The world’s a mess; it’s in my kiss
1. Ayro (aka Jeremy Ellis): Live at the Omoa Music HD Invitational at Detroit Contemporary, DEMF weekend. The most soulful one-man performance I’ve ever seen in Detroit.
2. Roxy Music, “In Every Dream Home a Heartache,” at DTE Energy Music Theatre.
3. Mille Plateaux 10th Anniversary Party featuring Porter Ricks at the Anchorage, Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn, N.Y.
4. Seeing Matthew Herbert perform at Joe’s Pub in New York City, then walking down through Chinatown and into the financial district, eventually hanging off George Washington’s statue as the sun rose over Wall Street.
5. White Stripes at the DIA’s First Friday in the Rivera Court.
6. Mike Clark, Al Ester, Norm Talley, Delano Smith in one night at One-X.
7. Mike Huckaby, Michael Geiger anytime, anywhere.
8. Body & Soul featuring Joe Claussell, Danny Krivit and François K. at Club Vinyl in the summer in New York City during Gay Pride Weekend.
9. Carl Craig vs. Harry Bertoia at Cranbrook Art Museum: North meets South at 17 Mile Road.
10. Rediscovering Majesty Crush’s 1993 album, Love 15 (Dali Records). Michael Segal, please pick that guitar up. —Carleton S. Gholz
Music (and) Moments
De La Soul: AOI: Bionix —De La is my favorite hip-hop group of all time for a reason: They’re unabashedly intelligent and notoriously normal. The commercialism of Mosaic Thump obviously didn’t fit, so the group returned to its calling: genre-defying, groundbreaking music. The eclectic and unique Bionix is reminiscent of Buhloone Mind State, which many consider De La’s definitive work. I loved it.
Prince: The Rainbow Children —Prince has recorded one of the most focused albums of his career. These aren’t songs pulled from his vault of 500 unused tunes. This is message music with splashes of Purple Rain, Sign O’ the Times and Controversy. There’s also heavy jazz, twists of Santana and Pink Floyd. Through all these elements this, in the end, is Prince’s version of a gospel album. It speaks his truth to the powers of government, music and religion. It’s a beautiful joint.
The moment —When the sound crew at The African World Festival jerked my band, Black Bottom Collective, out of our slot, headliner Dianne Reeves heard about it. And she didn’t appreciate it. So what did she do? She brought me on stage to represent with her. Not only that, she herself sang the story of the evening’s events to the crowd. The whole set was improvisational bliss. My band didn’t get to perform, but she lifted us up. I went to bed that night able to say, “I performed with Dianne Reeves, in front of 3,000 people.” As for the stage crew, God bless them. —Khary Kimani Turner
Year of the independent woman
Some things never change: Britney’s still a slave 4 the patriarchy, rap(e)-rock continues to top “TRL” and guys keep penning lyrics such as D12’s “Shut your mouth you dirty slut / You know you want it in your butt.” Sexism was as prevalent as ever, but thankfully 2001 wasn’t totally devoid of feminist and women-positive musical messages that challenged the chauvinistic status quo. Destiny’s Child opened the year with “Independent Women Part I,” following it with a stepped-up sequel that urged women to “do unto men as they do unto you.” In the spring, amid sexist controversy surrounding her video depicting a female revenge fantasy, Madonna demanded that boys put themselves in a woman’s place for once. Elsewhere on the airwaves, Blu Cantrell, Eve and Missy Elliott got their female-powered freak on. In the underground, the feminist-queer label, Mr. Lady, celebrated its fifth anniversary, while Le Tigre, Bratmobile and Amy Ray rioted for the ladies and the fags. Meanwhile, Venus zine gave props and press to women musicians and Ladyfest fever spread to the Midwest, U.K. and beyond. Indeed, some things never change, but it’s comforting to know that despite the overwhelming opposition, there will always be women fighting the good feminist fight. —Jimmy Draper
The year in jazz
In 2001, Detroit’s jazz scene hung on by its fingernails. Thank the muses for Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, which again did splendidly well as the place to see boppin’ Detroit veterans and eat great soul food. Amazingly, Ann Arbor still boasts two full-time clubs, The Bird of Paradise and The Firefly, that haven’t killed each other off.
The rest of the scene remains scattered among stop-and-go gigs popping up at art galleries, coffeehouses and the occasional smoky bar. Avant fans now count on the Ann Arbor Edgefest and Kerrytown Concert Housefor their too-rare doses of The Latest.
Major highlights and accomplishments: James Carter threw (and Atlantic Records recorded) an all-week jazz party at Baker’s that included Aretha Franklin. Lars Bjorn and Jim Gallert published Before Motown, a terrific history of jazz in Detroit. Spencer Barefieldcranked up another top-quality jazz series at the Harlequin Café. Wendell Harrison continued to find funding for live broadcasts on WDET’s W. Kim Heron Program, pairing local cats with visiting stars.
Advice to experts eager to quibble with Ken Burns about “Jazz,” the PBS series that turned millions on to basic jazz history: Don’t be frettin’ ’bout termites when the damned house is on fire! —Jim Dulzo
The new grunge
Maybe that my house didn’t have a shower for the first half of 2001 had something to do with it, but most of my favorite music of the year also left me feeling pretty dirty. Offerings from the Piranhas, Black Dice, Lightning Bolt and xbxrx managed to further filthify noise-punk. Even electronic music got a dose of dirt with the trash tech of Viki and Wolf Eyes. While Adult.’s sound has almost an antiseptic breeziness to it, its live delivery last year was raw and punk to the core. And the Strokes and White Stripes sure are pretty to look at in pictures, but their 2001 tours left fans in a sloppy punk-rock heap of deserved hype. Not to mention the glorious mess that ensued after Detroit garage exploded domestically and across the Atlantic. Even Retsin and Gillian Welch rolled around in the rust and dust of traditional folk-country reimagined, dressing it down with drone. Other favorites: Tara Jane O’Neil’s In the Sun Lines, Alicia Keys’ Songs in A Minor, the Moldy Peaches’ The Moldy Peaches, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists’ The Tyranny of Distance, Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, Andrew W.K.’s I Get Wet (import), Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton. Highlights: The Godzuki reunion at the His Name is Alive holiday show, Saturday Looks Good To Me’s second debut at the Hamtramck Blowout, White Stripesat the DIA and monthly Motor City Funk parties at detroit contemporary.—Melissa GianniniE-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org