In which we learn about Storms/Nocturnes, Toadswart d’Amplestone, and Bea.
STORMS / NOCTURNES – VIA
Names have power. It gets to where it’s difficult to distinguish whether the name is derived from identity or if identity is formed from the name. Storms/Nocturnes, the ensemble name taken by the trio of Geoffrey Keezer (piano), Tim Garland (reeds), and Joe Locke (vibes) illustrates that fuzziness of origin. They have created an album awash in dreamy melodies and rhythms like the fall of rain.
Places have power, too. They have their own identity, which can alter our perceptions just as we affect them by our presence. The album VIA is a recognition of that geographical interaction. Within the liner notes of the album are photos and reminiscences by the artists of places that each tune drew inspiration from. It is a guided tour of the album’s music, just as the music colors the perception of each location’s photo. It creates an odd circle of interpretation, but it’s a logical approach to such an unconventional album.
A trio of piano, vibes, and reeds isn’t the typical jazz line-up and the compositions themselves don’t evoke daydreams of 1940s Minton’s Playhouse, and yet the end result is an album of sublime jazz music. Seven years since their last album, the trio’s ears show no rust to the receptiveness of one another’s sound. Locke’s vibes light the path with bright runs, while Garland’s sax soars overhead and bass clarinet burrows beneath Garland’s fluttering piano. A beautiful album by jazz vets at the top of their game. Released in 2011 on the Origin/OA2 label.
TOADSWART D’AMPLESTONE by TIM CONRAD
Conrad’s Gothic tale of revenge and the occult was originally printed in the monthly science fiction fantasy magazine Epic Illustrated back in 1986. Unfortunately, the Epic company folded before the serialized version of the story reached its end. In 1990, however, Eclipse Books was kind enough to collect the story in graphic novel form before they, too, went under. Drawn brilliantly in black & white, the shading imbues the shadows with an oppressive foreboding while simultaneously giving a comforting warmth and brightness to the fireplaces and torches that fight back the shadows and to the daylight that occasionally cuts through the gloomy medieval countryside.
Shamshadow, a traveling artist arrives one stormy night at d’Amplestone castle seeking employment. His timing is excellent, as it was merely a fortnight ago that the previous artist had thrown himself out his studio window to his death in the courtyard below. Prince Waxwroth hires Shamshadow without fanfare. The Prince’s son’s investiture is near, and family portraits will be made to celebrate the boy’s ceremony into manhood. Toadswart, a dwarfish hunchback and the Prince’s servant, observes the odd coincidences and strangely detached behavior of the participants with suspicion and fear. Something isn’t right. But then again, nothing has been right since the King suddenly went missing. And there is much to worry about. Spies have been reported, and there are rumors that armed forces have been amassing in the hills. The Princess, Waxwroth’s wife, has taken sick, and it may or may not have anything to do with the nights Waxwroth has been spending in the castle dungeon reading arcane tomes. Toadswart assists the artist in getting settled and acquainted with the castle. Shamshadow begins the royal family’s portraits. The leaders of the castle garrison search for spies and prepare for war. The Princess lies sick in bed. Prince Waxwroth is in the basement building a golem.
Toadswart d’Amplestone is a 104-page black & white graphic novel, Gothic mystery. It pairs quite well with Storm/Nocturne’s VIA.
BEA – a Cat that needs a home
Bea is a female, domestic short-hair. She has white fur with black spots, much like a feline cow. She is approximately two years old. She was pulled from a local shelter when her name was placed on a euth list. She has been in a variety of foster homes, and is looking for a permanent place to lay her water bowl.
Bea is very sweet, but can be a bit bossy, too. She will let you know when it is time to pet her. She doesn’t want to be scooped up like a little baby, but she will sit in your lap for hours and will never require an invitation to curl up with you in bed. She sleeps like an angel in a ray of sunlight, but she also gets her night crazies and chases after her tail. Bea would prefer to be the only cat in the house. She has been spayed, is up to date with her shots, and is negative for feline leukemia. She should probably remain an indoor cat, but would probably thrive outdoors, too, under the right conditions.
More information on Bea is available at the Mercer (KY) Humane Society at (859) 734-9500, mercerhumane.com. If you are unable to adopt, you may sponsor her adoption, or the adoption of any cat, by contacting the office.