JohnJ

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Everything posted by JohnJ

  1. The First Concert You Ever Attended

    First concert was Roxy Music at the Rainbow in London in 1973. Most boring was probably Genesis at the Knebworth festival in 1978.
  2. Sinatra - 'I've Got You Under My Skin' along with just about everything he recorded for Capitol.
  3. Janet Jackson's New Cd

    Positive review from 'The Guardian'. 4 stars out of 5. (Virgin) Alexis Petridis Friday March 26, 2004 The Guardian Buy Damita Jo at Amazon.co.uk Before we get down to the business of Janet Jackson's seventh album, let us spare a thought for Bubba the Love Sponge. He was one of the more unlikely victims of what one commentator called the "cultural McCarthyism" now sweeping America: a racy Florida DJ who suddenly found himself among a number of DJs canned by radio network Clear Channel as part of its clean-up campaign. The spur was the "wardrobe malfunction" that exposed Janet Jackson's right breast during the Superbowl half-time show. For Jackson, the Superbowl incident has been an unqualified success. Her single A Little While, a brilliant, skeletal take on mid-1980s drivetime rock, was released the day after Superbowl and swiftly became the most-played track on US radio; Damita Jo, meanwhile, is predicted to outsell its double-platinum predecessor, 2001's All For You. For the rest of the US, however, the consequences of her actions seem noticeably less healthy: vastly increased fines for "broadcast indecency", and an "indecency probe" by media watchdog the Federal Communications Commission, which many believe merely serves to distract attention from the FCC's attempt to impose a radical relaxation of media ownership rules. Without spending a penny, Jackson may just have mounted the most costly promotional stunt in history. The irritating thing is that Damita Jo doesn't need a promotional boost, let alone a promotional boost that allows the US religious right to have a field day. One of the reasons it is difficult to believe in the "wardrobe malfunction" story is because, on the evidence of this album, Jackson is an extremely savvy operator. She has assembled an unimpeachable production and songwriting team, not only calling in new hip-hop wonderboy Kayne West and Dallas Austin, fresh from working with Kelis, but also reuniting with Jam and Lewis, the duo behind her 1986 album Control. The latter is a smart move: as a defiantly retro track called R&B Junkie makes explicit, one of the few precedents for the ultra hi-tech, avant-garde R&B production styles of Timbaland and Rodney Jerkins lies among the stammering beats and atonal electronics of Nasty and What Have You Done For Me Lately?. The obligatory boring ballads aside, the results are astonishing. Damita Jo's opening salvo is an object lesson in keeping things concise. Four tracks, each barely three minutes long, go hurtling past in a head-spinning blur of snapping rhythms, buzzing synthesised noise and oddly disconnected samples: cut-up vocals and glockenspiel on Strawberry Bounce, rattling tablas on Sexhibition. Elsewhere, there are impossibly lithe basslines - notably on All Nite (Don't Stop) and I Want You, an intriguing electronic reconstruction of an early 1970s soul ballad. For the most part, the songs are not only inventive, but brilliantly constructed. The hooks nag, the choruses are explosive. R&B is primarily a singles genre - even the peerless Aaliyah's albums were a bit of a slog - but Damita Jo's strike rate is remarkably high. It's triumphant stuff. In fact, the only drawback is the album's lyrical monomania. Janet Jackson has been harping on about sex almost exclusively for a decade now, and shows no signs of giving it a rest here. She comes up with things like Sexhibition, a mind-boggling string of page-three caption puns: sexplore, sexposure, sexation, sexplanation. After a while, the sexasperated listener may find themselves loudly sexpressing the desire that someone show Jackson the sexit. Elsewhere, she puns wearingly on phrases like "doing it" and "coming", like a demented 14-year-old boy. Perhaps she let Bubba the Love Sponge have a slice of the songwriting action as compensation for losing his job. An apogee of daftness is reached on Warmth, a song that appears to be about - and, in the anything-goes spirit of the album, let us not mince words here - wanking someone off in a car. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that there is a fantastic song to be written about this strangely overlooked topic, but it would have to take itself a lot less seriously than this. Jackson makes the whole deal sound like no fun whatsoever, which is surely missing the point. "My hand's wrapped around, moving up and down," she sings, sounding like a biology teacher issuing instructions on how to dissect a frog. You can see what Jackson is straining for on Warmth and Sexhibition, just as you can see why, at 38 years old, she would feel the need to flash her nipple at a television audience of 90 million. The world of R&B is obsessed with novelty and packed with lubricious ladies and lothario lovermen. Jackson is trying to send out a signal: you may be younger than me, but I am prepared to go further. As it turns out, there is no need. The deliberate courting of controversy is the least interesting thing about Damita Jo.
  4. Mosaic Selects NOT going to retail

