Arbitrary Friday—with reservations!
Thanks to fardels bear (and uncle rameau and spokane moderate) for the Arthur Bryant’s tip in the comment thread in Wednesday’s post! Cary Nelson and I went over around 8 last night and had ourselves a meat tray that was . . . well, a tray of very tasty meat. Along with a frosty pitcher of Boulevard. Here’s the funny part: because I are an complete ignoramus, I called ahead, just like Principal Skinner does in “Much Apu About Nothing.” Yes, that’s right, I had no idea you all were talking about a BBQ shack with fluorescent lights and formica tabletops where you fish your own beer pitcher out of the cooler. I clicked on the link fardels bear provided, but I didn’t look at the interior shot of the restaurant, and I didn’t even realize there was a movie involved. So I called for reservations. What a maroon. To translate this into New Yorkese, this is a little like calling Katz’s deli and asking to speak to the sommelier.
So to say thanks to people who know from Kansas City, here’s a YouTube of some obscure “jazz” musicians:
And to say thanks to everybody else, here’s a YouTube of Narciso Yepes. Why Narciso Yepes? Because it’s Friday, and Fridays are arbitrary!
Seriously, I was just wandering around the YouTubes yesterday and wondered if they had any Narciso Yepes videos in them. Why, yes they do! In 1981 or 1982, a friend grabbed me by the arm and dragooned me to Carnegie Hall to see Narciso Yepes, and that’s a great thing for a friend to do. And our tickets were five dollars. Each! No, we didn’t wear onions in our belts. This was 1981 or 1982, and that wasn’t the style at the time. But back then, you could sit way upstairs in Carnegie Hall for $5. And the acoustics in that place are, you know, pretty good. And as he was wont to do, Yepes included this song in the program, which is one of the greatest 11th-century hits ever:
Have a fine weekend, everyone. And may Lundqvist continue to turn away Ovechkin’s shots, all 800 of them.
Well, sure, anyone can play that well if his guitar has ten strings. I bet Nigel Tufnel could kick Narciso’s ass on both these songs. Of course, Nigel’s guitar…oh, you know the joke.
I’ve always wanted to eat at Arthur Bryant’s, based on the many mentions of it in Calvin Trillin’s columns. But whenever I’ve been in KC, my hosts have conspired to keep me away from it. I envy you, Michael.Posted by Dr. Drang on 04/17 at 01:22 PM
Glad you liked AB’s BBQ Michael! Should have warned you that it was a Melmac kind of place.Posted by on 04/17 at 01:35 PM
That would only have confused me, fardels, by making me think that the restaurant was actually Alf’s home planet.
And yes, Narciso is no Nigel Tufnel. But when that Stonehenge thing dropped onto the stage at the end of “Brian Boru’s March,” Carnegie Hall went wild. For the record, though, I don’t believe that’s a guitar. Its technical name is “ten-string Yepesinator.”Posted by on 04/17 at 02:06 PM
Yes, Michael, and then you would have thought that the place served cats.Posted by on 04/17 at 02:45 PM
Well weren’t those some tasty treats to kick off the weekend. Funny but whereas I’d been a huge Yepes devotee in my youth, what, 30 years ago, he had somehow slipped totally out of my consciousness for some time. Thanks for giving him back to me.
As for Dizzy and Mr P, what can you say. The giddy soloing could make you miss what terrific ensemble work they were doing. The way Bird backs into the head at the end is priceless. Never knew Max Roach did that brush-style thing on the snare with a standard drumstick. And anyway, wow. Holy sheeee-it. Day-um. And other expressions of awe and love.
Re Nigel Tufnel, I always thought the real origin of his name was the company that makes the circuit chassis for Marshall amplifiers: Tufnel, in fact. And given that Marshall changed their gain controls to go to 11--and later 20--in his honor assured me that I had the secret inside story, so to speak, on this. But then I had occasion to email Harry Shearer about something, and ran this theory by him and he said no, it really was based on the name of some little park in London like everyone said. Quel disappointment. He did say that my version was a much cooler story though.Posted by on 04/17 at 04:20 PM
I once knew a snooty culture type in Reno Nevada who rendered his name “Narfresco Wipeys.” It’s testament to how good he is (was?) that I can get past that an hear the performance.Posted by on 04/17 at 04:48 PM
Given the arbitrariness of BBQ and stringed instruments, i offer László Hortobágyi, one of my secret favorites. He plays a multi-stringed instrument, and i am sure Ohio teach’s snooty acquaintance could make the name László Hortobágyi into something sounding like an Ozark BBQ roadhouse.Posted by on 04/17 at 05:32 PM
Hmmph. The 11th century is so over.Posted by on 04/17 at 07:07 PM
Damn! Skip the Airspace for a couple of days and I miss your appearance in my town. Glad you made it to Bryant’s. If you’re still in KC tomorrow, have someone take you to Rosedale’s on the Boulevard. Since you’re down on the Plaza, the Jack Stack there is also an option. Or LC’s on Blue Parkway.
My chance to meet the great and powerful Bérubé missed. I am depressed.Posted by on 04/18 at 12:52 AM
Louder than words indeed. Bird lives!Posted by on 04/18 at 03:43 AM
Yipes! (Someone had to do it.)
