Tuesday, August 28, 2007

sometimes the frog sings too

More Muppets whimsy- to celebrate the release of season 2 on DVD, the Phoenix newspaper compiled a top twenty Muppet Show musical moments. The Rich/Animal duel is already legendary; for me the find is the Paul Simon solo number. I didn't know this tune, and man is it great.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer fades away with its radio in the distance...

Every summer, they say, has its song. (I want to know who they are) You know the one, the song so ubiquitous it ends up on every radio station, even NPR, unbelievably catchy. The song you hear at every 7-11 on the planet as you get your slurpee. That song. There's never any universal agreement, but there are songs that I'll equate with a particular summer, from the really good ("Every Breath You Take", summer of '83, getting you all primed for Orwell) to the ridiculously catchy (remember "Crazy in Love" a few years back?) to the, well, less good (remember "Drop it Like it's Hot", also one of the most annoying catch phrases in recent history?)

But this summer, I need help. I listen to the radio some, probably more than I should, and I haven't found a song that fits the bill- catchy and ubiquitous, will play on white and black radio, you hear kids singing it. (Maybe the fragmentation of radio is part of why I don't have one, but that's another topic.) It doesn't even have to be good, though that'd be nice.

For the record, my nominations:

Cat Empire- "Sly"

It's catchy, it's danceable, and that thing in the video looks like a bass trumpet, which wins it cool points. On the downside, it sounds an awful lot like Cake (the first several times I heard it I said "Oh, cool, Cake's finally gonna have a radio hit" Oops.) and it never really caught on on teen radio.

Plain White T's- Hey There Delilah

I know, it's unbelievably cliche, almost self-consciously so, and lyrically really clunky. But is there anything more summer, at least in our dreams, than unironic, fearless young love? And it's ubiquitous. (Remember, I didn't say I liked it, or you had to)

Please tell me there's been something else in the pop world this summer that I missed. Please?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Gigs I won't be at this weekend...

But you could.

Terence Blanchard at the Regattabar, tonight. Blanchard is my favorite of the New Orleans' "young lions". I remember seeing him with the (criminally underrated) Bruce Barth ten years ago, and being just blown away. Music from his new post-Katrina record.

Herbie Hancock is at the Berklee Performance Center tomorrow night. With Nathan East- bass, Lionel Louke- guitar, Vinnie Colaiuta- drums. Cheapest seat is $50- Herbie, c'mon! Here's a taste, courtesy of YouTube:

Spacing out

King Kauffman, Salon.com's sports columnist, reports today on a Chicago Cub fan myspace page being shut down without explanation or apparent cause. This reminded me of a recent note I got from Living Colour about their continuing (mis)adventures with Myspace (scroll to July 3 entry), and what they found when they dug a little.

Living Colour is not alone here among musicians I follow; Meshell N'Degeocello has had her fan page on myspace dropped several times, and a few others I follow as well. Other musicians, Living Colour and John Mayer to name two, have shifted their more candid comments to other venues. (I like Mayer's "in response to the arrest of 63 fans")

Now, Myspace is a privately owned portal, owned by Rupert Murdoch's Orwellian Newscorp; Legally it can do whatever it wants on Myspace. But that doesn't make it fair or right- not LC's comments about the power of Myspce as a marketing tool once you hit a certain tipping point- and my hunch is that the more noise that is made when it does happens, the less it'll happen. Not even fascist like bad press.

Update: Myspace has responded to Salon, and blames this one on Major League Baseball. I don't know if I buy that one...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

a nu warrior on the mat

For those of you in the Boston area, I will be teaching an all levels, "power flow" yoga classes at HYP Studio in Needham on Saturday morning at 7:30 and 9am. HYP is a lovely studio, with what many of my teacher friends call the best heat in Boston. (Yup, both classes will be taught at a balmy 95 degrees. You will sweat, and sweat, and sweat. So will I.) This is my first teaching since my recent training with Baron Baptiste, and I'm excited to get back into the flow of it again. (pardon the pun)

Don't worry, I won't be using the blog to advertise every class I teach- my hope is there'll be so many it'd get tedious. quickly This, though, is an Occasion.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Next gig- Lift @ Lily Pad, Sept. 9

First, for the first time in awhile I shifted ye ole myspace page, to include a live version "Wedding Day", a song I wrote for my brother's wedding. Their fifth anniversary is in a few weeks- yikes. Even that far out, I think this is one of the best tunes I've written. The band is Lift, with special guest Tim Albright. We may resurrect it for...

My next gig is all set! I will be bringing a new, full sextet version of Lift to the Lily Pad in Cambridge on Sunday, Sept. 9. Hit will be at 7:15. A new, fleshed out version of "Hopscotch" (also on the myspace page) will be on the menu, as well as some new and older music. (all this music has bumped blogging a bit, in case you haven't noticed. The lineup is:

Jason Palmer- trumpet
Carmen Staaf- keys
Andrew Stern- guitar
Bridget Kearney- bass
Eric Platz- drums
moi- saxophone

Andrew, a newcomer to my world, and Eric are two thirds of Fat Little Bastard, a great guitar trio. I'm the worst player in my band- I love that feeling. More as it comes.

