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.
Bill Monroe (1911-1996) is known as the Father of Bluegrass Music. His very nice site offers a tremendous amount of information. Here is the beginning of a piece that creates a nice bit of context around this important figure in American music:
Country music has been examined by many authors, both in print and on the Internet, trying to explain it in intellectual terms – often with bewildering confusion. And the part of country music that has been analyzed the most is bluegrass. This is surprising since it is its pure simplicity, accompanied by outstanding musicians, which has attracted such a large audience to bluegrass. Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music, explained it this way: “To me bluegrass is really THE country music. It was meant for country people.” Therefore, it is surprising that bluegrass gained strong support in urban areas at a time when the trend was to popularize country music. It took a proud, stubborn man like Bill Monroe to resist the pop tide and make bluegrass what it is today. Continue Reading…
Here is more a bio at AllMusic, written by Steven Thomas Erlewine:
Bill Monroe is the father of bluegrass. He invented the style, invented the name, and for the great majority of the 20th century, embodied the art form. Beginning with his Blue Grass Boys in the ’40s,Monroe defined a hard-edged style of country that emphasized instrumental virtuosity, close vocal harmonies, and a fast, driving tempo. The musical genre took its name from the Blue Grass Boys, andMonroe‘s music forever has defined the sound of classical bluegrass — a five-piece acoustic string band, playing precisely and rapidly, switching solos and singing in a plaintive, high lonesome voice. Not only did he invent the very sound of the music, Monroe was the mentor for several generations of musicians. Over the years, Monroe‘s band hosted all of the major bluegrass artists of the ’50s and ’60s, including Flatt & Scruggs, Reno & Smiley, Vassar Clements, Carter Stanley, and Mac Wiseman. Though the lineup of the Blue Grass Boys changed over the years, Monroe always remained devoted to bluegrass in its purest form. Continue Reading…
There is an old joke about a musician who dies and goes to heaven. He sees a man sitting on a cloud playing mandolin and remarks to Saint Peter that it’s nice to see Bill Monroe again. “Actually, that’s God,” Saint Peter says. “Every once in a while he likes to make believe he’s Bill Monroe.”
Here is a bio on Bo Diddley:
Born Otha Ellas Bates (later known as Ellas McDaniel), 28 December 1928, McComb, Mississippi, USA. After beginning his career as a boxer, where he received the sobriquet “Bo Diddley”, the singer worked the blues clubs of Chicago with a repertoire influenced by Louis Jordan, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. In late 1954, he teamed up with Billy Boy Arnold and recorded demos of “I’m A Man” and “Bo Diddley”. Re-recorded at Chess Studios with a backing ensemble comprising Otis Spann (piano), Lester Davenport (harmonica), Frank Kirkland (drums) and Jerome Green (maracas), the a-side, “Bo Diddley”, became an R&B hit in 1955. Before long, Diddley’s distorted, amplified, custom-made guitar, with its rectangular shape and pumping rhythm style became a familiar, much-imitated trademark, as did his self-referential songs with such titles as “Bo Diddley’s A Gunslinger”, “Diddley Daddy” and “Bo’s A Lumberjack”. His jive-talking routine with “Say Man” (a US Top 20 hit in 1959) continued on “Pretty Thing” and “Hey Good Lookin’”, which reached the lower regions of the UK charts in 1963.
Songs and other sites:
Diddley’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame page.
Bo Diddley: On the Ed Sullivan Show.
Staffers at Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, NY, say that music soothes and improves the mood of people in the mid to late-stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to NY1.
This goes for all patients suffering from the disease, said Dan Cohen, the director of Music and Memory program:
“Actually, it does work, regardless of how advanced dementia is,” says Dan Cohen, the program’s executive director. “Music memory never dies. It’s deeply embedded in our neural networks and even though the brain has been ravaged to some degree, somehow, music escapes that.”
In some cases, the patients no longer are able to communicate and clever detective work must be done in order to find out what music he or she likes.
The project needs donations of new or used iPods. The Music and Memory project website is here.
Here is how AllMusic starts its bio of blues guitarist and singer Susan Tedeschi:
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Susan Tedeschi is part of the new generation of blues musicians looking for ways to keep the form exciting, vital, and evolving. Tedeschi’s live shows are by no means straight-ahead urban blues. Instead, she freely mixes classic R&B, blues, and her own gospel and blues-flavored originals into her sets. She’s a young, sassy blues belter with musical sensibilities that belie her years.
Tedeschi was interviewed by Guitar Player and has a page at NPR with many links. Lyrics Freak offers a basic bio, and the dates for the tour of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, which continues later this month. Tedeschi is married to band mate Derek Trucks, who is the nephew of drummer Butch Trucks, a founding member of The Allman’s Brothers band.
Hart and Adam Gazzaley, a professor at the University of California at San Francisco, discussed the use of music to counteract the declines in mental powers caused by aging. Hart also led a drum circle.
At Huffington Post, Alan Elsner gives positive reviews to two books. The Secret Piano, a memoir from pianist Zhu Xiao-Mei, describes her suffering under Mao. Laurie Rubin’s Do You Dream in Color: Insights form a Girl Without Sight also is a memoir. Rubin didn’t let anything as trivial as being born blind stop her from becoming a recognized singer.