Jane Bunnett is a soprano saxophonist and flautist from Toronto who performs largely with Cuban musicians. She has been traveling there for about 30 years and has performed with all kinds of musicians. For this Tiny Desk and her current she is playing with the women from Cuba in a band called Maqueque (they won a Juno award last year).
And they sound great together. It’s interesting that Bunnett takes something of a back seat (or position anyhow) to singer Melvis Santa (who seems to mostly sing sounds (ah ah ahs, bop bop bah dah dahs, as opposed to words) . But when it’s time to shine, Bunnett is there to impress everyone with her skill.
Felix Contreras says “If you want to hear what Cuba sounds like today, then be sure to listen.”
“Little Feet” features Bunnett playing a cool solo on her sax and Santa singing notes along with her. But for this song Bunnett really wails. (she’s quite winded by the end).
Of the three songs, the ten minute “Maqueque” is my favorite. That’s in part because I don’t really like the sound of the soprano sax (she plays flute on this one) but also because the band membranes really get to show off their chops. It starts with a simple piano melody and pretty vocals. Then Bunnett plays the melody on the flute as Santa sings along. When Bunnett gets her solo on, you can hear her vocalising a bit as she plays the flute.
After the song Bunnett says that women in Cuba don’t get the exposure they deserve, so she picked these woman to let the world hear them.
About 4 minutes in Dánae Olano plays an amazing 2 minute piano solo–fun to listen to and to watch as she is all over the keys–she plays some great trills and riffs. She’s very impressive. About 8 minutes in Yissy Garcia (who Dave Matthews has said plays drums like Jesus) plays a great drum solo. On the drum kit she is using her palms and fingers to play all of the drums and cymbals–she switches to sticks at the end. The percussionist Magdelys Savigne accompanies her, and while not actually soloing, she is keeping rhythm as well.
Celia Jiménez plays bass. She doesn’t get to do anything fancy–no solos, but she keeps the rhythm perfect.
It’s a pretty great set with lot of cool jazzy Cuban melody and rhythms. I enjoyed this set quite a lot.
[READ: November 3, 2016] The Complete Peanuts 1999-2000
This is the final volume of Peanuts strips. After 50 years, it finally came to and end.
Schulz was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. He died in February of 2000.
I was hoping that this book would be shockingly good–full of great “I’m finishing the trip” closure. But as I understand it, he wasn’t ready to finish the strip, so things move on more as less as normal.
In fact, I found the first few weeks of 1999 to be kind of dull. The punchlines just didn’t make me smile as much. Of course there is something to be said for the consistency of the strip. Linus still has his blanket, Rerun is still coloring (he has become a dominant force in the strip), Patty is still getting things wrong and Sally still doesn’t want to do anything.
Reruns art obsession started last year–in school he was always drawing. But this year it inspires the gang go to an art museum, which is a first (although under explored, I feel). Later on, instead of drawing what he is supposed to, he begins drawing underground comics. When his drawing gets hung up in class, they put it upside down.
There’s a final return of “Joe Blackjack” (I have noticed that the “Joe” characters have more or less ceased by now). I enjoyed this one because Snoopy says “I never noticed it before… the cards look the same upside-down as right side up.”
Rerun is looking for a role model but Linus walks by with his blanket and wonders if the neighbor’s dog can be a role model. Late in July Rerun informs Linus that in Tolstoy the mother gave her babies a sucking rag. He looks at Linus and shouts “enjoy your ‘sucking rag.'”
I have enjoyed some of the musical note strips with Schroeder and Snoopy. In June of 1999, the notes fall off the staff and go into a mouse hole.
Also in June, there’s a lot of discussion as to why Lucy is playing right field. Charlie tells her the worst player always plays right field. She finally gets fed up and says “If I have to play right field all the time I’d rather not play at all.” Charlie is thrilled: “Really! Wow! That’s great! Boy what a relief!!” But she caves at the insult and heads back out.
