Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Soul - Hope That We Can Be Together Soon

When I think about you, girl
Chills run up and down my spine
And if my wish would come true, girl
I'd be with you all the time
Wrong or right, day and night I'm gonna miss you
All my lonely heart seems to do

I hope that we can be together soon
(Maybe tomorrow)
I hope that we can be together soon
(Maybe tomorrow)
I feel that we can be together soon
But will you make it real soon
(I can't wait)
Can you make it real soon
(I can't wait)

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - Be For Real : Hope That We Can Be Together Soon 7" B-side

Find them both on To Be True.

Jazz Brunch Jam - California Concert

It's been a while since I've dropped a jazz brunch jam around here, about a month ago for those of you keeping track. That was to share the re-issue of Stanley Turrentine's Sugar. That release was part of the celebration of CTI's birth 40 years ago. Along with the remastering, and sweetening of the album with some bonus tracks, the label also released a handful of other of its masterpieces, including the live, all-star studded collection of artists on California Concert.

Here's the story behind the live album: back on July 18, 1971 at the historic Hollywood Palladium, only about a year after the label's formation, some of CTI's biggest stars gathered together billed as the CTI All-Stars for their first ever live performance. Included in the line-up were George Benson (guitar), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Hubert Laws (flute), Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax), Hank Crawford (alto sax), Johnny Hammond (on Fender Rhodes electric piano and his signature Hammond organ), Ron Carter (acoustic bass), Billy Cobham (drums) and Airto Moreira (congas & percussion). The combined talent was more than enough to fill the venue with some phenomenal jazz including some originals (like Stanley Turrentine's Sugar that I posted last month from his album), some re-interpreted pop covers (such as James Taylor's Fire and Rain and Carole King's It's too Late), and some originals written for this collaboration (Leaving West and Blues West).

The show was originally released as 2 LP set with five tracks. The re-issue that just came out includes those five songs along with an additional five from the show. That's right, TWICE the material! Also included in the package are some new liner notes penned by Bob Belden, a jazz musician and former A&R man for legendary Blue Note Records.

Visit this release's label CTI Records.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trippin' the Keys

One would be hard pressed to argue the guitar virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix. I mean, you just can't do it. His effects on music spanning multiple genres are countless. His legacy, while comparatively small, is simply unquestionable. Lighting guitars on fire, check. Re-interpreting our national anthem, check. A questionable death with plenty of conspiracy theories, check.

With all that said, the idea of an artist taking Hendrix's work and interpreting it for himself seems almost heretical. Then add on to that the the interpreting musician in question isn't even a guitarist, but a PIANIST, and you might be ready to reform the Spanish Inquisition. Enter the defendant: Josh Charles.

Charles has taken four of Hendrix's songs (Little Wing, All Along the Watchtower, Hey Joe, and Voodoo Child) and dramatically transformed them on his new (and free) EP, Trippin' the Keys: The Music of Jimi Hendrix. The only sounds you'll find on the EP are Charles' voice and his piano, and while the tracks clearly resemble the originals, in piano form they sound very much different. And the results are surprisingly good! It ain't Jimi, that goes without saying, but in its own way it's as exploratory as Jimi was with his music. Check out one of the EP's tracks below, then download the whole thing from Charles' website, and in the process you'll be in the running to win a Casio Privia keyboard.

Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace and Facebook.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's A Long Way Just To Say Hello

Down, down sleep now
Can’t you dream now?
Hear the wind blow
Outside your window

It’s so late now
It’s up to fate now
It’s a long way
Just to say hello

Your mind moves so fast
The day comes at last so slow

Your mind moves so fast
The day comes at last so slow

It goes like a spirit
You couldn’t hear it
Whisper your name
Now it’s all the same

I first picked up on Jesse Harris upon hearing his album Feel back in 2007. It's an album that I still listen to. I've also dug into his other work as well, although Feel remains a favorite. A few months ago, he released his latest, Through the Night, which I have yet to get, although I just checked out the song above in the video (and below for you to download). It's a mellow, thoughtful number that reminds me a lot of why I like him: personal yet open lyrics that offer weight hard to pin-point.

