Usually, when friends become book authors, you tend to fawn a little too much over their golden meanderings. In my case, the opposite unwittingly happened when I tacked a short mention onto a recent Aural Robert that did not begin to do justice to Stereophile Contributing Editor Robert Levine’s Weep, Shudder, Die, A Guide To Loving Opera (It!/Harper Collins, 2011)
For as long as I live, like it or not, I'll remember 10:28 am 9/11/06 like it was yesterday. I remember the roar and the sight of the giant radio antenna on the last of two towers standing disappearing into the massive clouds of gray smoke. I remember the emergency room personnel at St. Vincent's out in the street waiting for survivors that never came and the clouds of gritty smoke and 8 x 11 sheets of paper blowing up the streets of Brooklyn. And then I remember the jumpers, those who'd rather jump than burn.
Except for Al Sharpton's shameless hogging of the spotlight, James Brown's funeral was quite a production. Televised live on NY1 (New York One), the local cable news channel, this extravaganza was held in the James Brown Arena in Augusta, Georgia.
Earlier this week I was invited to Per Se, a sleek restaurant in the Time Warner Center here in NYC for a lavish lunch sponsored by Concord Records. Co-owner Norman Lear was there. So was former SNL and now Letterman band leader Paul Shaffer who served as MC. The occasion was the release of another Ray Charles project which I will be writing about in more detail in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Titled Ray Swings—Basie Swings, it's an elaborate studio creation. Again though, Look for more in December's Stereophile.
Call me an elitist but I fail to see the attractionfor viewersin the whole American Idol phenomena. Of course, television has made millions from televising talent shows over the years so I guess it's just me that's out of step.
In the world of dino rock, several really interesting tidbits today. For some unknown reason (I'm betting the right blend of meds), Brian Wilson did not push Mike Love off the roof of the Capitol Tower in L.A. when the three surviving Beach Boys met up there on Monday to get a framed metal-coated record signifying that their latest greatest hits compilation had turned the sales odometer over to 2x platinum.
Sometimes wandering the streets of New York I hear whining about how “far from nature’ someone is; or how there’s too much concrete; or how the exhaustfilled air is hurting their lungs. Well, boo hoo. If it’s purple mountains majesties you seek, NYC ain’t the place. You come here for the human culture not the natural beautyalthough now that I think of it, there are other, very compelling forms of natural beauty in NYC, if you catch my drift, wink, wink, nod, nod, say no more, but I digress.
I was very sad to learn of the death of Ahmet Ertegun, one of the three visionaries behind Atlantic Records. Having met him several times, it makes perverse sense that he would have met his end due to complications from a fall at a Rolling Stones concert. He was a man of music to the end.