Tinseltown. La-La Land. Smell-A. First, of course, there's the climate. No way to hate sunshine and ocean breezes. And if you were somehow able to erase all the people in Southern California, the land itselfrising from the blue Pacific to high desert to timbered, sometimes even snowy mountaintopsis gorgeous. Then, of course, there's the unusually attractive human flora and fauna roaming SoCal. How did Brian Wilson put it . . . ? "Dolls by a palm tree in the sand."
Various Artists: Hommage à Eberhard Weber
Pat Metheny, Jan Garbarek, Gary Burton, Scott Colley, Danny Gottlieb, Paul McCandless, Michael Gibbs; SWR Big Band, Helge Sunde, conductor
ECM 2463 (CD). 2015. Martin Muhelis, concert prod.; Doris Hauser, Volker Neumann, Boris Kellenbenz, Pete Karam, Manfred Eicher, engs. DDD? TT: 69:48
There once was a joke about how technology would someday replace troublesome musicians: Instead of putting up with drummers being late to gigs, keeping irregular time, and stealing everyone else's girlfriends, a trouble-free robot could take over. It seems that some of those predictions have come true. This single disc documents two concerts held in Stuttgart, Germany, in January 2015, to celebrate the 75th birthday of hometown German jazz electric bassist Eberhard Weber, who has been unable to play since suffering a stroke, in 2007. Via tape loops and video samples of Weber playing, he nonetheless played a large part in his birthday celebration, particularly in the concerts' centerpiece, Pat Metheny's 30-minute "Hommage," a rare example of Metheny writing for big band and a tour de force of Weber's distinctive playing.
It was with great pleasure that I slapped on my recently arrived LP copy of Dave and Phil Alvin’s Lost Time, which was released on September 18. Not surprisingly, given the brothers’ roots rock leanings, the sound here also has a healthy respect for the past. Dave Alvin’s guitar is drenched in reverb throughout, the mix is balanced (which is a minor miracle given lead singer Phil Alvin’s forceful voice and presence) and all the instrumentseven the piano!have great presence in the mix.
Playing the blues gets old fast. Since this most fundamental American popular music, stopped being the African-American party music of choice, and became a traditional music, celebrated as the precursor of rock'n'roll, blues players face a stark choice: change, or be content with playing small clubs and bars.