The World According to Keitho

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Just another night at the office

Posted by keithosaunders on December 7, 2016

There are so many louts at our gigs that it’s hard not to go all Stockhomy and start liking them.  When your office is a dive bar expectations had better be low or you could go crazy from frustration and aggravation.

At last night’s gig there was ultra loud couple sitting in the booth right across from the band. This guy must have been the funniest thing since Sid Caesar because every ten seconds there would be an ear-piercing cackle from his date. He had this nasal voice that could penetrate the loudest decibel, like a knife slashing through butter. We could have been Led Zeppelin and you would have heard this guy.

Needless to say they stayed the entire night. After the gig I noticed they were making out in the booth so I decided to give them a taste of their own medicine. “GET A ROOM,” I screamed. Then I approached them: “How do you like it when I intrude on your business?”

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Mansplain the vote

Posted by keithosaunders on December 1, 2016

The worst thing about Trump being president is having to endure countless thinkpieces, as well as mansplaining-lectures from dullards as to how the salt of the earth rust belters cast a protest vote against the Dem machine. Two years from now while these idiotic,racist idiots scratch their heads while standing on unemployment lines I’ll be sitting in my ivory tower laughing and pointing. I can do $50.00 gigs until I die, what do I care?
 
But don’t tell me that Trump was employing some kind of Machiavellian strategy, pulling the wool over the American people. Please. Americans are stupid and racist enough. They saw a celebrity with racist overtones and these cretins who couldn’t accept being governed by a woman voted for the blowhard.
 
And fuck Hillary too. That’s the best the Dems could come up with? She’s a modern-day Ralph Kramden, not even bothering to campaign in Wisconsin. That’s how cocky she was.
 
Hillary: I had it and I went with it. Easy come, easy go!
 
So keep on writing and explaining to me, media. I’ll read every wor….[brrrrring!]
 
Hello? Yes? Yes? How much? 50? What time does it start?!

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The King and I

Posted by keithosaunders on November 27, 2016

I have a confession to make:  If you take me to a Rodgers and Hammerstein play I will cry. I’m currently 3-0, and unless they remake State Fair and somebody takes me to it, this is a record that figures to stand.

You wouldn’t think that a cynical, disillusioned jazz musician would be this soft, but plop me down in a theatre with the orchestra and the lighting, and have a classically trained vocalist strike up If I Loved You and there’s only one possible outcome:  I’ll be bawling like a baby before the end of the first chorus.

The worst was back in 1994 when my wife took me to see Carousel.  There is a song called The Soliloquy, in which the main character, Billy Bigelow,  ponders what it will be like to be a father to a boy or girl.  At that time my wife was 8 months pregnant and it was as if Bigelow was a conduit for my hopes and fears.  You’d better believe it was go-time for the water works.  Fellow audience members were slipping on the wet floor while exiting.

I have yet to see Oklahoma or the Sound of Music but the chances are that the wind wouldn’t be the only thing that was coming behind the rain –  my tear drops would be right behind.  Either way, wear a raincoat.

 

Image result for the king and I review

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The dating pool

Posted by keithosaunders on November 22, 2016

Well folks, I’m recently single.  Again.  I had a girlfriend for four years, but, as fate would have it, we broke up.  Now I’m out here in the wild and let me tell you something, it’s rough.

First of all I’m old as fuck – 56.  This is a weird age.  People 10 years younger look a lot younger and people 10 years older look a lot older.  Over half of the people are married and another quarter of them are in committed relationships.  That leaves 25%.

Then you have to account for the fact that although society has evolved throughout the years in many ways, women will not, for the most part, date men that are shorter than them.  I can’t tell you how many profiles I’ve seen that specify, I’m 5’8, please be taller than me.

But here’s the thing:  I could understand if you would want someone to be the exact same height as you so that when you make love you can kiss easily.  But taller, shorter, what’s the difference?!  You’re going to be askew either way.  Love making takes some finagling – that’s the fun of it!

Think about it:  Tall guys have an exponentially greater dating pool to choose from.  They can date short women, yet short guys can’t date tall women.  On the other hand, tall women must have a smaller dating pool.  But who cares, I’m not a woman.

So forget income inequality, the real travesty is dating inequality!

