Monday, August 27, 2018

I’d Love To Turn You On At The Movies #199 - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991, dir. Nicholas Meyer)

The summer of 1991 was a wonderful time to be a Star Trek fan. The franchise was celebrating its 25th anniversary, Star Trek: The Next Generation had completed its fourth season and was rivaling its predecessor in terms of popularity, and a new movie with the original cast was due in a few months. I walked into a theater that July to watch a movie I remember nothing about, but witnessed something I’ll never forget, the teaser trailer for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Images from episodes of the original series and earlier films filled the screen in an overlapping, shifting collage while a narrator described the exploits of the crew of the Starship Enterprise over the last quarter century. Just as the narrator invited the audience to join the crew for “one last adventure,” the camera pulled back to reveal that the patchwork of scenes had been projected onto the hull of Enterprise itself, right before the ship jumped to warp speed!
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always easy to be a Star Trek fan because there’s so much inconsistency within a franchise that’s now over 50 years old. After a very uneven beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, director Nicholas Meyer effectively restarted and rejuvenated the movie series in 1982 with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which has become one of high points of the entire franchise. The series expanded over the next few years and actor Leonard Nimoy, best known for his performance of the Vulcan science officer Spock, directed the next two installments and delivered another franchise high point with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (best known to the general public as “the one with the whales”). William Shatner, who portrayed Captain Kirk, nearly harpooned the series with the dreadful, bloated, and misguided Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which he wrote and directed. After this low point, Meyer and Nimoy teamed up once more to craft The Undiscovered Country, one of Star Trek’s brightest moments, which just never seems to get enough credit.
The original television series in the mid-1960s established that Klingons were the primary enemies of the United Federation of Planets and served as stand-ins for Soviet era Russians in a loose parallel to the Cold War that ran through many episodes. Decades into the future, as depicted in Star Trek: The Next Generation, we know that hostilities have ended between the Federation and the Klingons, but we don’t know any of the details of how it happened. Meyer and Nimoy wisely seized the moment of current events with the recent collapse of the Soviet Union to illustrate how this peace was achieved. This story brings a logical conclusion to the series’ Cold War parallels, offers up one last great challenge for the original cast that allows all seven actors to shine, and merges the narratives of the original cast and The Next Generation (Nimoy also guest starred on a two-part episode of that series in a tie-in with the movie just weeks before its release). In addition to the seven original cast members, the movie features an outstanding ensemble of supporting actors including Christopher Plummer, Kim Cattrall, Brock Peters, Rosanna DeSoto, David Warner, and Michael Dorn (who plays the grandfather of his character, Worf, in The Next Generation). Yes, I could certainly go on about all of the fascinating minutiae connected to this movie, but I don’t want to distract from the fact that is an exciting sci-fi adventure with elements of a political mystery that’s well worth your time.
As a fan of Star Trek, there have been few moments that compare with the excitement and wonder I felt when I watched that teaser for The Undiscovered Country in the summer of 1991. The reason those feelings have stayed with me over the last 27 years stems from the fact that the movie delivered on the promise of that trailer as well as the entire series itself. When Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek in 1966, he wanted to present an optimistic view of the human race exploring the universe in the future. In a way that few other Star Trek stories have been able, The Undiscovered Country reconciles that positive outlook with a view of humanity with which the audience can identify. On the path to universal peace, Meyer and Nimoy were willing to reveal the flaws and prejudices of a noble group of heroic explorers. Traveling through this darkness allows the light of peace and reconciliation to shine with meaning and consequence. On the final voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the veteran crew members show us once again how to meet the future (the undiscovered country) with courage, humor, and hope.

-         John Parsell

Monday, August 20, 2018

I'd Love to Turn You On #212 - TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain

