Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday Music Muse Day - Father's Day Edition - The Guitar Trio - John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucia, Warped Sky - Stray Clouds

Happy Father's Day to all dad of all kind, shapes, and sizing.  All the best, on this Sunday Music Muse Day.  My buddy Rodney Mean shared a concert video of a version of the super charged acoustic Guitar Trio of John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell, and Paco DeLucia from 1979.  I inspired me to pulled a two albums with Al Di Meola, which I think was the original lineup and the on that recorded and toured in the U.S.  :The Friday Night In San Francisco - Live, (1981) and Passion Grace & Fire.  and later The Guitar Trio CD (1996) I remember attending a NYC concert with McLaughlin, Di Meola, and De Lucia, probably about the late 70s. The blazing speed and shear barrage of notes never seem to diminish the high quality of the music.

Keeping with theme of Father's Day, here's a song about children. (Actually another (embarrassing) attempt to clear the backlog of undeveloped and unfinished music ideas.) "Flowers" is an original tune written by friend Peter Grosett back in 1982. Peter and I met at the Guitar Center in NYC, where we were taking lessons and started practicing. Peter was pursuing a career in Jazz guitar, and I was just trying to justify having a guitar. He was always a more accomplished player than I, but somehow we clicked and we liked playing together. We even did a couple of pay-for-tips gigs a East Village cafe, La Figero, and at an uptown venue. One of the joys of playing with Peter was his sharing his original tunes. "Flower; was actually performed in public, vocals and all. (There is reel-to-reel of it I need to transfer before it rots) As part of my Dragonfly Views blog I have a Sunday Music Muse Day post where I always hoped to present original music that I had filed away mostly unfinished and unheard, always putting it off because my playing leaves much to desired. But as I get older it becomes apparent waiting for perfect has become an excuse not to do anything. But, sometimes you just have to get things out of your system. So, rough edges and all here is the song, "Flowers". I hope it give a hints of the good song Peter wrote. This backing track was created in Band in a Box music software. You write in chords and a lead line and it creates a backing track and even a solo performance, with varying degrees of success. I admit the version came out more "smooth jazz" than I would like, and BIAB sound can be clunky and rough, but thats Jazz.

Peter and I are still in touch and his creative paths has turned to photography. I'm glad I was able to incorporate one of photo in this video. I hope my Peter like it as a tribute to his all around creative spirit. old and new. Enjoy

Monday, June 15, 2020

Sunday Music Muse Day - Bill Conners

This Sunday music Muse Day I had a single pick, Bill Conners Of Mist and Melting.  This is one of ECM re-issue of classic albums from their deep catalog.  This Bill Conners was the original electric guitar in Chick Corea's Return to Forever, the legendary Jazz-Fusion group.  Bill Conner left after the first album to pursue a solo career.  Of Mist and Melting is one in series of albums for ECM where he plays acoustic guitar.  I already had this on vinyl from it's original release in 1978, but couldn't resist getting it for the convenience of the CD format. 

I actually have cassette tape of an unreleased solo concert of Bill Conners, playing classical guitar  at the Tralfamadore Cafe in Buffalo, NY.  (early 1980s ?) from Public Radio program.

I'm always tempted to upload this to youtube for Bill Conners and ECM fans, I'm torn on the issue of bootleg material that doesn't benefit the artist. Having a lot of professional musician friends, as an artist myself control of your is important.  I'm hoping the concert still exist in vault somewhere and it released someday.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Sunday Muse Day - Warped Sky - Stray Cloud

Sunday Music Muse Day. "Is This Your Life Music" is an original tune written by me back in 1982. The lyrics seem to remain relevant to today's social-political climate. 

I felt the need to get them out there. As part of my Dragonfly Views blog I have a Sunday Music Muse Day post where I always hoped to present original music that I had filed away mostly unfinished and unheard, always putting it off because my playing leaves much to desired. never progressing above rank amateur. But as I get older it becomes apparent waiting for perfect has become an excuse not to do anything. So, rough edges and all here is the song, "Is This Your Life". But, sometimes you just have to get things out of your system.
This "2020" version is an update. I did a rougher version (if that's possible) back in 2017 after Trump was elected. This version made using a backing track created in Band in a Box music software. You write in chords and a lead line and it creates a backing track and even a solo performance, with varying degrees of success. So the video has two versions, one with sax part generated in BIAB, which is kind of funky. I'm think of submitting this and other tunes to HITRECORD, the online creative collaboration group, I could use all the help I can get.


