music clip of the day

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Month: March, 2010

Wednesday, 3/31/10

Indian Music Festival, part 2

Nikhil Banerjee, sitar

With Zakir Hussain (tabla), live

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Raga Bhimpalasi (Alap [opening section])

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Raga Bhairavi

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Raga Manj Khammaj, with Ali Akbar Khan (sarod)

Part 1

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Part 2

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In my own listening, I have sometimes felt that a raga symbolizes the states of a person’s life in reverse order. The open-ended introduction, or the alap, with its meditative quality, seems to reflect the wisdom of the elder sage, or sannyasin. As the raga progresses, and the rhythmic pulse and melodic development begins, one meets the adult in full control of his or her faculties in the prime of life. There is a healthy balance between bursts of improvisation and the observance of structure. Toward the end, as the raga accelerates and approaches a climax, one enters the childlike realm, where the desire to display virtuosity is strongest, and the performers throw caution to the wind and go for broke. But for many musicians and connoisseurs, this is where the raga has lost its purity, with the delicate opening alap seen as the “true essence” of raga.—Peter Lavezzoli, The Dawn of Indian Music in the West (2006)

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A musician must lift up the souls of the listeners, and take them towards Space.—Nikhil Banerjee

Tuesday, 3/30/10

Indian Music Festival, part 1

Ali Akbar Khan, sarod

Raga Brindabani Sarang

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Raga Marwa

Part 1

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Part 2

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Raga Shree

Part 1

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Part 2

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Zakir Hussain on Ali Akbar Khan (following his death last year)

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Yehudi Menuhin on Ali Akbar Khan

An absolute genius . . . the greatest musician in the world.

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Philip Glass on Indian Music

The thing I learned from Ravi [Shankar] is that the rhythmic structure could become an overall musical structure. In our Western tradition that’s simply not the case. . . . There [India], rhythm is used in the way that timbre and pitch and other aspects are used. In the West we have an alliance between harmony and melody. That’s the basic alliance: rhythm comes along to liven things up. . . . There [India], the tension is between the melody and the rhythm, not between the melody and the harmony. . . . The moment that the tala, or the rhythmic structure, comes up and meets against the melodic structure at the sum—when the beats come together—that’s the resolution in Indian music. The complications that the cyclic rhythmic structure can create, and the effects to the melodic development, open up a whole different way of thinking about music. And that’s basically what I heard. I knew nothing like that in my own personal experience, or in any Western music that I knew.—Philip Glass (in William Duckworth, Talking Music [1995])

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Ali Akbar Khan on Music

For us, as a family, music is like food. When you need it you don’t have to explain why, because it is basic to life.

Monday, 3/29/10

This guy, like Captain Beefheart, studied at the Howlin’ Wolf School of Vocal Alchemy.

Tom Waits, “Make It Rain,” live (TV broadcast), 2004

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More on William Eggleston and Alex Chilton

Yesterday, while at the Art Institute, I stopped again at the William Eggleston exhibit (previously mentioned here and here), which runs through May 23rd. It includes not only the album cover I posted earlier (Big Star’s Radio City), but also this one. Eggleston, an accomplished piano player, once accompanied Chilton on a track—the Nat King Cole classic  “Nature Boy,” which appears on Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers (expanded reissue), produced by Jim Dickinson, as well as Keep an Eye on the Sky (2009 boxed set).

Sunday, 3/28/10

Rough.

Grainy.

Insistent.

Long after a song has ended, you still hear that voice.

Dorothy Love Coates & the Gospel Harmonettes

“They Won’t Believe,” live (TV broadcast)

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“That’s Alright With Me”

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“I’m Just Holding On,” live (TV broadcast)

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Were gospel to be more publicly acclaimed, she [Dorothy Love Coates] might have the stature of a Billie Holiday or a Judy Garland. Instead, for thousands of black people, she is the message carrier.—Anthony Heilbut, The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times (6th ed. 2002)

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[I]t was obvious that Keith [Richards] and Gram [Parsons] enjoyed spending time together. . . . [W]e just all cared deeply about the same things. We just loved, for instance, to sit and listen to Dorothy Love Coates, the gospel singer.—Stanley Booth

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Want more gospel?

