Thursday, February 28, 2013

'Equinox' - John Coltrane

I was hearing this song over and over yesterday... fits the mellow mood I'm in.

This song was released in 1964 on the 'Coltrane's Sound' album, and features a bluesy feel in C#m and is filled with mystique.

Enjoy this standard and search for the stars.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Happy Birthday George Thorogood!

He broke a thousand hearts, and he'll a thousand more!

Here's a happy birthday cheer to blues-rock veteran George Thorogood, who's most well known song is, you guessed it, "Bad to the Bone".

So enjoy this song which was featured in Terminator 2:

Remembering Memphis Slim

Today in 1988, blues legend Memphis Slim passed away.

His piano and vocal skills were what made him one of the most prolific bluesmen, having over 500 recordings made and dozens of albums.

He is also remembered for the great live music sessions in Europe in the 70's where all were recorded for the whole world to enjoy.

He was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1989.

Here's his most known song, "Everyday I Have the Blues" live in 1962. Here's to you Memphis!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

'How Blue Can You Get' - The All Star Louisiana Gator Boys (Blues Brothers 2000)

If you have ever seen the movie, you know this song was one of the highlights; The Louisiana Gator Boys, comprised of some of the best blues and R n' B artists, are up against The Blues Brothers in a battle of the bands.

This song is one of BB King's signature tunes, and with all these artists on board, you know it can't get any more blue.

The Louisiana Gator Boys are:

B.B. King, Jeff Baxter, Gary U.S. Bonds, Eric Clapton, Clarence Clemons, Jacques de Johnette, Bo Diddley, Jon Faddis, Isaac Hayes, Dr. John, Tommy McDonnell, Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Preston, Lou Rawls, Joshua Redman, Koko Taylor, Travis Tritt, Jimmie Vaughan, Willie Weeks, Steve Winwood, and Grover Washington Jr.

Too bad the video can't be embedded; so click on the link and enjoy this great collaboration.

How Blue Can You Get - Louisiana Gator Boys

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A View of Jazz since the 1980s: Death, Rebirth & New Revolution

A great article has been posted on All About Jazz, written by Ian Patterson, called Death, Rebirth & New Revolution: A Personal View of Jazz since the 1980s.

I highly recommend reading this article as it sheds light on the ongoing jazz debate: IS jazz dead, or has it moved somewhere else?

Make sure you have time because it's pretty lengthy.

Happy Birthday Jimmy Yancey!

On this day in 1894, blues and boogie-woogie pianist James "Jimmy" Yancey was born.

He became very popular in the 40's, composing many songs and firing up the boogie-woogie piano style, mostly instrumentals. He had his wife Estelle record vocals with him on many tracks.

He died in 1951, but his musical legacy earned him a spot in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Here's an instrumental number called "The Mellow Blues'; happy birthday Jimmy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Mojolaters Blues Band on Watan TV

In 2011, The Mojolaters Blues Band (comprised of me, Aziz, and Toufic) were interviewed on Al-Watan TV. The video was available on their website as part of the entire show, but I found a video of just our segment on YouTube; so here's a flashback, in preparation of an upcoming announcement.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Blue Valentine's

Today again marks the happy (or not) occaision of Valentine's Day; the day millions of people profess their love for one another.

It is also a day where other millions resent being alone on this day, despite it being a shallow tradition.

And as always, it's a great day for Capitalism.

So to you lovers and loners out there, I dedicate Tom Wait's "Blue Valentine" to you:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Pink Anderson, the 'Pink' in Pink Floyd.

On this day in 1900, or 113 years ago, bluesman Pink Anderson was born in South Carolina.

His country blues and music was considered highly influential, to the point that legendary rock band Pink Floyd used his first name (and Floyd Council's first name) to create the name of the band.

While this legacy will remain forever, he was a great musician in his own right, having resurfaced in the 60's during the folk/blues revival.

Here's one of his older tracks called "Thousand Woman Blues":

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Winners of the Blues and Jazz Grammy Awards

Yesterday the 55th Grammy Awards took place. While it is a farcical ceremony that only cares for the multi-million dollar selling artists and the companies that push them, and the ever decreasing amount of care for non-pop genres of music, nonetheless below are the blues and jazz winners of the night; you can see the nominees [here].



Locked Down

Dr. John
Label: Nonesuch



Hot House

Gary Burton & Chick Corea, soloists
Track from: Hot House
Label: Concord Jazz



Radio Music Society

Esperanza Spalding
Label: Heads Up International



Unity Band

Pat Metheny Unity Band
Label: Nonesuch



Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You)

Arturo Sandoval
Label: Concord Jazz




The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band
Label: Clare Fischer Productions/Clavo Records

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Jack White to Release Obscure Blues Records on His Label


We all know that Jack White (formerly of The White Stripes) has a lot of blues influences, and that is evident on many of his songs.

Now, he has announced that he will release up to 25,000 songs that are owned by a Scottish blues label called Document Records, and they will all be remastered and released on vinyl.

