Archive for November, 2006

I Never Met a Good Jazz Musician I Couldn’t Share a Smoke With

November 29, 2006

I was watching “That Thing You Do” on one of the handful of HD stations I receive. The drummer in the film plays in a pop band but has this love of jazz. He loves the way it sounds, feels and smells when he’s experiencing it, and THAT is what this post is about. I love good jazz too. And I really enjoy when I can turn someone on to some jazz cat who’s been doin’ it since they was five and on fire by the seat of his breeches.

Now jazz music isn’t easy to listen to. It’s not easy to play either. I know of classical musicians who can’t even wrap their brain around a jazz solo unless they reference their theory books, write it out on a staff and practice it twice daily. The beauty of jazz is that most of what you hear is unscripted. It really is the epitome of live music and live is, in my opinion, the best way to experience it. But, I live in Los Angeles. And trying to find a good jazz club out here is like trying to find a Dunkin Donuts or a Sheetz Gasoline (You east coasters know what I mean… don’t you?). Nothing against the L.A. jazz scene and the incredible musicians that somehow make money playing at the handful of joints that will have them, but the jazz scene in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania (home of the Slinky) is bigger than the scene out here. But rant aside, jazz shouldn’t be intimidating to listen to. It’s usually that small section of music you’ll see next to the equally sized “New Age” or “Classical” section in your local Mega Merchandise Store. But more and more Mega Coffee Shops and Mega Bookstores are expanding their Jazz sections and repertoire. Why? Well because jazz, like most music, can sell an idea or lifestyle. Go to your local Pottery barn, Crate and Barrel, or Starbucks and you’re almost guaranteed to find a dinner party or cocktail hour CD of some great performances by both old and new artists. Well, if the idea of the dazzling urbanite puffing on a $500 pipe in a smoking jacket or the hip cat having a few friends over for some martinis and poker strikes you as COOL, give these tracks a listen. Or, if you are curious and have no idea what to buy to get started into this vast world of “it’s the notes she’s not playing,” then enjoy these selections. Or if you love GOOD JAZZ, have at it! Beatniks of the world… unite… and snap your fingers… I knew that you could…

Jazz Smoker

So to ease you into this, we’ll start off with some vocalists. I’ve always found it easier to listen to jazz vocalists, both male and female. Mostly because it’s harder to jump around from note to note, octaves apart, than it would be on a piano or vibraphone. When this is done right, and most jazz singers do it well, it’s impressive and appealing. And also because most of what is released nowadays is new artists putting their spin on old standards. Two women come to mind when I think of newer artists putting out the old standards: Lisa Ekdahl and Diana Krall. Now they have both been around for a while, and have added their sultry vocal stylings to some old standards. In fact when Diana started to get some real attention in the jazz community, it was thought that she was a little too oversexed to be singing such classics and so she recieved a lot of attention. Well, all I know is the first time I heard her cuts, my heart skipped a beat. And not just that “bad Pink’s Hotdogs” Halloween experience skipped a heartbeat, I’m talking high-school-first-kiss-behind-the-football-bleachers kind of skipped a beat. If ever there was a woman that could make a man swoon… mercy! Enjoy!

Diana Krall – Popsicle Toes

As for Lisa Ekdahl: I discovered her from a salesman I was testing at the local Good Guy’s video store. I was looking for a new pair of stereo reference speakers and brought in some music to sample. He had some crappy mix cd that was showing off how well the home theater could reproduce the 808 but had a track that was just incredible. I asked him to go back so I could listen to it. Well, simple small ensemble stuff, a crystal pixie voice and that special something only a Swede could add had me hooked. Lisa actually started as a pop musician and hit it pretty big in Scandanavia in the early 90’s. Anyway, her petite Billie-esque voice just drew me in and brought me back to the first couple of times I heard Billie Holiday. The smell of my old Ludwig gold sparkle drumkit, the way the sticks felt in my hands as I tried to keep up with Buddy Rich, and the way the record would skip if I started to play too loud; all these things got me invested in her as an artist. Music always has some emotional value, so her take on these standards may actually be terrible based on my experiences. But as heightened or diminished as my emotional interpretaion of Lisa may be, her ability to stay true to the standard, breathe her own style into the music and bring that night club jazz twist into the mix is brilliant.

