music clip of the day

jazz/blues/rock/classical/gospel/more

Month: July, 2011

Thursday, 7/21/11

Time for just one?

I’d go with Alfred Cortot.

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favorites
(an occasional series)

Of beauty you cannot have too much.

Frederic Chopin, Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 (1835-36)

Take 1: Vladimir Horowitz, live, New York (Carnegie Hall)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Take 2: Krystian Zimerman, live

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Take 3: Claudio Arrau

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Take 4: Alfred Cortot

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Take 5: Sviatoslav Richter, live (Kiev)

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More Chopin? Here. And here. And here.

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

[T]he things we feel in life are not experienced in the form of ideas, and so their translation into literature, an intellectual process, may give an account of them, explain them, analyse them, but cannot recreate them as music does, its sounds seeming to take on the inflections of our being, to reproduce that inner, extreme point of sensation which is that thing that causes us the specific ecstasy we feel from time to time and which, when we say ‘What a beautiful day! What beautiful sunshine!’, is not conveyed at all to our neighbour, in whom the same sun and the same weather set off quite different vibrations.

—Marcel Proust, The Prisoner (1925), trans. Carol Clark

(Originally posted 12/27/10.)

Wednesday, 7/20/11

old stuff
(an occasional series)

Duke Ellington, “Black Beauty” (1928)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Tuesday, 7/19/11

Don’t bother with this if you’re too busy to be mesmerized.

Bach, The Art of the Fugue (excerpt)/Glenn Gould, piano

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More? Here. And here.

Monday, 7/18/11

only rock ’n roll
(an occasional series)

Oneida, “The Adversary,” Ireland, 10/07

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Sunday, 7/17/11

The right music, heard at the right moment, can change your whole day.

The Staple Singers, “I’m Coming Home” (Vee-Jay), 1959

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lagniappe

Happy Birthday, Lionel!

Today trumpet player Lionel Ferbos, who was born when William Howard Taft was president and tonight can be heard at New Orleans’ Palm Court Jazz Cafe, turns 100.

The Lionel Ferbos Band, “When You’re Smiling”
Live, New Orleans (Norwegian Seamen’s Church), 8/28/09

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For some years, trumpeter Lionel Ferbos has been touted as the oldest active jazz musician in New Orleans. Come this weekend, he’ll qualify for another honorific: The only active jazz musician in New Orleans whose age has crossed into triple digits.

lionel ferbos 2011 portrait.jpgJohn McCusker / The Times-Picayune
Lionel Ferbos, photographed in May 2011.

Ferbos first learned trumpet in 1926, at age 15, inspired by seeing Phil Spitalny and his All-Girl Orchestra at the Orpheum Theater. He played in 1930s bands led by Captain John Handy and Walter “Fats” Pichon. He worked on a crew digging a City Park lagoon before getting hired for a Depression-era Works Progress Administration band, making around $13 a week.

Sheetmetal work eventually paid the bills, even as he continued to moonlight as a musician. He joined Lars Edegran’s New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra in the early 1970s, which toured in Europe, and in 1979 played trumpet and sang in the touring musical “One Mo’ Time.” He has maintained a regular gig at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe on Decatur Street for more than two decades.

—Keith Spera, The Times-Picayune, 7/13/11

Saturday, 7/16/11

what’s new
(an occasional series)

James Blake, “The Wilhelm Scream,” Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, 7/14/11

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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 favorites
(an occasional series)
Hearing JB brought this MCOTD fave to mind (originally posted 11/23/09).

Here’s Arthur Russell, the “seminal avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist and disco producerwho 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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[Russell’s] various distinctions—folkie, art-music songwriter and improviser, dance-club maven—seem incoherent until you hear several of his records. When musicians get angry about being categorized by critics, I usually feel frustrated: readers, after all, want to know what the record sounds like. With Russell, I take the musicians’ angle. Just listen to it and you’ll understand.

—Ben Ratliff, “The Many Faces, and Grooves, of Arthur Russell,” New York Times, 2/29/04

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For Arthur, there was no cachet to being eclectic. Rather, he played across genre because it would have required a colossal and entirely counterproductive effort on his part to stick to one sound. . . . Drifting into an ethereal, gravity-defying zone, Arthur had come to embody the interconnectivity of music.

—Tim Lawrence, Hold On To Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-1992 (2009).

Friday, 7/15/11

How’d you get along without this?

James Brown, Japan, 1992

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More? Here. And here. And here.

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lagniappe

mail

This just in from a longtime reader/listener:

Every day I look forward to turning on my computer to see what the clip of the day is. I love what you are doing. Keep it up.

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And several musicians have checked in, responding to messages letting them know they were being featured here.

Hello Richard

How kind of you to send me the info.

Peace always,

Bernard Purdie

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That’s great, thank you!!

Peace,
And Justice!

Ray Anderson

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Thanks Richard

“may your groove be phat”

              george porter, jr.

