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  • richardmitnick 8:01 pm on February 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , ,   

    Rhoda Scott? You bet!! 

    Rhoda Scott? You bet!!

    So, who is Rhoda Scott?

    I learned of this great Jazz organist from Dan Buskirk, Jazz DJ at WPRB . Dan played one track, Also Spracht Zarathustra from the 2 LP set Live at the Club Saint-Germain (1974 Barclay 80.835/80.536- France). What a blast!

    I found the track on line and free in mp3. But I could not get the complete album. I did get a bunch of albums, all in mp3. But, I never stopped looking for the one that was so elusive.

    I recently found Live at the Club Saint-Germain and now it is in my collection.

    So, I am doing a Rhoda Scott cycle on the Zune; my practice is to alter the ID-3 tagging to put the release year in front of the album title. That way, they will go into any player software in chronological order. Then I can guide my listening. I must say, I am impressed with this wonderful musician. Here is some brief detail from Wikipedia:

    “…The daughter of an AME minister, Scott spent much of her childhood in New Jersey, where she learned to play organ in the churches where her father served. Soon she herself was serving frequently as organist for youth and gospel choirs at her father’s and other churches. Scott later studied classical piano, but she concentrated on the organ, eventually earning a Masters’ degree in music theory from the Manhattan School of Music. By this time she had been asked by a choir member to fill in with a small band as a jazz pianist. Enjoying the music, she agreed to stay on with the band on condition that she be allowed to play organ instead of piano. Choosing as her instrument the Hammond Organ, she soon became a preeminent jazz musician and is considered by many to be the top female jazz organist…”

    And, here is some of my collection:

    There is a lot of Rhoda Scott available at Amazon. Take a listen to some of the samples.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:56 pm on January 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , , , , , ,   

    Leonard Cohen anyone? You bet. 

    Leonard Cohen anyone? You bet.

    This post has taken some time to develop. I have been immersing myself in Cohen’s music for about three weeks. Of course, I do not miss Nadia Sirota’s new gig at WQXR’s Q2; Dan Buskirk and Will Constantine spinning Jazz at WPRB; or Marvin Rosen’s “Classical Discoveries” and “Classical Discoveries Goes Avantgarde”, also at WPRB. But, beyond these, it has been pretty much Leonard Cohen steadily.

    The genesis of this post was the NPR presentation of the 2009 Leonard Cohen concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City. Unfortunately, NPR has not renewed the rights to keep the audio of this concert available in their archives.

    As an aside, I believe that NPR is not nearly proactive enough in keeping some archival material available. I wanted to begin listening to the NPR archives of the stellar Marian McPartland “Piano Jazz” series. I found that some of what I most wanted to hear was no longer available. I believe that this is short sighted on the part of NPR.

    But, the text article about Leonard Cohen is still available at NPR and it is worth reading. There is also a very good article about Leonard Cohen in Wikipedia. I am not going to repeat what is there. For anyone seriously interested, I recommend this well constructed biography.

    All I really knew of Leonard Cohen was his song “Suzanne”, on the 1968 album “The Songs of Leonard Cohen”. But listening to the concert on NPR stimulated my interest. Cohen was 74 years old at the time of this concert. His voice, deepened with age, is actually more interesting than what we hear on the early albums, from 1968 through 1979. The early voice is sweet, winsome, and somewhat fragile. There is greater depth beginning with the 1985 album “Various Positions”.

    Also, when one listens down through the early albums, the songs begin to take on a sameness that can get boring. Part of this might be Cohen’s parallel career as a writer of poetry and fiction. Sometimes, a wordsmith can fall in love with his own creations. Often, what works as a poem does not work in a song.

    Somewhere, I cannot any longer find it, Cohen was described as a reaction to the Beatles’ amped up musical productions. I see him as rather a sort of reaction to Bob Dylan. Both Cohen and Dylan are first and foremost lyricists. Where Dylan’s lyrics are topical, political and complex, Cohen’s are personal, deeply emotional and quite simple.

    Cohen is often placed in the genre of folk music. I do not think that this does him justice. I see him as a singer-songwriter, a troubadour. Cohen writes about the whole spectrum of human emotion, love, hate, sadness, loss, depression, the end of life.

    As Cohen recorded more material in his career, more instrumentation replaced the solo performances as I show below my present collection. I think that my collection is close to complete.

    After the NPR concert, my next experience was with the 2008 “Live in London” concert. The video was presented at some point on PBS. I caught a late night repeat by New Jersey Network. Of course, this presentation is not anywhere close to the complete concert. I now own the complete 2’36” concert. The PBS presentation was 1’30”, and some of that was taken up with pitching.

    A second aside: PBS stations are constantly hauling out musical concerts at pledge time. They tell us they are the place for us to come for this music, that they support this music, egad, they are insufferable. They practically never give us a complete concert. They want us to join and give them gobs of money and in return they will send us the CD’s, the DVD, a combo package, whatever. In this case, here is part of what NJN offered: The DVD of the concert for US$70.00. The two-disc CD set for US$90.00. Now, really, what would you want? They both contain the identical 26 songs. More to the point, you can buy the DVD for US$18.93, and the two-disc CD set for US$13.99. You can buy the .mp3 album of both CD’s for US$14.99, so NJN could have bought the materials at Amazon and used them for fulfillment and still turned a tidy profit.

    I do not mean to pick on little NJN. They are just this most recent case and involved in the music and the artist which and who are the subject here. WLIW, and its parent WNET, much larger than NJN, are just as guilty of this, sorry, just my opinion, this scam.

    I heartily recommend the music of Leonard Cohen. And, I recommend all of it. The way I do this is to get the music in .mp3 and put it on my Zune. I chronologize the music by placing the year of issue ahead of the title of the album. Then, I listen down through a cycle on my exercise walks, plane trips, visits to the dentist, wherever. Regarding the “Live in London” concert, I recommend both the DVD and the album in .mp3. The band, shown below, is really worth watching, especially Javier Mas on a series of twelve-string acoustic instruments.

    Here is my collection, complete with personnel:
    1968 The Songs of Leonard Cohen

    Solo performance

    1968 Songs From a Room

    Leonard Cohen, Ron Cornelius guitar, Bubba Fowler bass, banjo, violin, guitar, Charlie Daniels bass, violin, accoustic guitar, Bob Johnston keyboards

    1971 Songs of Love and Hate

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, acoustic guitar);Ron Cornelius (acoustic guitar, electric guitar);Bubba Fowler (acoustic guitar, banjo, bass instrument);Charlie Daniels (acoustic guitar, fiddle, bass instrument);Bob Johnston (piano);Carolyn Hanney, Susan Mussmano (background vocals).

