick (''The Vietnam War, Frank Lloyd Wright''), produced by Sarah Botstein, and executive produced by Ken Burns. Intense and compelling, the film offers an insightful glimpse into an existential crisis that should be a platform plank for every candidate during the unfolding election cycle.

“Through the personal stories of the students and their families, the film reveals the transformative power of higher education and puts a human face on America’s criminal justice crisis,” notes a PBS press release. “It raises questions we urgently need to address: What is prison for? Who has access to educational opportunity? Who among us is capable of academic excellence? How can we have justice without redemption?”

Named for the college where it was founded by undergraduate students in 1999, the Bard Prison Initiative provides incarcerated men and women with an opportunity to earn a fully accredited diploma from the 160-year-old liberal arts institution in Annandale, New York. Currently, some 300 students in six prisons are enrolled in BPI at a cost of about $6,000 per student per year. Most of the funding is gleaned from private sources. Since BPI was launched, more than 500 alumni have been released; fewer than four percent have been sent back to prison.

Closer to home, the Georgia Department of Corrections administers one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. with nearly 52,000 incarcerated people under its supervision. [http://www.commongoodatlanta.com/|Common Good Atlanta] (CGA), a nonprofit co-founded in 2008 by Sarah Higinbotham and Bill Taft, teaches courses through Georgia State University to students at Phillips State Prison in Duluth, through Bard College (Clemente Course in the Humanities) at Whitworth Women’s Facility in Hartwell, and at the Metro Reentry Facility in south Atlanta. CGA recently launched a course in downtown Atlanta for previously incarcerated people.

“While we have no formal relationship, CGA is inspired and influenced by BPI's emphasis on the humanities,” Taft explains.

CGA students enroll in a non-degree bearing program, which offers enrichment courses in subjects including literature, mathematics, history, and philosophy. The courses focus on critical thinking, written and oral communications, time management, teamwork, and self-advocacy. Since the program’s inception, more than 250 incarcerated men and women have taken CGA courses.

CGA’s campaign to bring the rehabilitative power of education to Georgia’s criminal justice system has not gone unrecognized. On October 24, in a ceremony in the Georgia State Capitol, Governor Brian Kemp presented Higinbotham and Taft with the 2019 Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities. The award recognizes individuals and organizations for their “significant contributions to Georgia's civic and cultural vitality through excellence and service to the arts and humanities.”

On Monday, December 16, [https://www.acappellabooks.com/|A Cappella Books] will mark 30 years of continuous operation with a special concert benefiting Common Good Atlanta headlined by Chan Marshall. Better known as Cat Power, the singer-songwriter adopted the feline moniker at the beginning of her career when she was living in Cabbagetown. Atlanta-based W8ing4UFOs (led by Taft) and the unflappable guitar duo FLAP will open the concert at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points (for more info, see Listening Post). 

Up until the early 1980s, America’s prison population was somewhat commensurate with the country’s general population numbers. That alignment started skewing apart when “waging the war on drugs” and “getting tough on crime” became expedient mantras across the political spectrum. In 1994, Congress passed the [https://www.congress.gov/bill/103rd-congress/house-bill/3355/text|Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act]. Authored by then-Senator Joe Biden and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the bill contained certain provisions, such as harsh sentencing for non-violent drug infractions and mandatory life sentences for repeat offenders, which sparked a quantum leap in America’s prison population.

One of the bill’s most contentious provisions was a ban on extending Pell Grants — which provide financial assistance to low-income families for college undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs — to incarcerated people. This in spite of multiple studies proving the effectiveness of education as an instrument of rehabilitation.

In recent years, the socio-political pendulum has swung back in the other direction. In 2015, the Obama administration launched the [https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/12000-incarcerated-students-enroll-postsecondary-educational-and-training-programs-through-education-departments-new-second-chance-pell-pilot-program|Second Chance Pell] pilot program, which reintroduced limited eligibility for Pell Grants to incarcerated people. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump announced his administration’s support for “second step legislation,” which generally professes to seek “successful reentry and reduced unemployment for Americans with past criminal records.” Having seen the light illuminating the poll numbers, presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged to “eliminate barriers keeping formerly incarcerated individuals from accessing public assistance such as SNAP, Pell Grants, and housing support.”

On Wednesday, October 23, Novick and Botstein, accompanied by two BPI graduates, Wesley Caines and Dyjuan Tatro, presided over a preview screening of ''College Behind Bars'' in the Morehouse School of Medicine auditorium, followed by a panel discussion moderated by WABE-FM’s Rose Scott. During the afternoon prior to the confab, Novick, Botstein, Caines, and Tatro discussed the documentary with Creative Loafing in an exclusive telephone interview.

__Doug DeLoach:__ ''__What has been the response to __''__College Behind Bars__''__?__''

__Lynn Novick:__ The reception has been overwhelmingly positive regardless of the setting. We’ve been in city halls, governors’ offices, and on college campuses, and the energy from the audiences has been remarkable.

__Dyjuan Tatro:__ At the launch meeting, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, sent us off on the right foot. Basically, he said, “So much of what we’re used to seeing in the media around people in prison is derogatory and depressing. This is a story about hope. This is a story that inspires. It’s a different type of story about people who are incarcerated in this country.”

''__What sort of challenges did you face in the process of making the film?__''

__Novick:__ The biggest challenge was the fact that we were watching and documenting a story, which was unfolding before our eyes over four or five years. We had to let the story happen first and then figure out how to tell it using four hundred hours of film, which was masterfully edited by Tricia Reidy.

The original idea was to follow people over time beginning with their acceptance into the Bard program through graduation. Of course, as things happened within each person’s story, we had to be flexible and follow things where they led us.

''__What sort of access did you have and how difficult was it to arrange?__''

__Sarah Botstein:__ It took a long time to get access. Having said that, the New York State Department of Corrections and the State of New York really believe in higher education in prison and the BPI program in particular. They were supportive all along the way.

We were in a maximum security prison. We were always very mindful of what we could bring in, where we could and could not shoot, where we could be and not be depending on the time of day. It was unlike anything we had ever done before. We had to be extremely well-organized and coordinated. At any given moment, we were very much aware that the Department of Corrections or some other authority might decide they had given us enough access and that the production could end.

''__How did you coordinate the production schedule with activity inside the prisons where you were filming?__''

__Wesley Caines:__ The prison days are structured into three modules: a.m., p.m., and evening. Those three modules include about three hours of out-of-cell time. Everything happens around that schedule: classes, programming, recreation, study hall. The filming took place within that ecosystem. Lynn, Sarah, and the crew would be in at seven in the morning, but access to the people inside who were studying only occurred during specific periods of about two to three hours each.

__Tatro: __We never knew when Lynn and Sarah were going to show up. They couldn’t call us to plan things. They would just show up with the cameras and take in what was happening in a spontaneous way.

''__How does the BPI admission process work for incarcerated students?__''

__Caines:__ First and foremost, Bard is a liberal arts college. The global nature of a liberal arts education is intended to cultivate in the individual a sense of civic mindedness, a humanistic viewpoint, and critical thinking. The admission process for BPI is the same as if you walked up to the front door in Annandale and announced your intention to attend college. It’s an extremely competitive process. Each academic year, anywhere from 10-16 people are admitted out of between three and four hundred submitted applications.

__''How does someone who did poorly in school or might not have graduated from high school qualify for admission to BPI?''__

__Tatro:__ When you take the essay-based entrance exam, you are given a series of prompts by authors you have never read before, people you are not familiar with, and they ask you to respond to those prompts in a way that is meaningful to you. What is amazing about this process is that the subjectivity in it allows people to be smart in different ways. It is not a formulaic, standardized test. It’s not a test intended to measure intelligence or academic ability or whether you know how to take a test. It’s designed to measure the student’s interest in and engagement with the subjects and ideas placed in front of them. When I took the exam, I did not know what to expect, and I sweated the whole time. Then I sweated, waiting for that letter to come. (Laughing)

''__What sort of reaction or response did you get from the prison population?__''

__Caines:__ I was in the very first cohort of BPI students. My greatest support when I entered the program came from the people in prison with me. They saw in my admittance to the program and in my subsequent success the potential for their own success. They were very considerate and supportive of me and my fellow students. They were conscious of the noise level when we needed to study. They encouraged us when things got tough, when we questioned why we were enduring this academic rigor. They would say, “What’s wrong with you? I wish I could be there.” The impact of their support cannot be over-stated.

__College Behind Bars'' is a remarkable documentary in its advocacy for expanding educational programs in the American prison system and, in particular, the effectiveness of the BPI model.''__

__Tatro: __While the film features all BPI students, it exemplifies the type of talent and genius that we have locked away in our prisons all across America. Rather than this film being a commercial for BPI, it is a film that demonstrates the transformative power of education and makes an argument for a greater need or access to education in this country in a very broad and general way.

__Caines:__ Education is the vehicle in this documentary. BPI is the fuel in that vehicle. As a mirror of society, it reveals some of the choices we have intentionally made around mass incarceration. It shows the value of public education and the ways in which we grant access to quality education in and out of prison.

__Tatro:__ Some people are going to watch this film and continue to disagree with what we’re doing. The film creates a space where both sides can come together and have a reasonable and balanced conversation around this issue."
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  string(14815) " Bard Prison Initiative College Behind Bars 1  2019-11-22T22:41:47+00:00 Bard Prison Initiative College Behind Bars 1.jpg   This is awesome! Making progress on the road to reason. We need more of this please.  Gripping documentary spotlights Bard Prison Initiative 26353  2019-12-02T22:44:00+00:00 ‘College Behind Bars’ packs a rehabilitative punch tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris Doug DeLoach Doug DeLoach 2019-12-02T22:44:00+00:00  When it comes to incarceration, the United States of America is far and away the global leader in all the major categories. Based on data compiled by watchdog organizations, such as World Prison Brief and the Prison Policy Initiative, the American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, 80 Indian Country jails, and a smattering of military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in outlying U.S. territories.

In 2015, the country with slightly more than four percent of the world population held 21 percent of the world's inmates. Every year, some 630,000 men and women are released from U.S. prisons. In the near total absence of rehabilitation programs, within three years, nearly half of those released are back behind bars.

“Mass incarceration has crushing consequences: racial, social, and economic,” declares Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, in the foreword to Ending Mass Incarceration: Ideas from Today’s Leaders, a 2019 survey containing essays by presidential candidates, community activists, authors, journalists, and policymakers. “We spend around $270 billion per year on our criminal justice system. In California it costs more than $75,000 per year to house each prisoner — more than it would cost to send them to Harvard.”

The cost comparison between incarceration and education is a telling point, one of many discussed in the national broadcast premier of College Behind Bars next Monday and Tuesday, November 25-26, at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The four-hour-long documentary (two hours per night) follows a small group of men and women grappling with the rigors of obtaining a higher education through the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). Among the students are people who are serving time for serious crimes, including murder.

Shot over four years in maximum and medium security prisons in New York state, College Behind Bars was directed by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Lynn Novick (The Vietnam War, Frank Lloyd Wright), produced by Sarah Botstein, and executive produced by Ken Burns. Intense and compelling, the film offers an insightful glimpse into an existential crisis that should be a platform plank for every candidate during the unfolding election cycle.

“Through the personal stories of the students and their families, the film reveals the transformative power of higher education and puts a human face on America’s criminal justice crisis,” notes a PBS press release. “It raises questions we urgently need to address: What is prison for? Who has access to educational opportunity? Who among us is capable of academic excellence? How can we have justice without redemption?”

Named for the college where it was founded by undergraduate students in 1999, the Bard Prison Initiative provides incarcerated men and women with an opportunity to earn a fully accredited diploma from the 160-year-old liberal arts institution in Annandale, New York. Currently, some 300 students in six prisons are enrolled in BPI at a cost of about $6,000 per student per year. Most of the funding is gleaned from private sources. Since BPI was launched, more than 500 alumni have been released; fewer than four percent have been sent back to prison.

Closer to home, the Georgia Department of Corrections administers one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. with nearly 52,000 incarcerated people under its supervision. Common Good Atlanta (CGA), a nonprofit co-founded in 2008 by Sarah Higinbotham and Bill Taft, teaches courses through Georgia State University to students at Phillips State Prison in Duluth, through Bard College (Clemente Course in the Humanities) at Whitworth Women’s Facility in Hartwell, and at the Metro Reentry Facility in south Atlanta. CGA recently launched a course in downtown Atlanta for previously incarcerated people.

“While we have no formal relationship, CGA is inspired and influenced by BPI's emphasis on the humanities,” Taft explains.

CGA students enroll in a non-degree bearing program, which offers enrichment courses in subjects including literature, mathematics, history, and philosophy. The courses focus on critical thinking, written and oral communications, time management, teamwork, and self-advocacy. Since the program’s inception, more than 250 incarcerated men and women have taken CGA courses.

CGA’s campaign to bring the rehabilitative power of education to Georgia’s criminal justice system has not gone unrecognized. On October 24, in a ceremony in the Georgia State Capitol, Governor Brian Kemp presented Higinbotham and Taft with the 2019 Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities. The award recognizes individuals and organizations for their “significant contributions to Georgia's civic and cultural vitality through excellence and service to the arts and humanities.”

On Monday, December 16, A Cappella Books will mark 30 years of continuous operation with a special concert benefiting Common Good Atlanta headlined by Chan Marshall. Better known as Cat Power, the singer-songwriter adopted the feline moniker at the beginning of her career when she was living in Cabbagetown. Atlanta-based W8ing4UFOs (led by Taft) and the unflappable guitar duo FLAP will open the concert at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points (for more info, see Listening Post). 

Up until the early 1980s, America’s prison population was somewhat commensurate with the country’s general population numbers. That alignment started skewing apart when “waging the war on drugs” and “getting tough on crime” became expedient mantras across the political spectrum. In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Authored by then-Senator Joe Biden and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the bill contained certain provisions, such as harsh sentencing for non-violent drug infractions and mandatory life sentences for repeat offenders, which sparked a quantum leap in America’s prison population.

One of the bill’s most contentious provisions was a ban on extending Pell Grants — which provide financial assistance to low-income families for college undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs — to incarcerated people. This in spite of multiple studies proving the effectiveness of education as an instrument of rehabilitation.

In recent years, the socio-political pendulum has swung back in the other direction. In 2015, the Obama administration launched the Second Chance Pell pilot program, which reintroduced limited eligibility for Pell Grants to incarcerated people. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump announced his administration’s support for “second step legislation,” which generally professes to seek “successful reentry and reduced unemployment for Americans with past criminal records.” Having seen the light illuminating the poll numbers, presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged to “eliminate barriers keeping formerly incarcerated individuals from accessing public assistance such as SNAP, Pell Grants, and housing support.”

On Wednesday, October 23, Novick and Botstein, accompanied by two BPI graduates, Wesley Caines and Dyjuan Tatro, presided over a preview screening of College Behind Bars in the Morehouse School of Medicine auditorium, followed by a panel discussion moderated by WABE-FM’s Rose Scott. During the afternoon prior to the confab, Novick, Botstein, Caines, and Tatro discussed the documentary with Creative Loafing in an exclusive telephone interview.

Doug DeLoach: What has been the response to College Behind Bars?

Lynn Novick: The reception has been overwhelmingly positive regardless of the setting. We’ve been in city halls, governors’ offices, and on college campuses, and the energy from the audiences has been remarkable.

Dyjuan Tatro: At the launch meeting, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, sent us off on the right foot. Basically, he said, “So much of what we’re used to seeing in the media around people in prison is derogatory and depressing. This is a story about hope. This is a story that inspires. It’s a different type of story about people who are incarcerated in this country.”

What sort of challenges did you face in the process of making the film?

Novick: The biggest challenge was the fact that we were watching and documenting a story, which was unfolding before our eyes over four or five years. We had to let the story happen first and then figure out how to tell it using four hundred hours of film, which was masterfully edited by Tricia Reidy.

The original idea was to follow people over time beginning with their acceptance into the Bard program through graduation. Of course, as things happened within each person’s story, we had to be flexible and follow things where they led us.

What sort of access did you have and how difficult was it to arrange?

Sarah Botstein: It took a long time to get access. Having said that, the New York State Department of Corrections and the State of New York really believe in higher education in prison and the BPI program in particular. They were supportive all along the way.

We were in a maximum security prison. We were always very mindful of what we could bring in, where we could and could not shoot, where we could be and not be depending on the time of day. It was unlike anything we had ever done before. We had to be extremely well-organized and coordinated. At any given moment, we were very much aware that the Department of Corrections or some other authority might decide they had given us enough access and that the production could end.

How did you coordinate the production schedule with activity inside the prisons where you were filming?

Wesley Caines: The prison days are structured into three modules: a.m., p.m., and evening. Those three modules include about three hours of out-of-cell time. Everything happens around that schedule: classes, programming, recreation, study hall. The filming took place within that ecosystem. Lynn, Sarah, and the crew would be in at seven in the morning, but access to the people inside who were studying only occurred during specific periods of about two to three hours each.

Tatro: We never knew when Lynn and Sarah were going to show up. They couldn’t call us to plan things. They would just show up with the cameras and take in what was happening in a spontaneous way.

How does the BPI admission process work for incarcerated students?

Caines: First and foremost, Bard is a liberal arts college. The global nature of a liberal arts education is intended to cultivate in the individual a sense of civic mindedness, a humanistic viewpoint, and critical thinking. The admission process for BPI is the same as if you walked up to the front door in Annandale and announced your intention to attend college. It’s an extremely competitive process. Each academic year, anywhere from 10-16 people are admitted out of between three and four hundred submitted applications.

How does someone who did poorly in school or might not have graduated from high school qualify for admission to BPI?

Tatro: When you take the essay-based entrance exam, you are given a series of prompts by authors you have never read before, people you are not familiar with, and they ask you to respond to those prompts in a way that is meaningful to you. What is amazing about this process is that the subjectivity in it allows people to be smart in different ways. It is not a formulaic, standardized test. It’s not a test intended to measure intelligence or academic ability or whether you know how to take a test. It’s designed to measure the student’s interest in and engagement with the subjects and ideas placed in front of them. When I took the exam, I did not know what to expect, and I sweated the whole time. Then I sweated, waiting for that letter to come. (Laughing)

What sort of reaction or response did you get from the prison population?

Caines: I was in the very first cohort of BPI students. My greatest support when I entered the program came from the people in prison with me. They saw in my admittance to the program and in my subsequent success the potential for their own success. They were very considerate and supportive of me and my fellow students. They were conscious of the noise level when we needed to study. They encouraged us when things got tough, when we questioned why we were enduring this academic rigor. They would say, “What’s wrong with you? I wish I could be there.” The impact of their support cannot be over-stated.

College Behind Bars is a remarkable documentary in its advocacy for expanding educational programs in the American prison system and, in particular, the effectiveness of the BPI model.

Tatro: While the film features all BPI students, it exemplifies the type of talent and genius that we have locked away in our prisons all across America. Rather than this film being a commercial for BPI, it is a film that demonstrates the transformative power of education and makes an argument for a greater need or access to education in this country in a very broad and general way.

Caines: Education is the vehicle in this documentary. BPI is the fuel in that vehicle. As a mirror of society, it reveals some of the choices we have intentionally made around mass incarceration. It shows the value of public education and the ways in which we grant access to quality education in and out of prison.

Tatro: Some people are going to watch this film and continue to disagree with what we’re doing. The film creates a space where both sides can come together and have a reasonable and balanced conversation around this issue.    Courtesy of Skiff Mountain Films HARD EDUCATION: Incarcerated students earn diplomas through the Bard Prison Initiative. ‘College Behind Bars,’ a documentary about the rehabilitative power of education, premieres November 25-26, at 9 p.m. on PBS stations.  0,0,1                                 ‘College Behind Bars’ packs a rehabilitative punch "
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Monday December 2, 2019 05:44 pm EST
Gripping documentary spotlights Bard Prison Initiative | more...
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Jack Stewart: The Birth of Graffiti Art, is an exhibition of never-before-shown photographs by an Atlanta artist who fought under General George Patton in World War Two and documented the early years of graffiti writing and painting on subway cars in New York City.

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''Jack Stewart: The Birth of Graffiti Art'', is an exhibition of never-before-shown photographs by an Atlanta artist who fought under General George Patton in World War Two and documented the early years of graffiti writing and painting on subway cars in New York City.

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  string(1788) " Closing Flyer  2019-10-17T20:08:47+00:00 Closing Flyer.jpeg     Photographs by Atlanta artist document early graffiti painting on New York subway cars 24976  2019-10-17T19:56:23+00:00 PODCAST: Leaving a Mark, Jack Stewart's Photographs of Subway Graffiti Art will.cardwell@gmail.com Will Cardwell Doug DeLoach  2019-10-17T19:56:23+00:00  

Jack Stewart: The Birth of Graffiti Art, is an exhibition of never-before-shown photographs by an Atlanta artist who fought under General George Patton in World War Two and documented the early years of graffiti writing and painting on subway cars in New York City.

The exhibition at 378 in Candler Park, on Clifton Road behind Flying Biscuit, runs through Saturday, October 19. A closing party Saturday evening, which is free and open to the public, will feature music by W8ing4UFOs.

Participating in the podcast discussion are Randy Gue, Curator of Political & Historical Collections at Emory's Rose Library, and two local graffiti writers and historians, Antar Fierce and Mendez MadClout.

The discussion covers the historical importance of Stewart's photographs, his PhD dissertation on graffiti art is "the Bible" on the subject, and the origins and stylistic development of graffiti, which in the late 1970s and early '80s made the leap from subway cars to major galleries in Europe and America, as well as to the streets of Atlanta, Fay Gold Gallery and 688.    Jack Stewart Flyer announcing the closing of "Jack Stewart: The Birth of Graffiti Art," an exhibition of never-before-shown photographs by the Atlanta artist who documented the early years of graffiti writing and painting on New York City subway cars.  0,0,10                                 PODCAST: Leaving a Mark, Jack Stewart's Photographs of Subway Graffiti Art "
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Article

Thursday October 17, 2019 03:56 pm EDT
Photographs by Atlanta artist document early graffiti painting on New York subway cars | more...
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  string(61) "New documentary finds the trumpeter shadowboxing with himself"
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  string(18306) "Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a feature-length documentary about the mercurial jazz trumpeter, composer and pop icon who died in 1991 at age 65, opens at the Plaza Theatre this Friday, Sept. 13. Directed by McArthur “genius” grantee Stanley Nelson (The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders), Birth of the Cool offers a compelling portrait of a brilliant, complex, charismatic and deeply conflicted man whose influence on the course of jazz, in particular, and popular culture more generally, rivals the impact of any artist in any field back through the ages.

It helps to bring some knowledge of the subject to the screening experience. The deeper the knowledge, the more rewarding the experience will be, especially regarding the music. While Nelson does a nice job of laying out the essential chronology and evolutionary twists of Davis’ life and career, the musical passages are edited for 21st century attention spans. Davis fans will appreciate the never-before-seen photos, home movies and concert footage, but the artistry sometimes plays second trumpet to the documentary formula.

“Music has always been like a curse with me,” intones actor Carl Lumbly at the beginning of the film in a voice-over mimicking Davis’ trademark raspy near-whisper (a self-inflicted consequence of failing to heed the rehab regimen following larynx surgery in 1956). This narrative technique is used throughout, with Lumbly quoting from Miles: The Autobiography. The book’s co-author, Quincy Troupe, also serves as one of the many commentators drawn from Davis’ circle of friends, fellow musicians and family members, along with critics, historians and industry colleagues

“I’ve always felt driven to play music,” the voice-over continues as the scene depicts Davis shadowboxing in a ring. “I always go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. It’s always there. It comes before everything.”

Single-mindedness is not an uncommon trait among successful people, but can lead to unintended, undesirable repercussions if left unchecked. Nelson’s documentary does a remarkable job of exploring the central dialectic of Davis’ life and artistic output, which pits an obsessive, anti-social malcontent against a sensitive, visionary genius.

Birth of the Cool refers both to Davis’ landmark collaboration with arranger Gil Evans, which spawned a seminal series of recordings by a nine-piece ensemble between 1948 and 1950, and the trumpeters’ cultivated persona and style, which combined aloof sophistication and cynical detachment with an appreciation for finely tailored clothes and high performance sports cars.

“Miles Davis was the personification of cool,” remarks Tammy Kernodle, a professor of musicology and author of Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams, in the documentary. “He becomes our black Superman.”

Black or white, Superman is vulnerable to kryptonite, a mineral remnant from his home planet, exposure to which can cripple or kill him. Davis’ kryptonite comes in the form of a misogynistic streak inherited from his father who once struck his wife so hard a couple of her teeth were knocked out. Tellingly, when Davis reflects on the domestic violence he witnessed as an adolescent, he says, “It had to affect us somehow, but I don’t really know how.”

Nelson pointedly answers Davis’ self-query through interviews with the musician’s former wives and girlfriends a number of whom relate their own tales of mistreatment. Davis’ first wife, Frances Taylor, was a professional dancer on the rise when she met Davis in 1958. She describes how, out of spiteful jealousy, Davis demanded she drop out of the original cast of ‘West Side Story.’ In a later incident, he knocked her to the floor. (Taylor left Davis in 1965 and died last year at age 89).

Davis’ contradictory nature permeates Birth of the Cool. Cruel and dismissive, he was also a preternaturally gifted improviser who used a horn and mute to articulate some of the most deeply emotive music a human has ever produced. He was the most successful jazz musician of his day who was also a black man living and working in not so great America.

Birth of the Cool vividly recounts a notorious incident in New York City in August 1959 when Davis was playing at Birdland. It was near the end of a two-week run promoting the release of ‘Kind of Blue,’ destined to become one of the highest-selling jazz albums of all time. One night, during a break between sets, Davis escorted a white woman outside the club so she could catch a cab. When a white police officer ordered Davis to “move on,” he refused to comply, pointing to the marquee on which his name was prominently displayed. The officer moved to arrest Davis and a struggle ensued. An off-duty detective walking by joined the fray, repeatedly striking Davis with a club. Beaten and bloodied, the trumpeter was arrested, but subsequently acquitted of disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer.

“That incident changed me forever, made me much more bitter and cynical than I might have been,” Davis says.

At this point, ‘Birth of the Cool’ is barely half over. Still to come is the dissolution of the ‘Kind of Blue’ band, which included John Coltrane, followed by the assembling of the incredible Sixties quintet with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and 17-year-old Tony Williams; the revolutionary experiments with electronic instruments culminating in the landmark 1969 album Bitches Brew; protracted struggles with drugs and depression; a return to the concert stage at Avery Fisher Hall after years of withdrawal and isolation; the influence of Betty Mabry, Davis’ second wife, and Cicely Tyson, his third; reminiscences by Davis’ son, Erin, and cousin, Vince Wilburn, who administers the music side of the Miles Davis estate with other family members; and even more beauty, tragedy, exaltation and exasperation.

Birth of the Cool is probably the most comprehensive compendium of the life and art of Miles Davis the world is likely to get. The man was a tough subject when he was alive. Telling his story undoubtedly required a few tough calls by Stanley Nelson. The result is an engaging, unflinching document, which is sure to be studied for years to come.

Special Note: Jazz great and former Davis collaborator Jimmy Heath and Davis family members Vince Wilburn Jr. (Davis’ nephew) and Erin Davis (Davis’ son) will be present for a Q&A following the 7 p.m. screening on Friday, Sep. 13. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, 470-225-6503.

Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera: Capitol City Opera, which was formed in 1983 to provide classically trained singers in the Atlanta area with an opportunity to learn and perform complete opera roles and to develop their vocal and acting skills on a professional level, is presenting a free concert Saturday afternoon, September 14. “Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera” features songs by American composers Lee Hoiby and Charles Ives, as well as selections from operas set in America including Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land and Mark Adamo’s Little Women. The performers include Allison Nance (mezzo-soprano), Robin Sewell (soprano) and Catherine Giel (piano). Suggested donation $10. 3 p.m. Sat., Sep. 14. High Point Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia 30342. 404-252-3324.

Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat: Saturday’s concert, featuring Kronos Quartet with Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat, at Emory University’s Emerson Concert Hall kicks off the 2019-2020 Candler Concert Series. It promises to be an extraordinary experience. The program features newly commissioned works by composers from the greater Muslim world including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Somalia, Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, as well as fresh arrangements of related pieces drawn from Kronos’ vast repertoire.

The setlist was originally conceived as a response to President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order (EO) limiting entry of immigrants and refugees to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The EO was immediately challenged by various courts, which found the ban un-Constitutional based on its blatantly anti-Muslim sentiment (a breach of the Establishment Clause). Although certain legal challenges remain unresolved today, the Trump administration revoked and revised the EO a number of times until it finally passed muster and was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2018.

Meanwhile, Vahdat and her sister, Marjan, also a professional singer, are banned from singing in Iran while they await sentencing on charges stemming from a headscarf-free performance in a music video shot on a rooftop in Tehran. Furthermore, Marjan is not allowed to perform in the U.S. because she does not possess the proper visa. How I wish I was making this up.

For further details on this 21st century fundamentalist crackerbox saga, see the interview conducted by Andrew Alexander and Mark Gresham at EarRelevant. In addition to discussing the Vadhat sisters’ plight and Sunday’s program, Harrington dives into the relationship between Western classical and other types of music and the important role music plays in troubled times. As he puts it, “It’s part of a musicians’ responsibility to lift our audience out of ‘un-knowledge.’ Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat. $65. 8 p.m., Sat. Sep. 14. , Emerson Concert Hall, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 North Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA 30322. 404-727-5050.

Glenn Phillips Band CD/DVD/Book release show: To anyone who hasn’t yet read Chad Radford’s interview with Glenn Phillips online and in the current print edition of Creative Loafing, rectify that oversight post haste. When you get back here, you’ll know that Phillips has written a memoir, Echoes: The Hampton Grease Band, My Life, My Music and How I Stopped Having Panic Attacks.  The book is packaged with a full-length album of new music, The Dark Parade (the guitarist’s first solo album in 16 years) and a DVD chronicle of a 2015 concert marking the 40th anniversary of Phillips’ first solo album, Lost At Sea. The concert DVD features the original players on Phillips’ epic first solo release along  with Cindy Wilson of The B-52s guesting on the encores.

For those of you still hopelessly lost at sea at this point, Phillips is our town’s very own homegrown (actually, he was born in New England, but that doesn’t count anymore) intergalactic guitar wizard who initially materialized on this musical plane as a founding member of the Hampton Grease Band (there were earlier bands, but those don’t count, either). Since then, Phillips has conjured up something like 20 albums in cahoots with everybody from Bob Weir and Pete Buck to Henry Kaiser and Elliott Sharpe. Additionally, Supreme Court, an ongoing, decades-long project with Swimming Pool Qs founder Jeff Calder, continues yielding wondrous material.

While the chat with Radford will fill you in on the panic attack side of Phillips’ story, which is gripping and inspirational in its own right, I encourage with extreme prejudice your presence at Eddie Owen’s Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth Saturday night for the official release show for the Echoes book/CD/DVD joint. Phillips will be joined onstage by regular cohorts Bill Rea, John Boissiere and Calder, along with special guests Dana Nelson and Hampton Grease Band bassist Mike Holbrook. First set at 7:30; second set: 8:45 p.m. All are welcome to stay for both sets.

Country Music Watch Party Most Listening Post readers are aware by now of documentarian Ken Burns’ latest magnum opus, Country Music, which premiers this Sunday on PBS. As CL resident country music expert James Kelly recently penned in a gracious plenty preview of the series, the opening episode of Burns’ eight-part, 16-hour documentary highlights the integral role played by Atlanta in the origin of the indigenous American art form, which became known as country music.

