Monthly Archives: February 2011

My First Album

Meet The Beatles!
Image via Wikipedia

Meet The Beatles, Capitol Records, Purchased at Sears in Norwalk, Ct., January 20, 1964 $2.99

 

Advertisements

The Radiators – Last Roundup Tour

We attended The Radiators Last Roundup Tour at Stage One in Fairfield, Ct. last night. The Radiators, from New Orleans, LA are hanging it up after 33 years of making great music together. When I read about The Radiators retiring from the road, I was moved by their commitment to their fans. So we went to honor them and the music that they make. We arrived unfamiliar with their music and left immersed in the love and the classic sounds The Radiators produce live.

We were taken by the energy of their fans, many of whom were devout Radiators “fish-heads”. It was evident that the majority of fans in attendance were ticketed for all three nights, Friday, 2/25, Saturday 2/26 and Sunday 2/27. They were fervent. They stood from the first song to the last, riffing off of every note, hanging on to The Radiators for dear life.  I couldn’t blame them, after all this is their favorite band who is playing one last time for them. I saw tears and lots of hugging going on. The “fish-heads” are a tight nucleus of fans, who celebrate each other and the music of The Radiators with a great deal of heart. We were up dancing with them by the third song of the second set and we too stood until the evening was over.

Stage One 2/26/11

The Radiators are all about classic, straight ahead, rock and roll, rhythm and blues and the blues music. They mix their originals with dedicated cover editions with equal passion. My highlight of the evening was their rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. I will be trolling Live Downloads for this live recording. I saw the tape machine in the lobby and patted it on the back as I went to my seat. We had excellent seats, third row center.

The Radiators are all the original members from 1978, which is way cool when you think about it 😉

7 Walkers – Bill Kreutzmann and Friends

Papa Mali w/ Bill Kreutzmann
Image by City On Fire via Flickr

I was reading the March 2011 issue of Relix Magazine last night when I noticed that the 7 Walkers, Bill Kreutzmann‘s new band had placed at #1 on the Jambands.com Radio Chart. This took me pleasantly by surprise so I investigated the band and the situation further. Sure enough they sound rhythmically righteous. 7 Walkers has held the top spot on Jambands.com’s Radio Chart for three solid months now.

I think you’ll find their music infectious 😉 and I hope you’ll do as I did, buy their music 🙂

Jay Blakesberg 2010

7 Walkers consists of the following collaborators:

Bill Kreutzmann, Drums

Papa Mali, Guitar & Vocals

George Porter Jr., Bass

Matt Hubbard, Keyboards, Horns, Harmonica & Vocals

Lyrics by Robert Hunter😉

Henry Threadgill

My musical interests are guiding me deeper in the discovery visualizations of avant-garde jazz composition and expression. The three avant-garde jazz composers who are captivating my attention are Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams and Henry Threadgill.

I believe Anthony Braxton is poised for a major renaissance and I will be writing more about his resurgence on this blog going forward.

Today’s daily blog post focuses on Henry Threadgill. Henry is a founding member of AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians).

I have several music reference books I keep close at hand for further study. One title I refer to often is A Power Stronger Than Itself, The AACM and American Experimental Music by George E. Lewis. It’s a fantastic book that is laden with knowledge of AACM Chicago and New York musicians who have been true to the pursuit and accomplishments of experimental music. Henry Threadgill is extensively mentioned in this title, which helps me to fathom what he has given us through his creative muse.

JazzTimes March 2011 cover

The latest Jazz Times issue has a cover story about the enigmatic Henry Threadgill, “Be Ever Out” by David R. Adler a jazz writer I respect greatly. I am savoring David’s article now as  I sip my morning coffee and get ready for my day.

Henry Threadill is a roster artist on the Pi Recordings label. I love the leadership role Pi Recordings is achieving for music that shouts to be heard. They have several artists at the label I have grown to appreciate such as  Marc Ribot,  Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steve Lehman, along with Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams 😉

So join me on my journey through avant-garde jazz and let’s get educated together in this richly rewarding American experimental experience.

Tony Lindsay – Stand By Me

Looking suave and sounding great is Tony Lindsay lead singer for the Santana band. He has a new single that you’re going to want to groove along with called, “Stand by Me”.

Its available on iTunes, CDBaby and Payloadz.com. Give it a spin 🙂


Guitar Heroes, Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York – Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a breathtaking exhibit on display for those who love guitars. Guitar Heroes,  Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York is viewable from February 9th – July 4th, 2011. Read the NY Times review to learn more.

