Posts filed under “Digital Media”

Friday Night Jazz: Thelonious Monk

Thelonious_monk_with_john_coltraneOne of my all time favorites Jazz musicians is Thelonius Monk.

I stumbled across this video via a random click, and it reminded me just how much I have always loved Monk’s work, hence, another Friday Night Jazz featuring Monk.

Our man Monk was a three way genius: As a composer, as a jazz pianist, and as an improvisationist, he was without peer, and shaped the future of Jazz. Some notable discs:

Monks_dreamThelonious Monk with John Coltrane — what more can you add to these two geniuses riffing off of each other? Simply a monst    rous most own.

Monk’s Dream is a great example of Thelonious Monk in a Quartet format, with Monk at the peak of his career peak.

Monk’s Music a classsic compositions & recordings; Bold and inspired, with Coltrane, Blakey and Hawkins. Just fabulous.

Solo Monk a man, a piano, a studio tape recorder. Brilliant. 

and

Monks_music

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall accidentally discovered in an unmarked box by a Library of Congress engineer early 2005 (previously mentioned in our year end review). 

 

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Videos after the jump . . . 

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

‘Like Watching Dinosaurs Mate’

As we await what is happening with Microsoft and Yahoo, Aaron Task and I discussed the bigger picture as to what happens next on the internet.

This was all pretty off the cuff stuff (in case you cannot tell) but its how I really feel about the players involved:

That headline was actually spontaneous (I can turn a phrase, huh?)

Ok, feel free to write what a MSFT basher I am (no arguments from me)

Category: Digital Media, Video, Web/Tech, Weblogs

Friday Evening Jazz: Dexter Gordon

FNJ has a guest DJ tonite: BondDaddy is in the house!

Dexter Gordon is one of the greatest tenor sax players. He had a strong tone and incredible sense of melody. Some players like Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson had a slippery sense of time; their phrases speed up and slow down, moving within the rythm section’s accompaniment. Not Dexter. Dex’s time was rock solid, never wavering. The rythm section had to accompany his time.

Our_man_in_parisHis playing is incredibly melodic, easily followed by the listener. Ideas naturally morphed from one to the other, always following a logical pattern. However, he was also able to surprise listeners with a run into upper chordal extensions.

His playing provides a logical link between Parker and Coltrane. Dex used many ideas from Parker, but played them with a tone that was deep, bold and soulful.  His tone provides the link to Coltrane, who also favored a deep and rich tenor tone.

Gordon swung — and swung hard. If your feet are not tapping within 8 bars of his starting to play, you’re just not listening.

Our Man in Paris:
This be-bop session is a meeting between three of the most influential
musicians of the forties. The rhythms crackle, the solos fly; Our Man
In Paris is essential Dexter. A nice compilation of standards.

HomecomingHomecoming: Live at the Village Vanguard. Dex lived in Amsterdam for about 10 years, and this was the album be made when he came back. Very cool set. Woody Shaw is on Trumpet, and the two work really well together. THis is Dexter at the very top of his game (and probably one of the top 25 live jazz albums of all time).

He also starred in the Round Midnight, probably the best jazz movie ever made

Go:  Its been widely reported Gordon himself considered this his greatest achievement. Brimming with conviction and poise, Gordon’s gentle-giant sax carries itself with a sort of graceful edge that is difficult to emulate. Never has anyone made the diminished scale sound so musical.

Ballads

Ballads: This is a compilation of his ballads (duh), and he could play just beautifully on these. Gordon delivers his almost sleepy and smoke-filled solos with real grace. Some of the most romantic playing you will every hear.

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Videos after the jump

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Dirty Economic Indicator of the Month

Category: Digital Media, Economy, Web/Tech

The Last Remaining NYC Record Stores

Category: Digital Media, Music

New Gadget: iPod to iPod

Category: Digital Media, Music, Technology

Friday Evening Jazz: Kind of Blue

KINDA blueA few months ago, Hale took an eclectic look at some of the lesser known works of Miles Davis. Tonite, I want to go in the opposite direction, and simply focus on one disc: Kind of Blue.

Why? Not only is Kind of Blue Davis’ best-selling album, it may very well be the best-selling jazz record of any artist, of all time. Even though it was released almost 50 years ago, it still sells over 5,000 copies per week today. In addition to its commercial success, it has come to be described by many Jazz critics as the greatest jazz album of all time.

