CD of the Day : Ivo Pogorelich plays Ravel’s Gaspard De La Nuit & Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata Klaviersonate No. 6


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    CD of the Day Ivo Pogorelich plays Ravel’s Gaspard De La Nuit & Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata Klaviersonate No. 6 a Deutsche Grammophon Pressing!

“In addition to [Ivo Pogorelich’s] Schumann, I have also enjoyed his Scarlatti, Bach, Haydn, and Beethoven, and only wish that he would record more Scriabin, for which he has a special affinity. Yet, of all his recordings, it is to this recording of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit that I have returned most over the years, and even after repeated listening, I am still utterly transfixed by it. Simply put, it contains some of the most riveting and imaginative piano playing that I have ever heard–and my piano listening goes as far back as De Pachmann in the early 1900s.” –MR Simpson @ Amazon.com

“Out of the over 100 available recordings of Ravel’s Gaspard de le nuit this must be one of the finest. If this was Ravel’s idea of a bad dream I’ll take it. It easily ranks with the most beautiful music I know… I love this recording. Very highly recommended. –David Thierry @ Amazon.com

“This original release has now been re-issued under DG’s ‘Original’ series, with the Chopin No. 2 Concerto added. I for one would want to stick to this ‘original’ version, since both works contained in this CD represent Ivo Pogorelich’s finest performances.” Abert @ Amazon.com

“If I could take only one Pogorelich CD to a desert island, it would be this one. Sound quality is excellent.” — Hank Drake @ Amazon.com

Get your copy here:

Chopin: Piano Sonata / Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit / Prokofiev: Piano Sonata

Holiday Gift Guide : 5 BEST COMEDY Albums of ALL TIME & The Final Word on Bill Cosby!


From Redd Fox to Bob Newhart to Bill Cosby to Eddie Murphy, here are the best comedy albums of all time:

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REDD FOXX UNCENSOREDuncensored

THE BUTTON-DOWN MIND OF BOB NEWHARTbuttondown

IN LIVING BLACK AND WHITEdickgregory

EDDIE MURPHY COMEDIANeddiemurphycom

BILL COSBY WONDERFULNESSwonderfulness

If you have to start with one album, start with Bill Cosby’s WONDERFULNESS, just hilarious. Now I know it’s popular because of the controversy to demonize Bill Cosby. Here’s my first, last, and best measure on Bill Cosby, it is a line from a Sam Peckinpah movie… “When you side with a man, you stick with him and if you can’t do that, you’re like some kind of animal.”

When I was a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s it was Bill Cosby who defined so many of the opportunities and enjoyment and broke so many of the barriers to pave a way for a young, punk kid like myself and millions of others to dream bigger, aspire better.

From an accomplished college sports figure to a ground breaking televsion actor in the beloved ISpy series to a world acclaimed commedian to a producer of kids’ television shoes (FAT ALBERT!), to a great, classic series of 70s movies, to a really groundbreaking 80s television series,to a civil rights and human rights fighter, and economic fighter…. the accomplishments of Bill Cosby are staggering for any ten people, but that he fit all this into one life… is the stuff of legend. To call him a Renaissance Man is apt.

Is he guilty or innocent of these accusations?… That’s for a court of law to decide rather than this televsion lynching the American Mass Media has been fond of with prominent people of color. This assassination by media is out of proportion, by a generation grown and raised on the tearing down of idols.

Guilty or Innocent, a man’s falling down must be weighed against his standing up. And if many of us presume to not have committed the perceived sins of Bill Cosby, neither have those same rock throwers committed the triumphs and the groundbreaking accolades of a Bill Cosby. We are none of us Saints, and most of us Sinners, but I posit that the good Bill Cosby has done, is larger and grander than the good his detractors have done.

You want to stand in judgment of a man’s evil, then you have to be capable of also judging or equaling his good, and none out there speaking against Bill Cosby have fought as tirelessy as Bill Cosby to make the world better… and Cosby has made the world… for punk kids like myself… better.