In 1923, New York-based Okeh Records sent to Atlanta a team of engineers equipped with one of the world’s first portable recording machines. Their mission was to capture on wax cylinders a posse of southern musicians, which included multi-time state fiddle champion John Carson, doing their various things (e.g., jazz, blues, gospel). Of the many recordings produced during the multi-day sessions, which took place in a small now vacant building at 152 Nassau Street, the 78 rpm recording of Fiddlin’ John Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane”/”The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow” was a smash success. Today, it’s widely considered the first record by a country music artist, although at the time no such genre label existed.

In recent months, a public campaign led by Save 152 Nassau has been advocating for the preservation of the downtown building where American music history was made, which is threatened by demolition to make room for, of all things, a Margaritaville Restaurant.

All of which brings us to Sunday’s “Country Music Watch Party” at ASW Whiskey Exchange located in the Lee + White development along the West End Beltline. Sponsored by Save 152 Nassau, the event features live music by the Skillet Lickers, whose roots extend back four generations to the earliest years of the American recording industry in the 1920s, followed by the broadcast premiere of Country Music. A portion of sales during the evening’s festivities will benefit the Atlanta Music Project.

”Country Music Watch Party,” Free, Sun., Sep. 15. Music 6-8 p.m., screening of “Country Music” 8-10 p.m. ASW Whiskey Exchange, 1000 White St. Suite A, Atlanta GA 30310. 404-590-2279

Tinariwen at Variety Playhouse w/ Lonnie Holley Formed in 1979 while in exile in Algeria, Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg musicians from northern Mali who have been hailed worldwide for their superb musicianship; bluesy, mesmerizing electric guitar-driven sound; and powerful messaging, which celebrates the nomadic Tuareg culture. During a period of relative stability, Tinariwen returned to their homeland until 2012-13 when an uprising of Islamist extremists again made living in Mali a dangerously untenable proposition. Since then, Tinariwen has been touring and recording outside of the country, and sharing stages with Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana.

In 2012, Tinariwen was named Best Group in the Songlines Music Awards for their album Tassili, which also garnered a Grammy for Best World Music Album. Currently touring in support of their latest album, Amajdar, which dropped September 6, Tinariwen will perform at the Variety Playhouse on Monday, September 16, with Lonnie Holley opening. The following day, Tuesday, September 17, Tinariwen travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a gig at Ramkat, a local venue, also with Lonnie Holley as the opener.

The concert caused a stir several weeks ago when a couple of sponsored Facebook posts announcing the show caught the attention of the usual assortment of bigots, racists and “patriots.” “Take the fucking towels off your god damn heads,” wrote one commenter. “Any true American will not support this bunch of trash,” chimed in another, followed by “Taliban rock?,” “Shootout at midnight?” etc., etc. ad nauseam. One of Ramkat’s owners quoted in the local press said the venue plans to hire extra security for the gig.

There’s no limit to the many ways America is being made great again.

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: there is no Other tour: Rhiannon Giddens is a singular phenomenon. The classically trained, infinitely flexible, pellucidly clear voice; the virtuosic touch, whether on violin, viola or minstrel banjo; the imaginatively challenging choice of material; the unmistakable poise, strength and charisma; Giddens is one of the boldest, bravest, baddest musicians on planet Earth.

Her latest album, there is no Other (Nonesuch), which dropped In May, features Giddens paired with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, the same duo that will be performing Friday, Sep. 20 at City Winery. Recorded with minimal fiddling and tweaking, the album includes original songs penned by Giddens; interpretations of traditional ballads, shanties and folk songs, such as Ola Belle Reed’s “I’m Gonna Write Me a Letter,” Oscar Brown, Jr’s “Brown Baby,” and “Pizzica di San Vito” (an Italian traditional); and “Black Swan,” the somber lullaby from Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera, The Medium.

With Giddens and Turrisi playing an array of acoustic instruments drawn from African, Arabic, European, and American cultures, there is no Other weaves a magnificent 12-track tapestry of contemplative space and otherworldly beauty.

In January, I interviewed Giddens for Songlines, a world music magazine headquartered in London. The main focus of the interview was the album she had just finished, Songs of Our Native Daughters, for Smithsonian Folkways. When I asked her about upcoming projects, she mentioned there is no Other and the tour with Turrisi, which included a performance at Big Ears.

“It’s a meditation on how all of these different sounds we play come together,” Giddens said. “We have this idea that world music is a recent phenomenon, but actually it’s a very old idea. The sounds of the frame drum and the minstrel banjo or a playing a trans-drum from Iran called the daf on an Appalachian ballad — all of these sorts of things work really well because they’re all coming from the same source.”

“I’m so proud of the record; it’s really killer,” she continued. “It’s got accordion and piano and viola and violin, all of these different beautiful sounds from around the world that work together because we are, in fact, all together.”

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi. $50-$60 {SOLD OUT). Friday, Sep. 20, 6 p.m-9 p.m. City Winery Atlanta, 650 North Avenue NE Ste. 201, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. 404-946-3791."
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  string(20055) "''Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool,'' a feature-length documentary about the mercurial jazz trumpeter, composer and pop icon who died in 1991 at age 65, opens at the Plaza Theatre this Friday, Sept. 13. Directed by McArthur “genius” grantee Stanley Nelson (''The Murder of Emmett Till,'' ''Freedom Riders''), ''Birth of the Cool'' offers a compelling portrait of a brilliant, complex, charismatic and deeply conflicted man whose influence on the course of jazz, in particular, and popular culture more generally, rivals the impact of any artist in any field back through the ages.

It helps to bring some knowledge of the subject to the screening experience. The deeper the knowledge, the more rewarding the experience will be, especially regarding the music. While Nelson does a nice job of laying out the essential chronology and evolutionary twists of Davis’ life and career, the musical passages are edited for 21st century attention spans. Davis fans will appreciate the never-before-seen photos, home movies and concert footage, but the artistry sometimes plays second trumpet to the documentary formula.

“Music has always been like a curse with me,” intones actor Carl Lumbly at the beginning of the film in a voice-over mimicking Davis’ trademark raspy near-whisper (a self-inflicted consequence of failing to heed the rehab regimen following larynx surgery in 1956). This narrative technique is used throughout, with Lumbly quoting from [https://www.amazon.com/dp/0671725823/?tag=thneyo0f-20|Miles: The Autobiography]. The book’s co-author, Quincy Troupe, also serves as one of the many commentators drawn from Davis’ circle of friends, fellow musicians and family members, along with critics, historians and industry colleagues

“I’ve always felt driven to play music,” the voice-over continues as the scene depicts Davis shadowboxing in a ring. “I always go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. It’s always there. It comes before everything.”

Single-mindedness is not an uncommon trait among successful people, but can lead to unintended, undesirable repercussions if left unchecked. Nelson’s documentary does a remarkable job of exploring the central dialectic of Davis’ life and artistic output, which pits an obsessive, anti-social malcontent against a sensitive, visionary genius.

''Birth of the Cool'' refers both to Davis’ landmark collaboration with arranger Gil Evans, which spawned a seminal series of recordings by a nine-piece ensemble between 1948 and 1950, and the trumpeters’ cultivated persona and style, which combined aloof sophistication and cynical detachment with an appreciation for finely tailored clothes and high performance sports cars.

“Miles Davis was the personification of cool,” remarks Tammy Kernodle, a professor of musicology and author of ''Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams'', in the documentary. “He becomes our black Superman.”

Black or white, Superman is vulnerable to kryptonite, a mineral remnant from his home planet, exposure to which can cripple or kill him. Davis’ kryptonite comes in the form of a misogynistic streak inherited from his father who once struck his wife so hard a couple of her teeth were knocked out. Tellingly, when Davis reflects on the domestic violence he witnessed as an adolescent, he says, “It had to affect us somehow, but I don’t really know how.”

Nelson pointedly answers Davis’ self-query through interviews with the musician’s former wives and girlfriends a number of whom relate their own tales of mistreatment. Davis’ first wife, Frances Taylor, was a professional dancer on the rise when she met Davis in 1958. She describes how, out of spiteful jealousy, Davis demanded she drop out of the original cast of ‘West Side Story.’ In a later incident, he knocked her to the floor. (Taylor left Davis in 1965 and died last year at age 89).

Davis’ contradictory nature permeates ''Birth of the Cool.'' Cruel and dismissive, he was also a preternaturally gifted improviser who used a horn and mute to articulate some of the most deeply emotive music a human has ever produced. He was the most successful jazz musician of his day who was also a black man living and working in not so great America.

''Birth of the Cool'' vividly recounts a notorious incident in New York City in August 1959 when Davis was playing at Birdland. It was near the end of a two-week run promoting the release of ‘Kind of Blue,’ destined to become one of the highest-selling jazz albums of all time. One night, during a break between sets, Davis escorted a white woman outside the club so she could catch a cab. When a white police officer ordered Davis to “move on,” he refused to comply, pointing to the marquee on which his name was prominently displayed. The officer moved to arrest Davis and a struggle ensued. An off-duty detective walking by joined the fray, repeatedly striking Davis with a club. Beaten and bloodied, the trumpeter was arrested, but subsequently acquitted of disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer.

“That incident changed me forever, made me much more bitter and cynical than I might have been,” Davis says.

At this point, ‘Birth of the Cool’ is barely half over. Still to come is the dissolution of the ‘Kind of Blue’ band, which included John Coltrane, followed by the assembling of the incredible Sixties quintet with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and 17-year-old Tony Williams; the revolutionary experiments with electronic instruments culminating in the landmark 1969 album ''Bitches Brew''; protracted struggles with drugs and depression; a return to the concert stage at Avery Fisher Hall after years of withdrawal and isolation; the influence of Betty Mabry, Davis’ second wife, and Cicely Tyson, his third; reminiscences by Davis’ son, Erin, and cousin, Vince Wilburn, who administers the music side of the Miles Davis estate with other family members; and even more beauty, tragedy, exaltation and exasperation.

''Birth of the Cool'' is probably the most comprehensive compendium of the life and art of Miles Davis the world is likely to get. The man was a tough subject when he was alive. Telling his story undoubtedly required a few tough calls by Stanley Nelson. The result is an engaging, unflinching document, which is sure to be studied for years to come.

__Special Note:__ Jazz great and former Davis collaborator Jimmy Heath and Davis family members Vince Wilburn Jr. (Davis’ nephew) and Erin Davis (Davis’ son) will be present for a Q&A following the 7 p.m. screening on Friday, Sep. 13. [http://plazaatlanta.com/movie/miles-davis-birth-of-the-cool/|Plaza Theatre], 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, 470-225-6503.

__Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera: __[http://www.ccityopera.org/home|Capitol City Opera], which was formed in 1983 to provide classically trained singers in the Atlanta area with an opportunity to learn and perform complete opera roles and to develop their vocal and acting skills on a professional level, is presenting a [https://www.facebook.com/events/399409050683903/|free concert Saturday afternoon, September 14]. “Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera” features songs by American composers Lee Hoiby and Charles Ives, as well as selections from operas set in America including Aaron Copland’s ''The Tender Land'' and Mark Adamo’s ''Little Women.'' The performers include Allison Nance (mezzo-soprano), Robin Sewell (soprano) and Catherine Giel (piano). Suggested donation $10. 3 p.m. Sat., Sep. 14. High Point Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia 30342. 404-252-3324.

__Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat__: Saturday’s concert, featuring Kronos Quartet with Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat, at Emory University’s Emerson Concert Hall kicks off the 2019-2020 Candler Concert Series. It promises to be an extraordinary experience. The program features newly commissioned works by composers from the greater Muslim world including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Somalia, Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, as well as fresh arrangements of related pieces drawn from Kronos’ vast repertoire.

The setlist was originally conceived as a response to President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order (EO) limiting entry of immigrants and refugees to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The EO was immediately challenged by various courts, which found the ban un-Constitutional based on its blatantly anti-Muslim sentiment (a breach of the Establishment Clause). Although certain legal challenges remain unresolved today, the Trump administration revoked and revised the EO a number of times until it finally passed muster and was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2018.

Meanwhile, Vahdat and her sister, Marjan, also a professional singer, are banned from singing in Iran while they await sentencing on charges stemming from a headscarf-free performance in a music video shot on a rooftop in Tehran. Furthermore, Marjan is not allowed to perform in the U.S. because she does not possess the proper visa. How I wish I was making this up.

For further details on this 21st century fundamentalist crackerbox saga, see the [https://www.earrelevant.net/2019/09/david-harrington-talks-about-kronos-quartets-music-for-change/|interview] conducted by Andrew Alexander and Mark Gresham at [http://www.earrelevant.net/|EarRelevant]. In addition to discussing the Vadhat sisters’ plight and Sunday’s program, Harrington dives into the relationship between Western classical and other types of music and the important role music plays in troubled times. As he puts it, “It’s part of a musicians’ responsibility to lift our audience out of ‘un-knowledge.’ ''[https://tickets.arts.emory.edu/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=120445|Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat]. $65. 8 p.m., Sat. Sep. 14. , Emerson Concert Hall, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 North Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA 30322. 404-727-5050.''

__Glenn Phillips Band CD/DVD/Book release show__: To anyone who hasn’t yet read Chad Radford’s [https://creativeloafing.com/content-440209-glenn-phillips-and-the-dark|interview with Glenn Phillips] online and in the current print edition of ''Creative Loafing'', rectify that oversight post haste. When you get back here, you’ll know that Phillips has written a memoir, ''[https://glennphillipsband.square.site/product/pre-order-ships-august-14-echoes-the-hampton-grease-band-my-life-my-music-and-how-i-stopped-having-panic-attacks-book-cd-dvd/21|Echoes: The Hampton Grease Band, My Life, My Music and How I Stopped Having Panic Attacks]''.  The book is packaged with a full-length album of new music, ''The Dark Parade'' (the guitarist’s first solo album in 16 years) and a DVD chronicle of a 2015 concert marking the 40th anniversary of Phillips’ first solo album, ''Lost At Sea.'' The concert DVD features the original players on Phillips’ epic first solo release along  with Cindy Wilson of The B-52s guesting on the encores.

For those of you still hopelessly lost at sea at this point, Phillips is our town’s very own homegrown (actually, he was born in New England, but that doesn’t count anymore) intergalactic guitar wizard who initially materialized on this musical plane as a founding member of the Hampton Grease Band (there were earlier bands, but those don’t count, either). Since then, Phillips has conjured up something like 20 albums in cahoots with everybody from Bob Weir and Pete Buck to Henry Kaiser and Elliott Sharpe. Additionally, Supreme Court, an ongoing, decades-long project with Swimming Pool Qs founder Jeff Calder, continues yielding wondrous material.

While the chat with Radford will fill you in on the panic attack side of Phillips’ story, which is gripping and inspirational in its own right, I encourage with extreme prejudice your presence at Eddie Owen’s Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth [https://eddieowenpresents.com/events/eddie-owen-presents-glenn-phillips-band-cd-dvd-book-release-show/|Saturday night] for the official release show for the ''Echoes'' book/CD/DVD joint. Phillips will be joined onstage by regular cohorts Bill Rea, John Boissiere and Calder, along with special guests Dana Nelson and Hampton Grease Band bassist Mike Holbrook. First set at 7:30; second set: 8:45 p.m. All are welcome to stay for both sets.

__Country Music Watch Party__ Most Listening Post readers are aware by now of documentarian Ken Burns’ latest magnum opus, ''[https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/country-music/|Country Music],'' which premiers this Sunday on PBS. As ''CL'' resident country music expert James Kelly recently penned in a [https://creativeloafing.com/content-440326-three-chords-and-the-truth-and-then-some|gracious plenty preview] of the series, the opening episode of Burns’ eight-part, 16-hour documentary highlights the integral role played by Atlanta in the origin of the indigenous American art form, which became known as country music.

In 1923, New York-based Okeh Records sent to Atlanta a team of engineers equipped with one of the world’s first portable recording machines. Their mission was to capture on wax cylinders a posse of southern musicians, which included multi-time state fiddle champion John Carson, doing their various things (e.g., jazz, blues, gospel). Of the many recordings produced during the multi-day sessions, which took place in a small now vacant building at 152 Nassau Street, the 78 rpm recording of Fiddlin’ John Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane”/”The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow” was a smash success. Today, it’s widely considered the first record by a country music artist, although at the time no such genre label existed.

In recent months, a public campaign led by [http://www.nassaustreetsessions.com/?fbclid=IwAR3Ued1PntWh6iZ48v_LDxXRrMg9AJajwjzUHPAyykDqb5NZ6u_MULiAKe8|Save 152 Nassau] has been advocating for the preservation of the downtown building where American music history was made, which is threatened by demolition to make room for, of all things, a Margaritaville Restaurant.

All of which brings us to Sunday’s “Country Music Watch Party” at ASW Whiskey Exchange located in the [https://leeandwhiteatl.com/|Lee + White development] along the West End Beltline. Sponsored by Save 152 Nassau, the event features live music by the [https://skilletlickers.org/|Skillet Lickers], whose roots extend back four generations to the earliest years of the American recording industry in the 1920s, followed by the broadcast premiere of ''Country Music.'' A portion of sales during the evening’s festivities will benefit the [https://www.atlantamusicproject.org/|Atlanta Music Project].

''”[https://www.facebook.com/events/2587839381267187/|Country Music Watch Party],” Free, Sun., Sep. 15. Music 6-8 p.m., screening of “Country Music” 8-10 p.m. ASW Whiskey Exchange, 1000 White St. Suite A, Atlanta GA 30310. 404-590-2279''

__Tinariwen at Variety Playhouse w/ Lonnie Holley__ Formed in 1979 while in exile in Algeria, Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg musicians from northern Mali who have been hailed worldwide for their superb musicianship; bluesy, mesmerizing electric guitar-driven sound; and powerful messaging, which celebrates the nomadic Tuareg culture. During a period of relative stability, Tinariwen returned to their homeland until 2012-13 when an uprising of Islamist extremists again made living in Mali a dangerously untenable proposition. Since then, Tinariwen has been touring and recording outside of the country, and sharing stages with Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana.

In 2012, Tinariwen was named Best Group in the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songlines_Music_Awards|Songlines Music Awards] for their album ''Tassili,'' which also garnered a Grammy for Best World Music Album. Currently touring in support of their latest album, ''Amajdar,'' which dropped September 6, Tinariwen will perform at the Variety Playhouse on [https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1847361?utm_medium=api|Monday, September 16], with Lonnie Holley opening. The following day, Tuesday, September 17, Tinariwen travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a gig at Ramkat, a local venue, also with Lonnie Holley as the opener.

The concert caused a stir several weeks ago when a couple of sponsored Facebook posts announcing the show caught the attention of the usual assortment of bigots, racists and “patriots.” “Take the fucking towels off your god damn heads,” wrote one commenter. “Any true American will not support this bunch of trash,” chimed in another, followed by “Taliban rock?,” “Shootout at midnight?” etc., etc. ad nauseam. One of Ramkat’s owners quoted in the local press said the venue plans to hire extra security for the gig.

There’s no limit to the many ways America is being made great again.

__Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: t''here is no Other'' tour:__ Rhiannon Giddens is a singular phenomenon. The classically trained, infinitely flexible, pellucidly clear voice; the virtuosic touch, whether on violin, viola or minstrel banjo; the imaginatively challenging choice of material; the unmistakable poise, strength and charisma; Giddens is one of the boldest, bravest, baddest musicians on planet Earth.

Her latest album, ''[https://www.nonesuch.com/journal/rhiannon-giddens-new-album-francesco-turrisi-there-no-other-out-now-nonesuch-records-2019-05-03|there is no Other]'' (Nonesuch), which dropped In May, features Giddens paired with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, the same duo that will be performing Friday, Sep. 20 at City Winery. Recorded with minimal fiddling and tweaking, the album includes original songs penned by Giddens; interpretations of traditional ballads, shanties and folk songs, such as Ola Belle Reed’s “[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t7zowxgO5A&list=RDKBIQ_tjBt0M&index=3|I’m Gonna Write Me a Letter],” Oscar Brown, Jr’s “Brown Baby,” and “Pizzica di San Vito” (an Italian traditional); and “Black Swan,” the somber lullaby from Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera, ''The Medium.''

With Giddens and Turrisi playing an array of acoustic instruments drawn from African, Arabic, European, and American cultures, ''there is no Other'' weaves a magnificent 12-track tapestry of contemplative space and otherworldly beauty.

In January, I interviewed Giddens for Songlines, a world music magazine headquartered in London. The main focus of the interview was the album she had just finished, ''Songs of Our Native Daughters,'' for Smithsonian Folkways. When I asked her about upcoming projects, she mentioned ''there is no Other'' and the tour with Turrisi, which included a performance at Big Ears.

“It’s a meditation on how all of these different sounds we play come together,” Giddens said. “We have this idea that world music is a recent phenomenon, but actually it’s a very old idea. The sounds of the frame drum and the minstrel banjo or a playing a trans-drum from Iran called the ''daf'' on an Appalachian ballad — all of these sorts of things work really well because they’re all coming from the same source.”

“I’m so proud of the record; it’s really killer,” she continued. “It’s got accordion and piano and viola and violin, all of these different beautiful sounds from around the world that work together because we are, in fact, all together.”

''Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi. $50-$60 {SOLD OUT). Friday, Sep. 20, 6 p.m-9 p.m. [https://www.facebook.com/citywineryatl/?eid=ARD990qpBbp-dkD47M5sQZCHPlhFWtm-ss4cKWuUurmER8AKWWrMZlVwPNoCDGcd5VreYaBaRA2tnOSJ|City Winery Atlanta], 650 North Avenue NE Ste. 201, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. 404-946-3791.''"
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  string(18947) " 15156 M SONY (1) Copy  2019-09-12T19:40:54+00:00 15156_M_SONY (1) copy.jpg    milesdavis birthofthecoolmovie plazatheatre New documentary finds the trumpeter shadowboxing with himself 23090  2019-09-12T19:40:28+00:00 LISTENING POST: Miles Davis and the ‘Birth of the Cool’ tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris Doug DeLoach  2019-09-12T19:40:28+00:00  Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a feature-length documentary about the mercurial jazz trumpeter, composer and pop icon who died in 1991 at age 65, opens at the Plaza Theatre this Friday, Sept. 13. Directed by McArthur “genius” grantee Stanley Nelson (The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders), Birth of the Cool offers a compelling portrait of a brilliant, complex, charismatic and deeply conflicted man whose influence on the course of jazz, in particular, and popular culture more generally, rivals the impact of any artist in any field back through the ages.

It helps to bring some knowledge of the subject to the screening experience. The deeper the knowledge, the more rewarding the experience will be, especially regarding the music. While Nelson does a nice job of laying out the essential chronology and evolutionary twists of Davis’ life and career, the musical passages are edited for 21st century attention spans. Davis fans will appreciate the never-before-seen photos, home movies and concert footage, but the artistry sometimes plays second trumpet to the documentary formula.

“Music has always been like a curse with me,” intones actor Carl Lumbly at the beginning of the film in a voice-over mimicking Davis’ trademark raspy near-whisper (a self-inflicted consequence of failing to heed the rehab regimen following larynx surgery in 1956). This narrative technique is used throughout, with Lumbly quoting from Miles: The Autobiography. The book’s co-author, Quincy Troupe, also serves as one of the many commentators drawn from Davis’ circle of friends, fellow musicians and family members, along with critics, historians and industry colleagues

“I’ve always felt driven to play music,” the voice-over continues as the scene depicts Davis shadowboxing in a ring. “I always go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. It’s always there. It comes before everything.”

Single-mindedness is not an uncommon trait among successful people, but can lead to unintended, undesirable repercussions if left unchecked. Nelson’s documentary does a remarkable job of exploring the central dialectic of Davis’ life and artistic output, which pits an obsessive, anti-social malcontent against a sensitive, visionary genius.

Birth of the Cool refers both to Davis’ landmark collaboration with arranger Gil Evans, which spawned a seminal series of recordings by a nine-piece ensemble between 1948 and 1950, and the trumpeters’ cultivated persona and style, which combined aloof sophistication and cynical detachment with an appreciation for finely tailored clothes and high performance sports cars.

“Miles Davis was the personification of cool,” remarks Tammy Kernodle, a professor of musicology and author of Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams, in the documentary. “He becomes our black Superman.”

Black or white, Superman is vulnerable to kryptonite, a mineral remnant from his home planet, exposure to which can cripple or kill him. Davis’ kryptonite comes in the form of a misogynistic streak inherited from his father who once struck his wife so hard a couple of her teeth were knocked out. Tellingly, when Davis reflects on the domestic violence he witnessed as an adolescent, he says, “It had to affect us somehow, but I don’t really know how.”

Nelson pointedly answers Davis’ self-query through interviews with the musician’s former wives and girlfriends a number of whom relate their own tales of mistreatment. Davis’ first wife, Frances Taylor, was a professional dancer on the rise when she met Davis in 1958. She describes how, out of spiteful jealousy, Davis demanded she drop out of the original cast of ‘West Side Story.’ In a later incident, he knocked her to the floor. (Taylor left Davis in 1965 and died last year at age 89).

Davis’ contradictory nature permeates Birth of the Cool. Cruel and dismissive, he was also a preternaturally gifted improviser who used a horn and mute to articulate some of the most deeply emotive music a human has ever produced. He was the most successful jazz musician of his day who was also a black man living and working in not so great America.

Birth of the Cool vividly recounts a notorious incident in New York City in August 1959 when Davis was playing at Birdland. It was near the end of a two-week run promoting the release of ‘Kind of Blue,’ destined to become one of the highest-selling jazz albums of all time. One night, during a break between sets, Davis escorted a white woman outside the club so she could catch a cab. When a white police officer ordered Davis to “move on,” he refused to comply, pointing to the marquee on which his name was prominently displayed. The officer moved to arrest Davis and a struggle ensued. An off-duty detective walking by joined the fray, repeatedly striking Davis with a club. Beaten and bloodied, the trumpeter was arrested, but subsequently acquitted of disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer.

“That incident changed me forever, made me much more bitter and cynical than I might have been,” Davis says.

At this point, ‘Birth of the Cool’ is barely half over. Still to come is the dissolution of the ‘Kind of Blue’ band, which included John Coltrane, followed by the assembling of the incredible Sixties quintet with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and 17-year-old Tony Williams; the revolutionary experiments with electronic instruments culminating in the landmark 1969 album Bitches Brew; protracted struggles with drugs and depression; a return to the concert stage at Avery Fisher Hall after years of withdrawal and isolation; the influence of Betty Mabry, Davis’ second wife, and Cicely Tyson, his third; reminiscences by Davis’ son, Erin, and cousin, Vince Wilburn, who administers the music side of the Miles Davis estate with other family members; and even more beauty, tragedy, exaltation and exasperation.

Birth of the Cool is probably the most comprehensive compendium of the life and art of Miles Davis the world is likely to get. The man was a tough subject when he was alive. Telling his story undoubtedly required a few tough calls by Stanley Nelson. The result is an engaging, unflinching document, which is sure to be studied for years to come.

Special Note: Jazz great and former Davis collaborator Jimmy Heath and Davis family members Vince Wilburn Jr. (Davis’ nephew) and Erin Davis (Davis’ son) will be present for a Q&A following the 7 p.m. screening on Friday, Sep. 13. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, 470-225-6503.

Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera: Capitol City Opera, which was formed in 1983 to provide classically trained singers in the Atlanta area with an opportunity to learn and perform complete opera roles and to develop their vocal and acting skills on a professional level, is presenting a free concert Saturday afternoon, September 14. “Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera” features songs by American composers Lee Hoiby and Charles Ives, as well as selections from operas set in America including Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land and Mark Adamo’s Little Women. The performers include Allison Nance (mezzo-soprano), Robin Sewell (soprano) and Catherine Giel (piano). Suggested donation $10. 3 p.m. Sat., Sep. 14. High Point Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia 30342. 404-252-3324.

Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat: Saturday’s concert, featuring Kronos Quartet with Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat, at Emory University’s Emerson Concert Hall kicks off the 2019-2020 Candler Concert Series. It promises to be an extraordinary experience. The program features newly commissioned works by composers from the greater Muslim world including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Somalia, Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, as well as fresh arrangements of related pieces drawn from Kronos’ vast repertoire.

The setlist was originally conceived as a response to President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order (EO) limiting entry of immigrants and refugees to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The EO was immediately challenged by various courts, which found the ban un-Constitutional based on its blatantly anti-Muslim sentiment (a breach of the Establishment Clause). Although certain legal challenges remain unresolved today, the Trump administration revoked and revised the EO a number of times until it finally passed muster and was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2018.

Meanwhile, Vahdat and her sister, Marjan, also a professional singer, are banned from singing in Iran while they await sentencing on charges stemming from a headscarf-free performance in a music video shot on a rooftop in Tehran. Furthermore, Marjan is not allowed to perform in the U.S. because she does not possess the proper visa. How I wish I was making this up.

For further details on this 21st century fundamentalist crackerbox saga, see the interview conducted by Andrew Alexander and Mark Gresham at EarRelevant. In addition to discussing the Vadhat sisters’ plight and Sunday’s program, Harrington dives into the relationship between Western classical and other types of music and the important role music plays in troubled times. As he puts it, “It’s part of a musicians’ responsibility to lift our audience out of ‘un-knowledge.’ Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat. $65. 8 p.m., Sat. Sep. 14. , Emerson Concert Hall, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 North Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA 30322. 404-727-5050.

Glenn Phillips Band CD/DVD/Book release show: To anyone who hasn’t yet read Chad Radford’s interview with Glenn Phillips online and in the current print edition of Creative Loafing, rectify that oversight post haste. When you get back here, you’ll know that Phillips has written a memoir, Echoes: The Hampton Grease Band, My Life, My Music and How I Stopped Having Panic Attacks.  The book is packaged with a full-length album of new music, The Dark Parade (the guitarist’s first solo album in 16 years) and a DVD chronicle of a 2015 concert marking the 40th anniversary of Phillips’ first solo album, Lost At Sea. The concert DVD features the original players on Phillips’ epic first solo release along  with Cindy Wilson of The B-52s guesting on the encores.

For those of you still hopelessly lost at sea at this point, Phillips is our town’s very own homegrown (actually, he was born in New England, but that doesn’t count anymore) intergalactic guitar wizard who initially materialized on this musical plane as a founding member of the Hampton Grease Band (there were earlier bands, but those don’t count, either). Since then, Phillips has conjured up something like 20 albums in cahoots with everybody from Bob Weir and Pete Buck to Henry Kaiser and Elliott Sharpe. Additionally, Supreme Court, an ongoing, decades-long project with Swimming Pool Qs founder Jeff Calder, continues yielding wondrous material.

While the chat with Radford will fill you in on the panic attack side of Phillips’ story, which is gripping and inspirational in its own right, I encourage with extreme prejudice your presence at Eddie Owen’s Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth Saturday night for the official release show for the Echoes book/CD/DVD joint. Phillips will be joined onstage by regular cohorts Bill Rea, John Boissiere and Calder, along with special guests Dana Nelson and Hampton Grease Band bassist Mike Holbrook. First set at 7:30; second set: 8:45 p.m. All are welcome to stay for both sets.

