I was playing with my favorite toy, the Pono Music Player this morning. There’s a new app called PONORevealer. The PonoRevealer is a new feature on your PonoPlayer that will allow you to switch seamlessly between different audio resolutions to compare the differences in the sound quality.
I tested it with Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” which is the default demo file. The PonoPlayer hardware will make the compressed files sound better than you’ve likely ever heard a compressed file sound before.
I posted the tutorial if you want a more detailed explanation.
I was sad to learn from my wife when I awoke this morning that B.B. King had passed in the night. It was his wish that when he went he would die in his sleep.
We love B.B. King. We had seen him perform nine times in concert since 1997. No one epitomizes the blues as B. does. He was truly the King of the Blues.
The most special memory I have of B.B. King took place at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Uncasville, CT. B.B. King’s management had struck a multi-year partnership with Foxwoods. The agreement included annual appearances by B.B. King at the Fox Theatre, a B.B. Southern Cuisine Restaurant (great food by the way) and a B.B. King night club.
I purchased general admission tickets for B.B. King’s concert at the Fox Theatre, January 9th, 2004. While my wife and our friends gambled I stood first on line to get us the best seats. As it turned out I secured us front row seats. Our vantage point to B.B. King was incredible. He couldn’t have been more than 30 feet away.
I loved watching him play Lucille. His fingers flew along the neck of his guitar. About two-thirds of the way through the set I felt a connection with B.B. King.
What happened next I could never have predicted. I watched as B.B. King smiled at me. He finished “The Thrill Is Gone” and the next thing I see is that he flings his guitar pick directly at me. It sails through the air perfectly, no waffling. I try to catch it. But B.B. King is too quick for me.
The pick goes under my seat. I try to find it. I can’t. I start to get privately upset. I tell myself calm down when the show ends and the house lights come on you’ll find it.
Well the show ends and several people in the venue come by my chair to find that pick. I still can’t find it. I start to think maybe another patron scoffed it. I stop looking as do others. We get ready to leave the theatre and I pull my souvenir bag from under the seat. I decided to look in the bag at the merchandise I had purchased before the show. Don’t you know the pick B.B. King had sailed to me had hit the souvenir bag as it was open at the top. I was amazed at B.B. King’s aim. I thought what are the chances of that happening?
So as I sit here today and reflect on all the good times that rolled with B.B. King in concert, I am grateful for that special connection. B.B. King we love and miss you. Please make a place for us on the other side.
God Bless You B.B. King, the gift of the blues burns brightly in the music of our heart.
Henry Threadgill: alto saxophone, bass flute Roscoe Mitchell: alto, soprano and sopranino saxophones, bass recorder, baroque flute Muhal Richard Abrams: piano Larry Gray: double bass, cello Jack DeJohnette: drums
Jack DeJohnette celebrates a reunion with old friends. In 1962, DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill were all classmates at Wilson Junior College on Chicago’s Southside, pooling energies and enthusiasms in jam sessions. Shortly thereafter Jack joined Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band, and Roscoe and Henry soon followed him. When Abrams cofounded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in 1965, DeJohnette, Mitchell and Threadgill were all deeply involved from the outset, presenting concerts and contributing to each other’s work under the AACM umbrella.
Jack brought them together again for a very special concert at Chicago’s Millenium Park in August 2013, completing the group with the addition of bassist/cellist Larry Gray. The concert recording featuring compositions by Roscoe, Henry, Muhal and Jack, plus group improvising was mixed by Manfred Eicher and Jack DeJohnette at New York’s Avatar Studio.
Jeff Beck is releasing a primarily live recording, Jeff Beck Live+ on Tuesday May 19th.
The 14 live performances on Jeff BeckLive+ were recorded at multiple venues in 2014 and feature Beck backed by his band: vocalist Jimmy Hall, bassist Rhonda Smith, drummer Jonathan Joseph and guitarist Nicolas Meier. The quintet explored Beck’s vast catalog which stretches across five decades with performances of “Morning Dew” (from Truth, 1968), “Superstition” (from Beck, Bogert, Appice, 1973), “Big Block” (from Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop, 1989), as well as two Grammy-winning tracks: his cover of the Beatles’ “A Day In The Life” and “Hammerhead.”
Jeff Beck Live+ concludes with two new studio tracks, “Tribal” and “My Tiled White Floor,” with guest vocals from Ruth Lorenzo and Veronica Bellino, respectively. These aggressive new songs mark Beck’s first studio recordings since 2010 and show a stark departure from the sound on his previous album as the guitarist continues to push the envelope of musical innovation, just as he has his entire career.