I think its time we get that museum membership and get down to the Museum Mile to experience this well crafted and curated exhibit.

Guitar Heroes New Yorker Model Poster

Don “Sugarcane” Harris’s Vintage Era

Cover of "Usa Union"
Cover of Usa Union

I was listening to John Mayall‘s USA Union (1970) recording this afternoon. What really caught my ear was the stellar performance of Don “Sugarcane” Harris on electric violin.  USA Union was a continuation of  John Mayall’s  musical jazz/blues period which featured “no drums” that began with The Turning Point (Live -1969) and Empty Rooms (Studio – 1970).

John Mayall’s USA Union band consisted of:

John Mayall – Electric guitar, keyboards, harmonica and vocals

Harvey Mandel – Electric guitar

Larry “The Mole” Taylor –  Acoustic and electric bass

and Don “Sugarcane” Harris – Electric violin

Sugarcane Harris was in high demand from 1969 – 1971, his vintage years. Frank Zappa was a major fan of the American rock duo Don and Dewey so he recruited Sugarcane for his jazz avant-garde recording, Hot Rats. Frank Zappa continued to use Sugarcane on Burnt Weenie Sandwich, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, and Chunga’s Revenge.



Meeting Across The River – Bruce Springsteen

Cover of "Meeting Across the River: Stori...
Cover via Amazon

Hey Eddie, can you give us a ride?

There are some songs we hear in this life that are hauntingly epic and touch our souls deeply. One such song is Bruce Springsteen’sMeeting Across The River” from the masterpiece Born to Run album. I’ve always been drawn to this song when I hear it played. It doesn’t hurt that my name is Eddie also. 😉

File:Borntorun.jpg

The song creates a picture which resolves into a black and white film noir. It’s one of those songs I would love to direct and produce a short film about, if I had the money, time and shooting location. For now, I’ll limit my theater of the mind to what is available about “Meeting Across The River.” Rest assured the dream is never far away.

“Meeting Across The River” was the “B” side to the single, “Born to Run“, which made it to the #23 position on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975. According to the booklet in the 30th Anniversary Edition of Bruce Springsteen‘s Born To Run the musicians who recorded this song at the Record Plant Studio in New York City are:

Bruce Springsteen, Vocals

Roy Bittan, Piano

Richard Davis, Bass

Randy Brecker, Trumpet

My favorite line in the song, “this guy don’t dance”.

The song inspired a book of 20 stories by different authors, Meeting Across the River: Stories Inspired by the Haunting Bruce Springsteen Song .

As an experiment I purchased the Amazon Kindle Edition so I can listen to “Meeting Across The River” and read each author’s interpretation. I also purchased the audio edition of this unique book which was edited by The Boss himself. My lovely wife, Rosemary gave me her Barnes & Noble gift card to get that, thank you dear. (She’s a much more intense Springsteen fan than I am. She bought us tickets in 2009 to see Bruce & The E Street Band Concert #2 and Concert #5, the last concert at the old Giants Stadium before they gave it the Wrecking Ball!)

.

I found thisYouTube video to be the best live version of “Meeting Across The River”. It was captured in 1978 at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey. The video is choppy and cuts out but it’s so classic Bruce in athletic t-shirt, emoting at the microphone stand with Roy Bittan on piano.

Asides

My son Matthew bought me the 30th Anniversary Box Set as a Christmas present in 2005. His teacher and mentor at The School of Visual Arts was Chris Austopchuk. Chris is Vice President of Sony BMG Music Entertainment where he also handles art direction and design for Bruce Springsteen. Matthew was an intern for Chris at Sony and met Bruce Springsteen in Chris’s office a few years back.

Another friend of mine Ed NaHa was the A&R coordinator at Columbia Records for Born to Run when  it was certified Gold by the RIAA.

Hey Eddie, can you give us a ride?

Taj Mahal and Los Lobos at The Klein 2/19/11

We are subscribers to The Fairfield Theatre Company who produce and deliver quality concerts in our local market. Last night we attended the Taj Mahal and Los Lobos event at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, Ct.

The Fairfield Theatre Company is a true class act. They e-mail you an evening guide that informs you about the specifics and logistics for the event. The guide shares a listing of local restaurants that offer discounts to ticket holders.

We appreciate value-add features like the FTC Evening Guide in addition to the first-rate acts they book and promote. We will be attending the last tour of The Radiators at Stage One in Fairfield on Saturday, February 26th.

It was really good to see the Taj Mahal Trio perform. Taj Mahal has a very immediate style and epitomizes the blues with his unique voice. He took the stage with his trio and went right to work playing f without being announced. I found that method very engaging. His set was a great combination of the blues and world music. He was ably backed by Bill Rich on bass and Kester Smith on the drums .