Country Music Watch Party Most Listening Post readers are aware by now of documentarian Ken Burns’ latest magnum opus, Country Music, which premiers this Sunday on PBS. As CL resident country music expert James Kelly recently penned in a gracious plenty preview of the series, the opening episode of Burns’ eight-part, 16-hour documentary highlights the integral role played by Atlanta in the origin of the indigenous American art form, which became known as country music.

In 1923, New York-based Okeh Records sent to Atlanta a team of engineers equipped with one of the world’s first portable recording machines. Their mission was to capture on wax cylinders a posse of southern musicians, which included multi-time state fiddle champion John Carson, doing their various things (e.g., jazz, blues, gospel). Of the many recordings produced during the multi-day sessions, which took place in a small now vacant building at 152 Nassau Street, the 78 rpm recording of Fiddlin’ John Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane”/”The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow” was a smash success. Today, it’s widely considered the first record by a country music artist, although at the time no such genre label existed.

In recent months, a public campaign led by Save 152 Nassau has been advocating for the preservation of the downtown building where American music history was made, which is threatened by demolition to make room for, of all things, a Margaritaville Restaurant.

All of which brings us to Sunday’s “Country Music Watch Party” at ASW Whiskey Exchange located in the Lee + White development along the West End Beltline. Sponsored by Save 152 Nassau, the event features live music by the Skillet Lickers, whose roots extend back four generations to the earliest years of the American recording industry in the 1920s, followed by the broadcast premiere of Country Music. A portion of sales during the evening’s festivities will benefit the Atlanta Music Project.

”Country Music Watch Party,” Free, Sun., Sep. 15. Music 6-8 p.m., screening of “Country Music” 8-10 p.m. ASW Whiskey Exchange, 1000 White St. Suite A, Atlanta GA 30310. 404-590-2279

Tinariwen at Variety Playhouse w/ Lonnie Holley Formed in 1979 while in exile in Algeria, Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg musicians from northern Mali who have been hailed worldwide for their superb musicianship; bluesy, mesmerizing electric guitar-driven sound; and powerful messaging, which celebrates the nomadic Tuareg culture. During a period of relative stability, Tinariwen returned to their homeland until 2012-13 when an uprising of Islamist extremists again made living in Mali a dangerously untenable proposition. Since then, Tinariwen has been touring and recording outside of the country, and sharing stages with Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana.

In 2012, Tinariwen was named Best Group in the Songlines Music Awards for their album Tassili, which also garnered a Grammy for Best World Music Album. Currently touring in support of their latest album, Amajdar, which dropped September 6, Tinariwen will perform at the Variety Playhouse on Monday, September 16, with Lonnie Holley opening. The following day, Tuesday, September 17, Tinariwen travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a gig at Ramkat, a local venue, also with Lonnie Holley as the opener.

The concert caused a stir several weeks ago when a couple of sponsored Facebook posts announcing the show caught the attention of the usual assortment of bigots, racists and “patriots.” “Take the fucking towels off your god damn heads,” wrote one commenter. “Any true American will not support this bunch of trash,” chimed in another, followed by “Taliban rock?,” “Shootout at midnight?” etc., etc. ad nauseam. One of Ramkat’s owners quoted in the local press said the venue plans to hire extra security for the gig.

There’s no limit to the many ways America is being made great again.

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: there is no Other tour: Rhiannon Giddens is a singular phenomenon. The classically trained, infinitely flexible, pellucidly clear voice; the virtuosic touch, whether on violin, viola or minstrel banjo; the imaginatively challenging choice of material; the unmistakable poise, strength and charisma; Giddens is one of the boldest, bravest, baddest musicians on planet Earth.

Her latest album, there is no Other (Nonesuch), which dropped In May, features Giddens paired with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, the same duo that will be performing Friday, Sep. 20 at City Winery. Recorded with minimal fiddling and tweaking, the album includes original songs penned by Giddens; interpretations of traditional ballads, shanties and folk songs, such as Ola Belle Reed’s “I’m Gonna Write Me a Letter,” Oscar Brown, Jr’s “Brown Baby,” and “Pizzica di San Vito” (an Italian traditional); and “Black Swan,” the somber lullaby from Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera, The Medium.

With Giddens and Turrisi playing an array of acoustic instruments drawn from African, Arabic, European, and American cultures, there is no Other weaves a magnificent 12-track tapestry of contemplative space and otherworldly beauty.

In January, I interviewed Giddens for Songlines, a world music magazine headquartered in London. The main focus of the interview was the album she had just finished, Songs of Our Native Daughters, for Smithsonian Folkways. When I asked her about upcoming projects, she mentioned there is no Other and the tour with Turrisi, which included a performance at Big Ears.

“It’s a meditation on how all of these different sounds we play come together,” Giddens said. “We have this idea that world music is a recent phenomenon, but actually it’s a very old idea. The sounds of the frame drum and the minstrel banjo or a playing a trans-drum from Iran called the daf on an Appalachian ballad — all of these sorts of things work really well because they’re all coming from the same source.”

“I’m so proud of the record; it’s really killer,” she continued. “It’s got accordion and piano and viola and violin, all of these different beautiful sounds from around the world that work together because we are, in fact, all together.”

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi. $50-$60 {SOLD OUT). Friday, Sep. 20, 6 p.m-9 p.m. City Winery Atlanta, 650 North Avenue NE Ste. 201, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. 404-946-3791.    Photographer Jim Marshall/ Sony Music Archives Courtesy of Abramorama/ Eagle Rock. THE MAN WITH THE HORN: Miles Davis On Stage, 1970.  0,0,1    MilesDavis BirthoftheCoolmovie PLazaTheatre                             LISTENING POST: Miles Davis and the ‘Birth of the Cool’ "
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Thursday September 12, 2019 03:40 pm EDT
New documentary finds the trumpeter shadowboxing with himself | more...
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  string(17211) "Back in the early 1970s, Jimbo Livaditis played youth baseball at Bagley Park (since renamed Frankie Allen Park) in the Garden Hills neighborhood in Buckhead. With some frequency, on the way home after a game or practice, the parents of Livaditis and his preteen teammates would take their Little Leaguers to the nearby Zesto for an ice cream treat or milkshake.

Cooling down in the summer, sipping chocolaty goodness through a straw or licking melted vanilla cream from the runnels of a crunchy sugar cone, a boy could easily slip into a daydream about hitting a grand slam to win the World Series or building a skyscraper in downtown Atlanta next to that new hotel with the blue-domed flying saucer on top. In Jimbo’s case, the idle musing took a different tack.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘One day, I hope this is mine,’” Livaditis says in a phone interview with CL. The young baseballer wearing the syrup-stained jersey had good reason to consider such an unusual prospect. His father, John Livaditis, owned the joint.

As a matter of fact, at the time, “Big John” Livaditis, a hard-working, entrepreneurial, first-generation son of Greek immigrants, owned multiple Zestos in Atlanta, including the city’s first — a walk-up, ice-cream-only stand — which opened in 1949. Later that same year, just a few years out of the Army, where he competed as a Golden Gloves boxer, Livaditis accepted a proposal from a tree grower and started selling Christmas trees in the parking lot on Peachtree Street at Brookwood Station. Thus was established Big John’s Christmas Trees, which helped fill the revenue gap during the holiday season when the demand for cold desserts tapered off.

“Dad always put in an incredible amount of hours,” Livaditis recalls. “A lot of times, we went to visit him after the game because he wasn’t able to attend, since he was working.”

By the mid-1980s, Big John was lording over a fiefdom of 10 metro Atlanta Zestos. In 1988, he retired, bequeathing the restaurant and Christmas tree businesses to sons Lee and (younger by eight years) Jimbo. Seven years later, Big John passed away. For the next three decades, the Livaditis brothers carried on, riding demographic tides and dallying with commercial developments by closing some Zestos, opening new stores and refurbishing others while tweaking the menu to accommodate the public’s trending palate.

In 2019, Zesto Atlanta President and CEO Jimbo Livaditis is presiding over a year-long celebration of a 70-year-old family enterprise. His wife, Leigh Ann, serves as company vice president and director of marketing and communications. The couple’s children work in one capacity or another for Big John’s Christmas Trees. Eldest son John is also involved with Zesto operations while finishing up college at Kennesaw State University. Lucas attends the University of South Carolina, and Anastasia is a senior at North Atlanta High School. Sadly, Lee is not around to raise a celebratory Nut Brown Crown with the family. Three years ago, he succumbed to lung cancer at age 66.

“It was a sudden, traumatizing and multilayered loss,” says Livaditis. “I no longer have my older brother’s advice to lean on or daily presence to cherish. I’ve had a crash course in wearing many more hats than I was used to. I’m still getting on my feet in some areas.”

Currently, the Livaditises operate four metro area Zestos: Buckhead, East Atlanta, Forest Park and Little Five Points (a fifth location, an independent franchise in Tyrone, is owned by a sister-in-law). Big John’s Christmas Trees, which peaked around the turn of the millennia at 22 locations, now stands at nine lots.

The family’s abiding commitment to the cause has been shared by a number of Zesto employees. Delores Slaughter, general manager of the Buckhead Zesto, has been with the company 41 years. East Atlanta GM Jimmy Koulouris has been clocking in for 45 years and counting. Two recently retired store managers, Pete Giannakopoulos and his brother Tommy, were Greek immigrants originally sponsored by Big John in the 1950s; their sister-in-law, Theoni Giannakopoulos, works at the Little Five Points Zesto.

“Our long-term employees know their customers and the customers know them, which adds to the authenticity of the Zesto experience,” says Leigh Ann. “You can’t easily create relationships and experiences like that in a branded business model.”

The original Zesto venture was spawned in 1945 by Rockford, Illinois-based Taylor Freezer Corporation, which manufactured a soft-serve ice cream machine called the Zest-O-Mat. Conceived as a competitor of Dairy Queen, the first Zesto stores were only equipped to serve ice cream. By the time Big John Livaditis opened his franchise in Atlanta, Zestos could be found in 46 states.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, America’s head-over-heels, pedal-to-the-metal love affair with automobiles, drive-ins, and fast food fueled the fortunes of Zesto and its rivals, which competed for customers by expanding their sweet and cool dessert menus with warm, savory fare. In 1959, Zesto introduced a double-patty hamburger originally named “Fat Boy,” which was renamed two years later when Shoney’s objected to the resemblance to the company’s signature “Big Boy” sandwich. Consequently, Big John held a contest, which was won by a Georgia Tech student who submitted Chubby Decker, with a nod to the contemporaneous rock ‘n’ roll star, as the two-tiered burger’s new moniker.

Then came the foot-long hot dog, which, based on innumerable unscientific surveys, is an incomplete construction without chili, if not slaw. “In the ’60s, my father had a Greek buddy in Pennsylvania named Gus,” says Livaditis. “He ran a chain called Coney Island, which offered a special chili dog. His success inspired my dad to perfect the chili recipe we still use today.”

Hand-cut onion rings, French fries, and fried chicken became staple menu items. Over the years, at various times and locations, Zesto customers could order a pizza burger, roast beef sandwich, grilled and toasted cheese sandwiches, and pork tenderloin. “There’s even a fish dog — two fish sticks on a foot-long bun with coleslaw and tartar sauce — which is on the ‘secret menu,’” Livaditis confides.

Recently, the influx of Hispanic and Latino residents across metro Atlanta neighborhoods spurred the addition of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and nachos to the menu at several Zesto locations. For 2019, a Spicy 70th Steakburger with bacon and Palmetto Cheese was introduced. Currently, the kitchen lab is putting the final tweaks on a mango milkshake. “It’s been a labor of love,” Livaditis says. “We want to get it just right using nothing artificial, just pure ingredients, fresh mangos with the right color, texture, and bite.”

Then as now, in acknowledgement of the restaurant’s Southern roots, fried livers and gizzards can be ordered at select Zesto locations. “I’ve been known to stop in and sample the livers and gizzards to make sure they’re up to our standards,” Livaditis says, with a chuckle.

Celebrity sightings and associations are features of the Zesto Atlanta legacy. Pro basketball Hall of Famer Walt Frazier, who led the New York Knicks to two National Basketball Association championships (1970 and ’73), played high school sports at Atlanta’s David Tobias Howard High School. In a 2018 biography produced by MSG Networks, Frazier visits the Zesto on Ponce de Leon (now a Cook Out) where he did a stint as a “curb boy” when the restaurant only offered walk-up or dine-in-your-car service. During the segment Frazier reminisces with his former supervisors, the Giannakopoulos brothers.

Then there was the time (in 1979) a WSB-TV news reporter corralled Colonel Sanders at the defunct Zesto at Pershing Point after the goateed ambassador of Kentucky Fried Chicken was spotted enjoying one of his guilty pleasures, a Zesto milkshake.

More recently, people are still laughing at the “kids meal” scene from the first season (2016) of Donald Glover’s television series “Atlanta,” which was filmed at the East Atlanta Zesto. Cee Lo Green, Lil Yachty, and Shawn Reis (“Flash Gordon,” “Smallville”) have been spotted chilling at Zesto. One day, Livaditis and his three children were eating lunch at the Piedmont Road Zesto when they looked over and discovered they were dining with Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton (presumably during the off-season).

So, what’s the secret to Zesto's enduring allure and success?

“It’s hard to pin down, but part of it is a combination of nostalgia and relevance,” says Leigh Ann. “If you can maintain that nostalgic ‘Gee, this place is cool!’ factor, that’s great. But you also have to stay relevant by tapping into social media, updating the menu, and doing promotions that attract younger people.”

Livaditis adds: “We were laughing the other night. When Dad started Zesto, he wasn’t thinking, ‘I’m going to create something 1950s-ish because it’s trendy.’ He was just working with what was available. There is something compelling about the design of the drive-in and the feeling it generates, which has been glamorized by movies. But there is also an element of genuine authenticity, which you can’t force; it’s either present or it’s not.”

Seventy years down the road, thanks to a family’s work ethic and aspirational spirit, Zesto Atlanta stands as a worthy representative of the all-American drive-in food destination, as well as a cultural touchstone near and dear to the hearts, if not the digestive tracts, of the city’s inhabitants.

!!More than a place to eat
In researching this story, writer Doug DeLoach solicited memories of Zesto adventures from Atlanta stalwarts and friends. A selection of these recollections, mostly unedited follow. Others may be found on creativeloafing.com.

Patricia Doyle O’Connor
The day of my divorce, I was on my way home from signing papers and pretty broken. I walked into the Ponce (Zesto) location and had lunch. Looking up from my booth, I noticed a man running toward the front door, which faced the old Sears building, two Atlanta cops on his heels. When he hit the door, he jumped up on the first table to try to avoid the police who were getting their tear-gas canisters out. They chased him as he jumped from table to table in full run. I sorta ducked and covered my fries from the dirt flying. I couldn’t decide who to trip — them or him — so I just sheltered my food. When I did finally look up, nobody was left in the store, not a cook or waiter or customer — just me and a huge cloud of tear gas, which I didn’t feel until much later, in the shower for some reason. I continued eating alone.

Faylynn Owen
I was a regular at the Little Five Points location for a sweet tea after big nights. I loved their tea. I stumbled down there one morning/afternoon and got my tea. I made it out the door only to realize my magic elixir tasted like bad socks. I returned to the good-natured laughing of the staff, who knew exactly what happened. Someone new had made the tea. They then offered me my second choice, a cherry coke. Kudos to the staff.

Dave Chamberlain
One hot July day in 1979, my brother Tim and I were tooling along in his red VW bug on North Highland Avenue when we stopped at the red light at Ponce de Leon Avenue. The car in front of us had a sunroof, and we watched the driver make a valiant attempt to lob a bag through it and into a roadside garbage can. The shot, of course, was off by several feet and the bag landed rather close to our car. Feeling some ire at witnessing brazen littering, I leapt from the car to grab it and put it into the garbage receptacle when I noticed the telltale classic red-striped Zesto packaging. My brother hollered for me to just dump the damn bag and get the hell back in the car. I did, bag in hand. Peering inside, I exclaimed, “It’s a Zesto bag with a Chubby Decker! Uneaten!” Now, since Zesto makes the very finest of hangover recovery foods, and since the Chubby Decker is the apex hamburger invention on the planet, I was loathe to toss the bag and its tempting contents. I gazed adoringly at the burger as my brother intoned, “Dave, don’t do it.” Brushing off his plea, I devoured that perfect burger between Virginia Highlands and Midtown without concern for microbial attack. While my brother threatened to race to Grady Hospital as a precautionary measure, I enjoyed every bite. Such is the stuff of daft youth and my high regard for Zesto cuisine. Would I do it again? Never, ever, ever!

Katy Graves
I ran into Hosea Williams in the Zesto on Ponce way back in the day. He was in his trademark overalls, and he was really nice.

Gail Harris
I introduced myself to Hosea Williams at the Zesto on Moreland, had gone to high school with his son Andre.

Kahle Davis
I was walking to the Zesto in Little Five Points to get some soft-serve when I noticed a woman pooping on one of the walls. I turned around and went back to work.

Bill Nittler
Our new house had a very similar address to the Zesto on Ponce: same number, different Ponce (Ave. vs. Mnr.), and at one point UPS started delivering us all kinds of restaurant stuff. Coffee filters, straws, mop heads, adding-machine tape, etc. UPS eventually came and picked it all up after nagging from us and the restaurant. Sadder, when Cook Out moved in, they proceeded to put our address on their website, so we got a whole bunch more stuff, which they never came to get.

Ginger Shyrock
There was a certain female group in the ’80s whose initiation was to drink a bottle of Jägermeister and piss in the Little Five Points Zesto parking lot. They called themselves the Hellcats and, while the initiation was mostly a joke, a couple of them actually did it. I was an honorary member, as I didn’t do such things.

Spencer L. Kirkpatrick
Zesto at Confederate and Moreland avenues (East Atlanta location): I had a heated exchange with (the) cooks regarding long hair — lots of shit talk but no blows — a true standoff. Would have been 1966.

Mark Michaelson
Back in the mid-’60s, we would meet at the Zesto in Buckhead and get in our hopped-up cars and race down Roswell Road all the way to the river with radios loud. Lucky we’re all still standing. One of the cars was a ’62 Vette with a fuel-injected 327. Another one was one of my folks’ rides after we’d “fixed it up.”

Janet Smith and her sister, Priscilla Smith
Janet: Buying fried chicken livers back in the day.
Priscilla: Back in a month or so ago.
Janet: I had no idea they were still on the menu.
Priscilla: I always coveted the faded Brown Crown sign behind the counter in Little 5. Been gone a few years. In 1961 (?), all the kids on Clairmont Circle were excited because they were going to open one at North Decatur, across the street from the Colonial Store, and they had FOOT-LONG HOT DOGS!

Amy Linton
I was at the Little Five Points Zesto with my high school/college boyfriend. He was a musician/songwriter and when people would panhandle, he would see if he could get a song out of them instead of giving them any money. Occasionally, it put me in sketchy situations. One guy approached us in Zesto and started talking him up and then told me to put my hand out. My boyfriend insisted I do it and, not wanting to anger anyone, I put it out, palm up. “Not like you takin’ from me!” he yelled. I turned my hand over, and he tried to get my grandmother’s wedding band, which I always wore, off my hand. Hurt my hand and my boyfriend didn’t even try to defend me. I rarely go there now, but always think of that when I do!

Kent Worley
(The East Atlanta location) was my Zesto. We would stop there for pregame fulfillment before going to the Starlight Drive-In. I was a big fan of the foot-long chili slaw dog. The trick was getting a Nut Brown Crown home for my wife’s late-night munchies before it melted.

Steve Gorman
A large Fellini’s Special (Little Five Points) in 1987 was worth about six Zesto milkshakes, if memory serves. Not that we lowly employees would have bartered pizzas for shakes or anything.

Guy Goodman
Piedmont Road location at Lindbergh Drive, eight years old, throwing my paper route on a bicycle. Would get a Chubby Decker Basket for 50 cents. That came with fries, slaw, and a drink. My mum always wondered why I wasn’t hungry when I got home for dinner. Still friends with Crystal Sloan. Her dad owned all the Zestos in Atlanta: Big John Livaditis.

Mark Greenberg
Inman/Candler Park/Little Five Points: watching the sunset behind downtown through the picture window with my son Emmett, now 13. He’d get a kids’ cup and I’d get a chocolate-covered cone. Definitely, those were some great, quiet, midweek rituals! Let’s go, kiddo!

John Kelly
I melted down a ceiling tile with a mighty mole in 1992 and it stayed there all brown and bubbly until they sold out to the burger joint. -CL-"
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Cooling down in the summer, sipping chocolaty goodness through a straw or licking melted vanilla cream from the runnels of a crunchy sugar cone, a boy could easily slip into a daydream about hitting a grand slam to win the World Series or building a skyscraper in downtown Atlanta next to that new hotel with the blue-domed flying saucer on top. In Jimbo’s case, the idle musing took a different tack.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘One day, I hope this is mine,’” Livaditis says in a phone interview with CL. The young baseballer wearing the syrup-stained jersey had good reason to consider such an unusual prospect. His father, John Livaditis, owned the joint.

As a matter of fact, at the time, “Big John” Livaditis, a hard-working, entrepreneurial, first-generation son of Greek immigrants, owned multiple Zestos in Atlanta, including the city’s first — a walk-up, ice-cream-only stand — which opened in 1949. Later that same year, just a few years out of the Army, where he competed as a Golden Gloves boxer, Livaditis accepted a proposal from a tree grower and started selling Christmas trees in the parking lot on Peachtree Street at Brookwood Station. Thus was established Big John’s Christmas Trees, which helped fill the revenue gap during the holiday season when the demand for cold desserts tapered off.

“Dad always put in an incredible amount of hours,” Livaditis recalls. “A lot of times, we went to visit him after the game because he wasn’t able to attend, since he was working.”

By the mid-1980s, Big John was lording over a fiefdom of 10 metro Atlanta Zestos. In 1988, he retired, bequeathing the restaurant and Christmas tree businesses to sons Lee and (younger by eight years) Jimbo. Seven years later, Big John passed away. For the next three decades, the Livaditis brothers carried on, riding demographic tides and dallying with commercial developments by closing some Zestos, opening new stores and refurbishing others while tweaking the menu to accommodate the public’s trending palate.

In 2019, Zesto Atlanta President and CEO Jimbo Livaditis is presiding over a year-long celebration of a 70-year-old family enterprise. His wife, Leigh Ann, serves as company vice president and director of marketing and communications. The couple’s children work in one capacity or another for Big John’s Christmas Trees. Eldest son John is also involved with Zesto operations while finishing up college at Kennesaw State University. Lucas attends the University of South Carolina, and Anastasia is a senior at North Atlanta High School. Sadly, Lee is not around to raise a celebratory Nut Brown Crown with the family. Three years ago, he succumbed to lung cancer at age 66.

“It was a sudden, traumatizing and multilayered loss,” says Livaditis. “I no longer have my older brother’s advice to lean on or daily presence to cherish. I’ve had a crash course in wearing many more hats than I was used to. I’m still getting on my feet in some areas.”

Currently, the Livaditises operate four metro area Zestos: Buckhead, East Atlanta, Forest Park and Little Five Points (a fifth location, an independent franchise in Tyrone, is owned by a sister-in-law). Big John’s Christmas Trees, which peaked around the turn of the millennia at 22 locations, now stands at nine lots.

The family’s abiding commitment to the cause has been shared by a number of Zesto employees. Delores Slaughter, general manager of the Buckhead Zesto, has been with the company 41 years. East Atlanta GM Jimmy Koulouris has been clocking in for 45 years and counting. Two recently retired store managers, Pete Giannakopoulos and his brother Tommy, were Greek immigrants originally sponsored by Big John in the 1950s; their sister-in-law, Theoni Giannakopoulos, works at the Little Five Points Zesto.

“Our long-term employees know their customers and the customers know them, which adds to the authenticity of the Zesto experience,” says Leigh Ann. “You can’t easily create relationships and experiences like that in a branded business model.”

The original Zesto venture was spawned in 1945 by Rockford, Illinois-based Taylor Freezer Corporation, which manufactured a soft-serve ice cream machine called the Zest-O-Mat. Conceived as a competitor of Dairy Queen, the first Zesto stores were only equipped to serve ice cream. By the time Big John Livaditis opened his franchise in Atlanta, Zestos could be found in 46 states.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, America’s head-over-heels, pedal-to-the-metal love affair with automobiles, drive-ins, and fast food fueled the fortunes of Zesto and its rivals, which competed for customers by expanding their sweet and cool dessert menus with warm, savory fare. In 1959, Zesto introduced a double-patty hamburger originally named “Fat Boy,” which was renamed two years later when Shoney’s objected to the resemblance to the company’s signature “Big Boy” sandwich. Consequently, Big John held a contest, which was won by a Georgia Tech student who submitted Chubby Decker, with a nod to the contemporaneous rock ‘n’ roll star, as the two-tiered burger’s new moniker.

Then came the foot-long hot dog, which, based on innumerable unscientific surveys, is an incomplete construction without chili, if not slaw. “In the ’60s, my father had a Greek buddy in Pennsylvania named Gus,” says Livaditis. “He ran a chain called Coney Island, which offered a special chili dog. His success inspired my dad to perfect the chili recipe we still use today.”

Hand-cut onion rings, French fries, and fried chicken became staple menu items. Over the years, at various times and locations, Zesto customers could order a pizza burger, roast beef sandwich, grilled and toasted cheese sandwiches, and pork tenderloin. “There’s even a fish dog — two fish sticks on a foot-long bun with coleslaw and tartar sauce — which is on the ‘secret menu,’” Livaditis confides.

Recently, the influx of Hispanic and Latino residents across metro Atlanta neighborhoods spurred the addition of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and nachos to the menu at several Zesto locations. For 2019, a Spicy 70th Steakburger with bacon and Palmetto Cheese was introduced. Currently, the kitchen lab is putting the final tweaks on a mango milkshake. “It’s been a labor of love,” Livaditis says. “We want to get it just right using nothing artificial, just pure ingredients, fresh mangos with the right color, texture, and bite.”

Then as now, in acknowledgement of the restaurant’s Southern roots, fried livers and gizzards can be ordered at select Zesto locations. “I’ve been known to stop in and sample the livers and gizzards to make sure they’re up to our standards,” Livaditis says, with a chuckle.

Celebrity sightings and associations are features of the Zesto Atlanta legacy. Pro basketball Hall of Famer Walt Frazier, who led the New York Knicks to two National Basketball Association championships (1970 and ’73), played high school sports at Atlanta’s David Tobias Howard High School. In a 2018 biography produced by MSG Networks, Frazier visits the Zesto on Ponce de Leon (now a Cook Out) where he did a stint as a “curb boy” when the restaurant only offered walk-up or dine-in-your-car service. During the segment Frazier reminisces with his former supervisors, the Giannakopoulos brothers.

Then there was the time (in 1979) a WSB-TV news reporter corralled Colonel Sanders at the defunct Zesto at Pershing Point after the goateed ambassador of Kentucky Fried Chicken was spotted enjoying one of his guilty pleasures, a Zesto milkshake.

More recently, people are still laughing at the “kids meal” scene from the first season (2016) of Donald Glover’s television series “Atlanta,” which was filmed at the East Atlanta Zesto. Cee Lo Green, Lil Yachty, and Shawn Reis (“Flash Gordon,” “Smallville”) have been spotted chilling at Zesto. One day, Livaditis and his three children were eating lunch at the Piedmont Road Zesto when they looked over and discovered they were dining with Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton (presumably during the off-season).

So, what’s the secret to Zesto's enduring allure and success?

“It’s hard to pin down, but part of it is a combination of nostalgia and relevance,” says Leigh Ann. “If you can maintain that nostalgic ‘Gee, this place is cool!’ factor, that’s great. But you also have to stay relevant by tapping into social media, updating the menu, and doing promotions that attract younger people.”

Livaditis adds: “We were laughing the other night. When Dad started Zesto, he wasn’t thinking, ‘I’m going to create something 1950s-ish because it’s trendy.’ He was just working with what was available. There is something compelling about the design of the drive-in and the feeling it generates, which has been glamorized by movies. But there is also an element of genuine authenticity, which you can’t force; it’s either present or it’s not.”

Seventy years down the road, thanks to a family’s work ethic and aspirational spirit, Zesto Atlanta stands as a worthy representative of the all-American drive-in food destination, as well as a cultural touchstone near and dear to the hearts, if not the digestive tracts, of the city’s inhabitants.

!!More than a place to eat
In researching this story, writer Doug DeLoach solicited memories of Zesto adventures from Atlanta stalwarts and friends. A selection of these recollections, mostly unedited follow. Others may be found on creativeloafing.com.

__Patricia Doyle O’Connor__
The day of my divorce, I was on my way home from signing papers and pretty broken. I walked into the Ponce (Zesto) location and had lunch. Looking up from my booth, I noticed a man running toward the front door, which faced the old Sears building, two Atlanta cops on his heels. When he hit the door, he jumped up on the first table to try to avoid the police who were getting their tear-gas canisters out. They chased him as he jumped from table to table in full run. I sorta ducked and covered my fries from the dirt flying. I couldn’t decide who to trip — them or him — so I just sheltered my food. When I did finally look up, nobody was left in the store, not a cook or waiter or customer — just me and a huge cloud of tear gas, which I didn’t feel until much later, in the shower for some reason. I continued eating alone.

__Faylynn Owen__
I was a regular at the Little Five Points location for a sweet tea after big nights. I loved their tea. I stumbled down there one morning/afternoon and got my tea. I made it out the door only to realize my magic elixir tasted like bad socks. I returned to the good-natured laughing of the staff, who knew exactly what happened. Someone new had made the tea. They then offered me my second choice, a cherry coke. Kudos to the staff.

__Dave Chamberlain__
One hot July day in 1979, my brother Tim and I were tooling along in his red VW bug on North Highland Avenue when we stopped at the red light at Ponce de Leon Avenue. The car in front of us had a sunroof, and we watched the driver make a valiant attempt to lob a bag through it and into a roadside garbage can. The shot, of course, was off by several feet and the bag landed rather close to our car. Feeling some ire at witnessing brazen littering, I leapt from the car to grab it and put it into the garbage receptacle when I noticed the telltale classic red-striped Zesto packaging. My brother hollered for me to just dump the damn bag and get the hell back in the car. I did, bag in hand. Peering inside, I exclaimed, “It’s a Zesto bag with a Chubby Decker! Uneaten!” Now, since Zesto makes the very finest of hangover recovery foods, and since the Chubby Decker is the apex hamburger invention on the planet, I was loathe to toss the bag and its tempting contents. I gazed adoringly at the burger as my brother intoned, “Dave, don’t do it.” Brushing off his plea, I devoured that perfect burger between Virginia Highlands and Midtown without concern for microbial attack. While my brother threatened to race to Grady Hospital as a precautionary measure, I enjoyed every bite. Such is the stuff of daft youth and my high regard for Zesto cuisine. Would I do it again? Never, ever, ever!

__Katy Graves__
I ran into Hosea Williams in the Zesto on Ponce way back in the day. He was in his trademark overalls, and he was really nice.

__Gail Harris__
I introduced myself to Hosea Williams at the Zesto on Moreland, had gone to high school with his son Andre.

__Kahle Davis__
I was walking to the Zesto in Little Five Points to get some soft-serve when I noticed a woman pooping on one of the walls. I turned around and went back to work.

__Bill Nittler__
Our new house had a very similar address to the Zesto on Ponce: same number, different Ponce (Ave. vs. Mnr.), and at one point UPS started delivering us all kinds of restaurant stuff. Coffee filters, straws, mop heads, adding-machine tape, etc. UPS eventually came and picked it all up after nagging from us and the restaurant. Sadder, when Cook Out moved in, they proceeded to put our address on their website, so we got a whole bunch more stuff, which they never came to get.

