Saturday, December 31, 2005
Friday, December 30, 2005
Ramone and the Monster is a CT quartet consisting of a pair of Middletown brothers (a McCartney-lefty on bass and sibling on drums), a Windsor-born organ player and a Boz Scaggs-type lead guitarist. They all alternate turns at singing lead, which makes for some nice changes, and play a tasty variety of music in a funky style (think Young Rascals), mixing Leon Russell, Ray Charles, New Orleans funk, etc. But, as Johnny Gumbo notes, the transition from song to song is uneven, which becomes distracting and loses their momentum. When they are good, they are very entertaining, which in turn makes the dance floor very entertaining as well. Johnny Gumbo is beckoned to the dance floor by a couple of lasses and, as you probably know, Gumbo needs VERY little encouragement to shake his moneymaker (to paraphrase Steve Miller, he's a dancer, he's a prancer, he's a midnight lancer).
An Earth, Wind & Fire number was surprisingly good with Boz showing off a very decent falsetto. We stay for a long first set and call it a night as Stevie Wonder's Superstition keeps the crowd dancing. I have not found any website for this band, but I'd see them again. Maybe a C+ (by the way, an '8' wins best rack in a somewhat disappointing field).
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
I took in a quick set of Guitar George Baker at the USS Chowder Pot III in Branford on Wednesday evening as part of my mission to choose entertainment for the 2nd annual Southington Rotary Mardi Gras Night at Anthony Jack's. Event co-chair, Johnny Gumbo, was unable to attend because he was busy with OTHER THINGS.
The 'Pot' put George somewhat at a distance across a dance floor from the rawbar where I was seated with a cold Bass in hand and the Nebraska/Michigan game in sight, but that's the deal with these gigs and he seemed fine with it. Accompanied by drums and bass, Guitar George's set of jazz/blues featured a Christmas medley of Mel Torme's Christmas Song and a nice Charles Brown-like rendition of Merry Christmas, Baby, a freshened-up version of BB King's The Thrill Is Gone, and some breezy instrumental jazz.
Hailing from New Roads, LA, Baker's impressive resume includes stints as music director/touring with Marvin Gaye for three years and as a member of the house band at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.
His new CD/DVD, Mojo Lady with the George Baker Experience is available on his website. George plays each Wednesday evening at the Chowder Pot and once a month at Cafe Nine in addition to being featured on BET/Jazz TV "Live from the Club at Blue Palm".
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
THANK YOU, Judy, for the Cleveland Browns blanket!!!!
Friday, December 23, 2005
- Just one look (Doris Troy)
- I second that emotion (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles)
- Quarter to 3 (Gary U.S. Bonds)
- Four dead in Ohio (Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young)
- My true story (The Jive 5)
- 25 or 6 to 4 (Chicago)
- Seven little girls sitting in the back seat (Paul Evans & the Curls)
- Eight days a week (Beatles)
- Love potion #9 (The Searchers)
- Ten years gone (Led Zeppelin)
- Eleven Roses (Hank Williams Jr.)
- Rainy day women #12 & #35 (Bob Dylan)
Okay, wiseass, let's see you do better! (Well, they'll stone you when you're trying to be so good)
It's just a few days before Christmas, so EVERYONE must now sing.
Turn your speakers up and join in....
AND THAT MEANS YOU!!!!
Sing along while you play penguin baseball - here
(just click on the screen when you're ready,
then again to swing the bat)
Hall of Fame
323.7 - Jonathan Kennedy
323.5 - Johnny Gumbo
322.3 - Jordan Meier
320.3 - The Reet
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Try John Mayer Trio - Do, indeed, try this...Mayer is pretty gritty for a preppie guy...and funny... "let me take you back to the birthplace of the blues - Fairfield, CT."...He sounds a little like Dave Matthews in the beginning (in a good way, not a rip-off way), but then settles in to being the leader of this solid blues trio.
The Prisoner Herbie Hancock - A quick visit over to Integrity 'N Music yields this 1969 tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
"Live" features the final performances of VU guitarist Sterling Morrison with bandmates Lou Reed, John Cale and Maureen Tucker, as he died of cancer in 1995, shortly before the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The DVD has been remixed in 5.1 Surround Sound. In related news, Reed and his band are gearing up for a winter European tour, which will begin with a February 23 performance at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Two warm-up shows are on tap for February 11 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and February 13 in New York.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Besides Beatles and Beach Boys, George W says he listens to 'Dan' McLean on his iPod; perhaps W should have considered driving his Chevy to the levee...(no Let the Mighty Eagle Soar?)....be sure to view JibJab.com's year end roundup
For those who haven't, it's about time to listen to the White Stripes' Get Behind Me, Satan; Jack and Meg are just way too good to ignore, even if the last 'rock' album you took out was your scratchy old Buffalo Springfield Retrospective (or was it Michael Jackson's Thriller ?)....
