I’m With Our Sisters

Nearly 5 million sisters and brothers marched our planet yesterday. The force of change is with us. Trust the Force and Resist.

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Gorillaz – Hallelujah Money

Gorillaz published their anti-Trump music video yesterday, “Hallelujah Money”. Benjamin Clementine’s chilling vocal juxtaposes power and corruption. The video features backdrop images ranging from people in white hoods to clowns as it unfolds within the glass elevator in Trump Tower.

 

 

Our 50 Year Journey with Livingston Taylor

I was chuffed to find out that our warm friend Livingston Taylor is celebrating 50 years as a musician, performer, and educator. Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18th, will officially be declared “Livingston Taylor Day” by both Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. It gave me pause as I reflected on what Livingston Taylor has meant to our lives.

My wife and I have been dedicated fans of Liv’s music for 47 years. We have been blessed by Livingston’s charm and wit 10 times in concert.

I recall the first concert at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, in July of 1970. Livingston Taylor was the opening act for Jethro Tull and unknown musician to us but he melted our hearts quickly. He sat directly on a stool in front of us playing acoustic guitar. We became enthralled as Liv sang, “Carolina Day”. We hunted down his first vinyl LP the next day and played it often during our dating years.

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The next concert was three years later, in December 1973 at the University of New Haven. I made arrangements with his manager Don Law to interview Livingston before the concert. I was forced to conduct the interview with a fellow WNHU-FM air personality. I warned this person NOT to mention James Taylor during the interview. I had been warned it infuriated Livingston Taylor to be asked or compared to his brother. That person swore to me he would not do that.

We get to the locker room before the show and Randy Newman, Liv’s opening act is pacing the floor and frequenting the restroom.  He stood off to the side as we interviewed Livingston Taylor. Don’t you know the idiot I am doing the interview with asks Livingston, “So what’s it like to have a famous brother like James? Livingston looks at him and then me and says, “Sorry, interview is over.” I pushed the saboteur off the locker bench, telling him, “Thanks for screwing this up for the station.” Randy Newman then said, “Hey guy, you really blew it for your buddy there.”

Many years later I had a good laugh with Livingston recalling that moment with him at The Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, NY. We saw him perform there four times, once with his sister Kate Taylor. Livingston was always cordial after the show, willing to sign his CDs and chat with us. We would get seats right next to the stage and order dinner/desert. Livingston would come out of the kitchen, ascend the stage and ask us, “How was the desert? They have the best deserts at The Towne Crier.”

Note: Livingston Taylor will be performing the debut of his new album, Safe Home at the Towne Crier Cafe which is now located in Beacon, N.Y., on Saturday, Jan. 21.

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His signed book Stage Performance has proven invaluable to me as an educator. It has helped me refine how I connnect with my students. I have a peer in music and education with Liv giving me solace 🙂

So that has been our cherished 50-year journey with Livingston Taylor. We’re looking forward to seeing him receive his honors in Boston tomorrow. We won’t be there in person but we will be attending in the music of our hearts.

The Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the First Human Be-In

The First Human Be-In held in San Francisco on January 14, 1967, ushered in the Summer of Love. It was a pivotal conclave with an estimated 20,000+ people in attendance.

I love that the event served as the passing of the baton from The Beats Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg and Michael McClure to the Flower Child generation. It is where Timothy Leary stated, “Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out”.

Today is the 50th Anniversary of that historic event, San Francisco, and the world will celebrate together!

If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there – Lyrics By: Scott McKenzie, Song: San Francisco

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Nat Hentoff – Journalist Extraordinaire

The passing of Nat Hentoff on January 7th left a discernible void in music and free speech. I have been richly educated by his writing for many decades. The NY Times published an article about his life that I encourage you to read, Nat Hentoff, Journalist and Social Commentator, Dies at 91.

What struck me was this photograph of him at his craft. Notice the use of the typewriter in Nat Hentoff’s Greenwich Village apartment/office. I will make it a point to rent the David L. Lewis documentary, The Pleasures of Being Out of Step and watch it in his honor.

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David L. Lewis/First Run Features

David Bowie – No Plan EP

David Bowie’s final recording, No Plan EP was released January 8, 2017 on what would have been his 70th birthday.

It contains the single “Lazarus”, the EP also features tracks recorded for the acclaimed musical of the same name, melancholic “No Plan”, “Killing A Little Time” which is akin to material from Outside and the ambient acid rock track “When I Met You”.

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The No Plan video was directed by Tom Hingston, it features a motif of rows of TV screens from The Man Who Fell To Earth, with a nod to main character Thomas Newton with the shop name Newton Electrical. It culminates with visions of space travel and a final salute image from Bowie.

 

 

Macy Gray – Stripped

Macy Gray’s Stripped is an acoustic gem. Jazz is her true calling and we are its direct beneficiaries.

David and Norman Chesky of Chesky Records have produced Macy Gray in a wondrously  natural setting.

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I’d love to sit in a small jazz club to connect with Macy Gray and her ensemble. The stellar session musicians assemble a rich groove within their dynamic interplay.

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Macy’s vocal treatise of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” envelops the listener inside a warm blanket of respect.

My favorite piece after first listens is  the last track, “Lucy”. I love how it leaves me wanting more.  I hope that Chesky Records and Macy Gray have other music in store for  fans in 2017.

Rick Wakeman, Piano Portraits

Piano Portraits is the 100th solo album from Rick Wakeman.

Painting pictures is how Rick describes his playing style and how he visualizes music, and this album paints a very vivid, lush landscape for the listener to explore.91qbv8ubofl-_sl1500_

Pre-orders are available from Rick Wakeman’s Pledge Music page.

Full Track List:

1. Help
2. Stairway to Heaven
3. Life on Mars
4. I’m Not In Love
5. Wondrous Stories
6. Berceuse
7. Amazing Grace
8. Swan Lake
9. Morning Has Broken
10. Summertime
11. Space Oddity
12. Dance of the Damselflies
13. Clair de Lune
14. I Vow To Thee My Country
15. Eleanor Rigby

CD Release Date: 13/01/2017
Vinyl LP Release Date: 03/02/2017

Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics – Newseum

Some members of the general public don’t believe musicians have the right to protest. They just want them to play the music and shut up about politics. Yet any fan can protest should they so choose. Wrong double standard if you ask me.

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The protest movement rose out of song and the right to assemble. This exhibit highlights that basic human right.

Check out the Newseum Website for more particulars. Wish I could see this exhibition.