    1973 Live Songs

    Leonard Cohen, Jennifer Warren, Charlie Daniels and unnamed others

    1974 New Skin for the Old Ceremony

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, guitar, harp, Jew’s harp);Leonard Cohen (acoustic guitar);John Lissauer (vocals, woodwinds, keyboards, background vocals);Emily Bindiger, Janis Ian (vocals, background vocals);Erin Dickins, Gail Kantor, Gail Kantor (vocals);Jeff Layton (guitar, banjo, mandolin, trumpet);Ralph Gibson, Ralph Gibson (guitar);Gerald Chamberlain, Gerald Chamberlain (trombone);John Miller , Don Paune bass.

    1977 Death Of A Ladies’ Man

    Leonard Cohen (vocals); Clydie King, Gerald Garrett, Oma Drake, Julia Tillman Waters, Billy Diez, Lorna Willard, Ronee Blakley, Venetta Fields, Bob Dylan, Brenda Bryant (vocals, background vocals); Sneaky Pete Kleinow (guitar, slide guitar); Dan Kessel (guitar, organ, keyboards, synthesizer, background vocals); Phil Spector (guitar, keyboards, background vocals); David Kessel (guitar, background vocals); Art Munson, Art Blaine, David Isaac, Jesse Ed Davis , Ray Pohlman (guitar); Al Perkins (slide guitar); Bobby Bruce (violin, fiddle); Don Menza, Steve Douglas (flute, saxophone, wind); Jay Migliori (saxophone); Conte Candoli (trumpet); Jack Redman, Charles Loper, Jack Redmond (trombone); Don Randi, Michael Lang , Mike Lang, Mike Long, Pete Jolly, Tom Hensley, Barry Goldberg , Bill Mays (keyboards); Devra Robitaille, Bob Robitaille (synthesizer); Terry Gibbs (vibraphone, percussion); Ray Neapolitan (upright bass, electric bass); Hal Blaine, Jim Keltner (drums); Emil Radocchia, Gene Estes, Robert Zimmitti (percussion); Sherlie Matthews, Gerry Garrett, Allen Ginsberg, Oren Waters, Bill Thedford, Julia Tillman (background vocals).

    1979 Recent Songs

    Leonard Cohen (vocals); Julia Tillman Waters, Roger St Kennerly, Jennifer Warnes, Jim Gilstrap, Maxine Willard Waters, Stephanie Spruill (vocals); Ricardo Gonzalez, Everado Sandoval, John Bilezikjian, Mitch Watkins (guitar); Earl Dumler (oboe); Paul Ostermayer (saxophone); Jose Perez, Pablo Sandoval (trumpet); Garth Hudson, John Lissauer, Randy Waldman, Bill Ginn (keyboards); Steve Meador (drums).

    1985 Various Positions

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, guitar); Jennifer Warnes (vocals); Sid McGinnis (guitar); Kenneth Kosek (fiddle); Ron Getman (harmonica, background vocals); John Lissauer (piano, keyboards, background vocals); John Crowder (bass, background vocals); Richard Crooks (drums); Lani Groves, Erin Dickins, Merle Miller, Yvonne Lewis, Anjani Thomas, Crissie Faith (background vocals).

    1988 I’m Your Man

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, arranger, various instruments); Anjani, Jennifer Warnes, Evelyine Hebey, Mayel Assouly, Elisabeth Valletti, Jude Johnstone (vocals); Jean-Philippe Rykiel, Jeff Fisher (arrangers, various instruments); Michel Robidoux (arranger, keyboards, drums); Roscoe Beck (arranger); Bob Stanley (guitar); Sneaky Pete Kleinow (steel guitar); John Bilezikjian (oud); Raffi Hakopian (violin); Richard Baudet (saxophone); Larry Cohen (keyboards); Peter Kisilenko (bass); Vinnie Colaiuta, Tom Brechtlein (drums); Lenny Castro (percussion).

    1992 The Future

    Leonard Cohen (vocals); Dean Parks (guitar, mandolin); Bob Metzger (guitar, bass); Paul Jackson Jr., Dennis Herring (guitar); Bob Furgo (violin); Brandon Fields, Lon Price (tenor saxophone); Greg Smith (baritone saxophone); Lee R. Thronburg (trumpet, trombone); Steve Lindsey (piano, organ, Mellotron, keyboards); Jim Cox, Greg Phillinganes (piano); Randy Kerber (keyboards, synthesizer); Jeff Fisher (keyboards); Bob Glaub, Lee Sklar (bass); James Gadson, Ed Greene, Steve Meador, Vinnie Colaiuta (drums); Lenny Castro (percussion); Bill Ginn, Steve Croes (programming); Anjani Thomas, Tony Warren, Valerie Pinkston-Mayo, LA Mass Choir, Peggy Blue, Edna Wright, Jean Johnson, Jacquelyn Gouche-Farris, David Morgan (background vocals).

    2001 Ten New Songs

    Leonard Cohen (vocals); Sharon Robinson (vocals, keyboards, synthesizer, programming); Bob Metzger (guitar).

    2004 Dear Heather

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, guitar, Jew’s harp); Leonard Cohen (piano); Sharon Robinson (vocals, various instruments); John Crowder (vocals, bass guitar); Raffi Hakopian, Raffi Hakopian (violin); Paul Ostermayer, Paul Ostermayer (flute); Sarah Kramer, Sarah Kramer (trumpet); Roscoe Beck (bass instrument); Stan Sargeant (bass guitar); Johnny Friday, Johnny Friday (drums); Mitch Watkins (vocals, guitar, electric guitar); Ron Getman (vocals, steel guitar); Anjani Thomas (vocals, piano, background vocals); John Bilezikjian (oud); Garth Hudson (accordion); Bob Sheppard (tenor saxophone); Bill Ginn (piano); Richard Crooks (drums).

    2008 Live in London

    Leonard Cohen (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Bob Metzger (guitar, pedal steel guitar); Charley Webb, Charles Webb (guitar, background vocals); Javier Mas (12-string guitar, bandurria, lute, archlute); Javier Más (12-string guitar, bandurria, archlute); Hattie Webb, Hattie Webb (harp, background vocals); Dino Soldo (harmonica, keyboards, wind, background vocals); Neil Larsen (keyboards); Roscoe Beck (upright bass, electric bass, background vocals); Rafael Gayol (drums, percussion); Sharon Robinson (background vocals).

     
  • richardmitnick 9:08 pm on December 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , ,   

    Some really cool connections 

    Some really cool connections

    First, in the Jazz Loft Radio Project, at WNYC which is a partner of The Jazz Loft Project being managed by the Center for Documentary Studies, in Epsisode 2, Sara Fishko talks about the work of the photographer W Eugene Smith, who was responsible for the Jazz loft. One of the photos is of Smith’s son and daughter walking into what looks like a halo of summer light. The photo was used in Carl Sandburg’s book “The Family of Man”. It was the last photo in the book. I have the book. The photo was used by E.R. Squibb & Sons, my dad’s employer at the time, in a advertisement. I think the ad was titled “security”. My parents found and purchased an oil painting of the picture. I have the oil painting.