Listening to King Pleasure Sings/Annie Ross Sings....
Hi Judy....go put on Johnny K Has the Blues This Christmas...
Listening to Abbey Lincoln's Who Used to Dance; she does a marvelous take on Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man on this CD. I saw Ms. Lincoln at the Hartford Holiday Inn in the early 80's in a Sunday evening Hartford Jazz Society concert (when I was a member). She has wonderfully unique song phrasing. Try her (you can get a nice selection at Integrity 'N Music in Wethersfield).
Continuing on to Dr. John's Duke Elegant - performing the music of Duke Ellington (an unusual, brilliant interpretation of Sir Duke)
Email from Johnny Gumbo: "How 'bout a review of Long Road Home, collection of John Fogerty and CCR tunes now that the 35 year old feud is over with Fantasy Records? I'd do it, but who has the time!" - Well, Gumbo, make time and share with us. Gumbo composed a mighty fine review of the Willie Nelson concert he attended at the Palace in Waterbury last month. He now has me in the mood for some John Fogerty - slapping on Blue Moon Swamp - ooooooooo, let the blueboy play!
Postal delivery for Garrett from Amazon.com - 2 CDs - 1)Bob Dylan Self-titled and 2) Bedouin Soundclash Sounding a Mosaic ....think Sting singing reggae...kinda
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Swing-era clarinetist/bandleader ARTIE SHAW, 94, died December 30, 2004, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. By some accounts, Shaw sold more than 100 million records during his career as a performer/composer/arranger. His first million seller came in 1938 with a swing makeover of Cole Porter's usually languid "Begin the Beguine." Shaw's theme song, the minor-mode, noir wail "Nightmare," also sold 1 million copies. His lifelong conviction that art should trump commerce led him to walk away from his career several times. In 1954, he put down the clarinet for good, although he later returned to the music scene as a bandleader.
Singer/songwriter JIMMY GRIFFIN, 61, January 11 in Nashville. Best-known for his work with 1970s soft rock act Bread, Griffin gained acclaim as a songwriter with cuts recorded by Rudy Vallee, Ed Ames, Lesley Gore, Bobby Vee and others. Following the breakup of Bread in 1977, Griffin formed many other groups, the most successful of which was the Remingtons, who scored a top 10 country hit.
Songwriter/drummer JIM CAPALDI, 60, January 28 in London. Capaldi was a member of British rock act Traffic from its formation in 1967 until it disbanded in 1974. Traffic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Capaldi released his first solo album in 1972. He remained in demand as a musician/writer, working with such artists as Bob Marley, Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton.
Wait, don't relax just yet. - more - sadly, Lou Rawls
Friday, December 16, 2005
Arlo Guthrie, after taking part in two sold-out shows for NOLA aid at Tipitina's, raised additional funds and collected musical equipment for the musicians of New Orleans by holding "Christmas on The City of New Orleans." Arlo and Friends stopped, performed and fundraised starting December 7th in Chicago and arrived December 17th in New Orleans. - complete story - more
You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're alright....
(AP) TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey lawmaker is hoping to get mileage from Bruce Springsteen's classic album "Born to Run." State Sen. Raymond Lesniak is driving a proposal introduced Thursday to create specialty "Born to Run" license tags for Garden State drivers. Proceeds would go to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, a Springsteen-supported charity. - complete article
At last, my perfume has come along....
Estee Lauder has dragged out the Etta James' classic At Last for its new perfume advertisement; Mercedes used it a few years ago. What a wonderful, wonderful song. By the way, Etta James is still alive and kicking hard, recording some top-rate blues CDs. After you've searched for and obtained At Last (a must!), try a recent CD like Burnin' Down the House: Live at the House of Blues or Let's Roll. You can leave your hat on.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
The buzz on Colony - Record-Journal editorial 12/15/05
The Cotton Club is one of the most lasting legends of jazz. It’s where Duke Ellington and his orchestra rose to fame in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Ellington’s show featured singers, dancers, comedy acts and more at the club, which was initially in Harlem. Director Francis Ford Coppola made a movie about it in the 1980s. Thanks to weekly radio broadcasts, Ellington’s music reached a nationwide audience and earned him, and the Cotton Club, a distinct place in American history.