           Last Wednesday I witnessed one of those magical moments that can only happen at Red Rocks. TV on the Radio opened for Father John Misty and drew an impressive crowd so early in the night. As light began to fade from the sky about halfway through their set, vocalist Tunde Adebimpe mused in a playful sing-song voice, “I see the moon and the moon sees me.” The band gave the audience a moment to turn around and regard the crescent moon rising between the amphitheater’s rock formations before launching into a blistering rendition of their biggest hit, “Wolf Like Me.” Just as the moon triggers a supernatural transformation within the song, it played a key role in morphing the relatively subdued audience into an ecstatic, howling mass during the song. The enduring appeal of “Wolf Like Me” hints at what makes Return to Cookie Mountain, one of this young century’s greatest albums.
TV on the Radio built on the promise of their debut EP, Young Liars, and their dynamic first full-length album, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, and delivered a mind-blowing collection of genre-defying, cathartic songs with Return to Cookie Mountain. Looking back, I remember how much I looked forward to the release of Return to Cookie Mountain in the summer of 2006. Sure, I had enjoyed the band’s first couple of releases, but I had a feeling that this new album would help me get through the very challenging times I was going through personally and professionally. Well, the album certainly didn’t disappoint me and the opening track, “I Was a Lover,” provided a well-tailored soundtrack and a much needed outlet to transcend the miserable situation surrounding me. Through the orchestrated cacophony of an overdriven bass drum, a sorrowful horn sample, layers of glitchy distortion, and countless other sonic elements, Kyp Malone and Adebimpe inject passion and anguish into Malone’s brainy, surreal lyrics that capture the fever-dream paranoia that results from the implosion of a relationship. “Province” treads on similar thematic territory, but ascends with a tentative sense of hope and optimism for what the future holds. David Bowie joins Malone and Adebimpe on vocals for this song and not only helps create one of this band’s finest moments, but also marks a highlight among his late career collaborations. When the band played the Boulder Theater three years ago, Malone introduced “Blues from Down Here” by skewing the now common on-stage banter about legal marijuana in Colorado and asked the audience if they would seek justice for those who have been imprisoned under severe drug laws. This literal application of Malone’s harrowing metaphor within the song surprised me at the time, but has helped me appreciate the layers of meaning contained in this haunting perspective of isolation, oppression, and hopelessness.
As much as I love Return to Cookie Mountain, I have to admit that a lot of what makes it such an amazing work can also weigh it down if you’re not feeling up for taking the album’s emotional journeys. In 2008, when TV on the Radio released their next album, Dear Science, I was delighted that the band offered up a bright, beautiful set of songs as complex, innovative, and satisfying as their earlier work. Two of that album’s high points, “Golden Age” and “Lover’s Day,” feel like intentional counter-balances to the heaviness of Return to Cookie Mountain. In 2011, the band released Nine Types of Light, an album I’ve liked, but never really loved (a point I’ve had to debate repeatedly with a number of TVOTR fans over the years). Three years later, TV on the Radio’s fifth album, Seeds, won me back with a set of concise, polished, and upbeat songs proving that these remarkable musicians still have plenty of room for exploration and expression.

-         John Parsell

Monday, August 13, 2018

I’d Love To Turn You On At The Movies #198 - Body Heat (1981, dir. Lawrence Kasdan)

In one of my favorite scenes from The Simpsons, Nelson Muntz is seen coming out of a movie theatre showing Naked Lunch. He angrily looks up at the marquee and says, “I can think of at least two things wrong with that title!” If Nelson were exiting Lawrence Kasdan’s stylish noir thriller Body Heat, he would not have said the same. Body Heat delivers on all three things promised in its title. Hot stars William Hurt (in his third appearance) and Kathleen Turner (in her first film role) are undressed and entwined A LOT in this movie. We know much about their bodies by the end of the film. The movie takes place during a stifling heat wave in a small Florida town, and by the end, one is dying for nothing more than a cool shower. And finally, the movie gives flesh to the idea of “body heat” or human sexual chemistry as few films have.
William Hurt plays Ned Racine, an ambulance-chasing lothario whose crappiness as a lawyer is only outdone by his lack of discrimination in sexual partners. He’s defended every loser in the city, and slept with most of the single and unhappily married women. He’s good looking, in a sleazy 70’s porn-star way, so he’s lucky but he seems bored with his usual prey. One night while cruising for love, he meets a beautiful and mysterious woman named Matty Walker (Turner) and begins a wild sexual affair with her. This is not your typical movie affair. Director Kasdan mixes equal parts film technique and softcore porn levels of eroticism to create some seriously hot scenes. The slavish rules of film noir lighting, dialogue (often hilariously stilted), and camera angle were never put more directly to the task of filming sex, and as a result the entire genre is moved forward just a little bit. More than any other way, Body Heat succeeds almost as a tribute to the noir genre and specifically films like The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Obviously, there’s a rub, and it is that Matty is unhappily married to another man (Richard Crenna), who happens to be fabulously wealthy. Matty convinces Ned that if he kills her husband they can live sexily ever after with the money she inherits. Ned, being a sleazy small-town lawyer doesn’t need a lot of convincing. Like many of the best noir thrillers, the characters seem to inhabit an alternate universe where morality is for the weak, and the spoils go the brash. Hmmm, considering the state of the world we currently inhabit, I wonder whether this is the alternate or the actual state of things. Situational ethics and expected results from hard-boiled threats may seem like a crazy way to live, but look how far they’ve taken our president. All this is to point out that there are no protagonists in this film, just antagonists and double-crossers. Even Ned’s friends, a local police detective and the town’s D.A. (ably played by J.A. Preston and an impossibly young Ted Danson respectively) turn out to be the guys leading the investigation of the murder. Nobody can be trusted and loyalty is only skin deep - no matter how beautiful your skin is.
As the investigation heats up and Ned and Matty’s relationship shows cracks, a sense of claustrophobic disaster reigns. Eroticism is replaced with dread as the story devolves into one of the more memorable cross, double-cross, triple-cross, hidden identity plot twists and revelations of modern cinema. Of course, none of it is really that believable, but throughout, Body Heat succeeds as a stylish tribute to film noir sensibilities and conventions, while offering two important actors early screen cred and a scrap book of themselves when they were young and beautiful. For the viewer, it is simply a hell of a lot of fun.