    [The Jazz Loft was organized and managed by Life photographer W.Eugene Smith in 1954. It lasted until about 1965. It was a loft in the Flower District in Manhattan. After about 1:00PM until about 3:00-4:00AM, this district is empty of people. So, Jazz musicians could congregate there after their club gigs and jam all night. Which they did.

    Smith set up sound equipment and reel-to-reel tape recorders and recorded thousands of hours and miles and miles of tape. The center piece of the radio series involves Thelonious Monk getting ready and rehearsing for his famous 1959 Town Hall project. But, for a Jazz fan, there is much much more,including a book, “The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue, 1957-1965 [DECKLE EDGE] (Hardcover) .]

    jazz loft book

    Second, one of the major figures of the Jazz Loft was Hall Overton, by day a Classical Music faculty member at Julliard, but by night a Jazz pianist and teacher at the Jazz Loft. So, in one interview segment of Maximum Reich
    at WQXR’s Q2, a 1999 New Sounds program, Steve Reich describes Hall Overton as his “first teacher”.

    Third, on that same program is Mark Stewart, of the Bang On A Can All-Stars plays the single live part for the piece “Electric Counterpoint”, a piece for thirteen electric guitars written for Pat Metheny. Pat Metheny is on the twelve recorded tracks. Well, it is the same Mark Stewart who plays some lead guitar on Paul Simon’s 2000 Paris “You’re the One” concert

    You're the one

     
  • richardmitnick 3:18 pm on December 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    An Ipod to replace a Zune? I don’t think so. 

    An Ipod to replace a Zune? I don’t think so.

    I maintain four 120 gig Zunes to hold all or most of my music and video. One is for Classical Music and Spoken Word; one is for Jazz; one is for Rock and its offspring; one is for videos.

    So, one Zune dies. I have a contract on it. I take it back to the big box store. Because I have the contract, they give me store credit (it’s beyond their anything goes 30 day return policy) for the Zune AND the contract. They no longer have 120 gig Zunes.

    I consider a 180 gig ipod. No, the last time I installed iTunes it disabled an optical drive with high and low filters that my OEM had to correct. This must be a common problem with iTunes on some Windows machines. The first tech broke my “rule of six” – six calls to get to someone who knows what you are dealing with. He knew exactly what to do. He took over my machine and in two minutes in the Registry got rid of the filters. I immediately had the optical drive back.

    Then, I thought, what the heck? Most ipods are used on Windows machines just because Apple has such a tiny part of the installed market of PC’s.

    So, I pick up a 180 gig and an accessory kit. When I go to pay, the clerk offers me a contract, which I decline. He says, and I paraphrase, you know, when the battery dies in a year, this contract will replace it for free. Die in a year? Yes he says, it is right in the fine print on the box.

    Thanks, but no thanks. I am not going to buy a product where the box tells me it is guaranteed to fail in a year.

    I went home. I went to Amazon where I found 11 new black and 22 red 120 gig Zunes in amazon’s inventory. For cheap. US$209.00 with no shipping charge.

    If they get down to US$169.00, I will probably buy a couple more for insurance,

     
  • richardmitnick 2:45 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , ,   

    Conundrum – Who is responsible for genres at Amazon on .mp3 albums? 

    Conundrum – Who is responsible for genres at Amazon on .mp3 albums?

    Let me say at the outset, I love Amazon’s .mp3 “store”. My purchases there run something over I think ten pages, artists like Harry Partch, Conlon Nancarrow, and the two discussed below, and everything in between. I am also an Amazon stockholder.

    Some time ago, I purchased an .mp3 album, First Things First by Nadia Sirota, a phenom young violist, on New Amsterdam

    First Things First

    This is solo viola, best classified as Classical. But it was classified as “Alternative Rock”.

    About this error, New Amsterdam said,

    “From: Judd Greenstein [mailto:judd@juddgreenstein.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 3:17 PM
    To: mitrich@optonline.net
    Subject: Re: Nadia Sirota “First Things First”
    Hi Richard,
    We didn’t make that assignment. It should have been listed as classical (obviously).
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention and we’ll see what we can do.
    Judd”

    Now, recently, I purchased another .mp3 album, Monkey King by Barry Schrader, on Innova

    Monkey King

    This album might best have been classified as electronic, maybe ambient. But it was classified as something like DJ Dance.

    About this error, Innova said,

    “From: Chris Campbell [mailto:ccampbell@composersforum.org]
    Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 9:56 AM
    To: Richard Mitnick
    Subject: [Monkey King] [subject edited, was “Re: Naxos]

    Ah man.
    I’ll Iook into the Schrader stuff and thanks for buying it. I hope you dig it.
    Thanks very much Richard.
    Best to you,
    Chris Campbell
    Operations Manager
    innova recordings
    innova.mu

    In an email to another artist, I commented about the problem with Nadia’s album, laying the blame at the door of New Amsterdam. This artist came back and said,

    “dear richard mitnick –
    as someone who has had many running (and never resolved) problems with amazon I wouldn’t be too hard on new amsterdam….”

    So, I went to Amazon with the question, who is responsible for genre classifications?

    Their first reply was insufficient:

    “Hello,

    Thanks for letting us know about the error in the genres listed in the detail page for “Monkey King”, “First Things First.” We use many sources to build our website information, and we really appreciate knowing about any errors which find their way into our catalog. I’ll notify our catalog team about this and will ask them to correct the error….”

    So I went back:

    CUSTOMER: Richard Mitnick
    COMM ID:yguaderg3479643228
    EMAIL: mitrich@optonline.net
    COMMENTS: I received an inadequate reply to a complaint.

    “Here, again, is my question:
    Your Name:Richard S. Mitnick
    Comments:I purchased mp3 albums by two artists. In both cases, the genres were very incorrect. I contacted the artists, who said they had no input in naming the genre. I contacted the producers of the music, who again said, not their call. That leaves, I believe, only Amazon.
    The artists and albums were:
    Nadia Sirota, “First Things First”, New Amsterdam, the genre given on the download was alt rock. The correct genre is classical.
    Barry Schrader, “Monkey King”, The genre given was something like “DJ Dance”. The correct genre would have been either electronic or ambient.
    A third composer, when I mentioned the New Amsterdam thing to him, commented that he had “Had trouble in this area with Amazon in the past”, but did not give me specifics of his problem.
    I have purchased a fair amount of mp3 downloads from Amazon. I have had very little trouble. But this kind of thing should not be happening.
    I will be discussing this situation in my weblog “Whither Public Radio and serious music” at https://richardmitnick.wordpress.com. I will be writing by the end of the week. I certainly could not accuse Amazon of any impropriety, and I would not – hey, I am a stockholder. But I certainly will raise the question.
    So, I would like a response from Amazon on this two specific albums and this whole question of assigning genres.
    Thanks….”

