Friday, October 31, 2014

La Tradtion.....

I was at this show 46 years ago at The Grande Ballroom
in Detroit.  This was actually the second appearance by The Jeff Beck Group that year. I was and still am a real fan of Jeff ever since he was a member of the Yardbirds. I had seen him on stage with Jimmy Page in that legendary lineup in Detroit in late 1966. There are a lot of great guitarists out there, but after I had seen Beck, I knew I had heard the future. One of the few distinctive instrumentalists who you can identify after only hearing a few notes. Check out Becks Boogie around the 20 minute still cracks me up when in his manic solo breaks, he breaks into the Beverly Hillbillies Theme! In 2014, Beck still is the cutting edge. Fresh and adventurous as the innovative kid he was then.  The poster was by the great Gary Grimshaw!

Vampire by The Residents. Released Oct 30, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

& Teller

The normally mute performer, Teller of the team of Penn & Teller has been writing and creating a series of videos about being trapped in a Las Vegas zombie world. This is the first in the series, but if you follow the links in the videos you will be able to see the entire series, including the fifth and latest episode which was released today.  Happy Devils Night!

Miss Daisy

We never knew her real age. In fact most of her history was sort of sketchy to say the least. She claimed to be a princess in exile fleeing the revolution.  We called her Miss Daisy, but when she lapsed into her reminiscing, she kept referring to herself as Princess Tondelayo. What revolution? She was always vague on the details, but that never stopped her from criticizing and complaining about the competency of the servants. She told me I had potential and after the restoration, she might be able to find me a position as a scullery boy in the royal kitchens, but I would probably be beaten by the royal chef. Then there were those damn Virginia Slim Menthol Lites she chain smoked. No one could figure out where she got them. Now I'm stuck with an attic full of boxes of little paper umbrellas I picked up on Amazon for her Mai Tais...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jack Bruce

Most people only knew Jack Bruce as the bass player of the legendary band, Cream. He wrote most of the songs with his friend, the poet, Pete Brown. After Cream, he released some of the most eccentric and personal solo records in the rock genre. He pushed edges constantly. His first real solo recording was a set of his own jazz compositions, called Things We Like. He was an accomplished conservatory trained multi instrumentalist and vocalist. You probably remember  Pretty Flamingo by Manfred Man from 1966 without knowing who you were listening to. He was the bass player of that band.  He worked with some of the best Avant Jazz Modern musicians as a player and vocalist. Carla Bley recruited him and John Mcglaughlin for her big band jazz opera, Escalator Over The Hill. He worked with Carla's husband, Michael Mantler singing Mantler's interpretation of No Answer by Samuel Beckett and on a few subsequent brilliant recordings. He worked for a few years with the latino jazz big band composer, Kip Hanrahan. Meanwhile releasing his solo recordings. Through the mid 70's, Carla Bley played in his band! Bruce was a very big influence on me and opened many doors into completely different worlds of music.
I was saddened to hear that he died today. He had recently released a new recording, Silver Rails but had to cancel some live performances because of his health. Truly a creative visionary in his own universe, a uniquely personal artist who never strove for stardom, he was true to his spirit and I have to humbly thank him for the effect he had on my life. Here are two videos. The first is a recording from 1970, soon after the break up of Cream withThe Tony Williams Lifetime. I saw one of the first performances of this band in of all places, Toledo, Ohio. Bruce with his new clear lucite Dan Armstrong Bass pacing the floor with the sheet music laid out like dance instructions. The guitar player was John Mcglaughlin and the Keyboardist was Larry Young. Tony Williams had been previously playing with Miles Davis and the music the Lifetime band was creating was truly dangerous! They cleared the auditorium of the people who had come thinking that they were going to hear some Cream type rock. What was happing was totally new and radically different. I had to grow new ears! It was truly a performance that changed the way I listened to and understood music. I had to know more!
Here is another video from 2008. Jack was instrumental in putting together a band to commemorate Tony Williams after he passed away. The guitarist is Vernon Reid, the keyboard artist is John Medeski and the drummer is Cindy Blackman-Santana...the wife of Carlos and the bass player is Jack. 

Jack Bruce 
14 May, 1943/25 October, 2014

One more piece for you
Shadow Song (Mario's In)
From Kip Hanrahan's  1984 release Verical Currency
Jack sings, plays bass and keyboards on this cut.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flag designed by Mark Twain
Representing American imperialism following American colonization of the Philippines in 1899.
"And as for the flag for the Philippine Province, it is easily arranged. We can have a special one - our States do it: we can have just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones."