Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day - Stan Meets Chet, Chick Corea Vigil, and Jack Bruce Spectrum Road

This week's Sunday Music Muse Day features three interesting CDs, a pleasant surprise, mild disappointment, and an exciting find.

The pleasant surprise was the Verve Records re-issue CD, Stan meets Chet, as in Stan Getz, and Chet Baker.  Both men legendary jazz figures on their respective instruments, Stan Getz on the tenor saxophone, and  Chet Baker on the trumpet.  I couldn't pass up this CD as the liner notes states the LP of their meeting was long out-of-print.  I admit I've been late in getting to know the music  of both more closely.  So this CD will help in making up for that.

My mild disappointment is by Chick Corea, The Vigil, a CD some critic said was his best since the hay day of Return to Forever.  I had seen this CD several times and debated buying it, but after listening to the Return to Forever Anthology, which included the full Romantic Warrior album cuts, this past week.  I relented.  Well, let's just say there are echoes of the best RTF tunes in the CD, but unfortunately the bad excesses of the later RTF albums, like Musicmagic, are present, most annoying is the vocals of Gayle Moran Corea (a nice enough singer) singing Chick horrible lyrics.  I posted them so you can judge for yourself.  Even just as poetry, the lyrics just don't work.  I can console myself with the cover art, at least, Chick in a shiny suit of armor.   I think Chick has "thing" for that image.  Romantic Warrior has a knight in armor on it.

The exciting find is the CD, Spectrum Road, featuring the legendary Rock / Jazz bassist, the late Jack Bruce.  Jack, of course, is best known for being a member of Cream, the premiere Rock power trio, with guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker (FYI- one of my all time favorite Rock groups).  Those who know of Jack Bruce's jazz connections will know he played with an early version Tony William's Lifetime, with guitarist John McLaughlin, and organist Larry Young. Lifetime was truly a groundbreaking Jazz-Fusion group, playing a very raw and intense brand of music.  Spectrum Road is sort of a tribute to the late Tony Williams.  Eight of the ten tunes are Tony Williams compositions, from the Lifetime albums, and one each from William's "Believe it" and "Joy of Flying". The other players on Spectrum Road are guitarist Vernon Reid, of the Black Rock  group Living Color, on organ is John Medeski, of the "post-Fusion trio" Medeski, Martin and Wood, and finally drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, who I'm not familiar with, but she's on my musical radar now.

All in all, not a good collection.  Even the Chick Corea CD has some moments to enjoy.  With Thanksgiving coming up this week, I'll have more free to give these another listen.  Enjoy your turkey day.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A video celebration of the Gettysburg Address with art by James Daugherty

To celebrate the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address, November 19,1863, here's a video I did of an old illustration book of the address artist James Daugherty, published in 1947. I saved this book from the trash at my kids elementary school in Glendale. I had a better video with music and narration on youtube, but it got flagged for copyright issues. So, here it is with a just original scratch track and no narration. The tune titled 'Farewell" a rough sound sketch, very unpolished composed back in the 1980s.  Enjoy it for the artwork, it's great.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day - Oregon, Miroslav Vitous, Charlie Hunter, Return to Forever, Kneebody

I missed posting again last week, because of busy family weekend. Even though I pickup these CD last week I haven't had a chance to listen to them, so, maybe it was all for the best.  So this week's Sunday Music Muse selection include some old favorites, and some favorite musicians in different settings.  First up is the group Oregon Northwest Passage CD, featuring a favorite guitarist Ralph Towner.  Seven of the fourteen tracks are written or co-written by Towner and some are on another Towner solo releases.  It's nice to compare the different versions.

 Next up is Miroslav Vitous Infinite Search.  This is a reissue of the bassist's 1977 album, his first as a leader.   Miroslav Vitous was the original bassist and a founding member the legendary Weather Report.  The album Infinite Search was also released as Mountain in the Cloud, which is the cover I remember.  I thought I had the "Mountain" album, but checking  my collection and it's not there.  I seem to remember playing the LP, so it could have been an album I borrowed from the Lincoln Center Music library, which was a great way to preview music in the ancient, pre-internet days.  Vitous virtuoso playing moves freely between avant garde and free jazz.  This CD featured several key figures from the then-budding jazz fusion movement: John McLauglin, Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette, and Joe Henderson. Well worth a listen.
 Here's the Mountains in the Clouds LP cover.

