Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thursday, February 01, 2007

When Molly Ivins's column didn't run a week ago Monday, and the note didn't say "Vacation" or "Out sick" but starkly, "Molly Ivins did not file a column today," I felt an immediate sense of foreboding, which was borne out all-too-soon.

Her warm, caustic, friendly voice was part of the texture of my life, something I looked forward to reading Mondays, the day one of the Seattle dailies carried her. Immediate sorrow when I saw that she had died. Condolences to her friends and family.

* * *

Alice Coltrane's music was never part of my routinized weekly life, but I have loved it for more than 20 years, ever since I got her husband John's magnficent Live at the Village Vanguard Again! A 2-record compilation of her own stuff followed, all of it post-dating his death, all of it rich and beautiful.

Her rhythmically free modal jazz with string section accompaniment is my favorite "jazz with strings," with the possible exception of Ornette Coleman's movie soundtrack collaboration with Howard Shore. Unlike earlier jazz employers of studio violinists, Coltrane wasn't looking to strings for the prestigious whiff of Europe. She had a specific sound in mind. She had the touch to bring it out. Belated condolences to her family and friends.

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