Facebook has been abuzz in the last few days with this moronic “Influential Albums” quiz, which users must hand over their personal information in order to take, and then watch as the app automatically posts the results on their wall. Strike one. Also, the 100 albums deemed “influential” are nearly all rock. Strike two. Finally, the mere existence of a list purporting to encompass the 100 most “influential” albums with the implication that if you don’t own these albums you are a substandard music listener is total bullshit and everyone knows it and I feel stupid even getting worked up about it because that’s what these trolling lists are designed to do in the first place but fuck it. Strike three. You know what your most influential albums are? ALL THE ALBUMS YOU OWN, HOLMES. (That’s coming from someone who owns a lot of these albums.)
So anyway, if you want to know what some guy with a computer decided are the most “influential” albums, here’s the list: (more…)
Enter to win Slightly Stoopid’s newest album, “Top Of the World” along with other great fan prizes!
To enter all you gotta do is log in to your Twitter account, follow @NBayBohemian and upload your best Instagram photo from tonight’s concert at the Mystic Theater. Use the “Mystic Theater” location and include the following tags: #SlightlyStoopid with #NBayBohemian
Our favorite photos will be chosen Monday evening and posted on North Bay Bohemian social media sites. All winners will be notified by email to their Twitter accounts. Good luck!
By now, perhaps you’ve heard about, read about or even seen the construction of the new SFJAZZ Center on the corner of Franklin and Fell Streets in San Francisco. Now complete, the 35,000-sq.-ft. building is poised to redefine live jazz in the Bay Area, as it’s funded largely by private donations and handily dispenses with the tables-and-waitresses, two-drink minimum nightclub model.
After the SFJAZZ Center was announced, entirely valid concerns rose about the “museumification” of jazz. Jazz has always thrived in nightclubs—or, for that matter, seedy bars. Charles Mingus’ famous remarks about nightclub chatter notwithstanding, a certain amount of cultural globetrotting is present when the blues is played on the stage of a $64 million performing arts center.
I’m happy to report that the SFJAZZ Center strikes just the right balance between nightclub and theater. Cup holders allow the audience to bring drinks in from the bar, but nobody drops a credit card tray in front of you while the headliner is in the middle of a particularly engrossing solo. The sound, notably, is stunning, thanks to architect Mark Cavagnero and acoustician Sam Berkow. And as a mini-amphitheater set in the semi-round, with a steeply raked floor, the hall is very intimate—capacity is 700, but feels much smaller than that. There are no seats further than 50 feet from the stage. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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.
It is a talented artist who can transport listeners from sitting poolside under a warm Barcelona sky to wandering a mystical forest in northern England, all in span of one album. Welcome to the auditory intricacies of Bonobo.
Simon Green, better known as Bonobo, is steadily perfecting his aptitude for transference. Emerging from Britain in the early 2000’s, the trip hop DJ, producer and composer is known as one of UK’s downtempo pioneers, melding ambient electronica with hyper modified instrumentals and beautifully soulful vocalists.
Building on an early digital background, Bonobo has embraced the electronica live-band movement. He is creating a personalized style that is both experimental and selected with care. At times, his band consists of up to 9 members, bringing studio-quality tracks to life on stage. While some of the instrumentation is easily recognizable, other parts are harder to pick out. Harp and bells on “Noctuary” from the album Dial ‘M’ for Monkey build an ambient, almost ethereal soundscape. Though one might be hard-pressed to notice the nylon guitar and ukulele on Black Sands’ “Stay the Same”. Speaking to NPR about his methods, Bonobo says: “I want to try and be as representative of the process as I can. Rather than just playing back samples and sounds from a laptop, I try and break it down to the original parts that went into the process.”
Bonobo’s sophomore record, Dial ‘M’ for Monkey (2003), is a full-bodied journey into electronic soul music. Upbeat tempos keep pace on funky dance tracks like “D-Song”, adding in keys and heavy snare. “Change Down” comes across with a jazzier flavor. All this sauce lasts about a third of the way into the tracks, changing up in linear fashion towards a more liquid flow as the song progresses. “Nothing Owed” is the real gem of the album, a sonic assemblage of Latin beats and graceful horns; it is a mellow serenade with a feel that’s Pink Floyd meets Federico Aubele. If you appreciate complex, overlapping genres spun into “chill out”, you’ll love the entire album.
Bonobo released Black Sands in the spring of 2010. It is a tighter, more break-beat driving project, and heavy on samples from the different world music traditions. Mixing Asian string melodies with synth keys on “Kiara”, he switches up with undeniable American soul on “The Keeper”. Bonobo has a strong talent for blending house beats, complex bass lines, and classic rhythms. His selection of vocalists is equally brilliant, namely Andreya Triana a London-born gospel funktress who adds sexy sophistication to the live band. A favorite is the hip hop remix of “Eyesdown” with Andreya and DELS off 2012’s Black Sands Remixed album. The downbeat, lounge nature of this album is closer to drum and bass, looped and layered, abstract and emotional.
Delve into Bonobo’s visionary soundscapes at Juke Joint, this Thursday, January 10th @ 9pm, $5-$25 at Hopmonk, 230 Petaluma Avenue, Sebastopol, (707) 829-7300
Plunging to the depths of despair, like a junkie experiencing his first hit of self-realization, the piece at times makes it difficult to keep listening. Though harmonious, the music takes dark turn after dark turn. It holds you against the wall while you watch everything you love burn before your eyes, with no way to help or even turn away. It’s really heavy stuff.
But Tchaikovsky’s symphony somehow flutters out of this terror, and shows that there is beauty in the world. Life is still worth living, and you leave feeling empowered because you’ve been through the worst life can give and still came out on top. It’s one of my desert island pieces of music. It’s referred to as “pathétique” not because it’s deserving of pity, but because it is compassionate and moving.
To hear this live would be great, but to hear this with the Marin Symphony and guest violinist Nigel Armstrong is going to be awesome. I saw this local kid play with the American Philharmonic (or was it the Cotati Philharmonic at that time?) in his teens and was amazed. He was young but had an evident understanding of the music, to say nothing of his technical ability. To see him now that he’s 21 would certainly be something special.
The Marin Symphony plays Sunday, Jan. 20 at 3pm and Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $10 to $70. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. www.marinsymphony.org.
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.