-         Paul Epstein

Monday, August 6, 2018

Twist & Shout at UMS!: Part Two


  John P:
After catching the second half of Red Baraat’s energetic, propulsive (non-UMS) free show at the Clyfford Still museum and grabbing a bite to eat Friday evening, I picked up my wristband and made my way to The UMS mainstage. Unfortunately, I missed Frankie Cosmos, but I was able to enjoy almost all of Digable Planets’ expansive, good-natured set. All three M.C.s appeared to be in great spirits and it was cool to see that they all still share the singular chemistry that set them apart in the 90s. I wasn’t expecting Digable Planets to tour with such an incredible backing band and I was impressed throughout the night with how these musicians fleshed out the group’s signature sound. In short, it was a great show for the first night’s headlining act and it set an excellent tone for the festival’s first outing under new management.
After taking a break on Saturday, I biked over to South Broadway on Sunday afternoon and had a great time running into group after group of friends as I made my way to the Sesh Stage for White Denim. I arrived there just as the band was entering their final stretch of the show and I was glad I got a chance to see these guys again as they bashed out their upbeat, quirky take on indie rock. I joined Pat Brown as he walked over to the Imagination Stage to see Night Beats and I’m happy I went with him to check out the venue. I wasn’t able to stay for the band, but I really liked exploring the interactive, immersive installations populating a high end mechanic’s garage and parking lot. The space compared very favorably to the kinds of designs and layouts I’ve gotten to know attending the Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho for the last two years.
Following a pause to snack and cool down for a bit, I headed straight for the mainstage and prepared myself to see Superchunk for the tenth time. All day, I watched weather reports that vaguely threatened severe thunderstorms exactly at the time of Superchunk’s set, so I was ready to deal with delays or disappointments, but luckily the weather held. The band took to the stage and launched right into “Hyper Enough” from their 1995 album, Here’s Where the Strings Come In, and established the mood for a lively, blistering set that included material from almost all of their eleven studio albums. Understandably, they focused on songs from their most recent and notably political album, What a Time to Be Alive. It was awesome to hear these new songs performed live as well as hear lead singer Mac McCaughan encourage the audience to pay attention and vote this fall. Peter Hughes from Merge label-mates The Mountain Goats subbed as bass player for Laura Balance, who’s still in the band but no longer tours. Other than that personnel change and a brief technical issue when the sound went out on the left side of the stage for a song and a half, it was every bit a Superchunk show on par with all the times I’ve seen them in the last twenty-three years. It was wonderful to hear mainstays like “Driveway to Driveway” and “Detroit Has a Skyline Too” again, but I was delighted that they played “Cursed Mirror,” a deep cut from their underrated 1999 album, Come Pick Me Up. By the time Superchunk played their last song, I couldn’t have been happier to be surrounded by my friends as they played their iconic indie-rock anthem, “Slack Motherfucker,” and we all shouted along with the chorus!
Following such an exciting, satisfying show, I lingered in the mainstage area talking with friends about the performance, but ended up staying for Alvvays’ entire headlining set. I knew next to nothing before the show and I was pleasantly surprised by their brand of infectious jangle pop. The lead singer has a great voice and I enjoyed her natural, self-effacing stage presence. The band played with a slow-building energy and democratic spirit that left a very favorable impression on me. As I walked out of the mainstage area and onto South Broadway at the end of the show, I felt very fortunate to have been able to attend such a successful and positive music festival right in the heart of the streets of Denver. I’m very happy that The UMS is alive and kicking once again.     