__Ginger Shyrock__
There was a certain female group in the ’80s whose initiation was to drink a bottle of Jägermeister and piss in the Little Five Points Zesto parking lot. They called themselves the Hellcats and, while the initiation was mostly a joke, a couple of them actually did it. I was an honorary member, as I didn’t do such things.

__Spencer L. Kirkpatrick__
Zesto at Confederate and Moreland avenues (East Atlanta location): I had a heated exchange with (the) cooks regarding long hair — lots of shit talk but no blows — a true standoff. Would have been 1966.

__Mark Michaelson__
Back in the mid-’60s, we would meet at the Zesto in Buckhead and get in our hopped-up cars and race down Roswell Road all the way to the river with radios loud. Lucky we’re all still standing. One of the cars was a ’62 Vette with a fuel-injected 327. Another one was one of my folks’ rides after we’d “fixed it up.”

__Janet Smith and her sister, Priscilla Smith__
Janet: Buying fried chicken livers back in the day.
Priscilla: Back in a month or so ago.
Janet: I had no idea they were still on the menu.
Priscilla: I always coveted the faded Brown Crown sign behind the counter in Little 5. Been gone a few years. In 1961 (?), all the kids on Clairmont Circle were excited because they were going to open one at North Decatur, across the street from the Colonial Store, and they had FOOT-LONG HOT DOGS!

__Amy Linton__
I was at the Little Five Points Zesto with my high school/college boyfriend. He was a musician/songwriter and when people would panhandle, he would see if he could get a song out of them instead of giving them any money. Occasionally, it put me in sketchy situations. One guy approached us in Zesto and started talking him up and then told me to put my hand out. My boyfriend insisted I do it and, not wanting to anger anyone, I put it out, palm up. “Not like you takin’ from me!” he yelled. I turned my hand over, and he tried to get my grandmother’s wedding band, which I always wore, off my hand. Hurt my hand and my boyfriend didn’t even try to defend me. I rarely go there now, but always think of that when I do!

__Kent Worley__
(The East Atlanta location) was my Zesto. We would stop there for pregame fulfillment before going to the Starlight Drive-In. I was a big fan of the foot-long chili slaw dog. The trick was getting a Nut Brown Crown home for my wife’s late-night munchies before it melted.

__Steve Gorman__
A large Fellini’s Special (Little Five Points) in 1987 was worth about six Zesto milkshakes, if memory serves. Not that we lowly employees would have bartered pizzas for shakes or anything.

__Guy Goodman__
Piedmont Road location at Lindbergh Drive, eight years old, throwing my paper route on a bicycle. Would get a Chubby Decker Basket for 50 cents. That came with fries, slaw, and a drink. My mum always wondered why I wasn’t hungry when I got home for dinner. Still friends with Crystal Sloan. Her dad owned all the Zestos in Atlanta: Big John Livaditis.

__Mark Greenberg__
Inman/Candler Park/Little Five Points: watching the sunset behind downtown through the picture window with my son Emmett, now 13. He’d get a kids’ cup and I’d get a chocolate-covered cone. Definitely, those were some great, quiet, midweek rituals! Let’s go, kiddo!

__John Kelly__
I melted down a ceiling tile with a mighty mole in 1992 and it stayed there all brown and bubbly until they sold out to the burger joint. -CL-"
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  string(17980) " Photo 5 Zesto Piedmont Ca 1962 Credit Zesto Atlanta Copy Vers 3  2019-09-03T19:56:46+00:00 Photo_5_Zesto_Piedmont_ca_1962_credit_Zesto_Atlanta_copy_vers_3.jpg   I worked at the Sears on Ponce De Leon in the '70s.........The Zesto on Ponce was a regular lunch spot for me......loved it atlanta little 5 points creative loafing zesto\'s Zesto Atlanta’s family affair marks a milestone of sweet and savory service 22725  2019-09-03T19:17:28+00:00 70 and Counting chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Doug DeLoach  2019-09-03T19:17:28+00:00  Back in the early 1970s, Jimbo Livaditis played youth baseball at Bagley Park (since renamed Frankie Allen Park) in the Garden Hills neighborhood in Buckhead. With some frequency, on the way home after a game or practice, the parents of Livaditis and his preteen teammates would take their Little Leaguers to the nearby Zesto for an ice cream treat or milkshake.

Cooling down in the summer, sipping chocolaty goodness through a straw or licking melted vanilla cream from the runnels of a crunchy sugar cone, a boy could easily slip into a daydream about hitting a grand slam to win the World Series or building a skyscraper in downtown Atlanta next to that new hotel with the blue-domed flying saucer on top. In Jimbo’s case, the idle musing took a different tack.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘One day, I hope this is mine,’” Livaditis says in a phone interview with CL. The young baseballer wearing the syrup-stained jersey had good reason to consider such an unusual prospect. His father, John Livaditis, owned the joint.

As a matter of fact, at the time, “Big John” Livaditis, a hard-working, entrepreneurial, first-generation son of Greek immigrants, owned multiple Zestos in Atlanta, including the city’s first — a walk-up, ice-cream-only stand — which opened in 1949. Later that same year, just a few years out of the Army, where he competed as a Golden Gloves boxer, Livaditis accepted a proposal from a tree grower and started selling Christmas trees in the parking lot on Peachtree Street at Brookwood Station. Thus was established Big John’s Christmas Trees, which helped fill the revenue gap during the holiday season when the demand for cold desserts tapered off.

“Dad always put in an incredible amount of hours,” Livaditis recalls. “A lot of times, we went to visit him after the game because he wasn’t able to attend, since he was working.”

By the mid-1980s, Big John was lording over a fiefdom of 10 metro Atlanta Zestos. In 1988, he retired, bequeathing the restaurant and Christmas tree businesses to sons Lee and (younger by eight years) Jimbo. Seven years later, Big John passed away. For the next three decades, the Livaditis brothers carried on, riding demographic tides and dallying with commercial developments by closing some Zestos, opening new stores and refurbishing others while tweaking the menu to accommodate the public’s trending palate.

In 2019, Zesto Atlanta President and CEO Jimbo Livaditis is presiding over a year-long celebration of a 70-year-old family enterprise. His wife, Leigh Ann, serves as company vice president and director of marketing and communications. The couple’s children work in one capacity or another for Big John’s Christmas Trees. Eldest son John is also involved with Zesto operations while finishing up college at Kennesaw State University. Lucas attends the University of South Carolina, and Anastasia is a senior at North Atlanta High School. Sadly, Lee is not around to raise a celebratory Nut Brown Crown with the family. Three years ago, he succumbed to lung cancer at age 66.

“It was a sudden, traumatizing and multilayered loss,” says Livaditis. “I no longer have my older brother’s advice to lean on or daily presence to cherish. I’ve had a crash course in wearing many more hats than I was used to. I’m still getting on my feet in some areas.”

Currently, the Livaditises operate four metro area Zestos: Buckhead, East Atlanta, Forest Park and Little Five Points (a fifth location, an independent franchise in Tyrone, is owned by a sister-in-law). Big John’s Christmas Trees, which peaked around the turn of the millennia at 22 locations, now stands at nine lots.

The family’s abiding commitment to the cause has been shared by a number of Zesto employees. Delores Slaughter, general manager of the Buckhead Zesto, has been with the company 41 years. East Atlanta GM Jimmy Koulouris has been clocking in for 45 years and counting. Two recently retired store managers, Pete Giannakopoulos and his brother Tommy, were Greek immigrants originally sponsored by Big John in the 1950s; their sister-in-law, Theoni Giannakopoulos, works at the Little Five Points Zesto.

“Our long-term employees know their customers and the customers know them, which adds to the authenticity of the Zesto experience,” says Leigh Ann. “You can’t easily create relationships and experiences like that in a branded business model.”

The original Zesto venture was spawned in 1945 by Rockford, Illinois-based Taylor Freezer Corporation, which manufactured a soft-serve ice cream machine called the Zest-O-Mat. Conceived as a competitor of Dairy Queen, the first Zesto stores were only equipped to serve ice cream. By the time Big John Livaditis opened his franchise in Atlanta, Zestos could be found in 46 states.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, America’s head-over-heels, pedal-to-the-metal love affair with automobiles, drive-ins, and fast food fueled the fortunes of Zesto and its rivals, which competed for customers by expanding their sweet and cool dessert menus with warm, savory fare. In 1959, Zesto introduced a double-patty hamburger originally named “Fat Boy,” which was renamed two years later when Shoney’s objected to the resemblance to the company’s signature “Big Boy” sandwich. Consequently, Big John held a contest, which was won by a Georgia Tech student who submitted Chubby Decker, with a nod to the contemporaneous rock ‘n’ roll star, as the two-tiered burger’s new moniker.

Then came the foot-long hot dog, which, based on innumerable unscientific surveys, is an incomplete construction without chili, if not slaw. “In the ’60s, my father had a Greek buddy in Pennsylvania named Gus,” says Livaditis. “He ran a chain called Coney Island, which offered a special chili dog. His success inspired my dad to perfect the chili recipe we still use today.”

Hand-cut onion rings, French fries, and fried chicken became staple menu items. Over the years, at various times and locations, Zesto customers could order a pizza burger, roast beef sandwich, grilled and toasted cheese sandwiches, and pork tenderloin. “There’s even a fish dog — two fish sticks on a foot-long bun with coleslaw and tartar sauce — which is on the ‘secret menu,’” Livaditis confides.

Recently, the influx of Hispanic and Latino residents across metro Atlanta neighborhoods spurred the addition of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and nachos to the menu at several Zesto locations. For 2019, a Spicy 70th Steakburger with bacon and Palmetto Cheese was introduced. Currently, the kitchen lab is putting the final tweaks on a mango milkshake. “It’s been a labor of love,” Livaditis says. “We want to get it just right using nothing artificial, just pure ingredients, fresh mangos with the right color, texture, and bite.”

Then as now, in acknowledgement of the restaurant’s Southern roots, fried livers and gizzards can be ordered at select Zesto locations. “I’ve been known to stop in and sample the livers and gizzards to make sure they’re up to our standards,” Livaditis says, with a chuckle.

Celebrity sightings and associations are features of the Zesto Atlanta legacy. Pro basketball Hall of Famer Walt Frazier, who led the New York Knicks to two National Basketball Association championships (1970 and ’73), played high school sports at Atlanta’s David Tobias Howard High School. In a 2018 biography produced by MSG Networks, Frazier visits the Zesto on Ponce de Leon (now a Cook Out) where he did a stint as a “curb boy” when the restaurant only offered walk-up or dine-in-your-car service. During the segment Frazier reminisces with his former supervisors, the Giannakopoulos brothers.

Then there was the time (in 1979) a WSB-TV news reporter corralled Colonel Sanders at the defunct Zesto at Pershing Point after the goateed ambassador of Kentucky Fried Chicken was spotted enjoying one of his guilty pleasures, a Zesto milkshake.

More recently, people are still laughing at the “kids meal” scene from the first season (2016) of Donald Glover’s television series “Atlanta,” which was filmed at the East Atlanta Zesto. Cee Lo Green, Lil Yachty, and Shawn Reis (“Flash Gordon,” “Smallville”) have been spotted chilling at Zesto. One day, Livaditis and his three children were eating lunch at the Piedmont Road Zesto when they looked over and discovered they were dining with Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton (presumably during the off-season).

So, what’s the secret to Zesto's enduring allure and success?

“It’s hard to pin down, but part of it is a combination of nostalgia and relevance,” says Leigh Ann. “If you can maintain that nostalgic ‘Gee, this place is cool!’ factor, that’s great. But you also have to stay relevant by tapping into social media, updating the menu, and doing promotions that attract younger people.”

Livaditis adds: “We were laughing the other night. When Dad started Zesto, he wasn’t thinking, ‘I’m going to create something 1950s-ish because it’s trendy.’ He was just working with what was available. There is something compelling about the design of the drive-in and the feeling it generates, which has been glamorized by movies. But there is also an element of genuine authenticity, which you can’t force; it’s either present or it’s not.”

Seventy years down the road, thanks to a family’s work ethic and aspirational spirit, Zesto Atlanta stands as a worthy representative of the all-American drive-in food destination, as well as a cultural touchstone near and dear to the hearts, if not the digestive tracts, of the city’s inhabitants.

!!More than a place to eat
In researching this story, writer Doug DeLoach solicited memories of Zesto adventures from Atlanta stalwarts and friends. A selection of these recollections, mostly unedited follow. Others may be found on creativeloafing.com.

Patricia Doyle O’Connor
The day of my divorce, I was on my way home from signing papers and pretty broken. I walked into the Ponce (Zesto) location and had lunch. Looking up from my booth, I noticed a man running toward the front door, which faced the old Sears building, two Atlanta cops on his heels. When he hit the door, he jumped up on the first table to try to avoid the police who were getting their tear-gas canisters out. They chased him as he jumped from table to table in full run. I sorta ducked and covered my fries from the dirt flying. I couldn’t decide who to trip — them or him — so I just sheltered my food. When I did finally look up, nobody was left in the store, not a cook or waiter or customer — just me and a huge cloud of tear gas, which I didn’t feel until much later, in the shower for some reason. I continued eating alone.

Faylynn Owen
I was a regular at the Little Five Points location for a sweet tea after big nights. I loved their tea. I stumbled down there one morning/afternoon and got my tea. I made it out the door only to realize my magic elixir tasted like bad socks. I returned to the good-natured laughing of the staff, who knew exactly what happened. Someone new had made the tea. They then offered me my second choice, a cherry coke. Kudos to the staff.

Dave Chamberlain
One hot July day in 1979, my brother Tim and I were tooling along in his red VW bug on North Highland Avenue when we stopped at the red light at Ponce de Leon Avenue. The car in front of us had a sunroof, and we watched the driver make a valiant attempt to lob a bag through it and into a roadside garbage can. The shot, of course, was off by several feet and the bag landed rather close to our car. Feeling some ire at witnessing brazen littering, I leapt from the car to grab it and put it into the garbage receptacle when I noticed the telltale classic red-striped Zesto packaging. My brother hollered for me to just dump the damn bag and get the hell back in the car. I did, bag in hand. Peering inside, I exclaimed, “It’s a Zesto bag with a Chubby Decker! Uneaten!” Now, since Zesto makes the very finest of hangover recovery foods, and since the Chubby Decker is the apex hamburger invention on the planet, I was loathe to toss the bag and its tempting contents. I gazed adoringly at the burger as my brother intoned, “Dave, don’t do it.” Brushing off his plea, I devoured that perfect burger between Virginia Highlands and Midtown without concern for microbial attack. While my brother threatened to race to Grady Hospital as a precautionary measure, I enjoyed every bite. Such is the stuff of daft youth and my high regard for Zesto cuisine. Would I do it again? Never, ever, ever!

Katy Graves
I ran into Hosea Williams in the Zesto on Ponce way back in the day. He was in his trademark overalls, and he was really nice.

Gail Harris
I introduced myself to Hosea Williams at the Zesto on Moreland, had gone to high school with his son Andre.

Kahle Davis
I was walking to the Zesto in Little Five Points to get some soft-serve when I noticed a woman pooping on one of the walls. I turned around and went back to work.

Bill Nittler
Our new house had a very similar address to the Zesto on Ponce: same number, different Ponce (Ave. vs. Mnr.), and at one point UPS started delivering us all kinds of restaurant stuff. Coffee filters, straws, mop heads, adding-machine tape, etc. UPS eventually came and picked it all up after nagging from us and the restaurant. Sadder, when Cook Out moved in, they proceeded to put our address on their website, so we got a whole bunch more stuff, which they never came to get.

Ginger Shyrock
There was a certain female group in the ’80s whose initiation was to drink a bottle of Jägermeister and piss in the Little Five Points Zesto parking lot. They called themselves the Hellcats and, while the initiation was mostly a joke, a couple of them actually did it. I was an honorary member, as I didn’t do such things.

Spencer L. Kirkpatrick
Zesto at Confederate and Moreland avenues (East Atlanta location): I had a heated exchange with (the) cooks regarding long hair — lots of shit talk but no blows — a true standoff. Would have been 1966.

Mark Michaelson
Back in the mid-’60s, we would meet at the Zesto in Buckhead and get in our hopped-up cars and race down Roswell Road all the way to the river with radios loud. Lucky we’re all still standing. One of the cars was a ’62 Vette with a fuel-injected 327. Another one was one of my folks’ rides after we’d “fixed it up.”

Janet Smith and her sister, Priscilla Smith
Janet: Buying fried chicken livers back in the day.
Priscilla: Back in a month or so ago.
Janet: I had no idea they were still on the menu.
Priscilla: I always coveted the faded Brown Crown sign behind the counter in Little 5. Been gone a few years. In 1961 (?), all the kids on Clairmont Circle were excited because they were going to open one at North Decatur, across the street from the Colonial Store, and they had FOOT-LONG HOT DOGS!

Amy Linton
I was at the Little Five Points Zesto with my high school/college boyfriend. He was a musician/songwriter and when people would panhandle, he would see if he could get a song out of them instead of giving them any money. Occasionally, it put me in sketchy situations. One guy approached us in Zesto and started talking him up and then told me to put my hand out. My boyfriend insisted I do it and, not wanting to anger anyone, I put it out, palm up. “Not like you takin’ from me!” he yelled. I turned my hand over, and he tried to get my grandmother’s wedding band, which I always wore, off my hand. Hurt my hand and my boyfriend didn’t even try to defend me. I rarely go there now, but always think of that when I do!

Kent Worley
(The East Atlanta location) was my Zesto. We would stop there for pregame fulfillment before going to the Starlight Drive-In. I was a big fan of the foot-long chili slaw dog. The trick was getting a Nut Brown Crown home for my wife’s late-night munchies before it melted.

Steve Gorman
A large Fellini’s Special (Little Five Points) in 1987 was worth about six Zesto milkshakes, if memory serves. Not that we lowly employees would have bartered pizzas for shakes or anything.

Guy Goodman
Piedmont Road location at Lindbergh Drive, eight years old, throwing my paper route on a bicycle. Would get a Chubby Decker Basket for 50 cents. That came with fries, slaw, and a drink. My mum always wondered why I wasn’t hungry when I got home for dinner. Still friends with Crystal Sloan. Her dad owned all the Zestos in Atlanta: Big John Livaditis.

Mark Greenberg
Inman/Candler Park/Little Five Points: watching the sunset behind downtown through the picture window with my son Emmett, now 13. He’d get a kids’ cup and I’d get a chocolate-covered cone. Definitely, those were some great, quiet, midweek rituals! Let’s go, kiddo!

John Kelly
I melted down a ceiling tile with a mighty mole in 1992 and it stayed there all brown and bubbly until they sold out to the burger joint. -CL-    Zesto Atlanta Zesto parking lot at 2439 Piedmont Road (ca. 1962) prior to its relocation down the street.  0,0,15    Zesto's Atlanta "Little 5 Points" "Creative Loafing"                              70 and Counting "
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Cabbagetown Chronicles is a recording-project-in-process spearheaded by Kelly along with John Dirga, who books the annual “ Chomp & Stomp Chili Cook-off and Bluegrass Festival ,” and Steve Seachrist, sound engineer and co-founder with viola player Katie Butler of The Chumblers. Scheduled for release in the fall, Cabbagetown Chronicles features a unique track selection format to showcase original, cover, and never-before-released material by former inhabitants of Cabbagetown — the neighborhood squeezed into a small spiderweb of streets flanked by Oakland Cemetery to the west, the railroad yards to the north, Pearl Street to the east, and Memorial Boulevard to the south. Contributors to the project include Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Elise Witt (Small Family Orchestra), Kelly Hogan (The Jody Grind), Tommy Roe, Fiddlin’ John Carson, Joyce Brookshire, members of the Opal Foxx Quartet and Smoke, The Rock*A*Teens, and a specially formed gospel troupe from a local Pentecostal church.

“For a hundred years, Cabbagetown has been a powerful, nurturing environment for a wide array of music,” says Kelly, who periodically contributes to Creative Loafing. “It’s a phenomenon that needed to be documented in a tangible, lasting way.”

In 1992, Kelly purchased a single-story home with an front porch glider on Pearl Street. Today, he and his cohorts are plumbing the rich musical legacy of their neighborhood from multiple intersecting angles. Last year, the trio launched the Cabbagetown Concert Series (CCS). The next event in the series, on Thursday, June 20, is a double bill featuring the Parsons Rocket Project with K. Michelle DuBois and W8ing4UFOs. Both DuBois and W8ing4UFOs are featured on Cabbagetown Chronicles, covering songs by seminal Cabbagetown artists and contributing original work.

Two more CCS events are on the 2019 calendar, each on the third Thursday in September and October. All of the concerts are staged outdoors in Cabbagetown Park in the Joyce Brookshire Amphitheater, named for the late folk singer-songwriter, community activist, and descendent of the original Cabbagetown community who died in 2017. Brookshire’s music is celebrated on Cabbagetown Chronicles by close friend and singer-songwriter Elise Witt.

“The last time I saw Joyce, she was in the hospital, lying in her bed in a coma,” Witt says. “I started singing and she started singing with me — in harmony. We sang six or seven songs.”

Cabbagetown as a music mecca dates to the late 1800s and the construction of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, now the site of Fulton Mill Loft Apartments and The Stacks Condominiums, on the southeast corner of downtown. Adjacent to the textile manufacturing facility, the original owners constructed the “Factory Lot,” a warren of small, one- and two-story cottages and shotgun shacks where mill workers were cheaply and conveniently housed. For reasons that remain in dispute, the “Factory Lot” eventually became known as Cabbagetown.

Lured by the promise of steady factory work, which was somewhat less arduous and dangerous than coal mining and not nearly as fickle as farming, many of the first Cabbagetown residents hailed from the Piedmont lowlands and other Appalachian locales. Others came from the back hollers and cotton fields surrounding post-Reconstruction era Atlanta, as well as the city’s sizable population of hardscrabble denizens and itinerant laborers. At the height of production, the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill employed around 2,600 people.

One of those employees was John Carson, an experienced textile worker and prodigious fiddle player from north Georgia who in 1911 moved with his family into a four-room house on Carroll Street. When his 11-hour shift operating a weaving machine ended, Carson busked the streets of Cabbagetown and neighboring enclaves for pocket change. He also competed in contests, which he usually won, at state fairs and showcase venues, such as the Municipal Auditorium (now Georgia State University’s Dahlberg Hall). Regular appearances on broadcasts from the studio of newly established WSB, the South’s first major commercial radio station, elevated Carson’s stature as one of the state’s most popular entertainers.

In June 1923, engineers from New York-based Okeh Records set up a temporary recording studio in a vacant building on Nassau Street in downtown Atlanta. Using one of the first portable recording machines, the Okeh crew documented Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” and “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow.” Sales of the resulting 78 rpm record established Fiddlin’ John Carson as a bona fide national celebrity and, in hindsight, signaled the arrival of the genre now commonly known as “country music.”

Cabbagetown Chronicles is organized in a series of tripartite track groupings. Each grouping features an original song by a seminal Cabbagetown musician, a cover of one of the artist’s songs by a current or former Cabbagetown musician or band, plus an original song by the same musician/band.

The album kicks off with Fiddlin’ John Carson’s 1924 recording of “Boil Dem Cabbage Down,” a traditional folk song, which predates Cabbagetown. The Carroll Street Troubadours, a group of area residents who regularly perform at The Patch Works Art & History Center , are contributing a Fiddlin’ John cover, which the band has not yet chosen. The Troubadours original selection is titled "Hell No.”

Tommy Roe, one of the biggest names from the world of bubblegum pop in the 1960s, known for Top 40 radio hits including “Sheila” and, “Dizzy,” lived on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown for the first six years of his life. His memoir, From Cabbagetown to Tinseltown, was published in 2016. When Kelly contacted Roe about the Cabbagetown Chronicles, the mostly now-retired singer, who toured England with The Beatles in 1963, was eager to contribute to the project.

Roe authorized the use of “Cabbagetown,” a guitar-twanging, classic country fandango from a 2019 EP titled Tommy Roe Meets Barefoot Jerry. The four-track release, recorded in Nashville, features Roe with longtime session guitarist Wayne Moss who played on Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” among other landmark recordings. On Cabbagetown Chronicles, Roe’s ode to his beloved home village is matched by K. Michelle DuBois covering his 1970 single “Pearl,” plus one of her originals, yet to be chosen.

“When I first heard Tommy’s song, I almost cried,” Kelly says. “It set the bar very high for everything else we’re doing.”

The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill closed in 1977, leaving Cabbagetown a blighted community isolated by urban geography, economic prospects, and cultural proclivities. Many of the original residents and their offspring fled for greener pastures.

In the mid-1980s, John D. Thomas, then a CL staffer with an irascible sense of humor and a gift for bohemian rabble-rousing, pioneered the occupation of Cabbagetown’s empty, neglected abodes, spurred by the lure of the cheapest rent in the city and a youthful urge to become a global superstar.

Soon, a subculture of musicians emerged. Bound by a no-holds-barred, DIY aesthetic, they wrote songs while lounging on each other’s thrift-store couches. They practiced and partied like it was the 1980s in each other’s front porches, dilapidated kitchens, and bedrooms. The Chowder Shouters with Thomas, roommate Eric Kaiser, and Cleveland transplant Bill Taft; An Evening with the Garbageman, Taft’s band that spawned The Jody Grind; The Opal Foxx Quartet, another Taft project, which led to Smoke, both featuring the inimitable vocal styling of the late Robert Curtis “Benjamin” Dickerson; Slim Chance & the Convicts; Amy Pike and Greasetrap; Dirt; Seersucker; and countless others played in ramshackle honky tonks like the White Dot, the Austin Avenue Buffet, Sylvia’s Atomic Café, Dottie’s, and The Clermont Lounge, as well as in warehouse spaces including Pillowtex, the Mattress Factory, and 800 East.

Cabbagetown Chronicles documents this extraordinarily fertile period in the neighborhood’s history with several track groupings including a yet-to-be-revealed recording by Cat Power, Chan Marshall’s nom du art, combined with W8ing4UFOs’ cover of “Headlights.” The latter, a nightmarish first-person account of a fatal car wreck, received limited distribution as a single in 1993. A subsequent version, with different accompanists, was included on Cat Power’s 1995 debut album, Dear Sir.

Most analyses of “Headlight’s” fail to note the song’s significance as a darkly elegiac tribute to three of Marshall’s friends who lost their lives in an automobile accident in April 1992. Tim Ruttenber, better known as poet- performance-artist Deacon Lunchbox; Robert Hayes, bassist for The Jody Grind, with whom Marshall once shared a house in Cabbagetown; and the band’s drummer, Robert Clayton, were returning to Atlanta from a gig in Pensacola when their car was struck head-on by a drunk driver whose motor home crossed the grassy interstate divider.

“Yes, ‘Headlights’ is about the accident on Easter morning,” Marshall confirms in an email exchange. “The black crows were all gathered in a nearby tree,” she recalls, “all cawing and suddenly silent when I began weeping, when I went to sit with Robert Hayes at his grave the day I left to move to New York City.”

The torchy southern-fried brilliance of Jody Grind vocalist and former Cabbagetown resident Kelly Hogan is showcased on a still-to-be- determined recording from the period between the quartet’s first (One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure, 1990) and second (Lefty’s Deceiver, 1992) albums on DB Recs. The Chumblers will cover The Jody Grind’s “ Eight-Ball ”; their original contribution is called “Ghost Story.”

Many Cabbagetown Chronicles track groupings have blank spaces to be filled out. The Opal Foxx Quartet/Smoke entry features a TBA recording currently under consideration by Taft and W8ing4UFOs cellist and former Opal Foxx/Smoke bandmate Brian Halloran. That selection will be allied with a performance of “Somebody's House Always Burns at Christmas” by T. Thomas Mahoney, plus a Mahoney original. The Rock*A*Teens have yet to choose their showcase number, while their song, “Arm in Arm In the Golden Twilite, We Loitered On,” is covered by Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause. And the list goes on.

From the roots of country music to the heights of international pop stardom, Cabbagetown Chronicles traces an arc of artistic expression through the music of people who lived, loved, laughed, and struggled in a village wrought by Southern industrialization after the Civil War. The album’s producers hope to release a video document of the project. The plan is to schedule a CD-release show at the Milltown Arms Tavern and have CDs for sale at Cabbagetown’s Chomp & Stomp Festival in November. All proceeds will be donated to the Patch Works Art & History Center.

“This is something I can do to give back to the community,” says Kelly, who routinely holds yard sales of records, CDs, and DVDs that he’s collected, to benefit musicians with health problems and doctor bills.

It’s a gift that promises to benefit a much larger community of music lovers and historians."
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  string(11871) "Documenting a century’s worth of music-making in one of Atlanta’s most historically idiosyncratic neighborhoods is a daunting task. Rising to the challenge is James Kelly, a behavioral psychologist, songwriter, leader of Slim Chance & the Convicts, and longtime resident of Cabbagetown.

''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' is a recording-project-in-process spearheaded by Kelly along with John Dirga, who books the annual “ Chomp & Stomp Chili Cook-off and Bluegrass Festival ,” and Steve Seachrist, sound engineer and co-founder with viola player Katie Butler of The Chumblers. Scheduled for release in the fall, ''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' features a unique track selection format to showcase original, cover, and never-before-released material by former inhabitants of Cabbagetown — the neighborhood squeezed into a small spiderweb of streets flanked by Oakland Cemetery to the west, the railroad yards to the north, Pearl Street to the east, and Memorial Boulevard to the south. Contributors to the project include Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Elise Witt (Small Family Orchestra), Kelly Hogan (The Jody Grind), Tommy Roe, Fiddlin’ John Carson, Joyce Brookshire, members of the Opal Foxx Quartet and Smoke, The Rock*A*Teens, and a specially formed gospel troupe from a local Pentecostal church.

“For a hundred years, Cabbagetown has been a powerful, nurturing environment for a wide array of music,” says Kelly, who periodically contributes to ''Creative Loafing''. “It’s a phenomenon that needed to be documented in a tangible, lasting way.”

In 1992, Kelly purchased a single-story home with an front porch glider on Pearl Street. Today, he and his cohorts are plumbing the rich musical legacy of their neighborhood from multiple intersecting angles. Last year, the trio launched the Cabbagetown Concert Series (CCS). The next event in the series, on Thursday, June 20, is a double bill featuring the Parsons Rocket Project with K. Michelle DuBois and W8ing4UFOs. Both DuBois and W8ing4UFOs are featured on ''Cabbagetown Chronicles,'' covering songs by seminal Cabbagetown artists and contributing original work.

Two more CCS events are on the 2019 calendar, each on the third Thursday in September and October. All of the concerts are staged outdoors in Cabbagetown Park in the Joyce Brookshire Amphitheater, named for the late folk singer-songwriter, community activist, and descendent of the original Cabbagetown community who died in 2017. Brookshire’s music is celebrated on ''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' by close friend and singer-songwriter Elise Witt.

“The last time I saw Joyce, she was in the hospital, lying in her bed in a coma,” Witt says. “I started singing and she started singing with me — in harmony. We sang six or seven songs.”

