Category Archives: Collaboration

Kitaro/Kazunari Shibata, More About Kojiki and the Universe

Realizing that Kitaro’s Kojiki and the Universe Live Tour is not destined to be performed at a venue near me, sigh, I did the next best thing. I purchased the Kojiki and the Universe DVD.

It is a beautiful series of music compositions set against rolling space photographs. We are but a mere speck of dust in the holy majestic universe. The images from NASA and other sources gathered by Kazunari Shibata (Kyoto University) display in breathtaking beauty on the 52″ HD TV mounted on the wall connected to the Sony Blu-Ray 7.1 Home Theatre system. The splendor of science prevails.

The collaborative experiment of merging music, Kitaro’s Kojiki and movies of the universe achieves that rare sense of wonder to compel us to discover beyond our planet.

Kitaro continues to expand my consciousness for which I am forever grateful.

 

 

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Paul Simon, Collaboration vs. Apartheid

I recall when I attended community college in 1972 that I had protested against apartheid in South Africa. We wrote a petition to Polaroid against the use of their instant cameras as the photography medium for black South African inter-country passports. I bitterly opposed the suppression of rights in that country. Eventually apartheid was abolished.

Paul Simon faced controversy for seemingly breaking the cultural boycott imposed by the rest of the world against South Africa because of its policy of apartheid. In addition, some critics viewed Graceland as an exploitive appropriation of their culture. Following its completion, Simon toured alongside South African musicians, combining the music of Graceland and their own music.

My interest in this period of Paul Simon’s discography was reawakened when I saw CBS Sunday Morning. I was overjoyed to see Paul Simon’s world music instrument collection.

I listened several times to the 25th anniversary remastering of Graceland and decided to dive deeper with the Paul Simon documentary, Paul Simon: Under African Skies which examines multiples sides of the controversy that occurred. It has great concert footage and helps us to see the true common bond music and friendship can achieve.

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Dream, The Jon Anderson/Kitaro Collaboration (1992)

Studying Kitaro’s discography over the weekend has guided me to the collaborative music project, Dream released in 1992. It was an ideal discovery with a renewed focus on Jon Anderson’s creativity curve plus the affinity I possess for Kitaro’s music these past 40+ years.

Take  some time to dream along with Kitaro and Jon Anderson by giving a listen to their musical effort.

Two giants in contemporary music have joined forces to create one of the most awe-inspiring albums of the ’90s. Kitaro has taken his signature style into a new dimension of orchestral drama with three tracks featuring the breathtaking vocals of Jon Anderson, from Yes. Anderson, a longtime Kitaro fan, showed up on Kitaro’s Japanese mountaintop and hung out for a month. Their ensuing “marriage” of vocals and music is the result. Kitaro composed the music while Anderson wrote the lyrics. The songs revolve around the eternal theme of love, as in the transcendental romanticism of “Lady of Dreams” and the ecstasy of spiritual liberation in “Agreement”….This is a special album full of soaring emotion and spiritual upliftment. – Source: All Music

Killer Road – Soundwalk Collective w/Jesse Paris Smith featuring Patti Smith

I find myself, yet again, happily transported by the art and symbolism of Patti Smith and her talented daughter, Jessie Parris Smith along with the collaborative known as Soundwalk Collective. They give us pause to show how fragile life is in this garden universe.

Killer Road is a sound exploration of the tragic death of Nico, Velvet Underground vocalist and 60s icon, while riding her bike on the island of Ibiza in the summer of 1988. A hypnotic meditation on the idea of perpetual motion and the cycle of life and death, the composition features Patti Smith lending her unique voice to the last poems written by the artist. Soundwalk Collective uses a travel log of field recordings and samples of Nico’s signature instrument, the harmonium, to create a magnetic sound scape.

Killer Road is an ambient sound scape and spoken word tribute to Nico, eight interpretations of her lyrics, predominantly taken from classic albums such as Desertshore and Drama of Exile, arranged by fellow poet and kindred spirit Patti Smith. Originally executed as a live performance piece with Jesse Paris Smith and Soundwalk Collective, Killer Road sees the light of day in album format for the first time in stores, next week, September 2, 2016.

I ordered the limited edition online as a collector, ***Limited Edition Version: Edition of 300 hand-numbered copies, comes with alternate screen-printed wrap around sleeve, wax sealed, and available by mail-order only. ONE PER PERSON LIMIT.***
Directed by Stephan Crasneanscki
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Bella Union & Sacred Bones Records
Video by Tina Frank

Jon Anderson’s Joie De Vivre

I’ve always believed in Jon Anderson. Like John Barleycorn he has proven to be the strongest man at last. The energy surrounding Jon’s musical output is glorious in scope, intent and purpose.

He just finished a successful tour with Jean Luc Ponty. Jon Anderson has two next level projects to share with friends and fans.

Project One

Anderson / Stolt, the brand new duo of legendary Yes vocalist & singer/songwriter Jon Anderson and progressive rock veteran Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Transatlantic), have announced the release of their collaborative album ‘The Invention Of Knowledge’ for 24th June 2016 via InsideOut Music.

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The idea came to life swiftly off the back of a performance from Roine’s band Transatlantic, and Jon Anderson on the Progressive Nation At Sea Cruise in 2014, and was initially instigated by InsideOut Music label boss Thomas Waber. The duo set about crafting new music in the spirit of early epic works such as ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’, ‘Awaken’ & ‘Olias Of Sunhillow’, but giving it a modern twist.

