Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Music Muse Day - Ken Burns Jazz, and Rhapsodies in Black - Music and Words from the Harlem Renaissance

This Sunday Music Muse Day picks are to celebrate the opening the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

What better way than with CD sets that showcase the musical heritage of African Americans that have enriched the full American experience.  First is the well known, Ken Burns Jazz - The Story of America's Music. This five CD set. and 44 page booklet, is the sound track companion piece to the well known film documentary.  I admit there are dis-tractors and critics of Burn's take on Jazz history, but never the less there is much to like in the collection. (which I pick up at the public library book store for $7.  So, support you local library when ever you can)


The second is the Rhino Records, Rhapsodies in Black - Music and Words from the Harlem Renaissance.  the Harlem Renaissance is defined as a period in the 1920s when African-American achievements in art and music and literature flourished.  The four CD set contains music, poetry, and a 96 page booklet with essays of, and about, the times.  (I saved this collection from the dumpster at my college library job, as they were weeding the collection.  It's really too good to toss)


The African American Museum and the music, and art of these CD set are not a separate history of this country, but a integral part of the fabric and essence of the American culture.  These are treasures to been celebrate and embraced by all, with honor and respect.  Enjoy.

Dime-a-Dozen Project - Preview

I posted this for Throwback Thursday, on Facebook, this video is a pre-preview of my Dime-a-Dozen Project on this blog, where I'll be taking my old drawings, characters and concepts and use them to, hopefully, get the creative juices flowing again. Galaxic Tallgunner is based on a storyboard of a short film idea I started in 1978. You get the idea, a dime-a-dozen idea.

Here's are this original thumbnail storyboard sheets.

I have ton's of unfinished projects in the form of character sketches, incomplete written outlines, half drawn comic pages, and full illustrations.  I feeling the need to catalog for my own sanity and for simple record to leave my kids, and as I say above, along the way rekindle my creative juice and start drawing again.  Stand tuned.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Music Muse Day - Michael (Mike) Melito Quintet, Buddy Rich, Steve Greene Trio, and Vieux Farka Toure

Welcome to another Sunday Music Muse Day.  This week's selections starts off with the beats of two swinging drummers. Counting off the downbeat first is Mike Melito (when he had a longer name, and longer hair), as the Michael Melito Quintet - My Conception, actually is Mike's recording debut as a leader.   Mike sure hit the ground running, and continues producing the swinging "hard bop" he set out to play.  I already have Mike's latest "New York Connections", and look forward to the CD release gig he has planned in October.  Mike is a big fan of my father, Sam Woodyard (drummer for Duke Ellington), and counts Sam as a major influence.  The more I hear Mike play, the more I hear bits of Sam in his playing, and feel Mike is keeping that swinging tradition alive, and progressing.


Next up is special find, legendary drummer Buddy Rich, The Roar of '74.  Billed as "the world's greatest drummer" during his career, with the impressive roster of big bands and artist he played with, and leading his own big band, it would hard to argue with that title. An added treat for me is that my father, Sam Woodyard is featured on percussion (bongos, hand drum, etc).  This a hot rocking set of tunes and great fun to listen to.



The next selection is another local Rochester musician, guitarist, Steve Greene Trio.  I heard Steve play a live set on our local jazz radio station, Jazz90.1, in the past. This is nice mellow jazz guitars and bass set.  I hope to catch Steve performing live sometime.


My last selection, actually was picked by my wife, Lisa, who saw this artist perform while she was visiting a friend in Hudson, NY, this weekend.  Vieux Farka Toure - Mon Pays is a CD by the Malian (Mali, in West Africa) singer and guitarist and son of the late Grammy Award winning Malian musician Ali Farka Toure, who many know from his CD with Ry Cooder, Talking Timbuktu.  Lisa really liked the live concert, and the infectious Afro-beats on this CD makes me jealous I didn't see him, too.



All in all, a nice collection of tunes to head into autumn with.  Enjoy.



