Posts filed under “Digital Media”

Friday Night Jazz Fourth of July Funk

Groove No time for a full Friday Night Jazz — off to watch the fireworks if the rain holds off — but here’s a funk tune you should check out: James Brown (Part 1 & 2) Buckshot LeFonque : Music Evolution.

Buckshot LeFonque was a group Branford Marsalis formed in his post Sting days (1994 & 97). The goal was to meld classical jazz with rock, rap, R&B and hip-hop. Its really all over the place, with no defining sound.

Except this song. Its got a great groove, with a pure funk first half. Its hip-hop meets be-bop. It manages to meld in some rap in the second half, in a harmonic way that works, and pays an homage to JB at the same time.

You don’t need to buy the whole album — just find this song somewhere and buy it.   

UPDATE: I found an embeddable version on imeem.com


James Brown, Pt. 1 & 2 – Buckshot LeFonque

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Hey Branford, here’s an idea — do an entire funk album. You don’t have to channel James Brown on every track (2 or 3 would be fine). But a song with this powerful of a groove is calling out for more . . .

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Previously:
Soul Man   
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2007/01/soul_man.html

James Brown, Godfather of Soul: RIP   
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2006/12/james_brown_rip.html

Reflections on James Brown   
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/writing/2006/12/reflections_on_.html

Category: Digital Media, Music

Friday Night Jazz: Steely Dan

Katy_lied

I’m a huge fan of what the BBC once called "one of the most important and intelligent bands the US has produced: Steely Dan.

Saw ‘em live a few times, most recently on Wednesday night at the Beacon Theater. If you ever get a chance to see a concert in a small venue with large artists, its a very interesting experience (3rd row center doesn’t hurt either).

Their music is characterized by "complex jazz-influenced structures
and harmonies, literate and sometimes obscure or ambiguous lyrics,
filled with dark sarcasm." They are known for their "adroit musicianship
and studio perfectionism." (Wiki)

I was trying to figure out the best way to recommend material from The Dan — which albums you must own — but I simply cannot offer up anything better than the 4 CD box set.

The 4 CD box set
itself is the first six 7 of the Dan’s studio releases on 4 discs for the bargain price of $36.

Steely_dan_boxed_setSteely Dan are justly famous for their use of "chord sequences
and harmonies that explore the area of musical tension between
traditional pop music sounds and jazz." These 4 CDs reveal a musical dynamism that is unmatched in modern
music.  The lyrics are sardonic,
engaging and humorous. Indeed, it is one of the greatest catalogues in the annals of
pop/jazz music history. That’s one reason why Steely Dan makes my short list of greatest American Rock and Roll bands. (Note that on Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums, Pretzel Logic is #385 and Can’t Buy a Thrill is #238.

Also of note: Citizen Steely Dan: 1972-1980  contains what may very well be the best Amazon review I have ever come across.

Your other option is to grab a few single discs. If I had to cut it down to just 3 CDs, here’s how I would roll: Surely, you can pick any of the five early Dan CDs — all are great — but my favorite is 1975′s Katy Lied ($7.97). The album saw took otherwise classic rock style songs, and arranged and played them in a jazz idiom. With Michael McDonald’s background vocals, the Dan infused a smoky Soul flavor. It was complex mashup of styles that worked wonderfully.

Aja
My second disc choice has to be the great Aja, a groundbreaking 1977 CD. It was a favorite of audiophiles, stunned recording engineers, oh, and  dominated FM radio for a year. Aja was even more heavily jazz-influenced than Katy Lied, and was graced with  top-notch jazz musicians: Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Wayne Shorter and Chuck Rainey.

Aja won numerous awards, shot into the Top Five in the U.S. charts within three weeks of release, and was one of the first American LPs to be certified ‘platinum’ for sales of over 1 million albums. It was that good. Aja is #145 on Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums. If I have any complaint about this slick disc, it was that the radio play was so overwhelming it became a bit played out way back when.

Last year, I mentioned the making of Steely Dan’ Peg (off of Aja) that I randomly discovered on YouTube. It was simply terrific. If you are any type of Dan fan, you must go order this right now.

The third selection is Donald Fagen’s solo disc, The Nightfly (a previous Friday Night Jazz selection). Even if you get the Dan box set, you have to add this CD to the mix. The WSJ called The Nightfly "one of pop music’s sneakiest masterpieces" and I think that moniker fits well. The key to this is the music’s timeless quality. It was retro back in
1982, and over the years, has never grown to sound tired or even of a specific era. It remains fresh, even 25 years later.

Not only did the CD win critical acclaim amongst the jazz and pop
reviewers, but the disc delighted audiophiles of all stripes. You see, The Nightfly was one of the first fully digital recordings of popular music. Add to that the usual crisp, sleek production The Dan were famous for, and you have a recipe for a phenomenal recording.

Any of the above provides a rewarding aural experience. These are amongst the best music from the  1970s/80s era, and indeed of all time.

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Before we jump to the videos, one little bit of trivia: Since both Becker & Fagen were avid readers of 1950′s "Beat" literature, they decided to name the band "Steely Dan" after a dildo in William Burroughs’ "Naked Lunch" . . .

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videos after the jump.

