Today, May 14, is a momentous day in music history as the anniversary of the passings of Keith Relf (Yardbirds), Chet Baker and one of the humankind's greatest musical talents, the one, the only, the chairman of the board, Francis Albert Sinatra who died in 1998. Somewhere, Frank's still got the world on a stringRingADingDing!
Transatlantic flights wipe me out. Chalk it up to being an old man I guess. But after a connection through a dark deserted Heathrow, I arrived in Barcelona for the 41st Barcelona Jazz Festival and within a couple of days, semi-disaster had struck. Not to me mind you but to American jazz saxophonist Joe Lovano who fell, not once but twice and broke an arm and a shoulder. He had to cancel his show here in Barcelona, his European tour and then had surgery with the chief orthopedic surgeon of Barcelona’s much beloved soccer team, FCBarcelona, presiding. I saw Lovano this morning as he was leaving for a flight home. He had both arms strapped up in this elastic, soft cast contraption but was in good spirits and ready to head back to NYC. He says he’ll be able to play again in about 15 days, but he’ll have to lay off performing until after the first of the year. No word yet however on what caused his tumble, which is the bigger question.
Amongst all the hand–ringing and head–scratching and kvetching about the music business and what we're going to do with our CDs and LPs and how iPods sound like shit but are the future whether we like it or not (in my case, the jury's still out), it's a good idea, at least in my overamped case, to step back, close–a–dee mouth and occasionally remember that at the bottom of all this claptrap, there's still music. Which I (we) presumably still love.
Hopefully the Meg White (or not) sex tape dustup will not engender a drummer sex tape trend. There are a lot of skin pounders that I for one have no desire to ever see in the buff. The mental images alone are like taking a woodburner to your brain.
The Royal Mile has now unfortunately become the Scottish equivalent of Times Square, in all its crowded, annoying commercialism run amok glory. No topless women with the Union Jack or Saltire painted across their breasts yet, but give it time.
As a follow-up to my last entry, I was sitting in my favorite watering hole over the weekend, listening to my favorite jukebox㬎 tunes for 5 buckswhen a couple sitting at the bar next to me struck up a music conversation about what was playing: Elvis Costello, The Shins, King Sunny Ade, Lefty Frizzell, James Brown, Arctic Monkeys, you name it. At one point, talking about the cover art of an album I can’t remember now I said, being the absent-minded old man of the bunch, 'Have you ever seen that record?'
The great Eliane Elias put on a quite a show last night in NYC. Touring in support of her new album, Something For You, Eliane Elias Sings and Plays Bill Evans, the pianist, singer and longtime Evans admirer lit up Dizzy's at Jazz at Lincoln Center, which is easily one of the best–sounding rooms for live music that I've ever been in. The food in there is fairly tasty and not wildly overpriced, a total rarity on the New York jazz club scene. And that behind the stage, floor to ceiling glass that adds a Central Park West backdrops to every performance is genuinely divine. Say what you want about Wynton, but the man did make the three JALC venues happen.
Maybe it’s the sound. Or the way it looks slung around your neck. Or its mystical appeal to females, but the appeal of the electric guitar has been there literally from its invention in the early 1930s.
Sad to hear of the death of guitarist/keyboard player/singer/songwriter/mad genius Jay Bennett at age 45. I don’t want to be a hater here but like many others, his portrayal in the Wilco film, I Am Trying To Break Your Hearthas always been very problematic for me.
One of the real coups of Holger Peterson’s Stony Plain Records which is the subject of my Aural Robert column in the July issue of Stereophile was signing the great Canadian blues guitar player Jeff Healy to a deal late in Healy’s too short life to make both blues and jazz albums.