Autumn, time for a Change

Since September is my birth month, I tend to think of it as a time for a fresh start as we head into autumn, a time for change. So, my aim is to spend more time in this studio chair, actually doing creative stuff. To support the desire, I'm resigned from my part-time job at the Brighton Memorial Library, which is a bitter-sweet decision, since I made a lot of good friends there, and will miss our daily interactions. But, with Lisa's cancer battle, the boys going off to college, me reaching my full social security age, and the grind working two jobs, I felt it was time for pull back a bit. In truth, the tipping point was at a family meal in August before the boys left, and Lisa mentioned she would have to get used to eating dinner alone as an empty-nester, with me working evenings. That thought pained me. Some things are worth more than money. So, hopefully I will use the free time productively and hit all those projects I put on the back-burner while I worked 50 hours a week. (I'll be keeping my full-time job, but getting off at 4pm will seem like a half day) If nothing else I'll be able to help with dinner and enjoy the company of my lovely wife at the dinner table. Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Star Trek 50th Anniversary

Here's my tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, with random items off my book shelf, a 10th anniversary window sticker, the 25th Anniversary computer game, Star Trek pop-up book, a 1973 Star Trek Convention program, a Deep Space Nine mini-comic, and a Captain Jean-Luc Picard action figure.
 I don't think I ever got to saw an original Star Trek broadcast, as my sisters overruled my choice of TV viewing in our one TV household. I caught up on Star Trek in syndication after I moved to NYC in my last year at SVA. In many ways I prefer the Star Trek universe over Star Wars as Star Trek was about exploration and discovery and how we handle the moral, social , and political aspects of those new encounters. The show offered a vision of hope for a better tomorrow. That alone made me a fan. Live long and proper.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sunday Music Muse Today (Labor day Edition) Manuel Barrueco, Margaret Explosion

Welcome to my Sunday Music Muse Day, delayed a day for Labor Day holiday.  The first pick is another one motivated by the names of the other musicians rather than the leader. Manuel Barrueco Nylon and Steel is a CD of duets which finds Barrueco, who according to All that Jazz, "...is a globally acclaimed classical guitarist who specializes in Spanish musics but has also explored Bach, Toru Takemitsu and Arvo Pärt over the past 25 years", playing with Al Di Meola, Steve Morse, and Andy Summers.  Each of these guitarist are known for playing with successful groups, Return to Forever, Dixie Dregs, and the Police, respectively, and solo careers. Although I wasn't familiar with Barrueco, I like this CD  and will look for more of his CDs.


My next selection is local Rochester group I still haven't had a chance to see live.  Margaret Explosion Skyhigh is another spacey jam affair. Their music has been described as "...slow-motion psychedelia that conjures images and colors" (by Frank De Blase City Newspaper - Nov. 29, 2006)  That pretty much covers it. In their own words, '"We call what we do simultaneous, spontaneous composition rather than jamming,"  That's means, unless you have their CD you will never here the same tune again. An interesting concept for a band.


That's it for this week.  I'm going to get out and enjoy the day.  You should do the same.  There always good music when you return.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Music Muse Day - Morrie Loudon, David Friesen, Herbie Hancock

Time for another Sunday Music Muse Day.  These weeks are flying by, ummer is almost over and fall is just around the bend.  Whatever the season, it's always a good time to share good music.  Two of my picks this week are leaps of faith, sort of. The first, is Morrie Louden Time Piece, which I picked up because it has guitarist Lionel Loueke, who's CD I picked up recently, and the drummer Adam Nussbaum, who I know from his work with guitarist John Scofield, on it.  Those were the only names I recognized among the large players list. Time Piece (as I researched) is Louden's debut album released in 2007 and it gets 3/4 stars on All About Jazz website.  I have to agree with the reviewer, "Time Piece turns out be a delightful mix of material, showing his writing skills as well as his chops on the acoustic bass."  I'm enjoying it, and especially like the title tune.  I'll have to look for more of his CDs.





Another small leap of faith is next selection of David Friesen, Airto Moreira, and Gary Barone  Anicent Kings.  Just a small leap, because I have albums of bassist David Friesen in duets with guitarist John Stowell, from back int he 1970's.  I just haven't come across his music lately.  The same could be said for master percussionist Airto Moreira, who played with so many legendary artists and group including Miles Davis (Bitches Brew era), Weather Report (first album), Return to Forever (first two album) and countless other.  Jazztimes said, "The album, recorded in 1994, makes its point eloquently without shouting...and the echoes of this session occasionally suggests a distilled Bitches Brew. Minor keys dominate."  There is one cut, Rooftops, that I heard echos of Jimi Hendrix' Third Stone from Sun, It well worth a listen.

My last selection is more of a no-brainer, Herbie Hancock The New Standard.  It would be hard to pass up a Herbie CD with the talented players on the session, Micheal Brecker, saxophones, John Scofield, guitars, Dave Holland, bass, Jack DeJohnette, drums, and Don Alias, percussion.  Most of these guys have lead their own groups in addition to having played together on other various projects over the length of their careers.   A nice addition to my music stash.



This is my first weekend as a empty nester, so it's nice to have good music to help fill the void.