Zero for Zooz

Late night, Duke Street
the wet cobblestones shine and sparkle, bubble and squeak; and the dense fog rolls in
the clock tower chimes twelve
And it’s Zero for Zooz
Westminster.

Late night, Duke Street
the gauzy moon bleeds and drips, gaslights burn
and gossamer sheets of a hazy white sift through
the inimical clouds of night
the clock tower chimes three
And it’s Zero for Zooz
Westminster . . .

Sunrise, Duke Street
a languid sun cracks itself open and splashes some invisible and distant horizon with
salmon pinks, royal purples and bright orange crush
the clouds of night rest just beneath the hush of dawn
and the clock tower chimes in crystal silence
And it’s Zero for Zooz
and Westminster waits . . .

~m

Oscar

Oscar Peterson was a jazz monster and had hands the size of a gorilla.
I’ve tried somewhat unsuccessfully to play some of his stuff over the years.
Yeah, right. Maybe in another life.
Sleep well, OP.
You will be greatly missed . . .
Check out the video below with fellow jazz legend Joe Pass.
And yes, I found the best sounding video possible.
You’ve come to expect that, haven’t you? :mrgreen:

~m

Nano Shuffle

I put my Nano on “shuffle” tonight and wrote a little bit about the 5 tunes that randomly came up. Check it out.

*Michel Camilo – Just Kidding (from the album, One More Once)
What can I say? I have a new favorite piano player.
This tune has intense tight, screaming horns and is not for the jazz squeamish.
Camilo’s piano solo is the quintessential jazz solo. Amazing.
The man plays right-handed octaves faster than a frickin’ machine gun.
One of you guys better be listening to this guy after all I’ve said and posted about him.
Truth be told, I want someone to pinch me and tell me I’m not dreaming.

*Los Lobos – Colossal Head (from the album Colossal Head)
I’ve listened to these guys forever.
Raw, unpretentious and innovative, LL wrote the proverbial manual on how an electric guitar should sound in the studio.
If you’ve ever witnessed two musicians arguing over the difference between tube amplifiers vs. solid state you’ll eventual hear this: Solid State sucks!
The guitar sounds on Colossal Head totally support this statement.

*Fourplay – Kid Zero (from the album X)
Bob James (keys), Larry Carlton (guitar), Nathan East (bass) and Harvey Mason (drums), need I say anymore?
Alright, I guess I should.
You’ve heard all of these guys play more than you could ever imagine.
Believe me.
Kid Zero is a very cool song for all you smooth jazzers out there.
The hidden gem on the album is Michael McDonald’s vocal on “My Love is Leavin'”, an old Stevie Winwood tune off the album Chronicles. Schweet.

*The Tubes – I don’t want to wait anymore (from the album The Best of the Tubes 1981-1987)
I’ve loved this song forever.
Hardcore Tubes fans hated it because of the way it sounded.
It was produced by a musician named David Foster, another serious keyboard idol of mine from way back. (again, you’ve heard this guy before, you just don’t know it)
My playing resembles his in many ways. Ask my wife.
This tune sounded nothing like the old Tubes. It was a few years later that they hit the pop charts with “She’s a beauty”, another Foster produced mega-hit.

*Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Here’s that rainy day (from the album Solo)
Not exactly sure what to say regarding this one but if you like jazz piano and have yet to hear Rubalcaba, you ain’t lived.
Period.
They guy is a frickin’ piano machine.

I had fun with this.
I’ve also posted an Amazon link for every album.
Click and scroll down the page for a quick listen to each tune.
There’s some real nice stuff here.
If there are a few tunes you think I might like, leave a few titles.
I’m always looking for new stuff to keep the musical boat afloat and make the train ride just a bit shorter.

~m

Rock on

Michel Camilo last night, Michael McDonald tomorrow night.
Guess who’s not going to be blogging this weekend?
I’ll catch everyone up on Sunday night.
I will tell you that Camilo was more than incredible.
And he smiles more than any musician I’ve ever seen in my life.
More on Michel later.
Have a great weekend folks.
Catch you on the rebound . . .

