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Profile for Ian Muldoon > Reviews

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Content by Ian Muldoon
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Reviews Written by
Ian Muldoon (Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia)

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Close Range: Wyoming Stories
Close Range: Wyoming Stories
by Annie Proulx
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.83
100 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Magic at work here in the truth and lies of "the West"., Aug. 14 2003
Brothers Grimm dealt in folklore, myth and truth using language that confronted, that did not hide, say, an act of cannibalism, and revealed in their stories some of our fears, hopes and dreams. Ms Proulx has, in CLOSE RANGE, created a language that reflects the nature of the characters who inhabit this landscape, a language which is cryptic, dense, and evocative and does not hide, say, an act of love between two men. The language is a triumph, sweeping the reader along in its power, immersing the reader in the world of the rancher, cowhand, rodeo riders and sheepherders, their search for love, for money, their recognition of meaning through their work, in a landscape more of a hell than an El Dorado. She can sum a character up in a sentence and there is more than a little humour in the hundreds of proper nouns which sparkle and colour her stories - people like Car, Skipper, Cake, Freeze, Hulse, Haul, and Wrench; places like Brokeback, Fiddle and Bow, Slope, Casper. Vivid characterisations - Mrs Freeze and Ottaline are especially memorable but so are Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar. Issues such as the transformation of the west through tourism and corporate ownership make the stories resonate and the metaphor of the lumbering Cadillac slumping off into a ditch at night in the snow in minus 10 degrees weather may say more about modern man and nature than the collected works of many others.
There is magic at work here, no less than there is in the works of Brothers Grimm, but there's much more too.

Do the Right Thing (Widescreen)
Do the Right Thing (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Danny Aiello
Price: CDN$ 42.99
24 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars May be one of the top ten American films ever, July 9 2003
"Race" may not be a film category but as a subject it has it's slot on Amazon and it has played a central role in USA film since USA film began just as race has and does in the history anbd psyche of the USA.
GLORY, THE SEARCHERS are just some that spring to mind, which have race as a central issue, or drive the action. Now, nearly 20 years since its first release, DO THE RIGHT THING looms as one of the great American films of all time with race as a central issue. I've seen it at least 20 times and have concluded it is pretty well faultless, with perhaps some shift in tone in the last 10 minutes redeemed by the strange confrontation about money,and then reconciliation between Sal and Mooky. Just consider one tiny scene when Ossie Davis (as da Mayor) opens his first can of beer for the very hot day ahead, and has
an interchange with "Mother Sister" who looks down on him from the window of her stoop window. The moment begins with the music of Banford Marsalis in the form of an arco bass quickly filling the ears with sweet yearning, with the music slowly building throughout the scene. Ossie Davis gives one of his exhilarating "philosophical" orations at this point, not too long, but TO the point. In brief, the film is all of a piece. There is no part in it - including the powerful to-camera racist recitatives and the stunning performance by Mr Samuel L. Jackson as the DJ - that is less than significant or relevant. It sings with a humanity and soul. One of the best American films of all time.,

A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel
A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.34
45 used & new from CDN$ 9.16

4.0 out of 5 stars Woody Allen and Savador Dali meet Samuel Beckett, maybe., June 28 2003
I like this book very much because I couldn't help identifying with the central character who reminds me in some ways of Woody Allen's screen persona - a nerdish type loser of no particular physical attraction who has a way with words and who usually gets a very attractive woman to sleep with, though he spends most of his time rueing what he HASN'T got and is continually in search of that SOMETHING. This novel is about a quest. About dreams. And finally, about the realisation that life is about bugger all, so you'd better enjoy that friendship, that meal, that lovemaking, that scene, that memory, and relax a bit and have a laugh. There are laughs aplenty in this sly book, many of the laughs are in the details such as the scene where a very damaged black moggy cat sitting on the front seat of a distinguished limousine causes the Chauffer to lower the windows from time to time on account of the deletirious odour the cat emits from time to time in the form of brief but audible farts.
And I suppose, in our life we don't wander around the shopping mall thinking "themes" or "great and noble thoughts" but more like " Why does that woman get into the 8 item express lane when she clearly has 11 items?" Incidentally, the novel is also a very likeable and satisfying read.

Desperate Characters
Desperate Characters
by Paula Fox
Edition: Paperback
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Suspense, atmosphere, clarity and power, June 17 2003
This review is from: Desperate Characters (Paperback)
Although a short work, this novel grips the reader from the beginning because of the powerful characterisation and the Chekhovian clarity of expression and honesty of description. Class differences, racism, envy, pride, jealousy, and most of all, a free floating anxiety pervades the rich atmosphere. The final image of black ink dripping down a wall immediately following an embrace by the two main characters who realise they have each other and not much besides to combat a hostile world, is strangely vivid and memorable. The city is animal like, and the innocent lonely and hungry cat attains an almost Poe like horribleness by the end of the story. Brilliant stuff and an absorbing read.

