Archive for the ‘Count Basie’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 4, 2021] King Crimson

This show was originally scheduled at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, which would have been an amazing place to see King Crimson.  The sound would have been incredible, and it’s only 30 minutes from my house.  When this was first rescheduled, it appeared that they’d be playing at the Count Basie in Red Bank, which would have been fine–great sound, but a further drive.  Then it wound up at PNC Bank Center, which has less great sound, but is a nice venue and is very easy to get to.

A few days before the show I heard an ad on the radio that said this was King Crimson’s final tour. I hadn’t heard that before.  And maybe if they had originally played in 2020, they might have done another stretch into 2021…who knows.  Anyhow, an article recently said that yes, this was probably the final tour, but they didn’t want to make a big deal about it.  So it’s possible that this will be my final King Crimson show (five times in eight years is pretty good–especially for King Crimson).

The last few times King Crimson has played two 90 minute sets.  But this time they had the Zappa Band opening for them.  Which meant that they’d do only one set.  Sadly, for the same amount of money.  But oh well.  What this meant was that they did a 90 minute set that almost felt like a greatest hits (of the last few tours) package.

I decided to splurge somewhat for this show–not paying for a VIP, sorry Robert–but I was reasonably close and more or less in the middle.

The back row has remained consistent throughout these tours: Tony Levin (bass, Stick, keyboards this time, too); Mel Collins (saxes, flutes); Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals), and of course, Robert Fripp (guitar and more).  From this vantage point I could see everyone very clearly, which was ideal.  A very obnoxious couple sat down next to me but there were, thankfully, two empty seats on the other side of me so I slid over and was able to sit between the heads of the two people in front of me for an unobstructed view.  The obnoxious couple left mid set…huh. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: VERVE-Remixed Christmas (2008).

One of my favorite Christmas CDs is the Christmas Remixed discS (1 and 2) which adds some fun beats and loops to some old standards.  Generally speaking I don’t love remixes.  They are usually just longer with louder, danceable drums.  Although remixing old songs does tend to modernize them, which I do like.

I was pretty excited to see that Verve records has made one as well, using their back catalog.  I assumed it would be just as wild and fun.  But it turns out either Verve has very few Christmas songs in its back catalog or the remixers are kind of low on ideas.

I’m also fairly surprised at just how few actual Christmas songs are here.

1. Count Basie “Good Morning Blues” (Real Tuesday Weld Clerkenwell Remix)
This is probably my favorite track on the disc.  It’s got a fun looping piano melody which is added to by a trumpet and some strange sound effects. This is in fact a Christmas song, I wonder why it’s not sung more.
2. Louis Armstrong-“Zat You, Santa Claus?” (The Heavy Remix).
There’s heavy winds blowing which may be in the original.  Overall it feels like there’s not that much remixing going on.  Still a fun song.
3. Ella Fitzgerald-“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” (Magini Vs. Pallin Mix).
It starts distant and muffled then bursts through via harps.  The music is definitely different, but not crazy or anything. I’m assuming the only remixed element is the bigger drums that come in.  It’s a fine version, but nothing especially fun.
4. Billie Holiday-“I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” (Yesking Remix).
There’s a Jamaican element to this song, including a guy with a heavy accent shouting.  That whole reggae element is an interesting twist.
5. Louis Armstrong-“What A Wonderful World” (The Orb Remix) 
The intro is looped.  After several loops complete with shushing sounds, an electronic bass comes in with loud drums in a regular loop.  But the vocals are  pretty much the same.  This is of course not a Christmas song by any stretch of the definition.
6. Shirley Horn “Winter Wonderland” (Christian Prommer Remix)
This is made bouncy with a slightly funky bass line and kind of sultry drums. Slowed down with a funky slightly bass line. Vocals are slow and trippy.  The vocals sort of don;t work either–they feel like more of an afterthought.
7. Jimmy Smith “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (Oh No Remix)
This is the most radical song on the disc.  The bass is crazy, the tone is crazy.  The whole thing has a kind of sinister feel.  I love the whole thing.  There’s some keyboard soloing, some menacing horns riffs and no vocals.  It’s wonderful how much this doesn’t sound like the song and yet you can tell that what it originally was.
8. Nina Simone “I Am Blessed” (Wax Tailor Remix) 
This opens with vinyl crackling.  A funky drum is added, but otherwise I don’t think much has been modified.  It’s a pretty song and the drums add to it, but it is not a Christmas song.
9. Dinah Washington “Silent Night” (Brazilian Girls Remix)
This is a full on dance song with a kind of conga rhythm.  Dinah is mostly just repeating “silent night, holy night” with no other vocals.  Normally I don’t like messing with this song, because it is so beautiful.  But Brazilian Girls has deconstructed the song so much that I now rather like it,
10 Mel Tormé “The Christmas Song” (Sonny J Remix)
The Velvet Fog is accompanied by some electronic and techno beats.  His voice is reduced to a loop of “know how to fly” for much of the song although his other verses do come through from time to time.  They manipulate his voice in interesting ways too.  I rather like this one.
11. Nina Simone “Chilly Winds” (Fink Remix) 
Quiet looping of piano and repeats of “chilly winds don’t blow.”   This is also not a Christmas song and seems the largest stretch, except that the winds are cold.

So there are certainly some fun songs here, but overall, it’s far less successful than the other remixes.

= Not a Christmas song.

[READ: December 11, 2018] “Mister Elephant”

Once again, I have ordered The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my third time reading the Calendar (thanks S.).  I never knew about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh).  Here’s what they say this year

Fourth time’s the charm.

After a restful spring, rowdy summer, and pretty reasonable fall, we are officially back at it again with another deluxe box set of 24 individually bound short stories to get you into the yuletide spirit.

The fourth annual Short Story Advent Calendar might be our most ambitious yet, with a range of stories hailing from eight different countries and three different originating languages (don’t worry, we got the English versions). This year’s edition features a special diecut lid and textured case. We also set a new personal best for material that has never before appeared in print.

Want a copy?  Order one here.

Like last year I’m pairing each story with a holiday disc from our personal collection.

I enjoyed this story for a number of reasons.  Primarily, I think because the narrator is so inadvertently unreliable (which in the interview, Jessica doesn’t really mention).

It begins with this line: “My former friend is an elephant trainer.” (more…)

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