Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pachuco Boogie

I heard a great CD review on Fresh Air tonight featuring the East Los Angles sound from the 1940's of Don Tosti and his Pachuco Boogie Boys and many others. There are great Boogie Woogie tunes, Chicano style, along with Mambos, Swing and R&B. Hear the Fresh Air review here. Listen to the tracks and buy the CD from Arhoolie Records here. Christine, you will like this one.

The Windform is a 20 foot long playable leather horn and is one of many strange and unique instruments from around the world all available for review at The gallery contains pictures, a description and audio samples. There are lots of links to interesting and different instrument sites as well as a discussion group.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Fastest Finger on the Remote Keyboard

Wunderkind Belinda from Croatia turns up the heat several notches with her newest project, "Tornado." This video is a must watch.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Foothill College Contemporary Big Band

This is not your father's community college jazz band!

John Gove directs the Foothill Community College Jazz Ensemble and for years has attracted some of the best musicians of the bay area who challenge themselves on their night off to play charts by contemporary composers such as Maria Schneider and Dave Holland. I am always amazed at these concerts.

Experience this unique and free performance Tuesday, March 22 at Foothill College in Appreciation Hall starting with the Afternoon Ensemble at 7:30pm followed by the Evening Ensemble about 8:30pm.

The afternoon band performs:

Little Pixie - Thad Jones
American Express - Bob Brookmeyer
Upswing - Dave Holland
Mean To Me - Fred Ahlert and Roy Turk
Main Stem - Duke Ellington

The evening band performs:

Infant Eyes - Wayne Shorter, arrangement by Tim Price
Guarabe - Clare Fisher
Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue - Duke Ellington
Secret Love - Vince Mendoza
The Song We Sing - Bennett Friedman

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Photos of Jazz's Memory Lane, for Sale

Jazz historian Frank Driggs is selling his collection of some 100,000 photographs and mementoes. NPR's Renee Montagne talks with him about his most prized photographs. Check out the gallery.

Mary Lou Williams, First Lady of Keyboard Jazz

In the spirit of celebrating women, NPR pays tribute to jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams, popularly known as the "first lady of the jazz keyboard."

Lessons from Jazz Legend Wayne Shorter

An interview with music critic Michelle Mercer who has written a biography of Wayne Shorter, "Footprints".

Jazz Memorabilia Auction in New York City

In New York City this past weekend, a collection of jazz memorabilia went up on the auction block. Items offered for sale by Guernsey's Auction House included the original hand-written version of John Coltrane's poem A Love Supreme. NPR's Allison Keyes reports.

Etta Baker

A great NPR interview with 91 year old guitarist Etta Baker "a treasure of the Piedmont Blues style popular through the mountains of Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia".

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ortlieb's piano update

My Sunday March 13 post about Ortlieb's Jazzhaus in Philadelphia mentioned the sorry state of their house piano. Apparently, they read my blog and decided to do something about it as noted in Michaels Klein's "Inqlings" column in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The same article mentions that Joe Piscopo (of Saturday Night Live fame) might be open to running for Governor of New Jersey. I had nothing to do with that.

The article text:

"Ortlieb's Jazzhaus in Northern Liberties, one of Philly's longer-running jazz rooms, is passing the hat for a new piano. "It's been here about 16, 17 years," says owner Pete Souders of the club's existing 88. "It's pretty well beat-up." The first of several benefits will begin at 8:45 p.m. tomorrow. Souders will allocate the door charge ($10) to the cause, and the featured act, Luvpark, will donate its fee. Souders says the club is looking for a 5-foot-2 or 5-foot-3 Baldwin or Yamaha baby grand, new or used."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

FolkStreams - A national preserve of documentary films about American folk or roots culture. Produced by independent filmmakers, these hard-to-find films give voice to the arts and experience of diverse American groups

They are streamed on the website together with background materials that highlight the history and aesthetic importance of the traditions and the makes these films easy to find and to see by video-streaming them on the Internet, and also provides in-depth and reliable contextual materials about the subjects and the filmmaking.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Sebastien Lanson In Town

Sebastien Lanson is here visiting from Spain for a few weeks and is playing guitar on Wednesday, March 16 at Blondie's Bar and No Grill in San Francisco from 9 to 12 with Wil Blades on the Hammond B3, John Worley on trumpet and Fil Lorenz on sax. Killer combo.

