Kermit Ruffins Big Band

I had the pleasure of playing with the newly reformed Kermit Ruffins Big Band last Friday in San Antonio.  It was a treat to play simple tasty arrangements of classic swinging material with a great bunch of musicians.  Kermit is a fun and charismatic performer, and the band is a great bunch of guys with no silly vibes or ego trips.  Just good musicians having fun playing good music.  The fact that the band is well managed and the musicians are treated well is icing on the cake.  We need more gigs like this one.


This is an iPod pros/cons from the Bellville, IL newspaper, by a Chicago Tribune writer.
Belleville News-Democrat | 12/26/2006 | Doing megabyte math, other secrets to buying MP3’s

GOOD: Works easily with the PC or the Mac. Long battery life. Slim and unobtrusive. Not too few songs, not too many songs. Stylish.NOT SO GOOD: You can use only iTunes and eMusic to buy music. Other music stores aren’t compatible. Still, those two stores offer a lot of variety and are easy to use.

It is totally untrue that iTunes and eMusic are the only places you can buy music for your iPod. Music Stem , the store that Greenleaf Music uses, sells mp3s (which are by definition DRM free, and playable on an iPod or just about any other player), as does my store (Pepper Enterprises), and any number of other independent download stores. Some major labels are doing mp3 experiments with Yahoo Music and other outlets as well.

Why would this paper get this so wrong? If I were a paranoid iPod apologist, I would say that it is due to a bias against Apple, but I don’t think that is the case. I think they just don’t know what they are talking about.


from The Huffington Post:

James Brown triumphed because he had unequalled energy and an uncanny genius for fully unleashing the rhythmic power of music.

I had the pleasure of seeing/hearing James Brown live in Las Vegas in 1995.  The band wore navy tuxedos with orange tie/cummerbund combos.  They looked like total Vegas cheese, and they sounded like the funkiest most powerful force ever.  It was impossible not to move your body when the music played.  To co-opt a line from Duck Dunn, that band was bad enough to turn goat piss into gasoline, and all of that badness emanated from James Brown.  I’m glad I didn’t miss my one opportunity to experience JB live.

Don’t pass up a chance to hear a master, we never know if there will be another one.


This is me quoting Doug Ramsey quoting David Berger.

Rifftides: Doug Ramsey on jazz and other matters

This is acoustic music. Keep amplification to an absolute minimum; in the best halls, almost no amplification should be necessary. Everyone needs to develop a big sound. It is the conductor’s job to balance the band.

The bass should not be as loud as a trumpet. That is unnatural and leads to over-amplification, bad tone and limited dynamics. Stay away from monitors. They provide a false sense of balance.

Will Amazon put pressure on the eMusic model?

Will Amazon put pressure on the eMusic model? – The Digital Music Weblog

Amazon’s new DRM free store promises to offer variable pricing and an ala-carte model which closer matches the success of iTunes, rather than the X downloads per month deal on offer at eMusic.

I love eMusic.  I would love it even more if it went a la carte, especially if it could go a la carte and keep the price per track close to where it is now. I realize that without the guaranteed subscription revenue that tracks would be more than the circa $.25 they are now, but the eMusic catalogue sold a la carte at $.60 – .75 per track would be totally rockin’. Maybe this Amazon move will push it that way.

Leonard Pitts: My freedom linked to others — including gays

The local New Orleans paper (The Times-Picayune) ran this Leonard Pitts piece today. If we all thought like this, the world would be a better place. | 12/15/2006 | My freedom linked to others — including gays

…as white college students were risking their lives to travel south and register black people to vote. Somebody asked why. He said he acted from an understanding that his freedom was bound up with the freedom of every other man.

Record it all!

I agree with the idea that the best way to really experience an improvising group is to hear them on multiple occasions in a relatively short time span. This allows you to hear the growth and evolution of the music, as well as get a sense of some of the other variables like the mood of the players, the venue, the weather, whatever. Similar thoughts have been championed by Ken Vandermark.

The Vandermark 5 recorded every note of a 5 night stay at the Polish club Alchemia in 2004. The whole week of music was released as a 12 CD box entitled Alchemia. It is very interesting to hear every note the band played that week, and there is the added angle that some of the tunes that eventually ended up on The Color of Memory were first introduced on the tour that produced Alchemia. You can really hear the interpretations develop.

Dave Douglas is taking a slightly different approach to offering an all encompassing take on the state of his band. He is recording every active tune in the quintet’s repertoire over the course of a week at the Jazz Standard in New York, and making the whole week available as download’s from his web store. The extra interest here comes from these being Douglas’ first recordings on cornet.