Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day - Charlie Brown's Christmas with Vince Guaraldi

This week's Sunday Music Muse day pick, in keeping the holiday spirit, is "A Charlie Brown's Christmas" featuring the music of Vince Guaraldi.  This is of course the famous soundtrack to the classic animated family Christmas special of the same name. I, of course, have an earlier copy of this CD for years.  This Fantasy CD is re-release which has four additional bonus tracks that are alternate takes from the recording session. Plus, the nice fold-out CD package has the Peanuts characters print on a clear plastic window, like a animated cel, and includes an info booklet.    All in all, a nice way to start the holiday season.

 Now if you'll excuse me, I get back to my egg nog and rum.  Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, ans Steve Masakowski

Just a short Sunday Music Muse Day post as we enter the meat of the Holiday Season.  I was listening to Miles Davis In a Silent Way this morning and happen to find this Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter 1+1 CD while shopping today.  Of course Herbie and Wayne played on the In a Silent Way sessions.  1+1 is a duet outing that presents them in a introspective, be adventurous mood.  All the tunes are new to my ears, but the don't have every CD or album they've recorded.  Well worth a listen.

The next selection is a CD by guitarist Steve Masakowski, What it Was.   This is the second CD I own of his, the first being Direct AXEcess (his spelling, pun on axe being slang for guitar)  I like his playing, there a hint of Pat Martino in it.  He plays a 7-string guitar, which always interest me.   Although I'm not familiar with his career, his wikipedia page
is very impressive.

So that's it for this week entry.  Enjoy the coming holiday season.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day - Movie Sound tracks, The Turtle String Quartet

(Posted a day late due to Blogger being down yesterday)  Just a short Sunday Muse Day post. I was organizing my CD collection, putting several months of current purchases in their proper place, and I came across these two movie soundtracks. A Shock to the System is a Michael Caine dark comedy crime thriller. I remember it being enjoyable. The music by Gary Chang is performed by The Turtle String Quartet, this was my first expose to them.

The other soundtrack is for the movie Unstrung Heroes, music composed by Thomas Newman. The comedy drama film is directed by Diane Keaton, and stars John Turturro and Michael Richards (Seinfeld's Kramer).

 Soundtracks aren't something I pick up often. But once in a while one sticks in my head and I seek it out.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Music Muse Day, Pat Metheny and Ornette Coleman, John Scofield, Jim Hall and Basses, and St. Germain

Welcome to this week's Sunday Music Muse Day.  This week's selection features some old favorites, mostly guitarists, as I admit I'm a guitar-centric music lover.  First up, Pat Metheny  and Ornette Coleman, Song X 25th Anniversary CD.  Ornette's music is challenging  to say the least, but for me it is the my limit of "Avant garde / Free Jazz" I can take, when I'm in the mood.  I had to think twice before buying this as I already have the album, and I try not to buy CDs of stuff I have on LP.  But this 25th anniversary CD has 6 additional cuts not on the original LP.  The stellar line up of musicians, including the late Charlie Haden, on bass, and Jack DeJohnette, on drums, make this a adventurous CD worth considering.

This next selection is what I consider a good come back from a disappointing CD, I featured back August.  John Scofield Works for Me is much better than his John Scofield Band Up All Night CD.  Works for Me, really works for me.  It's much tighter, jazz outing, with solid players.  Sco' is back on track.

The next selection is a puzzler, for me.  Jim Hall & Basses, is a CD of duets which has the legendary guitarist paired with stellar bassists, Scott Colley, Charlie Haden, Dave Holland, Christian McBride and George Mraz.  I have to admit my first listen has me less than excited.  But, I read an online review that praises the CD to high heaven.  So, I plan to give it a good listen, again.

My last selection is outside of the pure jazz area, St.Germain self-titled CD. 
"St Germain is the stage name  of Ludovic Navarre, a French musician. His style has been described as being a combination of house and nu jazz music", according to his Wikipedia page.  I have an earlier CD of his and enjoy his music a lot.  This CD uses  African musicians giving it a nice world music feel.

If you come across these CDs in you musical travels, give them them a listen, you might like them.  Enjoy.

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.