Now that the UMS is under new management after being run by the Denver Post for so many years, I was very curious to see how the event would go and I’m happy to say that this was one of the best years that I have ever been a part of it! Everything was well-organized and promoted, and as an artist I felt very well taken care of. Among the hundreds of bands that played, some of my favorites included Slow Caves, Overslept, Its Just Bugs, Ivory Circle, The Savage Blush, and way too many more to list. Also, thanks so much to everyone who came out to watch One Flew West's set! It was a great show to come back to after being off for a month!

            This UMS was my first time and it was pretty fuckin’ rad! The stages were so cool, each had their own theme. I got my face rocked off by Its Just Bugs, Hot 8 Brass Band, Green Druid, Holy Wave, Night Beats, The Savage Blush, Superchunk, Alvvays, and Serpentfoot! I loved getting to see the cool people I work with play awesome music. I also was not disappointed seeing John Parsell see Superchunk! He let out a few very loud and excited “Whoo”s; those made my soul happy! My favorite band I didn’t know I was going to see/didn’t know about was Serpentfoot – damn that was awesome! As long as I live here I will go to the UMS!

This year was my very first UMS experience. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t go to UMS last year. I’d like to be able to say I was doing something far more important, but the truth is that I was probably at home watching The O.C. on Hulu and being lame. Regardless, I’m really glad that I went this year. Even though I was only able to make it for one full day, I saw some truly awesome shows and hung out with some truly awesome folks. A highlight was Superchunk, of course. I’ve been a fan of that band since I was a pre-teen and they still rock hard. Another was Casey James Prestwood & the Burning Angels, who I discovered by accident a few weeks ago and are now one of my absolute favorite locals. But I was also excited to finally see my fellow Twist-er Brian do his thing in The Savage Blush. Also saw great sets by Pale Sun, the Night Beats and a partial set by Alvvays. All in all, a great day of music, local and otherwise. I’m excited to be a part of this weekend in the years to come.

            This was my first year attending UMS and it was probably the best showcase experience I have had. I was most excited to see Digable Planets. I have been an active listener for a very long time and had a general idea of what most of their shows consisted of. Seeing them in person was a very VERY unifying experience and just as great as everyone had said it was BUT! I was FAR more impressed and inspired by Frankie Cosmos who had played right before Digable Planets. Frankie Cosmos’ set was really f***ing beautiful and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to see them and experience the simplicity of their sound and appearance/performance. Until UMS, I have not exclusively listened to Frankie Cosmos, but for the past week I have been listening to their 2016 album Next Thing on repeat. Overall, UMS was 10/10 and I really hope I get this opportunity next year!

Patrick B:
            I skipped UMS last year because life works that way, stuff came up, and it just didn’t work out. And I hear people say they had issues with the setup last year and I was like “Whew!” and not so worried that I’d missed out on the usual fun of the festival, but I was also concerned when I heard that new folks were taking over the festival – would they understand what had made it special in the past? Would they continue down what seemed to be the wrong road taken last year? Turns out I needn’t have worried, because Two Parts, the organization that took it over, has done a superb job not only keeping the flavor of Denver’s best music festival, but also stepped up the game a bit in a few key areas.
            Music was great as always – kept the vibe of the biggest bands on the festival still being groups that some of my friends say “Who?” about when I mention them; plus the plethora of local music of all varieties – my only wish about the music is that I could be in more than one place at the same time and that I could still keep myself staying up and going three days in a row until after midnight on days that I work so I could’ve seen The Savage Blush and Specific Ocean, one of whom played up against one of those big bands at the festival and one of whom played at midnight on Sunday when I was long asleep.
            Setup was great across the board. Alameda and 6th Ave. are good borders that shouldn’t be gone past for this festival so it’s nice to see it back within them. The addition of the Sesh Stage and (especially) the Imagination Stage, with cool spaces, shade, seating, and water coolers were very welcome - and whoever thought up the idea of running a path through the auto dealership to an enclosed space in the alley deserves a special prize. Only two down points for me were that there was no central set of bike parking – though the place that has been used in the past is now fenced in an presumably won’t be there in the future – and that one of my favorite places to eat – Socorro’s Street Tacos – had their last day open during the festival (insert frowny face here).
But the entire experience reminded me again just what a great thing we have here in the UMS, how a diverse music scene of rock, hip-hop, electronic music, jazz, country, folk, and more can all converge on South Broadway for a weekend and still feel like it’s a unified festival with one idea driving it. And did I mention all the friends? Within five minutes of arrival I ran into about a dozen folks I knew, and that, too, is a huge part of what makes the weekend special. If you missed it this year, look forward to next year’s and be ready to pounce when tickets go on sale!