    On the other hand Moose, I have bought most of my TOCJ's, used but near mint, in the $5-8 range.
  5. Mosaic Selects NOT going to retail

    For what it's worth, they are available retail in Japan. Disk Union stores in Tokyo sell the selects at around $72, a mere $24 per CD.
  6. Lon, I posted that aricle here a couple of days ago under the title "Good times roll at Blue Note". I must confess that I also posted it yesterday at that other board as it seemed appropriate and I just wanted to see if there would be any response. Anyway, count me in as a Norah fan. Even though I am not too keen on her second release, I do think she has a terrific voice and her best work lies ahead of her.
  7. For those that asked, I am still on the lookout for any used copies in my regular visits to the various Disk Union's in Tokyo. This set seems to be rare though. I was lucky enough to find a copy for around $20 a couple of years ago but have seen nothing recently.
  8. Rainbow Theatre in London

    I have fond memories of the Rainbow. The first concert I ever attended was there, Roxy Music, in 1973 (I think). Among others I recall seeing there are Thin Lizzy and Lynyrd Skynrd (before the plane crash).
  9. Good times roll at Blue Note Mike Zwerin IHT Wednesday, March 24, 2004 PARIS It might be said that Blue Note records is subsidized by an annuity from Norah Jones - a good singer, too often badmouthed - whose two albums together have surprisingly sold, so far, close to 25 million copies worldwide. . Piracy, file-sharing, the maturation of the CD market and seismic structural changes in the record business notwithstanding, times appear to be good at Blue Note. Bruce Lundvall, 68, president and chief executive of EMI Jazz Classics - a group that also includes Angel, Virgin Classics, Roulette, Pacific Jazz and Manhattan - has been in the record business more than 40 years, 18 of them at the head of Blue Note. He was more than willing to tell the Norah Jones story - not, one suspects, for the first time: . "She is signed to us for only one reason. I returned a phone call. The record business is famous for not returning calls. Maybe I don't get to it the same day, but I always return phone calls." . This particular message was from a woman in the royalty department in the midtown office of the parent company, EMI. She said: "There's this jazz singer I'd like you to listen to." . He said: "O.K. Send me something." . She said: "No, I'd like to bring her down in person." . Waiting in his lower Fifth Avenue office, a reluctant Lundvall was saying to himself: "Here comes another one." He was getting calls from "a lot of blond, buxom women who play the piano and sing badly trying to sound like Diana Krall. But in comes this petite girl with glasses, thin, very young, dressed down." . He asked her to tell him about herself and she said she'd dropped out of North Texas State College, where she had been a voice major, and was doing Sunday brunches and local things around New York. The demo she had with her included the old Tommy Wolf/Fran Landesman hipster ode "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most." . Lundvall said: "She really nailed 'Spring.' I was...Wait a minute! That's a hard song to sing, the chord changes are tough, it's one of my favorite songs and I've never heard it sung better." . He asked her who was playing piano and she said "me." Wondering what the odds were against a 20-year-old woman learning that song in the first place, he reflected for only a few beats before saying: "Look, you're on Blue Note. You are going to have to get an attorney, but I'm making a commitment now." . Lundvall had somewhat similarly signed the singer Bobby McFerrin. Jones's unexpected success made it possible for him to sign Wynton Marsalis recently, as well. Lundvall is one of the few executives remaining with the necessary combination of ears, culture and clout to pull it off. Verve is pulling back from the jazz market and Warner Brothers has discontinued the Atlantic label. . Years ago, when Charlie Haden called to recommend the young Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Lundvall flew to Havana to hear him. With the U.S. embargo it was not legal for the New York office of Blue Note to have a contract with Rubalcaba, and so he was signed to Blue Note Japan. . This sort of enlightened entrepreneurship is one reason the company remains profitable and keeps winning polls as the jazz label of the year. There are about 20 new releases a year, plus 100 or so reissues, and the roster includes Cassandra Wilson, Terrence Blanchard, Dianne Reeves, Joe Lovano, Pat Martino, Jacky Terrasson and Greg Osby. . Lundvall said that he is "trying hard to continue in the old Blue Note tradition." The company was founded in 1939 in New York by Alfred Lion, who was from Berlin. He was joined in New York by his childhood friend, a fellow Berliner and jazz fan named Francis Wolff. . The partners were quick to recognize that LPs were the perfect carrier for jazz. For the first time, soloists had enough space to develop their ideas. (CDs allow for too much space, but that is another problem.) They set out to make as many jazz LPs as they could and cast them with always credible, often legendary, musicians who were hot at the moment and who liked to play together. . It was a major part of the tonal fabric of the time and included Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins, Brother Jack McDuff, Hank Mobley, Milt Jackson, Jimmy Smith, Bud Powell and Sam Rivers. Some bands, hired on their way out of the clubs at the end of the evening, would record far into the morning in Rudy Van Gelder's studio across the river in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. (Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers grew out of a Blue Note session organized around Horace Silver.) . "The wonderful thing about jazz is that it's forever," Lundvall said. "When you make a jazz record with a credible artist, it will sell not much, perhaps, but something in every part of the world. If you make the right choices, then 5, 10, 20 years from now you can reissue them." . He continued, "We are creating future catalogs with our new releases. Our catalog is our most valuable asset. It's like an annuity." . To celebrate Blue Note's 65th birthday, Blue Note France is producing a festival from April 4 to May 1 in various venues around Paris. It will feature Reeves, Wilson, Marsalis, and, among others, Erik Truffaz, Jason Moran, Patricia Barber, Stefano Di Battista, Medeski Martin and Wood and Bugz in the Attic. For more information, visit www.bluenotefrance.com. . International Herald Tribune .
  10. Favorite Rolling Stones Album

