So I' m wondering around Rasputin Records on Powell St. when I hear this great "old school" r&b over the store sound system. Turns out it's a group called Sugarman Three, sax, hammond B-3, and drums... and added guitar on most cuts. R&b from the late 50's, early 60's, as well as classic Blue Note soul jazz (Lou Donaldson, Jimmy Smith, etc.). These guys are very good, much better than Soul Live and even better than New Mastersounds, both groups into this retro music. So check 'em out, highly recommended... or is it just that I'm over the hill and appreciate the great old music... or is "old school" genres making a comeback... 20 somethings tired of rap and current rock crap and looking for something with, well, soul?
So sick and tired of work, and, with a few bucks in the travel budget, decided to put in for a conference in Frisco. The trip was approved, and here I am. Pleasant weather, great restaurants, a fun wine tasting last night, and, yes, even some conference time (actually quite a bit; my perspective on modern communications is undergoing a major paradigm shift).
Met with Matt and Molly, Becka and Wahid, the other night. They are the progeny and related spouses of my long time, and unfortunately deceased, friends Val and Teri Ness. Good to get caught up and close another chapter in the sad end of a great relationship with V & T. Thankfully, I suspect I'll always have some contact with the kids, so memories and connections will continue. Generations...
I'm having many generational issues. Young managers, youthful Internet driven communications (social networking methods), and all sorts of cultural change issues. Trying to sort it out. Yes, I'm older than dirt, and generally thankful to retreat into my own world, which is rich enough to satisfy me. But I'm also interested in the new. I want to keep at least a toe dipping into the present/future, keep up with things as well as I can. After all, I'm blogging, now, right! (blogging is sooooo 5 minutes ago!). I guess I should be twittering, or whatever. Anyway, at least a toe...
Actually had (3) IM sessions going simultaneously on my MBP the other day. Figured out how to get Jabber (XMLPP?) going in iChat. Then ran Gizmo for a SIP connection to Lacey in France. Now how to get SIP in iChat... Damn Apple, the more they innovate, the more they leave behind. iChat is cool, but needs more extensions. Wish there were a single standard for IM, but there isn't. AIM, Jabber, SIP... guess Novell has something as well (don't know what protocol). Adium is supposed to unify IM sessions, need to update and try it out (but I do like iChat as a client).
OK, so some of you reading this may think I've got this geek thing down. Believe me, I'm so far behind it's rediculous. But hopefully my toe dipping can keep me relevant at work so I can make some significant contributions before getting put out to pasture.
Color, Bluetooth, and GigE... requirements for the 20 something (milleniums?) workforce. Also, of course, all those social networking tools (Facebook, MySpace, Linked In, etc.). Some new world we are entering (the pool is already full!).
Baseball ended last night. A World Series winner, and a loser. Considering the weather the teams had to play in, I guess it's best the baseball season is finished. Hey, it's a summer sport, hate it when the game is played in cold, rain, and even snow. That's not the way it should be. But, the powers that be want extended seasons, more games, more money, to pay even more exorbitant salaries to superstar players... greed... the free market, capitalist mantra.
But beyond the business of baseball, it's sad when the season ends. No other sport compares. OK, I like football, sort of, basketball not much, hockey no longer interests... Baseball connects with my brain waves, matches my mental processes, like no other sport. Sure the games can be slow, even boring, but I like the spaces. Time to think in between the action. Most other sports require instant concentration for the constant action. Baseball lets one relax, ponder the game, or even ponder other things. More meditative, poetic even.
So, now with winter, shorter days, and no baseball, the depression begins. I have a hard time dealing with the next four months or so. I'm a creature of light, of sun, of lazy days and activities. Can't wait for the spring solstice and spring training...
This is a new site to monitor the fed bailout of our financial institutions. You know, capitalism for the profits, socialism for the losses..
Anyway, I, like most other people have serious doubts about all this... at least this site allows us to monitor the excesses, perhaps keep 'em honest (unlikely). Or, more likely, how the big financial institutions are reaming the taxpayer once again.
After a long dry spell of decent jazz in this city, some hot young players have started playing together again. John Henry has reformed with all the original players except Willis Clow (but with a good keyboardist as a substitute). The boss sax player David Halliday is often part of the group. Anchored by the rhythm section of Will Lovell and Steve Lyman, the Chisholm Bros. on horns are throwing down some very creative shit. Also, Lyman often performs with his quartet, Kenji on guitar and Denson on bass. So good to have this music available again, solid and creative musicians playing the real thing.
