Damon Short @ Hungry Brain

I often think about trying to be a patient improvser. Tonight I was reminded to be a patient listener as well.

I heard the Damon Short Quintet with Ryan Shultz, Larry Kohut,
Chuck Burdelik, & Mitch Paliga at the Hungry Brain in Chicago. They played composition by leader/drummer Damon Short. The one that moved me the most was an epic piece called Culture Shock, that was written after Hurricane Katrina. Damon lived in New Orleans in the 80′s, and that experience was audible in the music.

Ryan Shultz plays bass trumpet in the band, and his performance was outstanding. He gets a great sound out of a very uncommon instrument. Also notable was the contribution of bassist Larry Kohut.

There is a great little scene happening on Sundays there at the Brain. The show tonight was well attended and the crowd was very attentive. Be sure to check it out if you are in Chicago (especially if it is next Sunday 3/5/06, because I will be there with the Lucky 7s.)

Bagatellen: Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra – When Angels Speak of Love (Evidence)

Bagatellen: Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra – When Angels Speak of Love (Evidence)

Though it remains an important part of his legacy, in many ways Sun Ra’s outrageous persona, his personal mythology and bizarre Astro-Afro-Egyptian equations, have clouded our appreciation of his contribution to American music in the twentieth century. Indeed, when one considers his early experimentation with electronics and recording effects, his technical adroitness at the piano, his brilliant ensemble writing, and his fluency in multiple musical languages—from swing to free jazz and beyond—Ra suddenly looms very large in the musical pantheon.

Most of my exposure to Sun Ra has come through Michael Ray. I almost wish I had known nothing about him before I heard his music. Before I started working with Michael, my idea of Sun Ra was out music and trippy costumes. Even when I heard his band at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in 1999, my young impressionable head couldn’t get past the dancing and costumes to get to the music.

The music is heavy on its own. We should all make an effort to check our Sun Ra on solely musical terms, then we might have a greater understanding of the whole that is Sun Ra.

Andrew Hill: One Man’s Lifelong Search for the Melody in Rhythm

A nice article/listening session with Andrew Hill from the NYT.

Andrew Hill: One Man’s Lifelong Search for the Melody in Rhythm – New York Times

As a jazz composer, Andrew Hill is as original as they come. From the start he has had only a modest following. He arrived in New York in 1960, to join Roland Kirk’s group. When he started making his own records for Blue Note a few years later, he didn’t make a great public splash, as Ornette Coleman had in 1959, or even keep a working band to establish a presence in the clubs. Instead, he played the college circuit, taught and applied for arts grants. At one point, in a 1966 interview in Down Beat, he encouraged each of his listeners to send him a dollar.

Hill was hip to micropayments in 1966. I wonder if it worked any better for him then, than it does now?

Yahoo exec: Labels should sell music without DRM

Yahoo exec: Labels should sell music without DRM | News.blog | CNET News.com

Yahoo Music chief Dave Goldberg raised eyebrows Thursday at the Music 2.0 conference in Los Angeles with a proposal rarely heard from executives at large digital music services: Record labels should try selling music online without copy protection.

A Yahoo spokeswoman said that Goldberg was “basically trying to move the industry forward,” and wanted to prompt industry-wide discussion “about what the consumer experience is.”

Wow…run your business based on providing a good consumer exprience…BRILLIANT! Too bad the majors probably won’t see the logic in that. Actually, I guess it isn’t too bad, because that leaves more room for the rest of us.

February eMusic scores

These are my February eMusic pickups. I haven’t delved deeply into all of them yet. I will write more as I do.

Chris Potter – Underground


This one is great. No bass player and it grooves hard. Very interesting and rewarding music.

George Russell -Stratusphunk

I haven’t previously done much listening to George Russell. I had a perception that his stuff was thought to be a little heady and better for analyzing than listening, but I don’t find that on this album. I’m digging it. It is cool to hear David Baker on trombone on this one.

Raul de Souza – Colors

Sonny Rollins – Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert)


Steve Swell / Perry Robinson

– Invisible Cities

Musician’s comments on new tunes vs standards – Jazzcorner’s Speakeasy

The Speakeasy at jazzcorner.com is having an interesting discussion about new tunes and standards in jazz.

Musician’s comments on new tunes vs standards – Jazzcorner’s Speakeasy

It started as a question about where the new standards might be coming from, but has developed into an originals/standards as performancee practice discussion.

I prefer to hear a group play original tunes. Classic jazz tunes are next on my list of preferences, with the Great American Songbook tunes following that. Ideally a mix of all three would be played.

My quartet book is mostly originals by me or friends of mine, with a healthy dose of classic jazz tunes like Monk, Mingus and Shorter compositions, with some more obscure tunes as well by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Grachan Moncur, Joe Lovano, and the like. I do have about a dozen Great American Songbook tunes for times wheen they would be a ppropriate, but they aren’t a regular part of most Jeff Albert Quartet performances.

If I go out to hear music and catch a group playing Stella or All The Things You Are, it has to be super happening to keep my attention, whereas a passable performance of an original will keep me tuned in. I am sure to some extent that is simply a taste issue.

What do you prefer to hear people play?

WSJ.com – Amazon Plans Music Service To Rival iTunes

WSJ.com – Amazon Plans Music Service To Rival iTunes

Now Amazon, the world’s No. 1 online retailer, is in advanced talks with the four global music companies about a digital-music service with a range of features designed to set it apart. Among them: Amazon-branded portable music players, designed and built for the retailer, and a subscription service that would deeply discount and preload those devices with songs, not unlike mobile phones that are included with subscription plans as part of the deal.

I don’t see how Amazon branded players or a subscription service would set them apart. There are already players and subscription services in the market. To me, this looks like another attempt to tie content to hardware, and I am convinced that is the wrong way to go, despite the one instance where it has been successful (the iPod/iTunes scene).

The article makes no mention of a DRM scheme, excpet in this reference:

Amazon would face the same challenges as other music-player makers: buying enough flash memory to store content on small music-player devices and securing music content

“Securing music content”? Is that a euphemism for “coming up with some way to pacify the majors, eventhough we all know that if you can make it come out of speakers, you can copy it”?

Someday, someone will realize that strong content and ease of consumer use are what is going to drive this market, not attempts to control consumer behavior. Who ever sorts that out, will rule the world.

RIAA Says Ripping CDs to Your iPod is NOT Fair Use

As part of the on-going DMCA rule-making proceedings, the RIAA and other copyright industry associations submitted a filing that included this gem as part of their argument that space-shifting and format-shifting do not count as noninfringing uses, even when you are talking about making copies of your own CDs:

“Nor does the fact that permission to make a copy in particular circumstances is often or even routinely granted, necessarily establish that the copying is a fair use when the copyright owner withholds that authorization.

EFF: DeepLinks – RIAA Says Ripping CDs to Your iPod is NOT Fair Use

In corporate or organization situations, non-enforcement or selective enforcement of bylaws has been a grounds for invalidating that bylaw. I don’t think the RIAA should be able to selectively assert their copyright.

For those who may not remember, here’s what Don Verrilli said to the Supreme Court last year:

“The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it’s been on their website for some time now, that it’s perfectly lawful to take a CD that you’ve purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod.”

So now if they say that it isn’t legal, am I suddenly a criminal, because the RIAA changed its mind?

Hopefully our legal system will start to act based on common sense and the best interest of the public at large, instead of in the interests of a desperate group violently grasping at a dissolving business model.

Via Boing Boing.