    Rooster Ties, the CD you need is 'Rewind 1971-1984'. I believe that this is the only compilation covering this period and actually contains a lot of great Stones songs. A personal favourite is 'Waiting on a Friend'.
  11. Coltrane Box Sets

    Prestige Atlantic Columbia Miles/Trane VV Impulse Quartet Love them all.
  12. Now reading...

    Ghost, the Smiley trilogy is superb. The next two, 'The Honourable Schoolboy' and 'Smiley's People' are just as good as 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'. I think they were once all published together in one volume with the title 'The Quest For Karla'.
  13. New MPs reissues

    I recently bought a 2CD CBBB compilation that contains quite a lot of the material from 'All Smiles' and 'More Smiles' and am very impressed. Really interesting and fresh arrangements of standards with lots of great solos from musicians who deserve to be better known. I would recommend everyone to grab these releases.
  14. Claude Nougaro dies

    From today's IHT. Pretty good article as usual from Zwerin. Nougaro, an appreciation Mike Zwerin PARIS The singer and songwriter Claude Nougaro, who died March 4 at age 74, thought of himself as a "black Greek, somewhere between Plato and Louis Armstrong." . There is a bel canto tradition in the southwestern city of Toulouse, where he came from. His grandparents sang Berlioz and Wagner with local chorales. His mother was an Italian piano teacher, his father a featured baritone with the Paris opera. When the teenager Claude was asked what he wanted to be in life, he replied, "a poet." He read Baudelaire and Rimbaud and listened to Puccini, Edith Piaf and Charles Trenet. As he was being thrown out of several schools for what he called "silly capers," he was already thinking about being a "warrior of the soul, an artistic and metaphysical adventurer." . He listened to Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole and discovered "another universe of expression made possible by the pure sound of language through the organic physiology of swing." Like his fellow chansonnier Serge Gainsbourg, Nougaro was going to have to work hard to coax swing out of a language that André Gide compared to "a piano without pedals." Nougaro loved to play with words. He wrote French lyrics to Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo à la Turk," Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," Sonny Rollins's "St. Thomas" and Lalo Schifrin's "The Cat." His "Sing Sing Song" was based on Nat Adderley's "Work Song." Trying to play "le blues à la française," he released an album called "Bleu Blanc Blues." . "I am aware, with a certain sadness," Nougaro said, "that this beautiful language of mine, which was once the planetary tongue, has given way to English. On the other hand, I do not understand Portuguese, but when I hear great songs sung by great Brazilian singers, I listen first to the swing and the melody and I am thrilled by their essence anyway. So I ask myself, if my language, which for Americans is only sound without meaning, if that sound together with my emotion and intensity and the quality of my voice will be enough to conquer their indifference." . It turned out not to be enough. The marriage of the Portuguese language with Afro-Brazilian culture is unique and it swings harder and the sound is just better for the purpose than French. It's possible that another reason the French chanson has been so difficult to export is the vibrato at the heart of it. . The vibratos that were so in vogue in popular music during the early 20th century - Guy Lombardo, for example - became slower and wider and gradually disappeared after World War II. The French Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, whose vibrato was to die for, was nevertheless pushed into the ethnic music bins by more fashionable nonvibrating pickers like Charlie Christian, George Benson and Wes Montgomery. Tommy Dorsey's undulations gave way to the no-nonsense straight-ahead trombone sound of J.J. Johnson. The tenor saxophonist Lester Young's clear and classical tone snuggled into the collective ear, while his rival Coleman Hawkins, for all his lyricism, went out of style. . Miles Davis's "Birth of the Cool" band in 1948 marked the end of the hot vibrato. It is not by chance that Dean Martin sounds dated and Sinatra does not - or that Gainsbourg was one of the few French singers to be appreciated by Anglo-American musicians. The uncool tremolos in the voices of singers like Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Charles Aznavour, Juliette Gréco, Yves Montand and Nougaro tend to sound passé rather than folkloric to foreigners. . But music, as Elvin