A Song For My Father

 

A Song For My Father, Edward Vincent Jennings 12/1/1927 – 8/23/2008

Bono embodied for me as an Irish Catholic son who loved and respected his father, how that relationship is defined in words and song, Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own:

You don’t have to put up a fight
You don’t have to always be right
Let me take some of the punches
For you tonight

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don’t have to go it alone

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

We fight all the time
You and I… that’s alright
We’re the same soul

 

My father taught my brother and me how tough he really was when he fought and withstood his illness. He placed pain and suffering out of reach as he battled to stay with us. I wanted to take some of those punches for him. But he was always being the tough guy and as a father myself I began to understand and accept his bravery as his time drew near. How he put up a fight was one of many lessons my father taught me over the years.

My father was the one who provided me an avenue to music for which I am very grateful to this day. When I was in second grade in elementary school I wanted to play the violin. My father had a violin his father had given him; he loved to show it to me in its velvet lined case. At first he was reluctant to let me have it. He didn’t think I was serious about playing. But when he saw my desire was real he took the violin to the local music shop, had it repaired and restrung.

I loved that I had my very own violin to learn and practice the lessons in the A Tune A Day For Violin sheet music book for two years in elementary school. I did turn out not to be serious about furthering my violin abilities, but I was given the seed corn of music performance that was planted in my heart and has been nurtured in me every day since.

This eulogy is A Song For My Father for the music he furthered in my heart is a result of his sharing that gift of music with me. It’s a comfort to my brother and I that our father has gone to heaven, to be with our mother and other family members we have lost over the years. Our father goes to prepare a place for us at a very special concert. I know he’s waiting with that violin for me to play in the angel chorus as a tune one day. I’ll be happy to play it for him and all who will listen. After all we’re the same soul both in this life and the next.

 

 

 

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Brian Eno & David Byrne Collaborate

I am jazzed to have in my possession the much anticipated  Brian Eno & David Byrne collaboration entitled Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. I downloaded it at 12:01 a.m. 8/18/08. Just had to have it! 😉

What intrigues me the most as a fellow digital technologist is that David Byrne and Brian Eno are forging ahead by further pioneering the path that was established by Thom Yorke of Radiohead with digital download and Internet commerce technology. If you haven’t read the article that David Byrne wrote for Wired Magazine about the various record industry business models and David’s interview with Thom Yorke I urge you to do so. I love what that synergistic thought has wrought with the result Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.

The new distribution model of electronic download and free album for a period of time speaks to the conviction of the methodology as well as the strength of the digital music David Byrne and Brian Eno have struck together and wish to share distributed via the web.

If you want to get a sense of what has been going on with the production of Everything That Happens Will Happen Today watch and listen to it across the page here on my VodPod Player 😉

Thanks David & Brian, great work!

Herbie Hancock at The Klein, Bridgeport, CT

Herbie Hancock, keyboards

Lionel Loueke, guitar (myriad of sounds)

Chris Potter, saxophone

Dave Holland, bass

Vinnie Colaiuta, drums

Sonya Kitchell, vocals

Amy Keys, vocals

How incredible to witness Herbie Hancock right in my own backyard. The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, CT was the perfect backdrop for Herbie Hancock’s jazz ensemble. I complement The Fairfield Theater Company as they continuously bring quality artists to The Klein and Stage One in Fairfield, CT.

Herbie Hancock put us at ease from the start. He made The Klein his living room as he is a very inviting soul. I gained a deeper appreciation for Herbie Hancock’s Buddhism because he treats you as such an equal. He is very Zen, both a humble and spiritual person. He has an incredible warmth that is endearing to share.

The show began with a Headhunters song, Actual Proof which set the tempo for the evening. It is a smooth journey number that slowly envelops the listener.

The heart of the show was based around Herbie Hancock’s last two best selling recordings, River: The Joni Letters and Possibilities. Both of these recordings are in constant rotation on my CD player. I was eager to hear pieces done live, led by the maestro himself.

