From the Archives: Chicago Jazz Scene, Turn of the Century

poster from 2nd Jazz and Improvised fest at Empty Bottle Chicago 1998It’s often dawned on me that my early scribblings on the web may someday disappear without a trace yet I continuously forget to archive said posts — for posterity if nothing else. Well today I listened to this blistering set from last week’s Newport Jazz Festival and was transported to ten years ago, Empty Bottle, Tuesday night Vandermark Five sessions and the frenetic rhythm from the band set up living room style disrupting the magic in the air. Love how that sound pumps through my veins and so does the rest of the world.

Ken Vandermark continues blazing trails across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East while basing himself in Chicago with many of the same cats. I keep up with Ken via his daily Twitter and Facebook updates which highlight the daily undertakings of a creative troubadour in brief, diary-like entries. I still subscribe to the chi-improv Yahoo! group for sentiment. Little has changed in Chicago I imagine — although my visits are too rare. (Save for the tragic death of Malachi Ritscher and the recent passing of Fred Anderson). Still a few active venues and occasional improv backrooms shifted throughout the town and Peter Brötzmann, Ab Baars and the finest European improvisers still come over almost every year and the Chicago contingent of the Tentet visits Europe at least once a year.

Thanks to NPR for recording this set by Vandermark’s Powerhouse Sound combo and making it available for download, you can listen to it right here.

Powerhouse Sound features Vandermark on reeds with longtime collaborator Nate McBride on electric bass; Jeff Parker, guitar and John Herndon, drums – both of whom are known for their work with Tortoise.

Below, three articles I wrote in 1998 for Centerstage.net relating to the Chicago Jazz scene. Still buried in some closet — minidiscs of interviews that I conducted with several of the players for a piece I never completed. There’s a nice long interview with Fred Anderson there and hopefully i’ll find it and when I do I’ll post it for all to share.

Poster above by Dan Grzeca via this webpage Continue reading “From the Archives: Chicago Jazz Scene, Turn of the Century”

Suggest Songs for Gulf Coast Benefit Mixes!

Like many on the #CitizenGulf team, I’m powered in part by listening to a great deal of music. Now that we’re focused on raising funds for the families of the fishermen whose livelihoods are affected by the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, we must look to the sounds of the Gulf Coast and the Louisiana Bayou for inspiration and motivation.

Here is the first in a series of digital mixtapes. I’d love your input and suggestions on upcoming mixes. You can suggest a song very easily:

  1. Go to Blip.fm (login or register)
  2. Search for a song and click “Blip”
  3. Include @gulfbenefit in the text and/or #CitizenGulf

Can’t find it on Blip.fm? You can also tweet a song to us via Grooveshark, Twt.fm, Song.ly, or Tinysong.

For more information on #CitizenGulf Gulf Coast Benefit’s August 25th National Day of Action visit gulfcoastbenefit.com.

Love it Live

tokimonstaAnyone who knows me quickly finds out that I am a live music junkie. I don’t have a problem, per se, but I do go out to see bands perform multiple times each week. Last night was one of those excellent, multiphonic nights that reminds me why it’s so important to live in a large cultural hub such as Los Angeles.

Over the course of a couple hours I saw two bands and three electronic beat mixer-uppers (DJs, I guess we call them) all within a couple miles of my Echo Park home. Money well spent on a broad experiential night. Everest tore up the Bootleg Theater, and later I caught the final three beatmasters at Proximal Records Proximity One: Narrative of a City (listen below) Release Party: Sahy Uhns, TOKiMONSTA, and Daedelus. I was torn between going to one show or the other and was ecstatic to have the timing to get the best of both worlds. It helped that a small lighting fire at The Echo set the show back a half hour or so.

I got a few decent photos. Plus see below for a list of podcasts and websites that I check regularly to get my fill of live music (video and audio) when I’m not at the show myself. People talk about digital downloads and physical music. Physical music for me means hearing it live. Feeling it.

Continue reading “Love it Live”

Listen: Inspiration to Innovate

multitasking, keeping it fresh, summer 2007Over the past few years I’ve realized that I’m not absorbing new music quite like I used to. I continue to discover and accumulate new music constantly, however, I’m not listening as closely. I used to make mixes quite regularly, dating back to the late 80s and early 90s, when I used my trusty dual cassette boombox.

Over the past decade I’d consistently update my Live365 station and spend my days listening to that. There are hundreds of songs that I’ll never get sick of listening to. And, yes, I still listen to a lot of the stuff that you hate and vice versa.

In order to keep my work, creativity, and spirit fresh and on an innovative tip, I feel the need to put forth a more concerted effort to discover and absorb that which informs and inspires me. Hearing, seeing, discovering something for the first time is an entirely different sensation than celebrating that which is proven, known, and comfortable. Innovation is a two-way street and it’s the adventurousness of discovering and absorbing that drives and inspires me.

I’m still hearing a lot of the same music in my subconscious that I’ve been hooked on for the past five to ten years. I went stream of consciousness in curating this mix and what’s apparent listening back to it is that a big part of the musical me is stuck in 2005. To some extent I think it’s lazy to stick with what’s comfortable. It’s outwardly redundant and certainly not innovative. It’s the five year anniversary of my last mix – Extraordinary Renditions (Aug 2005). Five years ago I picked up and drove my Civic out to Los Angeles with my dad to take on grad school and get where I am today.

So here goes, I mixed it all up into one track this time the playlist is below – listen / grab it.

Continue reading “Listen: Inspiration to Innovate”

Facebook Apps on Profile and Red Ink

facebook ilike red tape inkApps like Cow Clicker would seem to be proof enough that the Facebook application marketplace is ridiculously oversaturated, but no — even Facebook itself can’t seem to keep up with the glut of apps old and new.

Every few weeks I come across a Facebook App on my profile, a page, or elsewhere, that is littered with red ink. The most popular splotch tends to be the warning that the iLike player (also known as the Facebook music player in spite of being acquired by MySpace last year) will soon disappear from your profile page. It’s said that for almost a year and… nothing.

A few months ago Facebook teased new Eventbrite integration — actually incorporating the Eventbrite payment system into the process of setting up a FB event, only to quietly pull the feature (which was functional at best) almost immediately. And the months go by…

causes app to leave profile box in august facebookNow it’s Causes, a platform that has grown with Facebook from the start. (Causes co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker apparently plays a prominent role in the forthcoming Facebook movie – Justin Timberlake plays the part.)

Whether or not the profile box really disappears in a couple weeks likely won’t upset anyone too much, however, the ugliness of the red tape over the badge (and the persistence of the iLike warning) ain’t pretty. And what’s with covering the actual cause campaign with a “Keep Causes on Your Profile” badge? It only instructs the user to add a tab. Essentially this means that eventually…. we might be looking at forced scarcity of apps that we can include on the main page of our profile. We’ll just have to wait and find out.

Have you seen other apps out there with similar “red tape” or red ink that never seem to go away?