A couple weeks ago I mentioned Bob Marovich’s radio show on WLUW-FM (Saturday, 10-11 a.m. [CST]). Another wonderful gospel radio show is Kevin Nutt’s “Sinner’s Crossroads” on WFMU-FM (Thursday, 7-8 p.m. [EST]). Kevin describes the show this way: “Scratchy vanity 45s, pilfered field recordings, muddy off-the-radio sounds, homemade congregational tapes and vintage commercial gospel throw-downs; a little preachin’, a little salvation, a little audio tomfoolery.” If you can’t catch it live, don’t worry—you can listen anytime.

Saturday, 3/27/10

Here’s more from my favorite 101-year-old composer.

Elliott Carter, Two Diversions for Piano (2) (1999)/Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Want more Elliott Carter? Here. Here.

More Pierre-Laurent Aimard? Here.

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I used to write these gigantic pieces that were very complex and took a long time to compose, if not to play. I am now much more impatient and couldn’t stand working for so long on the same thing. But also those pieces were me working out certain ideas about music. Those ideas are now part of my life, so I don’t have to think about them in quite the same way. But some things never change, in that you are still glad to finish a piece and still wonder whether it is as good as you hoped it might be when you started out.

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The Two Diversions were an idea of Ursula Oppens. Oppens decided that Carnegie Hall should commission composers to write what they considered easy pieces, and to make an album for piano students, and so I wrote two pieces for this album. I don’t think they’re as easy as they’d hoped, but there are some people with even harder ones.

—Elliott Carter (first quote’s from here, second here)

Friday, 3/26/10

Last night, drifting off to sleep, I heard (or dreamed) a commercial for a new  cable TV channel:

The Jackie Wilson Channel

All Jackie, All the Time

Jackie Wilson, “Baby, Work Out” (AKA “Baby Workout”), live (TV broadcast), 1963

Want more? Here. Here.

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reading table

I threw a party, wore a very sharp suit. My wife had out all sorts of hors d’oeuvres, some ordered from long off—little briny peppery seafoods you wouldn’t have thought of as something to eat. We waited for the guests. Some of the food went bad. Hardly anybody came. It was the night of the lunar eclipse, I think. Underwood, the pianist, showed up and maybe twelve other people. Three I never invited were there. We’d planned on sixty-five.

I guess this was the signal we weren’t liked anymore in town.

—Barry Hannah (April 23, 1942-March 1, 2010), “Our Secret Home,” in Airships (1978)

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mail

Thanks for linking—very much appreciated!

—Tim

(Tim Lawrence, author of Hold On To Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92 [2009], in response to Tuesday’s post )

Thursday, 3/25/10

street music

Dublin

On Grafton Street

Wednesday, 3/24/10

Unlike Aretha Franklin, she doesn’t have a big, commanding voice. But just as some actors are able to do as much (or more) with less, so, too, with singers. And when it comes to expressing heartache and vulnerability, a voice that’s smaller, less powerful isn’t necessarily a liability—it can be a strength.

Ann Peebles

“(You Keep Me) Hanging On” (1973 [album], 1974 [single])

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“I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” (1972)

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“I Can’t Stand The Rain” (1973)

(Yeah, I posted this last clip before, when Willie Mitchell passed away. [And the next day I posted a track that samples it.])

Tuesday, 3/23/10

looking back

Today, celebrating our 200th post, we revisit a few favorites.

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9/14/09

If I didn’t have kids, would my ears be stuck, forever, on “repeat”?

Here’s something my younger son Luke, who just started college, played for me recently, after first pronouncing it, with quiet but absolute authority, the best thing this guy has done (already Luke’s learned that what’s important isn’t to be right; it’s to seem right).

