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Everything posted by JohnJ

  1. New Orleans Revival

    Not exactly relevant I guess, but I love the fact that the long time District Attorney of New Orleans was Harry Connick Snr., 'The Singing D.A.' Kind of sums up that wonderful city for me. B-)
  2. Help -- Jazz record shops in London

    To be honest, when I was in London last September I thought that both Ray's and Mole had limited selections at high prices. I guess I am spoiled living in Tokyo where the used stores are excellent. Actually, the best place for me was the main HMV on Oxford Street as they sell a number of RVG's and other CD's at 4.99 pounds which is about $9.00 (the pound has been very strong recently).
  3. Speaking of copyright

    Sinatra formed Reprise Records back in 1960. Are there any earlier examples of artists starting their own labels?
  4. Blue Note in the 80s & early 90s

    I have a couple of Renee Rosnes releases and I rate them among my favourite Blue Note's. Great compositions featuring such sidemen as Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter. They definitely deserve reissue.
  5. Barney Wilen

    Brownie, Lon, thanks for the comments. I will pick it up if it is still there. Not surprisingly, I can often pick up used copies of Alfa releases pretty cheaply here.
  6. Larry Young Mosaic.

    Pretty good guess Hardbopjazz. The final price was $220.27.
  7. Jimmy Scott

    I agree with Jim, to me he is one of the great jazz balladeers. His '90s releases, 'All the Way, 'Dream' and 'Holding back the Years' are all highly recommended.
  8. Agree with Jobim and Bacharach. Dylan too. In the field of rock I consider Lou Reed to be at least as good as any songwriter mentioned so far. Also, more in the Cole Porter tradition, I think Cy Coleman is worth consideration.
  9. Barney Wilen

    Anybody here heard a Barney Wilen release on Alfa Jazz called 'Modern Nostalgie -Starburst Forever'? Odd title but the track listing looks appealing and I would welcome any opinons on this. I have 'Paris Moods', also on Alfa, and really enjoy that one.
  10. Trane - Complete Impulse Miles - Complete Quintet 1965-1968 Kirk - Complete Mercury And a couple not mentioned yet Paul Desmond - Complete RCA Sinatra- Capitol Years (21 CD British box) Non jazz would be The Velvet Underground - Peel Slowly and See
  11. I love piano trios!

    Venus seems to specialize in high quality trio recordings with an emphasis on standards. The Eddie Higgins releases are all good and are relatively big sellers here in Japan. Bill Charlap's recordings under the name of 'The New York Trio' are also excellent. I would further recommend the Harold Mabern, John Hicks and David Hazeltine trio recording on Venus. In addition, the sound is superb.
  12. Sacha Distel dies

