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  • richardmitnick 4:51 pm on March 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Jazz, , , ,   

    A New Look at Music From the Hearts of Space 

    A New Look at Music From the Hearts of Space

    I think that it is time for a new look at Hearts of Space. Hearts of Space, Music From the Hearts of Space, HOS, whatever one calls it, is the creation of Stephen Hill. HOS has been one of the singularities in performing what I see as the mission of Public Radio in music: to motivate the listener to spend money to support the artists and composers whose work we cherish. I thought about that last word, “cherish”, and I think it is the correct word to express how I feel about the music I love.

    Stephen started with Program 001, “First Flight” one January 1, 1983. There are now 903 programs in the Archive. I can listen to any program I want any time I am near one of my computers. I have subscriptions to HOS both at home and at work.

    But, it was not always so. I am going to quote directly from the web site. No one tells the story better than Stephen. I have done some editing to help readability. I hope that Stephen will not mind:

    “HEARTS of SPACE began as a San Francisco late night radio show in 1973, went national on Public Radio in 1983 and to our eternal amazement, grew to almost 300 stations. We started an independent record label in 1984, ultimately releasing almost 150 albums…

    “HEARTS of SPACE grew out of [Stephen’s] fascination with space-creating [Stephen is actually an architect], ambient and contemplative music. Beginning in the early 1970s, [he] hosted a weekly late-night radio program on KPFA-FM in the San Francisco Bay area. What began purely as a labor of love eventually became the most popular contemporary music program on Public Radio. Over the intervening quarter century, Hearts of Space evolved into a multifaceted music and broadcast producer encompassing radio syndication, a record company, and an Internet music service…

    “In January 1983, after ten years evolution as a local program, Hearts of Space began national syndication to 35 non-commercial public radio stations via the NPR satellite system. Hosted by Stephen and original co-producer Anna Turner, within three years the program signed its 200th station and became the most successful new music program in Public Radio history, as well as the most widely syndicated program of ‘spacemusic’ — a tastemaker for the genre…

    “Now in its 26th year of national syndication, a one hour program airs weekly on over 200 NPR affiliate stations, including three of the top five U.S. radio markets and a majority of the top fifty. The program is also heard nationally seven nights a week at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s ‘Spa’ Channel 72…

    “Internet streaming began in 1999 on pioneer webcasters NetRadio and WiredPlanet as well as Public Radio sites, and evolved in 2001 into a full blown subscription service offering on-demand access to the entire Archive, now over [900] programs created since 1983…

    “From the beginning, the program’s success has come from consistently high production quality and sensitive, knowledgeable music programming. The program has defined its own niche — a mix of ambient, electronic, world, new age, classical and experimental music. Artists and record companies around the world recognize Hearts of Space as the original, most widely heard, premiere showcase for ‘contemplative music, broadly defined’…

    “Quality crafting is the keystone of the HOS experience. After a brief intro, each one hour show is an uninterrupted musical journey, designed to create a relaxed but concentrated ambiance. Slow-paced, space-creating music from many cultures — ancient bell meditations, classical adagios, creative space jazz, and the latest electronic and acoustic ambient music are woven into a seamless sequence unified by sound, emotion, and spatial imagery…

    “Old as they are, contemplative sounds continue to evolve. [Stephen] says “What’s now being called Ambient music is the latest chapter in the contemplative music experience. Electronic instruments have created new expressive possibilities, but the coordinates of that expression remain the same. Space-creating sound is the medium. Moving, significant music is the goal…

    “The ancient resonances of drums, bells, and flutes, the exotic tones of gongs and gamelans, the digital sounds of the Ambient frontier; in its third decade, Hearts of Space continues to deliver the best of the contemplative sound experience, with spacemusic from near and far out….”

    O.K., that is the voice of Stephen.

    What has HOS meant for me? First, as indicated by this weblog, music is my passion. Classical music was my father’s gift to me. He thought that he gave me a business, and, yes the business made me more than comfortable. But, the business is now history and my passion for music has not only never ceased, but it has grown. I have ventured farther out than my father ever did or imagined was possible. My particular tastes include a great many late 20th century Classical composers and Jazz. And, what I heard on HOS.

    HOS took me to the cutting edge. I learned about not only “space music”, but also a great many composers in genres with which I was not familiar. Celtic, Asian, Middle Eastern, just to name a few. There are programs designed to fit the seasons of the year. I must interject to be totally accurate that I have also learned a great deal from John Schaefer at WNYC . But John, equally deserving of efforts here, is not the subject of this post.