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Stairway to Heaven is Worth $572 million

Lz Portfolio does a fun analysis as to what the full value of Led Zeppelin‘s Stairway to Heaven would be worth if the band went all out on the licensing side.

They call it a"back-of-the-napkin analysis of the lifetime worth of the most requested rock
tune in history
:"

"In the big, bad game of rock and roll, “Stairway to
Heaven” is undeniably a winner. Released by Led Zeppelin in 1971, the
eight-minute song is considered a musical masterpiece and is one of the
most-played rock tunes of all time. Proving its longevity, “Stairway” hit the
U.K. charts again last fall and was a top download in the U.S., after Zeppelin’s
first downloadable album launched on iTunes. But because the band is notoriously
protective of its work, “Stairway” hasn’t met its full moneymaking potential.
While other artists have made big bucks by licensing songs to Hollywood and
Madison Avenue—think of Bob Dylan’s “Love Sick” in that Victoria’s Secret
commercial—Zeppelin has shunned most opportunities. We consulted executives in
the music, advertising, and entertainment industries to come up with some
numbers, real and potential, for the value of “Stairway."

That seems a little rich to me, but hey! It is Stairway. . .


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Sources:
Stairway Surprise 
Miriam Datskovsky 
Portfolio July 2008 Issue  http://www.portfolio.com/culture-lifestyle/culture-inc/arts/2008/06/16/Stairway-to-Heavens-Revenues

Led Zeppelin IV (aka ZOSO)

November 8, 1971   

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


http://rhino.edgeboss.net/download/rhino/ledzeppelin/discography/lz4_stairway.mp3

Led Zeppelin to Make Its Songs Available Digitally
JEFF LEEDS
NYT, October 15, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/15/arts/music/15musi.html


Videos after the jump . . .

 

Zep_stairway

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Category: Digital Media, Music

For Those About to Rock, We Have Always Low Prices*

Category: Digital Media, Music, Retail

Friday Evening Jazz: Mocean Worker

Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Weezer’s Ode to You Tube

The official video for "Pork and Beans" from Weezer stars quite a few familiar YouTube faces.

New Weezer disc Red Album" out Monday, June 3rd, 2008

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

Maybe the CD Is Not Dead Yet

Category: Consumer Spending, Digital Media, Music

♪ Tighten Up ♪

James Brown’s version of Tighten Up   (1968)

And the original Archie Bell and the Drells version

Archie Bell and the Drells

Archie_bell_the_drells

Category: Digital Media, Music, Video

Friday Night Jazz: Gerry Mulligan II

Paraiso_2About 10 years ago, while window shopping in Sag Harbor (the least offensive of the Hamptons), I hear this fabulous music wafting out the door of a small shop.

Turns out it was Gerry Mulligan‘s CD, Paraiso-Jazz Brazil.

It was a real eye opener: This clean, cool recording of lovely Latin melodies, overlaid with a delightfully dry, reedy saxophone that infused everything with a sophisticated  flavor. That was Gerry Mulligan’s sound.

Mulligan_chetbaker


NPR radio described Mulligan as "the most influential baritone saxophonist in jazz."

But Mulligan was more than that — he was a
commanding composer, an innovative musician, someone who pushed boundaries, yet remained accessible and enjoyable to listen to.

His history of playing with other key Jazz greats is rather astounding: He worked with Miles Davis‘ on the historic Birth of the Cool. He created a piano-less ensemble, with trumpeter Chet Baker.

Meets_monkHe cut albums with Thelonius Monk, Paul Desmond, Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz, Lionel Hampton, Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, Judy Hollidaythe list of sidemen goes on and on.

Mulligan’s light and airy baritone saxophone was the epitome of the the "cool" jazz sound. Yet its amazing how easily he could interact with many other musical styles: Ben Webster’s blustery tenor (the epitome of a "warm" sound); Monk’s percussive, fractured piano rhythms and dissonant tunes; the sweet, subtle tension between Mulligan and Chet Baker.

M_plays_mYou can pretty much grab any random Mulligan album (I put up a decent selection here) and not be disappointed. You will see scattered around a broad selection of different styles, eras, and musical cohorts.

Are you a Brubeck fan? Monk? Chet Baker? Webster? Desmond? Grab anything, sit back — and enjoy.

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Mulligan became known for his writing and arranging skills in his teens. He wrote for Johnny Warrington’s radio band in 1944, and for Gene Krupa’s band two years later.

BerlinMulligan hit the big time when he became known for his work (writing, arranging, and soloing) on Miles Davis’ defining album, "Birth of the Cool." Gerry’s compositions for this album included "Jeru," "Godchild," and "Venus de Milo," all songs that would remain in his repertoire long after the initial success of the album had died down. (This album launched and aided several careers of important jazz figures).

Mulligan’s last record came out as one of his most beautiful. Lovely tunes, clever arrangements, and understated fabulous players mark his last recording (John Scofield and
Grover Washington, Jr. play on this).

DragonflySimply timeless music — and perfect for the holiday weekend with friends and family . . .   

Mulligan Discography (massive PDF)

NYT Mulligan Obit

Mulligan Videos after the jump

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Mapping The Blogosphere

Category: Digital Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs