Ginger Baker is not a rock drummer. His words, not mine. In today's Wall Street Journal (go here or please buy the paper), I profile Ginger, who as a founding member of Cream in 1966, revolutionized rock drumming with lengthy,...
I’m asking myself these questions this week, because I’m traveling to Nashville for the Americana Music Festival, a showcase for musicians who try to alchemize folk-music materials into pop-music careers.
I was two years old when the Replacements played Grant Park in 1991. I’ve studied their work like scripture since I was 16, all the while praying for what seemed like an impossible reunion. And when it was announced, I hesitated.
Five days after going on a hunger strike, Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been hospitalized.
Tolokonnikova is currently on strike to protest the working conditions of what she calls “slave labor” in Russia’s Mordovia prison. According to her husband,Peter Verzilov, the prison ordered guards to take away her drinking water. Shortly after, “on the recommendation of doctors,” Tolokonnikova was moved to the prison’s medical wing to receive treatment.
Kneebody is an interesting band that skirts the borders of jazz and indie rock, somewhat akin to the Chicago band Tortoise. The band consists of Adam Benjamin on keyboards, Shane Endsley on trumpet, Kaveh Rastegar on bass, Ben Wendel on tenor saxophone and Nate Wood drums. The music is textured and finely nuanced, like on "Trite" which makes a good impression with buzzing fender rhodes piano and bubbling bass and drums providing ample support for the horns.
Among the annals of guitar players, particularly in the world of bluegrass music, few stand as tall as Tony Rice. His meticulous flatpicking styles have been emulated by many of today's hottest pickers...19 years ago, Rice developed problems with his voice. After years of recording, he stopped singing, as he coped with the loss of his second instrument. Eventually he resurfaced, performing guitar with Peter Rowan or with others, but never singing on stage again.
This book celebrates the public emergence of an extraordinary visual and audio archive that was initiated by Ian Bruce Huntley in Cape Town fifty years ago. Electric Jive is very happy to announce that a limited edition print run of 500 copies is now at the printers. The book is expected to be available towards the end of November.
Covering the period 1964 - 1974, the Ian Bruce Huntley archive opens a window to a little known era of South African music history, documenting an ‘underground’ jazz scene that persisted in creative defiance of all that grand apartheid threw at it. In addition to 120 historical images, 56 hours of live recordings from many of the photographed performances are indexed in this book and will become available for free download through Electric Jive.
The cerebral Texan rockers turn in a richly textured reflection on small-town youth, writes Ally Carnwath. Like plenty of literate heartland rock bands before them, Okkervil River riff on the theme of small-town youth. Their seventh album is set in mid-1980s New Hampshire and examines or reimagines the childhood of frontman Will Sheff. He's a fine lyricist and the songs are rich with detail of the hopes, frustrations and Atari computer games of his formative years without drifting into nostalgic reverie. But the musical arrangements, laden with pianos, brass, synths and strings in occasionally strained approximation of Arcade Fire, aren't always so nuanced. Still, in its more understated moments, such as slow-burn closer Black Nemo, music and memory chime beautifully.
In today's Wall Street Journal (go here or please buy the paper), I interview Ahmad Jamal on the 55th anniversary of But Not for Me entering Billboard's best-selling albums chart in September 1958. The album would go on to appear on the chart for 107 weeks and revolutionize the sound of the jazz trio and how the piano, bass and drums interact.
Just last night I was at tiny Stuart's Opera House in tiny Nelsonville, Ohio, watching Yo La Tengo tear through two sets -- one quiet, one loud, both heavy on material from this year’s exceptional Fade. Frontman Ira Kaplan mentioned a deluxe edition of the album was on its way and that it would include the (exquisite) cover of Times New Viking’s “Move To California” that they performed last night. And what do you know, the details of that reissue arrived the very next morning!
WASHINGTON, DC-- The first time I ever heard of Blues Alley in Washington, DC, was as a performer with the Al Dowe Quintet. Dowe, a Pittsburgh trombonist/bandleader, had performed there and often spoke favorably of the world-famous jazz club.
Thirty years later, on a recent Tuesday night, I finally visited Blues Alley.
The club is quite quaint and holds just about 120 people, comfortably.
On this warm September evening, I caught the first of two shows featuring locally- acclaimed keyboardist, Kevin Toney, formerly of The Blackbyrds.
The club's menu also provided an unexpected Pittsburgh flavor, including several menu items named for legendary Pittsburgh musicians such as Stanley Turrentine's crab cakes; Phyllis Hyman's stuffed shrimp and Ahmad Jamal's pasta with pesto.
Pepper Adams was one of hard bop\'s most significant baritone saxophonists. His dark, hearty tone on the horn and driving rhythmic sense provided the antithesis to the lighter, floating (and consequently more popular) styles of Gerry Mulligan.
