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Here Are Your Winter Must-Haves

  • Kempt Staff

1203_MustHaves_2 If you can’t quite put your finger on why things are feeling more wintry on Kempt all of a sudden, we’d like to direct your attention to our left column.

Because we’ve just updated our must-haves with a fresh crop of seasonal necessities. We’ve got you covered on everything for outfitting yourself, your walls and your state of mind (a few might require a little creativity). But most of all, they’re here to serve as inspiration for the colder months to come.

Your winter wonderland begins now.»

Icon: Ron Carter

Jazz Icon Ron Carter

Jazz musicians are known for being a dapper and frequently recorded bunch, which is why becoming one of the most-recorded and best-dressed jazz musicians alive is no mean feat. And Ron Carter managed to do it all while standing behind an upright bass.

He came to fame as part of Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet (where one Herbie Hancock also got his start)—and went on to record some 2,500 records on the double bass. Along the way, he played with everyone from Eric Dolphy to A Tribe Called Quest, won acclaim as a cellist, composed about 140 songs, taught at CUNY and Juilliard, and—just for good measure—developed a custom blend of pipe tobacco.

But prolificacy alone does not an icon make. This is why Carter made the cut

A Sad Day for Modernism

  • Najib Benouar

Yesterday modernism lost two pioneers in their respective fields: jazz musician Dave Brubeck and Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

They were pillars of the modernist aesthetic (and sound) that’s been experiencing a renaissance lately—from the show Mad Men to that credenza your favorite Tumblr just posted a few minutes ago—Brubeck for creating a new offbeat-but-on-beat sound and Niemeyer for bending concrete into curvaceous monuments. And we’d like to take a moment to salute these visionaries who helped shape styles that still influence our lives to this day. Farewell, gentlemen—it’s been a good-looking run.

“Pencil Thin Mustache”: A Glossary of Terms

We hesitate to spend too much time parroting in and around Margaritaville these days, but we’ll say this for Jimmy Buffett: he knew his mustaches.

We’re thinking of Mr. Buffett’s 1974 “Pencil Thin Mustache,” in which the narrator looks back nostalgically on the suave, caddish heroes he aspired to be as a child. We’ve been fans of the tune for a long time, and yet have always seemed to struggle, like Passat drivers do with “Rocket Man,” to understand some of the references. Buffett assures us this is typical of our generation. “The thing about writing a song like this is that the older you get, the more people there are who need an explanation of the characters in the song.”

So we thought we’d provide just that...

Today we present “Pencil Thin Mustache”: A Glossary of Terms»

Anthea Spends Hours Braiding

Around the Track: Michael Williams uncovers a massive, intricate race track in the office of a gentleman with far too much spare time. [A Continuous Lean]

Hey, It’s Those Cheerleaders Again: An illustrated guide to SNL’s recurring characters—and who relied on the crutch the most. Apparently Stefon has not yet gotten his due. [Vulture]

Plus, Getting Punched In The Face A Lot: Training for an MMA fight is every bit as terrifying as you would expect. One writer goes undercover. [Deadspin]

Supreme: John Coltrane is getting a graphic novel biography, courtesy of Paolo Parisi. About time. [Wire]

The Analog Crown Jewels


Count on Tom Waits to dig up both an all-but disappeared species of creole jazz and an all-but-disappeared record player to play it on. Sometimes, you just have to go for the full anachronism.

As part of a benefit for Preservation Hall in New Orleans, Tom Waits teamed up with the house band for a recording of two classic Mardi Gras chants circa 1947, but they’re only being sold as limited edition 78-rpm records, just like back in the day. If you spring for the deluxe package, they’ll even throw in a custom-made 78-rpm phonograph to play it on. It might be the crown jewel of a vinyl culture based on tactile authenticity…or just a really cool party favor.