Speaking of the Jazz Fusion, the next CD is Return To Forever, The Anthology, group the help define Jazz Fusion.  This Anthology is a nice compliment to the RTF Reunion CD I picked up a few months back.   One surprising note I discovered in the liner notes was Al Di Meola recalling how he came to join RTF.  He mentioned the guitarist Earl Klugh, of smooth jazz fame, actually followed Bill Conners before Al joined.  That was news to me.  I wonder if any tapes of those concert Klugh played with RTF still exist and will they ever see the light of day.

Next is another first outing, by 7-string guitarist, Charlie Hunter, with the Charlie Hunter Trio.  I just saw Charlie Hunter live a few weeks ago.  I've still deciding if I "totally" like his music.  It intrigues me enough that I keep picking up his CD, so there has to be something there.

So, that's this week selection.  Thanks for letting me share these.  Enjoy.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day - Duke Ellington Live, Gary Burton, Exotica

Missed posting last week, sorry.   This week's Sunday Music Muse  Day selections are purchases from a book sale at Brighton Memorial Library, held by the Friends of BML, who advocate and support many activities a the library.  It's fun to find old treasures, or take a chance on new, unknown CDs.  At  $1 a pop, how I go wrong.  First up, a Duke Ellington CD, Ellington  Live at the 1957 Stratford Festival.  Bought for the usually reason, it's Duke, and my father plays on the CD.  I like listen to Dukes live recording for his banter to the audience between tunes.  His charm is just heartwarming.

Next is another stroke of good luck, another Gary Burton CD, Reunion, to compliment the one featured in my last post.  Again, it features Pat Metheny on guitar, and Peter Erskine on drums.  Peter Erskine is a veteran of Weather Report, and I like him for his series of solo outings.

Next, is a campy selection.  This would compliment the Tiki Lounge collection I featured last summer.  Exotica: Music for a Bachelor's Den Volume 2, the title says it all.  This brings up memories (for boomers) of the 50's TV, and films of Dean Martin (Matt Helm movies), Jack Lemmon ("The Apartment"), and Marilyn Monroe (Some Like it Hot).    There's even  Duke Ellington tune, "Bonga" on it.  This is just pure fun to listen to.

The last selection is one of those I bought for the Aztec/Mayan inspired cover. Ethnotechno doesn't have any groups I've heard of before, but for a buck, why not.  The music is various Techno, reminds of the stuff the play in New Age store in NYC called Star Magic, strictly background music for mellowing out.

 Nice to be back.   Enjoy some music this week. See you next week.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day - Gary Burton and Friends, Sting, Bill Nelson.

For this week's Sunday Music Muse Day, I present one new CD purchase, and several vinyl selections from my record collection.  The CD is Gary Burton, Like Mind.  Joining the legendary vibraphonist is Chick Corea, on piano, Pat Metheny, on guitar, Roy Haynes, on drums, and Dave Holland, on bass. This 1998 session, won a 1999 Grammy award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group.  That should have a no-brainer the selection committee considering the musicians on this CD.  Gary Burton's liner notes are very interesting as he relates how the various members, met and criss-crossed each others career.  The most surprising note, for me, was that this session was the first time Chick Corea and Pat Metheny played together.  The other item of note was how highly Burton  regarded the writing skills for Corea and Metheny.  He wrote, "Chick and Pat are two of the most enduring and prolific jazz composers around."  The resulting CD bears this out.

My two next selections are the result of conversation with Facebooks friends. This week marked 35th anniversary of the Police Zenyatta Mondatta album. I posted, "the Police was one of the last popular Rock groups I followed. Also I enjoyed each member's individual projects after they broke up."   So, I checked out some Sting videos of his solo tour, so that made me pull out vinyl of the Sting Bring Out the Night live double album set.  Great music with Sting, plus Branford Marsalis, on saxophone, Omar Hakim, on drums,  Darryl Jones on bass, and Kenny Kirkland, on keyboards.  These are all young turks of jazz who have played with jazz legends like Dizzie Gillespie, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Weather Report, and others.  One of the nice aspects pulling out the vinyl is the large cover art, which this set has many of, by artist Donna Muir and Su Huntley. Very nice.

The last selection was also the result of another Facebook exchange.  A FB friend asked about the rock group Be Bop Deluxe.  I recognized the cover, but remember I have a LP and CD by the guitarist of the group, Bill Nelson.  So, that led to me pulling those items and giving them a listen.

It nice to have any reason to dig out some old music.  I'll have to do it more often.  Enjoy.