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Showing posts from August, 2014

Wayne Shorter: An Appreciation

Miles Davis is a gateway drug. For my birthday, my man Mikey gave me the Miles Mono box. Boss. Now if you dig Miles, it's not too long before you get back to Trane. Then Herbie. Down the jazz rabbit hole. I have never been proficient at playing jazz, trust me I tried. I don't speak jazz very well; although I did take a course in college where I did audio projects on Charlie Christian and Theloniou s Monk (who remains an icon to me on a multitude of levels, and whose music I revisit regularly). But no, the hook that Miles has put into me is a mood elevator named Wayne Shorter . Yesterday was Wayne's 81st Birthday. So first off, Happy Birthday, Mr. Shorter. I had planned on penning this yesterday but with our Emmy adventure, I felt it better to wait. Second, the addiction reference is real. You all know how I am about music. Prior to being exposed to Mr. Shorter via Miles' 1960s Quintet (which featured Herbie Hancock), I only knew him as the cat that wailed on Steely Dan&

Commotion Session

This past weekend on August 3 & 4, I was back in the studio (Karma Frog in Reseda, CA) to cut my contribution to an upcoming Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute album. My task was to cover the compilation's title track, "Commotion." The song was originally recorded by CCR in 1969 for their smash LP, Green River , which features their iconic "Bad Moon Rising." My usual producer, Adam Marsland was at the helm and he played the majority of the instruments as well, including some amazing organ parts. I took up my trusty American Fender Jazz for the funky bass. The session was a brisk two days. Musicians teleported from 1969 would have been pleased by the brevity of the time it took to record the side. None of this 21st Century month to record and tweak a track. We had a blast. After the rhythm tracks were put down, Adam asked do you want to put down a guide vocal or try a lead? Well, I went for it, and it was full-tilt chooglin' boogaloo after that. Our

James Brown: Ow! An Appreciation

"Norman, how you gonna narrow down James Brown to your 10 favorite sides?" "Bobby, I don't know. But whatsoever I choose, they got to be funky." At Georgetown, I became obsessed with James Brown. I blame The Soul Brother #1 hisself. In "The Payback," James sang "I don't know karate, but I know karazy." Truer words were never sung. He was in prison, I was perpetually running for student government. Every year, lobbying for his freedom was part of my platform. In part, it was a joke. In part, it was wanting people to understand the power of his records and my own musical passions. It was the early days of CDs and I coveted the few JB discs I could find. In show programs, I dedicated my college theatrical performances to family and James Brown. I read every scrap I could find about him along with his autobiography, "Godfather of Soul." Trying to understand him. I never did. I've never been able to do the splits, never wil