kitty brazelton bandleader DADADAH cd










reviewspen to paper




songsong notes


original CD liner notes by Howard Mandel

The illusion of love---vivid as a hallucination, destructive as a spurned queen or a cold president---fires up how many wars in the world, how great the terrors of the heart? Plain song soothes but won't dispell it. To break an illusion's hold you force yourself to call it by name. Walk away, slam the door, and know that looking back will turn you to salt, stone, or something even worse.

Goin' to the go-go (please, Please, PLEASE!) remain an option, so soul horns can slip empowering riffs under Ars Nova sources and help everyone trip to the harp and the cello, the explosive guitar, the lay-it-down bass and that in-the-pocket drummer's thang. Go on, get backÉNo, really. Even the dashing, tactful, seductive cleric, that prodigious tunesmith and 14th century spiritual son of the trouvere Guillaume de Machaut---himself!---would approve, we believe.

Through all, Kitty's voice seeks an answer. Over and over: her coos, her roars, her power-pop mezzo, her microtonal whisper, her siren scream, her sprechstimme hysteria needs no processing but the live inspiration of the band she's nurtured like a muther to arrive at the conclusive statement. Looky here, that's no illusion. It's the baby, now.

RISE UP! baby and godzilla

Crawling through a mine field, over barbed wire, across the parched desert, to the gates of a city quite besieged by monsters. But the innocent are without fear. And consider the size and scope of that baby---wond'rous and miracle! All but unbelievable! At once both so scary and heartening! Its very cry seems enough to clear the air.

the baby who scared godzillaSee, that baby will be furious if it doesn't find its dadadah in the caves of logic and/or the dens of devotion. Down by the river it will come for us next. And trust its perfect toes to carry it across.

More doubts may be raised by the primacy of private poetry, but here's the bottom line: You gotta rise up. ItŐs the only way. In that end is a beginning. Play on. I pray thee, la-di-dadadah. Time's come to comprovise.

DADADAH in the roundYet, truth to tell, there's more than one story. You'd have to ask Chris and Danny and Tom---the ethno-musicologist salsero, the fly boy Prince Jamile, and the upright but not uptight composer and hornist---for their variations. Same with Elizabeth (Have Harp, Will Travel) Panzer, the effervescent Mary Wooten, stalwart Hui the Coxman, Ed "Holy Grail" Broms and Jim rhythm-of-real-music Pugliese. In fact, there are more than nine visions of the naked ditties here enscribed, what with Tracy, Eunice and Chris Tso having been so involved, not to mention the rest of the extended family.

But lo and behold, fanfares, textures and vignettes, the baby's just fine. She walks, she talks, she sings, dances, grows and is not deterred by those little green lizards that demonized ma and pa but fled before her chubby hand. This baby, perhaps no longer entirely innocent, does not retreat from the unknown. This baby embraces dissonances, polyrhythms and a little smart plundering to serve the greater purposes of musical expression. A good intuitive impulse, we agree, anticipating a second edition (at least further developments) and joining in cheer without compunction: DADADAH!

---Howard Mandel

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© 2001, Catherine Bowles Brazelton.