    And, finally their just received reply:

    “Hello,
    The content available in our Amazon MP3 Store is provided by record labels and their distributors. The agreements to provide this content were arranged with these companies. Any questions you have regarding content should be directed to the record label or distributor.
    Thank you for your interest in Amazon MP3 Music Downloads.
    Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:..”

    So, what are we to think? It would seem to me that certainly the information should come from the record label. But I have the highest respect for the artist who said that I should not be too hard on New Amsterdam. I mean, you know, I have a great deal of respect for all of these organizations. New Amsterdam is an important part of the ‘New Music” scene, Innova is a huge resource for young artists and composers, and Amazon has been a wonderful provider of .mp3 albums, everything from the Partch and Nancarrow to Nadia and Barry.

    I think that the only conclusion I can reach is to not take at face value what I see listed as a genre on a download, regardless of the source. Maybe the best thing would be to make this a really big problem by buying lots of new and wonderful music from New Music composers, especially on the Innova, New Amsterdam and Bang On A Can labels. Especially are they bringing to the public what will hopefully become the Classical Music of tomorrow.

     
    • moontraxx 7:27 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Incorrect information being distributed has been one of our worst nightmares as a small label. So I thought it was very interesting to read your post. It is indeed the ditributor or the so called aggregator who can mess things up, like the wrong spelling of an artists’ name or the wrong classification. We’ve experienced it all and it is one of the most frustrating issues in the world of distrbuting and selling digital music. It is not the artist or seldomly the label – we know in which genre our music belongs. The stores like Amazon or iTunes will seldomly correct these issues.

    • richardmitnick 9:42 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. But, I want to be sure I understand what you are saying. Are you saying that there is another party, a “…distributor or the so called aggregator…”, or is that in these two cases Amazon?

      >>RSM

    • richardmitnick 10:54 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I want to make it perfectly clear that my intention here is not to make any accusation, lay blame, or cast stones at any person or organization. I mean only to raise the question of genre classifications for new music. It is very important especially for composers of new music that their work be understood the way they intend it to be understood.

  • richardmitnick 6:51 pm on October 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , , , , ,   

    What’s the deal with Gustav Mahler? 

    What’s the deal with Gustav Mahler?

    I don’t get it. Mahler is one of the most popular composers with the WQXR audience and with the New York Philharmonic audience. I do not understand it.

    10.17.09 This post will be a running journal of my time spent with the Mahler symphonies.

    I note at the outset, I have zero musical training, not even music appreciation courses. I had my father’s introduction to Classical music; back in the 1960’s, I had Sid Mark and Joel Dorn at WHAT Jazz in Philadelphia.

    Today, I have John Schaefer, David Garland, Terrance McKnight and Nadia Sirota for classical teachers at the new WQXR, and for Jazz I have Dan Buskirk and Will Constantine at WPRB, Princeton, NJ. For Jazz I also have everyone at WBGO, Jazz 88, Newark, NJ. And, especially these days for New Music, Marvin Rosen, also at WPRB.

    When I want to immerse myself in some composer’s music, I put it in some order in my Zune software, and then sync it to one of my four 120 gig Zune .mp3 players. I take the player with me on my exercise walks, on planes, to the dentist, wherever. And I listen down through a cycle. If it is Jazz or Rock, Keith Jarrett or Bob Dylan; if it is Philip Glass, or Steve Reich, then I have them in chronological order by year. I just put the year in front of the album name in the ID-3 tagging in Zune or Windows Media Player. If it is one of the older classical greats, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, or, in this case, Gustav Mahler, then I just put the symphonies and concerti in number order. I also have the album art in Zune, icons do help the memory.

    So, I am starting in with the Mahler Symphonies.

    cover

    So, up to date I am through just the 1st and 2nd symphonies, and one movement of the 3rd. I repeat, I just do not get it. First, for me, too much brash brass carrying the main theme. The strings seem secondary. Too almost militaristic. And, no “hooks”, no melodic themes that just grab at you.

    Back in 1993, Stephen Hill at Hearts of Space presented Program No. 332, “Deep Forest: Music of the Rainforest Pygmies”. About this music, he said,

    From sweet child-like solo pieces to angelic group choruses, the Pygmies’ music is intensely melodic and filled with natural hooks….”

    Deep Forest

    Colin Turnbull

    Beethoven is full of hooks. So is Tchaikovsky, Edvard Grieg, Philip Glass, Arvo Part. Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Howard Shore’s music for Lord of the Ring – all hooks. From Mahler I remember nothing. When my friend and I are in the car on the way to go cycling or hiking, we listen – in his car – to Classical music. Very often I can say at least who the composer is, because they seem to have a “footprint” in terms of voicing, rhythm, harmony. All I can think of about Mahler – so far – is LOUD. BRASS. THE WEST POINT PARADE GROUND.

    So, what I would like is for someone, anyone out there who can type and who knows Mahler and enjoys his work, tell me for what I should be listening, help me navigate my way into Mahler.

    I will be continuing this post as I go through the Mahler.

    10.23.09 Well! Into and through the fourth symphony, and viva viva Mahler!! What a difference. Lyric, lilting, a veritable ditty after the first three. Much more do the strings come to the fore and carry the melodies, instead of being almost drowned out by the brass. In the second movement I even heard a short violin solo.

    This was such a surprise that I figured something wonderful must have happened in Mahler’s life. Composers have to have it all in them; but some thing or things must act as a stimulus to bring it out. Did he get married? Divorced? Maybe a new child? Did someone who oppressed him go on to the great beyond?

    So, I hotsied myself over to Wikipedia to compare the chronology of the symphonies with the Maestro’s life. Alas, nothing is apparent.
    I am just happy that I found something more to my liking, and now I can go on with a positive attitude.

    10.30.09 Well, not much outdoor exercise; but a fair amount of the Mahler. The last several days, I was stuck inside in rainy weather. So, Tuesday, I decided to redo the Digiteria.

    IMG_0983Digits galore

    While I did this, I listened to the Symphony No 5 and Symphony No6. The one movement I loved was the slow fourth movement of the No 5. I recognized it right away, from, I think, a Sarah Brightman concert. Today, I got out for a walk with Symphony No 7. It was not as bombastic as the first three; but, alas, nothing to grab me.

    11.4.09 This is just a sad quickie update. I have now been through the first nine Mahler symphonies. I quit. It turns out I do not have the complete tenth symphony. I must say – I am sure it is my loss – Mahler is wasted on me. I just do not get it. I said up above that nothing sticks. For me, there is nothing to stick. No hooks, no repetitions of melodious themes. So, on to to other things.

    I do believe that this is the way to immerse oneself in a composer or performer. Get a lot of the work, it could be Bach, Jimmy Smith, Emerson Lake and Palmer, John Coltrane, Philip Glass, EmmyLou Harris, Miles Davis, Steve Reich. Put them into some sort of date order (easily done for Zune or Windows Media Player by going into Edit in Zune, or Advanced Tag Editor in WMP11 and putting the year in front of the name of the album. Put symphonic works, concerti, etc., in number order.) Then listen on down. Look for the growth. Look for the dynamic. Look for the shifts in compositional style.

