Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy Duranniversary!

Duran Duran - Save a Prayer

This is it! Five hours left in the year, until a new chapter. So save your prayers til the morning after.

Call me psychic, but as I was preparing this post it was announced that these guys are headlining the New Year's Rock show on whatever network, so this is even more appropriate.

I'd be the first to admit that when these lads first hit at the dawn of MTV, I'd have bet good American money that they wouldn't have lasted more than a few records.

Fast forward to earlier this year, with them being inducted into the RnRHoF after 40+ years at the top of the charts.

There's your proof, if indeed you needed any, that my horse is always the very last one you'd wanna bet on.

Anyway 40 years ago tonight, they headlined the MTV New Year's shindig from the Palladium in NYC.

You have to keep in mind, these guys were everywhere in 1982, as big as any band in the world.

The thing is though, their music has lasted -- despite their seeming overreliance on style when they debuted in the early 1980s -- because they have tunes.
 If the songs are good enough, you can pretty much wear a newspaper hat and a raincoat made from a garbage bag and the strength of your music can penetrate the wall of hype and image.

If you think about it, when they first made the scene their video clips instantly took the medium from primitive green-screen Pong World into full-on cinematic statement, forever ensuring that anyone that followed had to be at least as good looking as them.

Anyway I worked on the pre-broadcast Supergroups vinyl of this to make it really pop -- John Taylor's bass is now guaranteed to raze the roof -- and added a passel of bonus treats so you get pretty much every song they played on this breakthrough tour.

Duran Duran
MTV's New Year's Eve Rock 'n' Roll Ball
New York City, NY USA

01 FM intro by Pat St. John
02 Rio
03 Hold Back the Rain
04 New Religion
05 Save a Prayer
06 Hungry Like the Wolf
07 Planet Earth
08 Careless Memories
09 Girls On Film
10 FM outro by Pat St. John
11 Last Chance On the Stairway
12 Lonely In Your Nightmare
13 Sound of Thunder
14 Night Boat
15 Friends of Mine
16 Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)
17 Is There Anyone Out There? (punk version)

Total time: 1:19:54

Simon Le Bon - vocals
Nick Rhodes - keyboards & vocals
Andy Taylor - guitar, bass & vocals
John Taylor - bass & vocals
Roger Taylor - drums & drum machine
Andy Hamilton - saxophone, keyboards, percussion & vocals

Tracks 01-10: "Supergroups In Concert" preFM vinyl LP, declicked, edited, repaired & remastered by EN, December 2022
(venue erroneously given as The Savoy by FM announcer)
Tracks 11-15: bonus tracks from an FM master cassette of a BBC rebroadcast of Hammersmith Odeon UK, 11.3.1982 remastered by EN, December 2022
Track 16: bonus track from a "The Source" pre-FM vinyl LP of Hammersmith Odeon, UK 11.16.1982 declicked and remastered by EN, December 2022
Track 17: bonus track from a 1st gen soundboard cassette of Clutch Cargo's, Detroit MI 7.9.1982, slightly remastered by EN, December 2022
537 MB FLAC/direct link

So there it is, 56 posts for a year in which I turned 56. The once-a-week thing sure suits my brain better than the 10-a-month excess, that's for certain.

I'll be right back here in a few days with the unveiling of 2023, but as we wish you the very best New Year, we implore that you please be safe out there tonight... and do enjoy these New Romantics in the forbidden zone as they tear up NYE 40 years ago!--J.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Ivory's Tower: Michel Petrucciani 60

Michel Petrucciani Quartet - Boo Boo Boo Boo

We're winding down the 2022 festivities, with the penultimate post of the year in honor of a milestone birthday for a true, well..... giant.

He stood all of three feet tall, but there was no one larger behind the 88 keys of the piano.

Afflicted from birth with a rare, degenerative bone disease, he could not walk very far on his own, but once he got to the piano bench that didn't matter, because then he could fly.

His affliction meant he wasn't gonna be around long, and he wasn't, passing away at age 36 at the beginning of 1999.