Lisa Ekdahl – Down With Love

Joe Sample loves to play jazz. Well, I don’t think you’ll find a working musician out there that doesn’t love what they are doing, but you can tell that he just loves jazz. When I hear his music, I think of Paris, New York, beatniks, filterless cigarettes and cognac. Well, these things may actually reflect one of my favorite albums of his. I’ll let the track speak for itself and let his ivory stylings take you back to some simpler times. enjoy…

Joe Sample – Hippies on A Corner

Art Blakey is a drum god. I saw him live with the Jazz Messengers in the 80’s and was just blown away. Although he would be the first to have denied it, his drumming style reflects a lot of African drumming techniques. My favorite is the use of a stick, hand, or elbow on a tom head to alter the pitch, much like a conga player would do. But he is most known for his trademark hi-hat ‘chick’ on two and four which is the staple of any ambidexterous drummer and the cornerstone of percussive educators when teaching basic drum kit. But not only was Blakey an innovator, he was also a monster on the drums: loud, agressive and yet completely invested in the other members in the ensemble. Playing off of solos, feeding soloists, moving music forward and pulling it back… that was Blakey. I can only hope that this track gives you some idea of what he was all about.

Art Blakey – Minority

Geoff Farina… HI-YA! Karate chop! Ki-ya! I got turned on to his music by a friend I worked with at 20th Century Fox. In between daily grinds of booking edit bays and keeping the Fox Sports divisions afloat, we would trade music. After I was kind enough to lend him some Wonderstuff albums, he gave me a CD of this band named Karate. Really mellow stuff that had that East Coast edge which kept it from becoming Morrissey or Death Cab. Anyway, Farina was the guitarist and frontman for the now disbanded Karate. To my pleasure, I got to see them perform live at LA’s version of the Knitting Factory. Please realize that the New York Knitting Factory and the LA Knitting facotry are two completely seperate vibes. One because of location and two because of level of talent. So I was really suprised when Farina and Karate were playing there. They are good. And by good I mean, I met my future wife for dinner with friends beforehand… had a terrible time… went to the show with them, and by the end of the set, had decided that we were going to go on a real first date, alone, and without that terrible double date / first date akwardness. Well Farina is alone and without a terrible awkwardness on his solo efforts. Some musicians sound out of place or studio rehearsed… edited and plasticine in their first solo outings. Farina just brings it. And not in that all out ballsy way that Maynard Ferguson can bring it. It’s more like listening to a poet recite something they just wrote or watching a modern artist create something almost confusing, yet beautiful. Dig this track and then pick up on Karate; or if you have more of a pop ear, Karate first then learn the way of Geoff… his Farina style is more powerful than our Kung-fu…

Geoff Farina – Special Diamonds

Django Reinhardt makes me happy. He is my favorite Basque gypsy guitarist of all times. In fact, he was one of the first jazz guitarists in Europe. His music is indicative of the early 1900’s and has that early American feel and flavor about it. It wasn’t until after World War II that Django was able to bring his Euro-influenced, gypsy instrumental jazz style of music to the states. His trip to the states changed his music and he began adapting American jazz styles to his already established sound. After returning to Europe, he released what is one of his most highly acclaimed albums, Djangology, where he chose not to bring his American-influenced form of jazz to the platters, but to record an album in his original style, which took him 30 years to develop. I hope you enjoy this quirky and stylistic form of jazz as much as I do and at the very least, purchase some of his music to use in your vacation videos and photo slide shows.

Django Reinhardt – I Saw Stars

Well I hope this gives you a nice look into the various types of what I consider a solid introduction to jazz. I tried to stay away from the typical Coltrane, Monk and Davis; and haven’t even touched the Afro-Cuban influence that exists. But then, I wouldn’t have anything to write about next time. Hope you dig all the tunes and keep reading The Alternakids blog for more great music.

Purchase “Popsicle Toes” – Diana Krall
Purchase “Down With Love” – Lisa Eckdahl
Purchase “Hippies on a Corner” – Joe Sample
Purchase “Minority” – Art Blakey
Purchase “Special Diamonds” – Geoff Farina
Purchase “I Saw Stars” – Django Reinhardt

More information on Diana Krall
More information on Lisa Ekdahl
More information on Joe Sample
More information on Art Blakey
More information on Geoff Farina
More information on Django Reinhardt

Biographical information gathered from various resources including:

www.pbs.org/jazz
www.allmusic.com

-by David Schatanoff, Jr.

