Chris Darrow’s first paid gig was playing bluegrass with David Lindley on the streets of Disneyland in the early 1960s. The duo went on to form Kaleidoscope — a Middle Eastern-inflected psychedelic combo — and released a pair of cult classics before Darrow headed out on his own to become a hired gun for everyone from Leonard Cohen to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. In the early 1970s, he released a pair of solo albums: Chris Darrow in 1973, and Under My Own Disguise the following year. The good folks at Everloving Records are releasing both as a double-LP box set that also includes the CD version.Darrow is a crack player and picker, and these two discs are brimming with equal parts country blues and starry bluegrass. Delightfully obscure and chock full of that California cowboy melancholy thatÁ‚ so many great records are steeped in. It’s great stuff from a brilliant producer who has been hard at it for a long time. Fans of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, CSNY, David Grisman, Dave Alvin, or just good ol’ California roots music will really find something to enjoy here.
Akron/Family together with Ben Harper, Howlin’ Rain and others are performing a special Tribute to Chris Darrow at the (legendary) McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. For tickets and more information, go to Everloving Dot Com.
If you haven’t heard anything by Kaleidoscope, they’re definitely worth checking out. The Kaleidoscope Tape Survey acts as a kind of clearinghouse/archive for circulating live recordings. Oh, and don’t get the Lindley/Darrow Kaleidoscope mixed up with the English band of the same name who released a pair ofÁ‚ records in the late 60s before changing their name to Fairfield Parlour. Here’s (the real) Kaleidoscope kicking out some serious jams on the Oud with “Lie To Me” captured live from the classic Hippie late show feature Captain Milkshake.
Miles Davis – Kind ofÁ‚ Blue (Legacy Edition)
Last year, Columbia Records released their 50th Anniversary limited edition box of Miles Davis‘ 1959 masterpiece Kind of Blue. This is the same set (including the remastered album, plus bonus outtakes, false starts, and a 17-minute live jaunt through “So What” from 1960 with Wynton Kelly on piano) but without the vinyl LP or documentary DVD that was included in the box. Anyway, I shouldn’t have to tell anyone how vital and important this album is, and believe me, I’m the last person who should be writing about jazz. Jazz, especially of this magnitude and cultural importance, has long been the muse for a much more astute class of writer. Me explaining jazz would be like Kevin James discussing the invectives of Catullus; all I can say isÁ‚ Kind of Blue is the perfect album. Miles had sketched out the framework of these immortal tracks, and his brigade of John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb filled them out with fluid improvisation. Few albums are so wholly satisfying and genuinely deserve the respect and admiration they have received for nearly half a century. While I’m more of a Bitches Brew kind of guy, Kind of Blue truly is one of the greatest albums of the 20th century — of any genre. These fantastic Legacy Collection edition have been a great way for newcomers and completists to discover and re-discover the greats.
Live and Otherwise…
In a totally different sound-world, the band Lotus rocked Towson, MD for two nights last week.Á‚ The first night, February 13, is up on the Live Music Archive. It’s definitely worth a listen. The sound quality is pretty great and it’s two excellent sets of music. The tunes “Blender” and the oozy ambient “Cuts” make their live debuts. Check Lotus out! They’re a hard band not to like.
Just down the road in Richmond, U-Melt brought the heat to the Cary Street Cafe. It’s a fun show and features a great cover of Black Sabbath’s “Fairies Wear Boots.” U-Melt are currently on the road and have dates scheduled through the spring. They will also be in Hunter, New York for Winter Jam on Hunter Mountain on February 28th and will be backÁ‚ when the snow thaws for Mountain Jam on May 29th – 31st.
Last week, the good folks at Hidden Track mused on what the opener will be when Phish re-take the stage at Hampton Colliseum, March 6-8. Jamtopia has upped the ante and made this into a full-on contest where you can win free tickets to one of Phish’s upcoming summer shows.
Speaking of Phish, everyone’s favorite Bay Area DJ, Bassnectar, along with EOTO and Orchard Lounge are set to play the Phish “afterparty” on Friday, March 6th at The Norva in Norfolk. Check out their site for tickets and information.
That’s all for now, guys. Take care, and I’ll meet you back here next week.