Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Elvis Toots Toussaints Horn - Bop - Beat - & Beyond

well I've been a bit busy lately...

had a helluva time just getting through last weekend, with a jam packed social calendar that saw me making it to only half the spots I would've liked to have been to.

Did manage to be out and about for North Beach Fair, Mistress Claire's Prom Night @ The Knockout and some other b-day shenanigans & secret shindigs...

Parkerzalooza was a blast, and I must make a very special thanks to Adam and the staff of 12 Galaxies in SF who went out of their way to provide spectacular hospitality for all the assembled musical artists & their guests. Why they kick out such unjustifiable jams for our pal Parker is beyond clear, who I just know couldn't possibly deserve such much love in place of the usual loathing...

The only bummer of the night might have been humble hero Kelley Stoltz not being able to play his full set due to the late hour his group went on, but so much had gone down before hand I don't think anyone could truly go home disappointed.

Highlights included Enablers creating a glorious din, as well as Scott McCaughey of YFF/ Tuatara/Minus 5/R.E.M playing a set including a lovable garagetastic tribute to Stiff Little Fingers (making me feel not so bad that I didn't show up across town at the Irish band's own show to use my languishing list "plus one"). Spiral Stairs of the late great Pavement was also spotted joining local yowza yowza makers Oranger on a version of Devo's Mongoloid that rocked my widdle socks off... nuff said.

Too top it all off, last night I got a chance to catch Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint on their River in Reverse Tour, and it was a truly great & classy show with all the necessary show biz trappings.

The Paramount Theater in Oakland is just a fabulous old Art Deco building with way high ceilings & ornate decor that's been magnificienly restored and kept up...

(view from the stage courtesy Jerry Seinfeld &

Just being there at The Paramount makes ya feel special, and I guess the fact it costs the better part of 100 bucks to get in the door and sit within seeing distance keeps the regular old riff raff out. The acoustics were terrific, at least where I was up near the front half of the venue, can't speak for the balcony rats y'know.

At first ol' Elvis & The Imposters opened up with a frisky version of Nick Lowe's "What's So Funny About Peace Love & Understanding?", which got the crowd hyped.

Then Mr McManus would occasionally threaten to overwhelm the proceedings and put me to sleep wih his bleating & foreboding balladeering... I got the feeling he liked to hear the sound his own voice quite a wee bit...

But just whenever all hope appeared to be lost, and I would start nodding out, Mr. Allen Toussaint & the Crescent City Horn section featuring the mighty Big Sam on trombone would save the night. Their infectious New 'awlins style grooves just could not be subdued, and would elevate a song out of the park even if ol Elvis was intent on strapping his personality into each and every one that got played.

Costello & Toussaint in Oakland

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Elvis bringing Toussaint along for the ride, and of course sharing his mysteriously huge fan base, but we surely could've been given a few more peeks into Toussaint's vast repertoire, or at least a couple more of his hits, with his own cool, casual & silky smooth southern vocalizings.

I swore after a bit of glissando on the keys he was gonna bust into "Southern Nights", the song Glen Campbell had a huge late 70's Toussaint hit with.. but it just wasn't to be.

I guess since ol Allen seems a little shy, most folks just don't know who the heck he is...

Last time i saw him out here was in 1997 I think, and he was on a week long stint playing an intimate solo set in a jazz club/sushi bar that was in a converted house/ on the edge of Berkeley to around 50 or so folks a night.

At least with Costello's Army in effect, he gets a big full house to hear hm tickle those ivories...

If yer still in the regions and geographically able to catch these guys on this tour, then do make an effort check it out. Elvis is obviously enthusiastically aglow about sharing the stage with a dignified legend like Allen. Costello also makes a few pointed political commentaries that are certainly not unwarranted considering this collaboration was brought on by chance via the horrible aftermath of Katrina, where Toussaint survived a retchid week trapped at the Superdome.

Onstage, Costello plays many of his old crowd pleasers like Alison & Pump It Up with new flourishes & funkier filled out arrangements by Toussaint. Allen himself plays a Steinway baby grand throughout most of the show in his stylish socks & sandals, occasionally beaming like a proud parent.

I recommend their new album, which not as much fun as the show, is still a fairly good deal as well. I like that it's featuring a second disc, with a well done DVD film showing the recording of the album, that gives you extra insights into their songwriting & recording process that went down with Joe Henry this winter in curfew stricken New Orleans.

from the new collboration
Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint - Wonder Woman

from Toussaint's 1997 NYNO records release "Connected"
Allen Toussaint - Do The Do

Here's the original version of one Costello got a kick out of singing last night, an oldie that Toussaint wrote and played on back in 1962 for Benny Spellman, who had sang the bass part on Ernie K Doe's "Mother In Law", also composed by Toussaint.