Monday, May 25, 2020

Another Belated Sunday Music Muse Day - John Scofield, Steve Tibbetts

Another belated Sunday Music Muse Day post, as these pandemic days are making me lose track of time.  Again, I dipping into my vinyl collection. John Scofield has new CD coming out soon, so I thought I'd revisit one of his early albums, the John Scofield Quartet Rough House (1979). His playing definitely has a rough edge to it, but the Scofield sound and style is in full force.

My second choice is Steve Tibbetts Safe Journey (ECM - 1984), which is one of my favorite albums.  It's hard to describe as it moves from spacey guitar rock to meditative trance music with a world music mix of kalimba, tabla, steel drum, and congas.  Well worth checking out.

As we celebrate Memorial Day.  I try to be mindful of the true meaning of Memorial Day, a time to remember and reflect on the fallen who give their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms and rights they believed in.  

We can best honor them by making the world a better place for everyone, and lessen the need for more cemeteries.

Stay safe, stay calm, and stay heathy. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Another Belated Sunday Music Muse Day post - Terje Rypdal, David Darling, Jan Garbarek with Bill Conners.

Here's another belated Sunday Music Muse Day, featuring some vinyl records, which I don't have on CD.  First up is saxophonist Jan Garbarek Places, an 1977 ECM release, featuring Bill Connors (post Chick Corea's Return to Forever) on acoustic guitar, Jack DeJohnette on Drums and John Taylor on organ and piano. I'm almost positive I picked this up because of Bill Connors.  I think I appreciate it more now than when I first bought, as I was still into the heavy guitar fusion style. My tastes have mellowed over the years and ECM recordings helped.

My second choice is another ECM release (1984) Terje Rypdal David Darling Eos (note the album title doesn't appear on the front cover). By the 80's I was interested in picking up any by ECM, and had several by guitarist Rypdal, a very esoteric player. This duet album with cellist David Daring definitely fits that description.  I still need to explore it more.

I think I'll be digging into my vinyl stack in the coming weeks.  It's like visiting old friend, who you lost touch with.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Sunday Music Muse Day - ( a day late) Ralph Tower, John Abercrombie

Here's this Sunday's Music Muse Day post, a day late.  Weather was rainy and gloomy, and I found myself drawn to pull out some vinyl of two favorite guitarists, Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie. These are two of my favorite LPs, both on ECM records, that I don't have on CD. Ralph Towner Batik is a trio outing with Eddie Gomez on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on Drums.  The second is the Towner, Abercrombie duet album, Five Years Later, there second recording together, obviously.  I remember listening to them constantly in my old NYC apartment back in the late 70 and early' 80s.

I've been sharing old pics with friends this weekend, these albums offer a great soundtrack.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Sunday Music Muse Day - Ryo Kawasaki RIP, Lee Konitz - RIP

Sadly, this Sunday Music Muse Day find us remember two musicians who passed away in the past week. First up, I was very sad to hear about the passing Ryo Kawasaki ,jazz fusion guitarist. He was a great guitar player, and guitar synthesizer  pioneer.   I got to see him perform live several times in NYC in the 70s and 80s with his Ryo Kawasaki and the Golden Dragon group. The performances include elements of modern dance and giant puppetry,  Ryo lived and worked in NYC, so  I even ran into him playing video games in a arcade off Time Square.  I've been spending  today just playing his albums and CDs.  I'm trying to remember how I first got introduced to Ryo's music. I'm thinking it was article in the Village Voice, or Guitar Player magazine, or I picked up the 'Juice' album just for the cover art and his playing guitar synthesizer on it.  RIP Ryo, and condolences to his family and friends. 

These four albums featured Ryo's guitar synthesizer playing. Here's a link to to a fuller description of his gear,  it's really impressive.

 The Gil Evans project was originally planned as collaboration with Jimi Hendrix.  But never realized because of Hendrix untimely death.  Gil Evan completed the project as a tribute to Hendrix with Ryo on guitar.

 Also, this week marked the passing of jazz saxophonist, Lee Konitz.  I had featured him in post about a year ago.  Again, my condolences to his family, friends , and fans.

