Ivan Kral of the Patti Smith Group
composed the music for
Amos Poe's "The Foreigner."
Gildersleeves, the less tacky rock club on the Bowery, is showcasing new talent and happened to hit on a winner lately. Rochester group Witz dished out their own unique progressive rock to an appreciative audience, and in between original tunes surprised everyone with blistering Kinks covers. The band has two keyboard players and a John Oates ringer as a drummer, but their strength is their amazing ability with a hook, locomotive drive, and a rhythm section that is split-second tight. With those ingredients and their two excellent vocalists, Witz has more going for them than any ten ordinary rock bands put together.
Steve Khan and Maynard Ferguson raised the roof at Avery Fisher Hall recently. Guitarist Khan appeared with session honchos Don Grolnick (keyboards), Will Lee (bass), Mike Brecker (sax), and Steve Gadd (drums)--a combination too hot for words. If you don't recognize the individual names, just associate them with Phoebe Snow, Stuff, The Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn
Ferguson's trumpet hit some of the most stratospheric notes imaginable as he flashed his way through material from his Primal Scream and New Vintage LPs and some not-yet-released tunes. He got along so well with his audience that at one point he sent the musicians out into the crowd to play for a while—now that's a good rapport!
There's a heap of recording activity going on in the Big Apple. During the past month alone the Record Plant saw some excitement with Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, David Johansson, Rolling Thunder Review violinist Scarlet Rivera and Long Island's white-hot hope Trigger all cutting tracks. The Plant, by the way, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year (and they said rock & roll wouldn't last!).
P.S. What infamous quartet of mop-tops appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time 14 years ago February 9th? Hint: The Rolling Stones have always had five guys. Answer next month!
Last minute bulletins—another whopper snowstorm is besieging the Big Apple at this writing, but Robert Palmer's next Island LP is still due. Recorded partly in Philadelphia, the album features some backing tracks by Little Feat and vocals by Brian and Brenda Russell.