"Music is the healing force of the universe" said pioneer jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler. Music is a spiritual force for communication, maintains keyboardist Herbie Hancock in our featured interview inside. Music can be a political tool for raising consciousness, says black poet and vocalist Gil Scott-Heron on the centerfold of this issue of the SUN.
Music is also big business, as can be seen in the workings of the major record companies which determine what kind of culture we have access to on disc, and the radio stations which commercially decide what we get to hear.
Music is the focus of this issue of the SUN. We look inside at new books on the growth of Columbia and Atlantic records, include an extra load of record reviews, 2 feature interviews and two differing views on the controversial Roxy Music. We have attempted to treat our subject seriously, and hopefully go beyond the usual shallowness of the pop world to provide coverage of some value.
On other fronts, this larger than usual SUN continues our coverage of the upcoming Ann Arbor city election. In only three weeks, on April 7, the Republican majority currently strangle-holding City Council can be sent back to the Barton Hills golf course for good. This time we interview HRP Mayoral candidate Carol Ernst, who is running not so much to win (she can't) but to bring up radical issues in the campaign. If the new Preferential Voting system is utilized properly, even those committed to voting for Carol first can make a second choice for Democrat Wheeler, thereby avoiding a vote-split which would keep the Repubs in power.
The United States is about to lose its hold on the resources of Cambodia once and for all, as liberation forces encircle and prepare to take Phnom Penh. At the same time, Vietnamese fighters are stepping up their effort to finally pull the rug out from under the corrupt Thieu regime. The US, which in the past would have rushed in with troops to protect the empire, has its hands tied by Congress and the public. Media distortion and confusion on Southeast Asia continues, however. Notice that you never see any visualization of or interviews with the other side.
Media distortion also plagues the most volatile world situation, the Middle East conflict. With a lack of readily available and reliable information, emotional confusion reigns on the subject. In Ann Arbor this week a group of pro-Palestinians were forcibly removed from a University building after making it impossible for the President of Israel to speak. Protest, yes, disrupt -- perhaps, but these days such confrontations tend to block the communication of pro-Palestinian views. What is needed is coherence and the projection of a responsible alternate point of view. We think the protestors should have let the man speak after vocally making their point.
The boiler at Ozone House/Drug Help exploded this week, causing a bad fire after people from the local oil company left their lube job all over the floor... Here at the SUN we were without heat for a week after our own boiler just stopped working in the dead of winter. As a result, certain features intended for this issue had to be held, or the paper would have been longer. In the weeks to come we are planning interviews with LaBelle, Francés Lappè of "Diet for a Small Planet" and Congressman Ronald Dellums. Look also for a SUN series on the history of the music scene in Ann Arbor. The very next issue will be devoted largely to the city election, with overviews of the candidates and the ballot issues... Our apologies for the absence of Gary Kell's "Oatmeal Man" cartoon strip. Be back with it March 28... We want your letters and comments as always... Don't forget the Hash Bash on the Diag April 1st.
Oftentimes Ann Arbor's most interesting and creative radio station, offering a decent variety of styles and sounds, WCBN-FM returns to its original spot of 89.5 on your FM dial this week after a brief stint at 88.3. CBN features some of the best rhythm and blues and jazz programming in the United States at times, and that's no jive.