Inhuman Swill : Music : Page 9
            

I am unable to attend tomorrow night's February CD Mix of the Month Club, since I'll be in Utah at my grandfather's memorial service. But I'm sending my mix, Tenor of the Times, along to the meeting in my absence. The disc is a tribute to Michael Brecker, my favorite saxophonist of the past quarter-century. (Sharp-eared listeners will realize that this disc follows the same program as my tribute in ShunnCast #37.)

Brecker was one of the most prolific and influential tenor saxophonists of the late 20th century. A consummate session player, he appeared on as many as a thousand pop, rock, funk, and jazz recordings, often together with his older brother, trumpeter Randy Brecker. He played with the likes of James Taylor, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Carole King, Todd Rundgren, Elton John, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Parliament, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Chic, and Frank Zappa, not to mention such jazz legends as Horace Silver, Charles Mingus, Herbie Mann, Chet Baker, Don Cherry, Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, and Jaco Pastorius.

His own groups included Dreams, Steps Ahead, and the popular Brecker Brothers, a jazz-funk outfit he and Randy led together. Besides innovating on the tenor, Mike helped pioneer the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument), which he employed to great effect on Paul Simon's The Rhythm of the Saints. Beginning in 1987, he cut a successful string of solo albums with collaborators like Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Charlie Haden, Dave Holland, and Larry Goldings, emerging as one of the giants of the modern jazz scene. Along the way, he picked up eleven Grammys.

Mike was diagnosed with the blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome in 2005, and though a global search for a stem cell donor turned up no exact matches, his plight prompted thousands to sign up with the International Bone Marrow Registry. He underwent an experimental partial matching stem cell transplant late that year, but not with the hoped-for results. On January 13, 2007, he died of complications from leukemia in New York City. He was 57.

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ShunnCast #37

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Epidode #37 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill, as threatened, pays tribute to late jazz great Michael Brecker. A special all-music edition!

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=37

See also [info]shunncast.

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I love the Aughts

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So, the discussion about my 100 best '90s albums list was interesting enough that I decided to give the current decade the same treatment. It's a somewhat different exercise, though, because the recent years really haven't had as much time to sink in yet. Strangely, though, my yearly favorites were much easier to pick this time (though it was a close call between Eminem and Steely Dan in 2000). It will be interesting to revisit all this in another ten years.

The same rules apply, but again there's an exception or two. I allowed two System of a Down albums for 2005, on the grounds that they're really two halfs of one work, despite being released separately. Also, Brad Mehldau managed to sneak on there twice by cloaking himself with Pat Metheny.

2000

  • Meaningless, Jon Brion
  • Parachutes, Coldplay
  • The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem
  • Whoa, Nelly!, Nelly Furtado
  • Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, P J Harvey
  • The ConstruKction of Light, King Crimson
  • Kids in Philly, Marah
  • Solo: Improvisations for Expanded Piano, Lyle Mays
  • Sci-Fi, Christian McBride Band
  • Haunted, Poe
  • Kid A, Radiohead
  • Tourist, St Germain
  • Two Against Nature, Steely Dan
  • Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2), XTC

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I love the '90s

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A few weeks back, for no reason but avoiding work, I assembled a list of the 100 best albums of the '90s. Okay, maybe not the best, but my favorites anyway, the ones that I seem to have listened to most obsessively over the years. In an effort to avoid more work, I will now share the list with you.

I limited myself to one album per artist (although Medeski Martin + Wood kind of slipped in there twice through a loophole), and I allowed myself only studio albums, nothing live and no compilations (the exception there being The Beta Band's Three E.P.'s). For each year, I have bolded my top choice, though in many cases it was a very close call.

1990

  • Question and Answer, Pat Metheny w/Dave Holland & Roy Haynes
  • Missing ... Presumed Having a Good Time, The Notting Hillbillies
  • Fear of a Black Planet, Public Enemy
  • The Rhythm of the Saints, Paul Simon
  • Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, The Sundays

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January's CD mixes of the month

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My main contribution to today's CD Mix of the Month Club for January, which returns to The Magician on the Lower East Side, is Four Letter Words, with Scenes in the Country added as a slightly tardy Martin Luther King Day bonus mix.

The Magician is the bar where [info]crabwalk convened the New York CDMOM reunion that spawned all the madness of these past two and half years. Last time I visited The Magician, the mix disc I gave the bartender was still available in the jukebox. Check it out if you're ever down in that neighborhood.

(The story so far.)

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How is it possible that I have only just now discovered the indispensable Steely Dan Dictionary?

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Always a bridesmaid

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From a Times article about the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees:

The members of Van Halen to be inducted are the brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen; the bassist Michael Anthony; and David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, who have replaced one another as the band's lead singer more than once. Gary Cherone, who sang with the group in the late 1990s between Mr. Roth's second stint and Mr. Hagar's, was not recognized.  [full article]
Ouch, Gary. But I guess Extreme still has its shot at Hall of Fame-dom.
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For the December meeting of the New York CD Mix of the Month club, I believe I mentioned that we had a karaoke outing at iBop on 35th Street. I believe I also mentioned that surreptitious video of me attempting Janet Jackson's "Nasty" was taken by Alan Camuto. I must still be a little drunk from our Christmas Eve party, because you'll find that video here.

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I love Christmas music, but "The Twelve Days of Christmas" can be pretty tedious to listen to. Especially so as an instrumental number, where each verse gets that much more repetitive than the previous one. Something you might want to think about.

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December's CD mixes of the month

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I did in fact make it out to the December convocation of the CD Mix of the Month Club, which was held at IBop Karaoke on 35th Street. A good time seemed to be had by all that made it, and I nurture secret hopes that Alan will post that video of me singing "Nasty" on YouTube.

Because I haven't made a meeting since September, I brought two offerings this time around: Strange Bedfellows, plus Songsmither Smackdown!! as a bonus mix. The former is a collection of collaborative tracks, with my personal favorite being the extended version of the Billy Joel track "Zanzibar" that includes a hell of a trumpet solo from Freddie Hubbard. The latter is a face-off between two artists that are better known for juvenile humor than for their songs in their catalogs that, as opposed to being direct parodies, are skillfully written and performed in the styles of other artists. (Some Rutles is thrown in for good measure.)

(The story so far.)

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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