Cabbagetown as a music mecca dates to the late 1800s and the construction of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, now the site of Fulton Mill Loft Apartments and The Stacks Condominiums, on the southeast corner of downtown. Adjacent to the textile manufacturing facility, the original owners constructed the “Factory Lot,” a warren of small, one- and two-story cottages and shotgun shacks where mill workers were cheaply and conveniently housed. For reasons that remain in dispute, the “Factory Lot” eventually became known as Cabbagetown.

Lured by the promise of steady factory work, which was somewhat less arduous and dangerous than coal mining and not nearly as fickle as farming, many of the first Cabbagetown residents hailed from the Piedmont lowlands and other Appalachian locales. Others came from the back hollers and cotton fields surrounding post-Reconstruction era Atlanta, as well as the city’s sizable population of hardscrabble denizens and itinerant laborers. At the height of production, the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill employed around 2,600 people.

One of those employees was John Carson, an experienced textile worker and prodigious fiddle player from north Georgia who in 1911 moved with his family into a four-room house on Carroll Street. When his 11-hour shift operating a weaving machine ended, Carson busked the streets of Cabbagetown and neighboring enclaves for pocket change. He also competed in contests, which he usually won, at state fairs and showcase venues, such as the Municipal Auditorium (now Georgia State University’s Dahlberg Hall). Regular appearances on broadcasts from the studio of newly established WSB, the South’s first major commercial radio station, elevated Carson’s stature as one of the state’s most popular entertainers.

In June 1923, engineers from New York-based Okeh Records set up a temporary recording studio in a vacant building on Nassau Street in downtown Atlanta. Using one of the first portable recording machines, the Okeh crew documented Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” and “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow.” Sales of the resulting 78 rpm record established Fiddlin’ John Carson as a bona fide national celebrity and, in hindsight, signaled the arrival of the genre now commonly known as “country music.”

''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' is organized in a series of tripartite track groupings. Each grouping features an original song by a seminal Cabbagetown musician, a cover of one of the artist’s songs by a current or former Cabbagetown musician or band, plus an original song by the same musician/band.

The album kicks off with Fiddlin’ John Carson’s 1924 recording of “Boil Dem Cabbage Down,” a traditional folk song, which predates Cabbagetown. The Carroll Street Troubadours, a group of area residents who regularly perform at The Patch Works Art & History Center , are contributing a Fiddlin’ John cover, which the band has not yet chosen. The Troubadours original selection is titled "Hell No.”

Tommy Roe, one of the biggest names from the world of bubblegum pop in the 1960s, known for Top 40 radio hits including “Sheila” and, “Dizzy,” lived on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown for the first six years of his life. His memoir, ''From Cabbagetown to Tinseltown,'' was published in 2016. When Kelly contacted Roe about the ''Cabbagetown Chronicles,'' the mostly now-retired singer, who toured England with The Beatles in 1963, was eager to contribute to the project.

Roe authorized the use of “Cabbagetown,” a guitar-twanging, classic country fandango from a 2019 EP titled ''Tommy Roe Meets Barefoot Jerry.'' The four-track release, recorded in Nashville, features Roe with longtime session guitarist Wayne Moss who played on Bob Dylan’s ''Blonde on Blonde'' and Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” among other landmark recordings. On ''Cabbagetown Chronicles,'' Roe’s ode to his beloved home village is matched by K. Michelle DuBois covering his 1970 single “Pearl,” plus one of her originals, yet to be chosen.

“When I first heard Tommy’s song, I almost cried,” Kelly says. “It set the bar very high for everything else we’re doing.”

The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill closed in 1977, leaving Cabbagetown a blighted community isolated by urban geography, economic prospects, and cultural proclivities. Many of the original residents and their offspring fled for greener pastures.

In the mid-1980s, John D. Thomas, then a ''CL'' staffer with an irascible sense of humor and a gift for bohemian rabble-rousing, pioneered the occupation of Cabbagetown’s empty, neglected abodes, spurred by the lure of the cheapest rent in the city and a youthful urge to become a global superstar.

Soon, a subculture of musicians emerged. Bound by a no-holds-barred, DIY aesthetic, they wrote songs while lounging on each other’s thrift-store couches. They practiced and partied like it was the 1980s in each other’s front porches, dilapidated kitchens, and bedrooms. The Chowder Shouters with Thomas, roommate Eric Kaiser, and Cleveland transplant Bill Taft; An Evening with the Garbageman, Taft’s band that spawned The Jody Grind; The Opal Foxx Quartet, another Taft project, which led to Smoke, both featuring the inimitable vocal styling of the late Robert Curtis “Benjamin” Dickerson; Slim Chance & the Convicts; Amy Pike and Greasetrap; Dirt; Seersucker; and countless others played in ramshackle honky tonks like the White Dot, the Austin Avenue Buffet, Sylvia’s Atomic Café, Dottie’s, and The Clermont Lounge, as well as in warehouse spaces including Pillowtex, the Mattress Factory, and 800 East.

''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' documents this extraordinarily fertile period in the neighborhood’s history with several track groupings including a yet-to-be-revealed recording by Cat Power, Chan Marshall’s nom du art, combined with W8ing4UFOs’ cover of “Headlights.” The latter, a nightmarish first-person account of a fatal car wreck, received limited distribution as a single in 1993. A subsequent version, with different accompanists, was included on Cat Power’s 1995 debut album, ''Dear Sir.''

Most analyses of “Headlight’s” fail to note the song’s significance as a darkly elegiac tribute to three of Marshall’s friends who lost their lives in an automobile accident in April 1992. Tim Ruttenber, better known as poet- performance-artist Deacon Lunchbox; Robert Hayes, bassist for The Jody Grind, with whom Marshall once shared a house in Cabbagetown; and the band’s drummer, Robert Clayton, were returning to Atlanta from a gig in Pensacola when their car was struck head-on by a drunk driver whose motor home crossed the grassy interstate divider.

“Yes, ‘Headlights’ is about the accident on Easter morning,” Marshall confirms in an email exchange. “The black crows were all gathered in a nearby tree,” she recalls, “all cawing and suddenly silent when I began weeping, when I went to sit with Robert Hayes at his grave the day I left to move to New York City.”

The torchy southern-fried brilliance of Jody Grind vocalist and former Cabbagetown resident Kelly Hogan is showcased on a still-to-be- determined recording from the period between the quartet’s first (''One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure,'' 1990) and second (''Lefty’s Deceiver,'' 1992) albums on DB Recs. The Chumblers will cover The Jody Grind’s “ Eight-Ball ”; their original contribution is called “Ghost Story.”

Many ''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' track groupings have blank spaces to be filled out. The Opal Foxx Quartet/Smoke entry features a TBA recording currently under consideration by Taft and W8ing4UFOs cellist and former Opal Foxx/Smoke bandmate Brian Halloran. That selection will be allied with a performance of “Somebody's House Always Burns at Christmas” by T. Thomas Mahoney, plus a Mahoney original. The Rock*A*Teens have yet to choose their showcase number, while their song, “Arm in Arm In the Golden Twilite, We Loitered On,” is covered by Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause. And the list goes on.

From the roots of country music to the heights of international pop stardom, ''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' traces an arc of artistic expression through the music of people who lived, loved, laughed, and struggled in a village wrought by Southern industrialization after the Civil War. The album’s producers hope to release a video document of the project. The plan is to schedule a CD-release show at the Milltown Arms Tavern and have CDs for sale at Cabbagetown’s Chomp & Stomp Festival in November. All proceeds will be donated to the Patch Works Art & History Center.

“This is something I can do to give back to the community,” says Kelly, who routinely holds yard sales of records, CDs, and DVDs that he’s collected, to benefit musicians with health problems and doctor bills.

It’s a gift that promises to benefit a much larger community of music lovers and historians."
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  string(12338) " Photo #3 Slim & Convicts Session Bryan Brownlow  2019-06-06T17:09:32+00:00 Photo_#3_Slim_&_Convicts_session_Bryan_Brownlow.jpg     The onetime mill town has nurtured a diverse music scene 18590  2019-06-06T16:56:55+00:00 LISTENING POST: Chronicling the ‘Cabbagetown Chronicles’ will.cardwell@gmail.com Will Cardwell Doug DeLoach  2019-06-06T16:56:55+00:00  Documenting a century’s worth of music-making in one of Atlanta’s most historically idiosyncratic neighborhoods is a daunting task. Rising to the challenge is James Kelly, a behavioral psychologist, songwriter, leader of Slim Chance & the Convicts, and longtime resident of Cabbagetown.

Cabbagetown Chronicles is a recording-project-in-process spearheaded by Kelly along with John Dirga, who books the annual “ Chomp & Stomp Chili Cook-off and Bluegrass Festival ,” and Steve Seachrist, sound engineer and co-founder with viola player Katie Butler of The Chumblers. Scheduled for release in the fall, Cabbagetown Chronicles features a unique track selection format to showcase original, cover, and never-before-released material by former inhabitants of Cabbagetown — the neighborhood squeezed into a small spiderweb of streets flanked by Oakland Cemetery to the west, the railroad yards to the north, Pearl Street to the east, and Memorial Boulevard to the south. Contributors to the project include Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Elise Witt (Small Family Orchestra), Kelly Hogan (The Jody Grind), Tommy Roe, Fiddlin’ John Carson, Joyce Brookshire, members of the Opal Foxx Quartet and Smoke, The Rock*A*Teens, and a specially formed gospel troupe from a local Pentecostal church.

“For a hundred years, Cabbagetown has been a powerful, nurturing environment for a wide array of music,” says Kelly, who periodically contributes to Creative Loafing. “It’s a phenomenon that needed to be documented in a tangible, lasting way.”

In 1992, Kelly purchased a single-story home with an front porch glider on Pearl Street. Today, he and his cohorts are plumbing the rich musical legacy of their neighborhood from multiple intersecting angles. Last year, the trio launched the Cabbagetown Concert Series (CCS). The next event in the series, on Thursday, June 20, is a double bill featuring the Parsons Rocket Project with K. Michelle DuBois and W8ing4UFOs. Both DuBois and W8ing4UFOs are featured on Cabbagetown Chronicles, covering songs by seminal Cabbagetown artists and contributing original work.

Two more CCS events are on the 2019 calendar, each on the third Thursday in September and October. All of the concerts are staged outdoors in Cabbagetown Park in the Joyce Brookshire Amphitheater, named for the late folk singer-songwriter, community activist, and descendent of the original Cabbagetown community who died in 2017. Brookshire’s music is celebrated on Cabbagetown Chronicles by close friend and singer-songwriter Elise Witt.

“The last time I saw Joyce, she was in the hospital, lying in her bed in a coma,” Witt says. “I started singing and she started singing with me — in harmony. We sang six or seven songs.”

Cabbagetown as a music mecca dates to the late 1800s and the construction of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, now the site of Fulton Mill Loft Apartments and The Stacks Condominiums, on the southeast corner of downtown. Adjacent to the textile manufacturing facility, the original owners constructed the “Factory Lot,” a warren of small, one- and two-story cottages and shotgun shacks where mill workers were cheaply and conveniently housed. For reasons that remain in dispute, the “Factory Lot” eventually became known as Cabbagetown.

Lured by the promise of steady factory work, which was somewhat less arduous and dangerous than coal mining and not nearly as fickle as farming, many of the first Cabbagetown residents hailed from the Piedmont lowlands and other Appalachian locales. Others came from the back hollers and cotton fields surrounding post-Reconstruction era Atlanta, as well as the city’s sizable population of hardscrabble denizens and itinerant laborers. At the height of production, the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill employed around 2,600 people.

One of those employees was John Carson, an experienced textile worker and prodigious fiddle player from north Georgia who in 1911 moved with his family into a four-room house on Carroll Street. When his 11-hour shift operating a weaving machine ended, Carson busked the streets of Cabbagetown and neighboring enclaves for pocket change. He also competed in contests, which he usually won, at state fairs and showcase venues, such as the Municipal Auditorium (now Georgia State University’s Dahlberg Hall). Regular appearances on broadcasts from the studio of newly established WSB, the South’s first major commercial radio station, elevated Carson’s stature as one of the state’s most popular entertainers.

In June 1923, engineers from New York-based Okeh Records set up a temporary recording studio in a vacant building on Nassau Street in downtown Atlanta. Using one of the first portable recording machines, the Okeh crew documented Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” and “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow.” Sales of the resulting 78 rpm record established Fiddlin’ John Carson as a bona fide national celebrity and, in hindsight, signaled the arrival of the genre now commonly known as “country music.”

Cabbagetown Chronicles is organized in a series of tripartite track groupings. Each grouping features an original song by a seminal Cabbagetown musician, a cover of one of the artist’s songs by a current or former Cabbagetown musician or band, plus an original song by the same musician/band.

The album kicks off with Fiddlin’ John Carson’s 1924 recording of “Boil Dem Cabbage Down,” a traditional folk song, which predates Cabbagetown. The Carroll Street Troubadours, a group of area residents who regularly perform at The Patch Works Art & History Center , are contributing a Fiddlin’ John cover, which the band has not yet chosen. The Troubadours original selection is titled "Hell No.”

Tommy Roe, one of the biggest names from the world of bubblegum pop in the 1960s, known for Top 40 radio hits including “Sheila” and, “Dizzy,” lived on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown for the first six years of his life. His memoir, From Cabbagetown to Tinseltown, was published in 2016. When Kelly contacted Roe about the Cabbagetown Chronicles, the mostly now-retired singer, who toured England with The Beatles in 1963, was eager to contribute to the project.

Roe authorized the use of “Cabbagetown,” a guitar-twanging, classic country fandango from a 2019 EP titled Tommy Roe Meets Barefoot Jerry. The four-track release, recorded in Nashville, features Roe with longtime session guitarist Wayne Moss who played on Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” among other landmark recordings. On Cabbagetown Chronicles, Roe’s ode to his beloved home village is matched by K. Michelle DuBois covering his 1970 single “Pearl,” plus one of her originals, yet to be chosen.

“When I first heard Tommy’s song, I almost cried,” Kelly says. “It set the bar very high for everything else we’re doing.”

The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill closed in 1977, leaving Cabbagetown a blighted community isolated by urban geography, economic prospects, and cultural proclivities. Many of the original residents and their offspring fled for greener pastures.

In the mid-1980s, John D. Thomas, then a CL staffer with an irascible sense of humor and a gift for bohemian rabble-rousing, pioneered the occupation of Cabbagetown’s empty, neglected abodes, spurred by the lure of the cheapest rent in the city and a youthful urge to become a global superstar.

Soon, a subculture of musicians emerged. Bound by a no-holds-barred, DIY aesthetic, they wrote songs while lounging on each other’s thrift-store couches. They practiced and partied like it was the 1980s in each other’s front porches, dilapidated kitchens, and bedrooms. The Chowder Shouters with Thomas, roommate Eric Kaiser, and Cleveland transplant Bill Taft; An Evening with the Garbageman, Taft’s band that spawned The Jody Grind; The Opal Foxx Quartet, another Taft project, which led to Smoke, both featuring the inimitable vocal styling of the late Robert Curtis “Benjamin” Dickerson; Slim Chance & the Convicts; Amy Pike and Greasetrap; Dirt; Seersucker; and countless others played in ramshackle honky tonks like the White Dot, the Austin Avenue Buffet, Sylvia’s Atomic Café, Dottie’s, and The Clermont Lounge, as well as in warehouse spaces including Pillowtex, the Mattress Factory, and 800 East.

Cabbagetown Chronicles documents this extraordinarily fertile period in the neighborhood’s history with several track groupings including a yet-to-be-revealed recording by Cat Power, Chan Marshall’s nom du art, combined with W8ing4UFOs’ cover of “Headlights.” The latter, a nightmarish first-person account of a fatal car wreck, received limited distribution as a single in 1993. A subsequent version, with different accompanists, was included on Cat Power’s 1995 debut album, Dear Sir.

Most analyses of “Headlight’s” fail to note the song’s significance as a darkly elegiac tribute to three of Marshall’s friends who lost their lives in an automobile accident in April 1992. Tim Ruttenber, better known as poet- performance-artist Deacon Lunchbox; Robert Hayes, bassist for The Jody Grind, with whom Marshall once shared a house in Cabbagetown; and the band’s drummer, Robert Clayton, were returning to Atlanta from a gig in Pensacola when their car was struck head-on by a drunk driver whose motor home crossed the grassy interstate divider.

“Yes, ‘Headlights’ is about the accident on Easter morning,” Marshall confirms in an email exchange. “The black crows were all gathered in a nearby tree,” she recalls, “all cawing and suddenly silent when I began weeping, when I went to sit with Robert Hayes at his grave the day I left to move to New York City.”

The torchy southern-fried brilliance of Jody Grind vocalist and former Cabbagetown resident Kelly Hogan is showcased on a still-to-be- determined recording from the period between the quartet’s first (One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure, 1990) and second (Lefty’s Deceiver, 1992) albums on DB Recs. The Chumblers will cover The Jody Grind’s “ Eight-Ball ”; their original contribution is called “Ghost Story.”

Many Cabbagetown Chronicles track groupings have blank spaces to be filled out. The Opal Foxx Quartet/Smoke entry features a TBA recording currently under consideration by Taft and W8ing4UFOs cellist and former Opal Foxx/Smoke bandmate Brian Halloran. That selection will be allied with a performance of “Somebody's House Always Burns at Christmas” by T. Thomas Mahoney, plus a Mahoney original. The Rock*A*Teens have yet to choose their showcase number, while their song, “Arm in Arm In the Golden Twilite, We Loitered On,” is covered by Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause. And the list goes on.

From the roots of country music to the heights of international pop stardom, Cabbagetown Chronicles traces an arc of artistic expression through the music of people who lived, loved, laughed, and struggled in a village wrought by Southern industrialization after the Civil War. The album’s producers hope to release a video document of the project. The plan is to schedule a CD-release show at the Milltown Arms Tavern and have CDs for sale at Cabbagetown’s Chomp & Stomp Festival in November. All proceeds will be donated to the Patch Works Art & History Center.

“This is something I can do to give back to the community,” says Kelly, who routinely holds yard sales of records, CDs, and DVDs that he’s collected, to benefit musicians with health problems and doctor bills.

It’s a gift that promises to benefit a much larger community of music lovers and historians.    Bryan Brownlow RECORDING IN CABBAGETOWN: Slim Chance and the Convicts.  0,0,11                                 LISTENING POST: Chronicling the ‘Cabbagetown Chronicles’ "
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Thursday June 6, 2019 12:56 pm EDT
The onetime mill town has nurtured a diverse music scene | more...
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  string(44) "Adventurous duo creates ethereal soundscapes"
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  string(98) "Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel are on an odyssey born of a love for non-fixed pitch improvisation"
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  string(98) "Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel are on an odyssey born of a love for non-fixed pitch improvisation"
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  string(8009) "While it’s a given that May is the month of jazz in Atlanta, with the annual Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park dominating the scene, other worthy musical gambits are in play during the run-up to Memorial Day weekend.

On Sunday, May 12, The Bakery serves up an exceptionally tasty triple-bill featuring Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, Space-Saver, and Helton &Bragg. Listening Post regulars will no doubt be familiar with DfTaLS, the world’s most successful and longest-lived pairing of non-fixed pitch instrument players. Space-Saver is the latest project of Travis Thatcher, an Atlanta ex-pat who conjures up joyous and frightening free noise collages from saxophones, drums, and oddments. For the last several years, homeboys Blake Helton (percussion, synth, electronics) and Colin Bragg (guitars, electronics) have been channeling everything from sci-fi soundtracks and Eberhard Weber to Indian ragas and Funkadelic.

Since forming in 2006, DfTaLS has regularly performed at all the standard alternative venues around town including Eyedrum, Railroad Earth, Avondale Towne Cinema, and various art studios. They’ve toured New England and around the Southeast, and performed in Paris, France, and New York City. In 2018 they played Big Ears in Knoxville, Tennessee.

DfTaLS has officially released five albums: Untitled (2006), Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel (2007), Live (2009), Collaborations (2013), and 10 (2016 on CD, vinyl in 2018). An abundance of music is available on the DfTaLS site and Bandcamp including collaborations with Helton & Bragg, Cave Bat, and Rob Rushin, as well as studio recordings and live shows, much of which is free to download and stream.

Listening Post recently caught up with Scott Burland (theremin) and Frank Schultz (lap steel) of DfTaLS to get an update on what’s been going on in their world.

Listening Post: What was the original impetus for forming Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel?

Frank Schultz: One night, at an Eyedrum open improv session at the Contemporary, Scott brought a theremin and I brought a slightly modified lap steel. We never got to play together, but the idea around what those two instruments might sound like stayed in my head for weeks. I got in touch with Scott to ask whether he was interested. He was.

Scott Burland: Yeah, this wouldn’t have happened without Frank searching for an opportunity to make music that hadn’t been heard before. In a wonderful bit of kismet, something clicked in his mind, which brought this project to life.

Listening Post: What were the first few practice sessions like?

Schultz: Heaven and hell on earth (laughs). In a word, fun.

Burland: Listening back, as I do from time to time, I appreciate our naiveté while we were learning to play our instruments. I wanted to include some of those early recordings on 10, our 10th anniversary release. In one respect, I think it’s best we didn’t. On the other hand, those recordings are truly experimental and serve a historical purpose.

Listening Post: DfTaLS creates a contemplative ambient soundscape in which the listener has a lot of room to wander and wonder, to think and daydream. What are you two thinking about when you're performing?

Schultz: When I’m not checking email on the laptop (wink, wink) … Seriously, I’m usually not thinking as much as I am listening and reacting, getting lost in the moment. When I need to change what I am doing, I will think about how to make that transition. Other thoughts may include “that is a nice cardigan” or “where is my vibrator?”

Burland: I’m always thinking about the music: what Frank is playing, how I’m responding and vice versa. We rarely, if ever, make eye contact, so the music is in charge. At a recent gig, we had a relatively specific discussion about a “plan.” I found myself thinking about the plan, which was a detriment. We are at our best when we are listening intently to what the other person is doing, what we as individuals are doing and how that effort coalesces.

Listening Post: Describe the process of improvising and composing. For an album, I imagine you have to establish some parameters within which to work. What are the differences in recording an album as opposed to improvising in a live setting?

Schultz: Actually, we didn’t set parameters for our releases. On Collaborations, the only parameter was that the pieces were collaborations with other folks. With 10, we got together for a weekend and recorded our improvisations, with the exception of “Dulcamara,” which was an idea we had been playing around with, and picked our favorites from those improvisations that were recorded a couple of months earlier. This was the first album where we went in and messed with the improvisations by adding overdubs, additional effects, and triggering synths. About half of the songs were messed with after the original recording while the other half were just as we played them. So, the short answer is, there is not much difference.

Burland: Most of our releases have been documents of unaltered live performances. The difference with 10 was, during the recording process we came to the realization that we could do whatever we wanted with the original recordings. We were able to add, subtract, and enhance the pieces to paint a different picture. I hope we do more of that in the future. A good example was asking Jeff Crompton to add saxophone and clarinet to “Absinthium,” one of the tracks on 10.

Listening Post: Touring as an improvising ambient electronic duo must come with a few unusual moments. What are some of the more memorable concert experiences?

Schultz: Big Ears (in 2018) was such a milestone for us. Then there was Eyedrum on my birthday in 2008, playing with Shaking Ray Levis and Davey Williams, who recently passed. And we were on tour with Good Noise Bad Noise from England, which was a great adventure. Joe’s Pub in NYC with the New York Theremin Society. Pilot Light (in Knoxville, Tennessee) in 2012 where we had a late-night dance party with the staff listening to Steely Dan.

Burland: Frank picked some good ones, but I will add our first performance at Eyedrum in December of 2006. There was a nice, attentive, quiet crowd with many Eyedrum regulars including board members who were as jaded as they come. What I mean by that is we received compliments from board members who had heard hundreds of performances over the years. That was an important affirmation or validation about what we were doing.

Listening Post: Did you ever imagine DfTaLS would be thriving all these years later?

Schultz: I am always amazed, when looking back, by how we got here. I hate to imagine us not playing together in the future.

Burland: In the early days, we were just getting together every couple of weeks and seeing what developed. At one point, I thought, “OK, what’s the plan? Should we make a CD or do a performance, then move on to other things?” When we decided to perform in front of an audience, the reaction was positive to the extent that we thought we should continue. We’re not finished with this project. There are still many ways in which we can develop it. We are not done, by any means.

Listening Post: What’s next for DfTaLS?

Schultz: We have a nine-day tour in September, which takes us to Chicago, where we’ve never played. We hope to have a new CD release by the end of year.

Burland: We did a gig recently at the Bakery billed alongside violinist Mike Khoury, which ended with an impromptu jam session. That was interesting from the standpoint of learning that there are other musicians with whom we can collaborate and other types of music from which we can draw inspiration. During the September tour, we will be performing with dancers in Chattanooga who improvise movement along with sound and visuals.

It’s been a great ride and we’ve met so many great people and musicians along the way. We are very fortunate."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(8422) "While it’s a given that May is the month of jazz in Atlanta, with the annual Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park dominating the scene, other worthy musical gambits are in play during the run-up to Memorial Day weekend.

On Sunday, ~~#000000:__May 12__~~, The Bakery serves up an exceptionally tasty triple-bill featuring [https://www.duetonline.net/?fbclid=IwAR2gHv8v36xZ8WI6kQGJsydZoXaBXeFUlXapQeMu-CILeJC-je7WcA2aR74|Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel], [https://space-saver.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR2JvFma1sD5zPkqqGMm73EZZ37z_xB6zy7No4jE7mJGBJiYLtoxXG92wqk|Space-Saver], and [https://heltonbragg.bandcamp.com/album/dust-garden?fbclid=IwAR3XO1mP2Vb7HPU6Jtf3DvHd2iQYMQubEGTGKD2ILfh8y3D4Mg9Yy-tUjhA|Helton &Bragg]. Listening Post regulars will no doubt be familiar with DfTaLS, the world’s most successful and longest-lived pairing of non-fixed pitch instrument players. Space-Saver is the latest project of Travis Thatcher, an Atlanta ex-pat who conjures up joyous and frightening free noise collages from saxophones, drums, and oddments. For the last several years, homeboys Blake Helton (percussion, synth, electronics) and Colin Bragg (guitars, electronics) have been channeling everything from sci-fi soundtracks and Eberhard Weber to Indian ragas and Funkadelic.

Since forming in 2006, DfTaLS has regularly performed at all the standard alternative venues around town including Eyedrum, Railroad Earth, Avondale Towne Cinema, and various art studios. They’ve toured New England and around the Southeast, and performed in Paris, France, and New York City. In 2018 they played Big Ears in Knoxville, Tennessee.

DfTaLS has officially released five albums: ''Untitled'' (2006), ''Duet ''''for Theremin and Lap Steel'' (2007), ''Live'' (2009), ''Collaborations'' (2013), and ''10'' (2016 on CD, vinyl in 2018). An abundance of music is available on the DfTaLS site and [https://dftals.bandcamp.com/|Bandcamp] including collaborations with Helton & Bragg, Cave Bat, and Rob Rushin, as well as studio recordings and live shows, much of which is free to download and stream.

Listening Post recently caught up with Scott Burland (theremin) and Frank Schultz (lap steel) of DfTaLS to get an update on what’s been going on in their world.

Listening Post: What was the original impetus for forming Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel?

Frank Schultz: One night, at an Eyedrum open improv session at the Contemporary, Scott brought a theremin and I brought a slightly modified lap steel. We never got to play together, but the idea around what those two instruments might sound like stayed in my head for weeks. I got in touch with Scott to ask whether he was interested. He was.

Scott Burland: Yeah, this wouldn’t have happened without Frank searching for an opportunity to make music that hadn’t been heard before. In a wonderful bit of kismet, something clicked in his mind, which brought this project to life.

Listening Post: What were the first few practice sessions like?

Schultz: Heaven and hell on earth (laughs). In a word, fun.

Burland: Listening back, as I do from time to time, I appreciate our naiveté while we were learning to play our instruments. I wanted to include some of those early recordings on ''10'', our 10th anniversary release. In one respect, I think it’s best we didn’t. On the other hand, those recordings are truly experimental and serve a historical purpose.

Listening Post: DfTaLS creates a contemplative ambient soundscape in which the listener has a lot of room to wander and wonder, to think and daydream. What are you two thinking about when you're performing?

Schultz: When I’m not checking email on the laptop (wink, wink) … Seriously, I’m usually not thinking as much as I am listening and reacting, getting lost in the moment. When I need to change what I am doing, I will think about how to make that transition. Other thoughts may include “that is a nice cardigan” or “where is my vibrator?”

Burland: I’m always thinking about the music: what Frank is playing, how I’m responding and vice versa. We rarely, if ever, make eye contact, so the music is in charge. At a recent gig, we had a relatively specific discussion about a “plan.” I found myself thinking about the plan, which was a detriment. We are at our best when we are listening intently to what the other person is doing, what we as individuals are doing and how that effort coalesces.

Listening Post: Describe the process of improvising and composing. For an album, I imagine you have to establish some parameters within which to work. What are the differences in recording an album as opposed to improvising in a live setting?

Schultz: Actually, we didn’t set parameters for our releases. On ''Collaborations'', the only parameter was that the pieces were collaborations with other folks. With ''10'', we got together for a weekend and recorded our improvisations, with the exception of “Dulcamara,” which was an idea we had been playing around with, and picked our favorites from those improvisations that were recorded a couple of months earlier. This was the first album where we went in and messed with the improvisations by adding overdubs, additional effects, and triggering synths. About half of the songs were messed with after the original recording while the other half were just as we played them. So, the short answer is, there is not much difference.

Burland: Most of our releases have been documents of unaltered live performances. The difference with ''10'' was, during the recording process we came to the realization that we could do whatever we wanted with the original recordings. We were able to add, subtract, and enhance the pieces to paint a different picture. I hope we do more of that in the future. A good example was asking Jeff Crompton to add saxophone and clarinet to “Absinthium,” one of the tracks on ''10''.

Listening Post: Touring as an improvising ambient electronic duo must come with a few unusual moments. What are some of the more memorable concert experiences?

Schultz: Big Ears (in 2018) was such a milestone for us. Then there was Eyedrum on my birthday in 2008, playing with Shaking Ray Levis and Davey Williams, who recently passed. And we were on tour with Good Noise Bad Noise from England, which was a great adventure. Joe’s Pub in NYC with the New York Theremin Society. Pilot Light (in Knoxville, Tennessee) in 2012 where we had a late-night dance party with the staff listening to Steely Dan.

Burland: Frank picked some good ones, but I will add our first performance at Eyedrum in December of 2006. There was a nice, attentive, quiet crowd with many Eyedrum regulars including board members who were as jaded as they come. What I mean by that is we received compliments from board members who had heard hundreds of performances over the years. That was an important affirmation or validation about what we were doing.

Listening Post: Did you ever imagine DfTaLS would be thriving all these years later?

Schultz: I am always amazed, when looking back, by how we got here. I hate to imagine us not playing together in the future.

Burland: In the early days, we were just getting together every couple of weeks and seeing what developed. At one point, I thought, “OK, what’s the plan? Should we make a CD or do a performance, then move on to other things?” When we decided to perform in front of an audience, the reaction was positive to the extent that we thought we should continue. We’re not finished with this project. There are still many ways in which we can develop it. We are not done, by any means.

Listening Post: What’s next for DfTaLS?

Schultz: We have a nine-day tour in September, which takes us to Chicago, where we’ve never played. We hope to have a new CD release by the end of year.