Herbie Hancock, introduced the two female vocalists for the event, Sonya Kitchell and Amy Keys. They performed the title track River by Joni Mitchell admirably. As Herbie pointed out “these ladies can sing, they aren’t just wallpaper.” I especially liked their rendition of the U2/B.B. King classic, When Love Comes To Town, it rocked. The highlight song for me with the vocalists was Leon Russell’s A Song for You sung powerfully by Amy Keys.

The ensemble of musicians that Herbie Hancock assembled for this tour was stunning. I was very pleased to finally witness world class bassist Dave Holland live. Herbie Hancock and Dave Holland have deep roots with Miles Davis’s electric period with their point of integration being the seminal,  In A Silent Way

Also on hand was Vinnie Colaiuta one of the foremost in demand session drummers. I have long enjoyed Vinnie’s appearances with Jeff Beck, Joni Mitchell and Frank Zappa to name a few of his contributions. His drum set said “I Hit Things”. Believe me he really does so with syncopation, incredible timing and fervency.

The next player I had been longing to see play was Lionel Loueke. He is a very talented guitarist who can create a myriad of sounds. He is also a great composer. Herbie Hancock showcased an instrumental Lionel had written called Seventeens which was based upon the odd but conquerable 17 beat pattern. All the musicians in the ensemble loved this selection as it offered them the unique challenge to stay in time together. Lionel Loueke also performed a solo effort that gave us a deeper interpretation of his Benin, West Africa roots. You will be hearing more about Lionel Loueke in the future as the new genius of jazz/world music/avant-garde that I just know you will whole heartedly embrace.

What really worked fluidly is that Dave Holland, Vinnie Colaiuta and Lionel Loueke all participated on the Grammy winning recording River: The Joni Letters. This fact added so much credibility to the performance.

I don’t want to overlook the very adept saxophone playing of Chris Potter. I found his horn playing top notch. He fit in so perfectly with the ensemble. He was captivatingly energetic on stage when he soloed or added his sax to the mix.

The two and one half hour concert culminated in the encore of Head Hunters Chameleon. Herbie Hancock strapped on a Roland AX-7 keytar and went to town jamming with all on stage. It was the perfect ending to a fulfilling night of jazz.

To better appreciate a visual sense of Herbie Hancock live visit  Yahoo Music Nissan Live Website where you can see the web cast of the Herbie Hancock ensemble from April 2008. Its a great music site. Nissan Live is an intimate setting of 300 persons. The artists allow a question and answer section, which gives you valuable insight into Herbie Hancock as a human being.  The real standout of the Herbie Hancock Nissan Live sessions is that Joni Mitchell joins Herbie and company for three songs, River, Tea Leaf Prophecy (both from River: The Joni Letters) and Hana (from Joni’s Shine recording).

Songs For Tibet – Freedom Is Expression

I simply add my voice to help spread the word about this vital collaboration created to benefit an imperative, Songs For Tibet, The Art of Peace Foundation’s CD Project.

Songs for Tibet is already the #1 Rock Album on iTunes in the United States, France, Canada, Italy, and the Netherlands and is climbing the Rock charts throughout the world, as of August 6, 2008, within one day of release. Source: wikipedia

As a person of peace and conscience, I urge you to join our cause and purchase Songs for Tibet.

Become a part of Tibet House

If you value freedom and spirituality for our planet help us with the furtherance of Freedom of Expression and Free Tibet!

Gov’t. Mule, The Ives Center July 26th, 2008

I flat out love Gov’t. Mule. Last night they played outdoors at the Ives Concert Park, in Danbury, CT., closing out the 2008 Summer Concert Series in grand fashion.

This is the third time I have witnessed Gov’t. Mule perform live their unque brand of jam band music. Each time I hear them play they get more cosmic, innovative and taking the art of improvisation to a new level.

I want to thank my sister-in-law for winning the tickets for us at Charter Cable, one of the Ives Center 2008 corporate sponsors. My brother-in-law and I always enjoy seeing Gov’t. Mule play live, its become an annual tradition for us.

If you have never been to the Charles Ives Center for the Arts in Danbury on the Western Connecticut State College campus try to do so. It is a beautiful scenic location with great acoustics. The bandshell has behind it a frog pond and the front row is surrounded by a moat, separating the artist and the stage.

