Invitation to Illumination – Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin

Cover of "Santana: Hymns For Peace - Live...
Cover via Amazon

An auspicious reunion, 40 years on, will be taking place at the 45th Montreux Jazz Festival tomorrow evening, July 1. The event is entitled Invitation to Illumination. The event stars Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin and features members of Santana and John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension band.

Invitation to Illumination
Featuring: Cindy Blackman Santana, Dennis Chambers, Etienne
Mbappé, Raul Rekow, Karl Perazzo & David K. Mathews

Cindy Blackman Santana will be representing the role of Tony Williams on the drums. Cindy has represented Tony Williams ably before in the Tony Williams Tribute Band, Spectrum Road.

We saw John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension last year at The Town Hall in NY City on November 13, 2010. John McLaughlin announced that night that he and Carlos would be playing and recording together in Europe in 2011. Invitation to Illumination is the live edition of that aspect of the promise fulfilled. It is my private hope that more recording time has been spent between Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin.

It would be a wonderful follow on to 1973’s Love, Devotion and Surrender.

I urge you to visit a Santana brother of mine, Pierrot’s Web site that is a labor of love to John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana’s collaboration.!

John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana have played the Montreux Jazz Festival before, once in 1993:

and again on July 15, 2004 as part of the all-star cavalcade known as Hymns For Peace.

Here are some photographs of the Invitation to Illumination rehearsal taken at Montreux’s Auditorium Stravinski today.

From the John McLaughlin Newsletter, June 2011

On July 1st, Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin will play together at the Montreux Jazz Festival. This “Invitation to Illumination” celebrates their 40 years of friendship.

” There are festivals, and there is Montreux. For me and hundreds of other musicians, Montreux is Claude Nobs. The great festival of Montreux came from  Claude’s passion for Jazz and Blues almost 45 years ago, and has grown from its humble origins to the greatest Jazz/Blues, R ‘n B, Soul, Pop and Rock Festival in the world. Of course we know that there is a fantastic team working with Claude, but Claude’s presence and personality are an integral part of the atmosphere of Montreux. I have a very close relationship with Claude and Montreux since I’ve been going there for the past 40 years!

Naturally enough, when I had the idea to make a 40 year (almost) reunion with my brother guitarist Carlos Santana, Claude was the first person I spoke to about this project, he loved the idea, and here we are 9 months later getting ready for a concert that I for one, will never forget. The concert is called ‘Invitation to Illumination’. To some people, this title probably sounds a relative to the name of our record together ‘Love Devotion & Surrender’.They’re right in the sense that both Carlos and I believe in humanity and its essential oneness. The recording 40 years ago, and the concert today, is a call to the light in people. Illumination is not some ‘pie in the sky’ hippy slogan. Illumination is something we all were born with, and will have for our entire lives. All it means is that a big light has been turned on in your mind and heart. What we see when this light is on, is that we truly are one human family. Further, not only are we one family, but we all live on this beautiful ship called Earth, and that we are getting to the point that if we do not take care of each other, we won’t have much of a ship anymore, and we have nowhere else to go.”

John McLaughlin


Reasons to Be Cheerful Part 3 – Ian Drury & The Blockheads

Truly miss Ian Drury and his unique brand of punk or as it was also called in the day, New Wave rock.

I especially liked the T-shirt his record label, Stiff Records sent me in 1979 when I was doing record reviews. 😉

Rave On, Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly in concert
Image via Wikipedia

This 19 song collection of Buddy Holly classics was released today June 28, 2011 to celebrate Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday year and his enduring legend.

I bought it because it has Patti Smith performing, “Words of Love”.

From NPR, All Things Considered, The Blog

I was taken by Patti Smith‘s version of “Words of Love,” a song I first heard performed by The Beatles and a song that was always pop. Smith slowed the song down, turning it into an impassioned and rousing ballad.

Patti Smith performing Buddy Holly’s ‘Words Of Love’

We asked Smith about her attraction to the music of Buddy Holly and the song “Words of Love.”

Patti Smith.

Edward Mapplethorpe/Concord Music GroupPatti Smith.

On Buddy Holly:

What I find so interesting about him… In a certain way, he was a teen idol and a pop star, but he had a certain amount of arrogance about him. Of course, he was young, so he would have that, but that was a unique thing for a pop idol; they were so clean-cut often in their demeanor. He just had this edge to him, to the way he presented himself, his songs and his vocal — it was a little bit more aggressive in a certain way.

On the song “Words of Love”:

The decision to do “Words of Love” was due to the vision of Tony Shanahan, our bass player and producer, because he knows me so well and knows I love to slow songs down and find an interesting twist to them. It was Tony’s idea to make it more atmospheric and to lighten it. I was very charmed by his idea, and that’s how we came to do it. My Spanish is, of course, not stellar, but it was really done with a thought to Buddy Holly’s wife, Spanish being her first tongue. One could imagine that he wrote the song for her, and we wanted to remember her and acknowledge her in the song. That was my small contribution to the song, because, really, the fellas did all of the work.