    Brownie, Sacha Distel was very popular in England when I was young, but as a singer not a jazz guitarist. I doubt most Brits even knew he played guitar. The following obituary is from the Guardian. Britain's favourite French crooner dies in St-Tropez Jon Henley in Paris Friday July 23, 2004 The Guardian Sacha Distel, the quintessential Gallic crooner, died yesterday at the home of his parents-in-law near Saint-Tropez in the south of France, his record company said. A spokesman for Universal Music France said the singer, France's best-known playboy charmer through most of the 1960s and 70s, died "following a long illness", the standard French euphemism for cancer. He was 71. In the course of a 45-year international career launched in part by a brief 1958 affair with Brigitte Bardot, Distel performed with some of the biggest names in music, including Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Liza Minnelli, Quincy Jones and Dionne Warwick. Britain always had a soft spot for him. Distel first hit number one in the UK charts - and stayed there for 34 weeks - with Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head in 1971, after headlining at the London Palladium and Prince of Wales theatre. He topped the bill at no fewer than three royal command performances. On the back of his successful Sacha Show on French TV, he became a regular guest - and frequent host - on British chat shows. Distel's most recent appearance in Britain was in 2001, as Billy Flynn in the hit musical Chicago. Distel, as much the face of French music as Johnny Hallyday, Maurice Chevalier and Charles Aznavour, had a succession of huge French hits beginning with perhaps his best-known song of all, Scoubidou, and continuing with Scandale dans la Famille, Monsieur Cannibale and Chanson Bleue. But he also turned out hit Gallic versions of American standards. Born in Paris in 1933, Distel was the son of Leo Distel, an engineer, and Andrée Ventura, a concert-trained pianist and the sister of a successful French prewar bandleader, Ray Ventura. The young Sacha as good as grew up backstage with his uncle, who ensured that one of his musicians - Henri Salvador, who had a number one hit in France as late as last summer - gave him his first guitar lessons at the age of 13. In 1948, Distel was in the audience at Dizzy Gillespie's first concert in Paris and was bitten by the jazz bug. He was named best amateur jazz guitarist in 1951. Two years later he was voted top professional jazz guitarist, a title he held for the next seven years while accompanying the likes of Juliette Greco, then flourishing in the clubs of St-Germain-des-Pres. His first album, French New Sound, was recorded with Lionel Hampton in 1955 and he featured as a guitarist on the legendary jazz album Afternoon in Paris, recorded by the Modern Jazz Quartet in 1955. Desperate to launch himself on a singing career in the wake of his idol Frank Sinatra, Distel finally took the plunge in 1958 with Scoubidou, which became a youth anthem in France and remains one of his best-known hits. By the next summer he had an invitation to appear on the Ed Sullivan show. Distel married a French downhill skiing champion, Francine Bréaud, in 1963, and is survived by her and by their two sons. · He will be buried in a private ceremony in France next week.
  13. All depends on the definition of shit faced. Drank a lot of Shochu last Saturday and my memory of the latter part of the evening is distinctly fuzzy. Not what I would call shit faced though. Tonight in Roppongi could be a big night too. Anyway, I am reminded of the words of the great James Crumley: Son," he said without preamble, "never trust a man who doesn't drink because he's probably a self-righteous sort, a man who thinks he knows right from wrong all the time. Some of them are good men, but in the name of goodness, they cause most of the suffering in the world. They're the judges, the meddlers. And, son, never trust a man who drinks but refuses to get drunk. They're usually afraid of something deep down inside, either that they're a coward or a fool or mean and violent. You can't trust a man who's afraid of himself. But sometimes, son, you can trust a man who occasionally kneels before a toilet. The chances are that he is learning something about humility and his natural human foolishness, about how how to survive himself. It's damned hard for a man to take himself too seriously when he's heaving his guts into a dirty toilet bowl." Then he paused for a long minute and added, "And, son, never trust a drunk except when he's on his knees." - James Crumley, The Wrong Case.
  14. Up. Any news on the possibility of Blue Note reissuing the Dexter Gordon box with simpler packaging. The discussion above took place over a year ago but I have heard nothing since. Perhaps they could also reissue a cheaper version of the Herbie Hancock box at the same time.
  15. Cat Stevens: Good Guy - Bad Guy?