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The Return

November 27, 2006

So yeah, the little break was nice for me. But I can’t keep you guys in suspense forever. I’ve got some ideas for a few different things to try here, so stick around to see what we come up with. Looks like pretty soon we might be bringing you all some exclusive stuff and more giveaways as well. You’d be surprised by some of the people who have taken notice of what we’ve been doing here.

Anyway down to business…

Glassjaw – Ape Dos Mil

Daryl Palumbo is an asshole, and the last few times I’ve seen him he’s been wasted out of his mind (yeah, apparently he dropped the whole straight edge thing). Regardless he’s a damn good singer, and I’ve known bigger assholes than him, so it’s really not that big of a deal.

Glassjaw

What is a big deal though is that Glassjaw is touring again. That’s right, apparently Head Automatica is on hiatus and the hardcore crew is doing a few dates with the Deftones. I’m glad to hear it, but I’m pissed because LA is not on the list of tour dates as of yet. I’m hoping to catch Chino and the boys on this tour either way and getting to see Glassjaw for the first time would have been an added bonus. Oh well, here are the dates that are scheduled so far:

12/14 – Nashville, TN @ City Hall*

12/16 – Fort Worth, TX @ TBA

 

12/17 – Tulsa, OK @ Cains*

 

12/18 – Kansas City @ Uptown Theatre*

 

12/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue*

 

12/31 – New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place w/ Hatebreed

 

* w/Deftones

 

As of now there’s no word as to whether they’ll be working on a follow-up to Worship and Tribute but one can only hope. I mean Head Automatica is cool and all, but every time I listen to Beating Heart Baby, I keep waiting for Darryl to let out a scream during the chorus.

 

Head Automatica – Beating Heart Baby

 

As far as I’m concerned it didn’t require such a drastic offshoot for my man to prove how versatile he is. Must’ve Run All Day or Trailer Park Jesus could just as easily have fit in on most contemporary R&B stations these days and if you never saw a picture of the band you’d never know the difference.

 

Glassjaw – Must’ve Run All Day

And the song he did with Cage, Shoot Frank was one of my favorite hip-hop tracks of the past year.

 

But hey, it’s what the guy wanted to do so more power to him. However based on some of the comments he made about Dan the Automator after the Decadence album I take it that he’s a little scatterbrained these days and isn’t looking to make too many new friends. (Apparently there was no falling out, and Darryl was happy with the final product, but he never wants to collaborate with him again. Not a bad thing in itself if you want to keep doing new things, but the way it was said just struck me as odd).

 

There’s nothing wrong with getting your dance on man, but I like it hardcore too. Don’t forget about that side. Hope to catch you guys on the road sometime soon.

 

Glassjaw – Radio Cambodia

And since I cheated you before on new Deftones material, here’s a nice track off of the new album.

Deftones – Xerces

 

 

 

I hit the Rokout Festival in San Bernadino yesterday with The Prodigy, DJ Q-Bert, Sage Francis, Mindless Self Indulgence and more. That was an awesome time, so keep an eye out for that recap coming soon. We also got our hands on an advance copy of the new Shins album, so raerae should have a nice post about that coming sometime soon, as well as lots more of what you’ve come to expect from The Alternakids crew.

Worship and TributeDecadence
Saturday night wrist

We’re here…

November 20, 2006

Right now I’m on a bit of a mental hiatus for the holiday and what not. We seem to have gained a bit of an audience, so I think it’s time to take things to the next level. I’m taking this time to regroup and rally up the troops so that we come back full force and even better.

Of course I plan to keep the homegrown vibe and our style will remain the same as it has been, but a little more organization should help things out a bit. Comments and suggestions are more than welcome.

The Sound of a Flight of Stairs, Falling Down a Flight of Stairs

November 14, 2006

Idlewild – You’ve Lost Your Way

Idlewild – Disconnected

 

Yep, believe it or not that’s the same band. After my comments on Rise Against, I realized that it may come off to those of you who aren’t as familiar with me already that I have something against bands evolving. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you couldn’t deduce from my eclectic tastes, I can definitely appreciate a band that has a broad range. In fact the two polar opposite selections you’ve just been exposed to are from my favorite band that you’ve never heard of, Scotland’s own Idlewild.

 

Idlewild

older lineup of the band

 

Still looking to match their UK success over here in the states, these lads have been refining and reinventing themselves over and over with every album, each one resulting in a piece that has a definitive mood all while keeping characteristics that remain distinctive to the band.