Price: CDN$ 25.39
24 used & new from CDN$ 11.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Equal measure piano/bass/drums stunningly recorded, May 26 2003
This review is from: Amaryllis (Audio CD)
Stunningly recorded music of two elder statesmen of the jazz piano trio, complemented by a younger lioness with an immaculate pedigree of association with Mr Anthony Braxton et al. Ms Crispell usually has a percusssive approach to the instrument but here her touch brings out the lyrical side of her mastery, as well as her impeccable control of space. If anything, and even though this a democratic meeting of equals, I have to say Mr Peacock has never sounded so ravishing. There are four tracks devoted to "free" playing and eight "composed" one by Mitchell Weiss called Prayer. The clarity of every instrument on this recording is amazing, the piano sings, the drums are crisp but not dry, and the bass full and clear. There seems to be no barrier between the music and the listener. Musically and technically a very satisfying CD of contemporary improvised chamber music. Likely to remain a friend for a long time.

Genius Of The Electric Guitar
Genius Of The Electric Guitar
Offered by USA_Seller_4_Canada
Price: CDN$ 151.36
2 used & new from CDN$ 98.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Enough joyful swing to bring tears to your eyes, May 17 2003
That these records feature Charlie Christian may not be the most important reason for acquiring them. That they represent a high point in capturing a few hours in the most important musical development in the 20th century (jazz) probably is. Getting the feel of live performance in the studio is nororiously difficult. It is managed here. The actual sound quality is superb, and consistently so throughout these four discs. The music represents a high point in the recording of jazz. The participants represent some of the greatest past master bands - Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie - and point to the future in Lester Young and Charlie Christian. Morevover some of the musicians are legends on their instruments - particular note must be made of Cootie Williams, Lionel Hampton, Benny Carter, Harry James, Gene Krupa, Dave Tough, Jack Teagarden, and of course Mr Goodman himself. It was a felicitous set of circumstances which led to this music. There was youth of course, foresight and generosity on Mr Goodman's part, love, innovation and experimentation, and a common dedication. Very important was the inspiration that great musicians provide to each other, how they lift each other. Nor should it be forgotten how Mr Goodman broke down racial barriers when it took real courage to do so. Respect for him from all musicians must be a factor in this music before you.It is worthwhile to listen to this music once just focussing on Mr Hampton. Again focussing on Mr Christian. Again focussing on Mr Goodman. But take AS LONG AS YOU LIVE as an instance, on CD 2 Track 11. It begins with the chalumeau repetition of one note by the leader and an opening solo by Mr Basie on piano followed by Cootie Williams providing a sweetly muted solo on trumpet. There is a brief interlude by Mr Christian on guitar then a solo by Georgie Auld on tenor. The solo by Mr Goodman which follows is enough to bring tears to you eyes in its sweetness and light. The piece closes with chalumeau figure repeated. A lovely performance. This is followed by BENNY'S BUGLE which grooves beyond belief - democratically it is Mr Auld's moment to provide the main solo. This is a feature of all this music - no one musician hogs the limelight. It is never just a feature for one or the other. This is part of the genius of Mr Goodman. On his instrument, in this music, he has no parallel. Sometimes he gets so fiery he heads into the territory of Edmond Hall, other times his clarinet just smiles. Although I have favourites of Mr Goodman's such as the trio playing for THE FLETCHER HENDERSON FUND c1953, these four CD's featuring Mr Christian are now my favourite Goodman records. They are so rich in content, that I can only listen to perhaps half an hour at a time. Nor is there a moment on them I would delete, including false starts, and alternate takes. This is a case where rhythm(or swing) is given some of its most delightful moments in all music taking its rightful place alongside harmony and melody. Of all my music, these four CD's take there place among my favourites such as KIND OF BLUE, AT THE BLUE NOTE (Keith Jarrett), THE WILDFLOWER SESSIONS, MONK on RIVERSIDE, THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION (Coltrane).

Funny Games (Widescreen) [Import]
Funny Games (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Susanne Lothar
Offered by eplayplay
Price: CDN$ 40.05
7 used & new from CDN$ 15.51

5.0 out of 5 stars A cinematic masterpiece, March 16 2003
This makes most so-called "thrillers" seem like Walt Disney features.
Part of the unsettling genius of the director is the use of sound. The opening scene contrasts Mozart and John Zorn. Outstanding NON- USE of sound too. Touches, such as the wearing of white gloves by the duo, are brilliant. Must be seen uninterrupted from the very beginning.The casting is faultless. Moral? Evil resides in the ordinary. Be alert to it!

