Monthly Archives: March 2012

Thomas Dolby, Ridgefield Playhouse, Tonight

Time Capsule Tour 2012 - RidgefieldWhen I wrote last October about Thomas Dolby I wondered what his 2012 concert tour be like? As you can see its called Time Capsule Tour 2012. Tonight the tour stops at the Ridgefield Playhouse where we will be witnessing, listening and hopefully dancing along.

I love the inventive genius Thomas Dolby brings to the entertainment experience.

Thomas Dolby’s Time Capsule will be parked outside the venue. I hope we get a chance to record a 30 sec clip inside tonight for the future. An ingenious idea.

I perceive he will be playing selections from A Map of the Floating City among his other classics. I am liking the song Spice Train from the latest CD the most now.

I look forward to learning more about Thomas Dolby tonight.

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Let’s Help Kickstart Renaissance’s Next Studio Album, Grandine il Vento

Renaissance, 1979. Clockwise from upper left: ...

The Renaissance momentum took hold for us last year when we attended their live concert at Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Ct.  Renaissance built upon the success of that innovative Northeast tour by filming and releasing a multimedia DVD/CD of their live concert.

The energy surrounding the progressive rock group Renaissance is building and here is how you can make a contribution to the mutual success of their next studio album, Grandine il Vento.

Grandine il Vento

Renaissance is taking the next step in their rich legacy by recording, Grandine il Vento in the studio. They are projecting  it will be ready and released by September, 2012. They need our help to finance their initiative. It’s unfortunate that the major record labels no longer care about the music Renaissance makes nor most of the music we love. It’s yet another example why major labels are such dinosaurs in the digital age. Here’s your chance to prove the labels how wrong they are and to support the new music business economy model that is happening on a major scale with Kickstarter.

If you are a grass-roots activist, someone who believes in the artist and their art coming to market join with us Renaissance enthusiasts and make a contribution to the Kickstarter project. Its titled the New Renaissance Studio Album: Grandine il Vento, a Rock project in Philadelphia, PA by Renaissance. I mean after all doesn’t music belong to the people, the artists and those of us who embrace its value.

You will find a vast array of pledge opportunities with rewards ranging from advance copies of the album to VIP tickets to concerts, original paintings, executive producer credits, home concerts, plus special items from their private memorabilia collections including two historic guitars and the dress Annie Haslam wore on BBC’s Top Of The Pops.

Santana Shape Shifter, May 15th on Starfaith Records

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Track Listing:
1. Shape Shifter
2. Dom
3. Nomad
4. Metatron
5. Angelica Faith
6. Never The Same Again
7. In The Light of a New Day
8. Spark of the Divine
9. Macumba in Budapest
10. Mr. Szabo
11. Eres La Luz
12. Canela
13. Ah, Sweet Dancer

LOS ANGELES, March 27, 2012 –/PRNewswire/ — Shape Shifter is Carlos Santana’s 36th album, and the first for his new label, Starfaith Records. Set for release May 15, the 13-song set is an instrumental tour de force featuring tracks spanning from the late 1990’s to the present.  It’s powered throughout by Carlos’ instantly recognizable virtuoso lead guitar and the Santana Band’s world-class musicianship (only one song features vocals from Santana’s lead vocalists Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay).  Pre-sale of Shape Shifter begins today,March 27, at all major online outlets including iTunes, Amazon and more. Starfaith Records is distributed and marketed in conjunction with RED Distribution.

Carlos dedicated the album to Native American Indians, acknowledging Australia’s 2008 apology to the Aborigines, and President Obama’s signing of the 2009 Native American Apology Resolution. He says, “I encourage any and all countries (that have not as yet done so) to acknowledge the first people of their land, and make this a collective global effort.”

Shape Shifter comprises mostly original compositions that Carlos has been stashing away for such an instrumental project—long awaited by fans—and he conceived the album’s sequence as thoughtfully as its track selection. The songs flow together as the magical sustain of Carlos’ guitar—and the spirit behind every note—makes music that breaks through all cultural and language barriers, the music of Santana.

The title track opens the album, beginning as a mellow acoustic groove, with Carlos channeling Native American spirits through chanting.  The track builds to soaring heights—in addition to Carlos’ driving lead, the song features Dennis Chambers on drums, Chester Thompson on keyboards, and Benny Rietveld on bass (they are the musical foundation on many of the tracks).

Other highlights include a mid-tempo cover of Toure Kunda’s “Dom” —Carlos and the Toure brothers’ collaborations have also included “Africa Bamba” from the GRAMMY-winning album, Supernatural.  Angelica Faith, which Carlos co-wrote with Thompson, is a signature Santana ballad in the tradition of “Samba Pa Ti” and “Europa.”  With “Mr. Szabo,” Carlos pays homage to Gabor Szabo, whose music he brought to the fore in 1970, when he fused the Hungarian jazz guitarist and composer’s “Gypsy Queen” with Peter Green’s “Black Magic Woman” on Abraxas.