In one of the final Tiny Tots concerts, Patty reveals that she wants to play an instrument when she gets older. She asks Marcie should it be the piano or the violin or the harp. Marcie says “It doesn’t matter because you’ll never get around to playing any of them.” Patty’s bizarre but funny retort: “You are fortussimoly weird, Marcie.”
In a bittersweet finale, at camp in July, Peggy Jean makes an appearance! She even calls him Brownie Charles. He is so excited to see her. Until she says her boyfriend is waiting for her. Awww.
In one of the final Revolutionary War/Patriot strips, Snoopy delivers a message to Thomas Paine from General Washington. Paine returns with his “These are”the times that try men’s souls” speech, but Snoopy thinks it too depressing and changes it to “no problem, have a nice day.”
In August we get a last glimpse of Emily, Charlie’s excellent dance partner. He has some wonderful fun but Snoopy gets him kicked out (again).
Pig pen appears one last time in September. Andy and Olaf return for a week and then head out again.
There’s surprisingly little in the way of pop culture references in this book. Lucy says she’s going to hit so many home runs that Joe McGwire will be jealous. (Charlie corrects her (Mark McGwire) the next day). Later, Sally has a camera that takes pictures underwater. She throws it into the water and then says I don’t think its working. In November 1999, Sally writes a letter: Dear Harry Potter, I am your biggest fan. She invites him for dinner. When Charlie tells her that Harry Potter is fictitious, she crumbles it up and throws it away. In one of the last strips of 1999, Charlie is going to adopt the Joe Torre look–he’s going to use it next season (he squints with dark lines under his eyes).
And his angst is possibly even worse. Charlie wakes up and says to Sally:
“Do me a favor …go tell the world I’m ready to get up.” She returns: “Not a single person cared.”
In one of Schulz’ interviews he says that he never intended to have Charlie kick the football, and yet when he realized that he had never allowed him to kick the ball, he felt bad for the boy. Well in October 1999, Lucy has to go in for Lunch and says that Rerun can hold the ball for her. Charlie says Rerun would never pull the ball away. Then we cut back to Lucy asking him what happened. Did he kick it? And rerun walks away saying “You’ll never know.” And neither will we.
The final Great Pumpkin strip shows Sally and Linus hanging around in the pumpkin patch. They hear something but it is … a zamboni.
His finale Veteran’s Day strip is dedicated to Ernie Pyle (a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist who died in the war).
At the end of November Sally is writing a letter to Santa Claus and addresses him as Snooty Claus, “he thinks he’s so smart, he didn’t bring me what I wanted last year.”
Schulz’s final daily strip was on Jan 1 2000, the boys and girls are having a snowball fight and the caption reads “suddenly the dog realizes that his dad had never taught him how to throw snowballs.” It’s so unlike all of his other strips. Was it a new style (captions?) or a goodbye?
From then on he only had a few Sunday strips left: in the first it’s a football in the rain strip with Peppermint Patty and Marcie. The second is Rerun and Snoopy playing in the snow (it’s nice to see a good ha ha ha ha laugh). There’s a final Revolutionary War strip, a dog food strip, and Rerun drawing his underground comics. And then his last strip ever is Charlie once again not getting a Valentine’s Day card.
Actually his final strip was on Feb 13, 2000. This strip was simply Snoopy sitting at the typewriter in which Schulz announced his retirement–his family did not want the strip continued by anyone else. It is a n incredibly sweet final strip. Schulz died the night before the paper came out with that final strip.
The rest of this book contains all of the strips that Schulz created (when billed as Sparky) under the title Lil’ Folks. He wrote Li’l Folks for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It was three or four single panel jokes which were printed every week. It ran from June 22, 1947 to January 22, 1950.
Li’l Folks is pretty fully realized and even though the characters are very, very different looking to Peanuts (I frankly LOVE the style of it) the jokes are right there–very similar and some even repeated in Peanuts (which I rather like).