    If you would like to see the material presented, visit the HOS web site. Along with the archive of programs, there is also a library of complete albums which Stephen has arranged to be available for your listening enjoyment. Check out the play lists for the programs and take a look at the albums.

    So, what is it like to listen to HOS from the web site these days? Well, it is a far cry from days gone by, when on the FM broadcast one might also hear the interference of a jet plane flying overhead. The olden days of the streaming audio were not too shabby. The music was streamed in a Windows Media format, 64kbit for broadband and 32kbit for dial up. I was fortunate that by the time WNYC forced me to the greater pleasures of HOS streaming audio I had broadband. The 64kbit stream was pretty darned good. I always measured the quality of the broadcast on FM by the incredible presence of the short silences between pieces. There was nothing like it anywhere in broadcast radio. The broadband stream was just as clean and bright.

    But, there was no resting on laurels. There is now an incredible flash player. The new web site is beautiful, a work of art filled with works of art. Newly added is an image gallery where one finds images that are appropriate to some of the programs.

    The weekly program is available for free on Sundays. So, if you are interested, give HOS your ear on a Sunday, actually, several Sundays, to try and measure for yourself if this programming and music can be of value to you. If you like what you hear and you want to subscribe, there are several plans at varying prices.

    One warning: if you are ever hooked, you will never go back.

    I hope that you will listen, and then subscribe, and, finally, complete the mission of Hearts of Space – as I define it – by buying the work of the artists and composers you like in whatever format you choose from what ever vendor you choose.

    • Eric 3:18 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Glad to hear you really enjoy Hearts of Space! Have you ever enjoyed any of the music from Hearts of Space Records? We released some of the great programs from the show as well in the “Best of Hearts of Space” Series (http://www.valley-entertainment.com/artists/best-of-hearts-of-space-series.html).

    • richardmitnick 3:50 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Nice to make your acquaintance. I have listened to albums from the HOS web site. I have been a “fan” of HOS so long, I go back to probably PGM 15. If you know the folks at HOS, you can ask about me.

    • Leena Rogres 10:53 am on February 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I have every program from #1 to #936. It is pure joy to cycle to the top of the bluff and with my Bose unit (fully charged) watch the mad world below.

    • Septer McNamaste 3:36 pm on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I have every program braodcast.

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

    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 10:17 am on February 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jazz, ,   

    Recording Jazz Video from You Tube 

    Recording Jazz Video from You Tube

    I just finished recording from You Tube and editing Omnibus – Bernstein on Jazz broadcast October 16, 1955 on CBS television.

    So, here is how to get for yourself some really important video on the subject(s) of Jazz.

    There is an excellent video download tool available for Firefox browser from Mozilla Corporation. You can download as Flash video, or .mp4 video. I suppose that Flash might be a better reproduction, But .mp4 is much more useful. When a video in in .mp4, you can load it into Zune, maybe iPod. One can play it in Windows Media Player, Winamp, VLC, whatever is your player of choice.

    The problem with You Tube is that videos are basically limited to 9 or ten minutes. So, what to do to get a single whole video file?

    Go to AVS4You, pay a nominal price and get AVS Video Converter 6. With this really neat little piece of software you can do all sorts of editing of videos. I use it to merge You Tube videos. I also us it to edit out commercials from programs I record from Cable TV.

    The Bernstein program is in five parts. I downloaded it in .mp4. Then, I took the five files and merged them in the proper order with AVS Video Converter 6. I am watching and listening (peripheral vision) on another computer as I write this post. I have not noticed any discontinuity as the final video goes from section to section .

    I did this procedure and wrote about it previously with The Sound Of Miles Davis from 1959 which I missed on WLIW televison because of an error in a newspaper listing.

    I highly recommend this whole process. There is tons of great Jazz video on You Tube, all in little chunks.
    If you do not have Firefox, it is worth installing it just for this purpose.

  • richardmitnick 6:17 pm on January 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jazz, , Netflix   

    Jazz at Netflix 

    Jazz at Netflix

    I have been listening to a lot of Jazz now for a couple of years. Beyond my own collection, I hear great Jazz at WBGO, Jazz 88, Newark, NJ and WPRB, Public Radio in Princeton, NJ. What a joy it is now to be able to see some of my favorite artists in concert. The source of a lot of what I can find to view is Netflix, the video rental giant.

    Here is a list of really good videos.