~m

ps. a very special birthday is coming up next week. Stay tuned.

Tickling Ivory

I’m taking a bit of a blogging rest in order to bone up on an upcoming gig.
I desperately need to play some piano.
Instead of blogging I’ll be working on some Real Book stuff.
I may even work up some Scott Joplin for good measure.
I’ll be posting but not with any regularity for the next few weeks or so.
See all of you on the flipside . . .
I’ll leave you with some classic Bill Evans
{and yeah, I play just like that}

~m

A Fiver from Mr. Crippens

The following is a meme I saw at Alabaster Crippens blog and thought it looked like fun and found it oddly creative.
It’s all about what someone wants to know about you.
It’s revealing and quite personal and the charming Mr. Crippens has graciously come up with five fascinating questions.
For those of you that visit me on a regular basis you may think you know how I’ll answer…then again, maybe not.
Be sure to visit ‘Alabaster Crippens Doesn’t Know What’s Going On’ for one hell of a ride.
Now onto the questions. . .

1. When were the last time you cried and the last time you laughed? (I mean really cried and really laughed…a proper belly laugh)

The last time I really cried was the day of my mother’s funeral.
Emotionally, I was fine at the wake and hell; I gigged the night she died.
Knowing her as I did she would have wanted the show to go on.
I learned of her passing on the way to my gig. Read ‘Angel’.
I was doing alright at the church until afterwards when we walked outside into the bright July sunshine.
That’s when I heard ‘Danny Boy’ being played by bagpipes.
That lonely and haunting song on such a day opened up the faucets for me.
I cried for myself, a father who was too far gone mentally to even attend, my wife and daughters for all they’d been through and witnessed.
But most of all I cried for a special woman that didn’t deserve the biological fate that consumed her heart and soul before leaving behind a duplicate husk for us to remember her by.

I was watching TV several weeks ago when I clicked on a stand-up comedian named
Jim Gaffigan.
Usually, I watch for a few minutes before moving on to the Food Network hoping Giada DiLaurentis is doing something creative like jello wrestling with kittens.
But Gaffigan floored me and delivered multiple belly laughs so I continued to watch.
The routine was called “Beyond the Pale” and had me almost crying. (my wife, too)
After the show was over I figured I’d check ITunes to see if they had anything by this guy. Turns out they had the audio for ‘Pale’, the show I’d just watched.
I think I pulled a groin muscle leaping up to get out my credit card.

2. What do you value most in your marriage?

This is difficult simply because there are a vast number of appropriate answers that fit.
If I had to choose one thing it would be the fact that we are each other’s best friend.
We embrace the notion of compromise in our marriage, the day to day ‘give and take’ that any successful marriage must have in order to survive.
On my wife’s behalf I will say that over the years she’s had more to contend with regarding my life. I’m a creative being which makes me moody and a general pain in the ass sometimes, but every time I need her, I turn around and she’s there.
I’ve come to believe that’s what friends do.

3. Your house is on fire…you’re the only one inside…what do you grab before you run outside?

I’m thinking this is the easiest of all the questions. I’d take our three cats: Sherlock, Opus and Guinness. If I had no cats the only thing that comes to mind are a set of rosary beads that once belonged to my grandfather (Mom’s side). They’re archaic but stunning.

4. Would you rather be deaf or blind?

I’ll take ‘blind’ for 1000, Mr. Crippens.
Seriously, if I were deaf this is a partial list of sounds I would never have the chance to hear:
* my wife’s voice
* my daughter’s laughing
* the words “I love you”
* music
* thunder
* the ocean
* the wind
* the sound of rain
* a cat’s purr
* Michael McDonald’s voice
* birds
And on and on and on, ad nauseum
I don’t think I’d be a very happy camper, do you?