    Any comments, please, do not hesitate.

     
    • scenebythebrook 10:58 pm on October 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I got into classical music in 2003. In 2004 I started buying a lot of CDs and by the end of that year was familiar with a substantial amount of the first Viennese School and a lot of Rromantics. One of the CDs I bought at the time was Mahler’s 5th symphony conducted by Lorin Mazaal with the Vienna Philharmonic. I listened to piece at least 10 times in the span of several months. I simply did not get it. No catchy melodies stuck out to me, no memorable sequences or great moments. I moved on to other music.

      Around that time I also acquired his fourth symphony. The first three movements didn’t strike out at me, but I fell in love with the final movement — a song. Because of this movement, I continued to give Mahler a chance.

      I bought the first symphony and found it pleasant enough. Some years later, I bought the second and, after repeated hearings, came to love it. I confess that I feel Mahler could be somewhat of a gasbag at times, but I found many moments to admire in second symphony — that part in the fifth movement, for instance, when the orchestra takes up that one theme gloriously and when the chorus enters singing that same theme. I get goosebumps now because of those parts and how now come to appreciate the whole symphony.

      Right now I’m working on the 3rd symphony. The process of acclimation is taking a while but once again I’m warming up to the work. In this work, Mahler threw in everything he had. It’s the longest symphony ever written (about 90 minutes) and, if it’s the case that there’s really only 20 minutes of great ideas/good music here, it’s worth enduring the length to get at those good parts. Maybe the whole of it is great and I’m not perceptive enough to appreciate it yet. After all, that’s how I initially felt about the second symphony and now I find the whole work riveting.

      I expect that when I get around to listening to the Fifth symphony soon I’ll find it more accessible this time.

    • richardmitnick 11:18 pm on October 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks so much for your comments. At least I do not feel like such a jerk. You are putting a lot of time and effort into Mahler.

      “…No catchy melodies stuck out to me, no memorable sequences or great moments….” This is what I meant when I wrote about no hooks, a term admittedly from the pop musical world.

      I will continue on my path and come back when I can to relate my experience.

    • Matt 1:28 am on December 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Mahler is wonderful. He captures the emotion like no other composer can, and he is deeply ironic, which I love. His music ranges from the joyful to complete defeat. I think if you’re going in for a catchy tune, you wont find it. You need to be able to experience it without any other distractions–as if you were in a music hall. Military themes play a huge role since martial music was a huge part of his growing up, and actually, he tortured himself over the 4th–it didn’t come as easily to him as the others. If you’re in a dark, agressive mood, relisten to the 6th again. I think it’s his most successful. And check out Bernstein’s comments on the finale of the 9th on youtube–very enlightening. In conclusion, if you’re looking for a background, sing-song composer, Mahler is not him. He demands, he captures, your full attention.

      • richardmitnick 1:10 pm on December 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Matt-

        Thanks for your comment.

        I am sure that my lack of attraction to Mahler is my own lacking and loss. Surely, he is one of the perennial favorites in the New York City area and at WQXR.

    • qwer0987 12:48 am on December 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      The problem with your approach is simply that Mahler is too long/big. Unless you are a really, really experienced music listener, 1 listen is not going to be enough. Why do you think the music is “on the shelf” sort of speak for 50 years, until LP’s came along? It also doesn’t help that his style is quite diverse, so you can’t simply listen to the cycle for growth like some other composers.

      As for how to listen to Mahler, play it loud. Real loud, and let yourself drown in emotion. The emotion is what makes him stand out compared to other composers. He does love brass a lot, but it isn’t a problem unless for some really you really hate brass.

    • richardmitnick 7:31 am on December 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      qwer0987

      Thanks for your reply. The last first, I do find the brass to be too much for me. As to the rest, you are correct. It is my failure, as I have admitted above. I have taken the Mahler with me on the Zune quite a few times and tried to re-listen. I just cannot get into it, or understand it.

      Thanks again.

    • Justin Lohman 4:14 pm on January 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      See, the beauty of Mahler’s music is that it is extremely subtle in composition at times. Highly complex, but the dynamics are very subtle and unnoticable to the common ear. I compare certain segments of his symphonies to ‘gusts of wind’, ‘birds chearping’, ‘flowers blooming’ or ‘breathing in and out.’ I can understand if people do not like his music. HE happens to be the benevolant god of music in my mind. The important pre-requisite to factor in is that his music is a direct reflection of his personality and his ever shifting moods. He was probably happiest when he was sad, content where most are scared, and hated people and things that he actually probably inherently loved. I do not know if many other composers wrote in that idiom. There are moments in Das Lied (The Song of the Earth) where I am almost certain both him and I have the same vision. [10 min into ‘Abschied’ –if that doesn’t sound like a supernatural experience of a ghost in a cemetery or some other ominous landscape, i don’t know what else does]. The bottom line is that I have been a musician for 12 years or so and I have always been searching for certain dynamics and chord progressions that I could never find in the previous inventory I was exposed until…….I heard the 4th movement of Symphony 5. AMAZING! At the end the song, it sounds like it engages in a noose dive after being airborn for 9 minutes.
      Every Symphony I have heard after Symphony 5- especially 1, 2, 4, 6, and the momumental 8th- have targeted inner emotions and shades, or degrees and levels of emotion that i did not even know was possible. Chances are, while listening to a Mahler piece, if it sounds overly joyous and happy or evil and ominous, the exact opposite emotion is looming right around the corner. He thrives on the irony of ‘binary opposition.’ GENIUS to the fullest degree possible.

    • Brandon 2:53 pm on May 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Believe me when I say that I mean no offense when I say, and at the risk of sounding like an elitist, you are listening all wrong. You aren’t going to fully appreciate any classical piece listening to it with divided attention. Listening while hiking, doing dishes, driving in your car, etc. just isn’t going to work. You have to listen (not just hear the hooks) to the whole of the composition with undivided attention. Aaron Copland, in a book on listening to music, asks the listener a very revealing question: Are you really hearing EVERYTHING that is going on? I.E., if you listen to eight measures of music and can’t hum back exactly what the viola, oboe, horn, etc., are doing then you aren’t hearing everything, and are cheating yourself out of the listening experience. You also cannot fully appreciate any piece of classically composed music, especially one as contrapuntally complex as Mahler, by listening through only once. The thing about Mahler’s music is that there ARE hooks, many of them. They just don’t usually repeat within the same contrapuntal context. Sometimes they are in the foreground of the texture, sometimes they are in the middle or background of the texture. Sometimes they are recapitulated in diminution, sometimes in augmentation, sometimes in inversion, etc. They are mixed with other themes of comparable or incomparable importance. Each voice in the texture (sometimes as much as eight in the thrilling double fugue of the 8th) has a distinct contour and personality, making them completely melodically independent, but, stacked on top of each other they become harmonically interdependent. This is the genius of Mahler. He is arguably the greatest contrapuntalist in the history of classically composed music. Up at the top with Bach. It, of course, helps to have a firm understanding of music theory, orchestration, and fugal technique. The more you understand the better the appreciation. I do, however, know many musical laypersons who can appreciate Mahler, but none of them did within one, two, or even three listens. Mahler requires extra work, but stick with it, believe me, it is worth it!