But whilst he was here, he was like a Jazz dynamo, recording and especially touring -- with ten million superstars, a different all-star band every time -- as furiously as anyone.

A diverse stylist of melodic virtuosity, he could play anything and often did.

Of all the piano deities of our lifetimes, he might be the best comper, with a vast array of subtle stabs and flowing arpeggios bubbling beneath the soloist; always perfectly supportive, yet unmistakably him.

And as a soloist in his own right, well..... let's just say he didn't need a day job.

As elegant and energetic a player as any of us will ever hear, he'd have been 60 today had it not been for osteogenesis imperfecta.

Luckily for us Michel Petrucciani was from Orange in France, so France Musique's Jazz FM channel frequently kicks down entire concerts of his.

Like this marathon performance from 1988, from when he hooked up with guitar visionary John Abercrombie in the scintillating quartet captured here.

Michel Petrucciani Quartet
Théâtre Municipal d'Albi 
Albi, France

01 She Did It Again
02 M
03 It’s a Dance
04 There Will Never Be Another You
05 Boo Boo Boo Boo
06 My Funny Valentine
07 One for Us
08 All the Things You Are
09 Turn Around
10 Autumn Leaves

Total time: 1:44:02
disc break goes after Track 05

Michel Petrucciani - piano
John Abercrombie - guitar
Andy McKee - bass
Eliot Zigmund - drums

digital capture of a 2018 France Musique FM rebroadcast
661 MB FLAC/direct link

I'll be back on New Year's Eve with a hot anniversary hit, so save your prayers til the morning after for that.

But don't miss out on Mike P. here, born this day in 1962. He might not have stayed long, but he sure left a mark or two.--J.

12.28.1962 - 1.6.1999

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Brotherhood of Birth


Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath - Duku

Happy Christmas Eve to all who celebrate! And speaking of celebration, it's birthday tribute time.

And celebrate we shall, with what would have been the 86th b'day of probably the most significant Jazz cat ever born in South Africa not named Hugh Masekela.

I first heard of Chris McGregor when I got into this tremendous record label back in the 1980s called Ogun, an imprint which, to my knowledge, has never produced one single release that wasn't a masterpiece for the ages.

Jumping off into the Louis Moholo end of the Ogun pool -- he's a drummer that I swear I am gonna cover on this page someday very soon -- it wasn't long until I found my way to a group in which Louis drummed for years, called The Brotherhood of Breath.

The leader and mastermind of this group -- and pretty much the only white guy in the 14-man band -- is today's honoree, not just a stellar musician but an anti-Apartheid warrior from ancient times and an undeniable force majeure in the history of the music of South Africa.

Our hero began in Johannesburg in the early 1960s with a group called The Blue Notes, in which he first found the company of giants like reeds deity Dudu Pukwana and trumpet master Mongezi Feza, both of whom he would later recruit for the Brotherhood of Breath.

By the end of the 1960s he formed the first version of that seminal group, recording and touring it around the globe before his (too soon) death from lung cancer in 1990.

In 1981, he and the BoB did a week's residency at a club in France, the last two nights of which are where their tremendous live LP Yes Please -- never issued on CD or streaming in the digi-age -- comes from.

Lucky for us that France Musique, in 2014, had the good sense to rebroadcast an entire show from earlier in that residency, huh?

Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath
Festival d'Angoulême
Théâtre Municipal
Angoulême, France

01 Sonia
02 Duku
03 Maxine
04 Human and Animals
05 Kwa Tebugo I
06 Andromeda
07 Uqonda
08 Burning Bush
09 Sea Breeze
10 Atlantic Island Dreams
11 Duke
 12 CM announcements
13 Kwa Tebugo II
14 Yes Please

