music clip of the day

jazz/blues/rock/classical/gospel/more

Month: February, 2011

Saturday, 2/19/11

Listen yesterday; go today.

Burkina Faso: Life & Music in West Africa (2007)

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lagniappe

According to the guidebook, Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, but in our experience its people seemed confident and proud of their culture in this 50th anniversary of independence from French colonial rule. Deep red dust carpets the country, kicked up by the mopeds that crisscross the rutted ground and buy markets lining nearly every street. Yet through the coating of dust the people always look impeccably elegant.

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In Burkina, the sun drops away at 7 p.m. sharp. When we returned for the concert, we saw scores of parked mopeds glistening under the full moon., and hundreds of people queuing outside the high crumbling walls enclosing the open air theatre. Inside, beyond the light cast rom the state, a huge crowd bustled quietly in the darkness otherwise shrouding the vast auditorium. Families with children of all ages filled the wooden benches, and here too traders plied bronze jewellery and leather goods around the perimeter.

—Trevor Watts, The Wire, 3/11

Friday, 2/18/11

We are all from everywhere . . .

—Mai Lingani

Burkina Electric (with Mai Lingani, vocals; Wende K. Blass, guitar; Pyrolator [Kurt Dahlke], electronics; Lukas Ligeti [son of composer Gyorgy Ligeti], electronics, drums)

Live, Middletown, Connecticut (Wesleyan University), 2010

#1

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#2

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More? Here.

Thursday, 2/17/11

When I was in my 20s, this wouldn’t have appealed to me at all—
too “light,” too “cool,” not “adventurous” enough. But to borrow from
Bobby D., “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Most of what I liked then I still like. But I like a lot of other things, too. It helps,
I’ve found, if you listen, closely, to what is there—not what isn’t.

George Shearing, August 13, 1919-February 14, 2011

George Shearing Quintet (GS, piano; Chuck Wayne, guitar; Joe Roland, vibes; John Levy, bass; Denzil Best, drums), 1950s

“Conception”

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“I’ll Be Around”

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“Swedish Pastry”

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“Move”

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lagniappe

reading table

Dean and I went to see Shearing at Birdland in the midst of the long, mad weekend. The place was deserted, we were the first customers, ten o’clock. Shearing came out, blind, led by the hand to his keyboard. He was a distinguished-looking Englishman with a stiff white collar, slightly beefy, blond, with a delicate English-summer’s-night air about him that came out in the first rippling sweet number he played as the bass-player leaned to him reverently and thrummed the beat. The drummer, Denzil Best, sat motionless except for his wrists snapping the brushes. And Shearing began to rock; a smile broke over his ecstatic face; he began to rock in the piano seat, back and forth, slowly at first, then the beat went up, and he began rocking fast, his left foot jumped up with every beat, his neck began to rock crookedly, he brought his face down to the keys, he pushed his hair back, his combed hair dissolved, he began to sweat. The music picked up. The bass-player hunched over and socked it in, faster and faster, it seemed faster and faster, that’s all. Shearing began to play his chords; they rolled out of the piano in great rich showers, you’d think the man wouldn’t have time to line them up. They rolled and rolled like the sea. Folks yelled for him to “Go!” Dean was sweating; the sweat poured down his collar. “There he is! That’s him! Old God! Old God Shearing! Yes! Yes! Yes!” And Shearing was conscious of the madman behind him, he could hear every one of Dean’s gasps and imprecations, he could sense it though he couldn’t see. “That’s right!” Dean said. “Yes!” Shearing smiled, he rocked. Shearing rose from the piano, dripping with sweat; these were his great 1949 days before he became cool and commercial. When he was gone Dean pointed to the empty piano seat. “God’s empty chair,” he said. On the piano a horn sat; its golden shadow made a strange reflection along the desert caravan painted on the wall behind the drums. God was gone; it was the silence of his departure. It was a rainy night. It was the myth of the rainy night. Dean was popeyed with awe. This madness would lead nowhere.

—Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)

Wednesday, 2/16/11

Comedy, like jazz, is an art of syncopation.

Lenny Bruce, 1959 (with Cannonball Adderly, saxophone; Bill Evans, piano; Teddy Kotick, bass; Philly Joe Jones, drums)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

(Yeah, I could do without all the extra blah-blah-blah, too.)

More Lenny? Here.

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lagniappe

radio

Today WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University) is remembering George Shearing, who passed away Monday at the age of 91, with a memorial broadcast that runs until 9 p.m. (EST).

Tuesday, 2/15/11

She’s going to be a big star someday.

Nneka, live

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More? Here.

Monday, 2/14/11

Spontaneity, immediacy, freshness—they can be as important in classical music as they are in jazz. What I love about this performance, for instance, is that he never stops searching. It’s as if he’s encountering this piece for the first time and unable to conceal his astonishment.

Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 31, Op. 110/Rudolf Serkin, piano, live, 1987

1st Movement

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2nd Movement

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3rd Movement

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More Beethoven piano sonatas?

Here (No. 14, “Moonlight,” Artur Schnabel).

And here (No. 21, “Waldstein,” Emil Gilels).

And here (No. 23, “Appassionata,” Solomon).

And here. (No. 32, Claudio Arrau).

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lagniappe

reading table

The Busy Road

I am so used to it by now
that when the traffic falls silent,
I think a storm is coming.

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Lonely

No one is calling me. I can’t check the answering machine because I have been here all this time. If I go out, someone may call while I’m out. Then I can check the answering machine when I come back in.

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Nietszche

Oh, poor Dad. I’m sorry I made fun of you.
Now I’m spelling Nietszche wrong, too.

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis (2009)

 

Sunday, 2/13/11

two takes

My soul look back and wonder how did I make it over . . .

Mahalia Jackson, “How I Got Over,” live, 1963

New York (Bethel Baptist Church, Bronx)

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Washington, D.C. (March on Washington)

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More? Here. And here.

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lagniappe

*****


Saturday, 2/12/11

My favorite tenor player?

A while back, I said that if I had to name my favorite alto player, there would be days where I’d say Art Pepper.

Tenor players?

Some days this’d be the guy.

Like Pepper, he has a sound that’s immediately identifiable. It’s a sound that, like Pepper’s, holds both joy and heartbreak. And like Pepper, he’s hard—no, impossible—to pigeonhole. Swing, bebop, free: the label that’s capacious enough to contain him hasn’t been invented.

Von Freeman, “Lester Leaps In,” live, Chicago (New Apartment Lounge), 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More? Here.

Friday, 2/11/11

The other night, near the end of his big show at Madison Square Garden,
after bringing his opening act back onstage, the little guy played this.

Prince & Cee Lo (Cee-Lo?) Green, “Crazy,” New York, 2/7/11

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Like a lot of great music, this song first reached my ears (shortly after its release) through my younger son Luke, who, one day as I’m driving him across town to a friend’s house, says he has something to play me and slides this into the CD player, cranking the volume way up.

Thursday, 2/10/11

Some music circles back on itself, over and over, slowing time.

John Luther Adams
(not to be confused with the other John Adams)

“In the White Silence,” 1998 (excerpt)/The Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, Tim Weiss, conductor (2003 recording)

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“Red Arc/Blue Veil” for piano, percussion, and tape sounds (excerpt)/live, Kentucky (Lexington [University of Kentucky]), 2008/Clint Davis, piano; Charlie Olvera, vibraphone, crotales

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

Adams talks about his music

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I admire a radio station where you can’t be certain when you first tune in—as happened to me yesterday afternoon, while working, when I turned on WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)—whether they’re playing a recording or having technical difficulties.

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