Written & recorded over the course of 1 and a half years, the tracks have been in a state of constant change as Roine and Jon swapped & refined ideas by sending tracks to each other via the internet. In March 2015, an ensemble was put together by Roine to realise the music live in the studio. Joining him there was Tom Brislin (who played on the Yes Symphonic tour) & Lalle Larsson on keys, Jonas Reingold & Michael Stolt on bass and Felix Lehrmann on drums. The sessions were also bolstered by appearances from Daniel Gildenlöw, Nad Sylvan, Anja Obermayer, Maria Rerych and Kristina Westas who all provided backing vocals.

The full track-listing for the album is as follows:

1. Knowing 17:45
2. Everybody Heals 13:20
3. Invention Of Knowledge 23:10
4. Know 11.20

Project Two

This collaborative project has the Yes community of fans abuzz with anticipated fulfillment.

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LONG-TIME YES FANS, REJOICE! JON ANDERSON, TREVOR RABIN AND RICK WAKEMAN ARE PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT AFTER A HIATUS OF 25 YEARS, THEY ARE TO REFORM THE DEFINITIVE YES LINE-UP AS ANDERSON, RABIN AND WAKEMAN (ARW).

“TO BE ABLE TO SING AND PERFORM WITH RICK AND TREVOR AT THIS TIME IN MY LIFE IS A TREASURE BEYOND WORDS,” EXPLAINS JON ANDERSON. “I’M SO EXCITED TO CREATE NEW MUSIC AND REVISIT SOME OF THE CLASSIC WORK WE CREATED MANY YEARS AGO, IT’S GOING TO BE A MUSICAL ADVENTURE ON SO MANY NEW LEVELS.”
“TREVOR RABIN AND I HAVE WANTED TO PLAY YES MUSIC TOGETHER SINCE THE UNION TOUR,” ADDS RICK WAKEMAN. “AND AS FOR SO MANY OF US, THERE IS NO YES MUSIC WITHOUT JON. THE ‘HOLY TRINITY OF YES’ IS FOR ME, VERY MUCH A DREAM COME TRUE.”

I am ticketed to see ARW in October at the Toyota Oakdale. Can’t wait to experience the definitive Yes.

Pat Metheny will release two albums on May 6, 2016

I was sensing that Pat Metheny was due for a new album. I had no idea it would be two albums though. That’s a real treat. He is my second most collected artist in my music library. His sound is always evolving with a rich dimensionality.

Both albums are available for pre-sale and will be autographed for you 😉

1. Pat Metheny – The Unity Sessions

The Unity Sessions features Grammy Award-winning Unity Group—Metheny with saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Antonio Sanchez, bassist Ben Williams, and multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi. The Unity Sessions is taken from a filmed performance with Pat Metheny Unity Group that was recently released on DVD; the set comprises 13 songs by Metheny, one he co-wrote with Ornette Coleman, and one well known standard by Ray Noble.

Pat Metheny: The Unity Sessions

2. CUONG VU TRIO Meets Pat Metheny

Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny joins the guitarist with a trio led by longtime Pat Metheny Group trumpeter Cuong Vu. It comprises five tunes written by Vu plus one by Metheny and one by Andrew D’Angelo.

Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny

Momentum Builds for the Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman Project

Momentum builds for Yes fans as news circulates on Facebook Fan Pages and discussion forums about the eventuality of an ARW music project which features Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin.

Courtesy of Janet Lynne Mocarsky

As a Yes fan, this is the nucleus I am most eager to assimilate. Call me a purist but I prefer Jon Anderson’s signature vocals set against a richly laden progressive rock backdrop.

Unofficial logo, fan design (Creds to Ben Metcalf, Winston Arntz)

All three artists have shared tidbits about the ARW project through their Websites. There will be a brand new ARW studio album later this year. A U.S. tour projected to begin in October (U.K./Europe, February/March 2017). An announcement about the tour logistics and hopefully more published soon.

Charles Lloyd & The Marvels

I love when an artist challenges our sensibilities with the musical directions they instinctively pursue. Charles Lloyd is that Zen Master.

I await the next musical sojourn Charles Lloyd and fellow musicians will carry us upon with joyous anticipation.

Read more about the soon released (January 15, 2016), “I Long To See You” album by Charles Lloyd & The Marvels on the Blue Note Records page.

My mission is to see Charles Lloyd & The Marvels at the home of jazz, Jazz at Lincoln Center next month.

Here is a past review I wrote about Charles Lloyd at Wesleyan University in 2011.

You can sample the first “teaser” track, “Of Course, Of Course” on Spotify.

I plan to make this a Charles Lloyd’s spiritual renewal weekend, Namaste’.

Cradle to the Grave – Squeeze

The band, Squeeze released their first studio album in 17 years, Cradle to the Grave in the UK on October 2nd. According to The Guardian, the reaction the band is getting live is, “Play more new material!”. That is quite an acknowledgement for the songwriting duo of Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford. They have built an enviable reputation with their classic hits (Up The Junction, Tempted, and Black Coffee  in Bed just to name a few ditties).

 

Ernie Ball Music Man – St. Vincent Guitar Signature Model

I get such a kick out of St. Vincent. She is an eclectic, innovative artist. I have seen her live twice at The Beacon Theatre (9/26/12) and The Shubert Theatre (6/20/13 performing with David Byrne and the Brass Band ensemble on the Love This Giant tour.

Ernie Ball Music Man and St. Vincent have collaborated on a signature guitar.

It’s totally rad like Annie Clark and I love that about her artistry.

Photo by Dana (distortion) Yavin