music clip of the day


Month: May, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jenny said when she was just five years old
There was nothin’ happening at all
Every time she puts on the radio
There was nothin’ goin’ down at all
Not at all

Then one fine mornin’, she puts on a New York station
You know, she couldn’t believe what she heard at all
She started shakin’ to that fine, fine music
You know, her life was saved by rock and roll . . .

—Lou Reed, “Rock & Roll” (The Velvet Underground, Loaded [1970])


Bo Diddley, “Hey, Bo Diddley,” “Bo Diddley,” live (TV broadcast [Ed Sullivan Show]), 1955



This well may be the human race’s greatest ever achievement.

—YouTube comment

Thursday, May 20, 2010

These guys sounded awfully good the other day—let’s hear some more.

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, “Orleans & Claiborne,” live, New Orleans, 2010

There are a lot of things to like about this performance. One is the way Shorty, following two hot solos (tenor, baritone), doesn’t try to out-blow those guys. Instead, he changes directions (3:20). Sometimes nothing packs more punch than restraint. (Yeah, I don’t know why this clip cuts off when it does, either.)

Want more? Here.




Soon I’ll be leaving for a funeral—my uncle, Hugh Frebault. Nine days ago we sat and talked and laughed for over an hour; now he’s silent. Does life get any more understandable as you get older? I don’t think so—if anything, it seems to become only more mysterious, more unfathomable.

Blind Willie Johnson, “Dark Was The Night – Cold Was The Ground” (1927, Dallas)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

1. Things you’ve heard before.

2. Things you’ve never heard.

Suppose you could listen to only one for the rest of your life.

Which would you choose?

Tristan Murail (1947-), “L’Espirit de Dunes” (1993-94)/Bent Frequency, Robert Ambrose conducting; live, Georgia (Morrow), 2006

Part 1


Part 2



Our conception of music is held prisoner by our education. All has been cut into slices, put into categories, classified, limited. There is a conceptual error from the very beginning: the composer does not work with 12 notes, x rhythmic figures, x dynamic markings, all infinitely permutable–he works with sound and timbre. Sound has been confused with its representations . . .

—Tristan Murail, “Spectra and Pixies” (1984)

Want more? Here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

this just in: teenagers (still) crazy about sex

While riding with my newly-19-year-old son Luke the other day (coming home from Champaign), here’s what jumped out of the radio.

Rihanna, “Rude Boy”


Trey Songz, “Neighbors Know My Name”


Drake, “Best I Ever Had”

Monday, May 17, 2010

In embracing music from another continent, this guy—a Gypsy born in Belgium who grew up near Paris—was way ahead of his time.

Django Reinhardt, January 23, 1910-May 16, 1953

Quintette du Hot Club de France

Live, “J’attendrai Swing,” 1939


Live, “Echoes of France,” 1945

It’s something of a miracle that Django was able, physically, to make music at all. When he was eighteen, his left hand was badly injured in a fire, leaving his fourth and fifth fingers permanently curled toward the palm.



Jazz attracted me because in it I found a formal perfection and instrumental precision that I admire in classical music, but which popular music doesn’t have.—Django Reinhardt


With Duke Ellington (1939)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Same song (as last Sunday), same city, different singer.

Grandpa Elliott, “Amazing Grace,” live, New Orleans, April 29, 2010



Interview with Grandpa Elliott, New Orleans, April 29, 2010

This is like my medicine, my doctor, my everything.

—Grandpa Elliott

Want more? Here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

replay: a clip too good for just one day

The world became a less interesting place the day Lester Bowie died.

Digable Planets (with Lester Bowie [trumpet], Joe Sample [keyboard], Melvin “Wah-Wah Watson” Ragin [guitar]), “Flying High in the Brooklyn Sky,” live

Want to hear more of Lester? Here.



Part of the job of a musician is that of a messenger. If you ain’t ready to be a messenger, forget it. You need to get a job in the post office or somewhere. If you ain’t ready to travel, pack up your family, or pack up yourself and hit the road, you’re in the wrong business. Because that’s what music is about. It’s about spreading knowledge and education, and re-education. It’s about spreading. You have got to travel with it to spread the word. Like all the people in the past that have had to travel to spread the music.


It’s life itself that this [music] is about.

—Lester Bowie (in George E. Lewis, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music [2008])

(Originally posted 10/28/09.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

no redeeming value whatsoever

Andre Williams & His Orchestra, “Sweet Little Pussycat” (1966)


Andre Williams, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010


What would go well with a bottle of sleeping pills?

Chet Baker, “Almost Blue” (Let’s Get Lost [1988])



Here’s a big birthday shout-out to my 19-year-old son Luke, who’s opened my ears to more things than I could ever count.

Wednesday, 5/12/10

Is the greatest electric guitar player of all time a guy who died in 1942?

Charlie Christian, July 29, 1916-March 2, 1942

“Waiting for Benny” (1941 [recorded at a Benny Goodman session, while the engineers were testing the equipment])


Live, New York (Minton’s), 1941

“Swing To Bop”


“Stompin’ at the Savoy”


TV news piece, Oklahoma City, 2007 (following CC’s induction into the Jazz Hall of Fame)

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