Photos By Dino

What truly amazes me about Gov’t. Mule is their combined sound live. I interpret them as a rock jazz ensemble who know just when to seque, rock steady and just mesh tightly. They have so much fun playing in unison, they have an incredible sense of feel.

Favorite songs of the night were The Shape I’m In (The Band’s classic) done in dub, Presence of the Lord (Blind Faith, yep) Reggae Sunshine, Lively Up Yourself and Mule.

The encore featured the Muddy Waters classic I Feel Like Going Home which segued perfectly into a bombastic edition of Led Zeppelin’s How Many More Times (Years).

I can’t wait to download the Mule Tracks of this show later this week 🙂

Rose Hill Drive opened for Gov’t. Mule and I must say I liked them a great deal. A rock power trio who played with a deep strength and conviction.

Photos by Dino

David Sproul, Rose Hill Drive’s lead guitarist later joined Warren Haynes and the Mule on a knock out rendition of Cortez The Killer which closed out the Mule’s first set.

Photos bu Dino

I want to especially thank newly discovered music photographer extraordinaire Dino Perrucci for allowing me to share his photography with you. Please visit his Web site and look at his fantastic body of work. Dino has a keen eye in portraying live concert performance.

So, Gov’t. Mule until I see you in concert again, be well, have a great summer tour, stay safe. I’ll be smiling at ya for the songs you played in Danbury, CT at The Ives and thinking one thing, Where’s My Mule? 🙂

Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog – Party Intellectuals

I want to tell you about a new recording by a trio of NY City musicians named Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog. The CD is entitled Party Intellectuals. If you like experimental rock music with a distinct edge that challenges and entertains you in the same breath, this will be the recording to own and learn more about through each subsequent listen.

I have their CD on order awaiting a full listening to write a comprehensive review. Browse over to Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog’s record label, PiRecordings to sample the three tracks currently available, Todo es Mundo el Kitsch, When We Were Young and We Were Freaks (love that song title, Man ;), and Girlfriend.

Pi Recordings is a great collective of avant-garde artists that are making important contributions with sound and composition, breaking new ground as they flourish in their creative environment.

Marc Ribot played lead guitar on the brilliant collaboration of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand that T Bone Burnett produced. Yes that’s Marc’s guitar featured prominently on the Grammy award hit Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On) 😉

 

Journey – Reborn

Journey - Revelation

My music attention, as it relates to rock and roll, has been pleasantly diverted back to Journey and their comeback bid with the CD entitled Revelation. I watched with great interest the segment about Journey on yesterday’s CBS Sunday Morning broadcast. Let me first of all say I like Journey alot, the band was founded by Gregg Rollie and Neal Schon in 1972 when they “got pregnant with their own vision” as Carlos Santana would say about band members leaving Santana.

Revelation is a 2 CD/1 DVD package that consists of 11 new recordings, 11 re-recorded hits and a DVD of their live Las Vegas, Nevada March 8, 2008 concert at Planet Hollywood. This concert was the first ever live U.S. appearance of the new and improved Journey band, which features the powerful vocals of Arnel Pineda, their new lead singer from the Phillipines (I love that Neal Schon discovered Arnel by conducting YouTube searches, it’s a fairy tale come true for all involved).

The only rub for me about the distribution of Revelation which begins tomorrow June 3rd is that retail purchase is exclusive with Wal*mart. (you can order the CD/DVD from Journey’s MusicToday Store, along with other merchandising options) This is the route that The Eagles took and it is what supergroups are doing these days. I have a Zune account and would love to add Revelation to my collection tomorrow, but thats not how I can order and receive it. Bands like Journey and The Eagles do have marketing clout and significant fan bases that allow them to distribute their music and art with Wal*Mart and MusicToday exclusively. I don’t blame them for simplifying and maximizing their distribution options. We as consumers begrudgingly learn how to adapt to the limited choices of how we can purchase music from artists we love and respect.

Journey kicks off a world tour beginning June 8th in Spain. The USA dates commence July 9th in Colorado. The USA dates will be a triple bill, featuring the new Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick. It appears many of the dates are sold out already.

So check out the new Journey CD Revelation and Don’t Stop Believin’.

P.S. Sam’s Club has Revelation for $10.87 😉