Dick Slessig Combo, presented by Jessica Bronson, "Rock Your Baby," at the Portland, Ore., Art Museum (July 7) Carl Bronson, bass, Steve Goodfriend, drums, and Mark Lightcap, guitar -- the Dick Slessig Combo, as in dyslexic -- were playing on L.A. conceptual artist Jessica Bronson's internally lit bandstand for the Portland opening of "Let's Entertain," a motley assemblage of glamorous art statements first staged at the Walker in Minneapolis.
They were at least a half-hour into a performance that would eventually cover 90 minutes before I realized the nearly abstract, circular pattern the trio was offering as the meaning of life -- it was all they were playing, anyway -- was from George McCrae's effortlessly seductive 1974 Miami disco hit. Or rather the pattern wasn't from the tune, it was the tune, the thing itself. Variation was never McCrae's point (the big moment in his "Rock Your Baby," the equivalent of the guitar solo, is when he barely whispers "Come on"); finding the perfect, self-renewing riff was.
"I could listen to that forever," I said to Bronson when he and the others finally stepped down for a break. "We'd play it forever if we were physically capable," he said. The bandstand is empty now, but a 50-minute edit of the number will be running in the air above it, over and over, through Sept. 17.
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