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It’s all music

Posted by keithosaunders on November 16, 2016

If you’ve never heard a live recording of bebop music when it was in its prime in the mid 40s then you’ve never really heard it.  There is an immediacy and an electricity about it that does not fully emerge in the studio recordings.  Don’t get me wrong; anything that Bird ever recorded is nothing short of outstanding, but to get the complete picture you must check him out live.

This is top of mind because as I write this I’m listening to a compilation of live radio broadcasts of Bird on a disc entitled, The Complete Live Performances.  The host of the broadcasts is the New York disc jockey,  Symphony Sid.   Sid had a hipster way of speaking (“Blow Bird, blow!“) which I’ve always gotten a kick out of.  It sounds to my ears, however, that he got under the skin of the musicians whom he revered.

On one of the tracks Sid says to Bird, “Can I get a few words about the sides you did with Machito? [In the late 40s Parker recorded The Afro Cuban Suite with Cuban percussionist, Machito]   It sounds like you’re trying to bring bop to a larger audience – make it more commercial.”   Bird responds in an affable, yet slightly condescending tone, “Well, if you say so, Sid, it’s all just music to me.”

Birds response – it’s all music – is revealing in that it implies that he was more interested in making great music than leading a bebop revolution.  The modern musicians of the 40s knew they were onto something special and that they had made breakthroughs, both harmonically and rhythmically.  We know that Bird was influenced by Lester Young and Art Tatum, but he also loved classical music and was influenced by Igor Stravinsky.  There were a myriad of influences that effected modern jazz music, among them the Cuban music that Bird had played with Machito, and later on his own Verve date.

I’ve always distrusted fellow musicians who blithely announce that they’re going to play a bebop song.  It’s a diminutive term – as if you’re choosing from categories on a menu. Sure, it is useful for describing a brief jazz epoch, but in the end, if you are going to become a jazz musician, you are going to have to grapple with the genius of Bird, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, and all those that came before and after them.

It’s all music!

 

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Comes the deplorables

Posted by keithosaunders on November 9, 2016

I was wrong.  For nine months I insisted that there is no way that the American people would elect Donald Trump.  Although we have a conservative, celebrity-driven culture, I insisted, we are not reactionary enough to elect an unintelligent, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, failed realtor.

How wrong I was.  Today, along with the rest of liberal Americans, I eat crow.  I over-estimated the intelligence of the American people.

And to the blue-collar, salt of the earth, working class Americans in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin I sent out a hearty and heartfelt, fuck you.   Get the fuck out of here with your high-minded morality and your hypocritical church going ways.  Because guess what?  He’s taking you down right alongside lefty, commie, kale-loving yours truly.

The fact is that you real Americans are going to need affordable health care, roads, schools, and who knows, maybe even an abortion or two.  Good luck with all of that.  Do you really believe that a crooked billionaire real estate mogul gives even the tiniest fuck about the state of blue-collar America?  If you do I was wondering if you would invest in my next recording project:  Keitho plays the music of Bud Powell.  That record has a better chance of going platinum than blue collar workers do of finding jobs under a Trump presidency.

Listening to NPR radio last night I nearly threw up in my mouth.  The general consensus was that a populist movement propelled Trump to the Whitehouse.  I call bullshit.  It was pure, unadulterated racism.  We have seen the kind of people that a Trump rally attract.  They are scum of the earth, thuggish, racist, white trash.  You can take that kind of populism and shove it up your ass.

Eight years ago I voted and for the first time in my life was proud to be an American.  Now I am ashamed to be one.  These are dark days.

 

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Exposed

Posted by keithosaunders on November 7, 2016

The election season will come to its merciful conclusion tomorrow with the assurance that the outcome will be utterly depressing.  The most likely result, that Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman president, provides us with four more years of the status quo –   rising income inequality, the continued use of drone warfare, and a government beholden to Wall Street and corporate interests.

Of course a Trump presidency throws us back into the stone age. I don’t believe that The Donald would be more than a figurehead, but when you consider the damage that a Mike Pence and a stasi-esque Cabinet could wreak the mind boggles.

I do not believe that Trump will win, but regardless, the damage has been done.  He has exposed the racist underbelly of the United States and it is exponentially greater than was thought.  The fact that nearly half of the electorate will cast their vote for a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, narcissistic dullard speaks volumes on the state of the American psyche.

Then you have the effete liberals, practically pissing their pants in fear of a Trump victory.  I haven’t seen such pearl clutching since Zabars stopped carrying organic Camembert cheese.  Man up!  We lived through twelve years of the Bush dynasty and eight years of Reagan — we’ll make it through Trump.