This is why I subscribe to TIDAL. They offer meaningful exclusives that touch the music of our heart.
Tune into TIDAL at 8 p.m. E.T. on Sunday, May 10, 2015, for a live audio broadcast of Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL’s Mother’s Day Rally 4 Peace benefit concert. TIDAL will be the exclusive destination to hear this historic live concert — available to subscribers and non-subscribers alike.
Following a month of unrest, the Rally 4 Peace is meant to be a catalyst for pause and reflection after the outpouring of violence that has gripped Baltimore and areas throughout the U.S.
What happened in Baltimore, Maryland was tragic and wrong. Here’s our opportunity to lend assistance to Baltimore and its youth.
Alongside the free hour-long audio stream, TIDAL’s homepage will feature a “match funds” donation button to support local Baltimore youth charities.
TIDAL is also providing the opportunity to support and give to The Baltimore Justice Fund, whose mission it is to end racial discrimination, create schools that are welcoming and safe, reduce the impact of drug addiction and eliminate police brutality in Baltimore. All can donate at http://www.audaciousideas.org/donate/
“I am honored to join Prince in his mission to inspire through the uniting power of music and be able to offer a platform where this moment can be shared globally. We invite all to experience the music and contribute in their own way to promote peace, tolerance and understanding,” added JAY Z. “Our prayers go out to Freddie Gray’s family and every family affected by brutality and senseless violence.”
The year was 1969. I was a 17-year-old high school graduate living and working in Connecticut. I was a babe in the woods when it came to New York City and “Live” rock concerts. My music tastes were forged listening intently to progressive rock radio station WNEW-FM 102.7.
The Fillmore East was the goal I had to experience. Bill Graham’s magic venue was constantly advertised on WNEW which made that passion stronger in my soul.
A fellow Jethro Tull fanatic scored four tickets at $5.50@ for us to see The Jeff Beck Group, Jethro Tull and The Soft White Underbelly perform at The Fillmore East on July 3rd, 1969. I was pumped. I could finally see my first “live” rock concert and it would take place at The Fillmore East! Little did I realize it would be the first of 425+ concerts in the next 46 years I would attend. This concert changed my life from radio station listener to active music participant. I have loved and nurtured the role of concert attendee ever since that day.
Since none of us drove a car, we rode the train from South Norwalk, CT to Grand Central Station. All the way down to the East Village we held a lively debate about our favorite band Jethro Tull and their first album, This Was. We loved to argue competitively which was the best song on the album. My favorite choice was “Serenade to a Cuckoo” by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. I fought for it vehemently as others articulated their favorites. Tull fanatics were we enjoying our obsession!
We took the IRT Lexington Avenue subway line to Astor Place. It was a cool and comfortable July evening in the East Village neighborhood. Our anticipation grew as we approached The Fillmore East venue on 2nd Avenue. The smell of pot and incense filled the air. The sidewalks were crowded with long-haired hippies like us. I was approached several times before we went inside if I had a spare ticket. I never responded and just kept walking. The famous lighted marquee above showed in black letters, July 3 Jeff Beck/Jethro Tull. We surrendered our tickets at the door which the Fillmore usher proceeded to tear in half. He gave us each a program (which I have since lost, sigh) and then he escorted us to our seats under the balcony overhang. He had long hair to the middle of his back and was wearing a Fillmore East green basketball jersey. He used his flashlight to point out our four seats in aisle M. Then he smiled and said, “Enjoy the show.” I thought what a cool job wondering how many great shows had he seen?
The theater was bustling as people milled about. The banter of the crowd was loud and lively. The stage was smaller than I thought it would be. I was fine with that as it added to the intimate nature of the celebration.
Soon the lights went down and Kip Cohen (Managing Director) announced the opening act. “Ladies and Gentleman please give a warm New York City welcome for Soft White Underbelly.” The first act Soft White Underbelly was a local Long Island band. They would evolve to later become Blue Oyster Cult. I was not familiar with this band’s music at all. I loved their raw energy and loud, thrashing guitars. I watched as Joe’s Lights set the backdrop for their set with lots of uses of white and grey graphics. At one point I saw an image of the great white whale Moby Dick thrashing in the ocean behind them. I loved witnessing the use of lighting and graphics accenting the artists music as they played. This art form fascinated me. Soft White Underbelly played a short, 30 minute set and received a nice round of applause for their effort.
