A blog about Open Source, my work at the Gates Foundation and those I am fortunate enough to collaborate with

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One of the finest Blues players from the West side

August 9, 2011

Bad News Is Coming

Er, this was a debut?!  Holy cow can Luther Allison play!  I keep coming back to this album for its synchopated blues style and the bittersweet tones Luther gets out of his guitar.  I mean this guy just explodes!  He crosses forward and back between Blues and a Rock and Roll style.  You’ll hear Chuck Berry in there, fused with Jimi Hendrix riffs.  If you’re hesitating about the Blues, this is one album you ought to listen to before reaching a decision.


Wayne Shorter speaks no evil this Sunday morning

August 7, 2011


Shorter was a major forker.  You’ll find traces of Monk, Gillespie and Davis but also paths toward Dolphy, Kirk and later Davis.  1961 and Shorter was laying out a new version of the menu.  As Shorter reveals on the original liner notes: “I was thinking of misty landscapes with wild flowers and strange, dimly-seen shapes – the kind of places where folklore and legend are born.  And I was thinking of things like witchburnings too…”

From Seth and the folks at SoundstageDirect: “Just thirty-one at the time of this 1964 classic, Wayne Shorter had just recorded Night Dreamer and Ju-Ju for Blue Note within the past year and was at one of his major peaks of creativity. The music on Speak No Evil, which includes such future Shorter standards as Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum and Infant Eyes, is often beyond description for it combines the best elements of hard bop, post bop, free jazz and modal music plus Shorter’s own individual approach.”

Jimmy Dawkins – When you play like this, why sing?

August 5, 2011

Cover (Fast Fingers:Jimmy Dawkins)

What must his peers in Chicago have thought when this guy cut loose.  Forget what the reviews say.  Jimmy really can’t sing that well, but why sing when you can play like he did.  Clear and worthy fork in the Blues style.

First released in 1969, after guitarist Jimmy Dawkins had served a long apprenticeship as a sideman in the Chicago electric blues scene, Fast Fingers remains one of the finest pure electric blues albums of its era.


Let England Shake

August 4, 2011


PJ Harvey’s newest album was recorded in a 19th Century church in Dorset, on a cliff-top overlooking the sea. It was created with a cast of musicians including such long-standing allies as Flood, John Parish and Mick Harvey. It is the eighth PJ Harvey album, following 2007’s acclaimed White Chalk, and the Harvey/Parish collaboration A Woman A Man Walked By. But what is remarkable about Let England Shake is bound up with its music, its abiding atmosphere, and in particular, its words.

Pacific Ocean Blue

August 4, 2011


Eternal Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s 1977 solo album, the first solo album by any Beach Boy, out-of-print and unobtainable for more than a decade except as a pricey collectors item or bootleg, will return to circulation on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, and the 25th anniversary of its creator’s untimely death in 1983, at age 39.

Much is made of his older brother Brian�s tortured genius, but Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson had his own deeply artistic statement to make, one he made with moody, heartrending beauty and fathomless, soulful introspection on his 1977 masterpiece, Pacific Ocean Blue. Awash in studio strings and layered, breathy melodies, the piano-sprinkled balladry of tracks like “Thoughts of You” and “End of the Show” offer glimpses of a more tender, wounded, and never-before-seen side of this most famously free-spirited Beach Boys member while such ecology-themed meditations as “River Song” and the title cut reflect other topics close to the drummer’s heart. But despite the album’s more serious subject matter, the Beach Boys’ good-time pop is still firmly on deck with the horn-pumping R&B of “What’s Wrong” and the sunshine lilt of “Rainbows.” No wonder Brian Wilson himself is one of Pacific Ocean Blues’ biggest fans.

Waltz for Debby

August 4, 2011


This is the second of two Riverside albums made up of selections recorded by the classic Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro, and Paul Motian trio at their legendary live recording session of June 25, 1961. Although originally issued a half-year later than Sunday At The Village Vanguard, this was by no means an afterthought collection of lesser items: Evans and producer Orrin Keepnews immediately recognized that there was more than enough material for two top-level records. The dozen chosen performances were subdivided to enable the first album released to feature LaFaro–who died in an auto accident just ten days after recording. Thus this second collection can fairly be said to present a more typical overview of this remarkable unit at work.

Mastered by Doug Sax.

Recorded in 1961.