Robert Baird

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Robert Baird Posted: Mar 15, 2010 0 comments
Neil Young: Official Release Series, Discs 1–4
Reprise 519173-1(4 LPs, Limited Edition Vinyl Boxed Set). 2009. Neil Young, David Briggs, Elliot Mazer, Jack Nitzsche, Henry Lewy, prods.; John Nowland, reissue eng. AAA.
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Robert Baird Posted: Feb 19, 2010 0 comments
The relationship between the internet and music continues to evolve in new and bizarre ways. The latest is Guvera, a site that offers free music downloads, that the principals say uses the sponsorship model in new and they hope successful ways and keeps everyone—from artist to label to consume—happy. When you register for the site, they ask you a battery of questions about your likes and dislikes and then you’re free to search for a song or an artist. The site will then direct you to a channel or channels, sponsored by an advertiser, which has what you’re looking for. Using the information from those initial customers’ surveys and then your subsequent download history, the site’s algorhythms find the target audience for certain advertisers and grab their eyeballs in a better way than pop up or strip ads. They also tell the advertisers what music the customers they want to reach listen to. The advertiser pays the royalties on the music to whoever holds the copyright. In other words, either the record label or the artist gets paid. It ain’t stealing.
Robert Baird Posted: Feb 12, 2010 0 comments
Pat Metheny Orchestrion
Pat Metheny, guitars, orchestrion programming.
Nonesuch 516668-2/-1 (CD/LP). 2010. Pat Metheny, prod.; eng. AAD? TT: 52:06
Performance ****
Sonics ****
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Robert Baird Posted: Feb 01, 2010 28 comments
The Grammy Awards are that one Sunday night every January, when for a few brief hours, I try to imagine what people on other continents (in not other planets) think of America when they watch this silly, frivolous, super glam display of Las Vegasness come to the Staples Center. How incredibly ridiculous we must look to the rest of the world. During the telecast, I’m liable to claim I’m from Canada. By the end, I want to take a shower and scrub off the sleaze. The whole thing is so bad, so not about music, that I have to change channels throughout the telecast if only to cleanse my palette. Last night at one point, I flipped over to the hi def Palladia network and there was a Britney video of her tune, “Womanizer,” which was nominated for a Grammy but lost to Lady Gaga. Owing to the fact that much of the video takes place in a sauna, with Brit writhing around nude (creatively covering her nasty bits), the contrast between Spears skin and the absolute nonsense that was goin’ on in L.A. made Little Miss Crazy look like the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
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Robert Baird Posted: Jan 22, 2010 2 comments
Call it “Hollywood Alcoholism,” meaning it’s not Requiem for a Dream, that chilling and incredibly visceral film depiction of addiction, but the more common cut and dried variety—he came, he drank, he fucked up, he had an epiphany and of course, he cleaned up after one neat and tidy trip to the Zen rehab clinic. Having seen Townes Van Zandt and more than a few other musical substance abusers when they were riding high (which is really riding low, if you know what I mean), things just ain’t this a way. Hollywood’s way is to show addiction without any of the struggle. Oh sure, he threw up, sort of, once or twice but hell, I remember seeing Townes fall off a stage that was four inches high, and then he couldn’t get up. When I pitched in to help, the man clearly had not showered in quite some time. He’d been bingeing and playing one nighters, which is where Crazy Heart starts out.
Robert Baird Posted: Jan 15, 2010 0 comments
CARLA BLEY: Carla's Christmas Carols
Carla Bley, piano, celeste; Steve Swallow, bass, chimes; Partyka Brass Quintet
WATT 35 (CD). 2009. Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, prods.; Gerard de Haro, Nicolas Baillard, engs. DDD? TT: 60:36
Performance ****
Sonics ****½
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Robert Baird Posted: Jan 14, 2010 2 comments
When you’re old, you begin to read obits and relate to the ages of the dead. Like this from this morning: the great Teddy Pendergrass dead at 59 of colon cancer.
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Robert Baird Posted: Jan 12, 2010 1 comments
What a weird–assed juxtaposition it was. Freezing as hell outside, like 20 degrees with a stiff breeze, and a Zydeco band inside generating a sweaty mess. On top of that, a mysterious fever swept the place. The kind of fever, brought on by alcohol, that you have to sort of call Jazzfest fever. Anyone who’s ever been to the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans and gotten into the spirit of the thing can instantly reconnect with those feelings, once they have a few beers and hear some NOLA music, be it Cajun, Zydeco, funk or whatever. Hey, you have to hand it to Jazzfest, they’ve created a mojo that goes way beyond the music and creates wildly loyal fans, every festival should be so lucky.
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Robert Baird Posted: Dec 18, 2009 0 comments
John Hammond has always been a strange case. Son of the legendary record producer and scout John Hammond Sr. who worked with Billie Holiday, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, young John who sang and played guitar staked out a difficult piece of musical turf when he decided to make playing acoustic Delta–styled blues on the National Steel guitar his signature move.
Robert Baird Posted: Dec 14, 2009 0 comments
Anouar Brahem: The Astounding Eyes of Rita
Anouar Brahem, oud; Klaus Gesing, bass clarinet; Björn Meyer, bass; Khaled Yassine, darbouka, bendir
ECM 2075 (CD). 2009. Manfred Eicher, prod.; Stefano Amerio, eng. DDD. TT: 53:31
Performance ****
Sonics *****

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