Burland: We did a gig recently at the Bakery billed alongside violinist Mike Khoury, which ended with an impromptu jam session. That was interesting from the standpoint of learning that there are other musicians with whom we can collaborate and other types of music from which we can draw inspiration. During the September tour, we will be performing with dancers in Chattanooga who improvise movement along with sound and visuals.

It’s been a great ride and we’ve met so many great people and musicians along the way. We are very fortunate."
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  string(9123) " DfT&LS Brandon English  2019-05-08T16:46:27+00:00 DfT&LS_Brandon_English.jpg     Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel are on an odyssey born of a love for non-fixed pitch improvisation 17280  2019-05-09T16:27:00+00:00 Adventurous duo creates ethereal soundscapes chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Doug DeLoach Doug DeLoach 2019-05-09T16:27:00+00:00  While it’s a given that May is the month of jazz in Atlanta, with the annual Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park dominating the scene, other worthy musical gambits are in play during the run-up to Memorial Day weekend.

On Sunday, May 12, The Bakery serves up an exceptionally tasty triple-bill featuring Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, Space-Saver, and Helton &Bragg. Listening Post regulars will no doubt be familiar with DfTaLS, the world’s most successful and longest-lived pairing of non-fixed pitch instrument players. Space-Saver is the latest project of Travis Thatcher, an Atlanta ex-pat who conjures up joyous and frightening free noise collages from saxophones, drums, and oddments. For the last several years, homeboys Blake Helton (percussion, synth, electronics) and Colin Bragg (guitars, electronics) have been channeling everything from sci-fi soundtracks and Eberhard Weber to Indian ragas and Funkadelic.

Since forming in 2006, DfTaLS has regularly performed at all the standard alternative venues around town including Eyedrum, Railroad Earth, Avondale Towne Cinema, and various art studios. They’ve toured New England and around the Southeast, and performed in Paris, France, and New York City. In 2018 they played Big Ears in Knoxville, Tennessee.

DfTaLS has officially released five albums: Untitled (2006), Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel (2007), Live (2009), Collaborations (2013), and 10 (2016 on CD, vinyl in 2018). An abundance of music is available on the DfTaLS site and Bandcamp including collaborations with Helton & Bragg, Cave Bat, and Rob Rushin, as well as studio recordings and live shows, much of which is free to download and stream.

Listening Post recently caught up with Scott Burland (theremin) and Frank Schultz (lap steel) of DfTaLS to get an update on what’s been going on in their world.

Listening Post: What was the original impetus for forming Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel?

Frank Schultz: One night, at an Eyedrum open improv session at the Contemporary, Scott brought a theremin and I brought a slightly modified lap steel. We never got to play together, but the idea around what those two instruments might sound like stayed in my head for weeks. I got in touch with Scott to ask whether he was interested. He was.

Scott Burland: Yeah, this wouldn’t have happened without Frank searching for an opportunity to make music that hadn’t been heard before. In a wonderful bit of kismet, something clicked in his mind, which brought this project to life.

Listening Post: What were the first few practice sessions like?

Schultz: Heaven and hell on earth (laughs). In a word, fun.

Burland: Listening back, as I do from time to time, I appreciate our naiveté while we were learning to play our instruments. I wanted to include some of those early recordings on 10, our 10th anniversary release. In one respect, I think it’s best we didn’t. On the other hand, those recordings are truly experimental and serve a historical purpose.

Listening Post: DfTaLS creates a contemplative ambient soundscape in which the listener has a lot of room to wander and wonder, to think and daydream. What are you two thinking about when you're performing?

Schultz: When I’m not checking email on the laptop (wink, wink) … Seriously, I’m usually not thinking as much as I am listening and reacting, getting lost in the moment. When I need to change what I am doing, I will think about how to make that transition. Other thoughts may include “that is a nice cardigan” or “where is my vibrator?”

Burland: I’m always thinking about the music: what Frank is playing, how I’m responding and vice versa. We rarely, if ever, make eye contact, so the music is in charge. At a recent gig, we had a relatively specific discussion about a “plan.” I found myself thinking about the plan, which was a detriment. We are at our best when we are listening intently to what the other person is doing, what we as individuals are doing and how that effort coalesces.

Listening Post: Describe the process of improvising and composing. For an album, I imagine you have to establish some parameters within which to work. What are the differences in recording an album as opposed to improvising in a live setting?

Schultz: Actually, we didn’t set parameters for our releases. On Collaborations, the only parameter was that the pieces were collaborations with other folks. With 10, we got together for a weekend and recorded our improvisations, with the exception of “Dulcamara,” which was an idea we had been playing around with, and picked our favorites from those improvisations that were recorded a couple of months earlier. This was the first album where we went in and messed with the improvisations by adding overdubs, additional effects, and triggering synths. About half of the songs were messed with after the original recording while the other half were just as we played them. So, the short answer is, there is not much difference.

Burland: Most of our releases have been documents of unaltered live performances. The difference with 10 was, during the recording process we came to the realization that we could do whatever we wanted with the original recordings. We were able to add, subtract, and enhance the pieces to paint a different picture. I hope we do more of that in the future. A good example was asking Jeff Crompton to add saxophone and clarinet to “Absinthium,” one of the tracks on 10.

Listening Post: Touring as an improvising ambient electronic duo must come with a few unusual moments. What are some of the more memorable concert experiences?

Schultz: Big Ears (in 2018) was such a milestone for us. Then there was Eyedrum on my birthday in 2008, playing with Shaking Ray Levis and Davey Williams, who recently passed. And we were on tour with Good Noise Bad Noise from England, which was a great adventure. Joe’s Pub in NYC with the New York Theremin Society. Pilot Light (in Knoxville, Tennessee) in 2012 where we had a late-night dance party with the staff listening to Steely Dan.

Burland: Frank picked some good ones, but I will add our first performance at Eyedrum in December of 2006. There was a nice, attentive, quiet crowd with many Eyedrum regulars including board members who were as jaded as they come. What I mean by that is we received compliments from board members who had heard hundreds of performances over the years. That was an important affirmation or validation about what we were doing.

Listening Post: Did you ever imagine DfTaLS would be thriving all these years later?

Schultz: I am always amazed, when looking back, by how we got here. I hate to imagine us not playing together in the future.

Burland: In the early days, we were just getting together every couple of weeks and seeing what developed. At one point, I thought, “OK, what’s the plan? Should we make a CD or do a performance, then move on to other things?” When we decided to perform in front of an audience, the reaction was positive to the extent that we thought we should continue. We’re not finished with this project. There are still many ways in which we can develop it. We are not done, by any means.

Listening Post: What’s next for DfTaLS?

Schultz: We have a nine-day tour in September, which takes us to Chicago, where we’ve never played. We hope to have a new CD release by the end of year.

Burland: We did a gig recently at the Bakery billed alongside violinist Mike Khoury, which ended with an impromptu jam session. That was interesting from the standpoint of learning that there are other musicians with whom we can collaborate and other types of music from which we can draw inspiration. During the September tour, we will be performing with dancers in Chattanooga who improvise movement along with sound and visuals.

It’s been a great ride and we’ve met so many great people and musicians along the way. We are very fortunate.    Brandon English DUET FOR THEREMIN AND LAP STEEL: Scott Burland (right) on theremin and Frank Schultz on lap steel create contemplative ambient soundscapes. DfTaLS will be performing at The Bakery on Sunday, May 12, with Space-Saver and Helton & Bragg.  0,0,10  Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, A Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel primer, Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel: Live, Record Review - Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel: Live, Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel turns 10, Duet For Theremin and Lap Steel featured on PBA30's 'This is Atlanta', Duet For Theremin and Lap Steel: An unlikely pair makes magical sounds, Duet finds new depth in droning ambiance, Music of the moment                               Adventurous duo creates ethereal soundscapes "
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Thursday May 9, 2019 12:27 pm EDT
Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel are on an odyssey born of a love for non-fixed pitch improvisation | more...
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  string(9151) "What better way to usher in spring than by taking in an enchanting, millennia-old form of Javanese puppetry accompanied by the mellifluous overtones and tranquil thronging of an Indonesian gamelan? The opportunity comes on Saturday, April 6, when the Emory Gamelan Ensemble performs “Celebration of Arjuna,” a mythical tale derived from the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata about a heroic warrior, master archer, and companion of the Hindu god Krishna.

Joining the Emory Gamelan Ensemble in this family-friendly wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) program are two world-renowned specialists. On loan from Wesleyan University is artist-in-residence Professor Sumarsam, a dalang (puppet master), master drummer, and the author of Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java and Javanese Gamelan and the West. Darsono Hadiraharjo, a visiting fellow from Cornell University, is a master drummer and dalang who accompanies dancers at the royal court of Mangkunegaran in Surakarta, near the Javanese village where he was born.

“In our 21-year history, this is the first time the Emory gamelan has had the luxury of hosting an Indonesian master to teach us for an extended period,” says Sarah Muwahidah, director of the Emory Gamelan Ensemble.

Muwahidah is referring to a specially funded program, which brought Hadiraharjo to the Emory campus for a series of weeks-long educational sessions during the past year. For “Celebration of Arjuna,” Hadiraharjo is serving as the ensemble’s music director while Sumarsam, who has previously worked with the Emory troupe, supervises the puppetry side of things. Sumarsan will also deliver a lecture-demonstration about wayang kulit, with live accompaniment by Hadiraharjo on Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Cannon Chapel.

“Because our last few wayang kulit shows have told stories from the Ramayana, we are very excited about this program, which enacts a story from the Mahābhārata,” says Neil Fried, acting music director of the Emory Gamelan Ensemble. “We want to see how the textual change affects the rasa, or artistic feeling, of the performance.”

At 100,000 verses, the Mahābhārata, which dates from the 4th century BCE, contains what is perhaps the best known of all the revered Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita. Scholars do not take the term for these texts, itihasa, which roughly translates as “oral history,” too literally, since they chronicle myths and legends every bit as phantasmagorical as the stories found in Greek fables and contemporary superhero comics.

The protagonist of “Celebration of Arjuna” is an immaculately conceived warrior-prince who becomes the confidant of Lord Krishna, generally considered the greatest figure in Hindu mythology. In this particular adventure, Arjuna sets off on a self-imposed pilgrimage to a mountain retreat, and along the way, falls in love with a beautiful maiden, Subhadra, who is coveted by a demon king. The inevitable struggle between good and evil is resolved within a narrative that encompasses dancing, singing, a wedding, and mortal combat.

In wayang kulit performances, the narrator is accorded plenty of leeway to embellish the story with humorous expressions, local references, and other elements aimed at entertaining the audience. In past productions with the Emory Gamelan Ensemble, Sumarsan and Hadiraharjo have demonstrated why their mastery of this particular aspect of the craft is so highly regarded.

“Performing for puppets is an amazing experience,” says Fried. “Mimesis is a powerful concept, especially in the context of accompanying a wayang kulit production. A challenge for the ensemble is to not be hypnotized during the performance!”

As sure as spring has sprung, Saturday’s performance at the Emory University Performing Arts Studio promises a similarly immersive and engaging experience to everyone in attendance.

!!!Nels Cline, Gerald Cleaver, and Larry Ochs Trio at the Bakery
Like malodorous cheese, postmodernist literature, and professional wrestling, free jazz and avant-garde music aren’t everyone’s cup of entertainment. In each case, a certain amount of initial willpower and sustained exposure is required to discover the rewards within.

With that in mind, consider the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio, which makes its Atlanta debut at The Bakery Sunday, April 14. Brashly unpredictable, loudly unnerving, and sweetly seductive, often within the same song, the trio is one of the most palatable groupings of free improv musicians currently touring.

Cline is best known as the lead guitarist in Wilco, a position he has held since 2004. While his indie-rock cred is thereby assured, Cline’s professional resume covers an astonishing array of projects including a duo with the transcendently talented guitarist Julian Lage; as well as a quartet, The Nels Cline Four, with Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey. Additionally, Cline has more than 200 album appearances to his credit, at least 30 of those as leader of the pack.

Cleaver (drums) brings to the triumvirate a solid grounding in the Detroit jazz scene, a distinguished career as an educator, and an impeccable record as accompanist to jazz luminaries such as Roscoe Mitchell, Matt Shipp, Charles Lloyd, and Miroslav Vitous. Ochs (saxophones) bears the legacy of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, the widely celebrated all-reed improv band he co-founded in San Francisco some five decades ago, which has performed in Atlanta a number of times. Ochs and Cline have been collaborating since the late 1990s and performing as a duo since 2013.

Sharing the bill with the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio is Outside Voice, a quartet of outstanding local jazz improvisers featuring Kenito Murray (percussion), Quinn Masonry (saxophones/electronics), Mamaniji Azanyah (upright bass), and Rafael Villanueva (guitar).

Admittedly, the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs concert is not for everyone. It represents an opportunity for the musically adventurous and the merely curious to try something completely different. Who knows? You might like what you hear. The rest of us can hardly wait for the stinky madness to hit the mat.

!!!Klimchak, Avneesh Sarwate (AV Performance), Infinite Third

The Bakery continues its envelope-pushing roll with an evening of “Experimental, Electroacoustic, and Audiovisual Art” on Wednesday, April 24, featuring Klimchak, Avneesh Sarwate and Infinite Third. With improvisation the middle name of the game for all three musicians, suffice it to say some of the material on tap for the “EEAV” gig has yet to be conceived.

“I really won’t finalize my pieces until I get back from Big Ears next week,” says Klimchak, a familiar figure on the Atlanta improv scene. Referring to the three-day experimental music festival in Knoxville, he continues, “Seeing all that amazing music might blow my mind to the point where I’ll end up going in a completely different direction. At the very least, the experience will influence the work I’m already planning on doing.”

Planned for the Bakery gig are three pieces based on structured improvisation. One is a solo work for “Kanjira” (a small drum covered in lizard skin and played with one hand, while the other hand presses the head to change the pitch), augmented by vocal percussion. Another piece features the “Jaltarang,” a homebuilt melodic instrument made with tuned rice bowls, accompanied by throat-singing. The third piece was envisaged for solo theremin.

Klimchak recently returned from a three-week residency at Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center in Florida, energized as much by the mode of transportation as the learning experience. The trip was the first undertaken by the musician in his Ford Transit van, which was painted in spectacularly psychedelic fashion by famed Pakistani truck artist Haider Ali.

“I’ve always taken musical inspiration from visual art,” Klimchak says, “and the paint job on the Transit has been a constant source of new ideas.”.

On the trip, Klimchak composed a new work called “Bowled Over,” which uses pairs of steel bowls connected with a piece of tubing. Raising and lowering the bowls, which are filled with water, changes the pitch of the sound produced when they are struck.

“The trick is that, because the bowls are connected, one bowl goes up in pitch, while the other bowl goes down in pitch,” explains Klimchak. “Writing for the instrument involves figuring out the relationship between two sets of pitches.”

While in Florida, Klimchak performed an in-process version of “Bowled Over” at Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center with input from master drummer Sean Hamilton. He hopes to finish the piece for an Atlanta premiere later this year.

As for other musicians on the “EEAV” bill, I haven’t yet caught Avneesh Sarwate in concert, but the work posted on his website is intriguing enough. A fairly recent house concert by Billy Mays III (Infinite Third) has me very much looking forward to his return to Atlanta."
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  string(11152) "What better way to usher in spring than by taking in an enchanting, millennia-old form of Javanese puppetry accompanied by the mellifluous overtones and tranquil thronging of an Indonesian [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEWCCSuHsuQ|gamelan]? The opportunity comes on Saturday, April 6, when the [https://www.emorygamelan.org|Emory Gamelan Ensemble] performs “[http://music.emory.edu/home/performance/events.html#/?i=1|Celebration of Arjuna],” a mythical tale derived from the Sanskrit epic [http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/maha/index.htm|Mahābhārata] about a heroic warrior, master archer, and companion of the Hindu god Krishna.

Joining the Emory Gamelan Ensemble in this family-friendly wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) program are two world-renowned specialists. On loan from Wesleyan University is artist-in-residence Professor Sumarsam, a dalang (puppet master), master drummer, and the author of ''[https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/G/bo3624233.html|Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java]'' and ''[https://www.worldcat.org/title/javanese-gamelan-and-the-west/oclc/852158253|Javanese Gamelan and the West]''. Darsono Hadiraharjo, a visiting fellow from Cornell University, is a master drummer and dalang who accompanies dancers at the royal court of Mangkunegaran in Surakarta, near the Javanese village where he was born.

“In our 21-year history, this is the first time the Emory gamelan has had the luxury of hosting an Indonesian master to teach us for an extended period,” says Sarah Muwahidah, director of the [http://music.emory.edu/home/performance/gamelan.html|Emory Gamelan Ensemble].

Muwahidah is referring to a specially funded program, which brought Hadiraharjo to the Emory campus for a series of weeks-long educational sessions during the past year. For “Celebration of Arjuna,” Hadiraharjo is serving as the ensemble’s music director while Sumarsam, who has previously worked with the Emory troupe, supervises the puppetry side of things. Sumarsan will also deliver a [https://www.facebook.com/events/488560585007905/|lecture-demonstration] about wayang kulit, with live accompaniment by Hadiraharjo on Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. at [http://arts.emory.edu/plan-your-visit/venues/cannon-chapel.html|Cannon Chapel].

“Because our last few wayang kulit shows have told stories from the Ramayana, we are very excited about this program, which enacts a story from the Mahābhārata,” says Neil Fried, acting music director of the Emory Gamelan Ensemble. “We want to see how the textual change affects the rasa, or artistic feeling, of the performance.”

At 100,000 verses, the Mahābhārata, which dates from the 4th century BCE, contains what is perhaps the best known of all the revered Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita. Scholars do not take the term for these texts, itihasa, which roughly translates as “oral history,” too literally, since they chronicle myths and legends every bit as phantasmagorical as the stories found in Greek fables and contemporary superhero comics.

The protagonist of “Celebration of Arjuna” is an immaculately conceived warrior-prince who becomes the confidant of Lord Krishna, generally considered the greatest figure in Hindu mythology. In this particular adventure, Arjuna sets off on a self-imposed pilgrimage to a mountain retreat, and along the way, falls in love with a beautiful maiden, Subhadra, who is coveted by a demon king. The inevitable struggle between good and evil is resolved within a narrative that encompasses dancing, singing, a wedding, and mortal combat.

In wayang kulit performances, the narrator is accorded plenty of leeway to embellish the story with humorous expressions, local references, and other elements aimed at entertaining the audience. In past productions with the Emory Gamelan Ensemble, Sumarsan and Hadiraharjo have demonstrated why their mastery of this particular aspect of the craft is so highly regarded.

“Performing for puppets is an amazing experience,” says Fried. “[https://www.britannica.com/art/mimesis|Mimesis] is a powerful concept, especially in the context of accompanying a wayang kulit production. A challenge for the ensemble is to not be hypnotized during the performance!”

As sure as spring has sprung, Saturday’s performance at the [https://www.facebook.com/EmoryPAS/?eid=ARDxtV2k85j_koIaNzVC6acCO9A_4zjFoKDTIkNSe1NDCAo2Nk3SjUQUVBEfkgLyugSzZnELptl0qXhQ|Emory University Performing Arts Studio] promises a similarly immersive and engaging experience to everyone in attendance.

!!!__Nels Cline, Gerald Cleaver, and Larry Ochs Trio at the Bakery__
Like malodorous cheese, postmodernist literature, and professional wrestling, free jazz and avant-garde music aren’t everyone’s cup of entertainment. In each case, a certain amount of initial willpower and sustained exposure is required to discover the rewards within.

With that in mind, consider the [http://www.ochs.cc/groups/cline-cleaver-ochs.html|Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio], which makes its Atlanta debut at The Bakery Sunday, April 14. Brashly unpredictable, loudly unnerving, and sweetly seductive, often within the same song, the trio is one of the most palatable groupings of free improv musicians currently touring.

Cline is best known as the lead guitarist in Wilco, a position he has held since 2004. While his indie-rock cred is thereby assured, Cline’s professional resume covers an astonishing array of projects including a duo with the transcendently talented guitarist [http://www.julianlage.com/new-page|Julian Lage]; as well as a quartet, The Nels Cline Four, with Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey. Additionally, Cline has more than 200 album appearances to his credit, at least 30 of those as leader of the pack.

[https://www.allmusic.com/artist/gerald-cleaver-mn0000945381/biography|Cleaver] (drums) brings to the triumvirate a solid grounding in the Detroit jazz scene, a distinguished career as an educator, and an impeccable record as accompanist to jazz luminaries such as Roscoe Mitchell, Matt Shipp, Charles Lloyd, and Miroslav Vitous. [http://www.ochs.cc|Ochs] (saxophones) bears the legacy of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, the widely celebrated all-reed improv band he co-founded in San Francisco some five decades ago, which has performed in Atlanta a number of times. Ochs and Cline have been collaborating since the late 1990s and performing as a duo since 2013.

Sharing the bill with the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio is Outside Voice, a quartet of outstanding local jazz improvisers featuring [https://www.facebook.com/kenito.murray|Kenito Murray] (percussion), [https://www.facebook.com/marquinn.mason|Quinn Masonry] (saxophones/electronics), [https://www.facebook.com/Mamaniji-Azanyah-130550850347518/|Mamaniji Azanyah] (upright bass), and [https://rafstronaut.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR2Y2pV1-eF8H6ilP90puq96o8v87BvW48GeQdnLWL5PTRr0dycdQztYleQ|Rafael Villanueva] (guitar).

Admittedly, the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs concert is not for everyone. It represents an opportunity for the musically adventurous and the merely curious to try something completely different. Who knows? You might like what you hear. The rest of us can hardly wait for the stinky madness to hit the mat.

!!!__Klimchak, Avneesh Sarwate (AV Performance), Infinite Third__
{img fileId="15904" stylebox="float: right; margin-left: 25px;" desc="INSPIRATIONAL TRANSPORT: DIY multi-instrumentalist Klimchak, who will be performing at The Bakery on April 24, stands proudly beside his trusty Ford Transit, which has been painted by Pakistani truck artist extraordinaire Haider Ali. Photo by Anne Cox." styledesc="font-family: sans-serif;"}
The Bakery continues its envelope-pushing roll with an evening of “[https://www.facebook.com/events/649545112140456/|Experimental, Electroacoustic, and Audiovisual Art]” on Wednesday, April 24, featuring [https://klimchakmusic.com/?fbclid=IwAR08dyke4lAFa5dlHiJ-1Ub34Lkuqi2iks0iNbjjE4dlmE_1SVAO5DO14Ps|Klimchak], [http://www.avneeshsarwate.com/#|Avneesh Sarwate] and [http://rememberyouaredreaming.com/infinitethird?fbclid=IwAR3m6J_S-GmHJtB1evKdB-iADvZMQqE9wWafPr9Du0iMeTRWMMxOD6IgPT8|Infinite Third]. With improvisation the middle name of the game for all three musicians, suffice it to say some of the material on tap for the “EEAV” gig has yet to be conceived.

“I really won’t finalize my pieces until I get back from [https://bigearsfestival.org|Big Ears] next week,” says Klimchak, a familiar figure on the Atlanta improv scene. Referring to the three-day experimental music festival in Knoxville, he continues, “Seeing all that amazing music might blow my mind to the point where I’ll end up going in a completely different direction. At the very least, the experience will influence the work I’m already planning on doing.”

Planned for the Bakery gig are three pieces based on structured improvisation. One is a solo work for “Kanjira” (a small drum covered in lizard skin and played with one hand, while the other hand presses the head to change the pitch), augmented by vocal percussion. Another piece features the “Jaltarang,” a homebuilt melodic instrument made with tuned rice bowls, accompanied by throat-singing. The third piece was envisaged for solo theremin.

Klimchak recently returned from a three-week residency at [http://www.safetyharborartandmusiccenter.com|Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center] in Florida, energized as much by the mode of transportation as the learning experience. The trip was the first undertaken by the musician in his Ford Transit van, which was painted in [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLhSTgeaBFc|spectacularly psychedelic fashion] by famed Pakistani truck artist [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haider_Ali_(artist)#References|Haider Ali].

“I’ve always taken musical inspiration from visual art,” Klimchak says, “and the paint job on the Transit has been a constant source of new ideas.”.

On the trip, Klimchak composed a new work called “Bowled Over,” which uses pairs of steel bowls connected with a piece of tubing. Raising and lowering the bowls, which are filled with water, changes the pitch of the sound produced when they are struck.

“The trick is that, because the bowls are connected, one bowl goes up in pitch, while the other bowl goes down in pitch,” explains Klimchak. “Writing for the instrument involves figuring out the relationship between two sets of pitches.”

While in Florida, Klimchak performed an in-process version of “Bowled Over” at Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center with input from master drummer Sean Hamilton. He hopes to finish the piece for an Atlanta premiere later this year.

As for other musicians on the “EEAV” bill, I haven’t yet caught Avneesh Sarwate in concert, but the work posted on his [http://www.avneeshsarwate.com/|website] is intriguing enough. A fairly recent house concert by Billy Mays III (Infinite Third) has me very much looking forward to his return to Atlanta."
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  string(9960) " Shadow Puppet Performance1 April 2018 Small  2019-04-02T16:46:38+00:00 Shadow_Puppet_Performance1_April_2018_small.jpg     Emory Gamelan Ensemble hosts Javanese masters for ‘Celebration of Arjuna’ 15860  2019-04-02T16:44:28+00:00 LISTENING POST: Javanese shadow puppetry brings the Mahābhārata to ‘life’ tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris Doug DeLoach Doug DeLoach 2019-04-02T16:44:28+00:00  What better way to usher in spring than by taking in an enchanting, millennia-old form of Javanese puppetry accompanied by the mellifluous overtones and tranquil thronging of an Indonesian gamelan? The opportunity comes on Saturday, April 6, when the Emory Gamelan Ensemble performs “Celebration of Arjuna,” a mythical tale derived from the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata about a heroic warrior, master archer, and companion of the Hindu god Krishna.

Joining the Emory Gamelan Ensemble in this family-friendly wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) program are two world-renowned specialists. On loan from Wesleyan University is artist-in-residence Professor Sumarsam, a dalang (puppet master), master drummer, and the author of Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java and Javanese Gamelan and the West. Darsono Hadiraharjo, a visiting fellow from Cornell University, is a master drummer and dalang who accompanies dancers at the royal court of Mangkunegaran in Surakarta, near the Javanese village where he was born.

“In our 21-year history, this is the first time the Emory gamelan has had the luxury of hosting an Indonesian master to teach us for an extended period,” says Sarah Muwahidah, director of the Emory Gamelan Ensemble.

Muwahidah is referring to a specially funded program, which brought Hadiraharjo to the Emory campus for a series of weeks-long educational sessions during the past year. For “Celebration of Arjuna,” Hadiraharjo is serving as the ensemble’s music director while Sumarsam, who has previously worked with the Emory troupe, supervises the puppetry side of things. Sumarsan will also deliver a lecture-demonstration about wayang kulit, with live accompaniment by Hadiraharjo on Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Cannon Chapel.

“Because our last few wayang kulit shows have told stories from the Ramayana, we are very excited about this program, which enacts a story from the Mahābhārata,” says Neil Fried, acting music director of the Emory Gamelan Ensemble. “We want to see how the textual change affects the rasa, or artistic feeling, of the performance.”

At 100,000 verses, the Mahābhārata, which dates from the 4th century BCE, contains what is perhaps the best known of all the revered Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita. Scholars do not take the term for these texts, itihasa, which roughly translates as “oral history,” too literally, since they chronicle myths and legends every bit as phantasmagorical as the stories found in Greek fables and contemporary superhero comics.

The protagonist of “Celebration of Arjuna” is an immaculately conceived warrior-prince who becomes the confidant of Lord Krishna, generally considered the greatest figure in Hindu mythology. In this particular adventure, Arjuna sets off on a self-imposed pilgrimage to a mountain retreat, and along the way, falls in love with a beautiful maiden, Subhadra, who is coveted by a demon king. The inevitable struggle between good and evil is resolved within a narrative that encompasses dancing, singing, a wedding, and mortal combat.

In wayang kulit performances, the narrator is accorded plenty of leeway to embellish the story with humorous expressions, local references, and other elements aimed at entertaining the audience. In past productions with the Emory Gamelan Ensemble, Sumarsan and Hadiraharjo have demonstrated why their mastery of this particular aspect of the craft is so highly regarded.

“Performing for puppets is an amazing experience,” says Fried. “Mimesis is a powerful concept, especially in the context of accompanying a wayang kulit production. A challenge for the ensemble is to not be hypnotized during the performance!”

As sure as spring has sprung, Saturday’s performance at the Emory University Performing Arts Studio promises a similarly immersive and engaging experience to everyone in attendance.

!!!Nels Cline, Gerald Cleaver, and Larry Ochs Trio at the Bakery
Like malodorous cheese, postmodernist literature, and professional wrestling, free jazz and avant-garde music aren’t everyone’s cup of entertainment. In each case, a certain amount of initial willpower and sustained exposure is required to discover the rewards within.

With that in mind, consider the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio, which makes its Atlanta debut at The Bakery Sunday, April 14. Brashly unpredictable, loudly unnerving, and sweetly seductive, often within the same song, the trio is one of the most palatable groupings of free improv musicians currently touring.

Cline is best known as the lead guitarist in Wilco, a position he has held since 2004. While his indie-rock cred is thereby assured, Cline’s professional resume covers an astonishing array of projects including a duo with the transcendently talented guitarist Julian Lage; as well as a quartet, The Nels Cline Four, with Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey. Additionally, Cline has more than 200 album appearances to his credit, at least 30 of those as leader of the pack.

Cleaver (drums) brings to the triumvirate a solid grounding in the Detroit jazz scene, a distinguished career as an educator, and an impeccable record as accompanist to jazz luminaries such as Roscoe Mitchell, Matt Shipp, Charles Lloyd, and Miroslav Vitous. Ochs (saxophones) bears the legacy of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, the widely celebrated all-reed improv band he co-founded in San Francisco some five decades ago, which has performed in Atlanta a number of times. Ochs and Cline have been collaborating since the late 1990s and performing as a duo since 2013.

Sharing the bill with the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio is Outside Voice, a quartet of outstanding local jazz improvisers featuring Kenito Murray (percussion), Quinn Masonry (saxophones/electronics), Mamaniji Azanyah (upright bass), and Rafael Villanueva (guitar).

Admittedly, the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs concert is not for everyone. It represents an opportunity for the musically adventurous and the merely curious to try something completely different. Who knows? You might like what you hear. The rest of us can hardly wait for the stinky madness to hit the mat.

!!!Klimchak, Avneesh Sarwate (AV Performance), Infinite Third

The Bakery continues its envelope-pushing roll with an evening of “Experimental, Electroacoustic, and Audiovisual Art” on Wednesday, April 24, featuring Klimchak, Avneesh Sarwate and Infinite Third. With improvisation the middle name of the game for all three musicians, suffice it to say some of the material on tap for the “EEAV” gig has yet to be conceived.

“I really won’t finalize my pieces until I get back from Big Ears next week,” says Klimchak, a familiar figure on the Atlanta improv scene. Referring to the three-day experimental music festival in Knoxville, he continues, “Seeing all that amazing music might blow my mind to the point where I’ll end up going in a completely different direction. At the very least, the experience will influence the work I’m already planning on doing.”

Planned for the Bakery gig are three pieces based on structured improvisation. One is a solo work for “Kanjira” (a small drum covered in lizard skin and played with one hand, while the other hand presses the head to change the pitch), augmented by vocal percussion. Another piece features the “Jaltarang,” a homebuilt melodic instrument made with tuned rice bowls, accompanied by throat-singing. The third piece was envisaged for solo theremin.