Capturing the spirit of those days is the aim of Meriden resident Floresia Allen, who is working to open a jazz club on Colony Street, above Fischer’s Fine Foods. If all goes according to plan, the Essence Lounge will be in full swing in about two months. Allen, who recently applied for a liquor permit for the club, has been talking with arts organizations and musicians about her plans. Ideally, the club will feature live music every night, providing a relaxed, entertaining atmosphere for a mature audience, sophisticated fare for a sophisticated clientele.
Whenever there’s talk of revitalizing downtown, it invariably leads to discussion about why people would want to go there. A new façade won’t do the trick alone; there needs to be a destination, a lure of some kind. It could be any number of things, a school, a sports complex, an arts center, and it doesn’t have to be just one thing. A jazz club fits that vision nicely because it can be a draw all its own but also one that works well in concert with others.
Allen’s vision seems to have already generated the necessary buzz. People are asking about the club, and when it will open. Newly elected City Councilor Dave Salafia, who owns Fischer’s, plans to feature Allen and her New Orleans cuisine in one of his upcoming Thursday night dinners. All this is very promising for Colony Street in particular and downtown Meriden in general. It’s exciting to consider that something as lively as a jazz club could soon be a city staple.
Previous post about the Essence Lounge project - here -
Cotton Club from PBS website
The Blues Music Awards USED to be named after WC Handy. They are no longer, changed to bring broader visibility to the music. Actually, it makes perfect sense because no one knew what the awards meant when they were the "Handys." (Well, I guess that's why they call it the blues, WC.)
The Blues Foundation, based in Memphis TN, recently announced its 2006 nominees. "Among the veterans and newcomers nominated for the first time are Tab Benoit, Elvin Bishop, Tommy Castro, Rich Del Grosso, Sonny Landreth, Doug McLeod, Big James Montgomery, Sista Monica Parker, James “Blood” Ulmer and The Mannish Boys. Many artists racked up multiple nominations, but Marcia Ball, Magic Slim and the late Little Milton topped the list with four nominations each. Shemekia Copeland, Bobby Rush, Hubert Sumlin and Kim Wilson each had three nominations among the 25 album, artist, band and instrumentalist categories. For the first time, category names honor two living blues masters: B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year."
Upon perusing the listing of nominees, johnnykmusic notes that Maria Muldaur, Solomon Burke, Rory Block, and Marcia Ball are in my record/CD collection and have been seen in concert over the years.
I saw Maria Muldaur in the mid-70's at the old Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT (paired with Leon Redbone), again in the early 80's at 36 Lewis Street Restaurant in Hartford, CT (during her born-again period), and finally at the 2005 JazzFest in NOLA (part of an amazing tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe with Marcia Ball, Angela Strehli and Irma Thomas). I've always loved her music; those who think of her just in terms of the pop hit Midnight at the Oasis (check out the LP, very good) are missing a wonderful folk/blues performer. I have many of her recordings, going back to her jug-band music days with ex Geoff, and her latest, Sweet Lovin' 'Ol Soul, is a highly recommended early blues CD.
Solomon Burke opened for Van Morrison a couple years ago at the Oakdale and almost (SOME I attended with would say DID) stole the show from the more aloof Van. Burke has revived his career with some solid CDs (try 2002's Don't Give Up On Me), covering Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and others. If you have a chance to catch him in person, DO IT!
WWUH Radio used to produce folk concerts in the basement of a house on Farmington Avenue in Hartford in the early 80s. It was a very intimate setting and we saw a number of concerts there including a very young and talented Rory Block. Bought an album from her that night (I still have it somewhere), which she autographed for me. Kinda lost track of her in recent years, but perhaps this spurs me to catch up.
I'm a relative newcomer to the Marcia Ball fanclub, for years being enamored with Lou Ann Barton instead (still am). But Marcia's name and music kept appearing until I had to pay attention. Lucky me, she is dynamite! Got to see her at 2005 JazzFest (both her own set and the Sister Rosetta Tharpe tribute), then again at last Labor Day weekend's Rhythm & Roots Festival in Charleston, RI with Johnny Gumbo. I recommend Dreams Come True, an album of Marcia Ball, Lou Ann Barton and Angela Strehli with a band led by Dr. John.
The awards ceremony is set for May 11, 2006 at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Good friend and golf partner Vin (real name Dave, don't ask) is recovering from neck surgery and needs some TLC. Well, I don't know where, but he's not going to get it here. But I'll tell you what I can do for him - here's his EMAIL address so EVERYONE can send him a note telling him to get off his ass and get going!!!! I can feel the love! Vin's significant other, Marcia, is recovering from foot surgery and is nowhere near the baby that Vinnie is.