Thursday, 7/14/11

two takes

Arvo Pärt, Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten (1977)

A Far Cry, live, Boston (Jordan Hall), 10/17/08

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BBC Symphony Orchestra, live, London (Royal Albert Hall), 8/17/10

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This goes, and goes, and goes, keeping you afloat, carrying you along,
then stops with stunning suddenness—is any music more lifelike?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy (75th) Birthday, Albert!

Albert Ayler, tenor saxophonist, July 13, 1936-November 25, 1970

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Albert Ayler Trio (Albert Ayler, ts; Gary Peacock, bass; Sunny Murray, drums), Spiritual Unity (ESP), 1964

“Ghosts: First Variation”

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“The Wizard”

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“Spirits”

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“Ghosts: Second Variation”

More? Here. And here. 

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lagniappe

random thoughts

OK, let’s talk physics. One problem with the term “free jazz” is that it suggests a sound world in which there’s no center of gravity—a world where everything pushes outward, where centrifugal force rules. But the reality, with many of the greatest artists, is different. Centripetal, not centrifugal, force is king. The musicians push inward, not outward, toward a center none ever inhabits individually but, collectively, they are always moving toward.

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The contributions of Gary Peacock and Sunny Murray are hard to overstate. Sidemen? There are none.

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Like Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler is at heart a blues musician—one who, like Ornette, expanded the blues vocabulary.

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radio

Today, from noon to 9 p.m. (EST), WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University) is all Albert Ayler.

Tuesday, 7/12/11

John Luther Adams, Inuksuit (excerpt)
New York (Park Avenue Armory), 2/20/11

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More? Here.

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lagniappe

Scored for a flexible ensemble of between nine and ninety-nine percussionists, “Inuksuit” is intended for outdoor performance, and it had its première on a mountainside in Banff, Canada, in 2009. Adams at first resisted the idea of taking the piece indoors, because the interaction with nature was integral to his conception. After inspecting the Armory, though, he grasped its possibilities; the space is more a man-made canyon than a concert hall. He settled on a corps of seventy-six musicians, including five piccolo players. Arrays of drums, gongs, cymbals, bells, and numerous smaller instruments were set up on the main floor of the Drill Hall; atop catwalks on all sides; and in the hallways that connect to smaller rooms at the front of the building. In any rendition of “Inuksuit,” the performers are given four or five pages of music—the notation imitates the shapes of the Inuit markers—which they execute at their own pace. Musicians with portable instruments are instructed to move about freely. Prearranged signals prompt a move from one page to the next. The result is a composition that on the microcosmic level seems spontaneous, even chaotic, but that gathers itself into a grand, almost symphonic structure.

At 4 P.M. on a Sunday, thirteen hundred people assembled in the Drill Hall to hear the piece, variously standing, sitting, or lying on the floor. First came an awakening murmur: one group of performers exhaled through horns and cones; others rubbed stones together and made whistling sounds by whirling tubes. Then one member of the ensemble—Schick, perched above the entrance to the Drill Hall—delivered a call on a conch shell. With that commanding, shofar-like tone, the sound started to swell: tom-toms and bass drums thudded, cymbals and tam-tams crashed, sirens wailed, bells clanged. It was an engulfing, complexly layered noise, one that seemed almost to force the listeners into motion, and the crowd fanned out through the arena.

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It is tricky to write about an event such as this. Because both ensemble and audience were in motion, no two perceptions of the performance were the same, and no definitive record of it can exist. Furthermore, anyone who ventures to declare in a public forum that “Inuksuit” was one of the most rapturous experiences of his listening life—that is how I felt, and I wasn’t the only one—might be suspected of harboring hippie-dippie tendencies. The work is not explicitly political, nor is it the formal expression of an individual sensibility, although John Luther Adams certainly deserved the ecstatic and prolonged ovation that greeted him when he acknowledged the crowd from the center of the Drill Hall. In the end, several young couples seemed to deliver the most incisive commentary when, amid the obliterating tidal wave of sound, they began making out.

—Alex Ross, New Yorker, 3/14/11

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Happy Birthday, Suzanne!

As I mentioned on this date last year, the first time my wife Suzanne and I went out together (September 1974, Chicago’s Jazz Showcase), we saw the man who put the sui in sui generis.

Sun Ra, Space Is the Place (1974), excerpt

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More? Here. And here.

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speaking of birthdays

How often do you get to say “Happy 100th Birthday”?

Well, here’s your chance.

As I learned the other day from WKCR-FM’s Phil Schaap, who’s been encouraging folks to send this guy a birthday card (I mailed mine yesterday), the oldest performing jazz musician, trumpeter Lionel Ferbos, who plays at New Orleans’ Palm Court Jazz Cafe, turns 100 on July 17th. Birthday greetings can be mailed (remember mail?) to 5543 Press Dr., New Orleans, LA 70126.

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