Total time: 2:09:55
disc break goes after Track 07

Chris McGregor - piano & flute
Harry Beckett - trumpet & flugehorn
Mark Charig - cornet & alto horn
David DeFries - trumpet & flugehorn
Peter Segone - trumpet
Nick Evans - trombone
Radu Malfatti - trombone
André Goudbeek - alto saxophone & bass clarinet
Bruce Grant - baritone saxophone, oboe & flute
John Tchicai - alto saxophone
Louis Sclavis - soprano saxophone, clarinet & bass clarinet
François Jeanneau - soprano & tenor saxophones, bass clarinet
Caroline Collins - cello
Didier Levallet - double bass
Ernest "Shololo" Mothle - electric bass
Brian Abrahams - drums
Jean-Claude Montredon - drums
the ensemble, as well as the audience, is responsible for the vocals in Track 04

digital capture of a 2014 France Musique 256/48k digital rebroadcast of the complete concert
spectral analysis goes past 22k, so this is equivalent to a pre-broadcast source
volume boosted throughout & converted to 16/44 CD Audio -- with a couple of dropouts repaired -- by EN, December 2022
700 MB FLAC/direct link

OK? I'll be back after Christmas so don't drink to much grog or you'll miss out!

And of course we remember Chris McGregor -- one of those rare people who are able to utilize music to lead by example to a better place for everyone -- who was born on Christmas Eve in 1936.--J.

12.24.1936 - 5.26.1990

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Flamenco Dependence: Paco de Lucía 75

Paco de Lucía - Entre Dos Aguas

There's holidays and kids running around here but I have to get this posted.

They made a holiday out of Frank Zappa's born/died dates -- everyone should check that new Waka/Wazoo box set of 1972 stuff, it's essential -- called Zappadan, and he'd have been 82 today.

But FZ ain't the only geetar gawd born on December 21st.

Not by a longshot. In fact, here's one -- every bit the virtuosic equal of the Zappas of the world -- who'd be turning the milestone platinum 75 today.

Would be, had he not passed away nearly a decade ago, that is.

A lotta folks know him from his participation in what a friend of mine -- no small guitar player himself -- once called the greatest guitar record of all time, where our birthday boy formed one third of a colossal trio for the epochs.

The record shows the three of them burned down the Warfield on a Friday night in San Francisco back in the day, using only their (totally acoustic) instruments.

But our hero of the day was way more than just the Spanish guitar deity in a supergroup.

Often credited with bringing Flamenco into the modern age, and bringing Rock and Fusion filigree into traditional Flamenco, Paco de Lucía was a genuine and vital gap-bridger across music.

There's no quantifying how many initiates he attracted to this kind of music, who otherwise would have never got hip to Flamenco or Spanish guitar were it not for his influence and output.

Injecting a kind of blazing, rock-era fury into a theretofore super-traditional idiom, his music spanned genres effortlessly and naturally.

Others will drive on roads he paved, is all I can say.

Anyway I am for some strange reason stuck on 1981 this month... this is the second of three in a row from then. And you're damn right it's an incendiary show too.

Stick 'round for the end as well, when a super special guest joins the fun.

Paco de Lucía
Live Under the Sky
Denen Coliseum
Tokyo, Japan

01 Montiño
02 Aires Choqueros
03 Monasterio de Sal
04 La Vida Breve 
05 La Cueva del Gato
06 Danza Ritual del Fuego
07 Solo Quiero Caminar
08 Entre Dos Aguas
09 Duet for Guitar and Piano
10 Yellow Nimbus
11 Chanela

Total time: 1:19:44

Paco de Lucía - guitar & percussion
Carles Benavent - bass
Rubem Dantas - percussion
Pepe de Lucía - vocals
Jorge Pardo - saxophones & flute
Ramón de Algeciras - guitar
Chick Corea - piano (Tracks 09-11)

off-air FM capture of indeterminate origin, containing the complete concert; likely a master cassette
dead air trimmed & applause crossfaded to fit a single CD -- with broadcast noise slightly reduced in a couple of tracks -- by EN, December 2022
478 MB FLAC/direct link

I trimmed some of the dead air out of this one, and tightened up the parts where they're tuning and so forth, so that this would slide onto a single CD for those that still do that.

I'll be backloading December with three more posts to close out the year, but today is all about saluting a departed guitar superstar with maximum picados on his 75th birthday.--J.

12.21.1947 - 2.25.2014