    Al DiMeola “Live at Montreux 1986-1993”. Al DiMeola is wonderful on both acoustic and electric guitar.
    Al DiMeola “One of These Nights”, recorded in Ludwigsburg, Germany, with a kick-ass band.

    Calle 54 which means 54th St, is a wonderful exploration of Latin Jazz. It includes performances by sax player Gato Barbieri, Jerry Gonzalez, trumpet and fluglehorn, and his Fort Apache Band, Paquito D’Rivera, sax and clarinet, pianist Eliane Elias, Flamenco pianist Chano Dominguez, father Bebo and son Chucho Valdez both pianists, pianist Michel Camillo. So, lots of piano. This disc also includes “Side B”, a separate video in which the players are seen more in a documentary style. In this video, we learn the history of Latin Jazz and many of African and Carribean origins of the different rhythms are explained.

    Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra at the Festival International De Jazz De Montreal. Charlie Haden actually began as a bass player in Country music. But he is one of the most important Jazz bassists. He spent time with Ornette Coleman. He was part of Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet with Paul Motian and Dewey Redman.

    Clark Terry Quintet at the St Lucia Jazz Festival. Trumpeter Clark Terry is just a joy to watch and to hear. Clark Terry has devoted a great deal of time to music education for young school age hopefuls.

    Gato Barbieri:Live from the Latin Quarter. Ageless. That is all I can say about this wonderful sax player, so important in the world of Latin Jazz.

    World of Rhythm:Live. This is a concert performance by the one and only Herbie Hancock, with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Cobham. This will put a smile on your face, just watching and hearing these three giants of Jazz.

    Keith Jarrett: The Art of Improvisation. This is a wonderful documentary with lots of concert footage and good commentary. We see the Standards Trio, The American Quartet, The European Quartet, and a bit of Keith playing with Miles Davis. Keith speaks of not only improvisation but also about his life in general, and his bout of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There is possibly the only footage of his concert in Japan with Chick Corea in the Mozart Double Concerto.

    There are a number of videos of the Modern Jazz Quartet. I have not gotten to them yet, but they are on my list.

    One Night with Bluenote: the All-Star Reunion Concert. This video comes from a 1985 Town Hall concert celebrating the resurrection of the Bluenote jazz label. The players include Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Grady Tate, Reggie Workman, Johnny Griffin, Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, Jackie McLean, Jack DeJohnette, Jimmy Smith, Stanley Turrentine and Cecil Taylor. What an outstanding collection on one stage – of course not all at the same time. These are just some of the people who made Bluenote so important in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Many of them were then involved in the rebuilding of this legendary label under the umbrella of EMI Music.

    Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus. This is a documentary about the great sax player with a great deal of performance footage. There is commentary from three important Jazz critics.It includes what seems to be the only record of his “Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra”.

    Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser. There is no more mysterious figure in the history of Jazz than Monk. This film is a 1968 documentary which should not be missed.

    This is just the stuff I have already seen, except the MJQ. While all of these videos are available on DVD disc, some can be viewed on the computer, some can be streamed direct to the big screen TV via the Roku box.

  • richardmitnick 7:44 am on January 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jazz, ,   

    Jazz is Dying? Not at WPRB, Princeton 

    So, there is all of this dire stuff about Jazz just shrinking away. Nonsense.

    at WPRB, Princeton, NJ, I just discovered another really great Jazz program. On Wednesdays from 1:00PM-3:00Pm, Lemmy Caution has Jazz Planets and I love what he is doing.

    Of course, WPRB has for a long time had great Jazz with Dan Buskirk Mondays, Emmanuel Ferritis Tuesdays and Will Constantine Thursdays all from 11:00AM-1:00PM, and Jeannie Becker on Sundays 10:00AM-12:00PM.

    Lemmy’s program started last September, and it is my loss that I just caught up with it.

  • richardmitnick 12:52 am on December 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Jazz,   

    Christmas Eve at Farley’s Bookshop 

    Christmas Eve at Farley’s Bookshop

    Last night, we made our annual Christmas Eve pilgrimage to Farley’s Bookshop in Hew Hope, PA. We have been doing this now for about fifteen years. On Christmas Eve, I need to say hello to Jim Farley, the proprietor.

    Farley’s is the best book store I have ever visited.

    On Christmas Eve, Farley’s is open late and is festive. There are always quite a few of Jim’s regulars there. We might be classed as the irregulars.

    Years ago, I started buying the works of John McPhee there, because Jim had his books on the shelf. Any other book store I visited looking for this author would tell me they could order up what I wanted.

