Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-04-02 - 7:11 a.m.

The contract seems to be in the bag. I celebrated by going out to supper with Paul Bell. I listened to NYC0303 all the way through and decided it could probablt stand on its own two feet.

I kept on pulling some of the threads from yesterday and ended up with a string band player called Howard Armstrong born in Dayton Tn in 1909.He made his first recordings in Knoxville in 1930 and then went via Chicago to Detroit. In Chicago he associated with Big Bill Broonzy, Tampa Red and Memphis Minnie. He is perhaps the last of the original string band players

He played violin and made at least one recording with his son Ralphe – who recorded famously with John Maclaughlin and Jean Luc-Ponty in the 1970s. Ralphe was encouraged by Ron Carter to make bass playing his career and was only 17 when he joined the Mahavishnu Orchestra. After the international jazzrock life, he stayed in Detroit in the 80s to raise a family but at the end of the decade started playing with Earl Klugh – who also comes from Detroit - and he then went onto to work with Detroit jazz pianist Geri Allen – one of a line of distinguished female piano players from the city including Alice Coltrane.

I started to look up all of this because when I was jamming with Robert Lowe the bassplayer said he had toured a lot with Earl Klugh – indeed I had jammed with the same bassplayer in a piano trio a year before. Apparently Armstrong is included on the DVD version of Standing In the Shadows of Motown. So it’s a good excuse to get the DVD to see if by any chance it’s the same person – I guess that must count as a long shot.

Anyway Lowe and Armstrong both play on Naima Shamborguer’s jazz vocal CD made in the Detroit area and released last year. I played the Robert Lowe tracks from the URL that I posted yesterday again. I really like that style – and you can imagine how easy it is to groove with. Its almost smooth jazz but with rough edges.

In chasing around the net after all these clues I came across a list 300 reasons why Detroit has a great musical history. Ralphe and Howard Armstrong both appear near the beginning. Destroy All Monsters appear at no 64. Earl Klugh is 150. They put Patti Smith in at 242 but not Sonic Smith which I think must simply be an error. The final entry is the jazz flutist Alexander Zonjic who I will have to look into.

Paul and I discussed being rooted in the 60s and decided that soddit was the best attitude all things considered. I explained to Paul about BEAST music and he sounded very interested - the same reaction as Lawrence (whose call I missed).

I found some interesting research on the relationship between assessment and the motivation/intention to learn. Keith (Beefheart interview) Jordan and I talked about the way some of that works on the Cambridge Manufacturing Leaders course. Paul W mailed to say that he too had been thinking along similar lines to one of the gurus there.

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