Dr. Drew's Infrequent Blog

25 March 2006

Spring Break: Day 1/ SAITO Tetsu

Friday was the start of Spring Break for me. For faculty that means time to catch up with grading, and even time for research. I did both today, from the vantage point of the Pacific Palace Tea Garden in Ala Moana. It was a good day to be covered from the rain, but also somewhat out in the open. This place is now the only café to have Assam Tea -- my favorite. It is also usually has wireless, which is an added benefit. I felt good about reading several good student papers, and also finishing an article.

Contrabassists Concert

All work and no play does help with tenure, but would drive me insane, so I went at night to hear jazz contrabassists Testu Saitoh and Nobuyoshi Ino in concert at the Doris Duke Theatre. It is part of the 4th Biennial Hawaii Contrabass Festival. To be honest, I was in the mood for something straight ahead jazz a la Mingus, rather than something free and avant-garde. Alas, the music was quite free, but I came to love it almost immediately. My favorite piece was called “Ombak Hitak Ryukyu,” which started with them imitating the sound of waves on the bass, and later including part of an Okinawan folk song. Except for one funked-out Astor Piazzola piece, the rest of their pieces were Saitoh originals. His sound is something like an eclectic mélange of worldmusic, Pendercki, Cage, Late Mingus, Pärt, Glass, etc. It worked very well. I was pleased that most of the audience stayed, as this kind of sound usually empties Honolulu crowds. Alas, now it is time to go back to work (well, maybe after ramen).

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