Klimchak recently returned from a three-week residency at Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center in Florida, energized as much by the mode of transportation as the learning experience. The trip was the first undertaken by the musician in his Ford Transit van, which was painted in spectacularly psychedelic fashion by famed Pakistani truck artist Haider Ali.

“I’ve always taken musical inspiration from visual art,” Klimchak says, “and the paint job on the Transit has been a constant source of new ideas.”.

On the trip, Klimchak composed a new work called “Bowled Over,” which uses pairs of steel bowls connected with a piece of tubing. Raising and lowering the bowls, which are filled with water, changes the pitch of the sound produced when they are struck.

“The trick is that, because the bowls are connected, one bowl goes up in pitch, while the other bowl goes down in pitch,” explains Klimchak. “Writing for the instrument involves figuring out the relationship between two sets of pitches.”

While in Florida, Klimchak performed an in-process version of “Bowled Over” at Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center with input from master drummer Sean Hamilton. He hopes to finish the piece for an Atlanta premiere later this year.

As for other musicians on the “EEAV” bill, I haven’t yet caught Avneesh Sarwate in concert, but the work posted on his website is intriguing enough. A fairly recent house concert by Billy Mays III (Infinite Third) has me very much looking forward to his return to Atlanta.    STEVE EBERHARDT CELEBRATION OF ARJUNA: Two Javanese masters of shadow puppetry and gamelan drumming, Sumarsam and Darsono Hadiraharjo, will perform with the Emory Gamelan Ensemble (seen here in a 2018 performance) Saturday, April 6, at the Emory University Performing Arts Studio.                                   LISTENING POST: Javanese shadow puppetry brings the Mahābhārata to ‘life’ "
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Article

Tuesday April 2, 2019 12:44 pm EDT
Emory Gamelan Ensemble hosts Javanese masters for ‘Celebration of Arjuna’ | more...
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For two decades, Dust-to-Digital has produced a string of creatively packaged, meticulously researched, and voluminously documented recordings. Another thing the Atlanta-based label produces with regularity is Grammy Award nominations. Since 2004, an even dozen Dust-to-Digital albums or box sets have been recognized by the Recording Academy as outstanding achievements in one category or another.

At this year’s ceremony, Dust-to-Digital won Grammy honors for Best Historical Album and Best Liner Notes for Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris. That means label owners Lance and April Ledbetter will be making room on a shelf in their Grant Park house, which serves as the enterprise’s headquarters, for a second and third gold gramophone. In 2009, The Art of Field Recording: Vol. 1, which was compiled in partnership with North Georgia-based folklorist and musician Art Rosenbaum, garnered a Grammy for best historical album.

“Our business is a reflection of our love and passion for certain types of music and a desire to participate in the music industry,” says Lance Ledbetter.

The Dust-to-Digital catalog consists of troves of long-thought-lost American vernacular and popular music – gospel, blues, country, folk, jazz, old-time – alongside focused journeys into foreign territory from Mongolian folk and Yemeni classical music to Cambodian rock ‘n’ roll and Greek rebetika. The label also produces or re-packages documentary films, either as standalone projects or part of a collection of music and text, and publishes books on historic musical subjects frequently accompanied by related audio recordings.

Almost a decade in the making, Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by Bill Ferris chronicles the work of field recordist, filmmaker, folklorist, and educator William Ferris, who was born in 1942 on a farm near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Culled from Ferris’s massive archives, which now reside in the University of North Carolina’s Southern Folklife Collection, Voices of Mississippi includes a two-disc set of blues and gospel recordings (1966-1978); a CD featuring interviews and spoken word selections (1968-1994); and a collection of films on DVD (1972-1980).

The tracks featuring storytelling and spoken ruminations include contributions by Barry Hannah, Alice Walker, Alex Haley, Robert Penn Warren, and Allen Ginsburg. Also in the mix are recordings of illicit toasts and “the dirty dozens” (a stylistic precursor of rap) by lesser-known Mississippi figures. A selection of documentary films by Ferris and associates includes interviews with and performances by blues and gospel artists. In addition, a 120-page book edited by Ferris includes scholarly contributions by Scott Barrette, David Evans, and Tom Rankin. The whole shebang is packaged in a sturdy cloth-bound box with a hinged lid and recesses for the book and disks along with a code for downloading and streaming the audio content.

Another exemplary Dust-to-Digital project released in 2018, Listen All Around: The Golden Age of Central and East African Music, was produced in partnership with the International Library of African Music (ILAM) in Grahamstown, South Africa, which was founded in 1954 by British field recordist and ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey. Listen All Around features 47 newly transferred and remastered recordings made in the ‘50s by Tracey in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Kenya, Tanganyika, and Zanzibar (now Tanzania). The set’s two CDs are sleeved in an 84-page hardcover book with notes on Tracey’s methodology and detailed descriptions of each track.

Both Voices of Mississippi and Listen All Around function as time machines, transporting the listener into worlds inhabited by creatures like ourselves who exist in different contextual, and temporal realms. And yet, what is most remarkable about these two collections are the similarities and connections rather than the differences between cultural artifacts of the Deep South in the 1960s and East and Central Africa in the 1950s. Listening to Lovey Williams’ rendition of “I Feel So Good” or Scott Dunbar’s take on “Lil’ Liza Jane” (tracks 2 and 4, Voices of Mississippi), one can readily discern the swinging, hypnotically repetitive groove established by two guitarists recorded in a Congo copper mine, playing in a style known as the “Katanga sound,” (track 2, Listen All Around).

“We tend to be recognized on an international and national level more than locally,” says April Ledbetter. “But, when we put out an album or a box set that gets some national or international recognition, people in Atlanta are reminded that, ‘Hey, Dust-to-Digital is here; it’s part of our community.’”

A community blessed with award-winning musical treasures of many kinds."
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For two decades, Dust-to-Digital has produced a string of creatively packaged, meticulously researched, and voluminously documented recordings. Another thing the Atlanta-based label produces with regularity is Grammy Award nominations. Since 2004, an even dozen Dust-to-Digital albums or box sets have been recognized by the Recording Academy as outstanding achievements in one category or another.

At this year’s ceremony, Dust-to-Digital won Grammy honors for Best Historical Album and Best Liner Notes for ''Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris.'' That means label owners Lance and April Ledbetter will be making room on a shelf in their Grant Park house, which serves as the enterprise’s headquarters, for a second and third gold gramophone. In 2009, ''The Art of Field Recording: Vol. 1'', which was compiled in partnership with North Georgia-based folklorist and musician Art Rosenbaum, garnered a Grammy for best historical album.

“Our business is a reflection of our love and passion for certain types of music and a desire to participate in the music industry,” says Lance Ledbetter.

The Dust-to-Digital catalog consists of troves of long-thought-lost American vernacular and popular music – gospel, blues, country, folk, jazz, old-time – alongside focused journeys into foreign territory from Mongolian folk and Yemeni classical music to Cambodian rock ‘n’ roll and Greek rebetika. The label also produces or re-packages documentary films, either as standalone projects or part of a collection of music and text, and publishes books on historic musical subjects frequently accompanied by related audio recordings.

Almost a decade in the making, ''Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by Bill Ferris'' chronicles the work of field recordist, filmmaker, folklorist, and educator William Ferris, who was born in 1942 on a farm near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Culled from Ferris’s massive archives, which now reside in the University of North Carolina’s Southern Folklife Collection, ''Voices of Mississippi'' includes a two-disc set of blues and gospel recordings (1966-1978); a CD featuring interviews and spoken word selections (1968-1994); and a collection of films on DVD (1972-1980).

The tracks featuring storytelling and spoken ruminations include contributions by Barry Hannah, Alice Walker, Alex Haley, Robert Penn Warren, and Allen Ginsburg. Also in the mix are recordings of illicit toasts and “the dirty dozens” (a stylistic precursor of rap) by lesser-known Mississippi figures. A selection of documentary films by Ferris and associates includes interviews with and performances by blues and gospel artists. In addition, a 120-page book edited by Ferris includes scholarly contributions by Scott Barrette, David Evans, and Tom Rankin. The whole shebang is packaged in a sturdy cloth-bound box with a hinged lid and recesses for the book and disks along with a code for downloading and streaming the audio content.

Another exemplary Dust-to-Digital project released in 2018, ''Listen All Around: The Golden Age of Central and East African Music'', was produced in partnership with the International Library of African Music (ILAM) in Grahamstown, South Africa, which was founded in 1954 by British field recordist and ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey. ''Listen All Around'' features 47 newly transferred and remastered recordings made in the ‘50s by Tracey in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Kenya, Tanganyika, and Zanzibar (now Tanzania). The set’s two CDs are sleeved in an 84-page hardcover book with notes on Tracey’s methodology and detailed descriptions of each track.

Both ''Voices of Mississippi'' and ''Listen All Around'' function as time machines, transporting the listener into worlds inhabited by creatures like ourselves who exist in different contextual, and temporal realms. And yet, what is most remarkable about these two collections are the similarities and connections rather than the differences between cultural artifacts of the Deep South in the 1960s and East and Central Africa in the 1950s. Listening to Lovey Williams’ rendition of “I Feel So Good” or Scott Dunbar’s take on “Lil’ Liza Jane” (tracks 2 and 4, ''Voices of Mississippi''), one can readily discern the swinging, hypnotically repetitive groove established by two guitarists recorded in a Congo copper mine, playing in a style known as the “Katanga sound,” (track 2, ''Listen All Around'').

“We tend to be recognized on an international and national level more than locally,” says April Ledbetter. “But, when we put out an album or a box set that gets some national or international recognition, people in Atlanta are reminded that, ‘Hey, Dust-to-Digital is here; it’s part of our community.’”

A community blessed with award-winning musical treasures of many kinds."
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  string(5593) " Mississippi  2019-02-19T05:06:14+00:00 Mississippi.jpg   It's Scott Barretta. You must be an autocorrect victim.  ‘Voices of Mississippi’ and ‘Listen All Around’ illustrate similarities between the Deep South of the ’60s and East/Central Africa of the ’50s 13772  2019-02-19T04:23:07+00:00 Dust-to-Digital: The Art of documentation chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Doug DeLoach  2019-02-19T04:23:07+00:00   

For two decades, Dust-to-Digital has produced a string of creatively packaged, meticulously researched, and voluminously documented recordings. Another thing the Atlanta-based label produces with regularity is Grammy Award nominations. Since 2004, an even dozen Dust-to-Digital albums or box sets have been recognized by the Recording Academy as outstanding achievements in one category or another.

At this year’s ceremony, Dust-to-Digital won Grammy honors for Best Historical Album and Best Liner Notes for Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris. That means label owners Lance and April Ledbetter will be making room on a shelf in their Grant Park house, which serves as the enterprise’s headquarters, for a second and third gold gramophone. In 2009, The Art of Field Recording: Vol. 1, which was compiled in partnership with North Georgia-based folklorist and musician Art Rosenbaum, garnered a Grammy for best historical album.

“Our business is a reflection of our love and passion for certain types of music and a desire to participate in the music industry,” says Lance Ledbetter.

The Dust-to-Digital catalog consists of troves of long-thought-lost American vernacular and popular music – gospel, blues, country, folk, jazz, old-time – alongside focused journeys into foreign territory from Mongolian folk and Yemeni classical music to Cambodian rock ‘n’ roll and Greek rebetika. The label also produces or re-packages documentary films, either as standalone projects or part of a collection of music and text, and publishes books on historic musical subjects frequently accompanied by related audio recordings.

Almost a decade in the making, Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by Bill Ferris chronicles the work of field recordist, filmmaker, folklorist, and educator William Ferris, who was born in 1942 on a farm near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Culled from Ferris’s massive archives, which now reside in the University of North Carolina’s Southern Folklife Collection, Voices of Mississippi includes a two-disc set of blues and gospel recordings (1966-1978); a CD featuring interviews and spoken word selections (1968-1994); and a collection of films on DVD (1972-1980).

The tracks featuring storytelling and spoken ruminations include contributions by Barry Hannah, Alice Walker, Alex Haley, Robert Penn Warren, and Allen Ginsburg. Also in the mix are recordings of illicit toasts and “the dirty dozens” (a stylistic precursor of rap) by lesser-known Mississippi figures. A selection of documentary films by Ferris and associates includes interviews with and performances by blues and gospel artists. In addition, a 120-page book edited by Ferris includes scholarly contributions by Scott Barrette, David Evans, and Tom Rankin. The whole shebang is packaged in a sturdy cloth-bound box with a hinged lid and recesses for the book and disks along with a code for downloading and streaming the audio content.

Another exemplary Dust-to-Digital project released in 2018, Listen All Around: The Golden Age of Central and East African Music, was produced in partnership with the International Library of African Music (ILAM) in Grahamstown, South Africa, which was founded in 1954 by British field recordist and ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey. Listen All Around features 47 newly transferred and remastered recordings made in the ‘50s by Tracey in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Kenya, Tanganyika, and Zanzibar (now Tanzania). The set’s two CDs are sleeved in an 84-page hardcover book with notes on Tracey’s methodology and detailed descriptions of each track.

Both Voices of Mississippi and Listen All Around function as time machines, transporting the listener into worlds inhabited by creatures like ourselves who exist in different contextual, and temporal realms. And yet, what is most remarkable about these two collections are the similarities and connections rather than the differences between cultural artifacts of the Deep South in the 1960s and East and Central Africa in the 1950s. Listening to Lovey Williams’ rendition of “I Feel So Good” or Scott Dunbar’s take on “Lil’ Liza Jane” (tracks 2 and 4, Voices of Mississippi), one can readily discern the swinging, hypnotically repetitive groove established by two guitarists recorded in a Congo copper mine, playing in a style known as the “Katanga sound,” (track 2, Listen All Around).

“We tend to be recognized on an international and national level more than locally,” says April Ledbetter. “But, when we put out an album or a box set that gets some national or international recognition, people in Atlanta are reminded that, ‘Hey, Dust-to-Digital is here; it’s part of our community.’”

A community blessed with award-winning musical treasures of many kinds.    Courtesy Dust-to-Digital AWARD TOUR: On February 10, Dust-To-Digital’s ‘Voices of Mississippi’ won Grammys in the Best Historical Album and Best Liner Notes categories.                                   Dust-to-Digital: The Art of documentation "
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Article

Monday February 18, 2019 11:23 pm EST
‘Voices of Mississippi’ and ‘Listen All Around’ illustrate similarities between the Deep South of the ’60s and East/Central Africa of the ’50s | more...
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  string(41) "Past Now Tomorrow closes generational gap"
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  string(4617) "Benjamin Shirley is a man of myriad music-related pursuits. He plays cello and banjo as both a soloist and member of multiple bands including Faun & a Pan Flute, Artifactual String Unit, and BASrelief. The latter group, with Shirley, Majid Araim on mandolin and Julian “Scotty” Bryan (Bird City Revolutionaries) on congas and percussion, recently dropped its self-titled debut album. The release of BASrelief’s self-titled CD, together with a new 7-inch by W8ing4UFOs, will be celebrated in a concert on Wednesday, February 6, at the First Existentialist Congregation. The event marks the official launch of Shirley’s label, Past Now Tomorrow.

“The name speaks to how I see music, which is less in service to commercial genre distinctions and more in celebration of traditional lineages, which have developed over time,” says Shirley. “My experience as a musician has been profoundly shaped by elder and younger collaborators, as well as by my direct peers. I want to honor and promote the inter-generational aspect of music-making.”

BASrelief evolved from an ongoing collaboration between Shirley and Araim who occasionally perform as Whispers of Night. Their music focuses on “exploring acoustic noise and experimental improvisational music with an Appalachian tinge.” By adding Bryan to the mix, the duo’s songs, which zig-zag between swinging melodic jazz and sharply contrapuntal avant-folk, often in the same tune, assumed a rhythmic grounding, which reinforced and enriched the frangible acoustic timbre in the strings-only pairing.

Among BASrelief’s 11 songs, “Elephants are Lighter than Feathers” strikes an exemplary balance between angular discordance and finger-snapping bebop while “Potted” sways and loops like a slightly drunk couple dancing a tango. On “Frosted Horizon,” Araim and Shirley flit above Ryan’s funky lope with whimsical fancy and intelligent direction. No matter how asynchronous things get on BASrelief, the trio stays true to a core groove in the absence of which this type of music tends to careen into an unpalatable abyss.

The motivation to start a label to release and promote one’s own music seems self-evident. What about the other band making its Past Now Tomorrow debut?

“The first time I saw W8ing4UFOs was at Eyedrum two or three years ago,” Shirley says. “Their music brought to mind everything from Exile on Main Street-era Stones and ’80s punk to Leonard Cohen with everything carrying a quasi-medieval troubadour vibe.”



As much as anything else, Shirley was beguiled by the sound of W8ing4UFOs’ offbeat instrumental lineup. The band frequently features special guests, lately including guitarist Sean Dunn (Five Eight) and violist/fiddler Katie Butler (Evan Stepp & the Piners), while centering around Bill Taft’s guitar, banjo, and vocalizing; Billy Fields’ piano and synthesizer; Brian Halloran’s cello; and Will Fratesi’s eccentric percussion kit, which includes a bass drum supported horizontally on the floor by a small wood frame augmented by chain links, orphaned bells, bowls, and trinkets, and a thrift store squeezebox.

“The songs on the 7-inch don't drive me to despair when I hear them,” remarks Taft whose local legacy stretches back through the 1980s with the Chowder Shouters, the Jody Grind, Opal Foxx Quartet, Smoke, Hubcap City (from Belgium), and Smoke That City. “I get creeped out by my voice, but the sound of the piano, cello, and drum keep me from jumping off the ledge.”

The two cuts on the Past Now Tomorrow disk, “Starlight” and “W8ing4UFOs,” are representative of the noir-ish, anti-folk-rock realm of W8ing4UFOs. By trade and inclination, Taft is a creative writing teacher and lyricist with a gift for metaphorical elucidation. “Hustler white, igniter fool,” sings the protagonist on the band’s namesake song, which was inspired by Coleman Lewis, a gifted guitarist and longtime bandmate of Taft’s who overdosed on heroin in 2014. “On the flickering edge between right and wrong … Me and the matador will be up on the roof waiting for UFOs.”

“The fact that these people, all of whom have been in what are arguably some of the most important Atlanta bands of the last 30 years, remain incredibly active and continue pushing the music forward deeply inspires me,” says Shirley. “They represent a lot of the philosophy behind Past Now Tomorrow.”

$10 donation or free entry with purchase of CD or 7-inch. Doors at 8 p.m., music at 9 p.m. First Existentialist Congregation, 470 Candler Park Drive NE, 404-378-5570."
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“The name speaks to how I see music, which is less in service to commercial genre distinctions and more in celebration of traditional lineages, which have developed over time,” says Shirley. “My experience as a musician has been profoundly shaped by elder and younger collaborators, as well as by my direct peers. I want to honor and promote the inter-generational aspect of music-making.”

BASrelief evolved from an ongoing collaboration between Shirley and Araim who occasionally perform as Whispers of Night. Their music focuses on “exploring acoustic noise and experimental improvisational music with an Appalachian tinge.” By adding Bryan to the mix, the duo’s songs, which zig-zag between swinging melodic jazz and sharply contrapuntal avant-folk, often in the same tune, assumed a rhythmic grounding, which reinforced and enriched the frangible acoustic timbre in the strings-only pairing.

Among ''BASrelief’s'' 11 songs, “Elephants are Lighter than Feathers” strikes an exemplary balance between angular discordance and finger-snapping bebop while “Potted” sways and loops like a slightly drunk couple dancing a tango. On “Frosted Horizon,” Araim and Shirley flit above Ryan’s funky lope with whimsical fancy and intelligent direction. No matter how asynchronous things get on ''BASrelief,'' the trio stays true to a core groove in the absence of which this type of music tends to careen into an unpalatable abyss.

The motivation to start a label to release and promote one’s own music seems self-evident. What about the other band making its Past Now Tomorrow debut?

“The first time I saw W8ing4UFOs was at Eyedrum two or three years ago,” Shirley says. “Their music brought to mind everything from ''Exile on Main Street''-era Stones and ’80s punk to Leonard Cohen with everything carrying a quasi-medieval troubadour vibe.”

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As much as anything else, Shirley was beguiled by the sound of W8ing4UFOs’ offbeat instrumental lineup. The band frequently features special guests, lately including guitarist Sean Dunn (Five Eight) and violist/fiddler Katie Butler (Evan Stepp & the Piners), while centering around Bill Taft’s guitar, banjo, and vocalizing; Billy Fields’ piano and synthesizer; Brian Halloran’s cello; and Will Fratesi’s eccentric percussion kit, which includes a bass drum supported horizontally on the floor by a small wood frame augmented by chain links, orphaned bells, bowls, and trinkets, and a thrift store squeezebox.

“The songs on the 7-inch don't drive me to despair when I hear them,” remarks Taft whose local legacy stretches back through the 1980s with the Chowder Shouters, the Jody Grind, Opal Foxx Quartet, Smoke, Hubcap City (from Belgium), and Smoke That City. “I get creeped out by my voice, but the sound of the piano, cello, and drum keep me from jumping off the ledge.”

The two cuts on the Past Now Tomorrow disk, “Starlight” and “W8ing4UFOs,” are representative of the noir-ish, anti-folk-rock realm of W8ing4UFOs. By trade and inclination, Taft is a creative writing teacher and lyricist with a gift for metaphorical elucidation. “Hustler white, igniter fool,” sings the protagonist on the band’s namesake song, which was inspired by Coleman Lewis, a gifted guitarist and longtime bandmate of Taft’s who overdosed on heroin in 2014. “On the flickering edge between right and wrong … Me and the matador will be up on the roof waiting for UFOs.”

“The fact that these people, all of whom have been in what are arguably some of the most important Atlanta bands of the last 30 years, remain incredibly active and continue pushing the music forward deeply inspires me,” says Shirley. “They represent a lot of the philosophy behind Past Now Tomorrow.”

''$10 donation or free entry with purchase of CD or 7-inch. Doors at 8 p.m., music at 9 p.m. First Existentialist Congregation, 470 Candler Park Drive NE, 404-378-5570.''"
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  string(5246) " Chris Beat Pic Jan 2018  2019-02-05T00:19:57+00:00 Chris Beat pic Jan 2018.jpg   Great info on some of ATL’s coolest comtempotary music. Thanks, CL. basrelief waiting for ufos w8ing 4 ufos Concert celebrates new releases by BASrelief and W8ing4UFOs 13288  2019-02-05T00:15:06+00:00 Past Now Tomorrow closes generational gap chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Doug DeLoach  2019-02-05T00:15:06+00:00  Benjamin Shirley is a man of myriad music-related pursuits. He plays cello and banjo as both a soloist and member of multiple bands including Faun & a Pan Flute, Artifactual String Unit, and BASrelief. The latter group, with Shirley, Majid Araim on mandolin and Julian “Scotty” Bryan (Bird City Revolutionaries) on congas and percussion, recently dropped its self-titled debut album. The release of BASrelief’s self-titled CD, together with a new 7-inch by W8ing4UFOs, will be celebrated in a concert on Wednesday, February 6, at the First Existentialist Congregation. The event marks the official launch of Shirley’s label, Past Now Tomorrow.

“The name speaks to how I see music, which is less in service to commercial genre distinctions and more in celebration of traditional lineages, which have developed over time,” says Shirley. “My experience as a musician has been profoundly shaped by elder and younger collaborators, as well as by my direct peers. I want to honor and promote the inter-generational aspect of music-making.”

BASrelief evolved from an ongoing collaboration between Shirley and Araim who occasionally perform as Whispers of Night. Their music focuses on “exploring acoustic noise and experimental improvisational music with an Appalachian tinge.” By adding Bryan to the mix, the duo’s songs, which zig-zag between swinging melodic jazz and sharply contrapuntal avant-folk, often in the same tune, assumed a rhythmic grounding, which reinforced and enriched the frangible acoustic timbre in the strings-only pairing.

Among BASrelief’s 11 songs, “Elephants are Lighter than Feathers” strikes an exemplary balance between angular discordance and finger-snapping bebop while “Potted” sways and loops like a slightly drunk couple dancing a tango. On “Frosted Horizon,” Araim and Shirley flit above Ryan’s funky lope with whimsical fancy and intelligent direction. No matter how asynchronous things get on BASrelief, the trio stays true to a core groove in the absence of which this type of music tends to careen into an unpalatable abyss.

The motivation to start a label to release and promote one’s own music seems self-evident. What about the other band making its Past Now Tomorrow debut?

“The first time I saw W8ing4UFOs was at Eyedrum two or three years ago,” Shirley says. “Their music brought to mind everything from Exile on Main Street-era Stones and ’80s punk to Leonard Cohen with everything carrying a quasi-medieval troubadour vibe.”



As much as anything else, Shirley was beguiled by the sound of W8ing4UFOs’ offbeat instrumental lineup. The band frequently features special guests, lately including guitarist Sean Dunn (Five Eight) and violist/fiddler Katie Butler (Evan Stepp & the Piners), while centering around Bill Taft’s guitar, banjo, and vocalizing; Billy Fields’ piano and synthesizer; Brian Halloran’s cello; and Will Fratesi’s eccentric percussion kit, which includes a bass drum supported horizontally on the floor by a small wood frame augmented by chain links, orphaned bells, bowls, and trinkets, and a thrift store squeezebox.

“The songs on the 7-inch don't drive me to despair when I hear them,” remarks Taft whose local legacy stretches back through the 1980s with the Chowder Shouters, the Jody Grind, Opal Foxx Quartet, Smoke, Hubcap City (from Belgium), and Smoke That City. “I get creeped out by my voice, but the sound of the piano, cello, and drum keep me from jumping off the ledge.”

The two cuts on the Past Now Tomorrow disk, “Starlight” and “W8ing4UFOs,” are representative of the noir-ish, anti-folk-rock realm of W8ing4UFOs. By trade and inclination, Taft is a creative writing teacher and lyricist with a gift for metaphorical elucidation. “Hustler white, igniter fool,” sings the protagonist on the band’s namesake song, which was inspired by Coleman Lewis, a gifted guitarist and longtime bandmate of Taft’s who overdosed on heroin in 2014. “On the flickering edge between right and wrong … Me and the matador will be up on the roof waiting for UFOs.”

“The fact that these people, all of whom have been in what are arguably some of the most important Atlanta bands of the last 30 years, remain incredibly active and continue pushing the music forward deeply inspires me,” says Shirley. “They represent a lot of the philosophy behind Past Now Tomorrow.”

$10 donation or free entry with purchase of CD or 7-inch. Doors at 8 p.m., music at 9 p.m. First Existentialist Congregation, 470 Candler Park Drive NE, 404-378-5570.    Chris Beat W8ing4UFOs: Billy Fields (from left), Bill Taft, Will Fratesi, Brian Halloran.      "basrelief" "waiting for ufos" "w8ing 4 ufos"                             Past Now Tomorrow closes generational gap "
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Article

Monday February 4, 2019 07:15 pm EST
Concert celebrates new releases by BASrelief and W8ing4UFOs | more...
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It takes two to tango on Duets, a new album by composer and saxophone player Jeff Crompton pairing up with a trio of formidable collaborators. Featuring a dozen songs and bonus track, Duets highlights Crompton’s expansive stylistic palate, and his deep command of jazz expressions.

”Half the pieces were written with a particular duet partner in mind, and half are old compositions, but everyone's contributions took them to a new level,” Crompton says.

To celebrate the release of Duets, all of Crompton’s partners — Stuart Gerber (percussion), Peter Sloan (trombone), and Chris Case (piano) — will be on hand for a concert Saturday night at 800 East Studios. Sloan gets the award for farthest distance traveled. The ex-trombonist with the 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra is currently pursuing a PhD in music at the University of California in San Diego.

Duets kicks off with “Stumble, Fall,” a rhythmically dynamic excursion for alto sax and percussion. Gerber’s imaginatively crafted small kit (blocks, toms, cymbals, bell) bashing perfectly complements Crompton’s elegant melodic phrasing. “It’s the kind of thing that wouldn’t work with most musicians,” says the saxophonist, “but I knew it would work with Stuart.”

“Vic and Sid” is a bluesy romp featuring Crompton’s alto and Sloan’s slide trombone. Like a couple of old friends after a few too many, the duo sloppily weaves down a late night alley, straying apart and bumping back into each other in a series of flurries, squawks, bleats and blats, eventually finding their way home in perfect harmony.

Pianist Chris Case brings his lushly romantic chops to bear on a few of the album’s softer, more palpably trad-jazz, compositions (“Hidden Hearts,” “Daylilies” and “In the Basement,” the latter co-credited to Case). On the closing track, “Offering,” the pianist accompanies Crompton’s sweetly honed alto with a bit of overdubbing and reverse playback, which works surprisingly well considering the straightforward nature of the rest of the music.

Duets includes a bonus track, which features Crompton and Atlanta-based drummer/composer Jamie Shepard performing Ornette Coleman's “Lonely Woman” at the Music Room in 2011. The music competes with audience chatter and a squeaky restroom door, which somehow makes the subtly powerful duet performance all the more remarkable.

This is sublimely sophisticated jazz, but not so esoteric that the listener needs specialized ears to dig it. To one degree or another, every track on Duets is imbued with an essentially engaging pairing of swing and groove.

$5 (door) or $10 (includes a CD or download code). Sat., Jan. 26, 8 p.m. 800 East Studios, 800 East Avenue, NEW, Atlanta, GA 30312, 470-240-1282."
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It takes two to tango on ''Duets'', a new album by composer and saxophone player Jeff Crompton pairing up with a trio of formidable collaborators. Featuring a dozen songs and bonus track, ''Duets'' highlights Crompton’s expansive stylistic palate, and his deep command of jazz expressions.

”Half the pieces were written with a particular duet partner in mind, and half are old compositions, but everyone's contributions took them to a new level,” Crompton says.

To celebrate the release of ''Duets'', all of Crompton’s partners — Stuart Gerber (percussion), Peter Sloan (trombone), and Chris Case (piano) — will be on hand for a concert Saturday night at 800 East Studios. Sloan gets the award for farthest distance traveled. The ex-trombonist with the 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra is currently pursuing a PhD in music at the University of California in San Diego.

''Duets'' kicks off with “Stumble, Fall,” a rhythmically dynamic excursion for alto sax and percussion. Gerber’s imaginatively crafted small kit (blocks, toms, cymbals, bell) bashing perfectly complements Crompton’s elegant melodic phrasing. “It’s the kind of thing that wouldn’t work with most musicians,” says the saxophonist, “but I knew it would work with Stuart.”

“Vic and Sid” is a bluesy romp featuring Crompton’s alto and Sloan’s slide trombone. Like a couple of old friends after a few too many, the duo sloppily weaves down a late night alley, straying apart and bumping back into each other in a series of flurries, squawks, bleats and blats, eventually finding their way home in perfect harmony.

Pianist Chris Case brings his lushly romantic chops to bear on a few of the album’s softer, more palpably trad-jazz, compositions (“Hidden Hearts,” “Daylilies” and “In the Basement,” the latter co-credited to Case). On the closing track, “Offering,” the pianist accompanies Crompton’s sweetly honed alto with a bit of overdubbing and reverse playback, which works surprisingly well considering the straightforward nature of the rest of the music.

