On Improvisation in Music

A fine quote from legendary Brazilian Chorro mandolinist Jacob do Bandolim.  I concur.

"I improvise when I interpret music. But I improvise not for the sake of improvising, but to augment the scale and the sentiment of the composition. I am not completely tied to what the composer has done nor am I obligated to reproduce it exactly. I reproduce it in a manner that pleases me, in the way a painter reproduces nature that appears one way to everyone else and another way to himself. Thus, it is not the desire to improvise, to be original. It is rather the desire to encounter in musical phrases the richness in a composition, which, when it is well done, is subtle and refined in all its details, and that presents me with numerous possibilities."


Clifford Antone RIP

Mr. Antone has left the building.

I was sitting down for supper at Threadgills for a vegetable plate when the manager told me the news. Later that day, I got a call from a musician pal who figured I'd unload some dirt on a much beloved local music figure. Much to his chagrin, I must report that I am in fact quite sad to see Clifford gone. Many tributes will we written about the man, so I feel no need to add to the chorus of folks who were better off for his influence. He was nothing but generous to me every time I ever encountered him. He went out of his way to be complimentary, saying "you play that bass just Willie Dixon, man, ain't nobody do it like you do no more" which coming from him I accepted as a major compliment.

Today I went to the public veiwing and said a Kaddish for him. Very much the late Doug Sahm, Clifford was a real, live, 100% fully formed complex Character. One of the real giants actually. Not a lot of folks have been neighborly or even supportive of my musical endevours here in Austin. But Doug and Clifford always made me feel like one of the gang: freaked out music fans and life long students of the Blues.

It will be very, very hard to remove his entry from my rolodex.


There but for the grace of God go !....

How I came across this I cannot remember. I guess I was doing a websearch for the "Memluks" a standard variety prog-art-rock band that I used to go see in my hometown of Norman OK. Someone asked me if I knew where those fellows had ended up, but I was too young to "hang out" with the cool people back then and was of little use to him.

I did however find this fascinating profile from the Norman Transcript about a local punk rock scenester which brought back quite a few memories. I remember Terry Kim quite well. A complex character to put it mildly, but a constistant running buddy in a very small scene of music fans. (The lead singer of Death Puppy was my room mate, and I ran the Flaming Lips sound sytem for most of the punk rock touring acts he mentions.) I too was too young to get into the Boomer. I too had a radio show at KGOU, co-host of "Roots, Rock, Reggae." It seemed like we had the coolest little fiefdom of hip languishing in conservative middle America. At least for a while.

The major difference between me and Terry however is that I split town as soon as I could. I've told lots of folks that I had it pretty good there and if I hadn't had taken the chance I did to strike out elsewhere, this guy here could easily be me:

Story By Tami Watson
Transcript Entertainment Editor

Those who’ve been a part of the metro music scene over the past 20 years or so probably know Terry “TK” Kim as a musician, renegade radio host and musical connoisseur du jour.

Those who haven’t been around so long might recognize him as the always extraordinarily dressed door guy at the Deli on Campus Corner, an American Spirit filtered cigarette in one hand and a Fosters beer in the other.

Old friends, new friends and others “with style and distinction” are invited to stop by the Deli, 309 White St., after 10:30 p.m. tonight to wish Kim well before he leaves Norman for good and heads north to Colorado.

“Chez TK’s Martini Lounge,” a formal affair, will feature musical guest Lord High Octane and the Reclining Reptiles, a group that consists of Kim, Ryan Jones and Mike Byars. Formal attire is requested, and a $5 cover will be taken at the door.

“What we have planned is a freestyle lounge act incorporating the styles of George Shearing and the Jackie Gleason orchestra and with a paying of respect to the great crooners and lounge acts of the 20th century,” Kim explained. “Hopefully, we may have an impromptu of Winchester 73 featuring Michael Hosty.”

Kim said he chose the name “Chez TK” because it means “the house of TK.” The Deli was always a place he enjoyed, and over the years, it became a home to him.

“People from near and far could go there and find me,” he said.