Patrick “Wavvy” R:
            Wow, another UMS has come and gone; I wouldn’t believe it even happened if I wasn’t still hung over from the three day party. It flew by. I survived, I didn’t get dehydrated or cramp up, and here are my takeaways from the festivities:
            Digable Planets: Very good.
            Alvvays: Very good
            Inflatable beach balls: Very bad (ed: Both Patricks agree wholeheartedly on this point)
            And my favorite act of the entire UMS? Easy – Its Just Bugs. My band. Wowee we were so good. I’m sorry if you missed it. See ya next year. I’ll be the guy slicing beach ball in half with a katana.
            Love, Wavvy

Matt Cobos:
The 2018 UMS was an absolutely killer one. One of my personal favorites that I've been to, they proved once again that they are the best music festival in Denver. So many killer performances happened that when you talked to people around the fest, you would often hear "if you didn't see __________, you're an idiot.", and I felt the same way. Pretty much everything I saw was at least "really good."
The High Plains Comedy Stage was amazing and packed all weekend. My favorite comedy performances were from Drennon Davis, Ramon Rivas II, Tom Thakkar, Janae Burris, Kate Willett, Brandy Posey, and the awesome drop-in set from Comedy Works headliner and Aurora boy, Dan Soder. I'm very excited to see what UMS does with their new found commitment to comedy, and their partnership High Plains Comedy Festival in the future. Be sure to check out the High Plains Comedy Festival this month as not one, but TWO of your favorite record store jerks are performing on it this year! Myself and Patrick R. will be telling jokes on the August 23-25 fest. Tickets available at

As for the music, holy crap was there a lot of great performances. My absolute standout favorite was It's Just Bugs at 3 Kings. This full band hip hop group absolutely blew the roof off of the place. Their energy was unmatched by anything else I saw at the festival. When they finished their performance all you heard around the audience was "HOLY %$#&!" as everyone reeled from what just happened. If you are a fan of Death Grips, or aggressive hip hop in general, do not miss this band. Holy crap.

Other bands that I thought had great performances: Green Druid, and Savage Blush killed it, and Jeff The Brotherhood, Night Beats, and Holy Wave were all great. There was a lot of stuff I knew and didn't know about that I missed, but that's how you know it's a good music festival. Don't miss it next year.

Now it's time to catch a breath, take a nap, re-hydrate and get ready for the other best party of the year every year, High Plains Comedy Festival. August in Denver rules. Hell yeah.

            Grungy, chaotic, and incredibly fun, the UMS was an event I didn’t realize could exist in Denver. Between the well-staffed main stages and the crowded bar venues shows went off seemingly without a hitch. I was rarely thirsty (and never bored) as I bounced between acts both local and national. I enjoyed discovering new music, dancing to Digable Planets, and meeting new people. In the future, I’d love to see more musical diversity at the UMS; if this year is an indicator for future UMS's though, it seems like a great (re)starting point.

