HIGHLY RECOMMENDED W/ DANIEL FORDHAM from FIGHTING KITES
#1 - WHAT IS THE ONE ALBUM (OR EP OR SONG) THAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE THE VERY NEXT MUSICAL THING THAT EVERYONE PRESSES PLAY ON THE NEXT TIME THEY FIND THEMSELVES THINKING “WHAT SHOULD I LISTEN TO NOW”?
I am slightly obsessed with solo saxophone albums (wait, come back!), so it’s going to be one of them. So many great options to choose from, not least those by Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy and Evan Parker, against which probably we must judge all the others. But everyone knows them already, right? (Just in case: start with Evan Parker’s Lines Burnt In Light and never think about music in the same way again.) Having ruled those out, I was thinking about David Liebman’s mid-80s multitracked soprano saxophone concept album (no, really, wait, come back!) The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner. But maybe that’s a bit austere for your entry point to the world of solitary sax honkers.
So in the end I’ve decided to go with Hamiet Bluiett’s Birthright: A Solo Blues Concert. Because it’s a bit more fun - everyone loves unaccompanied baritone saxophone improvisation, don’t they? - and if you managed to keep reading this far I think you’ve earned it.
Hamiet Bluiett played with Mingus in the 70s but is probably the best known for his work with the World Saxophone Quartet. He was one of the giants of a giant instrument, and he died last year, and I’m sad I never got to hear him live.
#2 - WHAT IS THE ONE MOVIE OR TV SHOW THAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE NEXT IN EVERYBODY’S NETFLIX QUEUE (OK, DOESN’T HAVE TO BE NETFLIX, WE’RE ALL INTERNET ADULTS HERE AND KNOW HOW TO FIND ANYTHING ONLINE, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER)?
I was going to recommend The Conversation, which is what I tell people is my favourite film on the vanishingly rare occasions that they ask.
And it is a great film that you should see if you haven’t already (and watch again if you have): it’s a highly atmospheric slice of mid-70s paranoia, with a great, understated performance from Gene Hackman. And it’s all about sound (sort of), which seems appropriate here.
But then my wife reminded me that the less cool but probably more honest answer is: West Side Story. I love everything about it. It looks great (that opening overhead shot! those Jerome Robbins dance sequences!), the music is great (lots of interesting stuff going on, but no shortage of tunes to keep your gran - and me - happy), and anyone who’s not weeping when they watch the final scene is probably not capable of feeling emotion.
It never ceases to amaze me that a film which offers a pretty savage critique of class and race in the US also managed to be a massive box office hit. In 1961! Well done Lenny Bernstein.
#3. I (AND BY “I” I MEAN “THE PERSON THAT IS READING THIS”) AM GOING TO THE BOOK STORE (OK, PROBABLY AMAZON) TO FIND THE VERY NEXT BOOK THAT I WILL BE PUTTING SOME EXTREMELY VALUABLE ‘ME-TIME' ASIDE FOR. WHICH BOOK WOULD YOU GET, IF YOU WERE ME (AND, I SUPPOSE, YOU HADN’T ALREADY READ WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO SUGGEST)?
I’m going to pass on a recommendation from my great pal and former Fighting Kites colleague David Stewart: The Word for World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin. I hadn’t really read much science fiction since I was a kid, and asked him for suggestions: this is what he came up with. It’s set on a planet where colonists from Earth (“Terrans”) have enslaved the native population; the Terrans’ brutality eventually provokes a violent uprising from the previously completely peaceful natives. In the end (spoiler) they succeed in getting rid of the Terrans, but by then they’ve acquired the capacity for violence.
I’m making it sound very worthy, but you should read it anyway. Of course as with all the best genre stuff, it doesn’t really matter in the end that it’s sci fi - it’s just a great book.
#4 - WHAT IS THE ONE WEBSITE (OR JUST ANY OLD INTERNET THING: APP, GIF, SERVICE, WHATEVER) THAT YOU WOULD GET REALLY DOWN IN THE DUMPS ABOUT IF IT WERE TO SUDDENLY GO AWAY?
Boring but true: The Guardian. I look at it every day. On a good day when I’m not staring at my phone too much, it might be the *only* internet thing I look at. (This almost never happens.)
This is where I get my news from, and I suggest you do the same.
#5 - AND FINALLY… PLEASE GIVE ONE COMPLETELY UNAIDED RECOMMENDATION THAT YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD START DOING / USING / WATCHING / EATING / THINKING / QUITtING / ETC-ING TO MAKE THEIR LIVES A LITTLE BIT MORE BETTER AND/OR BEARABLE.
Quit your job. Move to Wales. Buy a soprano saxophone.
(Fighting Kites shall not be held responsible for any loss, damage or expense incurred as a consequence of you following this recommendation.)
OK folks, there you have it. Things that Daniel Fordham from Fighting Kites thinks you should consider incorporating into your day/life. Before you log off and go take your new saxophone over to Wales to relaunch your life, make sure to follow Fighting Kites on the Facebook / Twitter and then also give ‘Bowling Alone’ a listen below…