    When I began studying Western Theology and Mysticism, Farley’s was the shop with the widest variety of the most important books in print.

    These days, I am buying books on Classical music and Jazz. Again, Farley’s is the right place to go.

    Jazz Loft Project

    Jim Farley has an engaging personality. He dreams of far away places and the finer aspects of a well lived life. But he knows that his heart is and always will be in New Hope.

    I hope that Jim has an alert set and might see this post.

    • Edward Sonner 2:23 pm on January 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Yes… I have visited Farley’s Bookshop many times over the last three (plus) decades; including the times he was on Ferry Street. I believe it was called The New Delaware Bookstore or something like that Creeping Senility keeps me from being sure) It is the kind of shop that you can roam and discover books you never thought you wanted, but find out that you NEED them. It is amazing how many books he has managed to CRAM into such a small store. It is a New Hope institution that should not be missed.

    • richardmitnick 5:48 pm on January 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I am extra glad for your reply. I too believe that it was the New Delaware Bookstore. No one else in 20 years has been able to confirm this to me. I have always called it “Farley’s New Delaware Bookstore”. So, senility be damned, both yours and mine. Do you remember the oldish codger who used to be at the counter? Nice enough fellow, if a bit crusty. Once when I said I did not need help, he replied, “…Yes, that’s right, we depend on our customers to be able to find their own stuff….” But, it was in a nice jokey way.

      I have loved the place for as long as I can remember.

      Thanks so much for sharing your history and your thoughts with me.

    • Sondra Flesch 6:25 pm on January 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Farley’s is truly one of my favorite places to be….. I hope I can try it on Christmas Eve someday as you have. Each Farley, Jim, Nancy, Jennifer, and Rebekah have added their hearts to the atmosphere throw in the intelligence they all have and it makes a bookstore that’s a pleasure to walk in to.

    • Edward 6:29 pm on January 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      That “oldish codger’ … I think his name was Christopher.. again… my mind is not as sharp as it was back then. He was a real card and I am sure it sounds like something he might say. I am not sure but i think I heard he is now joking with customers in that Great Bookstore in the Sky.

    • richardmitnick 7:35 pm on January 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I sent Jim Farley an email, asking him to look at us. I hope he sees us and that it warms a bit his January.

    • Michael 5:19 pm on January 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m not sure if Jim will respond or not, but I wanted to let you all know that Jim has indeed been uplifted by all your comments, I’ve worked at the store since I was in 8th grade all through college and now while I work on my Master’s degree. It’s always nice to hear that people appreciate our store, we do seem to have a “charm” all our own. Thank you all for your kind comments, we hope to be here for many more years to come.

    • richardmitnick 5:48 pm on January 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply


      Thanks so much for your comment. I guess we accomplished our goal, we let you guys know how much we appreciate what is much more than just a store with books.


  • richardmitnick 11:10 am on December 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jazz, , ,   

    Paul Winter Consort – Winter Solstice 2009 Concert 

    Paul Winter Consort – Winter Solstice 2009 Concert is now available for listening.

    This concert is given annually in New York City at The Cathedral of St John the Divine. This is the 29th year of this festival of international sound, a reunion for many of Paul Winter’s musical associates.

    The host, as usual, is none other than John Schaefer of WNYC New York Public Radio, where he hosts New Sounds and Soundcheck

    Give yourself a treat and listen to the two parts of this concert.

    • richardmitnick 2:56 pm on December 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Your reply was caught by our spam blocker. I saw no trace of anything bad, so I let your comment through. But, I would like to know just what it is that brings you to my weblog post.

      I need your reply to be in English.


  • richardmitnick 11:54 am on December 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jazz, ,   

    Two Great Radio Projects on New York Public Radio 

    Two Great Radio Projects on New York Public Radio

    Today is the first day of Eight Days of Steve, a celebration of the life and work of Steve Reich at Q2 on WQXR.
    Visit http://www.wqxr.org/blogs/q2-blog/2009/dec/10/maximum-reich-eight-days-steve/#z and also
    You can listen on line at http://www.wqxr.org/q2/#z .

    I thought that Sequenza 21 might have picked up on this, but I have not seen anything. Maybe someone from that weblog can correct me.

    On parent station WNYC is the Jazz Loft Radio Project, which grows out of the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies Jazz Loft Project. In the radio project are a series of ten documentary episodes. At The Jazz Loft Project site is a great deal of text material.

    Learn and enjoy.

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

    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.

    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

    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:


    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.

    And, finally their just received reply:

    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?


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

    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.

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