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How To Fix That Death Waltz Record Cover

How To Fix That Death Waltz Record Cover

Jan 27, 2013 | One Comment

Death Waltz is a record label from the UK that specializes in re-releasing classic cult soundtracks on vinyl. Their impressive catalog includes House of the Devil, Escape From New York, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Halloween II and III, Donnie Darko, Prince of Darkness, The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue and more. For these, the company solicits great artists to conceive and design new cover artwork, all of which is outstanding—see above.

There’s just one problem. The label takes this beautiful art, shrinks it, and surrounds it in a style sheet of a blue circle with the Death Waltz logo prominent in the corner.

Live Review: Jessie Ware at the Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco

Live Review: Jessie Ware at the Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco

Jan 26, 2013 | No Comments

At the start of her packed show Thursday night in San Francisco, Jessie Ware’s token platitudes for the city of San Francisco started out as just that—expected banter from a touring musician, repeated hundreds of times over. By the end of the show, though, after constant affection showered upon the breakout UK star from an adoring crowd, her city-crush on San Francisco rose to fever pitch. Then, when someone handed her a bouquet of roses, Ware completely lost it.

“Oh my Gooooooodddddd!!” she wailed, in thick British accent. “This really is our favorite city!”

Ware’s full-length album Devotion still hasn’t been officially been released in the United States, whatever that means in the year 2013; everyone at the Rickshaw Stop seemed to know nearly every song. Opening with the title track, Ware and her rock-solid band emitted a slow pulse, built it to a climax and, as Ware sang loudly away from the mic, pushed the song into transcendence. It was a formula that would be repeated throughout the night, but never felt, well, formulaic.

2013 Healdsburg Jazz Festival Lineup Announced!
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2013 Healdsburg Jazz Festival Lineup Announced!

Jan 11, 2013 | No Comments

It’s gonna be a Charlie Haden kind of weekend opening the Healdsburg Jazz Festival this year, with big names like Ravi Coltrane, Lee Konitz, Jason Moran, Charles Lloyd, Fred Hersch, Bill Frisell and many, many more performing at the best little jazz festival in the world running May 31–June 9.

Haden, who made his name with Ornette Coleman‘s famed quartet, will be the subject of a two-day tribute on June 1-2 featuring his Liberation Music Orchestra with Carla Bley and his Quartet West with Ravi Coltrane. Who else is playing the opening weekend? Try atmospheric guitar phenom Bill Frisell, invigorating pianist Geri Allen, saxophone legend Lee Konitz, Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubacalba and more.

The second weekend sees Healdsburg favorite Charles Lloyd teaming up with personal fave Jason Moran in a duo setting, the Fred Hersch Trio, the Marcus Selby Orchestra with the HJF Freedom Jazz Choir and others.

Many of the headliners this year have played in Healdsburg before and are returning to the festival, but one name’s new: Lee Konitz, who made his name with Lennie Tristano and pioneered much of the “cool” jazz sound that would go on to revolutionize the music. He conducted a student workshop at SSU in 2010, and though it was a little bit unusual, his tone and conception were as good as ever.

For more info. and ticket information as it comes along, see the festival website.

 

Here Is Basically Every Text Being Sent Right Now
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Here Is Basically Every Text Being Sent Right Now

Jan 11, 2013 | No Comments

Yes, it’s true: there will be a hasty but spectacular reunion of Destiny’s Child crammed somewhere in the middle of Beyoncé’s Superbowl halftime show.

Furthur’s Fax-In Ticket Lottery for the Sweetwater Music Hall
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Furthur’s Fax-In Ticket Lottery for the Sweetwater Music Hall

Jan 4, 2013 | No Comments

Furthur, the Grateful Dead offshoot band featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, has announced four nights at Weir’s teeny-tiny Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on Jan. 16, 17, 18 and 19. In keeping with recent Weir/Lesh price points in Marin County, general admission tickets are $150; VIP tickets, including dinner, a “full hour of free beer and wine” and a signed poster, are $300. Think of the four-night stand as a swanky afterglow to the band’s packed three-night run at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium last week.

