Lalo’s Classics

Great performance from the BBC big band directed by Lalo Schifrin, one of my favorite 20th century composers.  This guy has written some amazing soundtrack music over the years — Dirty Harry, Bullitt, Mission:Impossible… just to name a few.

Big bands are pretty amazing, especially in person. The power and precision is addictive and you just feel good watching a big band work through their numbers.

If your town offers anything like this, I recommend checking it out. Scrub up, put on a nice suit, grab your lady, and take her out for some drinks in style.


Lalo Schifrin and BBC Big Band

Required Viewing – The O’Jays Crush It

Daryl Hall has reworked his show Live from Daryl’s House and it’s still one of the best music shows going. Originally set in a barn on his rural property, it was a jam session sleepover recorded for our entertainment. He brought all sorts of artists out to the barn – indie and legends – and they would jam on a few songs, hang out, and generally just celebrate the awesomeness of great live music.


screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-3-08-56-pm


It’s now in a club-like setting up the road, featuring more space and better sound and still without a crowd. The end result feels a bit more like a throwback recording session than a jam session.

Which is awesome, of course.

The sound is perfect and there’s a little more space to stretch out and get more camera angles. It feels as though the musicians present the songs better than in the barn, perhaps because it’s more obviously a TV show and recording session. The barn was charming but had a private rehearsal feel.

I’ve watched several of the 2016 episodes now and the highlight has to be The O’Jays. They are funny, have a monstrous catalog, and of course Daryl is such a disciple of the O’Jays sound that it all fits perfectly.

The Original Tech Get Down

There are moments when things change in music. Something new is done. The future is revealed.



The 1980’s were about fusion. Not the pop and art fusion of the 60’s, or the jazz and rock fusion of the 70’s, but a new tension between technology and humanity.

Synthesizers were smaller and becoming digital, which would bring their price down drastically. Electronic drums were available. Digital effects units could bend signal in new ways.

Hip-hop was on the forefront of this tension because of technology. First the mixing board with crossfaders and mutes, then the sampler and drum machine. These were new technologies that the masses used to make a new style of music, a cutup of old and new.

The late 80’s project Tackhead was fearless. It brought together sampling, looping, hip-hop, and live playing like no one before. Since then several have moved into this direction, including my crew with 2MERICA, the amazing Headtronics project with Freekbass, and others.

Tackhead Live 1989

Taking the stage with instruments and gadgets and building something relevant that night is a small but growing art form. In some ways these guys started it all. Awesome stuff.

Wimbish is currently touring the states with Living Colour.

 

Everybody’s Got A Thang

The firstest and bestest version of the P-Funk Thang as it was forming in 1969.

 

Bernie isn’t there yet, neither is Tiki, Bootsy or Garry. But the Parliaments are out front and a very early version of Funkadelic is just blaring away behind them melding together 3-4 songs and 3-4 pieces of then unreleased songs.

The Parliaments have their dance moves down and their parts all together, no lie!

Eddie Hazel, Tawl Ross, and Billy Bass are forming a pretty nasty string section. The drummer and keyboard player here were soon replaced. George is from another world.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.45.33 AM

Hardened Roots

I grew up in the cheese metal era, which was a few eras after the funk era. Funk is my dominant listening mode but as you know I indulge in all sorts of other sounds. I just love music and hate genre’s. A jam is a jam.

This is a jam, written and performed by a forgotten guitar hero by the name of John Sykes.


 

tumblr_nnhb0qtGdy1rire6eo1_500


 

This guy can riff, shred, write, and even sing with the best of them. He jumped around in several successful bands (Thin Lizzy, Badlands, Whitesnake) and even led his own unit Blue Murder, but his name never rose into that guitar shredder god status with the likes of Steve Vai (who replaced him in Whitesnake), Eddie Van Halen and so on.

Enjoy this live recording of him and his band recorded in Japan around 2002.

Magical 2nd Track

image1-001

Living Colour circa 1988

When you have your first certified hit as track #1 on your first album, track #2 becomes really important.  Track 2 = What else can this band do?

If track 2 sounds like track 1 – probably a 1-trick pony. If track 2 sounds like a totally different band, well that’s confusing. If track 2 is nice but clearly not a hit, you think one hit wonder.

I Wanna Know, track 2 on Living Colour’s debut is nearly perfect. It counters the track 1 megahit Cult Of Personality with playfulness right off the bat. It isn’t driven by a monster riff and political lyrics but a bouncy bass line and sugar coated setup for a lovey vocal and cutesy guitar riffs in the verses.


Here’s a smoking live version from 2013:


The short cheesy verse moves quickly into the dramatic but nearly monotone hook, then back into a longer verse 2. It’s addictive by the time the 2nd chorus comes around.

When the bridge opens into new parts, including a 50’s style walking bass and a vocal break, I find myself thinking about Cult of Personality and how different that is from this.


 

Here’s a crap mp3 of the original (which you must own):


As the tight formula for I Wanna Know plays out and the musicians add more flavor, you start to hear the chops behind this song. The solo starts to wail, the rhythm section locks into a funk groove, then begin the long fade out, and concludes a nice little piece of pop/rock /metal.

The monster staccato riff of Middle Man then jumps up and you are sold on this Living Colour. Great album. Vivid indeed.

 

Living For The Live

There’s a lot going on in this clip. It’s pretty good.

Ray Charles + Stevie Wonder, doing one of Stevie’s funk songs, with neither of their bands, for an awards show. It looks like the late 80’s with plastic keyboards and big hair but the talent is so great it works out just fine.

Also since Ray’s R&B big band really doesn’t do the early 70’s funk groove that this song was originally cut in, for this era they turned into a disco-tempo gospel style romp. It’s reframes the song nicely.

Imagine if these two ever did a full record together….

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 10.56.42 AM

Battle of Tributation

Stevie Wonder is a monster musical genius, capable of perfection at every angle. Tribute shows are the big thing now, and I’m not complaining. Anytime someone can throw down the cash needed to properly work these songs up and make other famous artists step up to the plate and deliver some classic material, magic can happen. This ain’t a laptop DJ.

So I found two great Stevie tributes online. Both feature amazing lineups, great setlists, perfect playing, Stevie himself lending a hand or two, and plenty of amazing moments.

I can’t decide which one is better.

You Touch Me I Hear The Sound of Mandolins

Awesome rendition of this magical song written for a 1957 movie that I personally first heard performed by David Bowie in the 70’s. This is the amazing Nina Simone going way back to 1959:

[I’m having deja vu on this post, I’ll check after posting it if it’s a duplicate. Well it is based on an emotion, so it’s duplicates are valid.]

The Funk Professor – Bootsy Get Live

Believe it or not Bootsy is touring the states and you gotta see the man to be the man. Check your local listings and don’t miss this show if it comes within 400 miles of you.

I caught it last year and it was perhaps the finest night of live music and energy I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve been to a million shows. Getting to see The Rubber Band and the Master of the One cannot be replicated.

Youtube can whet your appetite. Here’s amateur footage from the beautiful hamlet of Asheville, North Carolina. It takes a little while to get settled but once they lock in on the show it’s amazing.

PS – Love the new album – The Funk Capital of the World – I got it on double-disc vinyl and it’s just outstanding. The music goes everywhere, the packaging, the vibe, the love, the cameos, just an amazing man. Bootsy ain’t slowing down at all, he’s a hero to us all.

 

Here’s part 1:

and here’s Part Deux:

 

Bootsy!

BootsyAndrzejPilarczyk