This and That

Oh! Sweet Nuthin’

back in October or July…I forget…I said I was going to go check out the Velvet Underground Experience. Then in the last post I said I totally didn’t do that…and I didn’t. I heard things locally and then…I read some reviews. The mainstream reviews were all predictably glowing, but I don’t trust that stuff because hahaha, so I proceeded to Google reviews. Angry, disgruntled people who want their money back is what I wanna read! Like:

“Don’t waste your money on this. We left disappointed- most of the exhibit was just pictures that I’ve seen before and plaques lacking enough information. An entire wall is dedicated to the 60’s in general (the exhibit isn’t big enough to justify this). I expected SOMETHING interesting- maybe memorabilia or immersive areas, but there’s very little…Wish we could get our money back :(“

I think most people would expect something interesting. Or why pay $25 to show up to an empty loft on Broadway? Of course there was also the matter of all the accompanying promotional material that promised “rare” stuff:

Velvet Underground Exhibition Coming To New York City
The exhibition debuted in Paris two years ago and features rare photographs, portraits, films, live concerts and musical workshops.

Perhaps there is some confusion over definitions. RARE: 1: seldom occurring or found: UNCOMMON 2a: marked by unusual quality, merit, or appeal : DISTINCTIVE b: superlative or extreme of its kind 3: marked by wide separation of component particles: THIN rare air. Yet:

“This lack of memorabilia is made painfully evident both by the large wall of “establishing” photos featuring 1960s New York and notable personalities of the time like James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Cassius Clay and Marlon Brando – none of whom have any direct link to the VU – and the near-equal billing given to people in the Velvets/Warhol orbit like Edie Sedgwick, LaMonte Young, and Candy Darling…there are a startling number of spelling and grammar errors in the accompanying texts…the gift shop is so bereft of items bearing the band’s iconic imagery (no album covers, not even a banana on those $29 iPhone cases) that one wonders how much cooperation the show got from the living band members and the estates of the deceased including Reed and Warhol.

Wow. A pattern emerges. These people sound disappointed for sure. Lest you think that I’m the type of person who would deprive himself of an experience based solely on anonymous internet “cranks” I suggest that you Peruse this Perfectly Passionate Post on Pitchfork from a very woke author: How Can You Have “The Velvet Underground Experience” Without the Music? She did the Experience so I didn’t have to! As she makes her way through the exhibition she encounters the following….let’s listen in:

“By the time I reach a display of Velvets posters mixed in with covers of LIFE and, no kidding, images of the moon landing and Woodstock, the bummer retail feeling gives rise to genuine blood boil. Can future makers of biopics and bio-exhibits please agree the world has collectively seen the same stock ’60s newsreel? (Moe Tucker in Please Kill Me, on the band’s reception in San Francisco: “I didn’t like that love-peace shit.”)

I get the anger. I’m not old enough to have participated in all of the fun and important moments of the swinging 60s, but am old enough to have had to endure 40 years of revisiting same. When will the Boomer hagiography end? Will it ever end? Has any decade or event been repackaged and re-praised, reappraised, remembered and recycled as many times as the 1960s? Probably not. However, the Velvet Underground are as Boomer as the rest of that newsreel and the fact that they hated the hippies really doesn’t matter. This was a concern of mine before the show opened because, as I’ve come to recognize in other documentaries or retrospectives of this era, quite often the music, musician, or artist must always be contextualized within the larger whole of very familiar cultural themes (Woodstock, Vietnam, Civil Rights). The music itself, outside of how it may serve these various narratives, is sometimes treated almost as an afterthought. This would be a shame if it wasn’t so infuriating:

What you cannot buy is the music. Apart from a mysterious handful of vintage albums (only a couple by the band) displayed on an upstairs mezzanine, there is no music for sale at “The Velvet Underground Experience.” No vinyl reissues of the albums that are displayed under glass and which in retrospect seem even more fossil-like. There are none of the books by or about the band members—how easy it would have been to unlock that universe, too. If you’re going to commodify a band or scene, at the very least, sell the music, sell the books, do full diligence in perpetuating the actual work that the exhibition celebrates. Instead, a familiar murmur bleeds over from the start of the exhibit nearby. As I let the reality of the existence of Kiss the Boot laptop cases sink in, the reading of Ginsberg’s America hangs in the air like a too-pointed metaphor: America, I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.”

