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Lazaro Vega

Review of the ICP Orchestra at Tonic

62 posts in this topic

Heckman is, alas, not entirely clueless, although this review was harsher and more dim than usual. Something must have really bugged him. He does have a need to write down about freer music for the Times readership.

I would say that the musicality and articulateness of the ICP was superb, but I also think that it wasn't their best show. Heck, man, even Mengelberg thought so. There was a certain exceitement lacking much of the time. But they are also going through a rather rapid cross-country tour. I would still see them on every stop.

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I'm not familiar with the writings of Don Heckman, so can anyone that is tell me if he's really as clueless as he seems?

"Clueless?" How so? Heckman's been around for ages and is usually fairly rational and open-minded, though not solidly versed in the more improvisational euro thing. ;) (Neither am I.) So the fact that you disagree with a review of a concert you didn't see/hear makes him clueless? :w

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If you'll note, I attempted to choose my words carefully, without mention of the concert.

What I was tryting to suggest is just as you've apparently verified, that Heckman is not solidly versed in the more improvisational euro thing.

(Sorry Ray, as I hate when other people do this, but...) clue·less: Lacking understanding or knowledge.

That's what I was going for.

:)

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He might have all the "clues" and not like them.

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Yeah, I know you didn't mention the actual show (which I'm still sorry to have missed). I was hoping you'd bite, though, and tell me what about the review made you think Heckman (accurately or not) is clueless in regards the euro improv thing. 'Cause I'm relatively clueless about such things myself - my reviews are pretty much "liked it" or "didn't get it." :lol: To me, Heckmen seems open-minded to such music as ICP (unlike some critics), but just didn't think it worked that night.

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I saw them two nights later in Seattle, and if that show was anything near to the show I saw, Mr. Heckman has his head firmly planted up his arse.

Exposing the ensemble's limited formal jazz skills?

:blink: These motherfuckers can ‘out-jazz’ almost any big-name jazz act currently playing in the NY jazz clubs in their sleep. These guys are virtuosos! They slip from Dixieland to Swing to Be-Bop to modern improvisation seamlessly and with conviction.

One, suggesting unfulfilled Thelonious Monk ambitions, cranked forward stiffly, its herky-jerky rhythms revealing no real sense of dynamic swing.

:angry: The tune was called 'Locomotion' Mr. Heckman, and anyone who has ever heard Han Bennink play knows that he swings harder than anybody this side of Art Blakey.

Another piece began with a humorous drum-roll count-off before proceeding into a lead-footed jazz march.

Does he not know that bass drum, four to the bar was the jazz drummer’s modus operandi in the 20's?

This guy was either having a bad night, is an idiot, or has a bone to pick with the group or one of its members. I simply can't see how the LA show could be that much different than the Seattle one.

And to think he actually got paid to write that crap. :rolleyes:

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Heckman is one of the few published music critics with credentials as a playing musician.

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Heckman is one of the few published music critics with credentials as a playing musician.

Maybe he should have kept playing. If this piece is indicative of his other writings, he certainly must have been a better musician than writer (or listener).

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Chuck: (Innocent questions) What type of music/jazz did Heckman play? Is he known to be predisposed to not liking ICPish-type material?

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Chuck: (Innocent questions) What type of music/jazz did Heckman play? Is he known to be predisposed to not liking ICPish-type material?

Don is a saxophonist who wrote the first positive reviews of Shepp, Dixon. etc in DownBeat in the early '60s. He continued there for a few years. An AllMusic search should turn up something.

I certainly understand loosing patience with the ICP folks. I don't think he's the kind of listener to be "predisposed to not liking" anything.

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Thanks Chuck.

Losing patience? Interesting.

One line I like from the review -- and one I've felt all too often -- ... players' performance underscored that there's a great deal left to lose by anyone who approaches improvisation as a license for the creation of what's little more than musical chaos.

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Thanks Chuck.

Losing patience? Interesting.