The characters in the strip were little kids (with somewhat large heads acting like grown ups) and a dog or two. They were always saying very grown up things and falling in love and all of that,.
While I’m not even going to try to summarize the jokes in the strip, there are some very familiar ones.
A boy with his hair sticking straight back saying he ran all the way (we saw Patty do that a few times). (Actually the same joke is done on June 8 1947 and October 2, 1949 although the characters look vert different by now–bigger heads and more cartoony. There were baseball jokes (although never about a kid losing) and golf jokes (mostly about the flag) and marbles jokes.
The June 29, 1947 strip features a girl counting “twenty-two, eleventy-six, twelvty-four” which is exactly what Sally was counting in an early strip.
Some overall notes. Generally, the kids were cranky. Eventually the text went from type to handwritten letters. There’s jokes about getting married once the get finished with kindergarten
And there are the general insults like in Peanuts: Somebody walks in: “Oh rats, I thought it was somebody important.”
There’s a whole bunch of jokes about the boy’s gramma playing hockey (and getting penalties for roughing).
The dog, while not Snoopy has a lot of Snoopy’s behavior in calmer form. he’s not fantasizing about being something else, just doing showoffy dog things–balancing on a ball or walking the edge of the bed or things like that the boy says thing like, “all right, lets break it up and go to bed.” Sometimes the dog plays checkers (and wins). In Sept 1949 the dog is jumping rope with the girls and one girls says “one hundred and one one hundred and two you realize of course that he’s making fools out of both of us!” There’s two jokes about Albert Payson Terhune (author of books a bout dogs).
There also a lot of jokes about Beethoven, most of which center around the child playing the piano or violin and saying he hopes that Beethoven doesn’t hate hm for ruining his music.
I enjoyed this joke from a boy to a girl: “don’t hit me. Just say something sarcastic”
There’s a few jokes about a boy bringing a girl flowers. First she says I wish you’d brought hamburgers and the next time she says flowers…schmowers.
A character named Charlie Brown appeared on May 30, 1948. And on May 29, 1949 we got the classic joke: “Here comes good Old Charlie Brown! How I hate him!!”
The recurring joke is one like the little boys looking at a baby playing with blocks and saying “Just look at him…no worries , no cares…how I wish that I were that age again!”
Some wonderfully weird strips show a girl looking at the flag on a putting green and saying I think they’re beautiful, they grow so tall and straight. Later we see the girl watering the base of the flag.
I also really liked the boy looking at a fire hydrant and saying “I’m always amazed at how they manage to get so much water out of such a small object.”
Another theme is two boys sitting on a stoop “Girls and dogs, undoubtedly two of mankind’s greatest mysteries.” Or, I wonder if I’ll have as much trouble with women as I now have with girls.
Speaking of dogs, I like the one where the boy is eating a sandwich and the dogs’ head is on the table. The boy says “Don’t get your hopes too high… things don’t always work out the way you want them to.”
An interesting joke in August of 1949 is one of the boys admiring a white dog and brownish dog and saying its difficult to say which you prefer without showing racial prejudice.
There’s nothing noteworthy about the final strip, although the joke of the boy telling the dog “remember now…no more of this turning off the alarm and going back to sleep!” is pretty funny.
It’s a great series. And while I was a little bummed to see it stopped, my heavens, what it led to! Fifty years of Peanuts. Amazing.
The introduction to this book was written by President Barack Obama.
It’s possibly the shortest thing I’ve ever seen from him. He speaks of growing up with Peanuts and never outgrowing it. He says Schulz treated childhood with all the poignant and tender complexity it deserves. “He explored the emotions that we too often forget kids feel until we’re reminded that we once felt them ourselves.”
It was a great strip and a really joy reading all of these books–25 books for 50 years.
I also just found out that there is going to be a volume 26 which will collect all of the miscellany…that should be really interesting to read. I’m looking forward to it quite a bit. Seventeen years late, but I’m not quite ready to say goodbye.