Thursday, April 21, 2016

...and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest

I woke up today ready to post a birthday tribute to one of my favorite Jazz musicians, who was born this day in 1933. Trumpeter and author Ian Carr will have to wait, however, as events have once again intervened in the most tragic and shockingly awful way.
There really are no words for this one. I was staring at my phone as this news broke just aghast, wishing I could have made it not so, the latest celebrity death hoax. So so sadly, it isn't a hoax. This morning we lost an icon's icon, a musician's musician and an avatar for the ages.
I don't believe it, but Prince died at age 57 this morning, of an undisclosed flu illness that had overtaken him in recent days out of nowhere. He just played a month ago on his solo "Piano & Microphone" tour here in Oakland, and had shown up that week at the Warriors game at Oracle Arena in a style that made Stephen Curry stop splashing half-court warmup threes just to watch.
This is just not real, I am sitting here staring at my fingers, speechless. Maybe my tears can type this out, a new Morse Code for a new era of sadness. We are talking about someone who can and did do it all and sell tickets afterwards. Every instrument mastered. Every recording technology conquered. Every fashion sense pioneered. Almost every note and gender-challenging move an innovative, perfect one. Even as a bizarre symbol without a name for a while.
They are yakking it up on my TV right now about how of all artists of our lifetimes, Prince recorded every day since he was 19 years old and now that he has departed, the archival releases we will see will be likely among the very greatest of any artist's ever in human history. 
Honestly? Right now I'd rather he be alive, but thanks anyway Brian Williams on MSNBC... sheesh he ain't even cold yet and you're stalking those Purple Rain outtakes and a real issue of The Black Album and The Work.
Like I said, I really have no words to describe what this man meant and means and will mean to the cultural landscape of our lives. In the coming hours and days, as with David Bowie just three months ago, you will read and see and hear innumerable tributes. Every single one will be deserved to the power of necessary. This is someone where you're gonna remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard this morning's news.
What to do? What to share? I have a bit here, several iconic and killer shows and sessions and whatnot. I settled quickly on the definitive edition of a definitive show, from just days before the release of the record that made him the ultimate superstar he became. 
This was remastered and made into a beautiful package, with lovely sound and artwork worthy of an official release, by a triumverate of heavyweights from the fan community and is in every way worthy of this most exquisite, standard-setting songwriter, conceptualist and player.
 Prince and the Revolution
First Avenue
Minneapolis, MN

01 Strawberry Shortcake (PA) + drums check
02 17 Days
03 Our Destiny
04 Roadhouse Garden
05 Interlude
06 All Day All Night
07 Free
08 Noon Rendezvous
09 Erotic City
10 Something In the Water (Does Not Compute)
11 When Doves Cry
12 Happy Birthday interlude
13 Irresistible Bitch
14 Possessed

Total time: 1:19:59

Prince Rogers Nelson - lead vocals, guitar, and keyboards
Wendy Melvoin - guitar and vocals
Brown Mark - bass guitar and vocals
Lisa Coleman - keyboards, piano and vocals
Matt "Doctor" Fink - keyboards and vocals
Bobby Z. - drums

master soundboard recording, equipment unknown; possibly taped by Prince himself on his 26th birthday
remastered jointly, with immaculate artwork, by Anonymous, Free Boot Generation and 4DaFunk
595 MB FLAC/April 2016 archive link
This is a monster, Earth-shattering set that takes up a full CD, showcasing an artist about to explode across the world like a supernova... and all recorded on his 26th birthday, likely by the man himself, as he is known to have taped everything. All I can say is pull it down and let it help you grieve the way Prince would have wanted you to remember him, in full funk flight and leaving it all onstage as no other could or perhaps ever will again. We will not see his like in a long, long time. Goodnight, sweet Prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.--J.
I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the Purple Rain
6.7.1958 - 4.21.2016