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iguanas and aztec princesses.

August 16th, 2009


This week’s show started fomenting, started fermenting with a rainy day viewing of “Night of the Iguana,” a 1964 John Huston film, based on a Tennessee Williams play, starring Deborah Kerr, Richard Burton, Sue Lyons, and an absolutely mesmerizing Ava Gardner.  While the maraca-wielding houseboys puzzled me throughout (what the hell are they s’posed to be doing/representing, exactly?), I love the tumultuous rivers of questionable morality that wend throughout the story.  Williams was a master of the wink-fingered poke-in-the-ribs where UStian’s high-minded morals were concerned…bless him.


All this nonsense about so-called morality aside, and on a purely superficial level, the music (including the infernal maraca-boys), the giant iguanas, the views of Mexico’s western coast, and the rampant flora sent me off craving more more more MusicFoodArt from our southern brothers and sisters.  My senses have been searching for hand drums and bird calls, for anole lizards rustling bougainvillea’s brilliant floral bracts, for frenetic rhythms that know no stillness,  for lazy afternoons when the sun’s unmerciful heat makes physical labor suicidal, for vividly sweet fruits, and for peppers so spicy they make the sun’s heat seem almost kind.  In short, I crave music of the torrid climes.


Since we’re listening to Contemporary Jazz (ambiguous as that can be) from midnight to 3 a.m. these Tuesday mornings, I’ve had opportunity to delve into much of the Afro-Cuban jazz that influenced so many UStian jazz musicians.  Think Machito playing with Dizzy Gillespie.  Think Yma Sumac’s voice mimicking rainforest birds.  Think cicadas and katydids, surely an influence on any musician who’s spent time on the back porch during a Southern summer.


I’m not awesome enough (yet) to fill up an entire three hours with this stuff, with that music that tangos elegantly down the outer edges of defined jazz.  Howevah.  I’ll work in what I can and will, as always, hope you’ll turn me onto your favorite jazz artists from outside UStian audial borders.


See you tomorrow night, pussycat.


Waving and grinning,


mockingbird

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