wednesday listen up

junior-brown

There’s a lot to say about Junior Brown, but there’s even more to say about what he’s doin’. Most people have no idea how deeply American music is intertwined with the rich and complex sensibilities of often obscure and exceedingly talented musical giants.

Musicians who crossed what we’d call hard and fast musical borders in order to be the best.  Earl Palmer, Buck Owens, Jack Teagarden, Woody Herman, John McLaughlin, Joey DeFrancesco.

Combining acadian creole, country swing, latin rythms, jubilation choirs and lowdown blues. Never far from dance and never far from celebration and always filled with a capacity to change our personal world for the best. My hat goes off to the traditions and roots that have built a vast and wonderful musical culture.

And in hopes of removing some of the constraints that keep us listening almost exclusively to the products of a ‘musical industry’,  I’d like to open the doors a crack every Wednesday, to shed some light on the individual musical passions that have underpinned our sensibilities and continue to carry us forward. Like Junior Brown for instance.

*  note:      If you’re using a portable device to view this I’d suggest a good set of headphones or stereo speakers would be very  beneficial. Just sayin’.

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picture tuesday – to brenda with love

paquito-rivera

 

When we start out, we never really know where we’re going. We follow the sounds, the smells and the things that touch our hearts and lead our souls.

It often occurs to me that taking a good photograph is not necessarily hidden in the subject matter as much as it is what the photographer brings to it.

Blending a lifetime of experiences and inspiration together to bear on a single moment of understanding and expression is a wonderful experience and even more satisfying when it can be shared.

I will be away until next wee and am sharing some of the joy and celebration that has gone into my understanding of the world.

 

 

foto friday – inspiration

Internet

It often occurs to me that taking a good photograph is not necessarily hidden in the subject matter as much as it is what the photographer brings to it.

Blending a lifetime of experiences and inspiration together to bear on a single moment of understanding and expression is a wonderful experience and even more satisfying when it can be shared.

I will be away for the next couple of weeks (until November) and have decided to share some of the joy and celebration that has gone into my understanding of the world.

Through the years music has probably played a larger role in my life than any other factor. Looking back I know it informs me as much as anything I see and it’s my intention to share one piece per post until I return.

wednesday – what is hip?

“The more the things change, the more they stay the same.  It may be a different age, but I’m on the same page. But there’s one thing that I’ve found.  I still be diggin’ on James Brown.”

I was a little shocked to find that these guys are still playing and are better than ever. I discovered the world of jazz with bands like this and they connected the past with the rest of the world and brought it into the present.

I am only jealous that I don’t live near Ft. Lauderdale where I could watch them play on April 20th at the Parker Playhouse. These giants of jazz have been behind so much music it’s incredible. From the San Francisco summer of love to Santana, they have underscored my life.

TowerOfPower_2017

tower-of-power-1967

friday rolls around – sounds special

As Friday rolls around there only remains finding a way to compile the drivers for the scanner and we’re back in business with the pictures.  Assuredly a long way around to getting something right, but then that’s the thing about getting things right. I think of all those dedicated people out there with gardens, watercolours, poetry, meals, friends, blogs and loved ones who put out that little bit of extra dedication to making things not only special but the way they should be with no restraint.

These thoughts haven’t come to me by accident but by providence. Not having pictures to concentrate on I have had the chance to re-acquaint myself with some superb music while I have been working away.

Music has been a constant companion in my life and I’ve been lucky enough to spend years in dark-rooms of various kinds filled with the sounds of the best humanity has produced. In fact as I lay on the couch relaxing last evening, I realized that given the choice of a film,  book or drama of any sort, I would most definitely settle for an excellent pair of headphones and something to worthwhile to listen to.

And it was while listening to Radio Swiss Jazz that I came across this recording. Having had the opportunity to see many of the world’s great musicians up close and personal at the height of their careers, I was gob-smacked.

Not wanting to write critique, I leave it with you to listen with your heart and soul. And if all else fails, there must be someone in your life that you can sing this simple tune to.

Cheers!

 

If one song is not enough, you can watch another astounding concert here.

wishful wednesday – Tshinanu

Listening to the radio is an experience that has been with me since I was a child.

For me, good radio has and always will be, the original and best blogging platform. That’s when it’s presented in competent hands. And while most of the world’s great broadcasters have  squandered and pissed away their culture and heritage; the national francophone radio station in Québec has been at the top of my list for over 10 years now, and always close for the last 30.

Like most of the important cultural fabric in our daily lives, radio in Québec is always under constant threat of assimilation and negation, which is what leads me to this post today.

Tshinanu, it’s who we are – all of us. And while this song has rattled around my head for a very long time, I never really connected to it beyond the music. Re-hearing it this week made me want to look at the visuals and it was only then that I began to really understand. It’s all of us.

darkroom notes -sunil ganguly

161023-sunil-gangulyOver the many years and countless hours of darkroom work, I was always accompanied by shortwave radio and music. The work being in parts demanding, tedious and time consuming; there was plenty of time to intently listen. And this meant that music that wasn’t very good was quickly discarded and music that stood the test was played over and over again. Some of it so deeply ingrained that I began to enjoy it outside the darkroom and it still accompanies me today.

The other aspect of having the time to listen at length and depth meant that exploration of a subject was a welcome affair. Given that music resources were not what they are today, the dross generally fell to the bottom  while good radio presenters, critics and liner notes often lead you down interesting and interwoven paths. The original resources being manageable, and roughly accessible to both listener and musician alike.

Amongst other things, I developed a lasting interest in film composers and arrangers. Two immensely creative areas that managed to have been washed out with the swelling tide of singer-stars and international commodification.

Bernard Herman, Quincy Jones, Henri Mancini, Lalo Schifrin and Ennio Morricone; they all became companions and friends. It was easy to search out their music and always a deep pleasure to hear.

I don’t really want to write about film music here as much as I would like to share. Because there is one album I return to again and again. And while rightfully Sunil Ganguly is not so much a composer, he was a masterful critic, arranger and musician.Not to mention my introduction to Indian film.

Not having grown up with Indian music I find it too vast a repertoire to know. But to roughly quote Duke Ellington, it comes down to the fact that there are two kinds of music in this world — music that is played well and music that is not; and the music that’s not played very well is generally the music that’s not very good.

Personally I would argue this makes Sunil Ganguly excellent. And why I’m leaving it for you too decide. A good listen change your week for the better as for decades it’s managed to benefit mine.