Freddy King is perhaps the least known of the blues Kings (BB and Albert the others), but Freddy had a great instro style. His Hideaway has always been a favorite tune of mine (and frequently covered by others such as Clapton). Hideaway is a classic and unique blues style.
Now I'm not a biggie on the You Tube thing, but I have to admit, there is some incredible stuff there. I found this Freddy King video and thought I'd bring some attention to it. He plays a basic Hooker riff, almost to boredom, then suddenly digs for it, and things get really intense. A hot performance.
The Willis Clow CD is now out and available on CD Baby. Some great, great guitar based jazz (although he would claim it to be rock). I think this stuff is part of the new fusion, since it involves some country, some rock, some jazz, and is somewhat hard core in it's approach. But that defines the new fusion. Fusion's gotten a bad name over the years, a musical style associated with jazz that became very stereotyped, if not linked to "smooth jazz" (I want to hurl, here...). But something is going on these days, I think it relates to today's musicians having a greater depth into all forms of music, as well as strong technical skills well beyond a specific musical niche.
So, I call the Willis Clow CD the new hardcore jazz fusion. Fuck it, all labels are ambiguous anyway. Just go buy this thing, It's good. (there's samples on the CD Baby site). Hell, buy two or three... we gotta pay off his student loans for the USC Masters degree!
Another pic from the infamous Double Down Saloon. The group is the Surf Coasters from Japan. Really hot surf music (my secret passion!). Shigeo Naka, the guitarist, is one of the best players I've ever heard (of any kind of music). I recorded the show, and have posted it at archive.org. I hope the little player I've pasted in works, you can hear some of the tunes. Enjoy!
OK, the Coen Bros., so I gotta see it. Lots of reviews read, mostly negative. My feeling? Great movie... Most of the acting is good to great, particularly Maklovich and Swinton. Brad Pitt didn't quite do it for me, unexpectly since his role get most of the press, but he was still fun. Yes, all the characters are despicable in some way or another, or maybe completely. And the story line is really bullshit, but then that's the point of the movie, it's all bullshit. Every ingredient in that flick is bullshit. The Coen Bros. throwing one off for fun, and their general take on life.
But the best part of the movie is the music for the closing credits. I'm amazed no one has mentioned this in any review. The tune is from the Fugs!!! "fuckin' A man, CIA man..." Five Stars for this element alone. The Fugs tune really ties the movie together...
So I thought that hula hoops and the craze was dead and buried. So be it... old footage of that era and fad look soooooo dated. A very silly activity. But now, hoops are back! Called hooping these days, and I guess a big deal in some areas. Their are hoopers associated with Mermen concerts. Oh, please, just go away!
Well, not so fast. So I head down to the Double Down Saloon in Vegas for the Surf Coasters gig. Japanese surf music! Actually, these guys are so good, it's amazing. So the opening act is Thee Swank Bastards. And their friend. Guess I could get into this hooping thing.
Been awhile since I've added to this blog. Lots has happened, primarily back surgery for my son in L.A., and more age related health issues for me. Basically, I'm OK, and my dick is still living with me rather than dying prematurely. OK, male ego, but as my dick goes, so go I. It's a life benchmark. And these days, love interests are quite inspiring, so functioning systems are important.
And, thankfully, my son is doing well. Scary deal, a ruptured disk and no health insurance. Thankfully some friends made some arrangements and he got very good care, but out of (my) pocket for thousands. And some hospital billings not part of the agreement. So goes health care in the greatest country in the world. Something is very wrong, here...
Hope to announce soon a link to pick up his CD. Some very great music, I think most folks will enjoy it greatly. And, hopefully, his profs at USC will accept it as a final Masters project and grant the degree.
And a final comment about baseball... the season sucks. The Braves are playing like shit... OK, a disasterous season with major injuries, but to play as badly as they have lately is depressing. Oh, well, as Cub fans say, wait til next year.
Over the past year, I've read several articles on Italian jazz, with reviews raving about the quality of musicianship and music. Pianists, reed players, trumpeters, any instrument used in jazz, there are Italians wailing away with great music. So I thought I'd take a chance on this CD I ran across on CDBaby, and what a great piece of music! Sax, bass, and drums, recorded (deliciously!) live, the music is innovative, refreshing, exciting, and exceptionally well played. No mainstream meanderings, free jazz futzing, or smooth jazz lobotomization, just real jazz, with strong hints of Ornette and Sonny. Now I know why people are writing about the Italian jazz scene, maybe the most vibrant in the world right now.
