Friday, March 24, 2006

buy the ticket, take the ride

My God it's an incredible day out.

I hereby apologize in advance to anyone who's still snowbound, down feather-bound, or otherwise subject to cold weather on this the tail end of march and the front end of spring but MAN. This is why it's so terribly expensive to live here.

Granted, if I craned my neck around my house to look at the low-lying hills in the distance, they're probably shrouded in some sort of smog-mess, and beneath that there's probably a knot of traffic (at 10:30!) that shouldn't be there, and inside each car is some industry tool barking at his/her assistant/child/phone/fellow commuter, but RIGHT NOW, things are grand.

I want to post a 'things are grand' song, and I've got a few choices at my disposal. But let's set aside the big rock once more and indulge my freaky jazz experimental side once more.

"Bubblehouse (Live)," By Medeski Martin and Wood
(with Marc Ribot)

Yeah, you've probably heard of MMW, and you've probably got a picture in your head of some twirling hippie, noodling around the room and getting in your space with his hair and his sweat and his fried enthusiasm. Well STOP. Just let it go. Yeah, those people are there at the shows and doing their thing, but so what? Look at decades past, they knew what they were talking about when it came to music.

Now. I'm never going to post Phish, String Cheese, Umphrey's McGee or whathaveyou here, and I'm not even going to get into why. But what I will get into is why this jazz trio (and yes they're a jazz trio) deserves your ear. This song isn't one of my favorites (something from the magnificently unkind "Dropper" earns that distinction--more on that later), but it is definitely a joyful, energetic, and very unhinged 10 minutes where four remarkable musicians deliver a instrumental rollercoaster.

The song has this gradually accelerating and decelerating tempo that reminds me of some cheesy hockey arena anthem, the kind that gets played before a power play to remind the crowd there's beer a few steps away. But Ribot's guitar has other ideas. He's driving the train here. It starts in this grimey blues-funk place, speeds through some latin neighborhood where that kid with the big eyes is having a birthday party, then slows down to cruise through the ugliest part of town with its windows rolled down. Go ahead and take a look around, we'll wait. Then just as the sun's on your shoulders things speed up and get all noisy and punk-funk and back again. By the time the ride's over, you're exhausted, spent and covered in circus peanuts. How'd that happen? Never mind, let's go again.

Spring's coming, my pets. Hang in there.


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