Thirteen tracks could never do justice to Muscle Shoals, the Alabama town whose studios and session musicians revolutionized R&B in the Sixties. But as a souvenir of the current documentary, in which Bono, Keith Richards and Alicia Keys pay tribute, this will do just fine. Soul treasures like Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On" will be revelations to the uninitiated. And the torrid solo by then-unknown Duane Allman on Wilson Pickett's cover of "Hey Jude" captures the Deep South musical miscegenation that helped make Muscle Shoals so boundary-breaking – and still so thrilling to encounter .
A new box set captures the Grateful Dead's best gig and confirms my teenage hippy self's belief: their glorious psychedelia was no one-trip wonder, finds Nigel Williamson.
In one of rock'n'roll's better jokes, a Grateful Dead fan turns up to see his favourite band and finds to his distress that his stash of drugs has run out. "Man, this band really sucks", he announces as the Dead take the stage and he hears them for the first time in sober-minded clarity.
He must have caught them on a bad night. My first Grateful Dead show in 1972 as a teenage hippy neophyte was unforgettable. The group was at the apex of its acid-laced glory and I had no doubt that they were the finest band I had ever seen.
Last year the people involved with the original CBGBs held a music festival and this year it's coming back again in less than two weeks. The group has organized a free concert in Times Square on 10/12 featuring My Morning Jacket, Grizzly Bear, Divine Fits, the Wallflowers, a James Murphy DJ set, and more. It’s not just that one day though; the festival is curating hundreds of events
Band's upcoming release is based on 'Ender's Game' novel. The Flaming Lips are preparing to put out an EP based on the themes from Ender's Game. The band had previously signed on to write a song for the film adaptation of the popular novel by Orson Scott Card, and decided to extend the project to a full-length album, Stereogum reports.
Miles Davis is one of the most influential jazz artists of all time. As one of the pioneers of bebop and leaders of fusing electronic and rock sounds with jazz, the Illinois-born trumpeter was well aware of his musical impact.
In the following two sections, I compare the late Jimmy Ponder's recording and performance experiences so to explore processes outside of artistic creation that shape albums. Ponder, like many other creative artists, has faced recording both as an extension of their creative life and a means to make a living. At the center of this dichotomy is the widely addressed conflict of economic and creative interests, a concept central to most discussions concerning musician integrity and creative authenticity. In producing a viable commodity, Ponder has faced the task of communicating his musical voice, or creating an original and meaningful musical experience, within the constraints of commercial interests. Ultimately, recording becomes an important element in shaping one's musical identity because it is more widely consumed than live performance and hence more widely representative of one's playing abilities. However, I hope to show that commercial recordings subject musicians to different creative processes and hence form creative identities apart from those developed in live performances.
It’s not unusual for jazz artists to have a late-career renaissance, even one that – Claude Monet-style – demands a reassessment of everything that went before. The pianist Ahmad Jamal, now 83, is currently on such a roll: his previous album, Blue Moon, was followed by a Barbican concert earlier this year that led to widespread accusations of genius. Indeed, Jamal was greeted as perhaps the greatest jazz musician left alive, which is rich, because highbrow critics have been dissing him as too showbiz since the 1950s. Needless to say, he was great then, and he’s still great now. Saturday Morning closely echoes Blue Moon, using the same band and a repertoire that allows Jamal to demonstrate his orchestral approach to the piano and inimitable sense of swing.
Well, the time has come to pound the table again. You’ll read these words many times again before January, but pay close attention now – Greg “Freddy” Camalier’s Muscle Shoals isn’t just the best music documentary since Ondi Timoner’s 2004 masterpieceDig!. It’s the best documentary of the year, whether you’re a music lover or not. And it’s not particularly close.
The documentary is about the beginnings and heyday of the recording scene in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a tiny town that improbably changed the face of rock and roll, putting out along the way some of the greatest records in the history of American music. Many of those moments are recounted to great effect in the film; first-timer Camalier is obviously a natural storyteller. But there’s so much more to the doc – the cinematography is lush and beautiful, the editing is crisp and precise, and it’s in turns heartbreaking, inspiring, wry, thought-provoking, nostalgic, and genuinely funny. It’s simply a stunning debut film.
Singer-songwriter Allen Toussaint has written dozens of hit songs. Many have what I call the Allen Toussaint bounce—a jumping New Orleans feel that's part blues and part zydeco.
His hits include Mother in Law, Southern Nights, Whipped Cream, Get Out of My Life Woman, Working in the Colemine, What Do You Want the Girl to Do?, Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley and many more. [Photo above of Allen Toussaint in his old New Orleans neighborhood by Rush Jagoe for The Wall Street Journal]
In today's Wall Street Journal (go here or please buy the paper), I interview Allen on his childhood home in the Gert Town section of New Orleans and how he came to play piano with such a distinctive sound.
Frightened Rabbit is on a hot streak. Starting with September of last year and the State Hospital EP, then through the release of Pedestrian Verse in February, and finally on Tuesday with the Late March, Death MarchEP, the band has given us a succession of great releases in just under twelve months, consistently operating at a ridiculously high level. This new EP has just three new tracks, but two of them—”Radio Silence” and “Default Blues”—are good enough to make me think they might’ve been competitors for this list if I’d been writing this a few months down the line.
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