I love the way that music and memory work together—a song can remind me of an experience, and an encounter can bring a specific piece of music to mind. Last week I presented a concert at Constellation that included the Switzerland-based percussionist Jason Kahn. I hadn't heard him perform live since the late 80s, when he was a member of the LA band Universal Congress Of, a group led by guitarist Joe Baiza, who first made his name with the weird postpunk combo Saccharine Trust.
That group played a mix of free jazz and R&B with a raggedy, punkish charm. The group dubbed its sound "mecolodics," a play on Ornette Coleman's harmolodics, and they released an EP on SST called This Is Mecolodics with cover art that was a send-up of Ornette's This Is Our Music. This Is Mecolodics included a cover of the Otis Rush classic "All Your Loving," which up until that time I had never heard. Naturally, the Universal Congress Of version sent me scurrying for the original. Chicago bluesman Rush cut the song for Cobra Records in 1958, with a magnetic rumba feel, and it opened with one of the most indelible guitar licks I've ever heard in my life, a slashing figure that, for me at least, has always conveyed the sound of a knife cutting across an object or surface. I never ever tire of it, and that's why it's today's 12 O'Clock Track.