Jesse Harris - It's A Long Way Just To Say Hello : Through the Night

Visit his website, his label Mercer Street Records, and become his friend on MySpace and Facebook.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Soul - Hi-Heel Sneakers

Put on your red dress, baby
Ya know we're goin' out tonight
Put on your red dress, baby
Lord, we're goin' out tonight
And-a bring along some boxin' gloves
In case some fool might wanna fight

Tommy Tucker - Hi-Heel Sneakers : Hi-Heel Sneakers 7"

Tommy Tucker - I Don't Want 'Cha : Hi-Heel Sneakers 7" B-side

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Soul - Cry to Me

Nothing, nothing can be sadder
Than one glass of wine alone
You tell me that loneliness
Loneliness is such a waste of time

And I know, I know you don't ever
Have to walk alone,  you see
You can come on and take my hand baby
And walk with me, yeah, listen

When you're waiting
For a voice to come
Late in the midnight hour
And there is no one

Don't you feel like crying (cry to me)
Don't you feel like crying (cry to me)
Come on baby and cry to me

Freddie Scott - Cry to Me : Cry to Me 7"

Freddie Scott - No One Could Ever Love You : Cry to Me 7" B-side

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Touchable Sound

"Record sleeves were my only version of fine art for the first two-thirds of my life. I'm not taking some postironic, double-take, ha-ha, deconstructionist, anti-art-establishment-bullshit stance. I mean, this was my art - these images moved me, and the great sleeves had as much impact as the music contained within. They gave a glimpse into worlds and ideas that were nowhere near where I lived." - Tom Hazelmyer

While nothing revolutionary, the 7" single medium continues to stick around and remain relevant to the art of music. It's still just 7" across (roughly, give or take), it still usually has just two songs on it, and you still need one of those archaic record players (or phonograph, or turntable, or wheel of steel, or whatever other term you want to call it) to listen to it on, and yet... and yet after the demise of numerous other types of musical delivery (8-tracks, cassettes, MiniDiscs, etc...) it still holds on.

First released in 1949, the 45 presented an alternative method for bands both young and old to release material. For new bands, it was an affordable way to get their music out there, make an impression, and potentially get enough traction to put together a long playing 12" (or LP for those keeping score). Hence the fascination of crate diggers combing the planet in search of songs put out by small-time, local recording companies, or even the bands themselves. The Numero Group is a perfect example of this; they specialize in unearthing old labels' stories and music and compiling it all into a filling package of musical tastiness that feels like a history lesson (one you want to actually learn). For older, established groups it gave the labels another way of making money off of their catalog of hits. And of course, in both cases, it provided the means to listen to a larger array of music in jukeboxes (earlier jukeboxes played a very limited selection of larger, full sized records - usually 8 or 10).

All of this brings me to Touchable Sound: A Collection of 7-inch Records from the USA. In this age of mp3s, one of the quickly dissappearing aspects of music is the art of its packaging. This isn't just lyrics, session musicians' names, and song writers' credit; it's also pictures, cover art, and the artist's conveyance of purpose. An album cover sometimes went beyond being sheer protection for its contents, and instead became an extension of the album, an artistic statement of its own. An example that hopefully all can relate to: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which had an iconic cover image on a gatefold as well as cut out inserts. Thankfully, this art form hasn't given up the ghost yet, and pockets of this creative inventiveness can be found if you know where to look for them. Touchable Sound knows where to look.

It's not meant to be read front to back. Rushed through casually nor picked apart like War and Peace. The book itself is a work of art, and as such you'll find yourself approaching it and appreciating it in ways different than you'd a typical tome. It's divided up by regions of the country, with a selection of representative works presented from labels in each region. For each release it shares information about it including the artist, songs, label, year released, designer, and production methods. Sometimes you'll see both the sleeve and the vinyl itself, other times one or the other.

 And as you look through them, you'll be amazed and captivated at the expansive range of creativity some artists bring to what was originally intended to be merely a protective piece of cardboard. Interspersed amonst the image are essays written by some of those whose work graces these pages (including the lead-off quote by Tom Hazelmyer, founder of Amphetamine Reptile Records) about the art of the cover, how they were introduced to it, the various processes they experimented with to achieve the desired effects, etc.

It's a book to spend time with. To look at, appreciate, then come back to again. For those people who music is more than just a collection of notes, this book is right up their alley. It was put together by the creative minds over at Soundscreen Design, and can be ordered HERE, either for yourself, or as a holiday present for someone special on your list.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday Soul - Stand By Me

Well sometimes I feel
that all a my tryin'
was all in vain
I don't think I can
last much longer,
'till I see your face again, whoa whoa

If I could just
hold your hand
and I know that you would a-
understand whoa
I need you darlin' to stand by me, stand by me

Junior Parker - Stand By Me : Stand By Me 7"

Junior Parker - I'll Forget About You : Stand By Me 7" B-side