I heard the comedian Sinbad, a man who knew and learned from Cosby, state the same, he can not judge on some strangers’ accucations, but only on how Cosby impacted his life. And for Sinbad, and myself, and generations who grew up in a world precipitously devoid of opportunities for people of color, Cosby’s impact is overwhelmingly to the good. Cosby always used his talent and his resources to carve out such opportunities for others.

And now because of suspect accusations, that if true hints at someone who needs counseling over incarceration, all that good is what…. forgotten? Made Moot? You strip him of honorary titles? Really?

Here is the secret to those of you misguided enough to think that way… the price of greatness is sometimes perilous and steep. The soldier we thank for his service is back from blowing off some kids face, the president we applaud… has rained down fire on civilian targets, the sports figure you idolize is an adulterer and flawed father…. none of us are saints, and most of us are sinners, and the best we can hope to do is weigh a man’s good and his bad, and decide which part of that equation touches us the most and be ruled by that.

How you view the soldier with blood on his hands, depends on whether you are close to him or close to those he killed. In an imperfect world it’s the best we can do…side with those who have sided (if only tangentially) with us.

As a young kid turning into a young man, Cosby gave me the gift of laughter, of hope, of options, of the pleasure of seeing TV change into something more representative of the ethnically diverse nation it was supposed to speak to. So I can only judge him based on that, his personal failings beyond that are perhaps for those close to him or affected by them… to be offended by. And if criminally liable for a court to determine, however, where this shouldn’t be played out is in trial by media.

Shame on those schools and organizations quick to pull bestowed honors based on the lip service of media’s mob.

“When you side with a man, you stick with him. And if you can’t do that, you’re like some kind of animal.”

So that ends my rant and stance on Bill Cosby. His albums are still hilarious, and his achievments… still achievements.

Here endeth the lesson.

THIS WEEKEND’S Recommended MUSIC! THE HEAVY!


Music so good, that mp3s and Itunes do them a disservice. Music that deserves buying on CD and listening all the way through.

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The House That Dirt Built
– Was introduced to this band THE HEAVY because of the awesomely addictive song they did for the great opening credits of the TV show STRIKE BACK.

Based on that one song, I bought this album. And I am glad I did, it is a great, addictive item. How good is it? It is so good that I bought their other two albums (available at the links below) without listening to a single song. That is how heavy… THE HEAVY is!

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The Glorious Dead

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Great Vengeance & Furious Fire

“I was listening to Michelle Myers Saturday broadcast on KEXP a few weeks back and she played an infectious cut from their follow up album “The House That Dirt Built”. Usually music needs some time to grow on me but the song SHORT CHANGE HERO cut deep with an intoxicating groove that sent me on an instant quest to search them out.

… This is hands down one of the five best CD’s I have purchased this year rivaling their sophomore “The House That Dirt Built”. Do yourself a favor. If you purchase no other music in the next year get one (or both) of The Heavy’s releases.”

—Amazon Review JSG

Music Deal of the Day! RICH VS ROACH

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It is such a joy being able to continually discover new things and great things and sublime things. 56 years after its recording it is a joy to for the first time hear this preeminent 1986 pressing of these preeminent Jazz drummers (avoid the later 2012 issue that for no sane reason reorganizes the order of the songs).

This is a fantastic CD that is far better than the original LP for 4 crucial reasons. Alternative takes to 4 of the songs, and two of those takes are essential gamechangers.

Namely the first two songs of the album, SING, SING, SING and THE CASBAH set the memorable impressions of the album, and in the original takes Buddy Rich provides the better more impressive performance. His levels are louder, his playing is pure manic brilliance, in contrast Max Roach ‘s performance while nuanced suffers from levels that are muted, and his playing while strong, seems a bit hesitant and halting.

Compare this to the alternate takes, released on this album, and here is the Max Roach, the genius, allowed off the leash. It’s a beautiful and haunting staccato rhythm he builds in the unused alternative takes, that turns this album, particularly those two songs, from a clear victory for Buddy Rich, as has been stated, to an impossible to call draw, between two of the best drummers in the business.