One line I like from the review -- and one I've felt all too often -- ... players' performance underscored that there's a great deal left to lose by anyone who approaches improvisation as a license for the creation of what's little more than musical chaos.

That would be a good line if it were appropo.

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I thought the review generalized more to "what they do" than "that particular night."

I like Heckman's writing, or at least what I've read of it. I also like his music, or at least what I've heard of it. This isn't the best Heckman I've read, but it's probably not the best ICP gig in existence, either. I dig their thing usually, but not always...

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That's a good point. The daily me becomes the daily them.

The band played in Ann Arbor tonight. I'm at work, playing Lennie Tristano's music among others, and await any word on the Kerrytown concert.

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Don't mean to continue to turn this into a Don Heckman thread, rather than an ICP thread, but I can understand how someone could have a negative reaction to this band. I've never heard them live, and only have two of their recordings. When I listen to the recordings, I find that my response varies wildly, depending on where I'm at. Listening to Monk - Nichols today, I really got into what they were playing - enjoyed both the arrangements and much of the soloing. At other times, I can put the same recording on and just don't want to listen at all. That can happen with other music, but I find it happens to a greater degree with this band than with most others.

Having said that, I do think that if a writer is reviewing for a major newspaper, he should have second thoughts about turning in a review that's almost completely negative. The musicians could be having an off night or the reviewer could be having off night. A review like that affects the musicians' ability to earn a living, and it affects potential future audiences who might like that music, but won't seek it out because of the review. I'm not saying that all reviews should be positive, but if a review is totally negative, perhaps the review shouldn't be written, and perhaps another reviewer next time out might be the answer.

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I don't mean to sound like some Don Heckman apologist - though being local i do read his reviews/stories all the time - and as i said i did miss the performance in question, but i still can't help being a bit confused. Am i right to assume that it's okay to consider any critic we disagree with an "idiot" or a "hack, but if we do happen to agree with a review then he's open-minded, insightful, and inarguably corect?

:w

;)

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Ray,

If Don Heckman donot like tis ICP show, he is stupid ass-donkey moron who no like jazz!!!

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They're in Boston on Friday and I'm reviewing the show for a local rag.

I'll post the review here when it runs.

(I mentioned to a fellow that I work with that I would be reviewing the ICP and he thought at first that I meant the Insane Clown Posse!)

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(I mentioned to a fellow that I work with that I would be reviewing the ICP and he thought at first that I meant the Insane Clown Posse!)

I hear that they have "limited formal jazz skills" too. :P

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Are you kidding me? The Insane Clown Posse can ‘out-jazz’ almost any big-name jazz act currently playing in the NY jazz clubs, in their sleep.

:eye::eye:

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Are you kidding me? The Insane Clown Posse can ‘out-jazz’ almost any big-name jazz act currently playing in the NY jazz clubs, in their sleep.

:eye::eye:

Does anyone remember the Onion article from a few years back about the Insane Clown Posse getting grounded by their mom?

Guy

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Don Heckman told me he wrote this article too:

Insane Clown Posse Gets Ride To Concert From Mom

August 4, 1999 | Issue 35•27

ROYAL OAK, MI—Despite last-minute fears of a concert cancellation due to transportation problems—as well as the fact that it was a school night—Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, the shock-rock rappers known as Insane Clown Posse, managed to make it to their Monday performance at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena after securing a ride from 2 Dope's mom.

"Man, we were so worried we wouldn't be able to get to the concert," J told several social-studies classmates Tuesday. "That would've sucked big-time, because we'd been looking forward to it for, like, weeks and weeks, and all our friends were gonna be there. Luckily, Shaggy's mom totally came through for us, even if she can be a total bitch sometimes."

The duo, whose The Amazing Jeckel Brothers album made its debut at #4 on the Billboard charts earlier this year, was "really grateful" for the ride, promising to mow the lawn and perform several other household chores in return.

