Some people say that jazz is an acquired taste. If so, an avant-garde jazz trombonist — which is what Roswell Rudd is — is an advanced acquired taste. In that context, the two videos here (The Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” above and “Going Sane” below) are accessible. “Dry Bones,” performed with Sonic Youth, is a bit higher on the need-to-acquire scale. (A very different version of which was used in Dennis Potters’ “Singing Detective”). Actually, the Rudd/Sonic Youth version is growing on me. Suffice it to say that it isn’t hummable.
There was a 78th birthday concert featuring Rudd last week in New York City. This is from a 2007 profile in The New York Times:
Mr. Rudd was a central figure in the avant-garde jazz scene of the 1960s and 70s. After a long career slump, he has re-emerged in recent years with a series of critically acclaimed collaborations with musicians from around the world. The driving forces behind his comeback, he says, have been his partner, Verna Gillis, an ethnomusicologist and music manager, and the creative energy he gets from their Kerhonkson home and the 21 acres of forest that surround it. (Continue Reading…)
Ulster Magazine profiled Rudd, who is more than a trombonist:
To supplement his income as a jazz musician, Rudd was a research associate for folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. “I did field recordings,” he explains. “Once I started working for Alan Lomax I was analyzing music from all over the world,” says Rudd, an ethnomusicologist in his own right. “Previously it had been limited to classical European music.” (Continue Reading…)
This is the second trombonist featured at TDMB. The other — the one with the better nickname (actually, I don’t think Rudd has a nickname) is Trombone Shorty.
The numbers in this single sentence in Wikipedia’s entry about Francesco Stephen Castelluccio – Frankie Valli — are a good illustration of how really important he is:
Here is the beginning of Valli’s profile at his website:
Oh, what a story. Frankie Valli, who came to fame in 1962 as the lead singer of the Four Seasons, is hotter than ever in the 21st century. Thanks to the volcanic success of the Tony-winning musical Jersey Boys, which chronicles the life and times of Frankie and his legendary group, such classic songs as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” are all the rage all over again. As the play enters its third sold-out year on Broadway, and two touring companies of Jersey Boys travel around the U.S., the real Frankie Valli is packing concert halls coast to coast, from the Rose Theater, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, to L.A.’s Kodak Theater, home of the Academy Awards. (Continue Reading…)
Last month, Billboard’s Wayne Robins posted an interesting interview with Valli. This interesting response sums up Valli’s musical philosophy:
I always believed a singer should be able to sing any kind of song. If I wanted to sing a Cole Porter song, I should be able to do that. Or “Sherry,” I should be able to do that. Or a Dylan song. I didn’t go to any professional school to learn how to sing. I bought people’s records, listened to them, tried to do what the singer did by imitating them, as close as I could possibly get. We cover every kind of music. That’s important for anybody. We can do anything from working with a four- or five-piece band to working with a symphony orchestra. (Continue Reading…)
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons got a second life via the Broadway show “Jersey Boys.” Two of the group’s biggest hits were “Rag Doll” (above) and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” (below).
Blues Traveler was featured in a cute scene in Blues Brothers. Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd, of course) performed Rock Me Baby with the band later. He seems to be having the time of his life and plays pretty well for a non-professional.
A New York-based blues-rock quartet formed in 1988 by singer/harmonica player John Popper, guitarist Chan Kinchla, bassist Bobby Sheehan, and drummer Brendan Hill, Blues Traveler were part of a revival of the extended jamming style of ’60s and ’70s groups like the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin. Signed to A&M, they released their first album, Blues Traveler, in May 1990 and followed it with Travelers & Thieves in September 1991. Popper was in a serious car accident in 1992, leaving him unable to perform for a number of months. Fortunately, he recovered, yet he still had to perform in a wheelchair for a period of time. In April 1993, Blues Traveler released their third album, Save His Soul, which became the band’s first to make the Top 100. (Continue Reading…)
Rolling Stone offers more:
Like Phish and Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler emerged in the early 1990s as part of a new vanguard of jam bands in the tradition of the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers. Early on, the band’s reputation was built on relentless touring, marathon sets, and the explosive harmonica solos of oversized frontman John Popper. (Continue Reading…)
Eartha Kitt would have been 86 years old today. Above, she sings I Want to Be Evil, in a video that has one odd camera angle after another. Here is more on the sultry singer.
Also Sprach Zarathustra
As the bio below suggests, Eumir Deodato is by far best recognized for his version of Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra in 2001: A Space Odyssey. But his career obviously goes far beyond that great and agonizingly slow movie.
Widely regarded as one of the most respected and sought-after musicians in the music world, Brazilian-born Eumir Deodato has racked up 16 platinum records to his credit as artist, arranger or producer with combined sales of well over 25 million records in the USA alone. His discography, including compilations and all his work as arranger, producer and keyboardist, surpasses 450 albums. He has also had the honor of performing with the St. Louis Symphony (which backed him on his superb Artistry album), the Cincinnati Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestra di Musica Leggera dell’Unione Musicisti di Roma. In addition, several artists over the years have covered his songs, including George Benson, Lee Ritenour, Sarah Vaughan and The Emotions to mention just a few. And yet, in spite of all of his varied triumphs, honors and distinctions over the years, the multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist will probably forever be associated with one song – his innovative rendition of Richard Strauss’ classical opus Also Sprach Zarathustra (or more commonly known as the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey).
Here is the classical versions of Also Sprach Zarathustra and Rhapsody in Blue (featuring Leonard Bernstein). A bit of trivia: Deodato’s daughter is married to the actor Stephen Baldwin, according to Facebook.
Rhapsody in Blue
The CD turns 30 years old today. The Next Web notes that on Oct. 1, 1982, Billy Joel’s album 52nd Street – which initially was released in four years earlier – was re-released by Sony on a compact disk. The company simultaneously introduced the Sony CDP-101, the first CD player.
I don’t really understand it, from the spaceships landing and the guy in the diaper, but it all is very funky and the musicianship is great.
Believe it or not, Duke University has a Q and A on the band. Parliament and Funkadelic, it seems, are two distinct groups headed by George Clinton. Now I think I get it.
Here is an example of the Q&A, which is weirdly formatted:
8. What are the various aliases P.Funkers have used? RC: ‘G Cook’, a name used in a number of Funkadelic writing credits, is really Eddie Hazel. It’s actually his mother’s name, Grace Cook. ‘J S Theracon’ is a name used by Junie Morrison at a time when he was under contract to another record company but still wanted to record with Parliament. David Spradley has gone by a number of names, including ‘David Lee Chong’ and ‘Chong Spradley.’ George Clinton is known variously as ‘Dr. Funkenstein’, ‘Dr. Funk’, ‘Mr. Wiggles’, and ‘Starchild’. These are more characters than aliases, but he has been known to use them on personnel listings on album liner notes, in lieu of his real name. Bootsy Collins has gone by ‘Casper (the funky/friendly/holy ghost)’, ‘Bootzilla’, ‘The Player’, ‘Zillatron’, and ‘Sugar Crook’.