Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I love Trey Anastasio. He was great when he played with Phish, and personally, I think he's even better on his own. I'm listening a lot to one of his newer albums with the "Undectet "(an 11-piece supporting band). The album is Original Boardwalk Style, and was recorded live in Atlantic City. Besides being friggin' great music, proceeds support the Seven Below Arts Initiative, a program to support arts education and artistic development in Vermont. So, buy knowing you're not only concerned with your aural sensibilities, you're also helping to support artist residencies at Trey's old recording studio (known as the Barn).
check it out here
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Loyal Listeners - As you've probably figured out by now, I have an affinity for retro swing, blues, and lounge music. I'll be talking a lot about it in this blog. But it's not all I listen to, and I believe that everyone should listen to as many different musical styles as they can muster.
It's interesting. In college ( which occurred during the dark ages it seems, I'm feeling a mid-life crisis coming on), I listened to rock, rock, and more rock. But I played a lot of jazz. For some reason I didn't want to listen to jazz, but I loved playing it. I think that experience helps me to appreciate jazz more today, to hear the silence between the notes, and to understand how to play something to make it swing. It's an experience I'm grateful for.
But now it's time for something else. Jam band music gets my mind moving. I was never a great improvisational player, so today I am fascinated with live and improvisational music (There is place for a studio recording and a live recording and I believe more and more that they are completely different genres). A band I used to listen a great deal to was Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Silly name, great band. They are primarily a live band and have built their fan base by touring. They have a new album out, that they are giving to listeners for free for a while. You have to sign up at their site, and then you can download it. I just got my copy, but haven't listened yet. I'm looking forward to it. Check it out.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I love Lavay Smith. I love listening to Lavay, I love looking at Lavay, I love dancing to Lavay. I think she, her boyfriend and bandleader Chris, and her band "The Red Hot Skillet Lickers", all come together and create a unique and spectacularly skilled group that plays some of the best music available today.
This style of swing and blues music is rapidly dying out. When I listen to podcasts or read about the artists, most all discuss having players in their bands who are well into their 80's. They still have their chops, but aren't being replaced with younger players at the pace at which they are passing on to the great gig in the sky.
My hope is that you will give a shot to Lavay, and to the other swing and neo-swing groups I listen to. They play a truly original and American form of music. While the sound will evolve, as all music evolves, I hope it continues to hold its own and continues to attract both players and listeners to keep it alive.
They perform constantly in the San Francisco Bay Area, and regularly show up at other jazz festivals and venues around the world. My wife and kids and I saw them at Enrico's Sidewalk Cafe in North Beach and had a great time.
The following links are for their first 2 albums. Sometimes on ebay you can find a 3rd and relatively unknown album that was only released in Japan. I have it and it's well worth a listen if you can find it. In exciting news, they are working on a new album that will hopefully be released in the relatively near future. Chris assured me in a recent email that the music is in the can but they are finishing up some artwork, so hopefully it won't be too long. I'll let you all know as soon as I hear. While we're all waiting, check out their official website and drop them a line to say hello. Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers
Cheers - Dan