Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - Ralph Towner, Chick Corea.

For this week's Sunday Music Muse Day, I got to share the latest releases from two of my favorite musicians.  One of my regular music buying shop, Record Archives, was having a 43rd anniversary bash, and offering a 40% off sale. So, I took the opportunity to pick a special item I had my eye on but resisted due to the high price (hey...I'm on a family man's budget). That item was the Chick Corea: The Musician, 4-Disc set, with 3 CDs and a Blu-Ray of Chick 's special 70th birthday celebration, which he spent by playing the Blue Note jazz club in NYC for a a month of 48 show with various musician from his stellar career.  It a parade of "who's-who" of the jazz world. I'm just working my way through the music CDs, and look forward to the Blu-Ray special.  An added bonus the packaging as 5 1/2" x 7 1/2" booklet with 46 page of liner notes and full color photos print heavy glossy paper.  It's a very nice set, worth the full price.

The Record Archive discount sale made it easy to pick up another CD I had my eye on, Ralph Towner My Foolish Heart. It's a solo effort, with Ralph on classical and 12-string guitars.   In the liner notes he states the title, especially the version by legendary pianist Bill Evan inspired his piano playing (piano being his first instrument), and later his guitar playing.  It's great to see Ralph going strong into his mid-70s.  I plan to enjoy every moment of this CD.

These two selections will keep me busy for days, and I'm sure I'll be revisiting them often, in the future.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - Sound of Wood & Steel, Jim Hall, Alan Holdsworth

Sorry, I skipped a week (for no particular reason), but I'm back with another Sunday Music Muse Day.  This week features all guitar music, I admit that's my preference most of the time.  First up is two CDs slightly outside of my jazz leanings, Sounds of Wood & Steel (1) & 2/  A Windham Hill Collection of acoustic guitar music produced in partnership with the Taylor Guitars company.  All the performers used Taylor guitar on the CDs. Windham Hill used to be described as New Age label, mostly presenting instrumental acoustic music. I picked up some Windham Hill albums ages ago. Most of the guitarists on these CDs are new to me, except Michael Hedges, Will Ackerman, and Leo Kottke/  I have albums by all three.  Generally this is a nice set of music, pleasant, but not memorable.  It is nice background music for a lazy, peaceful afternoon, or quiet dinner party, so it's not all bad.
Next is, Grand Slam,Live at the Regattabar, with Jim Hall on guitar, Joe Lovano on saxophones and alto clarinet, George Mraz on Bass, and Lewis Nash on drums. I sure Tom Pethic influenced this purchase.  I'm sure I've hear Joe Lovano played on his radio show many times.  Great stuff, getting a 4 1/2 out  of 5 star rating on the All Music web site.  This is one for serious listening.

Finally, Alan Holdsworth All Night Wrong, a live set recorded at a venue in Japan during a 2002 tour. This is 4 out of 5 star rated CD by the great fusion guitar, and a favorite of mine, who passed away just a few months ago.  I'm glad to add this to my collection.
With the passings of Holdsworth, Larry Coryell, and the recent death of John Abercrombie, all long time favorite guitarists of mine, those sad events pushed me to buy tickets for John McLaughlin's farewell tour this November.  I'll be seeing at University of Buffalo, and I'm taking my son, who is just starting to play guitar.  I hope he like the concert.

Dime-A-Dozen Projects #6 - Misc. Sci-Fi Characters.

[Dime-A-Dozen Projects is so named from a conversation with creative friends of mine as we lamented that when we were working full-time for someone else, we get these (in our minds) original "million dollar" ideas, that would, somehow, turn into "dime-a-dozen" ideas when we were out of work and on our own.]

Next up, is Misc. Sci-Fi , a group of miscellaneous characters that I drew in my teenage sketch books (mid-1960 - 1980s)
 Most of the these characters don't have proper names or fully realized backgrounds and story lines, just brief ideas.

The Warrior Prince, the sketch book drawing figure who's face influenced by  Miles Davis, jazz's Prince of Darkness.
 The Galactic Bounty Hunters.
 Maximus Kreel, Intergalactic Bounty Hunter. (aka the Voyager)
 St. Clair - Space Detective, "Blaster for Hire".
 Terraplane Jane.
 Space Pirates.

The Great Interplanetary.  This character was a astronaut marooned on with sword and sorcery, and hi-tech elements.  The concept never got past this rough drawing. 
The Lovers.  These are two star-crossed lovers, her being a high born princess and he is a guard palace who combat career was ended when he lost his arm at war.  The bare breast were definitely influence by reading Heavy Metal magazine.

 Future War - Into the Breach - The Godless Hour is a later drawing influenced by my love of military science fiction, especially the David Drake book series Hammer's Slammers.
A10 0 Heavy Artillery - was a attempt female armored battlesuit warrior.

Starship Gunner - Tailgunner is a very old sketch that I always intended to do more with

 It could go with this story board sequence inspired by the arcade video game Tailgunner.
Next, I will start present more focused, starting with sword and sorcery character influenced by the Frank Frazetta's Conan paperback back covers.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Music Muse Day - Brand X Reuinon Band, Now and That

This Sunday Music Muse Day has me centering on one group, Brand X, who was one of my favorite Rock-Fusion groups from the 1970.    One of my favorite record shops, the Bop Shop Record presenting at one night gig at the Lovin' Cup a local bar/restaurant/music room.  I could resist picking up ticket (my good friend Bruce Younger agree to go with me. Thanks Bruce).

Only two of the original members in this reunion, guitarist John Goodsall, and bassist Percy Jones, a monster fretless electric bass player, that was enough to it make worthwhile, as they we're play was at the core of the band's sound. The reunion band sounded great and did the classic tune justice.  I mentioned to pick the two-disc live concert CD of the current lineup, with the except of Kenwood Dennard, replacing Kenny Grohowski on drum on the CD.  Dennard had played with the group back in the '70s and '80s, subbing for original drummer, Phil Collin, of Genesis, and his own solo fame.  I saw Brand X twice in the 70's.  Once in Central Park Wollman Rink in NYC in August 1, 1978, when the opened for John Mclauglin's One Truth Band ( one of is post-Mahavishu Orchestra groups) and in Toronto, Canada at the O'Keefe center, September 8, 1979. (Joie Benitez, I think you were with me)
I got a chance to talk to guitarist John Goodsall briefly. Hearing the music played live Thursday night brought back great memories.

Of course, I had to pull out all their old albums and give them another listen.  Plus, reviewing the band's history online, you find it had rotating roster of players and the usual conflict with their record company, in it want them "to be more commercial", like adding vocals and trying for hit singles. That's the kiss of death for adventurous instrumental band.  Brand X did fade from the spotlight for awhile.  I'm glad to see them back.  One aspect remains, their humorous album and song titles.  Some of that had to do with they friendship with two of the members of Monty Python. In fact, Michael Palin wrote very funny liner notes for the "Do They Hurt" LP.

I also picked up some other albums that members of Brand X played on as sidemen.   The David Bendeth Band was the opening act for Brand X on the Canada concert I attended. The Canadian guitarist only made three albums, which featured bassist Marcus Miller, drummers Lenny White and Billy Cobham. then Bendeth quit performing and went on to a success career producing and song writing.

So, all in all, this was a nice trip down memory lane.