Friday, July 25, 2008


It never hurts to check the bargain bin. Yesterday, I scooped up a new copy of Miles Davis In Europe, recorded live in 1963 at Antibes Jazz Festival. George Coleman, Miles' sax man between John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, helps light up the joint with the assistance of Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. Not an innovator like Coltrane or Shorter, Coleman could sizzle nonetheless; with George at his side, Miles delivered some of the most dazzlingly up tempo material of his career. Moreover, the CD features numbers that Miles had been playing for a few years. It's as if Miles found temporary respite from the burdens of redefining jazz and decided to just blow. In Europe is more than that pair trading ferocious licks: Hancock's deft, light touch provides a perfect counterbalance in tandem with Carter's occasional forays into bowed bass solos. Williams -- who died prematurely at age 51 after routine surgery -- was just 17 at the time and already showing why he would be regarded as one of the great drummers of jazz. $6.99? It feels like I stole it. The track list:

Autumn Leaves/13:52
I Thought About You*/11:44
All Of You/16:49

*Bonus track not on original LP...

John McCain thinks that all decision-making re the Iraq war should be vetted by General David Petraeus, as if Petraeus were Commander-in-Chief. He says it so regularly that it has become a mantra. One envisions him beginning and ending each day sitting cross-legged on an Oriental rug, incense clouding the air while he intones "gen-e-ral-pet-rae-us-gen-e-ral-pet-rae-us-pen-e-ral-pet-rae-us" over and over and over. But it's Barack Obama who has the right of it when he says that  "The notion is, is that either I do exactly what my military commanders tell me to do or I'm ignoring their advice. No, I'm factoring in their advice but placing it in this broader strategic framework . . . that's required." After all, it's the president's job -- not a general's -- to assess the military and political situations and act accordingly. In this case, the strategic situation extends beyond Bagdhad to Afghanistan, and the political situation encompasses Iraq and the United States. (Let's not forget about us.) But it's the supposedly more experienced McCain who wants to let a general drive policy making while it's the supposed novice Obama who correctly grasps the responsibilities of the presidency...

Cornbread Nation: Offbeat reports that Chef Donald Link and Herbsaint host a special dinner Tuesday in celebration of Cornbread Nation 4: The Best of Southern Food Writing. The menu includes Fried Chicken and Link Andouille Gumbo, Sabine Pass BBQ Crab with Hush Puppies, Guinea Hen and Dumplings w/ Collard Greens and White Cornbread, Lemon Ice Box Pie. Dinner is $45 per person, and reservations can be made by calling (504) 524-4114. Sounds like a deal to me...

Friday's Choice: Tonight, we see The Soul Stew Revival with Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. Here, they perform "Little By Little":

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