Jones said, should be "judged on its own terms," and there is no doubt that Nougaro was one of the best. His voice was deep, expressive, in tune, he sang lyrics convincingly and he had very good time. His band was always top-notch. His stage presence was intense and powerful; he was compared to a bull. He claimed that his Toulousian accent was an advantage because it helps make the French language swing. His popularity helped soften the traditional Parisian prejudice against "the accent." . He wrote some songs for Piaf, worked with the Brazilians Baden Powell and Chico Buarque, collaborated with Michel Legrand. By the 1980s, there was trouble with alcohol and his records were no longer selling and he decided to "change my blood type." Selling his house in Montmartre, he fired his impresario, dropped his record company - or his record company dropped him - and went to New York to record "Nougayork" with the funk producer Nile Rodgers, the ex-Miles Davis bassist Marcus Miller and other studio sharks. . Nougaro owned the French rights to Charles Mingus's "Fables of Faubus," and since he was in New York anyway, he telephoned Sue Mingus, the bassist's widow. She was on her way out of town and lent him her West Side apartment and he found himself "being guarded by Mingus's two basses. My faithful sentinels. When I found out that Dexter Gordon was living in the apartment downstairs, I figured that New York was going to be good to me." . Although "Nougayork" was a successful comeback album for him in France, it made no impression in the United State. When he died, his photo was on the front pages of French newspapers and the covers of the major magazines; it was hard to find a musician in the United States who had heard of him. . When he died, his friend and drummer Aldo Romano, who lived in the singer's guestroom for more than a year, had been working with him on an album called "La Note Bleue," for the jazz label Blue Note. "Like many creative artists, he was full of self-doubt," Romano told l'Express magazine. . Nougaro wrote songs about alienation, solitude, the night, women, the city. He felt that he just might be working "in the same mental landscape" as Maurice Ravel, Duke Ellington, Robert Schumann and Bud Powell. He "began to hear jazz with my eyes and see it with my ears. I was my own Pygmalion."
  15. Favorite 60's rock band....

    Easy one. The Velvet Underground.
  16. This Is Going To Be Either REALLY Cool...

    I recall a compilation with multiple versions of "Stairway to Heaven" that was released a few years ago. One version of that song is more than enough for me, but I would be interested to hear the Rolf Harris version.
  17. Heroin, the drug of choice.

    The following always sends a chill down my spine when I hear it. I think Lou Reed sums it up as well as anybody ever has. Velvet-Underground's Lyrics - Heroin Lyrics (reed) I don’t know just where I’m going But I’m gonna try for the kingdom, if I can ’cause it makes me feel like I’m a man When I put a spike into my vein And I’ll tell ya, things aren’t quite the same When I’m rushing on my run And I feel just like jesus’ son And I guess that I just don’t know And I guess that I just don’t know I have made the big decision I’m gonna try to nullify my life ’cause when the blood begins to flow When it shoots up the dropper’s neck When I’m closing in on death And you can’t help me not, you guys And all you sweet girls with all your sweet silly talk You can all go take a walk And I guess that I just don’t know And I guess that I just don’t know I wish that I was born a thousand years ago I wish that I’d sail the darkened seas On a great big clipper ship Going from this land here to that In a sailor’s suit and cap Away from the big city Where a man can not be free Of all of the evils of this town And of himself, and those around Oh, and I guess that I just don’t know Oh, and I guess that I just don’t know Heroin, be the death of me Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life Because a mainer to my vein Leads to a center in my head And then I’m better off and dead Because when the smack begins to flow I really don’t care anymore About all the jim-jim’s in this town And all the politicians makin’ crazy sounds And everybody puttin’ everybody else down And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds ’cause when the smack begins to flow Then I really don’t care anymore Ah, when the heroin is in my blood And that blood is in my head Then thank God that I’m as good as dead Then thank your God that I’m not aware And thank God that I just don’t care And I guess I just don’t know And I guess I just don’t know
  18. Sopranos Season Starts!!!