As we note the passing of these musicians, we continue to honor their lives and memory being joying and appreciating what they share with us.  Enjoy.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Music Muse Day Howard Alden, George Van Eps, Hittin' on All Six

This Sunday Music Muse Day has all of us asking ..."What day is it?" The social distancing directive to stay home, because of the Coronavirus outbreak,  has the days blending into each other.  I tend to listen to music more than binge watch TV, so here my first pick, Howard Alden and George Van Eps Seven and Seven, jazz guitar duo session.  The title refers to the use of seven string guitars (extra bass string) by both players. This was recorded in 1992 around the time of Van Eps' 80th birthday (he passed away in 1998 at 85 yrs old) and was a follow up an early 1991 release,  13 String, where Alden play a 6-string guitar and Van Eps his 7-string. George Van Eps is credited with inventing 7-string guitar back in the 1930. He inspired jazz guitarists like John, and Bucky Pizzarelli, and Howard Alden  to pick up the 7-string.  The tradition continues with young players Charlie Hunter.  This CD is nice collection of jazz standards.  Well worth giving a listen.

Listen to George Van Eps reminded me of a collection he's that I featured before, Hittin' on All Six - A History of the Jazz Guitar, covering the early pioneers from the 1920 to 1950.  These are all great players recording before I was born. Hearing them gives a deeper appreciation of jazz guitarist like Bob Sneider who carry on the jazz guitar tradition.

The social distancing gives us all a chance to step back and maybe take stock of our hectic modern life and maybe re-order a priorities.  Lets hope we all come out the other side of this in a better place, socially, spiritually, and culturally.  Find some good music to accompany your journey.  Stay safe, stay clam, stay healthy.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday Music Muse Day - Revisiting Bill Frisell

This Sunday Music Muse finds us up deeper into the mandatory social distancing as the result of the growing Covid-19 virus crisis.  If you have to be restricted from going out except for food, or an emergency, lets find some music to enjoy.  My first pick is one I featured before, but I pulled it out to fill a request from my mother-in-law who is visiting us while she recovers from hip problem.  She heard me play this several years ago and liked this Bill Frisell Ghost Town.

On another past visit, my mother-in-law, heard Bill Frisell Disfarmer CD, and liked that too.

Actually, Bill Frisell's 69th birthday, March 18, was just this week. He still playing, and going strong.  So, lets celebrate that, too.  I encourage you to find some music to feed you soul.  Stay safe, stay calm, stay healthy. 

Sci-Fi and pin-up beer labels.

While doing my weekly grocery shopping, I browsed the beer section a spied these sci-fi and pin-up labels.  I haven't tried any of these yet. but I might soon.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sunday Music Muse Day - Art Blakey, Joe Gordon, Robert Glasper

This Sunday Music Muse Day finds the whole world in the grips of the Coronavirus crisis. I'm hoping a little music will help manage the growing stress from all sides.  My only trip of out of the house, Saturday, was to the Bop Shop Record store for these selections.  First up is Art Blakey-Blakey.  I admit the first thing that grabbed my eye was the classic jazz cover art, by Burt Goldblatt. This CD is a reissue of two ten-inch albums recorded in 1954 for EmArcy label. 'Blakey' by the legendary drummer, is a important quintet session as (from the liner notes) "Blakey was on the verge of starting a new career as a bandleader....By the end of the year Blakey would team with (Horace) Silver in the cooperative group, the Jazz Messengers, which would be his artistic expression until his death in 1990".  Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers is the group I associate Art Blakey with.  It was renowned for launching the careers of countless jazz artists.  The liner notes states the trumpeter Joe Gordon and Alto Saxophonist Gigi Gryce, are sometimes  forgotten but were "extremely well respected" in their time. It's fun re-discovering classic jazz played in the 1950s.  I immediately recognized the first tune, "Minority as played often by the Bob Sneider Trio in live gigs.

My second selection is a new player to me, probably because only I've stepped out of my guitar-centric bubble and started to seek out piano trio music in the five last years.  Robert Glasper Canvas recorded 2005, so this isn't exactly new.  I came across him on youtube video and was impressed, so I'm glad found this.  I'll have to look for more of his work.

So, with all the stressful craziness in the world, be safe, be kind, and learn to unwind.  Good music does help. Peace.