5. How would you like to be remembered?

There are the obvious things; a good husband, a fair and loving Dad, a dear friend that was always willing to listen.
I want people to smile at my wake and say, remember when Michael did this or Michael did that…
I would want people to feel their lives were changed (for the better) in some small way because of me.
I hope people will smile if they see a bumper sticker on my casket that reads:
‘Promoted to Subterranean Truffle Inspector’
Hopefully, they’ll laugh and say, “Man, he was nuts.”

~m (atilde)

ps. {AC, the post pic is especially for you. . . grinning}

 

Moleskines and a meme. . .

Now and then I do something to push and inspire me to write.
As I said in a previous post, February has always been a brutal month for me in terms of creativity. Anything I can do to root myself in the right direction seems the thing to do.
It can be something as simple as a new (cheap) pen or as complex as listening to a Charles Ives piano piece.
That said, I found myself at Borders in Copley Square last Saturday morning with a 25$ gift card I’d received at Christmas.
I had about an hour to kill and began my search for the perfect whatever.
It didn’t take long before I found a Chuck Klosterman book I’d been wanting for sometime. Klosterman is a psychedelic version of David Sedaris and one unique author you should consider reading at least once.
I absolutely love the way he writes.
The book was $14.
I had more money to spend.
And spend it I did.
I’m writing this post in a Moleskine journal that I bought, a writing paper used by the likes of Hemingway. (no, I’m not implying I’m a pseudo Hemingway wannabe but damn he had a great name for a writer)
The quality of the paper we write on is obviously not as important as what we write.
But the line spacing in the Moleskine is a bit different than what I’m used to and I can’t help but wonder if that will affect the way I write.
The paper is smooth as silk, to be honest.
More words are finding their way onto the page and I’m hoping that my writing flow improves in some way.
Obviously, I have to write for this to even have a chance to work. (duh)
I have also decided to read for at least 45 minutes to an hour every day, a minuscule allotment I realize but with my working hours it’s all I can reasonably spare.
I’m thinking about doing a writing exercise modeled after Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” called “Night Pages”– three pages of continuous long hand writing about anything; basically it’s a free-write that’s crazy out of control.

I’m hoping to empty out any extraneous bullshit swimming around in my gallon or so of cerebrospinal fluid; a purging of thought and a mental dusting of the long forgotten cranial shelves that possibly harbour literary gems I can (for right now) only dream of.
I am committed to this writing thing, (and should be committed. period.) but I’m also curious . . .
What keeps you writing against all odds?

Here’s an awesome meme from Red, do it if it feels right… (I refuse to tag you!)

“If your life were a film, what would your soundtrack be?”

So, here’s how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button

Opening Credits: Kid Zero – Fourplay

Waking Up: I got the news – Steely Dan

Life: Angel in the House – The Story

Falling in Love: Morph the Cat – Donald Fagen

Make-out Scene: Embraceable You – Joe Sample (how perfect)

Breaking Up: All you need – Mike Stern

Mental Breakdown: The Border – Mr. Mister (Richard Page at his finest)

Driving: Late Night Duke Street – Acoustic Alchemy

Getting Back Together: All I know – Jimmy Webb ( I love this man. . . kinda)

Wedding: Panama – Van Halen (David Lee Roth, rocked)

Birth of Child: East of Eden – Michael McDonald (no words)

Final Battle: Sneaking up on Boo Radley – Bruce Hornsby (again, no words)

Death Scene: Route 17 – Lee Ritenour

Funeral: Blue Monk – Thelonious Monk

End Credits: Eraser – Nine Inch Nails

If you do this meme, puuleeese let me know.
I’d love to see your tunes

~m

Brecker

Michael Brecker died of leukemia this past Saturday and not surprisingly
the jazz world seems to be just a bit less. . . for me anyway.
If you think you’ve never heard of Brecker, think again.
Check his discography as a session player.
I’ve no doubt you’ll say, oh my God.
I’ve listened to him for over 25 years and have loved everything he ever gave to the listening world. I was fortunate enough to see him play many years ago at Paul’s Mall in Boston.
Brecker was 57 years old.
I found this tribute at YouTube and thought it was a peaceful, albeit sad way to remember a man that inspired me in many ways.
Rest in peace, MB …

~m