R.I.P.: So Ki Wong

My mother-in-law, my Fourth and final Ma, who had the most harrowing and dramatic life story of all, is gone at 94. As a fervent Buddhist and believer in great souls, I am sure she is a wonderful newborn somewhere in this universe, ready to enrich all and everything around her.

Quite a Day

Isn’t all the time that you get four firemen, a policeman and two ambulance drivers in the same house with you. No, it wasn’t our house. And no, no more details.

But yowsah, are the drinks needed tonight. Go ahead, Old Dad Winter, snow is apropos.

Best of Jazz 2019

(This is the CD-soundtrack list, not the NPR ballot.)


  1. Ran Blake/Jeanne Lee, “Where Flamingos Fly”
  2. Nerija, “Nascence”
  3. DSC, “Monk’s Mood”
  4. The Comet Is Coming, “Super Zodiac”
  5. Bill Frisell, “There in a Dream”
  6. Tomeka Reid Quartet, “RN”
  7. Hiromi, “Blackbird”
  8. Marcos Silva, “Dry Land”
  9. Miho Hazama, “Dancer in Nowhere”
  10. Ran Blake/Claire Ritter, “Eclipse Orange”
  11. Dave Torn/Tim Berne/Chris Smith, “Spartan, Before It Hit”

R&R Hall of Fame 2019

Already Tweeted how I was pleased about the inclusion of T. Rex (Bang a Gong!). And I understand, without specifics, that Mr. Zevon is on Mr. Wenner’s personal shitlist and that holds him back.

But I do have to add that having some (instructive) fun with a college class of art-critic students right after I got my ballot last year, I asked them what was the band on the Hall of Fame nominee list that none of them knew anything about. Answer: MC5.

Stuff in the Air That Came Out of Speakers Today #73: Burial, “Tunes 2011-2019”

This is the music that fits my current mood. You know the drill: tunes perfectly incarnate the titles, without any words. (Well, at least singing that’s more sound than lyrics.)

“Beach Fires”

“Young Death”


“Rival Dealer”


“Rough Sleeper”


“Street Halo”

“Stolen Dog”



Cyberfreakiness 2020

So, here we were preparing for a grueling, six-hour session installing the required Microsoft 10. Our pro help checked the settings, and WHAAAA??  The old Dell said 10 had been installed in the middle of last August!

“You would have had to give it permission …”

All I could conclude is that back in the hot-‘n’-stickys I got asked something banal like “Do you want Microsoft updated?” and I said yes and forgot all about it.

Anyway, that part of the tech update was a super-swisher.

The Air Is Still And The Light Is Cool #34

Manu Dibango, Soul Makossa (Atlantic LP, 1972).

What most amazes me about Manu Dibango is that he’s such an effortless shape-shifter. Whatever spin he puts on a number (there’s what, 47,000 versions of “Soul Makossa”?) you hear him in there, in the engine room, arranging the gears and chords and solo sequences.

I fell in love with this vinyl item playing it for retail audiences in the Rishshashay in Missoula MT around 1974-75. The tracks were cleverly constructed to echo the ’70s soul-funk on Atlantic at the time. The first side slides in with what I regard as a lost masterpiece, “New Bell,” which tickles the ears and lifts the feet with a combination of soul and psyche you never heard before.

I would watch customers groove along and nod with pleasure as the second side began with a mild-energy number “Dangwa,” went all the way into a ballad with “Lily” and then — whammo! — “Soul Makossa.” If you couldn’t hear this was a guaranteed international hit, you had sold your ears to the pawn shop.

Dibango and Fela were the ones who prompted the most people to come up and ask “Who is this?”

My recommendation for established Dibango converts is the Brit compilation Afro-Soul Machine (Metro Select 2011), which includes my favorite title: “Blowin’ Western Mind.”