Friday, June 28, 2013

Muddy Pond by Maureen Tan - New Orleans Noir


Muddy Pond by Maureen Tan:  Set in Village de L'Est just a day or two after the storm we meet Sonny Vien as he emerges from his attic bent on rescuing a statue of the Virgin Mary from his back yard.  He's doing this for his wife, who died six months previously, knowing that she'd want him to do so, if she was still with him.

While moving the statue Sonny takes a good look around his ruined neighborhood; he soon discovers that things are very serious next door.

We've been told many times that most crimes are crimes of opportunity but who could imagine that crimes could still be committed in the wake of a natural disaster.  The crime in progress is so despicable that I stood up and cheered at the fantastic and sudden ending.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Report #63 - Miles - the Autobiography by Mies Davis and Quincy Troupe

Part of the reason I've not posted in months is that I made a plunge back into music.

When I was in my teens and 20's my stereo was my pride and joy and it really was the best equipment I ever owned.  I made up my mind that I wanted to rebuild that stereo.  I won't go into the details of that quest but I've cobbled together a vintage stereo from eBay, friends and family.

What I really liked about the book was the journey from jazz being the popular music of the day to the birth of rock, funk and soul.

You see, I was born in 1965, just when the world was coming apart at the seams, with race riots, assassinations, an out of control Cold War and the birth of FM Radio.

It was in the 60's that music really exploded into the genres we know to day.  It was 1975 when I started listening music for my own enjoyment - Rock was the default music style that I grew up with.

I started buying music in 1978.  I was never a 'record guy' but I loved listening to them and would do so for hours.  In my later years I've moved from Rock into Jazz back to Rock back to Jazz to the Blues to Rock, again to Jazz and recently Blues plus a bit of 70's Soul.

Miles Davis has always been a touchstone for me when I've been in a Jazz phase.  One of the things that perplexed me was at just how varied his music was; I didn't really understand him.

I loved his old stuff from the 40's and 50's but his later stuff confused me.

What first struck me was how the narrative sounded like conversations were transcribed, verbatim, from taped interviews.  I also had to get over his continuous use of the word motherfucker, but it really didn't take long go get over it and to understand his tone.

Although I was most interested in reading about Miles Davis, who was both a musical genius and drug addicted fuck-up, I was also learning about the birth of the styles of music I've come to take for granted.

While reading I was also buying music; as Davis was explaining certain recording session, I'd buy the album and listen to it.  It's not often you get a sound track with a book, what fun it is when you do!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Report #62 - Slide by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr

Continuing from Bust we follow the out-of-control life of Max Fisher.

In this go-around Max is reinventing himself as a hip-hop crack dealer.  Pretty outrageous for such an un-hip, self-centered white guy.

I loved this book.  I must have had an "I can't believe what I'm reading" look on my face the whole time I read it.

It was a ride.