Playing right now: Von Freeman - Have No Fear
(This Chicago tenor player in an elder statesman in Chicago, where he's admired by free jazz and mainstream folks alike. I was really excited to find this album by him. I've never heard of any of the sideman but they're great: John Young (piano), David Shipp (bass), Wilbur Campbell (drums). Never thought Henry Mancini's "Mr. Lucky" could have this much bite.)
Last week, I got an assignment to preview John Vanderslice's Pittsburgh show - and I thought I had to write the piece within the next 48 hours. Panicked, I happened to have John's number on my cell phone and even though it made me feel a little funny calling him (due to my fanatical feelings for his music) I gave him a ring. 30 minutes later he called back, ready to talk. And talk he did. Man, that guy gives such good quotes. We talked for less than 20 minutes and I got plenty out of him. It should go without saying that I'm totally stoked for the show, which is happening at the Warhol Museum.
Later than night, I reread the email about the article and it looked like I was a week ahead of time. Oh well. A few days later and I might have missed John since his tour is now in full swing.
I guess listening to Vanderslice's new Romanian Names album had me thinking about San Francisco bands (that's where he lives). So I decided to pull out a CD from the mid '90s by an SF band called Panda. They were a male/female group that was into pop hooks wrapped in a rather scrappy garage sound. The self-titled CD was released by Kokopop, the subsidiary of Shimmy-Disc, which was how I got wind of it (I was into anything Shimmy-Disc/Kramer-related at that point).
The album had a song called "Parasol" that was built around a mid-tempo dreamy/nagging two-string guitar riff, and I used to play that song all the time. The problem was that the disc I had was really scratched up, and three of the first four songs wouldn't read on my CD player, and once I even tried to play "Parasol" on a radio show at WPTS, and it skipped.
CD player technology must have improved by leaps and bounds because my current machine played the whole disc with any hesitation. I don't think I heard the song "Ninny Cake Bake" (great call-and-response involving the title) since the very first time I played the disc. It was a good night. Although, I'm tempted to burn the disc just to make sure I have it for all times.
Panda put out another album on Kokopop, which I never bought, but I feel like there's probably a copy or two sitting around a used disc store in town somewhere. In the meantime, I wonder what ever became of Alyssa Wendt, Jefferson Parker, Carolyn Engelmann and Andrew Rush, the four that were Panda. Are you guys out there?
And Awaaaaay We Go!
11 months ago