Collaborations include “Never the Same Again,” which Carlos wrote with producer Eric Bazilian, and “In the Light of a New Day,” which began as a demo that Narada Michael Walden shared with Carlos. “Spark of the Divine”—often played on tour to introduce songs including “Black Magic Woman”—leads in to “Macumba in Budapest,” the first of two songsCarlos co-wrote and produced with Walter Afanasieff—the song vamps into a classic Santana Latin jam featuring Raul Rekow on congas and Karl Perazzo on percussion. The second, “Eres La Luz,” the only track featuring vocals, highlights the irresistible Latin groove that embodies the world music essence of Santana.

Shape Shifter closes with two songs that are collaborations between Carlos and his son, musician Salvador Santana—who plays piano on both—including the rousing “Canela.” The final track, “Ah, Sweet Dancer,” is a song Carlos first heard in a taxicab in Germany—he tracked it down in a local record store and began performing it regularly on tour. The recording features only soulful solos from father and son, offering elegant closure to Shape Shifter.

A Festival of Serious Fun Awaits You In New Haven

Fest2012_MainPage

Last night we attended the International Festival of Arts and Ideas season preview which is scheduled to take place June 16-30, 2012 all around New Haven. New Haven continues to figure prominently in my world music consciousness.  I minored in music at the University of New Haven in the early 70s. Many of my music professors were graduates of the prestigious Wesleyan University world music program.

This blog post will highlight the major music events announced that interested us. Please note the entire schedule of events which features 900 artists from 17 countries will be available at the end of April on the  official International Festival of Arts and Ideas Web site.

The music events have two major themes. The Music At Dusk series is a paid ticket. This series will be held at the Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall at the Yale School of Music. The music event that intrigues is 34 Punaladas an Argentine tango guitar quartet. They sound delightful and fresh.

The other major theme will be the free concerts, Headliners on the New Haven Green. We have been to several free concerts at this picturesque, historic setting. Its fun to bring a picnic basket, chairs and a blanket as you listen to live music in the fresh open air.

The free concerts we contemplate are:

  1. Asphalt Orchestra – June 17  (7 pm)- I love their rendition of Frank Zappa’s Zomby Woof
  2. The Carolina Chocolate Drops – June 23 (7 pm)
  3. Red Baraat & Noori – June 24 (7 pm) – Red Baraat is a fiery blend of raucous Indian bhangra combined with funky New Orleans brass
  4. Roseanne Cash – June 30 (7 pm) – I am excited that Roseanne Cash will perform The List, a paean to her father, Johnny Cash.
Now that the Litchfield Jazz Festival and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas plans are announced, I have one more 17th annual Connecticut music festival to learn about 🙂  Monday, April 2nd the line up for the Gathering of the Vibes festival in Bridgeport, Ct will be unveiled. Then I will be able to author my, “How I spent my summer music vacation” paper for back to school in the fall 😉

In Pursuit of More Jazz

One of my 2012 New Year’s resolutions is to include more jazz in my life. In pursuit of more jazz the first two concerts of 2012 were jazz events. We saw Tim Berne‘s quartet at the Rubin Museum in the Chelsea district in New York City and the Lionel Loueke Trio at Wesleyan University (for free) in February.

I am hemming and hawing about catching Vijay Iyer at Birdland and Wayne Escoffery at the Smoke Jazz & Supper Club in NYC in April. We have decided to pass on the Newport Jazz Festival 2012 due to the cost of a hotel stay being out of our price range.

A jazz festival I want to attend instead is the Litchfield Jazz Festival in Goshen, Connecticut. I received e-mail notification that tickets are now on sale for the 17th Annual Litchfield Jazz Festival to be held August 10-12. We’ve been spending more time in Litchfield County the past few years as patrons of Infinity Hall. The Litchfield County environs offer a picturesque setting with a rolling pastures set against the Connecticut hills.

Saturday August 11th looks like the best day of events. I am very interested in seeing the Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet play.

2012 Festival Line-Up

Wayne Escoffery Quintet – The Only Son of One

My favorite “hang” yesterday at the Pop Conference was Jazz Alley which I covered in yesterday’s blog post. I learned actively from several of the presenters about the jazz artist, Wayne Escoffery. I quickly discovered there is mutual consensus building about his next jazz recording, The Only Son of One, on Sunnyside Records. I picked up on the vibe that all the jazz cognoscenti were in agreement about the impact the Wayne Escoffery Quintet is going to have when this recording is released next month. I figured I would plug myself in early and begin to discover more about the  structured sounds and textures of this competent quintet.

