Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Music: Bucky Pizzarelli & Benny Green

The world’s greatest living jazz guitarist and the gifted hard bop pianist kicked off a brief West Coast tour with a long, extraordinary set at Seattle’s Jazz Alley on Tuesday night. Bucky is 83 years old – eighty-three! – and still throwing heat; I’m fairly certain I saw smoke pouring off his guitar neck at one point. He soloed on one of my favorite standards, “This Nearly Was Mine” from South Pacific, conveying every ounce of acceptance and regret in the song without any of the lyrics. And Benny’s got chops to spare as well. The two men’s styles complement each other beautifully, their joy at performing together contagious.

To top it off, Bucky offered me his hand as he walked offstage following the encore. Rosemarie shook the other one, then turned to me and said, “I got the one that does all the fretwork.” Bucky also thanked us, which is officially the most absurd thing that has ever happened to me.

Bucky and Benny have another show at Jazz Alley tonight, then hit California and B.C. over the next several days. See them if at all possible.

DVD: Detective Bureau 2-3: Go To Hell, Bastards! (1963)

So we’re in agreement. This is the greatest movie title ever, right?

This Seijun Suzuki film may lack the formal rigor of Tokyo Drifter, but makes up for it with sheer unadulterated goofiness. Two rival yakuza gangs find themselves victimized by a third that favors ascots. Jo Shishido, who may be a private eye but is almost certainly storing nuts for the winter in his cheeks, cons his way inside this third group to bring them down.

I think. I’m still not sure why the Japanese police trust Shishido so completely, or if the people who share his office actually work for him or are only subletting the space. But I enjoyed the movie tremendously. Especially the musical numbers. Think of it as a live action manga adaptation of a Black Mask story. (There, Kino Video! I dare you to slap that quote on the DVD box!)

Once my ship finally comes in, I will spare no expense to recreate the Christmas party from this movie. And on that grand day, brothers and sisters, you will all be invited.