Halftime in the Twilight Zone

halftime

It all made sense when I learned that the Super Bowl Halftime extravaganza was designed and choreographed by Donald Trump.

The Romanesque musical “Vogue”—based on a dream—  is headed for a run in Vegas prior to opening on Broadway in the fall.

Break a leg, Madonna!

Anat Fort Trio

anat

I’ve fallen for the Israeli jazz pianist Anat Fort.  Her new album from ECM has me hooked. In the car, at work, or home…I’m listening.

anat fort

And If…. Anat Fort Trio, with Gary Wang on double-bass and Roland Schneider drums.

Anat Fort is new to me (that’s why I haunt ECM—there are always artists to discover.) And If has mystical effects. Visions of the Middle East echo here. I’m transported past courtyards glowing at dusk… down shadowy, sand-swept alleyways.. The journey becomes a narrative full of possibilities.

Music leading to an oasis.

I know that’s abstract but it’s like discovering a muse. You just have to listen and you’ll write your own text.

CLICK HERE to order it on Amazon.

Saturday’s Soundtrack

Here’s what I’m listening to this weekend…

Michael FormanekThe Rub And Spare Change (ECM)

Michael Formanek / Tim Berne / Craig Taborn / Gerald Cleaver Tour Dates

October 27 – New York, NY – Jazz Standard

October 28 – Philadelphia, PA – Art Alliance

October 29 – Baltimore, MD – An Die Musik

 

Sweet Jazz

mirror-header

Charles Lloyd has a new album out from ECM called Mirror. That’s big news for jazz fans. This studio recording of the Charles Lloyd Quartet features Jason Moran (piano), Reuben Rogers (double-bass), and Eric Harland (drums). As for the leader, Charles Lloyd just gets better with age and is really soaring on Mirror. If you can’t catch them touring this is the next best thing.

Grab the album here on Amazon.

Beach Blanket Bingo Noir

When I thought of the title for this post it inspired an album cover…

bingo

It summarizes the mix of music I’ve been listening to lately, while working on the August issue of Zoom Street.  It would take a study at M.I.T. to determine the effects of various kinds of music on the production and design of a digital magazine. I can’t be objective, but I know listening to the noirish electronic sounds of Beat Connection’s Surf Noir has had an impact.

surfnoir

It certainly explains why I was visited by a bikini-clad Annette Funicello asking me for a lift to Utica. Too bad, as i was looking for a muse.

BTW, you can download Surf Noir for FREE at this link. (Favorite cut:   In the Water,  which is where I wish I was right now.)

crime_scene

Add to the mix Terje Rypdal’s new album from ECM called Crime Scene.

Man, I wish I’d had this in my ear when I was writing Shoot to Thrill down in San Diego. Nothing like a jolt of jazz from this Norwegian electric guitar master. The CD is part homage to Coltrane, with a mix of hard-boiled jazz and rock fusing together in a noir-like cinematic soundtrack. Think a mobster’s  shadow in a neon-lit alleyways.

At least that’s how I hear it here in the Bay Area with July’s odd mix of heat, fog, and chilly mornings.

All I can say is crank it up… the crime’s sublime.

All That (SF) Jazz…


The Great Charles Lloyd

How’s this for a plum assignment: photograph the Charles Lloyd Quartet in concert at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Needless to say the place was packed and the concert was phenomenal. Alas, they wouldn’t let photographers up on the stage. No flash, no tripod allowed. And the lights were as low as you can go. I was able to get these shots thanks to a high ISO setting (3200) on a Nikon D300s.  (Will somebody lend me a FAST 300mm lens?)


Reuben Rogers on bass


 Jason Moran on piano


Eric Harland on drums

Man this cat can blow! And not just with his sax, either. During an encore Lloyd made magic with the flute on Booker’s Garden. It hypnotized the house. That cut, by the way, is on the album Rabe de Nube (Tail of a Cloud) from ECM and I urge you to grab it here on Amazon—it’s pure joy.

At one point he even took over the piano and treated us to another instrument–his voice—as he intoned some Buddhist wisdom. Clearly his music is all about connecting to people.

At 70, Charles Lloyd is at the top of his game…an ageless angel, arching and kicking, hitting sweet spots that had me soaring. This was jazz heaven, full of surprises and highs and transcendent sounds. The concert had so many memorable moments they’re still echoing as I write this. Reuben Rogers performed one of the longest most inspired bass riffs I’ve ever heard.  Jason Moran’s piano segued seamlessly from cool to hot to classical improv. There was a wonderful pas de deux between Moran and drummer Eric Harland. They had me turning my head side to side, like watching a tennis match.

The audience was not simply connected to the sound, but totally plugged in for two blissful hours.

Nothing beats jazz in San Francisco.

CLICK HERE  for more info on the SF Jazz Spring Season.