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LOG - 9

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15 Nov - I was very impressed to hear a clarinet recital tonight at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Country by new UMBC faculty E. Michael Richards accompanied by his wife Kazuko Tanosaki on the piano. He played contemporary works by Drake Mabry, Masao Honma, Akira Nishimura, Isang Yun and P.Q. Phan. Some of the works had been written for him (and his wife) and in collaboration with him.
  It was quite interesting because the pieces had much of the scope of improvisational playing (an amazing range of sounds), but the advantages of development and brevity due to being composed (written down).
In fact, the very detailed program notes gave me the impression that the pieces were so complex, that I was surprised a few times how short some of them lasted. I've been too used to improvisational musicians playing for long periods.
  Afterwords, I talked to him briefly, and he mentioned that he and his wife were planning to organize a symposium on contemporary Japanese music for next year, which sounds similar to symposia they've organized in the past.
  Getting back to the concert... it was too bad that the audience was only about 35 people (in a hall that probably seats about 250), but that allowed me to sit anywhere I wanted.

17 Nov - Checked out a meeting of the Pacifica radio resistance movement. This weekend, there's a board meeting of the Pacifica Foundation, the group that establishes policy over the 5 Pacifica stations (NY, Bay Area, LA, Houston, and DC). I wanted to get a first-hand feeling for the controversy that has raged in Pacifica the past 4 or 5 years, particularly in NY and Berkeley.
It seems that the DC station I used to be involved with, WPFW 89.3 FM, experienced little of the strife. Perhaps that is due to the lack of audience support for many kinds of alternative public affairs programming (stuff not found elsewhere) that have been dropped from the schedule in recent years. After all, DC, in a manner of speaking, is "Establishment City". The alternative has always seemed a bit underground, especially in the past decade or so. And in recent years, station management has seemed more interested in turning WPFW into a jukebox.

18 Nov - Went to the hotel near the Pentagon, the Doubletree Inn, where the Pacifica national board has been meeting. I got a seat in the ground floor meeting room, filled with Pacifica resistors. (I couldn't tell if anyone was not part of the resistance movement or unsympathetic.) They were all waiting for board members to arrive and convene the meeting. Well, it turned out that the board was meeting upstairs and would probably take and hour or two before meeting before the public. I'd spent about 45 minutes there, already, before this development filtered down to the folks in the ground floor room. I had to rendezvous with someone across the river in DC, and then visit another place in Olney (north of DC), so I couldn't stick around.

25 Nov - There were some heavy downpours as I drove down to the Iota club in Arlington, Va. to catch singer / songwriter Emm Gryner, once more in action. I'd interviewed her at that very club back in February for Rice Paper magazine (based in Vancouver) and they finally printed the article. I was told by a friend in Toronto that it appears in the current issue, which I've not yet received.
Anyhow, Emm was in fine form. She seemed to be in good health, and her voice was strong...

14 Dec - The performance by Amir Koushkani (tar - a Persian lute that almost sounds like a banjo), Eyvind Kang (viola) and Hamin Honari (percussion) at the Meyer auditorium of the Freer Gallery in Wash., D.C. was rather traditional in nature. For that reason, I was slightly disaappointed, because I'd been led to believe, by one of the descriptions in a Smithsonian press release, that there would be music of a more experimental nature.

22 Dec - Catching up on my tv-watching (since I normally lead a cable-less existence during the regular year)... in the wee hours of this morning I stumble upon chef Ming Tsai on the Food Network in the midst of preparing some dishes and his guests are 3 members of the group, Hiroshima.

25 Dec - More tv, this time a VH1 documentary on the Pakistani-American band, Junoon. (2 members are Pakistani, and 1 is a white guy from NYC). The piece is a nice exploration of the role, fame, and feelings of the band. Unfortunately, the big thing that's missing is that I don't feel I get a good sense of their music. (Hey, isn't the VH1 channel supposed to be about music videos?!)

28 Dec - Catch the 2nd half of a gig by Mari Iijima at Genghis Cohen in L.A. Afterwards, I visit Amoeba Records and buy a bunch of CD's. I usually don't mention music shopping, but Amoeba is the new spot in town, and happens to be the largest store in L.A. (which makes it huge!).

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