    Like Brownie, I will have to stay away from this thread. Season 4 starts in April in Japan. I agree that 'The Sopranos' is far and away the best thing on TV these days.
  19. Big Wheel, in Indonesia I would recommend Yogyakarta on Java, about one hour east of Jakarta by plane. Borobudur is one of the most spectacular sights in Asia and the whole town had a pretty funky feel when I was there around 15 years ago (a long time ago, I know). Like Conn, in Malaysia I have only been to KL which I found rather quiet after Bangkok.
  20. How Long do they last? Cd's and Cd-r's

    All I can say is that the CD's I bought twenty years ago still work perfectly.
  21. joke thread

    Corporate Lessons. Corporate lesson 1 --------------------------- A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower when the doorbell rings. After a few seconds of arguing over which one should go and answer the door bell, the wife gives up, quickly wraps herself up in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next door neighbour. Before she says a word, Bob says,"I'll give you 800 dollars to drop that towel that you have on." After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her 800 dollars and leaves. Confused, but excited about her good fortune, the woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets back to the bathroom, her husband asks from the shower "Who was that?" "It was Bob the next door neighbour," she replies. "Great," the husband says, "did he say anything about the 800 dollars he owes me?" Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk in time with your stakeholders, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure. Corporate lesson 2 --------------------------- A priest was driving along and saw a nun on the side of the road, he stopped and offered her a lift which she accepted. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to open and reveal a lovely leg. The priest had a look and nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun looked at him and immediately said, "Father,remember psalm 129?" The priest was flustered and apologised profusely. He forced himself to remove his hand. However, he was unable to remove his eyes from her leg. Further on while changing gear, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, "Father, remember psalm 129?" Once again the priest apologised."Sorry sister but the flesh is weak." Arriving at the convent, the nun got out gave him a meaningful glance and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to retrieve a bible and looked up psalm 129. It said, "Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory." MORAL OF THE STORY: Always be well informed in your job, or you might miss a great opportunity! Corporate Lesson 3 ---------------------------- Usually the staff of the company play football. The middle level managers are more interested in Tennis. The top management usually has a preference for Golf. MORAL OF THE STORY: As you go up the corporate ladder, the balls reduce in size. Corporate Lesson 4 ---------------------------- A sales rep, an administration clerk and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one." "Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world." Poof! She's gone. In astonishment, "Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and the love of my life." Poof! He's gone. "OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch." MORAL OF THE STORY: always let your boss have the first say
  22. Recent Blue Note...

    For me, the most interesting and adventurous recent jazz vocal releases are 'Modern Cool' and 'Verse' by Patricia Barber. I appreciate Blue Note for signing her.
  23. Anybody see the Oscars??

    Never mind the Oscars, how about the Razzies. Far more entertaining. And the Razzie goes to: "Gigli," "Gigli" and "Gigli." Plus another three for good measure. In almost a sweep of the Golden Raspberry Awards that "honor" the worst of the worst in Hollywood, "Gigli" was named worst picture, Jennifer Lopez worst actress, Ben Affleck worst actor and the two as worst screen couple. Martin Brestalso took the Razzies for worst director and screenplay for the film. The movie fell short of the record: seven Razzies, a dishonor held by "Showgirls" and "Battlefield Earth." Among other winners this year, Sylvester Stallone padded his Razzie résumé with a record 10th prize, this time for worst supporting actor in "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over." Stallone's past Razzies include one for worst actor of the 20th century. Demi Mooretook the supporting-actress Razzie for her comeback role in "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," which was voted worst remake or sequel. "Dr. Seuss' the Cat in the Hat" won for worst excuse for a movie. The Razzies were voted on by 578 Golden Raspberry Award Foundation members in 39 U.S. states and 15 foreign countries. .
  24. Who doesn't own any Mosaic sets?

    Disk Union in Tokyo usually sells used OOP Mosaic's at around $14 per disc. They don't appear that often, but if I see one I usually grab it. I really enjoy every one I have bought, from Louis Armstrong to Jackie Mclean. It is not just the music but the whole packaging the makes them so addictive, at least for me (of course, knowing that they could all be resold at a substantial profit dosn't hurt). Then again, unlike some here, I love box sets with big informative booklets. I tend to play several CD's in one session.
  25. Your First Mosaic Set Purchased

    Jimmy Smith at a used store, Disk Union, in Tokyo around three years ago. The price was around $14 per disc and since then I have bought several more OOP sets at the same price from various Disk Union outlets. Love them all.