Here’s the thing: tickets go on sale today… by fax. Yes, you read that right. In order to be entered into the lottery for the chance to buy tickets, hopeful fans need to fill out this page online and then click “submit form”… uh, print it out, I guess, and fax it to (415) 868-9819.

By fax? This is weird. I mean, is it so there’s an analog trail of ticket requests instead of a more easily hackable digital trail? I’ve always thought it was great that the Dead ran a mailorder lottery for their NYE shows back in the day; honestly, I think it’d be easier for fans to address an envelope and put a stamp on it in the year 2013 than it would be to drag a clunky piece of dead technology out of the closet, dust it off, plug it in and send a fax.

Send your own theories to me by fax at (707) 527-1288.

Watch Patti Page in 2010 Singing “Tennessee Waltz” at a Senior Expo
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Watch Patti Page in 2010 Singing “Tennessee Waltz” at a Senior Expo

Jan 3, 2013 | No Comments

The great Patti Page died today at age 85. She was a singer I loved, whose albums on Mercury are mainstays in my easy listening, and whose song “Let Me Go, Lover” changed my life one night on 960-KABL AM while driving back from San Francisco at 1:45 in the morning.

So it warmed my heart tonight, while searching YouTube for later-era live performances, to find this footage of Patti Page singing “Tennessee Waltz” for a group of seniors in 2010. (It appears to be her latest-uploaded live clip, just after this appearance on Eat Beluga, a television show from the Philippines.) Here she is, a legend who sold millions of records, who would have accepted a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award next month, who could easily rest on her laurels, and instead she’s bringing some sunshine to people who surely remember her in the twilight of their own lives.

Think You Know About Music, Huh?

Think You Know About Music, Huh?

Jan 2, 2013 | No Comments

If you’re like me, you woke up on New Years Day and listened to the ultimate soothing hangover cure album, 20 Jazz Funk Greats by Throbbing Gristle.

If you’re not like me, you were probably paying attention to more popular music throughout the year 2012. Good news for you, then! Every year I compile a pop music quiz for you, the oh-so-smart CSI reader, eager to test your attention span for music (which, as the here-today-gone-tomorrow spotlight on Lana Del Rey taught us this year, is sometimes very short).

Sharpen your pencils and take the quiz here. Answers are at the bottom. And give yourself one extra point if you never made yourself look silly by doing the “Gangnam Style” dance in public.

(Keyboard image via Shutterstock)

Gabe’s Top 20 Shows of 2012

20 Shows I Saw In 2012 But Never Reviewed Here, Now Reviewed In Three Sentences Each

Dec 31, 2012 | No Comments

Katy B at the Rickshaw Stop: “Katy On A Mission” is a hell of song. The rest, not so much, but Katy B bounced around the stage, was effervescent, etc. This show is memorable mostly for a) going to Roosevelt Tamale Parlor on 24th for the first time ever and b) hearing M83’s “Midnight City” played very loudly on club speakers.

Demdike Stare and Andy Stott at Public Works: A girl yelled “You’re the worst DJs in the world! I hate you!” repeatedly at Demdike Stare for 15 whole minutes. Andy Stott went on at 2:40am. I got a parking ticket, but it was worth it.

Aretha Franklin at the Nokia Theater: The last time Aretha played the Bay Area was 1978, so I stopped holding my breath and took a plane to Los Angeles for this, a great, great show that opened with the barn-burning “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher” and ended, of course, with “Respect.” The whole time, I thought about how Aretha was born in this run-down house in Memphis, then had a baby at age 14, then recorded her first record, and then had a baby again at age 15, which according to conventional wisdom should have derailed her whole life but LOOK AT HER NOW, an undisputed legend. Smokey Robinson was there, and walked slowly right by me, and I was speechless.

