by carl wilson

Unleash the Press Hounds

Two scraps of information worth noting that came across the e-transom today:


1. Lit-jazz. I go reeling back to the halcyon days of the ought-four "lit-rock" debate courtesy of the news in a press release that New York-born, London-resident jazz singer Stacey Kent's new album Breakfast on the Morning Tram includes four songs with lyrics by novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, including the title track. (Kent's husband, saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, wrote the music for them.) It's difficult to guess how much the songs reflect the Booker-nominated writer's signature mix of repression, class and barbed social criticism, though the name of the opening track, "The Ice Hotel," is suggestive. Of course the jazz/literary crossover tradition goes back much further than the rock/literary one, and doesn't piss off anybody whom jazz doesn't piss off on principle in the first place. Then again, jazz doesn't involve so much pretending to illiteracy (though no doubt there've been plenty of illiterate jazz players in history, likely more than there ever were illiterate rock singers). To be fair, though, jazz is a more yielding and flexible medium for words to slip into. The next-most-prominent contributor of songwriting to the Kent album, by the way, is Serge Gainsbourg, and Kent also contributes to the accumulating consensus that Stevie Nicks' Landslide has attained stone-cold standard status. (None of this should be taken as an endorsement of the Kent album - to my knowledge I've never heard her sing.)

2. Kershuffle: The further adventures of Evan N. Inspired by the Harper government, no doubt, the local music industry is rearranging some deck chairs: The ever-more-burgeoning force of Canadian distributor Outside Music has been buttressed by the absorption of the Baudelaire Music label (speaking of literary-rock interreference), home of Jon-Rae & the River, the Diableros, Tangiers/Jewish Legend and others, but more to the point, home to iconoclastic A&R; guy Evan Newman (see Zoiluses passim), whose artist-management skills are the main quarry of Outside's poaching expedition here, as Outside is starting up a mortgage loan, oops, I mean, in-house management division. All interesting developments in the gradual mutation of the Canadian music industry: As major labels increasingly shrink down to the status of distribution companies, distribution companies start bulking up into multi-service-style labels... Newman generally has been a useful caller-of-bullshit among the more mainstream walkers on the indie/mainstream borderline so it'll be worth watching his role evolve.

General | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, August 15 at 5:44 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)



I'll send you Stacey's album, Carl, so that you can make up your own mind whether the lit-jazz combo is a success in this case. Certainly miles away from something like a one-ring-zero type experiment! Ishiguro, by the way, has a long standing interest in Stacey's music, even wrote her liner notes to her 2002 album, which as far as I've read, was the only person who could put a finger on what makes Stacey's music stand out - especially when she is singing standards. Landslide, is a personal favorite of mine and Stacey's version does it justice. Hope you like it too....

Posted by curlybecs on August 20, 2007 9:15 PM



The putative illiteracy of rock rock rock rock & roll -- well, how many bands have names they grabbed from lit?
Uriah Heep
Wu-Tang Clan
Blake Babies
Dharma Bums
Velvet Underground
The Idiots (well, maybe not)
Bukowski's Bastards

I'm sure there are scads of others.

Posted by john on August 16, 2007 1:54 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson