Friday, July 29, 2005

Stick this in yer iPod! It's Jazz & Blues Friday!!!

The new Jazz & Blues Fridays Is now available for your downloading pleasure. We're going back to the Blues this week.

It's that sound that takes the enamel off your teeth - the tone that can strip the pain right off the walls. That lil ole band from Texas - ZZTOP! When the Reverend Billy Gibbons digs into his '59 Les Paul (affectionately know as 'Pearly gates'), internal organs are rearranged and the blood comes pouring out your eyeballs.

This is from the German Rockpalast prorgram, April 19, 1980. Unless you're a real aficionado, you won't recognize a lot of these titles because it's before the super-hits like 'She's Got Legs' and 'Sharp Dressed Man". So what you have here is a double-disc of blues power, far enough into the band's development so that THE SOUND is there in full force, but early enough to have the fire, particularly in songs like 'Heard It On The X' and 'Jailhouse Rock'.

Some might think this isn't real blues, but that's pure bullsh!t. ZZTop, and particularly the Reverand bring it with all the passion, soul and grace of any of the 'classic' blues - just with an extra helping of grease and hot sauce.

Download available now at Jazz & Blues Fridays.

Battlestar Galactica - How long have we got?

At the end Blade Runner, you have an audio flashback. Harrison Ford hears the voice of Gaff, played by, of all people, Edward James Olmos:
Its too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?

To which Deckard replies, in pertinent part:

...I didn't know how long we had together, who does?

In a brief aside in the August issue, Wired Magazine just called Battlestar Galactica the best show on television. Not the best sci-fi show, or the best genre show, or the best drama, or the best prime-time show. In fact, there were no qualifiers whatsoever. "The best show on television"

An while I don't know if Wired Magazine should be anyone's cultural barometer, I can tell you that, even with my limited TV vieiwing, the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is the best show on television and one of the best shows I've ever seen.

So here's the question. The few other shows I've watched in the past ten years or so all went bad, or at least got worse. And while I'm happy to sit back and enjoy the ride, it is my wont to forsee trouble. How long can a show this good keep it up? How much time do we have left.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I want that bass!!

My thought for the day - since I'm trying to be 'daily' again. Yes, that's Percy Jones of Brand X and Tunnels. He is my favorite bass player, properly british and absolutely nuts! And, yes, I want that Ibanez EDA he's playing (no longer being made). I'll have mine with or without frets - it matters not.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

LOTR = racist??!!?! (I don't think so...)

Gillies thinks that Lord of the Rings suffers from a lack of racial diversity. Well, I guess it does. After all, there are no lead characters depicted as non-white or performed by non-white actors and actresses. It is also true that the Peter Jackson movies and the Tolkien books incorporate a common crutch from the dominant ideology that white=good and dark=evil. This is unfortunate.

But admitting the above does not, I think, condemn this workas racist. I think the movies succeds in spite of their lack of diversity and not becuase of it. What's more, there is a VERY strong ecological/environmental theme that is very much in-line with the progressive politics of this country and the West in general.

I think this criticism of racial myopia (though perhaps accurate) is a cheap shot. I think it's something you say if you don't want to like these movies. Does Samuel L. Jackson save the Star Wars prequels from their obvious failings in the realm of dialog and characher? Are the (wonderful) films of Curtis Hanson - LA Confidential and Wonder Boys - diminished by his failure to feature charcters of color in leading roles?

One must also be aware that another major theme of Tolkien, which is played out fairly well in the film versions, is relations and relationships between characters and racial groups that have hated one another for centuries - see dwarves v. elves. This is resolved in favor of a recognition that, while celebrating their diversity, these groups can look beyond their differences, particularly those which are merely skin deep.

When I think about all the stereotypical depictions that form a large amount of your entertainment options, it is surprising that people will pick on LOTR (believe me, it's not just Gillies), which seems to get it better than most. Why is this simple fantasy held to such a high standard? Perhaps it is becuase the detractors fear a 'genre' movie that becomes so wildly popular? Perhaps it is becuase it is so good that we want it to be perfect and feel slighted (maybe on second vieing) when we relaize it is not so.

Tolkien was just a man with an affinity for language. He went to war and did his best to raise his kids right and provide for his family while slogging away at the university. That he failed to make race relations the center of his little flight of fancy should not detract from what is good about the novels, what works and is entertaining and exciting.

As always, but particularly here, I invite your comments.

New Eno - the old master still has it

Just go get Another Day on Earth - a stunningly beatiful and delicate album of songs (that's right - songs!) by Brian Eno. You can hear so much of what he's done over the past 35 years, all coming together on one small record, and it's great. The ambience mixes with the pop sensibility; the production is detailed but not overbearing. I was a big fan of Nerve Net, and this new album is not so 'in your face'. There is, however, a strong connection to Eno's past (Before and After Science, Another Green World) that was missing from Nerve Net.

Eno has insinuated himself into our collective consciousness with all the success he's had for other artists. It's nice to hear the genuine article without Bowie or U2 or Lanois or Gabriel acting as mediator.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Finally - JAZZ & BLUES FRIDAY!!!

Thanks for your patience, everybody. I'll try not to let that happen again. Of course, you had a few extra weeks with John Lee Hooker, so that's not too bad.

Now we go back to the jazz side of things. Wayne Shorter is my favorite sax player. He was a musical director in the early sixties with Art Blakey, and he just helped bring the power of that hard bop into something anybody could listen to and love. He then got with Miles and made the transition to electric jazz, leaving as Miles was just beginning to take flight with his jazz rock bands.

I think there was a ton of pressure on Wayne to be the next Coltrane, but he never really looked back after his time with Miles. Weather Report took that spark from Bitches Brew and went on to change music forever.

Wayne's solo stuff has always been challenging. Even when he's soloing, there's still a developed sense of composition and order which is extremely unique. I listen to Wayne and feel that every note (including the entire ensemble) has to be in it's special place. It's powerful stuff.

Anyway - here's Wayne, with an electric band, promoting the album High Life, which, if you like this stuff, you should go right out and buy. This concert is from the Hollywood Bowl in June of 1986, and it's a doosy! Go check it out at Jazz & Blues Fridays on

The (not so) Triumphant Return

I've been on trial for two weeks, and in this practice that is a LONG *&%#-ing time!!! Also, the result was not so good this time, so I retain a bit of anger and frustration. More on fear and loathing in the Courtroom (City Hall 682, to be exact) in a lter post.

For now, I will just say that it's good to be back in the land of the living, and I am very excited about the latest Jazz & Blues Friday - see above.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Yeah, I may be too busy moving and getting ready for trial to do more than one lousy post per week, but if there's only gonna be one post, this has got to be it!

Over on I've just put up the latest addition of Jazz & Blues Fridays and it's the immortal John Lee Hooker. He could sing, play guitar AND write. Basically, the man did all his own stunts, all without the benefit (or detriment?) of any formal training or education.

This concert's from Chicago in 1976 and it's splendid. Please let me know what you think, and don't forget to make a contribution to the MS Society. Go get the concert here.