Friday, December 30, 2016

Aeon Flux DVD set, Blomkamp 3 Blu-Ray set

I did some post-Xmas shopping and scored these movie sets. I admit I’m a sucker for impressive packages. The Aeon Flux set was released in 2005, but I’ve been a fan since the Peter Chung created character aired on the MTV's Liquid TV shorts. My production assistant on ExoSquad, Maryanne McClure work on the series. The Blomkamp 3 Blu-Ray set has a mini-art book included, that aced the buying of it with me. I enjoy Neill Blomkamp’s gritty sci-fi vision. I seen District 9 and Elysium, but not Chappie (my boys don’t give it a high rating).

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Santa. Baby - Rankin/Bass' forgotten Christmas Special

Today in the anniversary of the airing of the Rankin/Bass Christmas special Santa Baby, which aired on Monday, December 17, at 8pm on Fox.  Santa Baby was of course build around the famous, "Santa, Baby" song.  Unfortunately, the animated special ever seem to catch on like the other R/B Christmas special although it had an impressive cast of talent actors, Gregory Hines, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Williams and Eartha Kitt.  I can't say if the mostly black cast, and urban setting effected the it's appeal.  Here's the Los Angeles Times review.
At least the Santa Baby did show up on DVD.  And CD.

A side note, Santa baby was my last project with Rankin/Bass, but the credit was more advisory, then creative.  One highlight was I got you meet the lovely Vanessa Williams when she came in to record some of her songs.  She wouldn't know me from Adam, but I'll ever forget her, she was fantastic.

So, for old time's sake, I'm throwing Santa, Baby in the DVD player tonight.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday Music Muse Day- The Modern Jazz Quartet, Charlie Haden, Kenny Wheeler, Keith Jarrett

This Sunday Music Muse finds us entering the holiday season, but before pulling the traditional Christmas CD, I found some eclectic finds at the local record shops.  One common tread with these selections is that they are more subdued and introspective in tone.  Just the thing mute the tensions caused by the political fallout of the Trump election.  First up is The Modern Jazz Quartet, Pyramid.  It's hard to feel angry when the sweet music of  this legendary group fills the room.

Next is another Charlie Haden CD, Land of the Sun with Gonzlo Rubalcaba, "a collection of Mexican ballads written by three of Mexico's most prominent modern composers,"(all music).  In 2005, the album won Haden the Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. This is mellow affair, worth listening to while cuddled up with special someone by a warm cozy fire. This may get the sparks flying.

Next is Kenny Wheeler, Angel Song.  A solid ECM outing with Lee Konitz (alto saxophone), Dave Holland (double bass),and Bill Frisell (electric guitar), joining Wheeler (trumpet and flugelhorn) for just the right mix of introspection and adventurous exploration you've come to expect from these solid players.  I sometimes think of ECM productions as jazz chamber music, in a good way.

My last selection is another ECM CD, Keith Jarret Personal Mountains, a  quartet with Jan Garbarek (tenor and soprano saxophones) Palle Danielsson (bass), Jon Christensen (drums) and Jarret (piano).  I've heard these players many times on other ECM records as leaders, and as sidemen.  The liner note states this record was a concert in April 1979, but release until 1989 of Jarret's "European Quartet".  I have to admit I like Keith Jarret more in settings where he plays with other musicians than solo.  So, I'm enjoying this.

Next week will probably be time for my Christmas selections.  I had an annual picks, oldies but goodies, like everyone else.  Until then, enjoy.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday Music Muse Day - Miles Davis Quintet, Dave Holland Quartet, Charlie Haden and Egbert Gismonti. plus Is This Your Life (original tune)

This weeks Sunday Music Muse Day find us in an shocking state of political uncertainty.  I this two part presentation I hope we can use music the give us all some comfort and safe place to gather and thoughts and put things in proper perspective,