Trey Songz at the Oakland Arena: When you are headlining an arena show, it’s not a good idea to interrupt your set five songs in to show a commercial, for god’s sake. It’s also not a good idea to perform only a snippet of the great “Neighbors Know My Name.” There was a fight on the street below the BART platform afterward, and I went to Home of Chicken and Waffles at midnight to cheer myself up.

Justin Townes Earle at the Wells Fargo Center: A tall, rail-thin songwriter with a tilted hat who affectedly jerks and lurches like he has bugs in his clothes and mumble-sings like a less-drunk Conor Oberst. Plucks and pops the strings hard, especially while playing Lightnin’ Hopkins covers. Ended his set with a very touching song about his mom, and in the space between the song’s last chord and the rousing applause, you could hear audible gasps all around you.

Gabe’s Top 25 Jazz Discoveries of 2012

Gabe’s Top 25 Jazz Discoveries of 2012

Dec 31, 2012 | 4 Comments

I’m always digging for old jazz albums at record stores and thrift shops, and for all the love I have for contemporary popular music, I’m usually listening to jazz while at home. I rarely have any reason to write about these records, though, which is why I round up the best of what came across my turntable at the end of every year. (Should you be so inclined, here are my lists from 2009, 2010 and 2011.) These are not new jazz records—just old stuff that I never discovered before.

Linked throughout these descriptions are links to YouTube clips; I hope you’ll click around and find some new music to enjoy. Or, hit up your local record store! We’re also lucky to be in the midst of the great Healdsburg Jazz Festival, and, down in the city, SFJAZZ and Yoshi’s, all presenting jazz how it’s best experienced—live.

Enjoy!

Charles Earland – Leaving This Planet

I thought I knew Charles Earland. (Side Two of Black Talk, featuring the schmaltz-reclamation of “The Age of Aquarius” and “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday”? Flawless!) But nothing could have prepared me for Leaving This Planet, which leads off with the title track, a dancefloor killer: “I’m gonna lee-ee-eave this planet, with all the trouble that’s in it,” sings Rudy Copeland. The outer-space theme continues with titles like “Warp Factor 8” and “Mason’s Galaxy,” and Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard do their thing over a lot of ARPs, Moogs, Harvey Mason killing it on drums and other wild sounds engineered by Eddie Harris in the Berkeley, CA of 1973. Highly recommended.

Rusty Bryant – Fire Eater

Behold, I give unto you, the “Fire Eater” drum break. Idris Muhammad, ladies and gentlemen. You can let your imagination run wild on how many times I picked the needle up on this and replayed it the day I found it. The bass drum and the toms have the world’s most violent arm wrestling match with the cymbals cheering them on, and then the beat drops back down and the snare’s like, “It’s cool, I’m just rolllllllling through.” You better believe it’s been sampled like crazy. I have a friend who was bugging out even harder over it, and he’s an actual DJ, so I traded it to him for…

Steve Grossman – Some Shapes To Come

…which has some fine drum breaks on it, too. But I was into the Steve Grossman LP for the nutzoid remainer, which erects much through destruction. The tones on this album are distorted, the piano is electric, the rhythms sound like a herd of antelope running across hard pavement. Adventurous, strange, and on some unknown label from New Jersey. I don’t know much else about Steve Grossman, other than he played on A Tribute to Jack Johnson and some other Miles Davis albums you probably don’t listen to very often. But this one’s killer, through and through.

Duke Edwards & The Young Ones – Is It Too Late?

When you’re playing the “Name A Jazz Album That Needs To Be Reissued” game, you can’t do much better than this. Duke Edwards and his band lived in Montreal, and had the weight of the world on their shoulders when they recorded this freeform, socio-political masterpiece. Edwards delivers sermons, entreaties and tortured personal manifestos over loosely-structured but not too-out music. Filled with soul and tears, “Is It Too Late?” evokes all the anguish for the human race and tumult of 1968 in one perfect 14-minute track. It’s not on YouTube anywhere, but this, from the same album, gives you an idea.



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