We started yelling, “Jethro Tull, Jethro Tull”, repeatedly. The guys in front of us gave us a look of disapproval but we didn’t care. We heard the announcer say, “From England, Jethro Tull”. Next thing you know Ian Anderson and the Jethro Tull band took the stage. Ian was a whirling dervish that night. Silver flute in hand wearing a red checkered bath robe with long suede boots laced all the way up to his knee. He had this wild look in his eyes and he often stood on one foot as he played the flute. Off they went into the first song from This Was, “My Sunday Feeling”.
I was jumping up and down with Tull as they rocked the house. Wow, I was really getting to see my favorite band perform right in front of me. They sounded fantastic, much more dynamic than their album ever conveyed.
We quickly learned that Mick Abrahams, original Tull lead guitarist, had been replaced by Martin Barre. I was disappointed because I loved Abrahams style and wanted to see him play. Martin Barre, as the new Jethro Tull took a bit of getting used to that night. (Martin Barre became a fixture with Jethro Tull for the next four decades.)
We did not know yet that we were about to be treated to several new tracks from their “unreleased” second studio recording, Stand Up.
The lighting for Jethro Tull was a thick, dark, wooded glen. The screen changed into fantastic shades of forest green and blue. I recall the leaves turning bronze and copper which offset the trees smartly.
The song I liked the best from Stand Up was “Fat Man”. It was Ian Anderson seated singing and playing mandolin and Clive Bunker on bongos with bells on his feet staying in time. It was a departure from the songs on This Was. I found the song about being fat enchanting and fun. Ian Anderson’s wry sense of humor came across on these lyrics.
The Fillmore East concert was held on the eve of the Newport Jazz Festival on July 4th. George Wein had decided that Newport Jazz would go Rock that year. Jethro Tull and The Jeff Beck Group along with Led Zeppelin were scheduled to change jazz festival history as part of a transformative lineup in Newport, Rhode Island. Ian Anderson mentioned to the audience how he couldn’t wait to perform with Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
Then Jethro Tull played my favorite song, “Serenade to a Cuckoo”. I was enthralled to get my private wish of hearing this song played live answered. Tull justified their place at Newport when they performed this jazz classic.
Their set ended too quickly for us. We yelled and screamed “Tull” as they excitedly vanished to wildly enthusiastic applause.
The Jeff Beck Group headlined The Fillmore East concert. Jeff Beck was a very skilful guitar slinger set against the light show extravaganza. The lighting effect for The Jeff Beck Group was the psychedelic bubble formed in a petri dish on an overhead projector. I was reminded of the cover of Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida as the bubble throbbed and mutated above the band. I was witnessing a member of the Yardbirds. How cool was that?
Rod Stewart was vocalist extraordinaire for Jeff Beck. He was the dandy with a long scarf that he threw about his neck as he strutted the stage like a peacock. He was very tall and the women were taken with him. He was the sex symbol we would later read about in the seventies. I loved his gravelly voice.
The Jeff Beck Group also featured Ron Wood (Small Faces, Rolling Stones) on bass guitar, Nicky Hopkins on piano and Micky Waller on drums. They tore the roof off The Fillmore East venue that night. (Here is a vintage YouTube video from that evening.)
After the concert we walked back to the subway stop, making a pit stop at Gramophone a record shop where I purchased Beck-Ola by The Jeff Beck Group. I wanted to become more familiar with the songs I heard them do that evening. I still own that album and play it when the mood strikes me.
Years later I ended up seeing Blue Oyster Cult right up the street from where I live, Jethro Tull six more times (not including the Ian Anderson Rubbing Elbow Tours, which is another story for another day) and Jeff Beck twice at Madison Square Garden.
The Fillmore East – 105 Second Avenue, East Village
The Fillmore East survived just four years. Rock music was moving to the arenas and stadiums. The Fillmore business model could no longer afford to pay the bands who made our music. The Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation commemorated The Fillmore East on October 9, 2014 with this plaque.
There was a time in New York City Rock History when The Fillmore East and the Academy of Music were THE Rock Palaces where rock music ruled the planet. Both venues were based in the East Village, not too far apart from each other.
Thanks to Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo we can revisit that era through the art of the rock photographer’s camera lens.
On Thursday, May 7th from 7-9pm at the Morrison Hotel Gallery, located at 116 Prince Street in SoHo, there will be an opening reception of an exhibition of photography by Amalie R. Rothschild and Bill Green. This show features photographs shot at the Fillmore East and the Academy of Music here in New York City. You may RSVP HEREby email.