Lupe Fiasco, “Hip Hop Saved My Life,” live, Los Angeles, 2008

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And here’s a track my older son Alex played for me a couple weeks ago, before heading back to school.

Dirty Projectors, “Stillness Is The Move”

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Koan for aging parents: What is the sound of a childless house?

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10/15/09

How to be both solid and fluid, both fat and delicate. How to make the beat breathe. These are things that, as a child, Philly Joe Jones began to learn while dancing—tap-dancing. Just watch the way Thelonious Monk, listening to this solo, rocks back and forth (1:25-1:50), as if he’s about to break into a little dance himself.

Philly Joe Jones, live (with Thelonious Monk), 1959

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He breathed our history as/his walking beat . . . The Man/So Hip/A City/Took/His/Name.—Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones, in Eulogies [1996])

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10/30/09

The first time I stood before a judge at Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building at 26th and California—this was back in the ’70s (when I was working at Alligator Records)—it was to speak on behalf of this man, Hound Dog Taylor. The day before, during a drunken argument at his apartment, he’d shot his longtime guitarist Brewer Phillips (who survived). In his own way, Hound Dog was a pretty canny guy. When he told me about this incident over the phone, shortly after it happened, he put it this way: “Richard, they say I shot Phillip.”

(No, don’t touch that dial; these stills are way out of focus—which, for Hound Dog, seems just right.)

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Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers, live, Ann Arbor Blues Festival, 1973

“Wild About You Baby”

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“Taylor’s Rock”

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“I Held My Baby”

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11/23/09

Here’s Arthur Russell, the “seminal avant-garde composer, singer-songer-writer, cellist, and disco producer who died in 1992 at the age of 40 (of AIDS-related complications) and is the subject of both a recent documentary, Wild Combination, and a new book, Hold On To Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-1992.

Arthur Russell

“Get Around To It”

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“You And Me Both”

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“This Is How We Walk on the Moon”

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“That’s Us/Wild Combination”

(Yeah, the fact that I’m posting four tracks by this guy shows how much his music, which I just encountered recently, has been getting under my skin.)

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12/5/09

Here one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century (composer Morton Feldman [1926-1980]) pays homage to another (painter Mark Rothko [1903-1970]).

Morton Feldman, “Rothko Chapel” (composed in 1971; first performed, at Houston’s Rothko Chapel, in 1972)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

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12/6/09

I first heard this guy back in the mid-1970s, after reading a review in the New York Times, by the late Robert Palmer, of his first album, The Gospel Saxophone of Vernard Johnson—and I’ve been listening to him ever since.

Vernard Johnson, saxophone

Live, Texas (Roanoke)

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reading table

Music . . . helped me to go deeper inside myself, to find new things there: the variety which I had vainly sought in life and in travel, yet the longing for which was stirred in me by the surge of sound whose sunlit wavelets came to break at my feet.

—Marcel Proust, The Prisoner (Trans. Carol Clark)

Monday, 3/22/10

Trying to capture jazz in standard notation can be like trying to translate poetry into another language—what you wind up with is everything but the poetry. So composer/trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith (who, like many of his peers, eschews “jazz” as a label for his music) invented his own system of graphic notation.

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Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet) with his Golden Quartet (Vijay Iyer [piano], John Lindberg [bass], Ronald Shannon Jackson [drums]); Eclipse, 2005

Part 1

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Part 2

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Part 3

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Part 4

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Part 5

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Part 6

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Part 7

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Part 8

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art beat

Earlier this month, when I mentioned the exhibit of William Eggleston’s photographs that’s currently at the Art Institute—posting an album cover that you’ll find in a display case there—I didn’t expect that Big Star would appear here again before the month’s end. But then I didn’t expect that Alex Chilton would pass away, either. Alex had more than simply an artistic interest in Eggleston and his work. He’d known the photographer, who was a good friend of his parents, since he was a little boy. Here, again, is the image Alex chose for that album cover, followed by a couple more from this exhibit.

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