With Lester Young (who influenced Bird):
Not at KC native, but KC is where he perfected his craft.Posted by on 04/18 at 08:35 AM
Bahahahaha! You called ahead to Arthur Bryant’s! This KC native is ROTFLMAO!!!Posted by Dr. Virago on 04/18 at 11:07 AM
A “Kansas City” ribs story of mine from back in the day. (How far back in the day you ask? It involves good food on an airplane.) I was flying from Des Moines to Houston on Republic Airlines. They served dinner on the Kansas City/Houston leg (as I said, dinosaurs still walked the Earth) and the entrée was ribs. No idea if they originated from one of the famous KC BBQ joints, but they were great! However, it was still an airline and the portions were small, and mine was at the wrong end of the notoriously broad “amount of actual meat on the rib” distribution. My seatmates were a mother and son and his untouched ribs were clearly at the other end of that distribution. But in the end I could not overcome my sense that asking a stranger if I could eat their kid’s leftovers would be crossing a line best left uncrossed. But I was sore tempted. Sigh.Posted by on 04/18 at 01:34 PM
Well, glad to see I made Dr. V. laugh today. Here at American Airspace, we are an complete ignoramus for your amusement.
And about those ribs: I suppose that if Cary and I really knew what we were doing, we would’ve loaded up our meat tray with non-ribby meats, because despite that elastic “actual meat on the rib” factor, you pay for those trays by the pound, and the pulled pork was fabulous (Jamie would have loved it). But we couldn’t not get ribs.
Spyder, that tune is really catchy. Also it has a good beat and I could dance to it in my hotel room. Thanks!Posted by Michael on 04/18 at 04:29 PM
I was fortunate enough to meet Dizzy G at a Jazz club in Miami in the late 70’s through a mutual acquaintance. He was as nice as could be and I was extremely impressed with the fact that he was one of those people who actually took the time to listened to what others were saying. I guess you take it for granted but he was very down to earth and pleasant. Not a universal trait among folks of his stature.
e.Posted by on 04/18 at 07:58 PM
I’ve seen this clip (with Earl Wilson the talking hemorrhoid) many times, but the way Dizzy picks up the last phrase in Bird’s solo to launch his own never fails to knock me out. Thanks for posting all three.Posted by on 04/18 at 11:25 PM
Narciso Yepes is a great musician, but his version of “Brian Boru’s March” is not one of his better moments.
Siglo XI? Brian Boru lived in the 11th century, but there’s no evidence that this tune was around at that time, even though it’s named after him.
Whoever did the arrangement got the melody wrong in the second section. Also, the rhythm has been straightened out in several places, which makes it very wooden.
I wouldn’t expect Mr. Yepes to know anything about the performance style of traditional Irish music, but if he had just played the tune in its usual form it would have been better.
It’s also not a particularly difficult arrangement to play. Most competent fingerpickers could handle it.
Whereas the passapied ... Wow! Amazing. Interesting that he does chromatic runs Django-style, i.e., by sliding one finger. Django was criticized for this by American guitarists who thought it was cheating.Posted by on 04/19 at 08:41 PM
Yes, I see from the YouTube comments here and there that many people don’t care for Yepes’ version of “Brian Boru’s March.” That’s OK by me—I think songs can be played in a great variety of ways. I used to be annoyed that Miles Davis took Monk’s “Well You Needn’t” and smoothed out the rhythm to make it all cooooooooool and stuff, but I got over that. So some people can play the song in a more even 6/8 trad-Irish way, and some people can re-interpret it with ten-string guitars and a more emphatic right hand. And no, it’s not that difficult. I picked it because it’s familiar, kind of like this song in Segovia’s repertoire.
Whereas yes, absolutely, I chose the passapied for the sheer jawdropping virtuosity of it. But American guitarists accused Django of cheating by sliding one finger like that on those runs? Really? How very weird and petty.Posted by Michael on 04/19 at 10:46 PM
I think every Friday should be Jazz Friday.
Something for your Sunday night sleepytime:Posted by on 04/20 at 01:28 AM
Did those American guitarists know that Django didn’t have much choice in the matter as his left hand had been disabled in a fire?Posted by on 04/20 at 06:24 AM
That’s what makes the complaint both weird and petty, I think.Posted by on 04/20 at 10:15 AM
Waitwaitwait. You go on about cultural studies and you haven’t memorized the complete works of Calvin Trillin?
Dude. Where’s the pleasure?
Not to mention Jane and Michael Sterns by way of Intro 101.Posted by Ron Sullivan on 04/23 at 01:34 AM
20, 21. They probably didn’t know about Django’s injury because they only knew him from records. It does go against the way guitar playing is usually taught. But the complaint was petty and probably motivated by jealousy.
Django did have a choice in the matter, I suppose, in that he could have chosen not to use chromatic runs. Many jazz guitarists don’t. But since he made that part of his style, he also came up with a technique that worked for him.
Guitarists are usually taught to play across the neck and finger in fixed positions. Playing up and down the neck is a technique used in Greek bouzouki playing and other Eastern Mediterranean stringed instruments.
Criticizing people who didn’t play “properly” seems strange to us now, but maybe we’re a bit more open-minded nowadays. Notice how rioting at the premiere of new compositions has dropped off.Posted by on 04/27 at 01:28 AM