Since the music (and not even all of the music) is the only interesting aspect of the Velvet Underground to me, the fact that the Experience couldn’t be bothered to take it seriously (while charging $25/$50) sealed the deal on my attendance (or lack thereof). I didn’t need a background to take a selfie at anyhow! The truth is, out of all the potential interesting media I’ve seen over the past few years, only two: Long Strange Trip and Astral Weeks: The Secret History of 1968 were really good. So much worthless retrospective crap is produced and I’m not sure what that says about our society or how one could explain without sounding like a complete dystopian crank. At this point in my life, considerations and discussions of this nature must be avoided at all costs.

Happy New Year 2019!

wishing any and all The Guitar Cave readers a Happy New Year! I hope it goes well for you! May there be many prestigious and emotionally charged artistic moments added to the Scala gallery that is your life! I hope for some of the same for myself, of course, but at this point, I’m also at that “eh…whatever happens” point in my life. That’s okay though. Personally, I’m amazed that it’s 2019 because I never expected to be living through this time, not because I expected to die early, but rather, I just never gave any thought to the distant future or my later years. While I’m aware that there is a plethora of industries devoted to helping people prepare for certain eventualities, I’m not so sure a) that many people can and/or do think that far ahead, or b) the unforseen circumstances of life can render any planning moot and pointless anyway. So when I was 24 I didn’t sit around and wonder what it would be like living in 2019. Even though there aren’t any flying cars (and considering how people drive terra-cars maybe that’s a good thing) me and the rest of my generation has lived through a completely unbelievable set of changes, advances, and age of progress. In the coming months I will talk more about that.

Now that 2018 is in the books, I took stock of last year and was pretty happy with how things went on the blogging front. I hadn’t published anything between October of 2017 and May of 2018 and then I just banged it out; almost thirty-five posts and an unbelievable amount of jazz, alt, and rock guitar disc reviews. It doesn’t even matter that most of this stuff will never get read, it was, from a personal standpoint, a momentous achievement! Hopefully, this year, my 9th year of blogging will be even more entertaining. I have some serious plans for at least the first part of the year and if I can get all of what I have planned done, I might have to take some more time off. I hope I have the energy and health to see it through, but that’s what we need to hope for most, doncha think?

I’ve already mentioned that I’ll be posting/linking a bunch of video content soon; old days NYC rock and roll shot, edited, mixed and produced ninja-style. It should be pretty awesome! I’ve also mentioned a few other things, like review The Aristocrats album. Yes! That will be the next post, because I’ve listened to the disc a whole bunch of times. Like probably several hundred…or, at least more times than The White Album. [As an aside, I’m going to be launching a campaign soon: The White Album SUCKS and SO DOES SANDINISTA!] I don’t know how successful that endeavor will be, but I think, if nothing else, it’s a great post title!

I’ve been thinking I need to be more biting and controversial but that’s a very tight line to walk when you’re an old guy because that’s what everyone expects from an old guy. From the beginning I set out to avoid the “snark” that drives so much online content, because…it is everywhere…and after a while it’s really tiring. The problem with me is that I like many “voices”, and there are many literary styles and approaches that I find entertaining and pleasing to read. Just the other day I read this interview with famed author Vladimir Nabokov (of Lolita fame) with Alvin Toffler from 1964, in Playboy magazine no less. It’s pretty amazing to read the level of ideas, vocabulary and discourse in this interview and try to find anything remotely similar in today’s media. Would that “voice” work for a blog of this nature? Probably not and I wouldn’t be capable of pulling it off anyway, but since I believe music and the guitar to be worthy of all of the respect, intelligence and seriousness given to other topics and forms in the world, I would certainly hope to have all of the abilities necessary to impart what I think to readers. Sometimes passion, especially passion just for passion’s sake, is not enough. Incidentally, Nabokov had no ear for music. None. Imagine what that’s like:

