Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday Music Muse Day - Kamasi Washington, Brian Blade

This post Thanksgiving Sunday Music Day, finds me using the last of the leftover turkey on a salad for lunch, as my lastest picks play in the background.  First up is Kamasi Washington Heaven and Earth is by young jazz saxophonist that has been getting a lot attention in the last few years for his lengthy recording efforts. As AllMusic critic Thom Jurek described the album as " a major dose of Afro-Futurism", and observed: "Heaven and Earth is more a refinement of the ideas expressed on The Epic than an entirely new paradigm. Both releases are 3 disc sets. In the case of Heaven and Earth, "Both CD and LP versions of the album contain an extra disc called "The Choice" which is hidden within a closed part of the packaging which must be cut open to access the disc." -Wikipedia.  I discovered that on my own, although I bought it used, so it seems the original owner never found the third CD  "Choice".  Washington's  music is huge in scope and presentation. I'm reminded of Sun-Ra in his look. His pieces are played by 45 plus musicians.  There is a lot to digest and so far his music lives up to the hype. Worth giving it a listen.

My second selection is Brian Blade Fellowship. I've only been aware of this drummer in the last two years, with work his on Wayne Shorter's Emamon project, and other CDs of his I've picked, but this CD is his first album from 1998.  The music is fresh and modern to my ears being well worth checking out.

As Thanksgiving and Black Friday have passed, now on to next Happy Holiday of your choice.  Stay safe. stay healthy.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sunday Music Muse Day - Pat Metheny, Jim Hall

This Sunday Music Muse Day findsme still enjoy the buzz from hearing one of my favoirte jazz guitatist in concert this week.  Lisa and I attended the Pat Metheny Side-Eye concert at the Kodak Center in Rochester NY.

It was the  first large concert we've attended since the John McLaughlin Farewell tour, outside of the small concert at the Rochester Jazz Featival, which have been held for the past two years because of the Covid 19 pandemic.  Sitting in our seat I looked around and wondered, "what are all these old people doing at a Pat Metheny concert?" Well...then it hit the me, if they discovered Metheny in their 20's like I did and followed his career that means they're all in my post-AARP age group.  Funny how the mind works. I first saw Pat Metheny on his first tour in support of Bright Size Life, his first ground breaking album, back in th 70s, at a small NYC gallery-by day/music club-by night just below 14th Street.  I remember Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie were in the audience to support the new kid.  I remember approaching Metheny during a break telling him how much I like his playing. He responded with a humble "thank you". Remaining  fan and following his career, we've sort of grown old together, as he's now 67 years old, and still going strong, but still his the boyish looks.

I actually picked up the CD, Pat Metheny Side-Eye  NYC several weeks ago.  It'ss a trio group with two young players, James Francies on organ, piano, and synths, and Marcus Gilmore on Drum, with Metheny on guitars, Guitar Bass, and Orchestrionic (more on the later).  First, in concert the trio offered a wide spectrum of Metheny's musical styles, from his classic tunes and tone, solo pieces, a touch of free jazz thrown in the mix.  His use of self made music machines he calls the "orchestrionic" are cross between sythesizer and old fashion hurdy-gurdy machines.  He did several CD's of music with these which are checking out.

The Kodak Center stage set was sparse, not large screen projections, just the three musicians, their instruments,  and rather lame smoke machine and light show.  When the smoke started I thought maybe a stage fire had started, but since the musicans didn't seem upset at it, I stayed in my sit. One of the highlights was he played Bright Size Life. mostly famous his best know tune and titla of his first album.  I remains a favorite of mine, but even on the CD it doesn't match the original with Jaco Pastrious on bass.  In the Side-Eye version the bases part played by James Frances on the keyboard, he does a good job, but it's just not the same.

I glad I got to see Metheny, as a lot of my music heroes are passing away, or retiring.  I'm happy Rochester is city that can still attract quality acts.  I looking forward to the Rochester Jazz Festival, which promoters have annouced will happen next spring. It something positive to look forward to.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sunday Music Muse Day - Gregg Bendian, John Zorn

This Sunday Music Muse day has me venturing slightly off the beaten path.   What both selection have in common is that are concept projects inspired by other media, comic books, and movies.  First up Gregg Bendian's Interzone: Requiem for Jack Kirby. Gregg  is jazz fusion vibraphonist that with his group Interzone plays a mix of free-jazz and fusion.  Free jazz musicans, Nels Cline (guitar) and brother  Alex Cline (drums)  play on the project. This 1999 released is tribute to my comic hero Jack Kirby, the legendary comic book artist best known for creating and co-creating with Stan Lee Marvel Comics characters so popular in the Marvel Cinema Universe movies hitting the theaters today. Bendian post on the Jack Kirby Face page that a remastered version of Requiem for Jack Kirby was available on his website.  I have seen it on Youtube before. But I went old school and found a CD onliine. I'm glad I did since it has a nice fold out poster and KIrby art graphics on the CD.  The music is good, and worth a listen.  I used it as a soundtrack while reading the Kirby's Forth World saga, which he did for DC comics after leaving Marvel.

My second selection is also by a free jazz musican, John Zorn The Big Gundown: John Zorn plays the Music On Ennio Morricone - The 15th Anniversary Edition.  I know of John Zorn as  Free Jazz, as in "out there" type of music from CDs with Bill Frisell, who play on one cut on this,"landmark album that introduced Zorn's wild musical universe to a larger audience".  Okay, I'll have to take the liner note writer's word that.  Of course I knew Ennio Morricone's music for the Sergio Leone films like A Fistful of Dollar. infamously called Spagetti Westerns.  The music is interesting and "out there, but personally I'd rather hear the originals by Morricone.  But if you want to venture on a musical path less traveled, give this a try.

Stay safe, stay healthy.  And remember...Winter is Coming. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Sunday Music Muse Day - Tribute Pat Martino

Today’s Sunday Music Muse is a tribute to Pat Martino, the legendary jazz guitarist, who passed away this week. I can’t equal the many tribute written about him online, remarking on his musical talent but also his human spirit in over becoming a brain injury that robbed him of his ability to play guitar. He amazingly taught himself to play again, in what can only be one of the most inspirational personal stories ever. So, I’ll choice to listen to his music from several CDs I have, ( I hsave several originally on vinyl albums) and enjoy a piece of the musical legacy he leaves behind. My thanks to my friend Rodney Means, who first introduced me to Pat Martino’s music. RIP Pat, and thanks the music.