by Robert Bell
Genius jazz innovator and Little Rock native Pharoah Sanders will be honored with a membership to the Society for American Music, Friday at 12:30 p.m. at the Peabody Hotel's Grand Ballroom. Gov. Mike Beebe and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola will present proclamations and declare March 8 "Pharoah Sanders Day."
The event is not open to the public, so if this news had you planning to grab your original LP copy of "Karma" and see if Sanders would autograph it for you, well, sorry. I'm told he might say a few words, but there's no plan for any performance. If you're a member of the SAM you can attend the ceremony. There will be many of them in town, because the group's national conference is in Little Rock this year. It got started yesterday and goes through Sunday.
I had no idea about the conference until I got a press release last night about the ceremony for Sanders. Looking through the events schedule is fairly frustrating for the non SAM-member music geek (registration for the conference is closed). Look at some of these tantalizing — if a bit academic and wonky sounding — discussions:
* "Dio's Lost Decade: Recovering the 1960s Career of Ronnie James Dio"
* "'That We May Effect a More Nearly Perfect Society': Community Shape-Note Gospel Singing in Central Arkansas, 1920-1950"
* "Records, Repertoire, and Kubrick: Rollerball (1975) and the Early Compilation Soundtrack"
* "Reconsidering Stevie Wonder's 'Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants'"
* "'Oh Say, Can You See—It's Really Such a Mess': Jimi Hendrix's '1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)' and Social Science Fiction"
* "John Cage's Contribution to the United States Bicentennial, Renga with Apartment House 1776—a Patriotic Composition?"
* "Improvising Music and Identity at Brass Band Parades in New Orleans’s Tremé Neighborhood"
* "'Which Side Are You On?': Secular Music in the Civil Rights Movement"
* "How Deitrick Haddon Took Sam Cooke to Church: Rearranging, Reclaiming, and Reframing the Liberation Message of 'A Change is Gonna Come'"
* "'Good-bye, Old Arm': Amputee Veterans in Civil War Era Song"
* "Arkansas-West: The Second Great Migration's Impact on African American Musicking in California"
* "Waiting for the Drop: Balancing Ambiguity and Danceability in Dubstep"
* "'Azz Everywhere': Big Freedia and the Queering of New Orleans Bounce Culture"
* "Imperialist Conquest and the Phantasmagoric Deep South: Race, Gender, and Geography in Led Zeppelin and Memphis Minnie's 'When the Levee Breaks'"
* "Getting Past 'Bob Dylan Sang Here': Minneapolis in the Folk Revival"
* "Tony Conrad’s Early Minimalism: An Alternate History"
Oh, and there's a whole boatload of discussions about the music of Sanders and his collaborators. Did any of y'all know about this? Any locals attending?