“…I have no ear for music, a shortcoming I deplore bitterly. When I attend a concert—which happens about once in five years—I endeavor gamely to follow the sequence and relationship of sounds but cannot keep it up for more than a few minutes. Visual impressions, reflections of hands in lacquered wood, a diligent bald spot over a fiddle, take over, and soon I am bored beyond measure by the motions of the musicians. My knowledge of music is very slight; and I have a special reason for finding my ignorance and inability so sad, so unjust: There is a wonderful singer in my family—my own son. His great gifts, the rare beauty of his bass, and the promise of a splendid career—all this affects me deeply, and I feel a fool during a technical conversation among musicians. I am perfectly aware of the many parallels between the art forms of music and those of literature, especially in matters of structure, but what can I do if ear and brain refuse to cooperate? But I have found a queer substitute for music in chess—more exactly, in the composing of chess problems.”

When I think of all of the musically oriented pleasurable moments in my life I can’t imagine that “chess problems” or the composing thereof, would serve as a substitute. Perhaps I could never be a writer of Nabokov’s level because I can enjoy Debussy, Django, and Led Zeppelin. Hmm. Anyhow, (wow what a detour) another album I said I was going to get to check out was Muriel Anderson’s Nightlight Daylight double album. Soon, and more reviews in the already thriving rock guitar category. Another thing I have planned is to resurrect the GuitarSong series because, though it took awhile, those articles get a lot of page views now. Well, three out of the four; nobody seems interested in the Eddie Van Halen I’m the One article, which I thought would be the most popular. Just goes to show there’s no telling the interests of audience. Those posts are pretty labor-intensive, but I’ll probably do 4 more and the sketches of those articles are starting to take shape. Finally, the only thing I definitely did NOT do was venture across town to see the Velvet Underground Exhibition. There were a couple of reasons for this I’m going to tie into a post on rock writers and the Culture of Suck that I’ve wanted to do for a while now. Maybe it will be a series. Who knows? There’s something to be said for staying busy, even if it’s pointless. Right after Christmas NY Magazine ran an article titled, How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually. It’s a pretty amusing/terrifying article because it details how the clicks, metrics, people, businesses, politics and consumers are ultimately fake. It’s like The Matrix or that Hologram world I keep writing about. An example:

“…How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”

So I’m not laboring under any Rupert Pupkin type delusions here that someday my blog will be Time Magazine, because I’ve never had those delusions and ultimately that isn’t the point anyway. It’s fun to have ideas and see them through to completion and ultimately it helps to keep the body and spirit young and healthy (as possible). There is certainly a bad type of “busy”, or an unhealthy compulsion on the part of some to overwork themselves for whatever reason, but that isn’t the same thing. Whatever you do though, I hope your year is fun and prosperous and a big Thank You! for reading the blog!

Getz/Gilberto

Getz/Gilberto ***** A watershed, “Best Of…” record on many lists, this album popularized Bossa Nova to the world, solidified the already impressive careers of guitarist/composer/singer João Gilberto, saxophonist Stan Getz and composer/pianist António Carlos Jobim, and made an international star out of Astrud Gilberto. Not only was the album a critical and popular success, but three songs from the album, The Girl From Ipanema, Corcovado, and Desafinado would become jazz/popular standards and would even find their way to Gypsy Jazz canon in the coming decades. Also it became an instant fine-living, travel to far-flung locale, international party hit helping to shrink a world that was already becoming much smaller as the 20th century rolled along. World music? Possibly. How many people have partied, broke bread, danced, strolled, loved, and lost to the sounds of this album? Incalculable, I would think. A innumerate number of good times and broken hearts, but…it’s the way of the world, isn’t it?