Vinnie's top 5 favorite albums:
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Bob Dylan to host weekly radio music show - Reuters
Legendary folk rocker Bob Dylan will start a new career as a radio DJ when he launches a new weekly music show on XM Satellite Radio next March. The station said on Tuesday the show would feature music hand-picked by Dylan, writer of some of the enduring classics of popular music since the 1960s such as "Mr Tambourine Man," "Like a Rolling Stone" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'."
"Dylan will offer regular commentary on music and other topics, host and interview special guests including other artists and will take emails from XM subscribers," XM said. Now 64, Dylan's anti-establishment folk songs were the anthems of a generation and he has released over 44 albums in a career spanning more than four decades.
"Songs and music have always inspired me. A lot of my own songs have been played on the radio, but this is the first time I've ever been on the other side of the mic," Dylan said in a statement. His memoir "Chronicles Vol. 1," published in October 2004, was a huge best-seller in the United States.
XM Satellite and its main rival Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. are battling for supremacy in the nascent market for subscription radio and both have been luring high profile names to their stables to boost their profiles. XM says it has more than 5 million subscribers.
lyrics - Tangled Up in Blue
Monday, December 12, 2005
"Diana Krall featuring the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (Verve): In the style of Rosemary Clooney or a number of other sassy jazz gals, Krall serves up a delectably stylish menu of classic holiday melodies, including an appropriately melancholic "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve." Her expressive phrasing adds new dimensions to "Let It Snow" and "Winter Wonderland." This is the perfect album to put on when it is down to just you, your sweetie, the yule log and some eggnog at the end of the party."
(note: just be careful your wife/hubby doesn't show up unexpectedly)
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Among the dozens of boxed sets of music available for the holidays is One Kiss Can Lead to Another from Rhino Records, a compilation of obscure (meaning no Spector) girl group songs chronicling the era. Perhaps someone will give it to me as a present this year! Four CDs (120 songs), priced at about $60 amazon.com.
"In the past 40 years the music featured on One Kiss has served as a touchstone for a wide variety of artists, most notably 1970s New Yorkers (the Ramones, Bruce Springsteen, New York Dolls, Blondie-- even Martin Scorsese), 1980s Brits (the Smiths, Jesus & Mary Chain, the Field Mice, the Cocteau Twins), and contemporary indie stars (Saint Etienne, Magnetic Fields, the Avalanches, the Concretes)." - Pitchfork review (9.8 rating)
Boston Pheonix review (3.5 stars) - Stomp & Stammer review
Some reference materials: - history of rock.com - girlgroups.com - spectropop.com
Friday, December 09, 2005
Took in UConn Huskies hoops (bastards, not bitches) last night at the HCC (no longer "The Mall") and noted that Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline is considered a tres cool anthem during time-outs. Not sure that entices the student section to rush out and purchase 12 Songs, Neil's latest CD, but I think brother Jose might.
I'd better be attending to my task of putting the lights on the Holiday tree before The Reet returns with her freshly-baked Holiday cookies or my chestnuts will be roasting on an open fire . Putting on a little Professor Longhair to brighten the festivities. One set of lights doesn't work!!!!!! Don't panic, spread them out more. Perfecto!
Hearing, at a Catholic funeral, Morning Has Broken by the singer-songwriter turned Muslim-US terrorist designee, Cat Stevens, made me wonder what would have happened if Cat had been elected into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame this year (he was nominated, but not elected). Would George W. have allowed him to attend as a sort of "Peace Train" gesture? Interestingly, Mr. Bush had a similar experience in 2000; he was also nominated, but not elected, yet got to be President anyway (perhaps he was being followed by a moon shadow). Mr. Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, currently spends his time doing subversive terrorist things like helping earthquake victims in Asia.
Still awaiting CB's exclusive Herbie Hancock report (hint).
The new Strokes CD, First Impressions of Earth, to be released on January 3. It will be interesting to see if the backlash from their over-hyped, but quite worthy first album Is This It?, which killed the followup Room On Fire, will still exist. - Story from coolfer.com
Thursday, December 08, 2005
NEW YORK (AP) -- The legendary punk venue CBGB, known as the launching pad for influential bands such as the Ramones and Talking Heads, announced an agreement with its landlord Wednesday to keep the club's doors open through October 2006, when it must move. CBGB's lease expired in August, with the landlord announcing it wanted the club out after a five-year fight. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office helped reach an agreement that avoided a court battle with the Bowery Residents Committee, a homeless advocacy group that owns the lease on the property. - complete story
(note: Joey Ramone was dead and unavailable for comment on the above story) -
Previous posts about CBGB
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Sting and Herbie Hancock to perform live on Good Morning America. Tune in Wednesday, December 7th for a very special live performance of Sister Moon on ABC's Good Morning America. Sting and Herbie Hancock will join forces to jolt the country awake on December 7th with a live performance of Sister Moon as arranged for Sting's knockout performance on Herbie's latest album, Possibilities.