    • Brandon 3:17 pm on May 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      As an afterthought may I suggest targeting one movement of one symphony, say the Rondo Finale from the Seventh, and listening to it over and over, each time trying to listen to a different part of the texture? The divide and conquer technique might work with Mahler!

    • richardmitnick 4:15 pm on May 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Brandon-

      Thanks for your comments.

      My listening was the most focused it could be, when I am walking, all I concentrate on is the music. Whether it is Mahler, or Philip Glass, or Bob Dylan, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, whoever.

    • Dominic Case 6:57 pm on February 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Please don’t expect to “understand” Mahler right away. His work is too big for that – there is so much happening. I suppose a few people manage to – conductors mostly! As for “hooks”, after a couple of listenings you will find some phrases that you carry away with you that you won’t be able to put down. Mahler never exactly repeats in his recapitulations – there is always a variation, so that makes it a little harder still to know where you are or how a movement is built.
      Stay with it, and as others have said, don’t try to work right through the oevre. That might work with lesser composers, and if you wnat to know about the person not the music. Pick on one symphony (or song cycle) and play it over and over. And remember that Mahler was, apart from everytrhing else, a collector of impressions. The first symphony is a scrapbook of sounds he grew up with – only later does the full force of his harmony, couterpoint and orchestration emerge.

    • richardmitnick 7:21 pm on February 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Dominic-

      Thanks for the comments. I am still listening to Mahler, now one symphony at a time.

    • sh 8:29 pm on October 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Well, there’s always the possibility that you simply don’t care for his music. And whether you do or not, there’s also the possibility that you feel like you should (or that your listening community does, etc. etc.)

      I’ve been involved in music for a few decades now. I took up a more focused interest in symphonic forms in the late 90’s. A series of individual Mahler purchases and eventually the Kubelik box was a part of that. I wanted to hear what all the fuss and talk was about (and there was plenty) and I wanted to better understand what came after; Schoenberg, Berg, etc. So, no noob to challenging listens, I went through much of what you did, had dedicated, couch-borne listening sessions, did my reading and even rented related movies. It’s been over a decade now and ultimately, while I prefer the Zinman set and while there is occasionally a time and place (this October chill often puts me in the mood for No. 7), most of the time I just don’t care for Mahler very much. I don’t like a lot of his orchestration, his phrasing, his sense of drama… just not for me. In fact I found your blog just a week or so ago by one day finally googling “what is the big deal about mahler?” and was delighted and humored to have found this.

      To help you navigate your way through it – I would suggest stepping back and reading and listening to anything about or around your point of focus; history, musical contemporaries, predecessors and students, etc. Juxtapose with Wagner, Strauss and Schoenberg, or even Debussy; read about Jewish life in Europe at the turn of the century, etc. But, unless already driven to do so – why? These are all intellectual validations; if your heart’s not in it, your heart’s not in it, you gave it a go and I don’t think that makes you a ‘jerk’ in the least.

      If it’s scale or epic you’re after, try Bruckner for a change – certain influence but a completely different approach. Or if Mahler’s shrieking wears on you (sorry guys, it just happens), try going the other way and sinking into a deep Brahmsian bass line. But if everyone else is swearing by something and it doesn’t work for you after a few chances, let it go. It’s music, some part of you already knows if you respond to it or not. When something really catches you and takes you to a deeper place, you usually don’t have to try so hard, it’s more like you can’t help it (as I think some of the above replies make clear). And it’s about personal experience, not social judgement – do not confuse popularity or fame (or even prestige) with quality or talent. These are very, very different things that may or may not have anything to do with one another in a given instance. Go flip on the tv to see how that plays out.

      It gets down to this: How does listening to Mahler make you feel?

    • richardmitnick 8:40 pm on October 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, it is quite some time ago that I wrote the post. I had a bunch of helpful comments, I did some more listening. It all just came up short. I am sure it is not Mahler, I am sure it is me. But, for me, too much brass, too much bravado, not enough lyricism.

      Thanks again.

      This blog has become dormant because all of the issues with Classical music and PubRadio just died out. There is very little live beyond the rental of “Classical 24” from Minnesota Public Radio. WQXR, New York, is live hosted, so is WPRB, Princeton. Also WCNY, Syracuse and WCPE, Winston-Salem. Even WGBH’s purchase of WCRB did not remove the “Classical 24” from Boston Public Radio, a shocker in one of the great culture meccas.

      I have moved on the a new blog which looks at the “Downtown New York New Music scene”, and Jazz. Also, I follow some labels for new releases, ECM, Innova, Cuneiform, Blue Note, Cantaloupe, and New Amsterdam. The blog is at http://musicsprings.wordpress.com .

    • Tim Angell 8:46 pm on September 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      When you’re trying to hear something, or see something, leave your baggage at the door . And don’t try so damn hard.

  • richardmitnick 5:30 pm on September 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    The John Zorn Experience 

    The John Zorn Experience

    John Zorn is a thing of beauty. I mean, you know, John Zorn is an extraordinary person. He has taken the sax to unknown and immeasurable heights. Sun Ra would probably approve.He has taken it all over the world. You can read all about him in Wikipedia. He has over the years had a number of different bands, probably at least two or three at the same time doing different music. Masada, the music of which is based in the Jewish shtetls of pre-World War II Eastern Europe; Naked City, a “punk” band; Pain Killer, described in Wikipedia “…as a mix of avant-garde Jazz and grindcore (whatever that is) ; Hemophiliac, an experimental music group.

    John Zorn is a player, a composer, a record producer through his Tzadik label.

    Although labels and genres are misleading, he is considered to be part of the avant-garde “Downtown New York New Music” scene. He is primarily a Jazz saxophonist.

    So, with that wee introduction, I can recount that I got a video from Netflix, “John Zorn: Masada Live at Tonic 1999”. This was, for a bit over an hour, the John Zorn Experience In The Safety Of My Own Home. Masada was in 1999, John Zorn, sax, Joey Baron drums, Greg Cohen double bass, and the very competent Dave Douglas, trumpet. Hey they are all very competent. I think that the bass gets lost in a lot of the music, but Mr Cohen also has some longish solos in which to show his talents. If I were to compare Masada with any other group, which I am not competent to do, it would be Keith Jarrett’s Standards Trio. This is in the sense that the basic “standard” in both cases is used as a reference frame off of which to improvise and embellish. It is just that Masada’s frame of reference is a shtetl somewhere in Poland, Odessa, Lithuania, Russia, the Ukraine.