João Gilberto’s very unique style for guitar and voice had its origins in Brazil in the late 1950s where he wrote his first bossa-nova song, Bim-Bim. Originally based on the samba, Gilberto’s music eschewed the over-the-top musical elements and instrumentation usually found in that music in favor of quiet, insistent and rhythmically percussive self-accompaniment on an acoustic guitar. This became an instantly recognizable and popular style, especially given the material that Gilberto had to work with. Jobim’s compositions are the purest examples of suave, sophisticated harmony that lends itself to a sparse romantic music and he was involved in writing all but one of the tunes on the album (Para Machucar Meu Coração). Everyone has heard Girl from Ipanema and many have heard Corcovado and Desafinado. The melodies linger long after the songs have ceased playing and all three have a nostalgic reflective tone in addition to their other splendid qualities. The playful Doralice samba and Só Danco Samba instill a groovy dance vibe and Getz’s sax, brings some absolute gorgeous tones as the songs build during his solos, yet the rhythmic center that defines the tunes is never lost.

The first popular album of bossa-nova in the United States was actually performed by Stan Getz and guitarist Charlie Byrd a few years before Getz/Gilberto was recorded and the positive reviews and reactions led to a legendary concert at Carnegie Hall to promote the style. Out of that concert, came this album. I’ve already reviewed another killer album that Stan Getz was a party to — Moonlight in Vermont with the amazing Johnny Smith. People can talk about Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, but Getz may have been the best-sounding (mellifluous) saxophonist who ever put lips to…er mouthpiece. When someone of Coltrane’s caliber describes your sound as, “Let’s face it—we’d all sound like that if we could,” you’re probably doing something right. Getz’s presence on this album is just as important as Moonlight in Vermont and what’s interesting is that both albums are guitar albums. Different kinds of guitar albums in terms of music, style, focus and execution, but it is the guitar that really drives both discs.


The combination of Gilberto’s quiet comping, Jobim’s sparse piano, Getz’s lyrical, very resonant sax and the laid-back rhythm section of Sebastião Neto on bass and Milton Banana on drums was a winner and still makes for a very beautiful sound and album. Astrud Gilberto, who had never sung before, brings a relaxed, very femininely melodic presence to two songs, Girl from Ipanema and Corcovado. On both tunes both Gilbertos sing and Getz plays in the same very lagged, easy manner with subtle adjustments to the melody each time through. There isn’t that much in the way of crazy improvisation; substitutions, speed, volume or drive that one usually hears in jazz or pop soloing, but that helps with the cohesiveness of the album. On Getz/Gilberto all of the songs stand alone, but also reflect beautifully on each other. The continuity is also a result of Gilberto’s guitar style, which is the antithesis of what most later guitar players (and other soloists) would play (or over-play) later when covering these tunes. That is a “thing” and certainly a group like the Rosenberg Trio has taken Jobim material and made it amazing as only they can, but this album is a study in the beauty and effectiveness of restraint and control in music, performance, and emotion and how that can be amazing as well. It produces a sound that instantly puts one drowsy on a languid beach, kissed by the wind and the tang of the ocean, rolling off the quiet swells of the deep blue sea, wrapped in the warm glow of the sun and waiting for the quiet stars of the quiet nights and the moonlight on the mountains…

Sweetwater Sound

a few weeks ago I purchased a Ditto Looper from Sweetwater Sound, and because of that decision I became a member of an elite sect…a secret society…a special organization even. I’m now a valued customer who deserves…a Catalog! or Catalogue! Yes! I didn’t think anyone did the direct mail thing anymore. This is the musical instrument equivalent of the Sears Wish Book from days of old; jam-packed and chock-full of goodies!

My first reaction was to be completely and totally shocked that I would receive a 600+ page catalog from anyone, much less a music equipment company! I was in the graphic design business for many years and over the course of my career I was involved in producing at least 125 major catalogs, so I know a little bit about what goes into their creation, production, and distribution, including the cost. Publishing, printing, and shipping a catalog this size is not cheap and pretty much everyone says, “why bother?” in the current marketplace when everything lives online. Just the other day there was this latest figure that showed online Black Friday sales surged…they SURGED by over 20% from last year, including more than $2 billion dollars just from smartphones!