Idlewild – Modern Way of Letting Go

Even in their earlier thrash and scream days lead singer Roddy Wombles lyrics always stood out from that of other “hardcore” bands. If Jim Morrison was the rock star that wanted to be a poet, then Roddy is the poet who accidently wound up a rock star.

Roddy’s use of the English language and the way he pieces together words to create aural tapestry’s is amazing. Just abstract enough to remain oblique, the meanings of most of the songs is up to interpretation, but regardless of the semantics, the delivery keeps you aware that something meaningful is being said. There are writers who struggle to achieve this for years, yet from the age of 19 Roddy has made it seem effortless.

Idlewild – in remote part/scottish fiction

I could sit here and go on all day about the reasons I love this band, but I think it’s easier to let the music speak for itself. That and quite frankly I’m still procrastinating and I’m about to be late for work. In no particular order here are few selections from their four full length albums. Listen to them all as once again their sound differs quite a bit from piece to piece. Let me know what you guys think overall.

Idlewild – 4 People Do Good

Idlewild – Blame it on the Obvious Ways

Idlewild – Listen To What You’ve Got

Idlewild – The Space Between All Things

Idlewild – Live in A Hiding Place

Idlewild – These Wooden Ideas

Idlewild – Welcome Home

Idlewild – I’m Happy to be Here Tonight

 

HJope is Important100 Broken WindowsThe Remote PartWarnings/Promises

Music Intoxication

November 12, 2006

sowwy

First off I’ve got to apologize for not being up on mine, but I hope you can accept my apology in the form of music. I’m even going to post a clean version of one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time, so hopefully you understand the importance of why I’m back.

BlueCarpet

I’ve been drunk for months, drinking music for days at a time and in my travels I realized one thing. I love living in LA, I love the West Coast and I love me some muthaf$#kin Snoop Dogg. I don’t care if he’s flying a Soul Plane, getting high, filming pornos or getting busted by the cops. But truth be told, I love that West Coast flow from Calvin Broadus. The man knows how to make a song and what seems like a long time ago, he and Dr. Dre did something magical for our ears. We were drunk for a few years together back then. White, black, yellow, Puerto Rican, everybody saying it “Ain’t Nothin But a G Thang”, or “Let Me Ride”… just a good time, with a lot of friends and a lot of 40 oz. Snoops new album is coming next month and I’m gonna drop a dime on this one. It’s clean, but it’s definitely one of the best songs of the year.

Snoop Dogg ft. Dr. Dre & D’Angelo – Imagine (fixed, now explicit)

I don’t care who wrote his verse or who didn’t, it just makes me smile to hear Dre again again for some reason. Especially when the man is reminiscing about all the people he’s seen go along the way. D’Angelo joining in just tops it off really. But we’re not done with Snoop yet. He’s been showing a lot of love to his West Coast brethren, The Game, whose another wayward son of Dr. Dre, who also joins Snoop on his album. Listening to the new Game album and hearing the West Coast unity from XZ, Snoop and Game joining Red and Blue, calling for a West Coast federation instead of Bloods vs. Crips, Snoop calls them out by name to stand side by side..

doctorsadvocate

I don’t want to get into a lengthy review about the album, but I will say this. He made some big comments before the album came out, he lived up to him and I’ll say this, while 50 has been acting, someone has been practicing on how to tear you apart lyrically. Support the man, buy the album. This is an album, I will definitely be picking up.

Game ft. Snoop Dogg & Xzibit – California Vacation

Snoop Dogg ft. Game – Gang Bangin 101

I’ll be back soon, I promise. Next time, I’ll have a healthy meal instead of these little bite size snacks. Until then, go get drunk on music and wait for the Detoxification.

Side Note: It’s scary that I heard another new Jay-Z song on the radio and I woke up this morning to Kingdom Come and The Blue Carpet Treatment. If I have the Hell Hath No Fury tomorrow, I’m calling in sick on Monday, I’m going to be drunk off that one too. It’s getting a lot harder to get excited about releases anymore when it’s leaked weeks in advance. I hear Pusha T is the only person who has a copy of the album and he won’t even let reviewers listen to it alone, that’s how bad it’s gotten. Check these out anyway.

Clipse ft. Pharrell – New World

Clipse – Momma I’m So Sorry (snippet)

 

Hell Hath No Fury