music clip of the day


Month: September, 2014

Tuesday, September 16th


Joe Sample, keyboard player, composer, February 1, 1939-September 12, 2014

Digable Planets with guests Lester Bowie (trumpet), Melvin “Wah Wah Watson” Ragin (guitar), Joe Sample (keyboards), “Flyin’ High in the Brooklyn Sky,” live, New York, 1990s

As much as I love Lester, a MCOTD Hall-of-Famer, this performance could get along without him. Same with Wah Wah Watson. Not Joe—he makes everybody sound better.



random thoughts

Life doesn’t end; it stops.

Monday, September 15th

It’s your choice. You can allow yourself to be swept away. Or you can stay put on your own little island.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), Piano Concerto No. 2; Munich Philharmonic (Sergiu Celibidache, cond.) with Daniel Barenboim, piano, live, 1991



reading table

The man pulling radishes
pointed my way
with a radish.

—Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827; translated from Japanese by Robert Hass)

Sunday, September 14th

His music, which I’ve been listening to for over forty years, never grows old. If anything, the opposite is true. Year after year, it gets stronger, deeper, fresher.

Blind Willie Johnson, “Trouble Will Soon Be Over” (with Willie B. Harris), 1929



reading table

I love the past tense, but you can’t live there.

—John Koethe, “Stele” (fragment; ROTC Kills, 2012)

Saturday, September 13th

David T. Little (1978-), Haunt of Last Nightfall; Third Coast Percussion, live



musical thoughts

It’s not hard to imagine a world where the different kinds of music could be counted. Maybe there’d be 49, or 94, or 949. Thank God, or whatever, we don’t live there.

Friday, September 12th

sounds of Chicago

Robbie Fulks, “Let’s Kill Saturday Night” (R. Fulks), live, Norway (Bergen), 2013


Here’s another take—his 1998 recording.

Thursday, September 11th

William Basinski, “Disintegration Loop 1.1,” 2001



reading table

Photograph from September 11
by Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012; MCOTD Hall-of-Famer; translated from Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak)

They jumped from the burning floors—
one, two, a few more,
higher, lower.

The photograph halted them in life,
and now keeps them
above the earth toward the earth.

Each is still complete,
with a particular face
and blood well hidden.

There’s enough time
for hair to come loose,
for keys and coins
to fall from pockets.

They’re still within the air’s reach,
within the compass of places
that have just now opened.

I can do only two things for them—
describe this flight
and not add a last line.

Wednesday, September 10th

Following up on Friday’s post, here are a couple more early favorites.


October 15, 2009

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


October 3, 2009

Here are two New Orleans drummers who embrace the Muhammad Ali aesthetic: float like a butterfly (0:56-1:58, etc.), sting like a bee (1:59, etc.).

Dwayne Williams (bass drum) and Jason Slack (snare), live (before a gig), Hudson, New York, 2007


Tuesday, September 9th

What to make of this?

Why make anything of it?

Why not let it make something of you?

John Cage (1912-1992), Music for Amplified Toy Pianos (1960); Pestova/Meyer Piano Duo, live (recording session), Luxembourg, 2012



reading table

Falling blossoms.
Blossoms in bloom are also
falling blossoms.

—Ryokan (1758-1831; translated from Japanese by Kazuaki Tanahashi)

Monday, September 8th


One-word review: Wow!

Matthew Shipp (piano), live (music starts at 5:00), Chicago, 8/27/14

Sunday, September 7th

back to church

Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church Hymn Choir (Rock Hill, S.C.),”I Got Shoes,” live, McConnells, S.C. (Mt. Do-Well Missionary Baptist Church), 2001



musical thoughts

Mission: To transmit the tenderness of the human spirit through the disciplined action of a human body.

—pianist Marilyn Nonken (featured yesterday, heard last night in Chicago)

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