Also, I think I’ve done a very thorough job covering the new realities of the musical instrument landscape over the past 7 years The Guitar Cave has been in existence. As you may recall I wrote a few posts on the media bullshit associated with transformation of the instrument market or “malaise” the major media was referring to as the Death of the Electric Guitar without exploring all of the bad business decisions, corruption, overconfident future forecasts, incompetence, and a very tapped out American consumer, while focusing strictly on a changing musical landscape. While I acknowledged that, sure, the business and musical landscapes had changed (as they are wont to do), there was very little press on how corporate America seemed to be giving itself a pass on the problems associated with the collapse of the industry by blaming people for not buying guitars like they used to. As it turns out, I was right to have this attitude because as I wrote in my last post, Update: The Guitar is Totally Not Dying! the numbers show that consumers have been stepping up and buying musical equipment and a lot of this talk about “no new Eric Claptons” was Boomer Babbling misdirection away from the real problems. I also reported that after years of running his company into the drink, Gibson former honcho, Henry Juszkiewicz was kicked to the curb to save Gibson guitar from bankruptcy only to be replaced by former Levi Strauss CEO James Curleigh. Only time will tell if a guy who ran a pants company can get Gibson back on track! And now, right on cue we can add another layer of evidence onto my investigative theorizing. We have a company that, in this terrible, terrible market, where no one is buying instruments, can “afford” to send a huge catalog to someone who bought a pedal and an adapter. LOL. So who are these guys?

They are the largest online retailer of music gear in the United States. You can tell from their website or the catalog pages I’m attaching here that they carry a little bit of everything! (As an aside…the sheer size of the stompbox market, the number of companies, the number of pedals, the number of functions or combination of functions the pedals do today is flat-out outstanding! Wow! Does this look like a dying market? I think not.) The company was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which is where they are still headquartered. They have 1 brick and mortar store on their “campus” there in Indiana, so the ever-expanding real location stuff is an overhead the company doesn’t have to worry about. The prices are competitive, they offer FREE, reliable shipping, generous financing options, and what’s fast becoming the standard “No Hassle” type return policy that I’ve mentioned here, with regards to other online companies. Oh NO! I sound like an advertisement!

Sweetwater’s founder, Chuck Surack, seems like an interesting guy. He was a sax player in bands and then for a while had a recording studio in a VW bus that he would use to do location recordings…kind of like he was the Rolling Stones Mobile Unit. Neato. Here’s a video interview with Chuck. (Here’s a tour of the RS mobile unit). Sweetwater the gear company evolved from Sweetwater the recording studio; the gear they test and use in the studios became (becomes) the gear that they carry, so the whole process has been incredibly organic. Also, the company is privately owned; no shareholders, no banks and free from a lot of the pressures that drive business decisions and strategies at companies like Gibson and Guitar Center. Chuck’s business priorities of treating customers well first and worrying about the profits second is something out of the old days, but this is company philosophy. You’ll never be a billionaire with that attitude, Chuck!

But maybe he doesn’t care. That would be a refreshing change. Of course, it’s not all good, or is it? Obviously small dealers will have trouble competing with an entity like Sweetwater. There is a whiff of Amazonism at play here because Amazon got to be the world’s biggest bookstore by not having any actual bookstores. Rent actually does eat up a whole lot of money…ask any of the very famous shops that used to line the iconic 48th street in New York City. So anyone coming up who also wants to run and musical instrument company will have to adopt this business model or fail. But does it matter anymore? Probably not. Where I live people always talk about “mom and pops” like it’s still the 1970s and they want to buy a garden hose at Blogsteins after lunch at the Woolworth’s counter. The reality is that shopping experience is a quaint anachronism in 2018…or more Boomer Babbling.