In-demand jazz guitarist Lionel Loueke, who wrote the arrangement used on the album, will be joining Herbie and Sting for the performance. Loueke joined Herbie on the road for his lauded "Headhunters '05" touring group that brought down the house at Bonnaroo 2005, where Herbie was named the event's first-ever "artist in residence."
Herbie and CB together on the GMA set.
(photo courtesy of CB)
James Andrews and Joe Krown
play at the LMF re-opening celebration
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Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast-Various Artists - AMG review
Monday, December 05, 2005
P.S. Garrett did the same with his Bob Dylan No Direction Home CD and a fifth of Grey Goose.
Has this family no shame!!!! Or just great taste.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
In the late 70's, while working in West Hartford, I would tune my radio to University of Hartford FM radio station WWUH (history), where jazz was played every morning from 9-12. While I used it, at first, as background music (along with classical), I began to find it to be an interesting alternative to the declining quality of FM rock. WHCN had been an independent Hartford FM rock radio station to which I listened faithfully for years. It was hip, but professional, taking the best attributes of college radio and combining it with entreprenuerial spirit. They would often have in-studio interviews with touring artists and it would be common to hear them sing/play for 30-45 minutes at a time. No rigid format schedule reigning in the interview. But one day as I was listening, I experienced a strange sense that something was different. Alas, the station had been sold to a regional group and was slowly tweaking the format to be more mainstream, not blatant, but noticable.
So I discovered WWUH, probably with the help of the Hartford Advocate (now owned by the same company that owns the Hartford Courant, but then a fledgling underground rag), and it became my station of choice in the immediate Hartford area (it had a very limited broadcasting range). And I discovered that I found the jazz programs, weekday/saturday mornings, to be interesting and cool. And I discovered two major influences - Mort Fega and Integrity 'n Music.
Mort Fega, a transplanted NYC jazz DJ/record producer, had recently moved to West Hartford and become involved in the local jazz scene. He hosted a WWUH Saturday radio show, "Focus on Jazz", not only playing music that I had not heard before, but giving short personal anecdotes about the artists in a laid-back, hip-as-hell manner. A music style that seemed so dated to me previously suddenly became very cool. I began listening to more and more jazz, buying albums and finding jazz clubs to sample live jazz performances. Fega began producing Monday night concerts at the 880 Club on Maple Avenue in Hartford, using his extensive contacts to bring in big names. He also produced an album for Bobbie Rogers, a local vocalist associated with the Chic Chichetti Big Band.. In 1986, Fega moved to Florida. Mort Fega passed away on January 21, 2005 at the age of 84.
Saturdays with Mort (Fega) by Rob Mariani
Integrity 'n Music
to be continued.....
Muir, a relative newcomer to the music world, made a splash in August during her performance at the acclaimed Litchfield Jazz Festival where she launched her debut album You´re Nearer - Love Songs of the ´30s & ´40s . Joining Muir will be Hartford-based musicians, Dezron Douglas, Craig Hartley, Ben Bilello and the New York-based tenor saxophonist, Albert Rivera. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the music will commence at 7:30 p.m.
The Mezzanine is located at 960 Main St., Hartford. (860) 524-9590. Free and open to the public. --A.B.
(note: you/we missed the date, but the venue seems promising enough to put it on your entertainment to-do list.)
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Good luck tonight to the Southington High School Blue Knights, who will be playing for their 2nd (1st in 1998) CT state LL football championship vs. Xavier High School at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven.
Realizing there are not anywhere near as many football songs (excluding college fight songs)as baseball songs (Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Centerfield, etc.), I search:
Can I get an Amen! Any others?
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Moths, I think....johnnykmusic readers are STILL waiting for the Andersons' report on their Vegas concert experience with the.......incredibly thin diva, Celine Dion. Hoping for some juicy after-party tidbits.
BUT, while you wait for Sharie's sure-to-be-blockbuster, you might peruse the blog of Bored Housewife, which Blogger plugged as a 'blog of note' yesterday, sending thousands scurrying to her site. Not sure if she wants the notoriety, but she'll have to deal with it for awhile. Pretty interesting stuff from a Ute mom of twin boys. And she's taking a rock n roll history class at U of Ute, so there IS a tie-in for you skeptics!