Taj played my favorite song of his, “Fishing Blues” with great aplomb. He mentioned fishing for blues and stripers in the Hous (short for the Housatonic River) and the place went nuts. It was a great tip of the hat to our local fishing business, as Taj is a world-class sports fishing professional.

Los Lobos, from East L.A. took the stage next and started their set acoustically playing acoustic songs from Acoustic En Vivo. They played Rosemary and my personal favorite track, “Saint Behind The Glass” magnificently. I have seen Los Lobos eight times in concert now and I must admit they are always exciting, creative with their music.

Their set was a mixed potpourri of their musical catalog. Cesar Rojas led us through “Yo Canto” which is a very danceable number.

Their regular drummer Cougar Estrada couldn’t join them on this tour as his wife is close to having their baby. David Hidalgo’s son (who is also the Los Lobos guitar roadie), David Hidalgo Jr. sat in on the drums. Louie Perez also drummed on two numbers as well.

This was the first concert I could hear Steve Berlin the best on keyboards and saxophone. I like how Steve accent’s Los Lobos sound with his riffs.

David Hidalgo played a Gold Les Paul Gibson and played the accordion on several songs. I find when Los Lobos plays songs that express their musical heritage, sung in Spanish I get a chill. They command my immediate respect as their music shows their culture.

The encore was a special treat as Los Lobos invited Taj Mahal to jam with them and jam he/they did. A fellow fan, Frederick Matt shot this video from the second row in front of me last night. It captures the spontaneity of Taj with Los Lobos singing “Lucille” by Little Richard. They ended their three song encore with “Guantanamera” which featured bassist Conrad Lozano on lead vocal.

I also wanted to share the art piece we have hanging in our foyer that Los Lobos signed for us last summer in New Haven after their concert on the green. Ain’t it cool, it was Rosemary’s idea to have them all sign this kerchief after the show.

Samuel Charters, Blues Hall of Fame 2011 Inductee

The Blues Foundation will be holding their annual Blues Hall of Fame induction on May 4, 2011. It’s part of their annual Blues Music Awards event.  I would love to go to Memphis, Tennessee some day with Rosemary and be an active part of this event. So yes, this is a bucket list item for me 😉

The Blues Hall of Fame Inductee who I am writing my daily blog post about is Samuel Charters.  I was conducting research for a future daily blog post about the Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughn In Session CD/DVD recording when I happened upon Samuel Charters name as the person who wrote the liner notes for this auspicious blues event.

I pride myself as an amateur ethnomusicologist.  I graduated from the University of New Haven, minoring in music and ethnomusicology was my heart of hearts goal in 1974. I haven’t let go of staying in league with music study. I value music historians such as Alan Lomax and music journalists such as Peter Guralnick , Paul Oliver and Robert Palmer. It stands to reason that Samuel Charters would be on my radar screen as a blues music subject matter authority.

Samuel Charters (81 years young)  is being deservedly recognized for his vast contribution to the study and promotion of the blues music idiom. Samuel Charters has written seven books about the blues. He is also a noted subject matter authority on jazz and has written six titles about jazz.

His book The Country Blues is a definitive publication that sews together the threads of blues history in a musical and cultural quilt. It was, in his words, “an effort to force the white society to reconsider some of its racial attitudes, although it was a cry for help” for the blues artists.

What I find very fascinating is the contribution Samuel Charters, along with his wife Ann Charters have made to the legacy of music and literature. The Charters have collected substantive information about the blues, jazz, and African diaspora music. Ann is a noted subject matter authority on the Beat Generation which is another developing interest of mine. She wrote the first Jack Kerouac biography (which received co-operation from Kerouac himself).

Ann Charters is  a professor of American Literature at UCONN. Please take note of her illustrious curriculum vitae. http://english.uconn.edu/directory/uploads/cvs/charters.pdf

Samuel and Ann Charters split their time today between Sweden where they live (they grew disenchanted with the American political landscape and who could blame them) and the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. They have unselfishly donated several large collections to UCONN’s Thomas J. Dodd Research Center for ongoing scholarly research.

I plan to spend some quality time researching a book I want to write at this facility. I can’t wait to pour through their exhaustive collection. Samuel and Ann Charters Archive of Blues and Vernacular African American Musical Culture

Thank you Ann and Samuel Charters for your devotion to the preservation of arts and literature! You enhance scholarly pursuit of the origins of music and the beat generation with very skillful detail.