White says:

"At one point in Detroit a whole Blues collection was dropped off at this vintage record store, so that's when I first bought a whole batch of Document records - Tommy Johnson, Ishman Bracey, Roosevelt Sykes… I'd never seen those records on vinyl before."

Not only that, but he will be releasing it for no profit at all, as he says: "At Third Man Records, we don't really care. We just want to create things that we want to see exist and if it breaks even, we're lucky - if not, it doesn't really matter."

I guess I'll need to purchase a vinyl player.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rare Third Photo of Robert Johnson Discovered

via The Guardian
Delta bluesman and legendary guitarist Robert Johnson was known for having only two known photographs of him, adding to his blues mystique.

Until now.

A third photograph has surfaced, and after forensic investigation, it has been confirmed that the man in the photo is really Robert Johnson.

According to The Guardian:

Forensic work on the photograph began in 2007, when Lois Gibson, who works with the Houston police department, analysed the features of the long-fingered figure holding the guitar. Gibson, who found the identity of the sailor kissing the nurse in the Life magazine photo of Times Square on VJ day the second world war ended, has ruled that "it appears the individual is Robert Johnson. All the features are consistent, if not identical." The only differences, she added, were due to the angle of the camera or the lighting.

This is truly a magnificent find, as this sheds more light on this fascinating figure, who was the main influence on many artists, from Muddy Waters to Eric Clapton and almost every musician really.

Read the full story [here] , and below is a Robert Johnson song called "Me and the Devil Blues", which is the basis of the legend of him selling his soul to the devil in exchange for becoming a great musician.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Remembering Gary Moore Two Years Later

Today marks the 2nd year anniversary of the death of guitar great Gary Moore, who died in 2011 on this day in Spain.

Gary Moore is mostly remembered for being in the guitarist with Thin Lizzy, and later on a blues master in his own right.

He performed with many major artists including BB King, The Beach Boys, Albert King and many others.

His soulful blues sound on his Les Paul made him a very popular artist of our day, and his album discography is wide ranging, from rock to blues and everything in between.

We remember Gary with this song, possibly his most popular, called "Still Got the Blues". RIP Gary!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Have Fun With the Word 'Jazz'

Gulf Jazz Fest 2013

Another year, another Gulf Jazz Fest in Kuwait.

You may remember how I wrote an article on Kuwait Music reviewing the 2011 event, and how I was pessimistic about the 2012 event. Basically, what I feel is that the artists are not playing enough "jazz" music, and that the exclusive 5 star hotel setting aimed at the social elite is not the right venue.

The line up this year is as follows, and it looks like my original assessment still stands:

There seems to be some sort of error on the official site, as it is mentioned that famous jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker will be performing, yet his name is not on the bill. Maybe this will be announced later? That might entice me to go and watch, but until then, I won't be going unless someone invites me ;)

Visit the official Gulf Jazz Fest website [here].

Monday, February 4, 2013

'In Your Own Sweet Way' - Miles Davis

I was shuffling through my music player in the car yesterday night when this song came on. That high pitched muted trumpet of Miles, the mellow tone of John Coltrane's sax,  and smooth piano of Red Garland just felt right on that cold Sunday evening.

This song is featured on the "Workin' With the Miles Davis Quintet" album from 1956, but is actually written by Dave Brubeck.

I hope you enjoy this ballady jazz tune like I did, and that it might remind you of a special someone.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, & Bo Diddley Join Forces

What do you get when you cross three of the best blues artists of all time?

The album 'The Super Super Blues Band' was released in 1968, as a follow up to the previous release called 'The Super Blues Band' which featured Muddy, Bo, and Little Walter.

This album features group renditions of their classic songs, including Muddy's 'Long Distance Call', Wolf's 'Spoonful', and Bo's 'Diddley Daddy'.

It features a breat back up band featuring Buddy Guy on bass, Hubert Sumlin on guitar, and Otis Spann on piano.

The result is an interesting take on these songs, and it's difficult to imagine these guys working together seeing they all had rivalries within Chess Records and as bluesmen, especially Muddy and Wolf.

Here's 'Going Down Slow', featuring Muddy Waters' signature slide guitar.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

'Moanin' - The Signature Hard Bop Tune

If anyone is to be associated with the hard bop sub-genre in Jazz, it's ambassador would be none other than Art Blakey and his band The Jazz Messengers.

Many jazz musicians evolved their sound from bebop to hard bop, and eventually moving on to either eccentric free jazz or to electric fusion / funk. Art Blakey however remained mostly in hard bop through his career.

This song, 'Moanin', the title track on the 1959 album of the same name, features heavy hitters trumpeter Lee Morgan, sax player Benny Goldon, bassist Bobby Timmons, and pianist Jymie Merritt, with Art on drums, deliver a high powered blues inspired riff that sets the mood and the genre on it.

Here's a live version from Belgium in 1958; prepare for some head boppin'!