The decision to recreate “Norman’s Only Five Star Dive” into a hip, martini lounge comes from Kim’s desire to show patrons that T-shirts and Birkenstocks aren’t all the fashion world has to offer. “I guess I’m just a black-and-white movie romantic. I think that when people look nice, they generally act nice. Plus, I believe that grunge-hippy thing has been run into the ground,” he said. “Why not give people the chance to look good and wear the clothes that gather dust?

“ When you work the door, you notice that when people go out, the ladies generally look nice, but then their dates look like refugees from an inner city basketball game,” he added. “I wanted to give the guys a chance to look good for the ladies. And gents, it helps.”

Kim grew up in Norman in the ’70s and ’80s, when bands like Iggy Pop, the Specials, the Cramps and the Buzzcocks played the now defunct Boomer Theatre.

“I was too young to get in, and my pops made sure I stayed home at night for the most part, but the first show I really remember was the Insect Lounge benefit show in ’82,” Kim said. “It featured a lot of local acts like the Memluks, I still have three copies of their record, and the Los Reactors, a new wave band out T-town, just to mention a few. The headliner was the Red Rockers.”

Kim said the KCSC alternative radio show soon went off the air, however, after Crazy Dave and the Uh-Ohs commandeered the stage and played until someone unplugged them.

At the University of Oklahoma’s KGOU, things were looking good.

“It was turning into radio free Norman, and music from all over the spectrum could be heard. People like Kirk Philmore and Jon Mooneyham had radio shows like Fear of Music and Being Boiled, which featured the cutting edge of music,” Kim said. “Soon after, Dave Fallis had a punk/hardcore show called My Tunnel, which I dee-jayed while I was going to Norman High. It was a good time for Norman. All kinds of bands played here — the Misfits, the Minutemen, Crucifix, Husker Du, the Rev. Horton Heat, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Bad Brains — I mean a ‘who’s who’ of alternative music.” Looking back on all the musical memories, Kim said if he could resurrect a former Norman band, it’d have to be Death Puppy.

“That’s a loaded question, I must say,” he said. “For myself, I would have to say Death Puppy, because I wish I coulde see a lot of those guys today.” As for why he’s decided to leave Norman behind after all these years, Kim decided to “plead the fifth.” He did admit, however, why he stuck around so long.

“This is where I grew up. You have a certain attachment to the dirt in which you played,” he said. “Norman, despite the unrelenting clutch of corporate greed, is a great place to make friends and memories. The university atmosphere plays a great role in that. It’s like a “Cheers” environment, a one-horse town, everybody knows your name and genuinely cares about who you are. That has a great attraction for staying around. Some refer to it as a black hole — the easy-going lifestyle just sucks you in.”

Not quite teary-eyed, Kim did admit he will miss some things about Norman.
“No question. The people. I’ve traveled all over this great and vast country of ours, and I’ve yet to meet the concentration and caliber of the folks that I’ve met here — Hosty Duo/Solo ... Hosty kills me, Stoney and Travis every Monday, the Resident crew, the smoothness of Clave ... all the great music and musicians that I have had the pleasure to have met,” he said. “That should speak for itself, and I shall miss it.”

Kim said there are a few other things he’d like to say before getting the heck out of dodge, but he’d rather not spend his last few night’s in Norman in the Cleveland County cage. He also sends a shout out to those who helped shaped him into the person he is today: Ruth and Kirt of Rainbow/Shadowplay Records; the Emylyn crew; the Deli crew; Don Josepe; Papa Toto; and Joe Walden.

Although he won’t be around to see what the future holds for the town that means so much to him, Kim knows what he’d like to see happen. “I feel that Norman has such a great opportunity to become the next big music scent with all the talent, but it doesn’t have a chance to grow,” he said. “There will never be another show at the Boomer. By the way, take the historical marker off. What a joke. Campus space is being used for blood banks and churches. It has to be the weakest college town I’ve been to.“Yet, it rocks,” he added. It carries the spirit of individuality and character. And for these things, I raise my glass high and say, God’s speed, fellow Normanites. See you at the finish line.”


Youngers of Zion on the Road

I'll be headed up to upstate NY this weekend to play a wedding in Woodstock NY and then the Cantor's Assembly annual meeting at the Hudson Valley Resort, the same place that Klez Kamp his held now.

I just mention it as an excuse to show this picture of the band.

You should buy the CD if you don't already have it. It's really, really good.