This morning I was trying to put the 29 year old Swedish-born Argentine folk singer Jose Gonzalez into some sort of non-musical context for tonight's LNMC. I was eager to feature either his first hit, "Heartbeats" or his cover of the Joy Division classic "Love Will Tear Us Apart". So I started writing a story about an Argentine priest who was just found guilty of genocide, murder and torture and I started thinking about the priest's claim that "in 2,000 years of history, no priest of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church has violated the sacraments." That lead me away from Gonzalez and towards the LSD-soaked early days on the Rolling Stones. I figured you might enjoy it more anyway:
Earl Palmer, perhaps the most recorded drummer in the history of popular American music, died last Friday at the age of 84. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, the New Orleans native set the beat for an amazing variety of artists, including, Fats Domino, Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Frank Sinatra, Lou Rawls, Bonnie Raitt, and Sarah Vaughan. In the 70's, I had the privilege of working with Earl for a few years in Maria Muldaur's band. He was a brilliantly inventive, caring, man. In recent years, in addition to continuing to play, he served as an executive officer of the LA Musician's Union, working to ensure that older musicians received credit and royalties they were due. We lost an immortal, one of the founding fathers of Rock & Roll.
When people look back in history to recount the contributions America made to mankind, Duke Ellington won't be too far down the list. A composer, band leader, and pianist, he's one of the most important figures in Western music. He was born in Washington, DC in 1899, the grandchild of slaves. By the 1940's he was considered a musical giant. Side by Side was a 1959 release, officially billed as a Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges project. Hodges was Ellington's lead sax player for years. Some of the other players, pictured in the clip below, are Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet), Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Jo Jones (drums), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), and Billy Strayhorn (piano). "Stompy Jones" was the lead track:
Yesterday one of Chicago's most respected members of Congress, Luis Gutierrez, made history by withdrawing an endorsement he had given to a corrupt and reactionary incumbent... from his own party! What a place Chicago is! Ryan Adams, a North Carolinian who lives in NYC and became famous for his "NY, NY" song, sure got it right with his hauntingly beautiful "Dear Chicago."
-by special guest Ken Furie, a former opera critic for the NY Times
Can you imagine a ruler capable of feeling guilt for his actions?
[7:55] "With my family I hoped to find solace. For my daughter I prepared a splendid wedding feast-- for my tsarevna, my Pure Little Dove. [7:15] Like a storm, death carries off the bridegroom."--Tsar Boris, soliloquizing in the imperial apartments of the Kremlin in Act II of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov
I'm inclined to think of Russian history and politics as more of a "heightened" version of ours rather than a thing apart. Living with Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov over a lifetime, I find myself more and more riveted by this moment in the tsar's Act II reflections when we see that he seems to believe his family's recent catastrophe--the sudden death of his beloved daughter Xenia's fiance--was somehow caused by the heavy burden of his own guilt. Imagine that: a ruler with a working conscience, actually capable of feeling guilt for his actions.
(You'll find more video clips along with lots more blather in "Was Mussorgsky just romancing, suggesting that put-upon Russian peasants expected higher-quality lies (and liars) from their authoritarian rulers?" on Down With Tyranny
Needless to say, this maybe one of the saddest mournings of my life. Joe Zawinul was my number one inspiration. I don't blog so, to my friends, I think openly...
There have been many great musicians who have experimented with the roots of jazz. Their donations are evident for those with the tenacity to explore the history of jazz.
But for the non-musician, I believe that Joe, almost single handedly, brought Africa and, as or, more importantly "organicness" back into jazz. At a time when the music was getting more and more clinical and antiseptic (remember "Popcorn" or "Switch On (fill in the blank)". When precision and virtuosic dexterity were closing the door to the general public, making jazz "music for musicians", Joe formed, what would become, THE jazz super-group that made the textures, rhythms and sonorities (AND virtuosic dexterity) of jazz accessible to the average 'joe'. He wasn't afraid or intimidated (always willing to box for his position) by those jazz purists that considered jazz to be "a music apart". He was an 'imagination' designer willing to use whatever tools where available to create a musical scene and draw the listener into it.
I love playing jazz. I love toying with rhythm. I love 'playing out' even when I'm not in doubt, because of what Joe Zawinul brought to jazz. This is a day to rejoice in the gifts that Joe (and his fellow Weather Reporters and Syndicators) gave the world at large.
We have people using this day as a symbol to divide and destroy cultures. But then we have Joe, who saw, heard and created beauty from the amalgam of world cultures. This is what we should celebrate every day. It is what this day will signify to me from now on. Peace to all, and to Joe.
(Nicole:) And in the interest in coming together and bipartisanship on this day especially, we give you Noel Sheppard (of Newsbusters)'s appreciation of the artistry and gifts of Joe Zawinul.
I stopped attending Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee meetings a few years ago because every year the committe's #1 nominee would be Patti Smith and every year whoever counted the final ballots always claimed she didn't get enough votes. That same person once told me that "She isn't really rock'n'roll." And never showed up again.
Yesterday, though Patti, one of the most--if not the most--influential writer/performers in the history of modern rock, finally made it.
Along wih R.E.M., Van Halen, The Ronettes and Grandmaster Flash, Patti will be inducted on March 12. Here's Patti doing her classic version of "Gloria" live on Italian TV in 1975.
Be one of the first 5 to tell us whose sins Jesus died for and win a copy of THE POWER OF PINK, a compilation of great songs by powerful women (including Sarah McLachlan, The Fugees, Pink, Evanescence, Indigo Girls, etc). Send your elegent and clever answer to Howie at email@example.com
I played there a couple of times in the late 80's and it was a blast. The place was pretty tore up, but it had this vibe about it that lifted your spirits as soon as the drummer counted off the first tune. It will always be remembered as a shrine to the history of Rock and Roll. The Ramones live at CBGB's...
Rolling Stone: At the end of a three-and-a-half hour show, on the last night of music at the New York club CBGB, Patti Smith read a list of the fallen, just a few of the musicians and spirits who were so important to the room's legend but couldn't be there for the October 15th wake....read on
Wikipedia: Van Morrison (born August 31, 1945 as George Ivan Morrison) is a singer and songwriter from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He plays a variety of instruments, including the guitar, harmonica, keyboards, and saxophone. Featuring his characteristic growl - a unique mix of throaty folk, blues, Irish, skat, and Celtic influences - Morrison is widely considered one of the most unusual and influential vocalists in the history of rock and roll. Famed critic Greil Marcus has gone so far as to note that "No white man sings like Van Morrison."