The reason for using the skewed take? Well this was largely a Buddy Rich financed Album, and it was 1959, and you were still playing to a nation that was largely still in the shadow of Jim Crow.

Whatever the reason, thanks to the 1986 cd and the alternate takes you can finally appreciate both of the legendary drummers at the top of their game.

Grade: A+! Highest Rscommendation!

This 1986 CD is almost sold out on Amazon, I strongly urge any lovers of great music, great stereo recordings, and great Jazz to pick up multiple copies of this CD, because without a doubt it makes a great gift and friends with taste will ‘borrow’ it.

And yes you could listen to this on MP3 via Itunes, but you could also listen to it with cotton stuffed in your ears. 🙂 .

MP3s are a great way to sample a bunch of music quickly and determine what you love and want to buy. But once determined, the MP3 format is not the format to buy it in. You need full uncompressed audio.

You need a well mastered CD, and RICH VS ROACH happens to be one of the best.

Get your CD here:Rich Versus Roach

This also happens to be one of the great stereo recordings, so it deserves to be heard with headphones on a great portable player. The one I personally use and recommend is :

Sylvania 9-Inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Player with 5 Hour Built-In Rechargeable Battery, USB/SD Card Reader, AC/DC Adapter

Enjoy!

CDs worth owning in the age of Itunes! 15 Favorite obscure CDs!


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ALAN MOORE : THE MOON AND SERPENT GRAND EGYPTIAN THEATRE OF MARVELS -A fantastic CD, oral dissection and tour of London of the Id. Alan Moore is analogous to Shakespeare in that like Shakespeare he is one of the greatest writers of a castigated medium (Shakespeare worked in the, during his life, little respected medium of plays, mass entertainment for the mobs; and Moore works in the medium of comic books/graphic novels), and arguably is not fully understood or appreciated out of that medium in his lifetime. His spoken word CDs are some of the most amazing and compelling, combining his love of topics but strange and obscure, married to his voice, which is one of the greatest and most haunting voices of our age. Moon & Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels

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DEATH : FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE – Rock/Proto-Punk – Turned on to this CD by the wonderful documentary A BAND CALLED DEATH. A great documentary and a great CD. For the Whole World to See

ABRAHAM BURTON QUARTET : CAUSE AND EFFECT – Was turned onto this CD by Amiri Baraka when I met him a few years back and bought his excellent hardcover book DIGGING THE AFRO AMERICAN SOUL OF CLASSICAL AMERICAN MUSIC. Cause and EffectDigging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music

CHE : NOT LIKE THEM – Caught this artist live performance years ago, and got this CD direct from him. It still remains one of the best CDs I own. An amazing performer who brings together Neo-soul, R&B, Rock, and some genres not invented yet, in a fun, head bobbing package.

TAALAM ACEY : BLUES RESURGENCE – Another artist I caught live, and got this CD direct from him. One of the greatest spoken word CDs. Blues Resurgence

MARK GROSS : RIDDLE OF THE SPHINX – I heard him play his title track in a dive bar, somewhere on the edge of the world, and purchased. A great purchase as it is one of the best Jazz Cds I’ve ever heard. Riddle of the Sphinx

AWADAGIN PRATT : A LONG WAY FROM NORMAL- My gold standard for classical piano CDs are the great Glenn Gould’s BACH THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS released by CBS Records and this lesser known, but no less great, album by Awadagin Pratt. A must own. Plays Liszt/Franck/Brahms/Bach

PARIS : THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT/SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY – I added these two CDs as one, because even though they are separated by decades, they are linked at the hip, by a fervor that is both mired in specific times, yet oddly time resistant. And a delivery… unequaled. The Devil Made Me Do It