We do a great live version of “Not Fade Away,” but I’m glad we did “Words of Love.” It brought out another aspect; it’ll be unexpected.

Full track list for Rave On Buddy Holly:

1. Dearest ‒ The Black Keys
2. Every Day ‒ Fiona Apple & Jon Brion
3. It’s So Easy ‒ Paul McCartney
4. Not Fade Away ‒ Florence + The Machine
5. (You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care ‒ Cee-Lo Green
6. Crying, Waiting, Hoping ‒ Karen Elson
7. Rave On ‒ Julian Casablancas
8. I’m Gonna Love You Too ‒ Jenny O.
9. Maybe Baby ‒ Justin Townes Earle
10. Oh Boy ‒ She & Him
11. Changing All Those Changes ‒ Nick Lowe
12. Words Of Love ‒ Patti Smith
13. True Love Ways ‒ My Morning Jacket
14. That’ll Be The Day ‒ Modest Mouse
15. Well… All Right ‒ Kid Rock
16. Heartbeat ‒The Detroit Cobras
17. Peggy Sue ‒ Lou Reed
18. Peggy Sue Got Married ‒ John Doe
19. Raining In My Heart ‒ Graham Nash

Todd Rundgren – ‘Classic’ Todd Rundgren Todd Tour Sun. 6/26/11

 It was a privilege to witness Todd Rundgren and his band live in concert last night at Infinity Hall in the beautiful hills of Northwestern Connecticut. The mountain night air was a pleasurably cool 65 degrees added to with a slight breeze.

Rosemary and I had another marvelous meal at the Infinity Bistro. You owe it to yourself to dine there before the show, the food is top notch. We took our usual seats in the mezzanine overlooking the concert hall and stage.

This 300 seat venue has great acoustics. The sold out audience was filled with devout Todd Rundgren fans, many of whom knew each other, which added to the ambiance of the evening

Todd suffered from a head cold due to air conditioning exposure but like the wizard and true star he is he soldiered on admirably with a well structured two hour performance.

Todd was very animated, dancing and jumping about. I enjoyed his guitar work.

You will find more Todd Rundgren concert photos here on Flickr.

Todd’s Band

Bass:  Kasim Sultan
Drums: Prarie Prince
Guitar: Jesse Gress
Keyboards: John Ferenzik

SetList  – To the best of my ability as I don’t know Todd’s catalog as well as I should….yet…;)

1. Real Man
2. Love of the Common Man
3. Buffalo Grass
4. Robert Johnson song…
5. Determination
6. Lucky Guy
7. Can We Still Be Friends?
8. Love Is the Answer

9. Espresso (All Jacked Up) – Thank you @NearlyHuman

10.It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference
11. Drive
13. Whatever Happened
14. Medley: 1)I’m So Proud
15. 2)Ooh  baby, baby
16. 3) Sha la la Means I Love you
17. I Want You
18. When the Shit Hits the Fan/Sunset Blvd
19. I Saw the Light

20. Hello It’s Me
21. A Dream Goes on Forever

Merchandise – ToddStore

1) 2011 Todd Tour Shirt

2) Todd Rundgren – For Lack of Honest Work, Three CD set of Live Rarities

Every Sunday Mornin, Ya Hear Them Ol Ladies Singin!!

I am on a perpetual quest for new music influences. This morning I discovered a very intriguing sound that is infectious and raucous, “Chutney Soca” music.

According to Wikipedia, chutney soca music is  a crossover style of music incorporating Soca elements and Hindi-English lyrics, Chutney music, with Indian instruments like the dholak and dhantal. I must admit its very dance-able and moves ya good 😉

I happened upon this world music sound by reading the NY Times Music section this morning. Jon Caramanica’s article, Sounds of Summer: Feisty, Moody, Chutney put me on to this incredulously fun music. Thanks Jon, you’re an insightful music writer.

Watch these two videos from Chutney Soca Music Monarch, Rikki Jai and tell me they’re not fun or producing a great groove 😉

Tea for the Tillerman – Cat Stevens

Sipping White Tea this evening and listening to the Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman audio CD recording.

My favorite song is “On the Road to Find Out” and the stanza that strikes the strongest chord with me is:

Yes, the answer lies within, so why not take a look now

Kick out the devil’s sin, and pick up, pick up a good book now, ooh

Jackson Browne

We first saw Jackson Browne in March of 1974 at the American Shakespeare Theatre, in Stratford, Connecticut. Linda Ronstadt was the opening act that evening. Each artist sang with such range and depth. It was a captivating evening of music from two close friends.

 Jackson Browne had two recordings in his  repertoire then, Jackson Browne (1972) and For Everyman (1973). I can still recall sitting in the balcony of the Shakespeare Theatre, being moved by the craftmanship of Jackson Browne with a  lit candle on the piano during, “Song for Adam”. I can still feel how broken his heart was as he sang about his friend Adam who committed suicide.

I sit before my only candle
But it’s so little light to find my way
Now this story unfolds before my candle
Which is shorter every hour as it reaches for the day
But I feel just like a candle in a way
I guess I’ll get there but I wouldn’t say for sure