Or not.  Who cares at this point?  In a country that doesn’t provide health care, wages perpetual war, rewards corrupt, predatory CEOs, punishes its working class, sentences its college goers to a life of crippling debt, and leaves its poor to scramble for minimum wage jobs, what’s the difference?

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

 

 

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Billy goat begone!

Posted by keithosaunders on November 3, 2016

 

For the first time in my life — for the first time in anyone’s life – the Cubs have won the World Series.  On the way they overcame a  3-1 deficit in games, the last two being on the road, and a delicate genius, hands-on manager who did everything in his power to sabotage his team’s victory.

This was the worst managed Series deciding game I have ever seen.  Joe Maddon is one of these managers, from the Tony LaRussa school, who likes to let you know he’s in the dugout running things.  He pulled starter, Kyle Hendricks, out of the game too soon, attempted a squeeze with two strikes and one out where a fly ball would have scored a run, and had burned Aroldis Chapman needlessly in game 6 so that he had nothing left for game 7 when he really needed him.

Terry Francona, on the other hand, stuck with his starter, Corey Kluber, too long.  Kluber, who has been pitching on short rest throughout the series was running on fumes.  Francona had fresh arms on the bench – Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer — and he chose to stick with Kluber.

Still, it was one of the great Series games, packed with drama and tension and I was glad to have seen it. In fact, I stumbled into a windfall.  When I arrived at my solo gig I found that the game was on their TV.  The owner asked me if I would mind waiting for it to end before beginning to play.  Suppressing a grin I said, “Well…I suppose,” while thinking, ‘Oh baby!’ By the time the game ended my gig was over.  I ended up playing three and a half tunes during the game’s rain delay.

Years ago I had missed the greatest World Series ending of all time while at one of my gigs – the Joe Carter walkoff home run in 2003.  I was prepared to miss another classic, telling myself I could take it and that nothing could be as bad as 1993.  But the truth is I would have been upset to miss this game.  It was a great game despite the momentum-killing booth reviews, the incessant droning of Joe Buck, and the perpetual pitcher-changes.

Now  on to football!

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Audrey

Posted by keithosaunders on October 28, 2016

Lately I’ve been fascinated with how Bud Powell deals with the 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th, 11th, & 12th bar of the blues. He goes out of his way to find the major 7th. It’s almost like a giant ‘fuck you’ to the blues but it works, and some levels it’s bluesier than what we’re used to hearing. It’s a personal and striking statement.

I believe that generation – Bird, Monk, Dizzy et al – thought of those bars more as major chords (or 6th chords) than dominant 7ths. The next generation – Horace, Wynton Kelly, Mobley, D Byrd – played over dominant changes, but not the be boppers. (at least to my ears) The exception would be the slow blues, which Bird was a master at. I don’t know how much the Kansas City influence v Bud’s New York upbringing plays into that.

I recently transcribed this solo — it’s amazing as all of Bud’s solos were, but this one I found to be unusually quirky and great. After all these years of listening to him I still can’t believe how effortlessly he stays in the center of the beat even with all of that double time.

 

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The Indians v the Cubs: Battle of the disgruntled senior citizens

Posted by keithosaunders on October 26, 2016

This World Series is sexy time for senior citizens.  Which disgruntled alte kaker fans will finally get to see their team win a championship?  Will it be old Grammy Ginny from Skokie, or Grandpa Mortie from Cuyahoga Heights?  Mortie was knee-high to a grasshopper the last time the Indians won a Series, the poor bastard.  Ginny wasn’t even a twinkle in Great Grammy Gertrude’s eyes back in aught-eight.

One thing is for certain, in addition to de rigueur shots of fans praying, it will be all seniors all the time at Fox.  This is the feel good series of the century.  Forget your corporate N.Y. Crankees, or the staid, tired Redsox Nation, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Myself, I’m on the Indians bandwagon bigtime.  I feel there has to be one team in sports that never wins, and that team should be the Cubs.   Right now the Cubs fans are still [somewhat] sympathetic.  I don’t want them to morph into the arrogant, insufferable mess that comprises the Boston Redsox and San Francisco Giants fan base.  Let there still be one bastion of humility.

Image result for old Cubs fanImage result for old Indians fan

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