    By coincidence, an article from last Sundays London Observer. Feline groovy The artist formerly known as Cat Stevens has ransacked his tapes for a live DVD that proves why he was such a star in the Seventies. Yusuf Islam tells Molloy Woodcraft about fame, Greece and religious conversion Sunday July 18, 2004 The Observer When I meet Yusuf Islam in the Muslim hotel in Willesden which he has chosen for our interview I am surprised by the candour with which he is prepared to discuss his former career. Britain's most famous Muslim convert has been famously reticent on the subject since the late Seventies. Now, it seems, the 56-year-old singer is ready to talk, even to play again; he has performed at a couple of gigs in the past year, one at the Royal Albert Hall to mark the 20th anniversary of the Muslim primary school he helped to found in London, the other the Nelson Mandela Aids benefit in Cape Town. He is also giving enthusiastic backing to a DVD of a concert on his Majikat world tour of 1976 - his last - filmed and then shelved following his conversion to Islam. Why, I ask, does he feel able to engage in music again having rejected it for so long? 'In the early days I had a very black-and-white view of everything,' he says. 'I think that's kind of natural for anyone who's just embraced Islam - or any religion - as a convert. It was important for me to duck out of the fast and furious life I'd been living as a pop star. I was in a different mood.' His attitude has softened for religious reasons: 'I've studied various schools of thought ... I acknowledge that some Muslims consider music prohibited, but I've found a lot of evidence from the life of the Prophet to show that he allowed certainly, but even encouraged, music at certain times ... ' He goes on: 'There is a social need within our lives as human beings to have harmony.' I ask Islam for his memories of the concert. He confesses that he was not entirely comfortable about being filmed: 'I was quite domineering ... There was a moment where the cameraman almost stuck the camera up my nose and I got very upset and uptight.' He continues: 'In those days a concert was a personal experience. I wanted to be as close as possible to the audience and of course big stadiums didn't enable you to do that. It wasn't my style.' On the whole, however, he is upbeat: 'I think it's great to have something of that era, of my history as a performer, out there on record because maybe a lot of people would never have experienced it. I think the show was very, very powerful.' The DVD certainly shows Cat Stevens in fine form. It's quite evident from the beatific smiles he gives after each number that he loved playing live and there are great renditions of some beautiful songs: 'Moonshadow', 'Oh Very Young' and 'Sad Lisa' in particular are outstanding examples of Stevens's individual, in many ways very English, songwriting style. Of course 'Wild World' comes in the encore but Islam is particularly happy that 'Peace Train', which closes the first set, has made it on to the DVD: 'That was the first time I remember seeing these little ... I thought they were candles but they were lighters being held. I was amazed, it was such an elation ... "Peace Train" was always the last number, the strongest number, and in fact I never recorded it as well as I sang it live.' Watching the DVD, I am struck by the sense of a spiritual quest in many of the songs. 'The spiritual quest was always the predominant aspect of my life,' says Islam. 'Why? God knows ... It's always been there. But there's also an incredible passion connected to it; it's not just a dry investigative process. I have been extremely emotional about it, and that comes out in the songs.' We talk further about spirituality and I am surprised that he cannot remember exactly when, in relation to the Majikat tour, he made his famous pact with God while in danger of drowning off Malibu beach; it is clear, however, that the tour played its part in his conversion to Islam. 'We ended up in Athens ... It was supposed to be the pièce de résistance of the tour because I'd gone back to my Greek heritage - on my father's side - but in fact it was a Greek tragedy. The hall was half booked - there was a major football match going on, and exams at the same time. But it hurt my ego. Probably that gave me an impulse to think about whether I wanted to continue doing this ... I think I was carrying the Koran around towards the end of the tour.' In many ways, speaking to Islam about his past life feels the same as talking to any old head looking back at his younger self through the filter of time. But he recalls the past with a freshness not possible for those who spend decades trading on former glories. It is a boon that he feels able once more to talk about music - indeed, that he was ready to go rooting through the flight cases in his store room and dig out the tapes for this concert.
  16. I am a big city man too, and they don't come much bigger than Tokyo. The greater Tokyo area, including Yokohama, has a population of around 25 million. Despite the size, Tokyo is remarkably clean and safe and everything runs like clockwork. Moreover, there is never any excuse to be bored in this 24 hour city. Biggest downside of course are the crowds.
  17. Sam Rivers

    Speaking of Sam Rivers, I would be interested in hearing opinions on 'Crystals', which I saw at a very good price in the HMV sale. The review on AMG (easy to access today) is glowing to say the least, but then it is written by Thom Jurek. It does sound a little more 'out there' than the Blue Notes.
  18. I was listening to disc 2 last night. First time to hear 'Evolution', wonderful stuff.
  19. Bol, it certainly exists. You will be happy to know that I picked up a used a copy last year for a little over $5 at Disc Union here in Tokyo.
  20. Big Wheel, will you be returning via Bangkok? Anyway, just in case you are, you may be interested to know that the new Bangkok Subway opened ahead of schedule last Saturday. All rides are 10 Baht (25 cents) until the Queen's birthday on August 10. Should be a good way to explore the city.
  21. Euro 2004

    Typical Scottish mentality. Still, given the state of Scottish football and rugby you do have my sympathy.
  22. What music did you buy today?

    The HMV summer sale has started and they usually have a few interesting bargains in their Tokyo stores. Picked up the following items on Saturday: Jazz in Paris: Lucky Thompson - Modern Jazz Group Jazz in Paris: Bernard Peiffer - La Vie En Rose Only 300 yen each, equivalent to around $2.75. Great series, great prices.
  23. Sinatra... Capitol... AGAIN!

    Ditto. One of my favoirite box sets.
  24. Euro 2004

    All the Euro 2004 games are shown live here in Japan on cable and replayed in the evening. That generally means a 4.00 a.m. kick off and I am not sufficiently interested these days to wake up at that time. I did however catch the second period of extra time and the penalties of the England vs. Portugal game this morning. As an Englishman, all I can say is what a depressingly familiar refrain, for the sake of my heart I sure wish FIFA and UEFA would devise an alternative to penalties. Anyway, sounds like it was a great game and congratulations to Portugal. For your sake Brownie, I hope France live up to their potential this evening.
  25. Is it a female or shemale?

    Edward, I guess you have never been drunk in a go-go bar in Thailand.