The first part of this week's post is three new purchases of mine,  First is Miles Davis Quintet, Freedom Jazz Dance, the Bootleg Series Vol. 5.  Contrary to the "bootleg" title, this 3 CD set if an official release (from my hippie days, I always associate the term bootleg will unauthorized recording).  As quoted from the Miles Davis site, "A 3CD box set collection chronicling Miles’ musical evolution in the studio from 1966-1968 working with his “second great quintet,” the latest edition in Columbia/Legacy’s acclaimed Miles Davis Bootleg Series provides an unprecedented look into the artist’s creative process, drawing on full session reels including all rehearsals, partial and alternate takes, extensive and fascinating studio conversation and more."  This collect is more what I expected the Don Cheadle's Mile Davis movie, Miles Ahead to about.  Hearing the creative progress behind the music in just fascinating.  Well worth getting.

Next up is the Dave Holland Quartet Dream of the Elder, finds the iconic bassist leading a group including, vibraphone, marimba, saxophones and drums.  The CD is adventurous without being bombastic. On the edge of Free Jazz but not too far out to disconnect for being enjoyed.  For the vibes and marimba help grounds the music in a interesting space. This another winner from ECM.

The third selection is late great bassist, Charlie Haden and Egberto Gismonti titled In Montreal, a live performance recorded at The Montreal Jazz Festival in 1989,  but released in 1996.   The CD features mostly works by Gismonti, and two by Haden's.  Haden was well known for many duet pairings including the Grammy Award winning "Beyond the Missouri Sky" with Pat Metheny, which one of its tune "First Song" appears here on In Montreal.  Egberto Gismonti is a favorite of mine.  Alvero  Neder, of All Music says, "...Gismonti is world-renowned as a multi-instrumentalist and composer.... his works reflecting the musical diversity of Brazil...Gismonti captures the true essence of the Brazilian soul in a way that is primitive, yet sophisticated, and reflects it through his personal vision, elaborated by years of classic training and literacy in a wealth of musical languages in which jazz plays a significant role."  I couldn't agree more.  This is a wonderful pairing and outing.

Now for part 2 of the week Music Muse Day, a personal contribution.  "Is This Your Life Music" is an original tune written by me back in 1983.  The lyrics seem to remain relevant to today's social-political climate.  I felt the need to get them out there. This is a new performance and video made on my iMac Photo Booth.  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 become 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".  Included at end is the original rough recording done in 1983 with the first rough lyric, a drum beat, and a guitar solo overdub, with mistakes a plenty.  But, sometimes you just have to get things out of your system. 

Enjoy (I always think of the scene from the movie "10" where Dudley Moore visits the pastor. Ouch.)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday Music Muse Day - Duke Ellington, Chick Corea and Gary Burton, Pat Metheny

Today's Sunday Music Muse Day selections are by way of the South Wedge Record Fair at the German House.  It was mainly for vinyl record collector, but there were some CDs to be had.  First off, it was nice to see Derek Lucas, music director and DJ from Jazz90.1 radio, spinning discs at two turntables near the entrance.  Derek added a great soundtrack to the event.  I found some CDs of a few favorites to add to my collection.  First is Duke Ellington The Pianist.  I thought I may have had this, but apparently I didn't, perhaps confusing it with Duke's Piano in the Foreground session, The Pianist has him playing in a small group, mainly just bass and drums.  My father, Sam Woodyard, plays drums on seven of the ten cuts, and he even has tune named for him, "Sam Woodyard's Blues".  That may it a must buy, just for that.  I actually like Duke small group recordings a lot.  You get to hear him stretch out more.   This will be a nice compliment to the  Piano in the Foreground CD.

Next is Chick Corea and Gary Burton Native Sense - The New Duets.  Corea and Burton are one of my favorite musical duos.  Since their first Crystal Silence album released on ECM in the 1973, I've would never pass up a chance to hear them.

Last selection is another favorite artist, Pat Metheny Group Speaking of Now, one of those CD of his I missed during a period when I was not buying any music much, not sure why. But, it's always good to catch up.

As the end of the election draws near, it's good to had some good music to distract us from the noise on the outside world.  Here's hoping for better days.