Of course my little kinky musical secret is my love for surf music. Somehow, an overly reverbed guitar really does it for me. How a farm boy got the ocean bug is odd, but that's what the reverb does to me. Or maybe it's just the clean guitars, the melodic tunes, the basic playing... I don't know... I just dig it.
Down in SoCal this last weekend. On Sunday, the Huntington Beach International Surf Museum held one more in the perpetual string of surf music concerts at the pier. I took all my recording gear down there (guess I should post sometime on the geeky stuff) and recorded a couple great bands.
The top pic (how do I insert pics where I want them in this blog?) is Madeira. Ivan, on the left is one very fine guitar player as well as composer. Love their music. The bottom pic is Pollo del Mar from San Francisco. Another top group involved in modern surf music.
And coming soon, next month, Japan's Surf Coasters are doing another west coast tour. Shigeo Naka is simply the best guitarist I've ever heard. Check out the Double Down in Vegas for a hot show from the Coasters.
Most of us know that the only reason to hang around this oppresive State is the incredible beauty found in the desert (and mountains, and lakes, and streams, etc.). Maybe the most beautiful State in the nation, at least until the four wheeling and oil drilling destroys all the scenic wonder.
A friend at work has a pretty cool website documenting the hiking and camping experiences he and his wife have explored around Utah (and neighboring States). The site includes extensive photos and descriptions of zillions of neat places (many you may never heard of). Check it out when you get a chance, or when you want some ideas of places to explore (while blowing $4 gas!).
OK, I know this has been going on for some time. Some sort of Madonna thing from years ago. What's with this acceptance of exposed bra straps? How sleazy have we become? Yes, I know it's generally accepted, now, which, even as informal as I am, still bugs me.
I mean, if you are a drunken floozie spending afternoons in a dive bar hoping Bukowski will write a poem about you, then let 'em droop...
So I'm in this nice restaurant in Venice, ordering wine and pasta... An attractive young blonde dressed in contrasting black with slim shoulder straps takes my order. Besides the tatoos running down each arm (my issue, and another topic), her bra straps hung over her shoulders. Way unattractive, and not particularly appetizing. Needless to say, even with the wine, the service sucked, and the food did as well. Guess it all goes together.
Anyway, while I'm not exactly a paragon of fashion and style, I'd hope we still had a little class left in our culture. Guess not...
Way back when, after Miles redefined jazz with Bitches Brew and Jack Johnson, when jazz, in order to survive, embraced rock to create a new sound in popular music... way back when, it was called "fusion".
Unfortunately, this fusion sound soon went is a less desirable direction, becoming a hackneyed style that was easily assimilated into the more palatable "smooth jazz". Groups like Return to Forever produce some great stuff but also expressed the excesses of the form and soon degenerated into the smooth category. Fusion, at least to me, became something to avoid. The promise of Miles, the great integration of jazz, rock, r&b, etc., soon became a boring formulaic sound.
But fusion is back, with a new vitality. Find it on XM 70... Beyond Jazz they call it. Led by the latest generation of jam bands as well as the younger jazz dudes (who have musical depth in many directions), a new, more promising integration of styles is taking place. Fusion is finally showing its promise. And the best of the past is now resurrected. I listen to XM quite a bit (and other than resampling around Billy Holiday--horendous!), I like what I hear.
So I'm pleased (for many reasons) to finally get the CD project (to finish his Masters at USC) from Willis. Five tunes, all originals by Willis except for the wonderful interpretation of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright". Some country, some rock, some jazz, all well expressed (with more emotion than I expected), and well integrated, and well played. Lots to hear and enjoy. Hopefully we can get the group on this CD up to SLC for the Arts Fest next summer.
Also, I'm planning to post MP3s of the music on his web site in the near future. A limited run of demo CDs will be produced as well.
The new fusion, finally the promise fulfulled. And thanks, Willis, for getting this done, A father's pride, a great musical accomplishment.
So I'm sitting in a Starbucks somewhere in West L.A. kludging together some sort of breakfast. A bad sleeping night only added to my general opinion that the world is going to hell... But Coltrane was playing over the sound system and a young woman was reading "The Road to Los Angeles" by John Fante, so maybe something is right with the world.
Off to LA LA Land for the weekend. Fake son is holding down the fort. A couple nights in Marina del Rey, then back to OC for a couple days. Will try to blog a bit when I have a good connection. Enjoy some good tequila while I'm gone!