It’s just too cool that we live so close to the jazz scene in New York City. I am contemplating attending the Wayne Escoffery Quintet CD release event on Saturday, April 21st at the Smoke Jazz & Supper Club if it’s not too late to do so and the Mrs. agrees 😉

Deep Hang at Pop Conference 2012 in NYC

on the "Music in the '00s" panel, 20...
on the "Music in the '00s" panel, 2010 Pop Conference, EMPSFM, Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday proved a day of validation for me as a professional music blogger. We attended the Experience Music Project (emp) Pop Conference at the NYU Kimmel Center on 60 Washington Square South. I am an emp museum member(since 2009) who has eyeballed the Pop Conference sessions held in Seattle, WA with distance envy. We were enthralled that the Pop Conference had come east. It turned out to be a shrewd move as this year’s theme was “Sounds of the City”. The event being next to Washington Square Park and set against the Greenwich Village skyline added the symbolic note for this four-day event.

I got the feeling I was about to go into a deep hang of music journalism and community. I had no idea how profound that sentiment would become until later in the day. I walked away from this conference with a lot of knowledge, many more musical influences than I began the day with and a greater insight into music’s direction in the next decade.

Sessions

1) Roundtable: Where is the City?, Where is the Scene?

Panelists: Consisted of several music authors, musician Paula Carino from Brooklyn, Will Hermes, whose book, (Love Goes to Building on Fire my son had given me as a Christmas present) and Mark Richardson, Editor-In-Chief, Pitchfork, the definitive music webzine of indie rock.

The gist of this session dealt with trying to define the scene in terms of music communities. The real-time dilemma of digital music evolving on the Web poses existing music distribution models such as the record store, releasing a CD versus a digital download recording, and hard copy music publishing substantive issues. I heard the phrase mentioned several times, “Music is the biggest city in the world.”

I have tried several times to write a blog post about why Brooklyn is the music capital of the world, only to abandon the idea after attempting to research this phenomenon. Paula Carino epitomized why this is so indicative of Brooklyn. She stated Brooklyn is organic. Many musicians have come there to be discovered in the Williamsburg scene. However that ship has sailed and the Williamsburg scene is analagous to the mass exodus of people who moved to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco to experience the hippie scene and flower power. Many did not realize the scene had peaked and was moving on by the time they arrived there. I also learned that Pitchfork had moved its editorial offices from Chicago to Brooklyn to be closer to the epicenter of the indie scene.

Open on Sunday album cover

Highlights: Paula Carino surprised me with a copy of her CD, Open On Sunday on me, I listened to it today and I really like what I heard. Look for a review of her CD this week on this blog ;). I got to say hello to Will Hermes after the panel discussion and asked him if he would sign my copy of Love Goes to Building on Fire. He graciously did so. I was pleasantly surprised to learn he had read my blog post about his book. 😉

New Inputs: Wedding Present, DJ Rupture, Chillwave, Beirut, Open on Sunday, Paula Carino

2)  Sound of the City, a tribute to the genius of Charlie Gillett

Panelists: Robert Christgau, David Laing, Charlie McGovern

One of my principal objectives of the Pop Conference was to catch the session with Robert Christgau. I have been reading Christgau’s music reviews since 1969 in the Village Voice. He has long been an inspiration to me as a music writer. His paper, “The Original Sound of the City, How Charlie Gillett Named This Conference”, was an energetic rambling of tight construction. Robert Christgau proved once more why he is the dean of rock critics as he crystallized Gillett’s role for the theme of the Pop Conference and his influence on many in their mutual love of music. I was enchanted with Christgau’s punctuating style that kept me fascinated, smiling and educated throughout. I love Christgau’s stream of consciousness. He never fails to stir up my sentiment as well as give me new music inputs to research and listen to with active interest.

Dave Laing from England was next on the agenda. He read his paper, “Charlie Gillett, Sound Citizen of London”. Dave solidified Charlie’s role as a disk jockey on the Honky Tonk program on the BBC. It was insightful to get the British point of view about Charlie Gillette. Dave Laing is an eloquent writer who uses words like idiosyncratic path, antipathy, and contrasting/dissonant music scenes as distinct verse. His presentation was a breath of fresh air which exuded through his writing.

Charlie McGovern was the third speaker and his presentation used audio clips to accent his writings. His paper, “Up to the Streets of Harlem: Black Vocal Groups and Postwar Urban Life” dealt with post war, post modern cities. He took us through urban modernity. He discussed how Clay Cole share cropped the black artist. He played music clips that underscored his paper and produced a skillful, multimedia effect.

