by carl wilson

Oops, They Did It Again: NNCK, CCMC, 416, JFK, Doris Day...

One of the few pics of CCMC on the internets. Why for?

NNCK was middling last night - it felt like a couple of members of the ensemble had their synapses juiced but others fell too predictably into modern-primitivist rote patterns whose power got depleted long ago. There were a few stretches that tranced me out, but others that had me shifting impatiently in my Music Gallery pew. The band had a surprise guest in tow, UK folk guitarist Michael Chapman who was apparently a satellite of the Steeleye Span cosmos in the early 1970s; it was a bit confusing at first what he was doing there, as he came on stage unannounced and opened with a merely pleasant open-tuned pastoral piece, but his second (and final) instrumental built to a torrent of extended technique, slappings and string bendings and raga-influenced riffs. Local openers Disguises were promisingly dynamic but a little too much in the minimalist-influenced post-rock pocket for my tastes.

But, frankly, Music Gallery founding group CCMC blew them all away with the best set I've seen from them in years. Which felt like a triumph of the sexagenarians' steadfast giving-all-for-art, in-the-moment, radically serious playfulness over what sometimes felt like too much slack-cool from the younger bands. Not every member of the younger bands, but the overall vibe. Sound poet/vocal improvisor Paul Dutton launched into CCMC's set with the most vitality, jumping between comic monologue, clicks, squelchy kisses and Tuvan-style overtone singing. And since CCMC's secret motor is the fierce competitive spirit of its members, John Oswald and especially Michael Snow were soon matching and then outstripping him. The set ended with a piano solo by Snow, a perpetually underrated musician - his eminence as an artist always misleads people to think he's just dabbling (in fact he's been a musician as long as he's been doing anything), but if they heard him on nights such as last night, that misconception would keel over. It was as intense a performance as you'd hear from any free-jazz keyboardist short of Cecil.

To hear more of CCMC, you could (blatant plug warning) come to the Tranzac on Saturday night, where I'll be hosting the final evening of the 416 Creative Improvisors festival, with a set by CCMC with new-generation trombonist Scott Thompson (who plays in the Joust duo with Oswald - and played with him in one of the most exciting jazz sets I've seen all year, the group with Marshall Allen from the Sun Ra Arkestra at the Guelph Jazz Fest). Also on the bill: Nick Fraser and Justin Haynes ("Are Faking It"), Ken Aldcroft's Convergence Ensemble and Ryan Driver's Fake New Age Music Band.

In related news, I've got a guest post coming up over at Said the Gramophone about Eric Chenaux, who'll be playing with The Draperies in Thursday's opening night of the 416. I'm honoured to contribute to StG, the granddaddy of Canadian MP3 blogs, offering not just ace tracks but fine reflective prose, day after day. I'll holler at you when it's up. (For more on Mr. Chenaux also see the interview by Jonny Dovercourt in the current issue of Musicworks.)

Pardon the self-promo there. It's been a busy day, and I did want to let you know about those things. Less self-centric bloggery tomorrow, um, soon. Meanwhile, enjoy this counterfeit cover of Louis Armstrong doing Oops, I Did It Again. I disagree with Matos (who pointed me there) that it's as good as Richard Thompson's version (hear it here); the ersatz-Armstrong performance is too ersatz, so stilted compared to the real thing, though the trumpet sound's pretty good. While my reaction to the Thompson cover has always been, "That's a fantastic Richard Thompson song." Still, Supermasterpiece makes an implicit (or perhaps inadvertent) point about the century-long continuity of pop music that snobs need to hear and folks like Jody and John (a big yeah to the Mills Bros.!) should richly appreciate.

| Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, November 09 at 08:02 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (6)



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Thanks for the link, Carl.

Interesting Satchmo homage. Not mimicking enough, like you said. The "tuba" and "drums" are terrible. It's OK -- interesting, even -- that it's a '50s or '60s Armstrong voice rather than the early '30s smooth crooning Armstrong as advertised; likewise the '50s-'60s photo. But that rhythm section -- Armstrong would never have hired them.

Interesting, anyway.

Posted by john on November 11, 2005 01:10 AM



The Richard Thompson cover of Britney is more a deliberate self-parody, I think. He plays up the darker implications in the lyric as a way of admitting it's the kind of thing he does all the time in his own music.

Posted by Canadian Bystander on November 10, 2005 09:24 PM



A good moment to contemplate the difference between the lowly art of “spoofing” (this Armstrong rip) and the finer, destructive capabilities of “pastiche” humour (Buneal’s Exterminating Angel, Zucker’s Airplane!, anything by John Zorn). “Spoofing” is always a little boring as it’s too beholden to mimicry.

Posted by Brian on November 10, 2005 05:02 PM



I was disappointed with the fake Armstrong version - they went to so much trouble to record and annotate it (wax cylinders in the 1930s???!) but the version is so tepid. Armstrong was a firecracker.

Posted by Mike Daley on November 10, 2005 09:11 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson