Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Baroque Ground: J.S. Bach 335

Well after today we ain't Marching anymore, giving way to the April fools.
And what better way to mark the occasion, but with a birthday tribute to someone born a mere 335 years ago? I thought you'd share my enthusiasm.
This fucking guy, though. Sorry if all the pictures look the same, but there were no cameras then, and wouldn't be for several hundred more years.
They had melody and harmony then, though. Counterpoint, however, was still kinda rudimentary before today's birthday boy showed up.
Seeing these portraits, it's hard not to see the similarities between he and SNL original cast member (and noted cocaine casualty) John Belushi, who often played Beethoven on the show yet resembled Bach the most closely.
He (Bach, not Belushi) is probably one of the most formative musicianly types in human history, and his compositions and approach have lasted centuries and will last more centuries.
If there's people still around, anyway... which is getting less likely by the hour.
So let's celebrate one of the formative fathers of it all with, what else? A concert focused on his music and influence that is one part Classical recital, one part Jazz spectacular, and all parts awesome.
Brad Mehldau
Three Pieces After Bach
Philharmonie de Paris
Paris, France 

01 Prelude No.3 in C-sharp minor (WTC book I), BWV 848
02 Three Pieces After Bach 1: Rondo
03 Prelude No.1 in C major (WTC book II), BWV 870
04 improvisation on Bach I
05 Fugue No.16 in G minor (WTC book II), BWV 885
06 Three Pieces After Bach 2: Ostinato
07 Prelude No.6 in D minor (WTC book I), BWV 851
08 Three Pieces After Bach 3: Toccata
09 Prelude No.7 in E-flat major (WTC book I), BWV 852
10 improvisation on Bach II
11 Prelude No.20 in A minor (WTC book I), BWV 865
12 improvisation on Bach III
13 Fugue No.20 in A minor (WTC book I), BWV 865
14 Little By Little
15 Brad Mehldau comments
16 The Inch Worm
17 Misty

Total time: 1:40:16
disc break goes after Track 08

Brad Mehldau - piano

webstream TV audio, converted to 16/44 FLAC by EN, March 2020
This show is just tremendous, but circulated in audio form with some nasty dropouts, so I went back to the original webstream video and extracted/recut it to be perfect.
It almost sounds like a cross between a straight Bach rendering and Keith Jarrett's The Köln Concert, with piano superstar Brad Mehldau's Three Pieces After Bach record taking center stage.
The whole 100 minutes flows by in what seems like ten, with Mehldau weaving in and out of his own Bach-inspired compositions, some incredible improvisation on it all, and of course the original source material from JSB himself like it's all one, continuous song. You even get an epic reading of Radiohead that makes it sound like Bach wrote the piece.
I must have listened to this 15 times in the last few days, and it truly is must-hear for anyone at all interested in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and where his music meets the music of our lifetimes.
So there's March, now it's on to the Spring and what we hope is a much-needed renewal of all things alive.
But don't stand there like a statue! Go ahead and click the link and all that's Baroque will instantly be fully functional and whole again!--J.
3.31.1685 - 7.28.1750

Monday, March 30, 2020

Blue Monday: Eric Clapton 75

I had no intention of doing this, and was fixing up a deranged post for tomorrow that I managed to finish prepping ahead of schedule, so let's pop this up because, why not?
This guy made it to 75, and he doesn't appear to be ill -- save for some awful degenerative nerve disease in his hands that's essentially retired him from performance -- so let's celebrate!
There's no need to substantiate who he is or where he's been, so I won't.
I personally like him most as 1/3 of Cream, but he's been in a few other legendary groups and has enjoyed a long solo career.
Yes, Eric Clapton was born in 1945 and is now 75. I'm starting to feel tremendously older by the day.
He's got more archival, unreleased material than most artists have officially released output.
This right here purports to be the definitive edition of one of the best ones.
It seems sourced from multitrack tapes, so it might have been captured for an unissued live record.
A portion of it was broadcast on the radio, so it could also be a complete pre-broadcast thing.
Either way, it sounds fantastic and dude plays really well, so let's do the thing.
Eric Clapton
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Santa Monica, California USA

01 introduction
02 Peaches and Diesel
03 Wonderful Tonight
04 Lay Down Sally
05 Next Time You See Her
06 The Core
07 We're All the Way
08 Rodeo Man
09 Fool's Paradise
10 Cocaine
11 Badge
12 Double Trouble
13 Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out

01 Let It Rain
02 Knockin' On Heaven's Door
03 Last Night
04 Key to the Highway
05 Goin' Down Slow/Ramblin' On My Mind
06 Layla
07 Bottle of Red Wine
08 You'll Never Walk Alone

Total time: 2:07:32

Eric Clapton - guitar & vocals
Dick Sims - keyboards 
George Terry - guitar 
Carl Radle - bass & vocals 
Marcy Levy - vocals, guitar, percussion & harmonica
Jaime Oldaker - drums

multitrack masters, possibly recorded for an unissued live LP;
part of this show was also broadcast on FM radio
sourced from CDs 1&2 of the 2017 Mid Valley Records bootleg box set California Intoxicating Wind
I did nothing to alter this, as it's supposed to be the ultra-superior version of this show, so any flaws it might have are what they are. It seems pretty spot on.
Like I said I will be back tomorrow to close out the month with something worthy of March's finale for sure.
Do enjoy this 42 year old classic performance of the legendary birthday lad, though. Seventy-five is a milestone... you might even say it's a Badge of honor.--J.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Makossa Nostra

It's the weekend, for those still keeping track, and I had been meaning to post this memorial so here we are once again.
A few days ago this dastardly COVID-19 virus claimed the life of Manu Dibango, who was 86.
Probably the most recognizable musician from Cameroon, he had been filling dancefloors and concert halls since he broke out in 1972 with a classic hit single to which folks still get down.
In the early 1980s Michael Jackson borrowed a line from it and, decades later, had to pay Manu Dibango a whole lotta paper.
His music is endlessly fascinating for the way it reinvents the Funk that Black Americans wove from African music as it boomeranged back across the ocean, merging it with the traditional Cameroonian music he grew up with.
A master of several instruments including vibraphone and saxophone, he was one of the original exponents of what people now call World Music.
Archival bits of him are hard to come by, but I have plucked the audio stream from a German satellite TV broadcast from a quarter century ago that is a particularly fine example of him doing his thing.
Manu Dibango
25th Internationale Jazzwoche Burghausen
Burghausen, Germany 

01 Movement et Wondo
02 Soul Makossa
03 Soir au Village
04 Afric sans Fric
05 Big Blow

Total time: 43:34

Manu Dibango - alto saxophone, percussion & vocals
David Lewis - trumpet
Jerry Malenki - guitar
Francois Moity - keyboards
Andre Manga - bass
Olivier Ezenval - drums & percussion
Florence Titty - vocals & percussion
Kaissa Doumbe - vocals & percussion

224/48 audio extracted from a 1994 German satellite TV broadcast
I will try to finish off March with one more thing, coming soon to a purple page near you.
Don't miss out on this sizzling set from Manu Dibango, whom we remember today as we wish everyone safety and serenity out there in what's become an immediately frightening world.--J.
12.12.1933 - 3.24.2020

Monday, March 23, 2020

Genesis: Exodus

I know it's hard right now, and we're all struggling mightily to adjust.
I mean, the whole world has changed, perhaps never to return to its previous sense of norms and normalcy. Every move we make is questioned as if it's a step into a terrifying and unknown darkness.
All around us, we feel the wash of impermanence and uncertainty upsetting the applecart, and making us fundamentally doubt the world we thought we lived in.
Every day, we wake up with a sense of dread and irrevocable, almost palpable terror at the feelings of loss and absence where once were fullness and wholeness.
We almost don't know how to act or what to do. 
It's as if patterns and ideas we thought would sustain us forever have been suddenly removed, likely never to return, and leaving us casting about for a way back to the world we thought we understood.
The signs are everywhere, calling us to adjust to a new paradigm of uncertainty or to perish in the flames of what once was.
It sort of seems like that classically claustrophobic Twilight Zone episode, where Burgess Meredith loses his reading spectacles, and suddenly he's left all alone in an unnavigable abyss of confusion and regret.
All of are trying like mad to cope with the seismic shift, knowing there can be no turning back, and we'll all have to find a way to make it through this unfamiliar landscape with our minds and bodies intact. 
Even at maximum effort, there are still moments where we cannot believe this has really happened, and that our world has been changed forever whether we like it or not.
I rack my brain day and night, attempting some sort of reconciliation with this strange and altered place that I once knew as comforting and safe.
But try as I might, I just can't figure out how in the actual fuck I am supposed to continue to exist in a world without Genesis Breyer P-Orridge -- who passed last weekend after an epic battle with leukemia -- and who lived as true and righteous a revolutionary life as shall ever be lived.
I've spent the last four days working nonstop, and the only answer I could come up with was this.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
Museum of Modern Art
New York City, NY USA
EN remix

01 intro: Humanity Is the Virus
02 Genesis P-Orridge @ MoMA, NYC NY 2.26.2017 EN remix
03 outro: How Far Do You Want to Go?

Total time: 1:06:16

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge - words & visions

audience capture of the event
background constructed of samples from "The Electric Newspaper, vols. 1-3" by Psychic TV
modified, processed & treated by EN, March 2020
357 MB FLAC/March 2020 archive link
I know it isn't easy, but we're all going to have to find a way to keep going without Gen, and their massive and well-worn freak flag flying high above the oppression and disease and savagery these times seem to feature so viciously.
Maybe you can check into what I spent these last days making in the spirit of ultimate, limitless creativity Gen championed, and the wounds and grief will somehow begin to heal. 
Maybe they'll even begin to birth a new world -- where the boundaries are formed by love and acceptance, rather than fear and hatred -- that will, with effort and trust, come to be a little more worth living in.--J.
2.22.1950 - 3.14.2020