I know, I know…“small businesses are the backbone of a healthy economy”; “competition is crucial for capitalism to function properly”; “too big to fail and anything that smacks of monopolies is bad, bad, bad,” and, in theory, I agree. I’m sure everyone out there has read the economic treatises that predict a very dire future when 20 companies will own everything. As I’ve written in the past, my local musical retail landscape is gone anyway except for boutiques that were stupidly expensive even before Guitar Center existed, so my choice to get this pedal was basically go to Guitar Center or order from Sweetwater. I ordered from Sweetwater and my experience was 100% positive. They really do go the extra mile on customer satisfaction and service and that’s more than I can say for some brick and mortar / mom and pop retailers I’ve dealt with over the years. Long term, big picture, what’s the answer? I don’t know. What is definitely needed though is a honest discussion about what the landscape realities are and as I’ve pointed out above (and on a few occasions now) I don’t think there is a lot of that in the mainstream media. This is a topic that’s interesting to me and I’ll have some more thoughts soon. BTW, if you would like a Sweetwater catalog of your own, you can order it right HERE. No purchase necessary!

…And We’re Back!

The Disc Reviews Section has been completely reorganized and there is a whole lot of new content! I’ve bought, heard, sampled and reviewed more discs this year than at any time since the beginning of the blog almost 8 years ago. Exciting! I thought I could finish everything I was planning by the this point, but I haven’t and I don’t want to deprive the millions of 15 people who come here regularly access to the site any longer! ‘Cause I’m all about the readers! The updating will continue until the audience begs for mercy…or I just get sick of it and call it a day.

Not only did I hear a lot of music this year, but I acquired the music in different and various ways. The changes are interesting, but not always fun. It’s not like the old days when you could go to the Virgin Megastore and buy practically anything. The internet promised and continuously promises that EVERYTHING is available, all of the time, but that isn’t always true. What is true is that I bought some really cool imports and hard to find stuff at brick and mortar stores over the years and I’m not sure it’s available now. Plus, as I’ve already mentioned in another post there is something fun about finding stuff out in the real world, but that experience is almost impossible anymore. Sad.

The ch-ch-changes also affect how one views or attends music. I’ve faithfully documented the hologram phenomenon and what a phenomenon it is! I know that is something that everyone out there wants me to stay on top of! But another new musical performance avenue is on the horizon thanks to Bruce Springsteen. His Broadway “stand” has been very successful; it’s been extended three times and has grossed $2.5 million per week. Added benefit: he can drive home every night after the performance, which is way easier than a tour, especially for a guy his age. “Build it and they will come,” says Bruce! A few of my relatives have been to these intimate performances and would go again in a heartbeat. Netflix will get in on the action at the end of the year and record a show or two. This is like the NEW Vegas, but different because it doesn’t have the Cheeseball Factor and Reputation of Las Vegas, and that kind of money will certainly attract others to do same:

A group of powerful entertainment companies — Live Nation, Creative Artists Associates and Entertainment Benefits Group — is about to snap up a Broadway theater where A-list rock, pop and country performers will be “in residency” for three-week stints…Deals have not been finalized, but CAA — home to Springsteen’s agent — represents a boatload of superstars, including Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Bette Milder, Aerosmith, Carrie Underwood, Lionel Richie, James Taylor, Demi Lovato, Diana Ross, Faith Hill, the Eagles, Michael Bublé and Adam Lambert.

You can totally see Aerosmith and the Eagles jumping at this opportunity although neither of those bands have the down-home folksy charm and appeal that Bruce does. I could imagine everyone getting tired of listening to Steven Tyler after about 3 minutes. A mega-star like The Boss in that kind of intimate setting telling stories is a surefire winner, aesthetically and financially. It’s hard to get the “real” tickets for these shows (so I’ve heard) and people rely on “scalpers” who charge $3,000 and up for the tickets.  Is there anything hypocritical about this kind of folksy populism bringing in ten million a month? Hmm…

NEAT LINKS — Last week I found a couple of pretty cool things, especially for those people into jazz. All of the issues of The Jazz Review, a short-lived magazine from 1958 through 1961, are online in PDF format here. The mag was founded by Nat Hentoff, Martin Williams, and Hsio Wen Shih in New York City and counted many musicians and jazz afficiandos as contributors. I haven’t found a lot of “guitar” stuff” so far, but the magazine has some great interviews and musical insights of the time, the writers were passionate fans of jazz music, and the historical angle alone (if you are into that sort of thing) is worth the price of admission. (Especially seeing how that price is FREE!).