New Inputs: Bees Make Honey, Kilburn and the High Roads, a new copy of Charley Gillett’s Sound of the City 😉

3) Jazz Alleys

Moderator: Paul Bresnick, Presenters: David Adler, Nate Chinen, Phil Freeman and Alex W. Rodriguez

The jazz panel presentation and discussion were the most thought-provoking event of the day. The quartet of jazz music journalists represent some of the finest jazz music writing featured in the country today. They created the hang for us yesterday.

The first presenter David Adler has written some great jazz music pieces that I have enjoyed. His presentation was enthusiastic and pinpointed the music of Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra. I was struck by how David juxtaposed the 1920 and 30;s sounds of  the hot house stomp with how the Ghost Train Orchestra is building on that foundation of sound for the future. David contrasted the sounds of John Nesbitt, Charlie Johnson, and Tiny Parham with Brian Carpenter’s updated interpretations. Carpenter’s band is true to the sound and sentiment of the original purveyors of hot house yet take it to its next logical dimension. David Adler served as conductor and arranger as his hand punctuated the air as the sounds played. He was very elucidating. I must get this recording for my collection.

Nate Chinen followed David Adler’s presentation with a talk about jazz artist discrination that took place reagrding New York club cabaret cards were in issue and enforced. I am very inspired by Nate Chinen’s writing. I aspire to write as well as he does one day 😉 What I admire most about how Nate Chinen writes is that he takes a central idea, as he did with his presentation, the cabaret card, focuses his energies on making that a catalyst to further explain and define the next layers of the epicenter. He positioned the cabaret card in a revolving radius fashion as he built out his rationale from there. Nate was quick to point out that there were socio-political hurdles, discriminatory practices taking place against seminal jazz artists such as Billie Holiday and Thelonious Monk who found creative outlets to overcome such censorship tactics.

Nate Chinen was also my major reason for attending this conference as I had read his past Jazz Times [the]Gig column about his Seattle 2011 Pop Conference experience. I had made a note after reading his column that I would attend the next Pop Conference I could.

Alex W. Rodriguez introduced us to the hang. His paper was entitled, “Deconstructing the Hang: Urban Spaces as Cross-Cultural Contexts for Jazz Improvisation.” You can read a preview of that provocative paper here. Alex really got me actively thinking in the area I am focusing more and more upon, music and technology, about how to create a collaborative space, a social network hang. I think I will make a first level attempt with Google Hangout until Apple introduces to its next level of social collaboration with its Mountain Lion cloud solution this fall 😉

The last presentation was an invigorating piece by Phil Freeman, From the Corner to Carnegie Hall and Beyond: The Urbanization of Miles Davis, 1972-1991” that will appear tomorrow on his blog, http://burningambulance.com/. Phil Freeman drew interesting parallels to Miles Davis’s On the Corner and the Sounds of the City. He also raised lots of insight as it relates to Miles Davis’s later years. In order to do Phil Freeman’s talk justice I defer to his publishing on his blog tomorrow the paper he read and commented upon yesterday. If you are into Miles Davis, social activism and the culture of change you won’t want to miss it.

Esperanza Spalding – Radio Music Society

Esperanza Spalding at The Nobel Peace Prize Co...
Esperanza Spalding at The Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Esperanza Spalding has a new recording, Radio Music Society. She performed the selection, “Radio Song” on the David Letterman show this past week with her ensemble. I was taken with the music and her artistry. I’ve included the segment from The Late Show with David Letterman.

The Shins and Record Store Day 2012

Port of MorrowThe new album Port Of Morrow from The Shins appeared in stores this week, and the band, along with their record label, Columbia have proven themselves true allies with record retail.

Not only did they choose record stores to premiere the song “September” when they released it, they have also given participating stores a special 4 song acoustic EP, to give to you, when you buy their new record at record stores. Ain’t that cool 😉

The Shins – Port of Morrow

The Shins SnlI must confess that until I stumbled on them on SNL I was unaware of how The Shins sounded musically as I had never seen them perform live, not even in a YouTube video… Granted I had read magazine articles that spoke in glowing terms about the poetic articulation of their lyrics. Every music author was equally or more enchanted by the spell they cast.

After watching The Shins première two tracks from Port of Morrow, their first album in five years I became spellbound also.

I love “Simple Song” “the single” because it offers the listener a soft, infectious rapture.

The next track “Its Only Life” is a modern-day Alice in Wonderland tale, so down the rabbit hole we go 😉

Magnificent, and that ascending melody will trail you like a double-espresso buzz.” -Rolling Stone

If you want to see more of The Shins in concert watch the newly recorded Live on Letterman video for an engaging hour concert – http://www.cbs.com/late_night/liveonletterman/the_shins/video/

I so dig The Shins, their Indie music rules!