Tuesday, July 21, 2009

...idyll, not idle...

As much has transpired since last we met, allow me to slide, elide, and glide thru the high points.

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra pays tribute to Sly & the Family Stone (as you can see here) was a week ago, but that doesn't mean its over, for me. If I could hazard a guess, I would say that it was so easy to get into (physically) because it had no "big name" guests in the line-up, outside of the aged sage of Funkadelic keyboards, Bernie Worrell and Vernon Reid, BRC/Living Color guitarist. Yeah, but with material like this, who needs a Who's Who? As this is not a review blog, I will limit myself to but a few comments. Bernstein may have arranged the Family Stone set for the nonet to maximize instrumental voices, yet he's no slouch in picking his people pipes either. Now Sandra St. Victor was fine, and Dean Bowman can toss African glossolia like Leon Thomas and still belt it from the bottom. But Shilpa Ray's cover of "Everyday People", pumping away on harmonium and seeming to open her mouth wider than her head, and Martha Wainwright's interp of "Que Sera Sera"...while both were certainly Sly's own showstoppers, they also proved to be theirs. This is here just to remind all that Fame may make it easier to use your talents, but it can never surprise you like up-&-comets whizzing out of the night sky.

Before that was a long weekend in Bermuda. Forget the cliche of your parent's getaway, and your preferred Cancun or Ft. Lauderdale school-breaks. It really is like nothing else out there. A hunk of limestone with stalactite caves that date back to the 2nd Ice Age and the entire 34-kilometer coastline dotted by public beaches, some with sand as smooth as human skin, over Magritte/Ernst rocks under skies with random rainbows. But when it gets dark, then you remember why the early sailors called this "the island of devils". It wasn't due to the fact that the ring of shoals around the whole has been the cause of some 30-40 shipwrecks thru various eras. No, it is due to the night calls of the tree frog. Neither as extreme as Lou Reed's "Machine Metal Music" nor as ambient as Fripp & Eno, their soiree serenade will remind only the tone-deaf of countryside crickets. To walk thru them after the rain is almost deafening, and when you get home, their choruses are barely drowned out by the air-conditioner hum, even on full.

So many blogs have much more gorgeous vacay photos, I will not attempt to compete. Then, to that end, an end.