Benny Spellman - Fortune Teller

rest of the dates : Costello / Toussaint tour

2006-06-22 with the Imposters & Allen Toussaint- Jacksonville, OR, The Britt Festivals Gardens and Amphitheatre

2006-06-24 with the Imposters & Allen Toussaint- Aspen CO, Grand Rio Park,

2006-06-25 with the Imposters & Allen Toussaint- Woodinville, WA, Michelle Winery,

2006-06-26 with the Imposters & Allen Toussaint- Vancouver, The Orpheum,

2006-06-26/09 with the Imposters & Allen Toussaint- Milwaukee, Summerfest

2006-07-05 with the Imposters & Allen Toussaint- Hyannis, MA, Cape Cod Melody Tent

2006-07-07 & 08 with the Imposters & Allen Toussaint- Niagra Falls, ON, Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort,

2006-07-10 & 11 with the Imposters & Allen Toussaint- NYC, Beacon Theatre


Apologies to all those that called me recently, as my cell phone died a horrible & mysterious death sometime early in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and a new one could not be resurrected until Tuesday...

So, I now have a mobile phone again, but still have none of my old cell's years of phonebook numbers... so call, write or whatever and leave me your digits dudes & dudettes... I already miss ya...

I am working a lot helping distribute 11,000 free ice cream cones a day this week, so I haven't had time to dig out whatever napkins, scraps of paper or whatnot that might have had yer contact info...

hit me back ya'll...

I know somebody's reading this...

oh & one mo thing...

If yer looking for something to do in SF this summer, have ya tried The Beat Museum?

Where else can ya see the Jack Kerouac Bobblehead?

or maybe a check Jack wrote for 10 bucks to Nunzie's liquors


The Beat Museum as a joints is a lot like Neal Cassady, in that it's informal, full of interesting gibberish & but not in one place for very long.

Originally set up by Jerry Cimino on the rocky coast twist Big Sur & Monterey, it's done time as a rolling mobile event as well.

Jerry went on tour for a spell with Neal Cassady's son Jack in a aerosteam trailer, and throughout 2004 & 2005 they appeared on numerous school campuses, as well as at clubs and festivals around the US. Jack would read from Kerouac's seminal 1957 work "On The Road", and help educate the assembled by sharing the stories and anecdotes of the characters & the fervent feelings of that time.

Here's Ferlinghetti with Jerry in front of the trailer used when the Beat Museum exhibit went "On The Road".

They are dedicated to keeping the spirit of the Beats alive, which lives not only through the literature, but via the creative continuation of the very arts of storytelling & poetry, as well as a bit of vino drinking I suppose.

Lately Jerry's been looking for a permanent home in the expensive San Francisco real estate zone and hoped to rest his collection of artifacts, posters, manuscripts etc in North Beach, where so much Beat history unraveled. Rents of course have gone up dramtically since the days of readings at defunct spots like The Six Gallery & The Coffee Gallery.

I first spotted it up from Caffe Trieste on Grant Ave in North Beach, temporarily housed inside Live Worms Gallery, where a reading was taking place, wine was flowingand "horse-devours" were stacked as a mixed crowd of young & old, including some obvious aged hippies and beats who listened attentively. Currently they have a spot near The Wharf on the 1000 block of Leavenworth. Looks like in the near future they are planning to set up shop at the old Black Oak Books location at 450 Broadway within easy stumbling distance of numerous bars & strip clubs, and within sight of Ferlinghetti's Beat bastion of books, City Lights.

Jerry is trying raise some dough to do the necessary renovations, and build out.

visit his site for more info

Here's a recording of Kerouac reading a eulogy for the late Charlie Parker

Jack Kerouac - Charlie Parker

Jack Kerouac - Reads An Early History Of Bop

Jack recounts on how Lionel Hampton , Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and others played into the foundations of this new frenetic flavor of Jazz...His delivery delves into a journey out of Minton's Playhouse that became the newest & most feared thing in jazz music... on this next soliloquy Jack from The Beat Generation he recounts the SF Scene of Fillmore raised jazz players, describing the music , the dancing, in a very vivid way

Jack Kerouac - SF Jazz Scene from The Beat Generation

No comments: