Stratusphunk video

I came across this video while looking for an album cover pic for the George Russell Recent Listening post. Note that the announcer describes this music as in the tonal stratosphere. It doesn’t sound out at all to me. Also, dig the great Jimmy Cleveland trombone solo.

Of course, as the YouTube time suck goes, that video led to this one, which is also worth checking out. Interview with Orrin Keepnews…very interesting.

Mahalia Jackson Theatre re-opens

Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins and more shined along with the newly reopened Mahalia Jackson Theater – Keith Spera – Times-Picayune –

“Preservation Hall tuba player and creative director Ben Jaffe stood at the lip of the stage and gazed out into the theater as it emptied. ‘There’s a lot of memories here,’ he said.”

It has been over three years since the great flood of 2005. In the summer of 2005 there were three nice large downtown theater venues in New Orleans: the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts, The Saenger, and The Orpheum. From September 2005 until last weekend there were none. Now there is one.

Ben is right about the memories. The first time I played with Wardell Quezergue’s Big band was at MJTPA. I played there with a reggae band, and I played a Wagner opera (Das Rheingold) there. I’ve been on the receiving end of lots of great music there as well. It’s nice to have her back.

Big Picture by Trio M – Listened Today

One of the original ideas behind this blog was to use it as a place to bring attention to sounds, sights, and words that I found enriching. With that in mind, I am starting a category called “Listened Today.” These won’t be reviews, simply a record of something I listened to today that I felt the need to share. Somethings might show up more than once, somethings might have already been or eventually get reviewed, and somethings might be random hearings in odd situations.


Today “The Big Picture” by Trio M found its way to my CD player. I hadn’t listened to it in a while, and I quite enjoyed it.

new theme

I am test driving a new look for the site. The comment section for this post would be a great place to express any opinion you might have about the change.

I am a Mac guy, and my wife’s Vista laptop drives me nuts when I have to deal with it, so the irony that this is a Vista styled theme is not lost on me. Honestly though, I think Vista looks cool, it is just a pain in the ass to use. Now you can enjoy the look of Vista without any of the hassle, here at Scratch My Brain.

BTW, if you click the little pencil in the lower left, you can select from a few different looks.

Hung up on style

The following thoughts were initiated this post on Doug Ramsey’s Rifftides blog:Correspondence: Two Young Pianists – Rifftides

A reader had written to Doug, asking a question about a reference Doug made in the liner notes he wrote for a Houston Person CD. The reader was relating his experience at an Eldar performance.

” Brilliant though he may be, his choice of music almost boredered on semi classical.”

It struck me that the complaint was not at all about quality, but solely about style. The fact that the music “almost bordered on semi classical” bothered the reader. It is a shame that many of us, as listeners, seem to consistently miss the chance to enjoy good music because the style does not meet our expectations. Is the placement of the eighth note more important than the honesty and depth of the expression?

Open Ears gets props from DB

The new (Feb 09) Downbeat arrived in my mailbox today. It contains their annual jazz club listing. It was a pleasant surprise to read that one of the five clubs listed in New Orleans is The Blue Nile, which is home to the Open Ears Music Series that I curate.

The Blue Nile offers a wide variety of jazz, from traditional and New Orleans, to Latin and funky. The atmosphere goes from relaxed to slinky. Best bets are Tuesday nights, where the Open Ears Music series has the more experimental jazz.

It is nice that someone has noticed. We are into our second year of the series, and things are flowing nicely. Artists are wanting to play the series (we’re booked through March, with a list for beyond that), and the audience is developing as well. Lately there have been more people there that I don’t know than people that I do know. It would be nice if we could sort out a way to have the musicians leave with more money every night, but that seems to always be the case. If I judge the series by my original goal of being able to provide a place where music could happen that might not happen otherwise in New Orleans, I feel like we have been wildly successful thus far. So, if you are in NOLA on a Tuesday night, you know where to go.