Monday, December 31, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ravi Shankar‪ – "Raga Ahir Bhairav"‬

RIP. It would be hard to overstate Ravi Shankar's influence on introducing world music… to the world. He was an excellent musician, a true master, and also a good composer. I'm fond of his work with Phillip Glass, he did the music for early films of the great Indian filmmaker, Satyajit Ray, and Beatles fans are well aware of Shankar's influence on George Harrison. Still, for all the fusion and crossover work he did, much of it very good, it's his traditional music that may be the most, well, transcendental. I haven't been able to authenticate it, but he allegedly said something I love about education and learning being an ongoing process: "One does learn the sitar – one studies it." He leaves behind an amazing legacy.

Here are the obituaries from The New York Times, Los Angeles Times (also an appreciation), The Washington Post and the AP (plus another piece, "Sitar maker says Ravi Shankar’s legacy will inspire another generation of musicians"). Other appreciations abound.

Shankar was ridiculously prolific, and YouTube features a great deal of his music, including a playlist or two.

Local KCRW DJ (and world music guru) Tom Schnabel will be doing a Ravi Shankar tribute show this weekend. (I'll update the link for the specific show after it airs.)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dave Brubeck Quartet – "Blue Rondo à la Turk"

RIP. I have several Brubeck albums, and the man had a great run, performing 'til he was 88. This tune is one of his most famous, and also one of his best.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

School of Seven Bells – "Night"

The band solicited fan videos for this song, and this one was the winner. More information here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – "This Land Is Your Land"

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings do Woody Guthrie? Just about the best pick possible for this week. (We ran with some other classics back in 2008.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bob Dylan – "Not Dark Yet"

I saw Bob Dylan last week at the Hollywood Bowl. Mark Knopfler, who opened, delivered a fantastic, celtic-flavored set (I'll have to pick up his latest album). Dylan's voice, alas, was pretty much shot. It was never conventionally pretty, but it could quite expressive. Some of the arrangements were great, though, including a pretty one of "Desolation Row." (The set list was mostly old classics: You Ain't Goin' Nowhere, To Ramona, Things Have Changed, Tangled Up In Blue, The Levee's Gonna Break, Make You Feel My Love, Cry A While, Desolation Row, Highway 61 Revisited, Love Sick, Thunder On The Mountain, Ballad Of A Thin Man, Like A Rolling Stone, All Along The Watchtower and Blowin' In The Wind.) I've only seen Dylan live once before, about 13 years ago, with Brian Setzer opening. Besides some classics, Dylan heavily featured the songs from Time Out of Mind, his latest album at the time (it's become one of my favorites). Some friends also attended, and one of them, who was a major Dylan fan and had seen him twice before, said it was the best of the three. Anyway, this is probably my favorite track from Time Out of Mind.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Belle Brigade – "Belt of Orion"



With the vocal blend on those harmonies, you might guess that the singers are related, and you'd be right. The core of The Belle Brigade is Barbara and Ethan Gruska, who come from a musical family (their grandfather is composer John Williams). Here's a live version.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Family Of The Year – "Hero"



This is a local L.A. band. I've had this song stuck in my head for the past week, so I decided to learn it (the chords are pretty easy). You can also hear the studio version or this stripped down one.