Despite the successful outcome, the pair nearly missed the concert: At approximately 7 p.m., J's mom backed out of her promise to give them a ride, explaining that she had to drive J's sister Stephanie to the mall. When the popular recording group protested, J's mom allegedly told her son, "Maybe you should've thought about how much you didn't want to miss your concert when you forgot to take out the garbage for the third week in a row, even though you were reminded over and over again."

"That sucked ass, big-time," said J at a poolside press conference. "I can't believe she went so crazy just over some stupid garbage. That shit was so wack! She played herself like a straight-up bitch!"

Immediately following the press conference, J was informed that he wouldn't be allowed to use the pool with his friends if he couldn't refrain from using such language in reference to his own mother.

"Sorry, Mom," replied J before silently flipping off his mother once her back was turned.

"Taking out the garbage sucks ass," J added under his breath.

J and 2 Dope, who describe themselves as "psychotic serial killas" and "mad ninja gangstas," are no strangers to controversy. Their 1997 Island Records debut, The Great Milenko, drew fire from religious and moral watchdogs for its "shockingly violent and depraved lyrical content," and had already been pulled from release by another label. More recently, the duo has come under fire from teachers and school administrators for frequent tardiness, "poor attitude" and failing grades in math class, as well as refusal to "dress out" for gym.

"It's such total bullshit that we have to take stupid summer school instead of being in the studio where we belong, just because of some stupid history tests," 2 Dope said. "Summer school is for fucking tools."

Despite the ongoing controversy surrounding Insane Clown Posse, 2 Dope's mom defended her decision to give the group a ride.

"I know some parents wouldn't feel comfortable letting their children perform at a concert like this," she said. "But I know they're just going through a phase. Two years ago, Shaggy's older sister Tracy couldn't stop talking about Marilyn Manson, but she grew out of that. It's important to let them figure these things out for themselves."

Concerned that 2 Dope's mom would insist on attending the concert with them, humiliating them in front of their friends, J and 2 Dope convinced her to drop them off and pick them up later. This was key, a spokesman for Island Records said, because the lack of parental supervision freed the duo to "go totally wild" at the sold-out arena show.

"I made sure they both took a sweater in case they got chilly up there on stage, and on the way we stopped off at the gas station to pick up some extra Faygo pop, which is their favorite," 2 Dope's mom said. "They wanted me to drop them off a block away, so they could go and make their famous entrance from the padded wagon without anyone seeing me. So I just helped them into their straitjackets, and off they went."

2 Dope's mom added that she had taken extra-special effort to wash and starch the pair's trademark straitjackets ahead of time "to make sure they'd look nice for all the people at the show."

Witnesses reported seeing 2 Dope attempt to exit his mother's car without hugging her goodbye, saying, "C'mon, mom, all the Juggalos are gonna make fun of me!" But after being reminded that he was "not too big to give his mother a hug," he relented, eliciting jeers and boos from the many 14-year-old boys present.

"God, that was embarrassing," 2 Dope said. "And the whole way there, she wouldn't shut up about, 'Be sure to call me before 10:30 to pick you up,' and, 'Tone down the violent lyrics: Remember, that's just the sort of thing that got you dropped from [Walt Disney subsidiary] Hollywood [Records].' It was so annoying, I wanted to pull out a machete and just go buck-wild on the bitch's ass, slicin' and dicin' like a maniac psycho-killa ninja, motherfucka! Yeahh, boyee!"

"It was kind of nice of her to pack us those Fruit Roll-Ups, though," 2 Dope conceded. "Thanks, mom."

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The best dis of the Insane Clown Posse I've seen are the comic strips about them, written by Mike Rubin and illustrated by Mark Dancey, that ran in the Detroit 'zine Motorbooty. Both strips can be found in Motorbooty #9, from back in 1999. Some brutally funny, and true, shit.

Interesting rag. I've saved a few issues for years, owing to very interesting articles about Funkadelic and 1970s Miles Davis, as well as for the comic strips of the talented Dancey, especially a twisted tribute to the Louvin Brothers, also in issue #9.

How far afield we've come from Mengelberg and the ICP. But that's the Organissimo forums for you.

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