Also, I’ve mentioned Kodoku No Gurume, a Japanese foodie show before, but today I will expand. While, on one level it is a food show and the food takes center stage, the main character, Goro, an independent designer, decorator, professional goods importer, is also a ruminating philosopher by way of his relationship to food and eating. Although it is fun to see all of the different businesses Goro visits to eat and all of the different meals, it is the calm visuals of the show and main actor Yutaka Matsushige‘s soothing voice that make for really great television. So much Japanese television is really noisy and busy and most American television is incredibly stupid and manipulative. But I do like cooking shows. I was also a fan of Lidia Bastianich and her Lidia’s Italy cooking show. She always made some really attractive meals and wove her personal stories and very interesting Italia facts into every episode. What these two shows have in common is plenty of GYPSY JAZZ background music. Here is Lidia’s old theme…I don’t think she uses it anymore. It was “written” and performed by composer Martha Bourne, but the “composed” angle is a bit of a stretch seeing as how it is obviously directly lifted from Django Reinhardt’s very famous Minor Swing. Kodoku No Gurume has a musical group called The Screen Tones that has created a wide range of different musical styles for the various footage of seven seasons worth of episodes with some of it having a very definite Gypsy Jazz flavor.

The rhythm guitarist is Masayuki Kusumi, who also serves as a writer of the original Kodoku manga, actor, and part creator to the show. The lead guitarist is a bona-fide Manouche player by the name of Fumihiko Kono and he can really work it out, not only on television and with The Screen Tones, but also onstage with powerhouse European Gypsy Jazz guys (see below). Way cool!

Since I love Gypsy Jazz anyhow, obviously it makes me enjoy television that uses the music in creative ways, especially when it’s well-written and well-played. The attraction of the music going back to its creation at the hands of Django and Stephane Grappelli is that it perfectly embodies the pure joy and good times of life; la dolce vita or however you want to think of it. Of course food, wine, dining, parties, get-togethers, family and friends are a big part of the STUFF of life and the music only makes all of that much more enjoyable!

BTW, if you are interested in watching these shows they are online. Lidia has a lot of stuff at her Youtube channel and Kodoku No Gurume can be found by entering the name of the show into any Kissasian site which I’m sure you can find on your own if you choose.

Update

I’m on a TEAR… doing a boatload of writing and reorganizing, especially in the reviews sections. It’s like time is chasing me like a HELLHOUND ON MY TRAIL. I’m trying to expand to include all of the stuff I’ve had and heard over the years and make it funny, opinionated and maybe even negative in spots. Who knows? It may even end up being controversial! I’ve already done a bunch of work in the Blues, Gypsy Jazz, Django Reinhardt, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix sections. Don’t buy any new music without checking here first! Do people even do that anymore? (Buy music I mean?)

Also I wrote a 7,000+ word review of Rolling Stone magazine’s Stories from the Edge documentary that traces the history of the magazine’s feud with the premiere rock band of the 1970s and various people like Cameron Crowe, Joan Didion, Led Zeppelin, Jim Morrison, The Doors, Jann Wenner, Hunter S. Thompson, Bette Midler, and Joseph Pulitzer all make appearances. Sound interesting? Well if so, you can read it here! I’m going to be following up on this idea with another pretty involved post on the history of rock criticism and music reviewers. That should be fun and educational as well.

I know it’s going to break everyone’s heart, but the blog will be going dark from later tonight until early next week to allow me to do even more detailed and painstaking reorganization. Sorry if this throws the rest of your week into total disarray (lol), but it’s Thanksgiving, so you should be watching feetsball or fighting over a Dell Computer in a Big Box Store somewhere anyhow. Whatever you do, Please Enjoy!