Change Of Time
Change Of Time
Offered by templegroove
Price: CDN$ 16.91
4 used & new from CDN$ 16.91

5.0 out of 5 stars May come to be seen as a classic of jazz (improvised music)., Feb. 9 2003
This review is from: Change Of Time (Audio CD)
This program of music achieves the perfect balance between individual expression and the constraints of form. There is always in jazz, as in life, a tension between the desire to express individuality and the constraints imposed by form (like marriage!) and the need to connect with another, in music's case, the listener. In jazz, we find a solo by Mr Barney Bigard of immense invention, power and passion expressed in a minute, as we do in a solo by Mr Charles Parker expressed in three. But then we hear Mr Coltrane and 20 choruses of My Favourite Things ( cf, 23.55m on LIVE TRANE Volume 3 of the EUROPEAN TOURS on Pablo). The ability of Mr Coltrane to hold our interest attests to his genius and his willingness to explore other forms, such as the raga. Because such qualities are rare in any artist , musicians submit themselves to the arrangements or writing which constrains individuality but does not eliminate it, indeed may place upon the artist a discipline that concentrates thinking and produces work all the more striking. Humility plays a part in this, the submission of one's ego to the work itself. I'm sure some of Mr Johnny Coles' greatest work was within the writing of Mr Gil Evans. And Mr Edward Ellington created a brilliant sound stage of arrangements and compositions within the added discipline of three minutes, in which some of the music's greatest talents expressed themselves.
On CHANGE OF TIME three artists - Mr Russ Lossing, pianist, Mr Adam Kolker, reeds, and Mr John Hebert, bass - limit themselves mainly to pieces between two and five minutes. Nine pieces are inspired by the music of Bartok and six are by the musicians themselves. In each work the musicians have something to say, say it (with intelligence, passion and conviction) and then depart. The work is the thing.
For example SYMMETRICS (1) inspired by a Bartok work has a hestitant, searching quality but also exemplifies the sheer beauty of sound of piano (cf, Bill Evans piano work on DETOUR AHEAD Volume 6 of The Complete Riverside Bill Evans) and bass clarinet. Again, the piano under Mr Lossing, the richest of all instruments, is an interesting focus for the musicianship evident by this trio - sometimes he makes the piano sound bell like, sometimes intensely melodic, and sometimes he explores its percussive possibilities but always he shows a highly developed appreciation of its sound with a masterly touch and sure sense of structure. Indeed, the glory of the sound is noteworthy on this CD. All musicians here relish the beauty of the sound of their instruments and much of the sensual pleasure of this programme comes from the beauty of sound of the instruments - just note the duo between bass and bass clarinet on track 13. From the very opening and the barely audible sound of a piano's string being apparently stroked and the exploratory notes of the bass this music grips. Full credit to engineer artist Jon Rosenberg. Especially relevant to owners of quality high fidelity equipment. This is music to live with for life.

1965-1968  Comp Columbia Studi
1965-1968 Comp Columbia Studi
Offered by USA_Seller_4_Canada
Price: CDN$ 204.70
3 used & new from CDN$ 90.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cannot replace the iconic value of the originals, Jan. 4 2003
As in most things, personal taste is crucial. If you are coming to Miles Davis for the first time, this is an expensive way to do it. If you are coming to him after a lifetime of listening, then the original recordings, with their original sequence of tracks, remain irreplaceable. Additionally, the later work of this band is less to my taste than the work on ESP.

1940-1950 Yes Indeed!
1940-1950 Yes Indeed!
Offered by USA_Seller_4_Canada
Price: CDN$ 112.31
5 used & new from CDN$ 41.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Combination of great standards and fine singing, Jan. 4 2003
This review is from: 1940-1950 Yes Indeed! (Audio CD)
Although I understand those who appreciate the songs Ms Stafford made popular in the fifties, it is her singing of the great standards that I find immensely appealing - it is this combination that provides the reason this 4CD set is well worth the investment.
In the forties, the "cool" style of female singing reached its apex I believe, along with the domination of the strong female roles in cinema often in FILM NOIR. Such singers as Ms Christy and Ms O'Day kept a distance from the material, even adopting an ironic stance to the lyrics. This "distancing" had its own appeal, and its own sexiness, as we knew that she knew that we knew it's just a song. Although, Ms Stafford is not a stylist of the same level as either of those two singers, she too maintains a distance but has also a "sweeter" voice tinged with a touch of melancholy. But in such songs as AMOR, AMOR and THE TROLLEY SONG
the songs seem written for her. With so many great songs, this collection is a bargain.

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