Writing in AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted: “Kind of Blue isn’t merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it’s an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of “So What.” From that moment on, the record never really changes pace — each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality.”

The one jazz record to own even if you don’t listen to jazz — the band is extraordinary: John Coltrane,  Julian “Cannonball” Adderley on saxophones, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums. I recently received a remastered CD of kind the album, thus retiring my scratchy hiss and pop laden vinyl version.  (And another intelligent CD pricing: $7.47 at Amazon)

For those of you looking for some , check out NPR:  Kind of Blue (54 minutes)

videos after the jump . . .

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Newsflashr.com

Category: Digital Media, Weblogs

Friday Night Jazz Alt-Rock: R.E.M.

R.E.M. is the original alternative rock band. Their first album, 1983′s Murmur, transformed the post-punk, underground college-rock era into brand new genre: What you take for granted as alternative rock was essentially created out of whole cloth by R.E.M.

I was a huge R.E.M. fan in grad school, and their first few albums were enormously powerful and influential.

They came up in conversation with an old friend recently, who noted that the band just released its 14th album, “Accelerate.”

Most of you young’uns probably are familiar with the band’s later bigger commercial hits — “Losing My Religion, Shiny Happy People, Everybody Hurts, Stand, etc.”  That stuff is all good for what it is — better than most of the pop on the radio at the same time, anyway.

But if you really want to delve into this seminal and influential band’s best work, you need to go back to 4 of their first 5 albums.

Genius lay that way.

A little context: In 1983, the US Stock market had just awoken from a 16 year slumber. Reagan was President, polyester had not yet gone away. The movie Saturday Night Fever was still relatively fresh in people’s minds, and there was plenty of Disco on the air, along with Journey, Boston, and Foreigner. It was an ugly, if simpler, time.

Along comes R.E.M., from of all places Athens, GA. Murmur broke boundaries, and literally created a new genre. The music lay somewhere between the jangling guitar work of the 1960s bands (Beatles, Byrds), with a drive that was not unlike later bands (Clash, Patti Smith).

I was surprised to see that the CDs of both Murmur and Reckoning are $7.97 at Amazon. It is long overdue for the music industry to use dynamic pricing on the back catalogues of artists. I suspect, however, they are a decade too late, and have already lost a generation of CD buyers.

R.E.M. was overtly political. Their songs were barbed attacks on
the status quo, hidden beneath hauntingly beautiful melodies, arcane lyrical language, driving drumbeats, jangly guitars, and
mumbled vocals. It was a completely idiosyncratic approach, but  it worked well.

What stood out most of all were their collections of
songs, alternatively beautiful and compelling. Dramatic structures, majestic melodies, lush vocal harmonies and somewhat archaic language combined for a unique sound.

Document The band became a critical darling, and sold increasingly well. Each subsequent album sharpened the band’s focus, and saw their writing become increasingly layered and complex, culminating in the tight, driving rock of Document. This was the album that catapulted R.E.M. from college radio favorites to mainstream stardom — and with good cause, too. It also marked their critical (but not their commercial) peak.

A recent WSJ piece noted the commercial decline:

“It has been a long, slow fade for a band that came to be known both as one of the founders of alternative rock and one of the genre’s most bankable names. Its 1996 contract turned out to be the high-water mark of a five-year frenzy of wildly expensive superstar contracts across the music industry, whipped up by interlabel bidding wars and CD sales’ seemingly boundless potential for growth. Most of these deals, such as Sony Music’s $60 million contract with Michael Jackson in 1991, and Virgin’s $70 million 1996 pact with his sister Janet, proved overly optimistic about the commercial prospects of artists who were past their prime.”

That sound about right. None of these artists have since achieved any level of their former commercial — or critical — success.

I hope REM breaks the streak. I have yet to hear the entire new album, Accelerate, but the first single, “Supernatural Superserious”  is encouraging. Reviews have generally been positive, calling the album R.E.M.’s “most relevant in years.”

Must Own Albums:

Murmur (1983)

Reckoning (1984)

Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)

Document (1987)

New Album

Accelerate (2008)

Videos after the jump . . .

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Category: Digital Media, Music

Friday Night Jazz: What New Music Are You listening to?

Category: Digital Media, Music