Freddie Hubbard RIP

I always loved Freddie Hubbard’s energetic and authoritative, yet airy and tender trumpet playing. His vigorous playing on the classic Ready for Freddie (1961), the way he takes the lead on Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage (1965), his strong, equilibrist, if still outshone compliment to Coltrane on Ascension (1965), and his early somewhat fluffy but impeccable work for CTI. And so many other things. Later he became less interesting, but his passing marks the end of the great career of a great player.

Check out his amazing soloing on this 1962 version of “Moanin'” with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, where he had replaced the great Lee Morgan the previous year.

Photo of Hubbard in Rochester, New York in 1976, from Getty Images.

The Spark of Life

For lovers of Italian Renaissance art, this has been a pretty stellar year in terms of exhibitions. Amongst the major ones, the Rome/Berlin Sebastiano del Piombo show over the summer was an eye-opener, and this autumn’s double whammy of Andrea Mantegna in Paris and Giovanni Bellini in Rome offered strong contributions to this museum-goer’s sweet hangover this year.

I haven’t had time to write much about the former here on the Bunker, unfortunately, but suffice to say that it is an enormously impressive show — a formidable showcase of a great artist that makes a number of controversial claims, but at the same time is presented with enough scholarly responsibility that one is encouraged to make up one’s own mind.

Presenting an equally remarkable, if more limited selection of works, the Bellini show provides the viewer with an impressive overview of the oeuvre of this, one of the greatest of masters of European painting. It is astonishing to follow the development of this great bringer of light to painting, from his earliest works in tempera to the late, glorious Christian syntheses of natural and divine illumination, wrought in luminous oil.

It is now Christmas, which has given me something of a breather, and what better way to celebrate than to think some about Bellini?

The Listening: Ludacris, Game, T.I., Kanye

If anything, this has been a year of top name releases in mainstream hip hop, with one heavyweight after the other dropping marquee-style albums they all seem to hope will be game changers for them. Earlier in the year, we had Lil Wayne making his superstar status official (pity he hasn’t been up to much that makes sense since), Nas frustratingly delivering unconvincingly on an ambitious promise, and Young Jeezy upping the ante as a convincing rap star.

Now is the season to be jolly, of course, and come recession or high water, we have been flooded with big records from the rest of the biggest names: The Game, Ludacris, T.I. and Kanye West. The only ones missing from that list, I guess, are Jay-Z and Chamillionaire, and they’re excused by having dropped albums last year. I couldn’t be less interested in how many units these people move — they’re probably doing reasonably well, all things considered — but kind of wanted to check the pulse on the tottering behemoth that is mainstream rap, in terms of, well the quality of the music they’ve released.

Shoeman the Human

I know it’s been everywhere today, but I just can’t resist posting it. There’s something fitting to the fact that presumably one of the last memorable images of the lame duck president is him having a pair of shoes thrown at him in a small room. I mean, what could be more pathetic? Well, I guess if he had been hit, but his impressive duck is rather fun in itself. Poignant even.

Den japanske forbindelse

Når tegneserierne i disse år også herhjemme så småt er ved at finde fodfæste på parnasset, skyldes det i ikke ringe grad den massive indflydelse, som japansk kultur i almindelighed : og japanske tegneserier og :film i særdeleshed : har haft på de seneste årtiers kulturelle output i Vesten. Mangaens egenartede æstetik og emblematiske dynamik har vundet indpas i alt fra billedkunsten til musikvideoen, og har ikke mindst sat sine spor i måden, hvorpå tegneserier undfanges og opfattes på disse breddegrader. Den 8. oktober slog kunstmuseet Louisiana i Humlebæk dørene op for en stort anlagt udstilling, der på fornem vis både tegner de historiske konturer af en udtryksforms udvikling, og sætter fokus på den nutidige krydsbestøvning der finder sted indenfor andre billedmedier.

Picks of the Week


The picks of the week from around the web.

Slightly slim pickings this week, owing to the fact that I’ve been on internet-free holiday. I do however have these recommendations for you:

  • Warren Craghead: “A Flame Expelled.” Top Shelf hosts this short lyrical comic from one of the most compelling experimental comics makers at the moment.
  • Prospect: “A Second Tulip Mania”. Great, sarcastic article on the boom and bust of the contemporary art market of the last decade or so, even if the conceit of the title is a little obscure. (Thanks, Dirk).
  • Format: This is pretty funny, if rather silly. If you’re a hip hop head, check it out: 20 more or less classic covers recreated in Lego…
  • Ny fond for danske tegneserietegnere

    Foreningen af danske tegneserieskabere har pga nye regler vedrørende uddeling af Copy-Dan midler stiftet en fond, der har til hensigt at støtte tegneserietegnere og -forfattere økonomisk. Af foreningens hjemmeside fremgår det, at “støtten hovedsagelig skal uddeles som arbejdslegater til danske tegneserieskabere, men kan også i mindre omfang uddeles som støttebeløb til tegneseriefaglige seminarer, varetagelse af serieskaberes retslige interesser, principielle retssager og formidling af ophavsretlige spørgsmål. Arbejdslegaterne udgør minimum 75% af de uddelte, årlige støttebeløb“. Ansøgningerne vurderes og behandles af et tremandsråd bestående af Lars Horneman, Jan Kjær og Peter Kielland-Brandt. Flere oplysninger samt ansøgningsskema findes på Foreningens hjemmeside.

    Gérard Lauzier 1932-2008

    I remember a film critic who once compared Robert Altman’s Gosford Park to Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game (Regle du jeu). The critic found each film more or less equal in terms of ambition, craftsmanship and themes, but nevertheless argued that one was clearly superior to the other. To that particular critic, the question was easy to answer — since Altman and Gosford Park displayed a cold-hearted misanthropy compared to the warm and embracing humanism of Renoir, The Rules of the Game won.

    Back then, I thought long about this matter. Was it really fair to evaluate things that way? Surely, I knew that film studies and criticism aren’t exactly objective matters, but still: just like that, stating that humanism is a richer and better artistic value than misantropy? Sympathetic, but, well, hmm…

    Well, Gérard Lauzier — who regrettetly passed away on december 6th, after a long illness — is one example that challenges this perception pretty strongly.