He will also appear with John Worley's group, Worlview, at the Sunnyvale Community Center on Friday at 8pm.

Good to see you Sebastien!

Philly - Day 3 - Jon Cleary

Sunday night and Jack takes us to a new venue in Philly. WXPN, the public radio station of the University of Pennsylvania sports a new format and studio that houses The World Cafe Live. Upstairs is the acoustic folk coffee house type atmosphere. Downstairs is a state of the art gourmet dinner theatre.

Jon Cleary plays New Orleans style piano for Bonnie Raitt but tours as the leader with the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. This band is so funky that I hurt my neck doing that chicken head thing. Jon plays piano and Hammond B3 Dr. John and Professor Longhair style and sings too. The band is super tight. I especially liked the guitarist, rockin and soulful but I don't know his name. Lori bought 3 CDs.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Philly - Day 2 - Ortlieb's

Saturday night Jack takes us to Ortlieb's Jazzhaus. The club is on a tiny street and as you approach it appears to be under construction. It is a long narrow room with the bar on one end, the restaurant on the other and the band in the middle with just enough room for one table and an aisle between the band and the opposite wall. The ambiance and the characters that frequent this club are half the show. The other half is the incredible house band.

Bootsie Barnes on tenor sax leads this Philly hard bop band. He is authentic and alive.

With him that night was Duane Eubanks (brother to Robyn and Kevin) on trumpet, hot and cool.

Sid Simmons played heroically on the Otlieb's notoriously bad piano and made it sound great. I wish I had a picture of the worn fall board (thank you Judy).

Ortlieb's owner, retired systems programmer Pete Souders, normally sits in for a few tunes early in the evening but blew baritone sax all night, stopping only to fix the toilet in the women's bathroom.

The seating arrangement is frustrating but this is pristine bebop as it was and still is in Philly.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Philly - Day 1 - Terence Blanchard

Terence Blanchard, photo credit: Carol Friedman

Last week, Lori attended a conference in Philadelphia and I went along to visit some good friends. Jack steered us to 3 great shows.

On friday, the University of Pennsylvania hosted A Spike Lee - Terence Blanchard film festival. We caught the end of a film score lecture and then the concert. Zellerbach Theatre in the Annenberg Center for the Perfoming Arts is a beautiful small theatre with an excellent sound system and interesting lighting.

Terence Blanchard heads a 6 piece band for this performance and played music from his newest CD. Terence's playing is at once strong, intense and clear yet he himself is casual and funny when speaking. The music is modal, dynamic, odd metered and captivating. Keeping in the Art Blakey Jazz Messenger tradition from whence he came, Terence continues the legacy by showcasing the incredible musicians in his band, everyone of them a great composer.

Lionel Loueke is from Africa and plays the guitar in a percussive style that I've never seen before, and I've been half way around the world. His vocals harmonize and compliment Terence's trumpet. Amazing. They performeded at least one of his compositions.

Brice Winston on saxophone adds spice to the music yet his presence is understated. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of New Orleans and has played with the Marsalis family and Dizzy Gillespie. He played his ass off.

Aaron Parks played an electrified grand piano that supplied some of the underlying musical currents and special instruments. His part was also understated but he played interesting solos. A new young lion, he graduated college at 18.

Derrick Hodge, 25, on bass composed a few of the tunes and showed a depth of experience and understanding. He has toured with Mulgrew Miller.

Jemiah(?) Williams, 20 years old, sat in for the regular drummer with one rehersal and drove the band like he had been there for years, quite a challenge as the tunes have so many time changes. His solos were phenomenal.

Terence gave us an inside look at Spike Lee, why and for who he makes his movies. I have a new appreciation of film score and for Terence Blanchard. This band is an inspiration. Look for these musicians in the future.