    John ZXorn Masada Live at Tonic

    The first thing Zorn does as the film opens is to fix down parts of his totally tarnished sax with rubber bands. He has long hair, which is gone today. He wears fatigue pants, which he still does today. He is wearing tzit-tzit (pronounced tsis-tsis among Ashkenazic Jews, or as it is spelled among Sephardic Jews). These are a rule of Torah law (Numbers 15:37-41) for observant Jews. I could find nothing about Zorn’s personal life, so I do not know if he is in fact an observant Jew.

    Wikipedia says that the band Masada is based in Klezmer music. I do not think so. There are no clarinets, as in Klezmer. The clarinet replaced the violin as the lead instrument maybe already in the mid-nineteenth century. So, maybe Zorn is replacing the clarinet with the sax. I said above that I felt Masada’s music to be based in the shtetl experience. Not all shtetl music qualifies as Klezmer.

    I highly recommend this video.

    At Netflix, one can also find videos of Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Parker, probably many more, I just do not have time. The footage is probably uneven, but, hey many of these guys who still bring so much pleasure are no longer with us.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:04 pm on September 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , , , , , ,   

    Jazz Is Very Serious Music 

    Jazz Is Very Serious Music

    Jazz is hard work.

    Classical music is, at least for me, not so hard. I learned to love Classical music as a child. My father had a very large collection of LP’s, Beethoven through maybe Sibelius and some Aaron Copland. French Impressionists. The Russian Big Five. Some Opera. I recently rebuilt what was essentially the core of his collection, but in digital form. I go from, now, Bach, through the Romantics and into the 20th century, Nancarrow, Partch, Varese, and Antheil. Part and Messiaen. Glass, Reich, Riley, Young, and Adams. Mark O’Connor and Osvaldo Golijov. After my father, my best teachers have been John Schaefer and David Garland at WNYC. The element of Ambient music I learned from Stephen Hill and Hearts of Space.

    But, none of this has been really difficult. If I am buying the Beethoven symphonies, does it really matter among Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic, Von Karajan or Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic? Violin concerti, I want Hilary Hahn. Terry Riley’s “In C”, Bang On A Can. Reich’s Music for Eighteen musicians, The fabulous Grand Valley State University players (Innova).

    My knowledge in all music is five miles wide and a half of an inch thick. Anyone reading this that is really knowledgeable will see that immediately.

    If you like Bach, Bartok, Sibelius, and Stravinsky, you might just take well to Jazz.

    Jazz is really hard. Everyone has their own starting point. My father started in Classical at Beethoven, but I have some Bach, by Glenn Gould AND Keith Jarrett.

    My starting point in Jazz is Bop, MDD (Miles Dewey Davis), and John Coltrane. I use MDD really to honor Michael Tilson Thomas, known as “MTT”. If this great conductor can be MTT, then Miles is for me MDD. My first teacher was Steve Rowland. Steve has two radio projects, “The Miles Davis Radio Project”, and “Tell Me how Long ‘Trane’s Been Gone”. I bought these two series in .mp3, put them on my Zune .mp3 player and listened to them on walks, on planes, at the dentist. Wherever. Over and over. I started to acquire their music. Amazon’s Jazz library is just literally huge.But, what was it? Bop? Bebop? Post-Bop? West Coast? Who was it? Which quartet or quintet? Each had two great bands, known by various names. Miles had The First Quintet and the Second Quintet. Coltrane had the Classic Quartet and the Second Quartet. Who was in each band? It matters.

    Coltrane played with Miles. Twice. Everyone played with Thelonius Monk.

    You cannot study this music and these people without immersing yourself in the work of Eric Dolphy. You need to hear Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins, himself a saxophone colossus.

    You need to pay attention to the producer Rudy Van Gelder. Why? Everyone wanted to work with him.

    You need also to read about these people. Wikipedia is a very good resource. Gary Giddins’ books, Visions of Jazz – The First Century (1998) and Weatherbird (2004), are very worthwhile. The first is basically portraits in word of artists. The second is a collection of the writer’s reviews of concerts and albums.

    Terry Teachout wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal that Jazz, taken out of the club and into the concert hall, is dying a slow death. . If Terry were to listen to Jazz on WPRB, WBGO, any of the countless outlets in the database of Public Radio Fan or the niche streams at AccuRadio and Live365; if Mr. Teachout were to give a listen to the Jazz Calendars presented by WPRB and WBGO, he might change his tune.

    Bill Evans and Gil Evans matter. Differently. Bill was the consummate piano virtuoso. Gil was Miles’ other half as an arranger. There is a short film, “The Sound of Miles Davis, with Miles’ quintet (which one?) playing with the Gil Evans Orchestra. In this video, Coltrane’s solo in “So What” (from Kind of Blue)blows the whole group away.

    To understand McCoy Tyner, you need to hear Paul Hindemith. Dave Brubeck studied with Darious Milhaud and wrote Jazz fugues for The Octet. It matters. Miles studied at Juilliard. John Coltrane studied Bela Bartok.
    “The Birth of the Cool” really matters. Miles and Gerry Mulligan tried to emulate the sound of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra in nine instruments, a nonet. This matters big time. Some consider this the most important album ever produced.

    MDD’s “Bitches Brew” matters because of Jazz Fusion. The work was one of the first projects in Jazz Fusion. Wayne Shorter played with Miles in the Second Great Quintet. But, he also played with Joe Zawinul in Weather Report which was a Jazz Fusion band. But Joe wrote Mercy, Mercy, Mercy for Cannonball Adderley’s quintet. This is not Fusion.

    I am just going through my collection as I write this. Chick Corea is an incredible pianist, as is Keith Jarrett. Both can write and both can improvise. Chick has had the Elektric Band and the Akoustic Band. And, the Fusion band, Return To Forever, with especially Al DiMeola. Keith has had the Standards Trio, The American Trio, The American Quartet, the European Quartet. He also has himself in all of the solo albums and solo concerts. The Koln Concert album is one of the best selling piano solo albums of all time. All of this matters. It matters also that Keith recorded Bach’s Goldberg Variations on harpsichord. It matters that Keith and Chick concertized and recorded the Mozart Double Concerto. Master musicians. Who they are and what they do matters.

    Who is Percy Heath? Jimmy Heath? Albert Heath?

    I have some Thelonius Monk, some Charlie Parker and some Dizzy Gillespie. But I have not yet gotten well educated enough to appreciate them.

    But, I go further back with a very modern band. I go to Dixieland with the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, Ken Field’s very able crew from Boston, Mass. I love this band. They are so hip, so cool in the modern sense of the word.

    Since Steve Rowland, my best support has come from Will Constantine and Dan Buskirk at WPRB, Princeton; Josh Jackson and the concerts from WBGO, Newark, and NPR/music. At NPR, there are the Jazz Profiles, over seventy biographic accounts of great Jazz composers and players. These are available for download. Again, I put them on my Zune and took them with me everywhere. NPR also features concerts from WBGO at The Village Vanguard and J&R Music.