Hear a lot about heroes these days. A term easily applied for the simplest of circumstances. I've always had a strange collection of heroes. Seems like all of 'em had bizarre and fantastic qualities, yet were all assholes at some level. Hunter Thompson's excesses made for great press and crazy comments, but also made him dangerous and inconsiderate in much of his personal life. George Carlin was another hero. What an inciteful and socially relevant comic, yet in his last years, he often got downright mean in his routines.
Ted Turner is another of my heroes, one of the great media moguls, and long time owner of my beloved Braves. A braggadacio (known as the "mouth of the south"), yet he accomplished so much. Who could have believed starting a whole new news network (CNN)? I was pissed when he sold out to Time-Warner.
Mark Cuban has inherited the role of this age's Ted Turner. I love his ideas about HD TV, his networks, hiring Dan Rather, and other accomplishments. He's also a very controversial figure, in trouble with the NBA, probably blackballed by MLB from buying the Cubs.
No true heroes who are genuine nice guys (nice guys finish last???)
Yep, my heroes have always been assholes (hey, let's throw in Bukowski!)... Probably a reflection on myself. Everytime I do something I'm proud of personally, it's not long before I show myself as the dickhead I really am.
The only hero I have who is truely a great person is my son Willis. I can't think of any really bad qualities. He's kind, considerate, polite, smart, yet cynical deep down and wise beyond his years. Definitely an improvement over me. I guess the idea of progeny is to improve the species. I can't believe Willis is the fruit of my loins... had to be his mother responsible for this kid turning out so well. Of course, he's not rich and successful in the traditional sense, but maybe that will yet come and hopefully on his own terms. http://www.willisclow.com
So, heroes... give me the crazed, the wild, the destroyers of barriers, and maybe one or two genuinely fine folks...
Thought I'd post a shot of the Gentry Densley gig at Ken Sanders Rare Books. Not exactly music for shopping, but Ken is a true patron of the arts. Thanks to him for doing this.
Gentry is also known for his work with Iceburn, a major experimental band in SLC dating back to the 80's, and maybe further back. His gigs at the infamous Kilby Court got me into recording. So I have much fondness for Gentry as he has always challenged the musical status quo.
I mentioned that a few of us got together over the weekend. We celebrated Nick S. Bastille's 60th, as well as our friend Rodney, who's back in SLC after decades in Boston. Nick C. Bastille was present as well. The function was held at the Stuart/Snow ranch up beyond Woodland. A very nice get together. Here's the stud part of the crew.
I don't really know what it is either. Nice article a couple months ago in the LA Times, with pics of some really weird looking dudes who play this music then go burn down churches or something. Sounds like my kind of people (I'm being bold, here, I'd probably run from them as fast as I could if ever confronted).
Anyway, there's this guitarist around town, Gentry Densley, who I've heard play free jazz, noise music, and all sorts of other stuff (did a stint with SLAJO as well). He's been in a bunch of groups, I suspect a web search would reveal much more depth.
Occasionally he shows up with a distinctive presentation, my favorite was the basement installation of 12 tube amplifiers at max volume with a guitar or bass in front of each putting the amps into total feedback. Arranged in a circle, this created quite a cacophony of sound. Actually, probably not a correct description, more like a giant roar!
Ken Sanders Rare Books hosted another presentation, this a shortened form of his latest group, Ascend. Just guitar (heavily modified) into a couple amps, with a drummer. Whatever he played, very heavy, suggested the Norwegian Black Metal image I got from the LA Times article. Check out the Ascend CD at: http://www.southernlord.com
If I were at my real machine, rather than stealing time at work, I could post a picture of the show. Maybe next time. I'm still learning this blog thing, lots of possibilities but I never have what I need when I need it. Sounds more like a condition of life!
A few of you out there remember the Huddle, an essential gathering place for students (and others of many stripes) at the University of Utah. Quite a few of us received our real college education in the Huddle, probably learned more there than in any classroom. And certainly the social relationships that developed (hey, often trolling for a quick lay worked just fine, en passant...), friendships that still exist today decades later. And the world changed, or so we thought (evolution is the belief, revolution is the ritual) as the days turned into months into years...
The Huddle is gone, replaced by the sanitized version of a gathering place. A big screen TV replaces conversation (plotting), which I guess is the new way to quell revolt, to placate the masses... Which leads me to sports, which really is another blog, another day.
Anyway, we are considering a memorial to the Huddle, perhaps on the 4oth Bastille Family reunion. Think about it...
OK, stupid start, but at least I've started. So now I have no excuses... I must write, express my deranged thoughts, and tempt Homeland Security and the Bush Admin to slip me a free pass to Guantanamo...