The new headquarters for the Ann Arbor School of Creative Music will be open and operating in about two weeks, at 120 1/2 W. Washington, upstairs from the Del Rio Bar. The School offers a unique opportunity for people interested in learning free blowing, improvised ensemble jazz music.
The new space includes practice and classrooms. a recording studio, and a video room for taping 'in Concert" type programs for placement on community access cablevision. Classes at the school stress jazz theory and composition, history, and group playing. The program costs a base $5 registration fee and then class costs are flexible between students and teachers. Scheduled jam sessions are open free for participation.
Faculty at the Creative School come from the better jazz bands around town, including Mixed Bag, Synergy, the Other Side, and what was once Okra. The group also plans to use the new space to promote and book jazz bands in the area. A great idea. . .
A special word of commendation is due here for the excellent acts that have been booked of late at the Savoy Room in the Shelby Hotel. Thanks largely to Lisa Gottlieb, who books the Savoy and formerly did the same at the late, lamented King Pleasure, Detroit has hosted the likes of Larry Coryell, Billy Cobham, Gil Scott-Heron, Sun Ra, Radio King and Tim Buckley recently , with more of such stature expected. Well worth the trip to Murder City. . .
Big Changes at WABX: Detroit's only free-form radio station now has a format, albeit a limited one. The jocks are instructed to play a certain number of hits and new tunes per hour. The format comes after management apparently got scared by personal excesses on the part of some dj's, which it was felt turned off a substantial chunk of the all-important audience. Hopefully the limited format won't interfere too extensively with ABX's trademark of creativity and variety, but only time will tell. Why couldn't they just reason with the jocks, or pick others with more taste and popular awareness, thereby avoiding a mechanistic format? It still sounds a lot better than the 103-W4-RIF axis much of the time. Dennis Frawley's show remains good, and ABX has recently hired 3 women disc jockies. Look for a detailed account of the radio scene in a future SUN.
Drugs, musicians and the law made the news in three major instances recently. First, U.S. Customs Agents confiscated the private jet of Jerry Lee Lewis after they found a stash of cocaine aboard the singer's plane . . . Then Linda McCartney was busted in Los Angeles for marijuana, after her car was stopped for running a red light. Arresting officers claim reefer was exuding from the car, which included Paul and their three children . . . And lastly, jazz singer Flora Purim recently broadcast a live concert from inside the Terminal Island Federal Penitentiary. Flora is an inmate in the prison, serving a sentence for possession of cocaine in 1971. Flora was voted number one female singer in Downbeat's Reader Poll last year . . . And if you really like gossip, take note that John and Yoko are back together, the dears.
New Releases: include the great Arista jazz series of Gato Barbieri, Cecil Taylor, Manon Brown, Charles Tolliver, Randy Weston, Roswell Rudd and others . . . David Bowie's new LP features soul music and a black back-up band . . . John McLaughlin's latest, entreatingly entitled Visions of the Emerald Beyond is aptly out there. Beautiful, searing guitar and violin work, but still a bit too preachy. A nicer trip than decadence though, to be sure . . . New LPs are out by Bob Marley and the Wailers and a re-release of old Jimi Hendrix unfinished takes . . . Alice Cooper's latest features the work of local musicians Johnny Bedanjek (ex-Rockets and Detroit Wheels), Steve Hunter (lead guitar for Detroit), and Dick Wagner (formerly of Frost).