Monday, July 18, 2005

New Music to Listen To...

Hello again,

Here are a few great new recordings to check out---Claudio Abbado's new Mahler 6th performance with the Berlin Philharmonic is astonishing, not better than Bernstein necessarily but certainly the performance Mahler would have wanted (Bernstein tends to guild the lilies). By now everyone has bought the Coldplay but still, it must be admitted, it is a pretty terrific record despite what Jon Pareles of the NY Times says about it. Don't you love when a major newspaper allows their chief Pop Critic to write a long column in the Sunday paper all about how he feels a band truly sucks though everyone else seems to think they are gifted and pretty frickin' great???? How is that for positivity???
I like the new Audioslave and think Rick Rubin has the right idea. It does not sound PRO-TOOLED to death. What that means for the layman is that everyone now edits every vocal performance and every drum beat on most recordings so that it is well nigh perfectly timed and perfectly in pitch. This means that often what we hear was never performed as we hear it but rather manipulated to be "perfect" or close to it. Put on any of the new Rock bands and then put on the first Zeppelin record and you'll hear what I mean. The difference is remarkable. In one case, you'll hear a small perfected sound full of manipulation sonically and in the other you hear pure blood, sweat and talent. I have benefited from the miracle of modern technology that is ProTools but it is a mighty dangerous thing. The Audioslave record is certainly not in the same league as the first Zeppelin record but Rick Rubin, who is a remarkable producer and worked on the last Johnny Cash stuff, many of the best Red Hot Chili Peppers records and some of the Beastie Boys stuff, did a great job of documenting a strong band doing their thing.
The new Will Smith is probably scoffed at by the critics at Vibe magazine but I admit to having a soft spot for the songs "Switch" and "Mr. Nice Guy". I thought Jay-Z and Linkin Park rocked pretty hard at Live 8. Heard the new Alanis Morrisette Acoustic Starbucks thing.
Why??? Don't understand. Seems like a record project planned after one too many lattes. Not bad and she has always been pretty gifted but............. Why???? The new Rob Zombie movie about violent serial murderers that go on killing sprees really scares the crap out of me and makes me want to move my kids to the outskirts of Canada and home school then with textbooks from the 1950's BUT THAT'S JUST ME!!!!!!!

A few records from the past to listen to again.

1. Miles Davis-Porgy And Bess---DAMN-DAMN-DAMN-DAMN- The Gil Evans arrangements on this record and Miles's trumpet playing are just ridiculous. Absolutely essential. "Bess, You Is My Woman" is a cut for a time capsule.
2. John Williams-Catch Me If You Can---So you thought you knew John Williams??? He is the guy who wrote the Shark theme from Jaws and the big blustery, orchestra on steroids Star Wars music, right????? Think again. This score is so cool. It is a beautiful and vibey (literally with vibraphone) jazz based score with killing modern elements. This score shows that if indeed Williams wrote this and the Theme from Schindler's List, well..... then everyone else writing for movies should just give it up and admit it; this is the all time champ; to call this guy the Lance Armstrong of movie music is an absurd understatement.
3. Lou Reed-New York-"Dirty Boulevard" is an unbelievable song.
4. Bob Dylan-World Gone Wrong-Dylan sings American Folksongs from the turn of the century. As Good As I Been To You is the other record of these kind of gems. I find these both pretty intoxicating. Great writing. Great artistry from our peerless troubadour. Check out Blood In My Eyes and Lone Pilgrim on World. Great stuff.
5. Steely Dan-The Royal Scam-What can one say?? Smart, side stepping harmonies, creepy sometimes indecipherable lyrics. Pretty frickin'
6. Oliver Nelson-The Blues and The Abstract Truth-Great Jazz record with Stolen Moments on it. Just pure cool post bop music. Pretty essential. In this same sort of vein though not quite, Eddie Harris's version (not the Miles Davis version) of his own "Freedom Jazz Dance"
is enough to make one walk naked in the streets with not a care in the world.
7. Brahms German Requiem-Claudio Abbado's version of this has been abused by critics but it is beautifully performed, rich in thought and depth of feeling, and is a moving work of art to say the least.
8. Eliane Elias-Dreamer--I admit I did the orchestrations on this beautiful record of Romantic and Bossa Nova style songs done by the great Pianist and getting greater all the time singer Eliane Elias.
When she was young, she played with the Brazilian master Antonio Carlos Jobim who wrote The Girl From Ipanema and knows this music inside and out. Diana Krall wanted to be Eliane Elias when she grew up. Pretty beautiful relaxing record despite my involvement.
9. Peter Gabriel-UP-Worth another listen I think. Disappointed me greatly after SO and US, two of my favorite recordings of all time, but despite a few real missteps (The Barry Williams Show is silly and its social commentary is dated--they had already written a Jerry Springer Opera in England before this supposedly trenchant song came out, strangely using the name of a former actor who played Greg Brady on The Brady Bunch. MMMMMMMMMMMMMM??????), it is a pretty great record with a few moments of genius-Signal To Noise-Darkness-I Grieve-The Drop.
10. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee-Absolutely The Best-- This essential collection of this folk blues duo has entertained me to no end over the last few months. I have been writing this quasi Gospelized Blues music that makes good on the promise of my Evening Train record and these guys have been a huge inspiration. Great music!!!

Hope to see you on September 10th at Satalla for my encore performances!!!

Peace and love,



Blogger jasper379 said...

I had found the Elaine Elias album Dreamer some months ago. The music and arrangements are beautiful and soothing. Look forward to your encore performance Sep. 10.

5:58 AM  

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