War on Superbugs

Long overdue, really. Sad thing is, this is one of the broken-dreams of health care as it was presented in my youth. Some of the myths:

Antibiotics have made operations and hospital stays safe forever.

All important diseases are known. No new diseases will arise.

Treatment against aging will get better and better until eventually no one, no matter how elderly, will feel fragile and painfully enfeebled.

Relations between patients and doctors will become increasingly honest and intimate and not so wrapped up in money.

Understanding of healthy diets and nutrition will eventually be total and universal.

The cure for cancer is just around the corner. Well, the next corner. Well, hell, the one after that, then.

Free Sunshine, Free Jazz

Sounds out of speakers:

Milford Graves & Bill Laswell, Space/Time * Redemption (TUM) Very good for each other. Probably richest surprise jazz of 2015 so far.

Paul Motian, Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint & Soul Note Did not have two of these on vinyl. Didn’t know Enrico Pieranunzi/Paul Motian Flux and Change, even existed.

Nice essay on the future of free. (Certainly better than the article they ran 50 years ago denouncing the Beatles as lowbrow commercial garbage.)

Johnny Winter — Can’t Be Satisfied

For me, it’s simple: from the first time I heard his debut, Stevie Ray Vaughan was what Johnny Winter was always supposed to have been. Even so, I owe Winter one. Kinda. Out of town last year when he passed away and missed posting about it.

In my ignorance and isolation, I was an ordinary music consumer in high school. That changed instantly when I went to college and discovered people with big record collections. Winter was a key part in the process of sorting out what I was supposed to like versus what I actually did like. The Texan had gobs of guitar chops, but I found them more impressive than expressive and that was more than I could say for his black-bluesman-imitation vocals. I had sympathy, though — the guy had been overhyped and helped me understand how the music industry (as opposed to the talented critics) tried to tell the audience what to like. (Always included “the acts we spent a haystack of cash on.”) Winter becoming a junkie burn-out was almost part of his script. I always gave him credit for becoming a more humble and thoughtful performer once he got off the crazy-stardom train. The greatest thing he ever did was help Muddy Waters get the audience and the rewards he was due.

I always liked him. On and off over the years, played Still Alive and Well, Johnny Winter And Live, Second Winter, even Saints and Sinners and Guitar Slinger.

Which is all a warm-up to comment that I just listened to Johnny Winter: The Woodstock Experience and first off I was startled to be reminded it had been sitting around in the CD piles since 2009, which is a very uncommon amount of time, even for me. I did remember how much I disliked the cynical commercialism of the Woodstock Experience packages: coverage-by-calendar (and Woodstock is one of the most painfully memorialized events ever), forcing people to buy a studio album they probably already had to get the concert disc, and in the case of Winter, his Columbia debut LP didn’t even include extra tracks reissued before. Yeck.

I’m not going to say it was a crime this set remained in the can for 40 years, because Winter has lots of lively live out there. But it sure is a strong program, his voice lighter and more agile than it would become after many thousand more cigs, and sounded ideal on this brightwave afternoon when the air tries to finally become warm. Since he was little known outside of Texas, you can see why they went home raving and why Columbia was psyched. (Edgar Winter’s sax contributes, though his vocals are always a bit of a bringdown.)

R.I.P.