Monday, August 20, 2007

opening kickoff, allegro con moto

From today's Monday Morning Quarterback, Peter King's NFL column, a must read every week for any (American) football fan:

At the start of (New York) Jets practice at their Long Island complex, Mozart concertos play from six speakers around the practice fields.
"There's a lot of debate about whether classical music, and Mozart in particular, stimulates brain waves and learning,'' (Jets head coach Eric) Mangini told me the other day. "So I figured, 'Why not? Let's do it.'''
Sure sounds strange while standing out there, that's all I can say.
"Not a lot of the guys are very big fans of it,'' safety Kerry Rhodes said.

Maybe Mangini should have started with the symphonies...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

RIP Max Roach

What can you say about one of, if not the greatest drummer in jazz history? When I was first getting into this music at age 10-11, all I listened to was Charlie Parker records, so Max Roach was a given for me. I just thought that's how people played drums.

Max's brilliance didn't hit me until several years later, when I got what is still my favorite Clifford Brown record, the Live at Basin Street outing of the Brown/Roach quintet, still with Sonny Rollins. Listening again now, the album is uneven, and Richie Powell is a little stiff, but the propulsion that Roach provides, and Clifford rides, still blows me away to this day. Just listen to the solo on the full version of "What is This Thing..." Wow.

When I was 16, I was also lucky enough to see a Max Roach solo set at Newport, featuring "Mr. Hi Hat", his tribute to Jo Jones. (This followed a duo set of Jack DeJohnette and Bobby McFerrin. I was a lucky kid) I was stupified. Here's one version, courtesy of Hank Shteamer at TONY:

Many others can say more, and speak better of Max's brilliance (great NYT obit here, and Darcy has an expanding blog rundown.) And like many folks, I knew he was sick. I'm just overwhelmingly grateful for Max's amazing music, searching soul and restless spirit. Heaven's rhythm section just got that much better.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

the dog who licks itself because it can

Words of wisdom from the great Lee Konitz. (via Rifftides)

Mwanji collects the shards of feedback on the most recent Keith Jarrett fiasco. The things I miss when I skip town. And I've been fortunate enough to see Keith's trio three different times- when I saw him in the Rochester area he actually laughed off an erstwhile photographer. Why do I miss all the good stuff? On a more serious note, before Keith's late 90s early 00s bout with chronic fatigue, there was a date set for a quintet record of the trio plus Lovano and Tom Harrell, playing all new material. (Rumors were floating around for awhile, and Jack DeJohnette confirmed them at a masterclass I attended in '97) One can only hope this idea gets picked up again...

And on a more frivolous note, Greg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback returns this week, just in time for really useless NFL preseason games. He gives rather roundabout capsules for each team, and a fantastic layman's guide to hedge funds, the biggest scam of the season not involving something made in China...

Addition: I'm the last one to this, but Steve Coleman finally has a blog. Anyone who's ever heard Steve speak or talked to him in person or on the phone, knows that this is long, long overdue. (My former prof Ralph Alessi, who toured with Steve for several years, said that if he called, he would just stop whatever he was doing, get his notebook and start writing.) It's dense, it's full, and some of it may be BS, but it's a must read. I've skimmed it, but I will spend an hour at work tomorrow literally mouthing along with the words, and then maybe, maybe start reacting...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

RIP Herb Pomeroy

It's a drag to come home to be the bearer of bad news. Herb Pomeroy, longtime Boston trumpeter, composer, arranger and teacher lost his battle with cancer on Saturday at age 77. (Globe obit here, NY Times here) The article may seem like hyperbole, but it's not at all. Without Herb, Berklee couldn't have held it's post for so long as the jazz school, and his role on the Boston scene in the 50s, 60s and 70s was equally important.

I got to work with Herb once, in 1993 as part of the Mass all-state jazz band. We did an all-Ellington program (Herb was a quiet advocate for playing and learning all of Duke's music long before J@LC came along), still unusual in those days, especially for a high school band. It included a big band version of "Fleur African" from Money Jungle, very unusual. He loved everyone there, and everyone loved Herb. He was like your kind uncle who swoops in out of town once a year and regales you with tales about far-away lands. Only here the far-away lands were stories of Bird and Dolphy and Duke and so many others. I didn't get to work with Herb after that, but I am to this day grateful to him. He will be dearly missed.

As the article mentions, A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sept. 9 in Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street in Boston.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

corpse pose

I am headed out of town for ten days for a yoga teacher training, and a few days of R&R in the Berkshires after that. (Yes, I know Baron badly butchers Shakespeare here; he was never an english major...) No phone, no web, just yoga; we'll see how it plays out. Assuming I can still feel my fingers, blogging will resume on my return. 'Til then, enjoy the work of my esteemed colleagues, or fer cryin out loud, get outside and play in the sunshine! In the meantime, here's an aforementioned, amazing performance from Sonny Rollins and Leonard Cohen- I have more to say 'bout this one on my return.