Jan. 20, 2005
by BOB DORAN
MASTER TURNTABLIST DJ LOGIC [photo at left] CALLED HIS LAST album Anomaly. The word is a fitting description for Logic himself in that his manipulation of vinyl discs on twin record players typically deviates from the usual hip hop context.
When I caught up with him at home in New York City on Martin Luther King's birthday, he was enjoying some "down time" following a hectic week in which he played three gigs with Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid (they call the duo Yohimbe Brothers) another with jazz bassist Christian McBride, who was recording a live album at Tonic with Charlie Hunter, and yet another with MMW drummer Billy Martin. This came on the heels of Jam Cruise 3, where Logic was spinning discs at sea alongside Galactic and a couple dozen other top jammish outfits.
How does a record player become an instrument in a jazz/jam band? "That's a good question," he replies. "It's all about how you use them. I just look at it like I'm another musician, like if I was a keyboardist or percussionist. I play my role; look for the right colors to add to whoever I'm playing with. It could be an improvisational setting or a straight-up hip hop session. Either way I try to find sound effects, different chords and stuff like that and manipulate them either through various effects or through the fader. I just vibe -- vibe with the other musicians, or it's the same if I'm just on my own: I lay down sounds like any musician would. It's like the turntable is my instrument."
DJ Logic plays solo and with Marin-based jammers Vinyl on Wednesday. Jan. 26, at the Depot on the HSU campus. DJ State of Mind opens the show.
Someone from the Absynth Quintet slipped a copy of the band's new CD, Flying Baby Swing, into my mail slot over the weekend. The music lives up to the swing in the title -- tres cool, or perhaps "hot" would be a better adjective, since they reference the Le Club Hot in describing their sound as "jammin' Gypsy blue jazz." The rhythm section certainly swings a la Django and company, but the lead is mostly carried by Chris "Bird" Jowaisas' mandolin, which tips the Absynth style more toward the "dawg" sound of David Grisman, with Ian Davidson's tasty banjo licks adding some sort of "grass" element. You could call it humb-grass, but people might get the wrong idea. Taste a little sip of Absynth Q. online at www.absynthquintet.com, or catch them at their CD release party Friday, Jan. 21, with a party at Muddy Waters.
While we're on the topic of Gypsy jazz, Cuckoo's Nest once again celebrates Django Reinhardt's birthday Sunday, Jan. 23, with a jazzy affair at the Westhaven Center for the Arts. Eat some cake, toast the master and pick up a copy of the live CD Cuckoo's Nest recorded at last year's Django party.
At Six Rivers Brewery Friday, Jan. 21, an East Bay rock combo, Saul Kaye Band, whose disc, Doctor's Orders, reminded me of Southern rock. "But not like Lynryd Skynyrd," said bandleader/guitarist Kaye, calling from El Sobrante. When I suggest it's more like Little Feat, due to the band's interplay of piano and guitar, Kaye noted that others made the same comparison. (Side note: Little Feat is coming to the Blue Lake Casino Feb. 13.) What to expect from a Saul Kaye Band show? "People should expect to come out and dance -- it's not just a listening thing," Kaye concluded.
Also on Friday evening, Julian Lang and Xapimniim play indigenous blues, rock, ballads and story songs at Sacred Grounds . Xapimniim? That's the Karuk word for butterfly, the name Lang has given back-up singers.
Friday night at the Van Duzer Theatre, it's "Spontaneous Compositions for Experimental Films," a benefit for the 38th annual Humboldt International Short Film Festival with Lamplighter Ensemble , Pubic Zirconium and The Pessimist providing live soundtracks for "found" home movie footage of Yosemite Park from the 1940s and an assortment of experimental work by HSU students.
Drummer Aimee and guitarist Courtney, once half of Automatic Pink, have teamed with keyboardist Gary to form The Monster Women . First time through listening to Spacegirl Espionage, the band's first CD release, I was thinking fun neo-'80s rock, just sparse enough, with deceptively simple synth and guitar riffs backing harmonized girl-group vocals that reminded me of The B-52s or The Go-Gos. Then I listened again and flashed on Tom Tom Club, the Talking Heads spin-off with the ladies out front. The Monster Women celebrate the new disc Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Eureka VFW Lounge joined by Walking Bicycles , who apparently have not left for Chicago yet, and the "legendary" Widdershins .
There's more sparse female-fronted indie rock that night at The Placebo, a band called Flut , up from the Bay Area, plus Quem Quaeritis , from Riverside, who play Latin-tinged jazzy noise from inside a tent. Also on the bill Child Pornography and Placebo house band, Pubic Zirconium .
Friends of the Van Duzen present a fundraiser/teach-in/dinner/dance in honor of salmon on Saturday, Jan. 22 at the Carlotta Grange Hall. Learn about salmon, tell salmon stories, watch salmon videos and play pin the fin on the Chinook in the afternoon. BBQ fish dinner (not salmon) is at 6. "Bring your dancing shoes!" they insist since the meal is followed by deep river blues by the Backwoods Blues Band and swing dancing to old time country, swing, Americana roots music by Falling Rocks .
Speaking of swinging, the rockin' Delta Nationals make one of their rare club appearances at Six Rivers Brewery Saturday night. Meanwhile in Blue Lake at Perigot Park the E.L.F.S. present "Rock `n' Roller Boogie 3," another evening of skating to ELF music. "Fabulous" dress and advance tickets are recommended.
On the flipside of the cultural spectrum you have the fabulous San Francisco Opera Center Singers returning to Calvary Lutheran Church for an addition to the Eureka Chamber Music Series singing your faves from opera and Broadway. Also in a classical vein, Philharmonia Quartett Berlin, plays chamber music by Haydn, Britten and Beethoven at HSU's Van Duzer Theatre Sunday, Jan. 23.
Deadheads alert! Melvin Seals and JGB hit Six Rivers Brewery Tuesday, Jan. 25. For those who have no idea what that means, Seals is a former church organist who hooked up with Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia back in the day to become a mainstay in the Jerry Garcia Band. Today, Melvin is the keeper of the flame, still churning out smokin' psychedelic gospel-tinged grooves.
Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 26 and 27, at Mazzotti's it's that long-awaited replacement engagement by my favorite funk-hip hop-cumbia band Ozomatli , who BTW just returned from the same Caribbean Jam Cruise where DJ Logic was spinning.
There are a few SRO seats left for Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster 's show at the Van Duzer next Thursday, Jan. 27, although, since SRO stands for standing room only, we're talking back row, where you have to stand up to see the stage.
As you might have heard, Thursday, Jan. 20 is Inauguration Day in Washington D.C, and at least a couple of locals will be there partying with the corporate fat cats. In Garberville they're having an un-celebration: a costumed "De-Coronation Day Parade" beginning at noon at the flagpole in the south part of town part of a nationwide protest of Bush policies and the war in Iraq.
Angry banjo picker Mike McLaren writes announcing a similar NoHum gathering asking, "Are you one of the many free-thinking citizens suffering from post-election depression? You're not alone! Come express your poetic and musical distress at the Anti-Inauguration Rally/Soapbox on Thursday, Jan. 20, at Trinidad Town Hall [starting at 7 p.m.] Let's get back to `We the people!' Stand up! Speak out! Enuff-z-nuff!" Indeed.
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