    Latin Jazz matters very much. The movie “Calle 54” is the best introduction one can have for this sub-genre. I got it from Netflix. Latin Jazz, Jerry and Andy Gonzalez, Paquito D’Rivera, Chano Dominguez, Michel Camilo, Gato Barbieri, Eliane Elias, Bebo Valdez and Chucho Valdez, all very important.
    The Modern jazz Quartet began, in a sense like David Byrne’s “Music for ‘The Knee Plays” at Philip Glass’ “Einstein on the Beach”, as a sort of intermission entertainment. It was, first, The Milt Jackson Quartet, and they played as part of the Dizzy Gillespie orchestra. When the orchestra took a break, this quartet filled the time. Look what happened. It is important.

    Singers like Mose Allison and Nina Simone are very important.

    Pat Metheny and Al DiMeola are consummate Jazz guitarists.

    I just watched a video, “Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation”. The video goes way beyond improvisation. It is a valuable biographical story of Keith’s oerve. One piece, played by the European Quartet- they matter a lot – is called “The Windup”. I recognized it immediately. I searched my hard drive. I could not find it. I got the album, “Belonging” (1974), so I could listen a few times. Actually, it was not as good as I remembered. This arrangement (8’22”) is too fast. Then, I remembered that I had an album, “Fort Yawuh” about which I learned from Dan Buskirk. Maybe it was there under another name. These days, I have a large library of Keith Jarrett’s recordings. But, for some time, this album had been my only Keith Jarrett work beyond the well known “Koln Concert”. Sure enough, the first track of “Fort Yawuh”, ‘(If the) Misfits (Wear It)’ (1973) is the same melody, but the exposition is for me much better at 13’15”.

    I am done. I could go on forever here. Here are some things which are important. There are three other important Coltrane’s: Alice, Ravi, and Oran. Steve Gadd is all over the place as a drummer. Cyro Baptista who I first encountered with Paul Simon, is all over John Zorn’s work. John Zorn: he deserves a huge weblog post all for himself. Some players have been around for a long time and deserve respect. None more than Brian Blade. Cedar Walton is still making music.

    Whoops, I never mentioned Duke Ellington. There are no words. His big orchestra is not my style. But I did get his “Black, Brown & Beige”, “The Far East Suite”, “Latin America Suite”, and the absolutely fantastic “Such Sweet Thunder”. Somehow, for me, The Duke is a Classical composer.

    This is not anywhere near complete. No mention of Kenny Clark the drummer, Philly Joe Jones, Connie Kay, also drummers. Stanley Clark, Ron Carter, two bassists extraordinaire. Or Kurt Rosenwinkel, Stanley Turrentine. Sun Ra, off somewhere in a world of his own creation. There are just so many people, each unique in what they bring to the music.

    If you give Jazz a go, expect to be very serious about it and expect to work very hard.

     
    • Classical Music 8:27 am on September 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      It provides all tracks in the universally compatible MP3 format at prices as low as 27 cents ( 23c) a track. Classical Music

      • richardmitnick 11:47 am on September 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        I looked at your site, it is very nice. But I could not find where one would buy music.

        >>RSM

    • Lori 11:13 am on October 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Just wanted to tell you that I read your comment on the WQXR/NYC deal, and was sufficiently intrigued to check out your blog. Very interesting, well-written (unlike this comment?). Keep up the good work.

    • richardmitnick 11:27 am on October 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Lori-

      Thanks. I try very hard to be relevant. I appreciate your comment. Comments, good or bad, are hard to come by.

      >>RSM

  • richardmitnick 8:04 pm on September 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon,   

    Paul Simon Addiction 

    Paul Simon Addiction

    So, I have this new addiction. To Paul Simon. After Garfunkel. The Paul Simon of “Graceland” and “Rhythm of the Saints”. Really, it’s not so new. It started back in 1991, with the “Concert in Central Park”, a stop in the “Rhythm of the Saints” tour. I videotaped that concert and have now digitized it. It originally was based in the music of that extraordinary band. But it has received a new shot of energy as described below.

    My excitement here is similar to that which I felt about George Harrison after the Beatles. These two artists got themselves together with collections of some of the finest session players anywhere and totally changed what they were doing. In the words of Jack Welch of GE, they “blew it up”, they re-made the music and themselves. We are the beneficiaries.

    So, now, I have a new concert, “Paul Simon- You’re the One”, Paris 2000. If you enjoy Paul Simon sans Art Garfunkel, get this DVD.

    Paul Simon - You're the one

    Do not bother with the CD

    You're the One CD

    There is about 48 minutes of music on the CD, but the concert is just under two hours. The CD has all new material. BUT the older material in the concert on the DVD is really very good. This band sparkles.

    Several of the people from the 1991 concert are present, Steve Gadd on drums, Vincent Nguini on guitar, and Tony Cedras on especially accordion, but other instruments, also. This band also has Evan Ziporyn most recently of the Downtown New York music scene (BOAC) on reeds. A note on Steve Gadd, who is all over my hard drives playing sessions in many bands: Steve was the drummer at the 1981 Simon & Garfunkel concert in Central Park. So, that is now at least 1981 through 2000 that Paul and Steve still see eye to eye.

    This band is smaller than the Rhythm of the Saints band. But it fairly crackles with excitement. Especially wonderful is the piece “Graceland”. I have it here, I have it on the “Graceland” CD and the DVD, I have it in the Concert in Central Park. I think this version is the best one.

    Get the DVD. Then get a DVD audio ripper and rip the music to .mp3. Make a music CD, or put it on your .mp3 player.
    I hope you give this suggestion some thought.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:49 pm on August 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , , ,   

    Nadia;Terry Riley;Amazon 

    Nadia>Terry Riley>Amazon

    So, here is how (Public) Radio is supposed to work:

    Nadia Sirota pulls an air shift for the vacationing David Garland. I am in the car when Nadia plays a wee piece of Terry Riley from the Salome Dances For Peace. Hmmm. I have a bit of Terry Riley. Let’s see,
    I have

    A Rainbow in Curved Air
    A Rainbow in Curved Air

    In C by Bang On A Can
    In C Bang On a Can

    Songs For the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets
    Songs For the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets

    and

    Requiem For Adam
    Requiem For Adam

    So, what else can I find, in .mp3, at Amazon?

    Shri Camel

    Shri Camel

    Church of Anthrax
    Church of Anthrax

    The Harp of New Albion
    Harp of New Albion

    Reed Streams
    Reed Streams

    Persian Surgery Dervishes
    Persian Surgery Dervishes

    In C:The 25th Anniversary
    In C: 25th Anniversary

    The Salome Dances For Peace
    Salome Dances For Peace

    The Book of Abbeyozzud
    The Book of Abbeyozzud

    I guess that is enough for now. I really like Terry Riley. Maybe next month or so I will buy some more.

     
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