TERRY CALLIER : SPEAK YOUR PEACE – Speak Your Peace

QUINCY JONES : IN COLD BLOOD – Soundtrack. Why on earth would anyone ever want the sound track to a movie? When I was young it made no sense to me. And to be truthful, for most movies and soundtracks I still feel that way. I’ve listened to a lot of not especially interesting soundtrack Records and CDs. And then one day I put on the LP to Cold Blood by Quincy Jones, a young Quincy Jones before he became the manager for the King of Pop, and settled into making pop and r&b albums. This young Quincy Jones was pushing how music could be used to elicit feelings and tell stories, and during the late 60s early 70s created some of the most experimental and haunting music ever conceived. IN COLD BLOOD remains the seminal instrumental work done not just by Quincy Jones, but by anyone. It was the first soundtrack album to open my eyes to the fact that the soundtrack can be a work of art onto itself. IN COLD BLOOD (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK LP, 1968)

JERRY GOLDSMITH : PLANET OF THE APES – Jerry Goldsmith has created mountains of Sound tracks, I don’t know if he has ever been more experimental or better than here. Planet Of The Apes: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Also Featuring Music From Escape From The Planet Of The Apes

JIMMY WILSON : FUTURE HISTORY – Future History

DON PEYOTE : BETWEEN WORLDS – A lot of people turn up their nose at the term New Age, rightly or wrongly I don’t know. What I do know is I’m in love with binaural effects, and CDs that, using just a headphone, can recreate a 360 degree environment. BETWEEN WORLDS does that brilliantly. A great CD to read or drift off to. Between Worlds with Hemi-Sync

STEVE USCHER : LA GUITARRA TROPICAL –

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IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE : REVOLUTIONARY VOL 2 – I have oft praised this CD. It should be required listening by people who want to hear what rap can be like… when it is about more than self grandizement and debasement.

Well hope you enjoyed that list of essential obscure CDs. Now I’m sure most of you in this age of Itunes have ditched your walkman, so how, you ask, do you play these cds? Well thankfully there are nice, compact, cost effective devices that allow you to take not only your cds but your dvds and other media with you when on the move. Here’s a link to one:

Sylvania Portable DVD Player SDVD7027-C, 7-Inch, Swivel Screen, Black

Enjoy!


BEST OF 2015: Album/CD of the Day… Oddisee’s THE GOOD FIGHT


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Oddisee’s THE GOOD FIGHT- After seeing numerous best of list in 2015 extolling Kendrick Lamar’s TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY I offer up THE GOOD FIGHT as a dissenting opinion. Good on any musician who can get accolades, but I’m of the mindset that the only thing good and creative about TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY is the title and that the actual album is juvenile and perhaps unnecessarily ignorant… to the point of stupidity.

There may be a positive message somewhere in TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY, but somewhere in the 15th N word this and F that, I became extremely bored. It was almost laughable, in that it seemed I was listening to a 14 year old that had just learned how to cuss and was doing it all the time, rather than an adult who should be able to put together a lyric or perhaps an entire song without the crutch of expletives.

And I know he is doing it because that is what his label wants him to do, what they want to sell to urban children as the extent of music, but it does a grand disservice to everyone.

It’s analogous to the comedian who goes on stage and does fart jokes, it may get a laugh or a chuckle when you’re a kid, just hearing it, but somewhere along the way you want more out of your humor than the lowest common denominator, You want wit, and perhaps a bit of wisdom. And the same for music, you get to the point where you want of your music, a bit of wit and wisdom.

THE GOOD FIGHT offers that bit of wisdom, delivered by a rapper with real skills and a social conscience, and the ability to sell his message without the crutch of constant cursing.

In any sane world you can not listen to the flow, the lyrics, the speed, the melody, the entire package that is Oddisee’s THE GOOD FIGHT and not rate it as not just the superior album by miles, but the superior performer. One is the work of an adult talking about you and me and the world striving toward better, and one is the petty ramblings about bitches and hos, not done particularly well.

The praise for TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY and the relative obscurity of THE GOOD FIGHT, perhaps indicative of a generation of children raised and sold on profanity over performance and mendacity over musicality. Well THE GOOD FIGHT is an excellent album for people raised on awful rap/gangsta ‘music’ to see what great Rap actually sounds like. Grade: B+.

Get your copy at the link below:
The Good Fight