''Duets'' includes a bonus track, which features Crompton and Atlanta-based drummer/composer Jamie Shepard performing Ornette Coleman's “Lonely Woman” at the Music Room in 2011. The music competes with audience chatter and a squeaky restroom door, which somehow makes the subtly powerful duet performance all the more remarkable.

This is sublimely sophisticated jazz, but not so esoteric that the listener needs specialized ears to dig it. To one degree or another, every track on ''Duets'' is imbued with an essentially engaging pairing of swing and groove.

''[https://www.facebook.com/events/2287204671350343/|$5 (door) or $10 (includes a CD or download code). Sat., Jan. 26, 8 p.m. 800 East Studios, 800 East Avenue, NEW, Atlanta, GA 30312, 470-240-1282.]''"
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  string(3334) " Crompton John Arthur Brown  2019-01-25T15:59:41+00:00 Crompton_John Arthur Brown.jpg     The jazz maestro drops an album of adventurous collaborations 12899  2019-01-25T15:43:57+00:00 Jeff Crompton’s ‘Duets’ debuts at 800 East Studios chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Doug DeLoach  2019-01-25T15:43:57+00:00  

It takes two to tango on Duets, a new album by composer and saxophone player Jeff Crompton pairing up with a trio of formidable collaborators. Featuring a dozen songs and bonus track, Duets highlights Crompton’s expansive stylistic palate, and his deep command of jazz expressions.

”Half the pieces were written with a particular duet partner in mind, and half are old compositions, but everyone's contributions took them to a new level,” Crompton says.

To celebrate the release of Duets, all of Crompton’s partners — Stuart Gerber (percussion), Peter Sloan (trombone), and Chris Case (piano) — will be on hand for a concert Saturday night at 800 East Studios. Sloan gets the award for farthest distance traveled. The ex-trombonist with the 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra is currently pursuing a PhD in music at the University of California in San Diego.

Duets kicks off with “Stumble, Fall,” a rhythmically dynamic excursion for alto sax and percussion. Gerber’s imaginatively crafted small kit (blocks, toms, cymbals, bell) bashing perfectly complements Crompton’s elegant melodic phrasing. “It’s the kind of thing that wouldn’t work with most musicians,” says the saxophonist, “but I knew it would work with Stuart.”

“Vic and Sid” is a bluesy romp featuring Crompton’s alto and Sloan’s slide trombone. Like a couple of old friends after a few too many, the duo sloppily weaves down a late night alley, straying apart and bumping back into each other in a series of flurries, squawks, bleats and blats, eventually finding their way home in perfect harmony.

Pianist Chris Case brings his lushly romantic chops to bear on a few of the album’s softer, more palpably trad-jazz, compositions (“Hidden Hearts,” “Daylilies” and “In the Basement,” the latter co-credited to Case). On the closing track, “Offering,” the pianist accompanies Crompton’s sweetly honed alto with a bit of overdubbing and reverse playback, which works surprisingly well considering the straightforward nature of the rest of the music.

Duets includes a bonus track, which features Crompton and Atlanta-based drummer/composer Jamie Shepard performing Ornette Coleman's “Lonely Woman” at the Music Room in 2011. The music competes with audience chatter and a squeaky restroom door, which somehow makes the subtly powerful duet performance all the more remarkable.

This is sublimely sophisticated jazz, but not so esoteric that the listener needs specialized ears to dig it. To one degree or another, every track on Duets is imbued with an essentially engaging pairing of swing and groove.

$5 (door) or $10 (includes a CD or download code). Sat., Jan. 26, 8 p.m. 800 East Studios, 800 East Avenue, NEW, Atlanta, GA 30312, 470-240-1282.    John Arthur Brown JAZZ MASTER: Jeff Crompton debuts his latest album, 'Duets,' at 800 East Studios January 26.                                    Jeff Crompton’s ‘Duets’ debuts at 800 East Studios "
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Article

Friday January 25, 2019 10:43 am EST
The jazz maestro drops an album of adventurous collaborations | more...
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  string(4075) "A one-night-only presentation of Mississippi Records American Tour promises to be a long, strange, and entertaining trip into the fringes of music from around the globe. The main program for the evening at the Plaza Theatre, titled A Cosmic and Earthly History of Recorded Music According to Mississippi Records, features 90-minutes of film and video footage, slides, music, and a lecture that brings into focus a psychedelic vision of the world through the lens of the iconoclastic vinyl reissue label.

“I have always been unsatisfied with the canned history of American music as presented by PBS documentaries and books,” says the label’s co-founder Eric Isaacson. “So, I thought, instead of complaining, I'd put my money where my mouth is.”

For more than 15 years, Mississippi Records has evolved to become an invaluable resource for record collectors, academics, and anyone compelled to explore the outer envelope of popular culture from the Mississippi Delta to the most remote corners of Africa and Asia.

Isaacson, who runs the label, launched Mississippi Records in 2004 with friends Alex Yusimov and Warren Hill. He will be in Atlanta Saturday night for the Plaza Theatre’s film screening and presentation, hosting an overview of the label’s unique approach to music.

Mississippi Records started out as a Portland, Oregon record store, opening its doors in 2003. The shop, which operates under the motto, “Always — Love Over Gold,” has no computer and does not take credit cards. The label does not have a website. Nevertheless, Mississippi Records has issued around 240 vinyl and cassette releases featuring artists ranging from Irma Thomas, Abner Jay, Pandit Pran Nath, and Frances Bebay to Fred McDowell, Marika Papagika, Dead Moon, and R.E.M’s Peter Buck.

In addition to compiling collections of soul, R&B, blues, punk, folk, and world music prized by seekers of the esoteric and obscure, Mississippi Records swims deeply in the realm of the offbeat, unheralded, and genuinely odd, sporting titles by 71 year-old synth pop songwriter the Space Lady, and pre-Dead Moon proto-punk outfit the Rats.

A key aspect of Isaacson’s self-described cosmic premise is the presence of cycles, which have occurred throughout the history of recorded music. He identifies long periods of oppression and creative stagnation, such as the years between 1934-1954 and 1985-1990. In contrast are cycles in the recording industry when creative freedom predominated, for example, between 1926-1933 and 1955-1969.

“I am keenly interested in the political, cultural and economic forces that created these booms and busts,” Isaacson says. “It’s a constant push-and-pull of action and reaction: Oppression versus freedom; fear and racial/cultural divide versus collaboration and cultural mish-mash. It seems like a good tale to tell, especially these days.”

Also included in Saturday night’s program are a series of short films from Raw Music International by Cyrus Moussavi, director of Lonnie Holley’s Sometimes I Wanna Dance video. The clips include a performance by Cambodian musicians led by Arn Chorn-Pond, a survivor of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime, and sequences from the upcoming RMI film Don't Sleep (Usiende Ukalale). The film was shot in the countryside of Western Kenya while Moussavi was researching material for the Mississippi Records release Furaha Wenye Gita (Happiness with Guitar) featuring George Mukabi.

“I was searching for more information about Mukabi, who is this almost mythical Kenyan guitarist, and met a world of family members and contemporaries who still play in his Omutibo style,” Moussavi says.

The Mississippi Records American Tour show concludes with a DJ set by Gordon Ashworth of Olvido Records featuring a cornucopia of music from all over the planet, which should be as much of a trip as the rest of the evening’s fare.

$13 ($11 senior, student, and military). 7 p.m. Sat., Jan. 19. The Plaza Theatre, 49 Ponce De Leon Ave. N.E. 470-225-6503. www.plazaatlanta.com."
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~~#000000:For more than 15 years, Mississippi Records has evolved to become an invaluable resource for record collectors, academics, and anyone compelled to explore the outer envelope of popular culture from the Mississippi Delta to the most remote corners of Africa and Asia.~~

~~#000000:Isaacson, who runs the label, launched Mississippi Records in 2004 with friends Alex Yusimov and Warren Hill. He will be in Atlanta Saturday night for the Plaza Theatre’s film screening and presentation, hosting an overview of the label’s unique approach to music.~~

~~#000000:Mississippi Records started out as a Portland, Oregon record store, opening its doors in 2003. The shop, which operates under the motto, “Always — Love Over Gold,” has no computer and does not take credit cards. The label does not have a website. Nevertheless, Mississippi Records has issued around 240 vinyl and cassette releases featuring artists ranging from Irma Thomas, Abner Jay, Pandit Pran Nath, and Frances Bebay to Fred McDowell, Marika Papagika, Dead Moon, and R.E.M’s Peter Buck.~~

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~~#000000:A key aspect of Isaacson’s self-described cosmic premise is the presence of cycles, which have occurred throughout the history of recorded music. He identifies long periods of oppression and creative stagnation, such as the years between 1934-1954 and 1985-1990. In contrast are cycles in the recording industry when creative freedom predominated, for example, between 1926-1933 and 1955-1969.~~

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''[http://plazaatlanta.com/movie/mississippi-records/|$13 ($11 senior, student, and military). 7 p.m. Sat., Jan. 19. The Plaza Theatre, 49 Ponce De Leon Ave. N.E. 470-225-6503. www.plazaatlanta.com.]''"
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  string(4703) " 41050014[1]  2019-01-15T15:44:36+00:00 41050014[1].jpg     Portland-based reissue label’s co-founder Eric Isaacson showcases a secret history of musical cycles 12552  2019-01-17T15:39:00+00:00 Mississippi Records casts new light on American music chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Doug DeLoach  2019-01-17T15:39:00+00:00  A one-night-only presentation of Mississippi Records American Tour promises to be a long, strange, and entertaining trip into the fringes of music from around the globe. The main program for the evening at the Plaza Theatre, titled A Cosmic and Earthly History of Recorded Music According to Mississippi Records, features 90-minutes of film and video footage, slides, music, and a lecture that brings into focus a psychedelic vision of the world through the lens of the iconoclastic vinyl reissue label.

“I have always been unsatisfied with the canned history of American music as presented by PBS documentaries and books,” says the label’s co-founder Eric Isaacson. “So, I thought, instead of complaining, I'd put my money where my mouth is.”

For more than 15 years, Mississippi Records has evolved to become an invaluable resource for record collectors, academics, and anyone compelled to explore the outer envelope of popular culture from the Mississippi Delta to the most remote corners of Africa and Asia.

Isaacson, who runs the label, launched Mississippi Records in 2004 with friends Alex Yusimov and Warren Hill. He will be in Atlanta Saturday night for the Plaza Theatre’s film screening and presentation, hosting an overview of the label’s unique approach to music.

Mississippi Records started out as a Portland, Oregon record store, opening its doors in 2003. The shop, which operates under the motto, “Always — Love Over Gold,” has no computer and does not take credit cards. The label does not have a website. Nevertheless, Mississippi Records has issued around 240 vinyl and cassette releases featuring artists ranging from Irma Thomas, Abner Jay, Pandit Pran Nath, and Frances Bebay to Fred McDowell, Marika Papagika, Dead Moon, and R.E.M’s Peter Buck.

In addition to compiling collections of soul, R&B, blues, punk, folk, and world music prized by seekers of the esoteric and obscure, Mississippi Records swims deeply in the realm of the offbeat, unheralded, and genuinely odd, sporting titles by 71 year-old synth pop songwriter the Space Lady, and pre-Dead Moon proto-punk outfit the Rats.

A key aspect of Isaacson’s self-described cosmic premise is the presence of cycles, which have occurred throughout the history of recorded music. He identifies long periods of oppression and creative stagnation, such as the years between 1934-1954 and 1985-1990. In contrast are cycles in the recording industry when creative freedom predominated, for example, between 1926-1933 and 1955-1969.

“I am keenly interested in the political, cultural and economic forces that created these booms and busts,” Isaacson says. “It’s a constant push-and-pull of action and reaction: Oppression versus freedom; fear and racial/cultural divide versus collaboration and cultural mish-mash. It seems like a good tale to tell, especially these days.”

Also included in Saturday night’s program are a series of short films from Raw Music International by Cyrus Moussavi, director of Lonnie Holley’s Sometimes I Wanna Dance video. The clips include a performance by Cambodian musicians led by Arn Chorn-Pond, a survivor of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime, and sequences from the upcoming RMI film Don't Sleep (Usiende Ukalale). The film was shot in the countryside of Western Kenya while Moussavi was researching material for the Mississippi Records release Furaha Wenye Gita (Happiness with Guitar) featuring George Mukabi.

“I was searching for more information about Mukabi, who is this almost mythical Kenyan guitarist, and met a world of family members and contemporaries who still play in his Omutibo style,” Moussavi says.

The Mississippi Records American Tour show concludes with a DJ set by Gordon Ashworth of Olvido Records featuring a cornucopia of music from all over the planet, which should be as much of a trip as the rest of the evening’s fare.

$13 ($11 senior, student, and military). 7 p.m. Sat., Jan. 19. The Plaza Theatre, 49 Ponce De Leon Ave. N.E. 470-225-6503. www.plazaatlanta.com.    Cyrus Moussavi LOVE OVER GOLD: Mississippi Records co-founder Eric Isaacson hosts A Cosmic and Earthly History of Recorded Music According to Mississippi Records at the Plaza Theatre Jan. 19.                                   Mississippi Records casts new light on American music "
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Thursday January 17, 2019 10:39 am EST
Portland-based reissue label’s co-founder Eric Isaacson showcases a secret history of musical cycles | more...
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The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra: Get It How You Live (Groid Music/Ropeadope) What does 21st-century big-band jazz sound like? The answer: Get It How You Live, which showcases the Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra, a 19-piece ensemble led by trumpeter Russell Gunn. With a couple of exceptions, the compositions are Russell’s, complemented by arrangements from trombonist and Kennesaw State University jazz band director Wes Funderburk. Dionne Farris lends her soulful voice to a hair-raising rendition of her song “Fair,” along with a new Funderburk arrangement of her song “Hopeless,” the title song from 1997’s Love Jones. Dashill Smith delivers a lyrical punch to “The Critic’s Song,” which features a funky rhythmic core that careens into a free-blowing horn excursion led by alto saxophonist Brian Hogans. With a degree of precision and élan usually associated with more seasoned big bands, the RKJO maneuvers through a contemporary cornucopia of styles including traditional jazz, neo-bop, neo soul, and hip-hop.

 

Lonnie Holley: MITH (Jagjaguwar) In September, against a backdrop of nationwide social and political discord, Lonnie Holley dropped MITH. With sublime poetry and ethereal vision, the 68-year-old outlier artist’s third album (his first for Jagjaguwar) renders the hard-edged realities of modern American life into 10 beautifully jarring numbers with titles such as “I’m a Suspect,” “I Snuck Off the Slave Ship,” and “Sometimes I Wanna Dance.” Wrapped in an exquisite ambient framework created by Dave Nelson (trombone and loops), Marlon Patton (drums, percussion, Moog synth bass pedals), and guests Shahzad Ismaily, Laraaji, Sam Gendel, Richard Swift, Elizabeth Laprelle, and Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Holley leads listeners on a mostly improvised, hypnotically engaging path through impressionistic realms, touching everything from racial strife and “overdatafying” to blood kinship and spiritual salvation. Still, it’s the album’s first single and video, “I Woke Up in a Fucked-Up America,” that brings MITH to a fine point, and serves as a harrowing new national anthem.



Okorie Johnson: Resolve (Self-release) Resolve is the product of a commitment by Okorie Johnson, an Atlanta-based cellist and composer self-dubbed OkCello, to explore the potential of his instrument in a solo improvised setting augmented by live electronic effects. Johnson draws from a broad compositional palette, which includes elements of jazz, funk, reggae, EDM, traditional African, and Western classical music. Out of this mélange he creates songs that simultaneously resonate with deep familiarity and satisfying freshness, evoking themes ranging from migration (“Broken Teacup”), racism (“Incredulous”) and resilience (“I Wonder What Your Life Was Like”) to love (“You Make Me Smile”), joy (“Springtime in Wakanda”), and desire (“Silence,” the only track with vocals by OkCello). Recorded over a six-month period, Resolve was produced by OkCello, Monyea Crawford and Richard Rollie for LoveChild Productions



Various Artists: Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by Bill Ferris (Dust-to-Digital) Almost a decade in the making, Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by Bill Ferris chronicles the estimable work of the field recordist, filmmaker, folklorist, and teacher whose massive archives reside in the University of North Carolina’s Southern Folklife Collection. Functioning as a virtual time machine, Voices of Mississippi transports the listener to worlds inhabited by familiar creatures whose lives play out in unfamiliar temporal, cultural, and contextual realms. Every bit as enthralling as the blues and gospel selections in the set are storytelling and spoken-word tracks featuring literary luminaries, such as Barry Hannah, Alice Walker, Alex Haley, Robert Penn Warren, and Allen Ginsburg. Also in the mix are examples of bawdy toasts and “the dirty dozens,” representing stylistic precursors of rap. Voices of Mississippi includes a 120-page book edited by Ferris; two CDs featuring blues and gospel recordings (1966-1978); one CD of interviews and storytelling (1968-1994); a DVD featuring documentary films (1972-1980); and a code for downloading/streaming.



Clay Harper: Bleak Beauty (Self-release) With Bleak Beauty, Clay Harper takes a deep dive into the art of darkness to create a wrenching evocation born of enduring love interrupted by untimely death. In April 2016, six months after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Harper’s partner of twenty years, Stephanie Gwinn, died at Hospice Atlanta. During the ensuing months of grief and mourning, Harper chronicled his vexed but evolving psychological and emotional state in song form. The result is a compelling amalgamation of dolefully funky ruminations (“The Kindness of Strangers”), blues-inflected lamentations (“Let Me Sleep, I’m So Tired”) and swinging, streetwise observations (“Friday San Francisco”) by a masterfully intuitive songwriter. Recorded by Harper and Ruairi Kilcullen at RdK Audio in Little 5 Points and mixed at Harptone in Atlanta, Bleak Beauty features exquisitely sparing accompaniment by Chaz Jankel, Rick Richards, Duane Trucks, Kevin Scott, Mark Johnson, Tom Gray, Chris Case and Mark Bencuya."
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~~#000000:__The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra__: ''Get It How You Live ''(Groid Music/Ropeadope)~~ What does 21st-century big-band jazz sound like? The answer: Get It How You Live, which showcases the Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra, a 19-piece ensemble led by trumpeter Russell Gunn. With a couple of exceptions, the compositions are Russell’s, complemented by arrangements from trombonist and Kennesaw State University jazz band director Wes Funderburk. Dionne Farris lends her soulful voice to a hair-raising rendition of her song “Fair,” along with a new Funderburk arrangement of her song “Hopeless,” the title song from 1997’s Love Jones. Dashill Smith delivers a lyrical punch to “The Critic’s Song,” which features a funky rhythmic core that careens into a free-blowing horn excursion led by alto saxophonist Brian Hogans. With a degree of precision and élan usually associated with more seasoned big bands, the RKJO maneuvers through a contemporary cornucopia of styles including traditional jazz, neo-bop, neo soul, and hip-hop.

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~~#000000:__Lonnie Holley__: ''MITH'' (Jagjaguwar)~~ In September, against a backdrop of nationwide social and political discord, Lonnie Holley dropped MITH. With sublime poetry and ethereal vision, the 68-year-old outlier artist’s third album (his first for Jagjaguwar) renders the hard-edged realities of modern American life into 10 beautifully jarring numbers with titles such as “I’m a Suspect,” “I Snuck Off the Slave Ship,” and “Sometimes I Wanna Dance.” Wrapped in an exquisite ambient framework created by Dave Nelson (trombone and loops), Marlon Patton (drums, percussion, Moog synth bass pedals), and guests Shahzad Ismaily, Laraaji, Sam Gendel, Richard Swift, Elizabeth Laprelle, and Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Holley leads listeners on a mostly improvised, hypnotically engaging path through impressionistic realms, touching everything from racial strife and “overdatafying” to blood kinship and spiritual salvation. Still, it’s the album’s first single and video, “I Woke Up in a Fucked-Up America,” that brings MITH to a fine point, and serves as a harrowing new national anthem.

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~~#000000:__Okorie Johnson__: ''Resolve'' (Self-release)~~ Resolve is the product of a commitment by Okorie Johnson, an Atlanta-based cellist and composer self-dubbed OkCello, to explore the potential of his instrument in a solo improvised setting augmented by live electronic effects. Johnson draws from a broad compositional palette, which includes elements of jazz, funk, reggae, EDM, traditional African, and Western classical music. Out of this mélange he creates songs that simultaneously resonate with deep familiarity and satisfying freshness, evoking themes ranging from migration (“Broken Teacup”), racism (“Incredulous”) and resilience (“I Wonder What Your Life Was Like”) to love (“You Make Me Smile”), joy (“Springtime in Wakanda”), and desire (“Silence,” the only track with vocals by OkCello). Recorded over a six-month period, Resolve was produced by OkCello, Monyea Crawford and Richard Rollie for LoveChild Productions

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~~#000000:__Various Artists__: ''Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by Bill Ferris'' (Dust-to-Digital) ~~Almost a decade in the making, Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by Bill Ferris chronicles the estimable work of the field recordist, filmmaker, folklorist, and teacher whose massive archives reside in the University of North Carolina’s Southern Folklife Collection. Functioning as a virtual time machine, Voices of Mississippi transports the listener to worlds inhabited by familiar creatures whose lives play out in unfamiliar temporal, cultural, and contextual realms. Every bit as enthralling as the blues and gospel selections in the set are storytelling and spoken-word tracks featuring literary luminaries, such as Barry Hannah, Alice Walker, Alex Haley, Robert Penn Warren, and Allen Ginsburg. Also in the mix are examples of bawdy toasts and “the dirty dozens,” representing stylistic precursors of rap. Voices of Mississippi includes a 120-page book edited by Ferris; two CDs featuring blues and gospel recordings (1966-1978); one CD of interviews and storytelling (1968-1994); a DVD featuring documentary films (1972-1980); and a code for downloading/streaming.

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~~#000000:__Clay Harper__: ''Bleak Beauty'' (Self-release)~~ With Bleak Beauty, Clay Harper takes a deep dive into the art of darkness to create a wrenching evocation born of enduring love interrupted by untimely death. In April 2016, six months after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Harper’s partner of twenty years, Stephanie Gwinn, died at Hospice Atlanta. During the ensuing months of grief and mourning, Harper chronicled his vexed but evolving psychological and emotional state in song form. The result is a compelling amalgamation of dolefully funky ruminations (“The Kindness of Strangers”), blues-inflected lamentations (“Let Me Sleep, I’m So Tired”) and swinging, streetwise observations (“Friday San Francisco”) by a masterfully intuitive songwriter. Recorded by Harper and Ruairi Kilcullen at RdK Audio in Little 5 Points and mixed at Harptone in Atlanta, Bleak Beauty features exquisitely sparing accompaniment by Chaz Jankel, Rick Richards, Duane Trucks, Kevin Scott, Mark Johnson, Tom Gray, Chris Case and Mark Bencuya."
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The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra: Get It How You Live (Groid Music/Ropeadope) What does 21st-century big-band jazz sound like? The answer: Get It How You Live, which showcases the Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra, a 19-piece ensemble led by trumpeter Russell Gunn. With a couple of exceptions, the compositions are Russell’s, complemented by arrangements from trombonist and Kennesaw State University jazz band director Wes Funderburk. Dionne Farris lends her soulful voice to a hair-raising rendition of her song “Fair,” along with a new Funderburk arrangement of her song “Hopeless,” the title song from 1997’s Love Jones. Dashill Smith delivers a lyrical punch to “The Critic’s Song,” which features a funky rhythmic core that careens into a free-blowing horn excursion led by alto saxophonist Brian Hogans. With a degree of precision and élan usually associated with more seasoned big bands, the RKJO maneuvers through a contemporary cornucopia of styles including traditional jazz, neo-bop, neo soul, and hip-hop.

 

Lonnie Holley: MITH (Jagjaguwar) In September, against a backdrop of nationwide social and political discord, Lonnie Holley dropped MITH. With sublime poetry and ethereal vision, the 68-year-old outlier artist’s third album (his first for Jagjaguwar) renders the hard-edged realities of modern American life into 10 beautifully jarring numbers with titles such as “I’m a Suspect,” “I Snuck Off the Slave Ship,” and “Sometimes I Wanna Dance.” Wrapped in an exquisite ambient framework created by Dave Nelson (trombone and loops), Marlon Patton (drums, percussion, Moog synth bass pedals), and guests Shahzad Ismaily, Laraaji, Sam Gendel, Richard Swift, Elizabeth Laprelle, and Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Holley leads listeners on a mostly improvised, hypnotically engaging path through impressionistic realms, touching everything from racial strife and “overdatafying” to blood kinship and spiritual salvation. Still, it’s the album’s first single and video, “I Woke Up in a Fucked-Up America,” that brings MITH to a fine point, and serves as a harrowing new national anthem.



Okorie Johnson: Resolve (Self-release) Resolve is the product of a commitment by Okorie Johnson, an Atlanta-based cellist and composer self-dubbed OkCello, to explore the potential of his instrument in a solo improvised setting augmented by live electronic effects. Johnson draws from a broad compositional palette, which includes elements of jazz, funk, reggae, EDM, traditional African, and Western classical music. Out of this mélange he creates songs that simultaneously resonate with deep familiarity and satisfying freshness, evoking themes ranging from migration (“Broken Teacup”), racism (“Incredulous”) and resilience (“I Wonder What Your Life Was Like”) to love (“You Make Me Smile”), joy (“Springtime in Wakanda”), and desire (“Silence,” the only track with vocals by OkCello). Recorded over a six-month period, Resolve was produced by OkCello, Monyea Crawford and Richard Rollie for LoveChild Productions



Various Artists: Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by Bill Ferris (Dust-to-Digital) Almost a decade in the making, Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by Bill Ferris chronicles the estimable work of the field recordist, filmmaker, folklorist, and teacher whose massive archives reside in the University of North Carolina’s Southern Folklife Collection. Functioning as a virtual time machine, Voices of Mississippi transports the listener to worlds inhabited by familiar creatures whose lives play out in unfamiliar temporal, cultural, and contextual realms. Every bit as enthralling as the blues and gospel selections in the set are storytelling and spoken-word tracks featuring literary luminaries, such as Barry Hannah, Alice Walker, Alex Haley, Robert Penn Warren, and Allen Ginsburg. Also in the mix are examples of bawdy toasts and “the dirty dozens,” representing stylistic precursors of rap. Voices of Mississippi includes a 120-page book edited by Ferris; two CDs featuring blues and gospel recordings (1966-1978); one CD of interviews and storytelling (1968-1994); a DVD featuring documentary films (1972-1980); and a code for downloading/streaming.



Clay Harper: Bleak Beauty (Self-release) With Bleak Beauty, Clay Harper takes a deep dive into the art of darkness to create a wrenching evocation born of enduring love interrupted by untimely death. In April 2016, six months after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Harper’s partner of twenty years, Stephanie Gwinn, died at Hospice Atlanta. During the ensuing months of grief and mourning, Harper chronicled his vexed but evolving psychological and emotional state in song form. The result is a compelling amalgamation of dolefully funky ruminations (“The Kindness of Strangers”), blues-inflected lamentations (“Let Me Sleep, I’m So Tired”) and swinging, streetwise observations (“Friday San Francisco”) by a masterfully intuitive songwriter. Recorded by Harper and Ruairi Kilcullen at RdK Audio in Little 5 Points and mixed at Harptone in Atlanta, Bleak Beauty features exquisitely sparing accompaniment by Chaz Jankel, Rick Richards, Duane Trucks, Kevin Scott, Mark Johnson, Tom Gray, Chris Case and Mark Bencuya.    Courtesy Ropeadope GET IT HOW YOU LIVE: The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra.                                   Doug DeLoach's top 5 albums for 2018 "
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Saturday December 22, 2018 09:55 am EST
Lonnie Holley, Russell Gunn, Clay Harper, and more top picks from the year in Atlanta music | more...
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“Jeff came up with the idea of Tres Duos,” says guitarist Ann Wood, referring to her partner, guitarist Jeff Perkins. “We both love FLAP and DfTaLS and love the diversity of sound and music that spans the three duets.”

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“Jeff came up with the idea of Tres Duos,” says guitarist Ann Wood, referring to her partner, guitarist Jeff Perkins. “We both love FLAP and DfTaLS and love the diversity of sound and music that spans the three duets.”

Perkins Wood compose and play irresistibly hooked, psych-rock-tinged, and often brief instrumentals, which linger in the imagination like a poignantly perfect soundtrack. Decades in the making, FLAP (Andy Hopkins and Matt Miller) sallies forth with its patented blend of guitar-dueling mayhem in support of lyrical excursions of the poetically absurd and hilariously mundane. Duet for Theremin & Lap Steel (Scott Burland and Frank Schulz) travel the ambient spaceways to destinations unknown, even to the musicians, until the first eerie pitches of each performance.

The Perkins Wood portion of the show will feature a projected montage of artwork by graduates of the Savannah College of Art & Design.

$7. Saturday, Nov. 24, 8 p.m. Red Light Café, 553 Amsterdam Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306. 404-874-7828.    Frank Mullen IRRESISTIBLE INSTRUMENTALS: Guitarists Ann Wood (left) and Jeff Perkins share a bill with two other innovative duets, FLAP and Duet for Theremin & Lap Steel, Saturday at Red Light Café.                                   Tres Duos presents 3 intrepid duets "
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Article

Wednesday November 21, 2018 04:13 pm EST
A trio of duos headline a night of innovative music | more...
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  string(1599) "In the year 2000, guitar maestro and Hampton Grease Band co-founder Glenn Phillips was searching for a place to stage his after-Thanksgiving Day concert, a tradition he’d started four years earlier. The top priorities were a venue that would accommodate an early show, so his friends could bring their children, and make the event non-smoking because he was getting sick of (and from) playing in ashtrays masquerading as rock clubs. As he made the rounds, club owner after booking agent turned him down.

“Finally, I called the Red Light Cafe and the guy said, ‘Sure, let’s do it,’” Phillips says. “Hard to believe now, but that’s the way things were.”

On Nov. 23, Phillips plays two sets — 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. — and the audience is welcome to hang out for both shows. Performing with Phillips will be bass player Bill Rea and drummer John Boissiere along with Jeff Calder, lead guitarist and vocalist for the Swimming Pool Qs. Phillips and Calder also have a longstanding side project together, dubbed the Supreme Court.

The setlist for the post-Turkey Day celebration includes material spanning Phillips’ entire career including unreleased material, Supreme Court songs, and a medley of Hampton Grease Band numbers. For that special Phillips fan who has everything, 10 signed and numbered copies of the long-out-of-print, 40th anniversary edition, double-album Lost at Sea will be available for purchase.

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“Finally, I called the Red Light Cafe and the guy said, ‘Sure, let’s do it,’” Phillips says. “Hard to believe now, but that’s the way things were.”

On __Nov. 23__, Phillips plays two sets — 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. — and the audience is welcome to hang out for both shows. Performing with Phillips will be bass player Bill Rea and drummer John Boissiere along with Jeff Calder, lead guitarist and vocalist for the Swimming Pool Qs. Phillips and Calder also have a longstanding side project together, dubbed the Supreme Court.

The setlist for the post-Turkey Day celebration includes material spanning Phillips’ entire career including unreleased material, Supreme Court songs, and a medley of Hampton Grease Band numbers. For that special Phillips fan who has everything, 10 signed and numbered copies of the long-out-of-print, 40th anniversary edition, double-album ''Lost at Sea'' will be available for purchase.

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Friday November 16, 2018 04:05 pm EST
The guitar maestro offers an evening of masterful music | more...
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