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
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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.

 

 

Day Of The Doors, January 4th, 2017

50 years to the day of the release of their début album, January 4, 2017 will be proclaimed “Day Of The Doors” in the city of Los Angeles. The proclamation will be made Los Angeles City Council member Mike Bonin during a public event at the intersection of Pacific and Windward Avenues, the location of the iconic “Venice” sign.

Founding Doors members John Densmore and Robby Krieger will be on hand at the event as will family members of the late Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison.

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The special Day of the Doors sign made by local Venice artist Alberto BevacquaI.

I recommend a couple of Doors publications to enhance the celebration.

First, try to find the Music Icons magazine on your local newsstand, The Doors, 50 Year Salute to the Dark Poets of Rock, The Story Behind Every Album. 

It is  well-organized. I took my time with the magazine, listening each day to a Doors album and reading the related pages. I found the content comprehensive and an entertaining read.

Second, I suggest acquiring the coffee table sized book, The Doors by The Doors with Ben Fong-TorresIt is a structured reference of The Doors history, told directly by Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore. It is illustrated with lots of their private archive Doors photographs which I have never seen before.

The book  is available from amazon third-party sellers.

Finally play some Doors music to take part fully in the “Day Of The Doors”.

 

The Beginner’s Guide to Vinyl By Jenna Miles

A more focused vinyl experience is my New Year’s resolution.

I have been conducting research how to increase the aesthetics of vinyl audio listening. I’d like to share a book I have found invaluable in that context,  The Beginner’s Guide to Vinyl  by Jenna Miles.

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The author, Jenna Miles is a subject matter authority on vinyl collecting and selling. She is the President and co-Founder of SRC Vinyl, a company specializing in vinyl records. In addition she is the co-owner of Vinyl Collective, an online vinyl news site and community with more than 20,000 registered users.

Jenna Miles shares her vast vinyl expertise with the reader in an easy discernible manner. I considered myself a knowledgeable person in vinyl audio until I consumed the pages of her guide. I was further enlightened by the many in-depth vinyl resources that populate her chapters. Her writing method is suited to crate digging for that vinyl treasure you are always search for in life.

Jenna’s keen sense of customer satisfaction, coupled with her thoroughness makes this an essential read for the vinyl connoisseur.

Two Thumbs Up!

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Celebrate Ornette

Celebrate Ornette – SONG X RECORDS

A deluxe, limited edition box set paying tribute to the legendary Ornette Coleman. The set includes two dozen performances from some of modern music’s most iconoclastic artists, all centered on the visionary saxophonist/composer/bandleader/thinker’s incomparable legacy of music, ideas, and revolutionary spirit.

This supreme set includes all 24 performances from the two events, Ornette’s last performance at the “Celebrate Brooklyn” show and his Memorial at Riverside Church. The limited edition of only 1600 hand numbered sets boasts 4 LP’s, and the Deluxe 5 Disc Gatefold which is composed of 2 DVDs, 3 CDs, an exclusive black and white Ornette poster and a 26-page collector’s booklet with extensive liner notes by James Blood Ulmer, John Snyder, James Jordan, and Denardo Coleman. The albums are pressed on 128-gram vinyl at the legendary United Record Pressing in Nashville, Tennessee.

As a special bonus in the Gatefold, an original Ornette Coleman 10-page linen Memorial Program, signed by Denardo Coleman, is also included.

Featuring: Master Musicians Of Jajouka, Bill Laswell, Branford Marsalis, Bruce Hornsby, Cecil Taylor, David Murray, Flea, Geri Allen, Henry Threadgill, Jack Dejonette, James Blood Ulmer, Jason Moran, Joe Lovano, John Zorn, Karl Berger, Laurie Anderson, Nels Cline, Patti Smith, Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Savion Glover, Sonny Rollins, Thurston Moore, Yoko Ono.