I'd Love to Turn You On #211 - Ron Miles – Witness

Most Denver jazz fans have heard of Ron Miles, and if you haven’t you're in for a treat. Witness is his second record and it was released in 1990 on Capri Records. It features compositions by Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Billy Strayhorn, fellow bandmate Fred Hess, and two original compositions by Ron Miles. The band is made up Denver jazz veterans. It features Ron Miles on trumpet, Fred Hess on tenor saxophone and flute, Art Lande on piano, Ken Walker on bass, and Bruno Carr on drums. This band has respect and command of the jazz tradition, and that respect and command of tradition frees them to be exploratory and adventurous within the framework of both standards and originals.
Art Lande starts out the song “Witness” with a beautiful chordal variation of the theme on piano. He is then joined by Ken Walker on bass for a more straightforward statement of the theme. The drums then join in a march feel, and the horns of Miles and Hess state the melody in full force. The piano is the first to solo, showing immediately that it is not just a straightforward blowing session by establishing a percussive rhythmic bed using an extended piano technique. Moving from decisive single note lines to clusters and chordal stabs, Lande summons the rhythm section into action. As they activate beneath him the entire feel starts to pick up energy and move from a march to a swinging, dynamic ball of 4/4 energy fueled by Bruno Carr and Ken Walker. The group then switches back to the march feel for the beginning of Miles’s solo. Miles starts out by quoting the melody but then runs into a series of melodic flurries. The main melody is never far from his improvisation. As Bruno Carr moves into a rhythmic motif on his tom toms under Miles, the trumpet player suspends tones while the tension builds. There is a certain sense of wondering if the rhythmic direction will again be pulled back to swing but the listener is drawn in as Miles stretches out dissonant tones and textural flurries. Bruno Carr hammers away on the toms maintaining the energy. Lande responds with interjections and clusters as Walker provides tonal and rhythmic anchors. As the solo ends the melody is restated for the exit out. I’m always captivated by the joyousness of this melody.
“Ugly Beauty” is a waltz by Thelonious Monk. It starts out with Fred Hess playing the melody on the flute. Miles is the first to solo and he has a gentle approach featuring large melodic leaps. Miles makes technically difficult passages sound elegant and graceful, which is a testament to his mastery of the trumpet. The next solo by Lande and Hess includes tandem flurries, playfulness, questions and answers, all within a format and structure. This displays a great concept of a duel solo, or two people occupying a space typically reserved for one individual.
“Just Like You (I Don’t Want To Be)” starts out with a unison horn head at blistering pace. It moves thru some free form soloing by Miles and then Hess before it enters an interesting composed hit-and-silence structure that replaces a traditional harmonic framework. This solo framework is expanded upon and fleshed out with an additional melody over the stop time. Miles takes another solo over this new texture, and the original melodic statement is then played again. Bruno Carr takes a solo at a ridiculous tempo and then the melody is played one last time. The structure of the song provides for a great contrast to other tracks on the CD. The untraditional structure of this song highlights the strengths of the group. They are creative enough to follow and explore where the music takes them and able enough to adeptly lead themselves back to the predetermined rallying points. A highly original tune by Ron Miles with some interesting compositional devices.
“A Flower Is A Lonesome Thing” starts out with a solo statement of the melody. The experience of the group really shines in this performance. It is as if they are playing not so much in the expected places but around them. Bruno Carr’s brush work is amazing. Lande’s comping is excellent, whether he provides direct harmonic support, answers solo statements, or provides antecedent statements. Miles’s solo begins in the upper register and descends into a playful skirmish before settling in at the bridge. A double time hint by Carr sends Miles into a final flurry of activity before he settles his solo. Lande follows by beginning his solo with some dissonant block chords before moving into single line question and answer statements. This falls briefly back to a chordal statement, followed by just a glimmer of swing before Miles is back in at the bridge to play out the melody.
“Pithecanthropus Erectus” is a Charles Mingus tune. The band lays down some heavy harmonic pads from which they can contrast further playing. This is a hard swinging tour de force take on this this tune with spirited solos by Hess, Lande, and Miles. Bruno Carr and Ken Walker are holding down the groove solidly while Lande hammers out chords. Hess takes a feisty solo which falls way to a free horn duet after which the tempo ratchets up quite a bit. Lande then churns out a technically commanding and harmonically explorative solo that eventually reinstates the original tempo and groove. Miles then begins his solo calmly but works it to a raging storm. The band then plays the melody out.
The final track on the record is “Our Time” by Fred Hess. It is a spritely, upbeat, technical number. Fred Hess is playing flute, Ron Miles is playing muted trumpet, and Bruno Carr once again shows off his masterful brush work. Ron Miles takes a couple of excellent spins thru the challenging changes and then he is joined by Fred Hess for an interlude, after which Hess speeds into a solo of his own. Ken Walker then takes a solo and shows why he is known as one of the top bassists around. He nimbly executes a solo over the challenging changes before Lande takes a quick chorus. Then we have a round of trading bars of four between Miles, Carr, and Lande. After this the interlude is cued and the melody is played out.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy this CD is to pick a particular player and listen to how they choose to interact with the ensemble. I think each one of the players has an exceptional ability to generate and stay true to an idea, or conversely, support another band member’s idea. All of the playing seems in service to the music. One of my regrets is that I didn’t see this band around this time, I’m not sure if I knew of Ron Miles then. Then again all these gentlemen, with the exception of Bruno Carr who passed away in 1993, can be seen in and around Denver. If you don’t have or know of this CD I’d Love To Turn You On to it - and go see so these guys live! You won’t regret it! In addition, please check some of Ron Miles’s other works. His original compositions are truly great and he has many more records to enjoy.

-         Doug Anderson