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Just Two Chords
I try not to be a musical snob, but sometimes I just can't help it. About ten seconds into Karen Elson's performance of the title track from her new album The Ghost Who Walks, I was ready to give it a pass. By the end of the performance, I found a new page-worthy video.

A good friend of mine and one of the best musicians I know once gave me some eye opening advice. When I asked him how he could listen to such crap music, he said that he tried to find something - anything - interesting in everything he hears. Whether it's a chunk of cool rhythm, or a nice melody line, there's often something worth paying attention to and learning from. I took that advice to heart, and that short conversation changed my musical perception in a huge way. (Thanks, Buddy!)

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Mr. Collins
People ask me all the time, "What kind of music do you like?" The simple answer, "good music," never seems to satisfy. People expect something more specific like "the Fifth movement from Beethoven's Sixth Symphony", "the first side of Supertramp's Breakfast in America", or "Living Colour's Time's Up" (all favorites!). If I had to give a definitive list of all the music I like, it would take far too long. The honest answer is "good music".

However, if I had to pick one and only one artist to take to the deserted island, it would have to be Albert Collins. Nothing puts me in a better mood than listening to Albert Collins, especially when he is backed by The Icebreakers, and ESPECIALLY when Mr. Johnny B. Gayden is on bass.

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Because It's Herbie
I would love to spend an evening with Herbie Hancock. He is one of the last vestiges of old school jazz, bridging the gap between the early boppers and contemporary musicians. He and fellow jazzers such as Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter grabbed traditional jazz by the lapels and forcibly introduced it to rock, funk, and R&B. Personally speaking, I would be a much different musician today if not for these guys and their peers.

Herbie probably had to have an enormous mantel installed in his home to handle the numerous Grammy Awards (twelve), his Academy Award (for the soundtrack to 'Round Midnight) and well over a dozen more assorted awards and honors. His new album The Imagine Project sounds like a definite must-have, described on his website as an "unprecedented international recording and film project featuring collaborations between music legend Herbie Hancock and a dozen superstars from every region of the planet." Guests include Jeff Beck, Dave Matthews, Chaka Khan, and Wayne Shorter.

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Balloon Bass and a Box
I love cool found instruments and creative ways of making music. Regular readers may remember the tractor playing percussion for the Swedish trio I posted about awhile back.

Today's video is especially cool to me, being a bassist myself. Gents Addi Somekh and Andy Sanesi rock out with just a couple of balloons and a box. Although I can't be sure from the video if Andy's box is just a box or a real Cajón.

Regardless, these guys are pretty cool. Their coolness factor went up a few notches when I checked out their YouTube channel and found a bunch more cool videos of them performing. I encourage you to do the same.

I'm making myself a balloon bass as soon as I can get my hands on some balloons.
 
Only An Expert
Laurie Anderson's music isn't the kind I typically load up on the big stereo system and rock out. Although, her amazing concert film Home of the Brave I would. To me, Laurie Anderson is infinitely more entertaining when I can watch her.

Call it avant-garde, experimental, modern, performance art - whatever label fits your mode of thinking best. I include Laurie Anderson in a group of musicians that create what I like to think of as intellectual music. She and musicians such as Philip Glass, John Cage, and John Zorn combine elements of music with science, technology, and even philosophy that commands much more than just casual observance from an audience.

I've been a fan of Laurie's since I saw the video for Sharkey's Day back in the early days of MTV. I gained a much larger appreciation for her when I studied her art in college.

Today's clip features Laurie performing Only an Expert from her new album Homeland on the David Letterman show. As always, the clip is available in the big player on my Music Video page. Enjoy!
 
World Music
The title World Music is about the most apt and concise title I've ever seen for any television show. World Music features music from all over the world: nationalistic, regional, traditional, cultural fusion, jazz, rock, rap... just about any style and genre you can think of can be found in one or more episodes. I've seen Mexican polka versions of Cheap Trick songs, Scandinavian traditional fiddle music, Oriental opera, and Czech folk music.

The accompanying video of clips features a wide variety of music from just a couple of episodes. The video repertoire consists of everything from Western-influenced MTV style music videos to shaky amateur shots of live performances to elaborately choreographed stage shows. World Music is about the best example of a wider view into the world of music outside of American pop culture that I've ever seen.

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Daily Wisdom

"The best grooves have conversations going on, like little subtleties that kick them up to the next level and add excitment. Simplicity is what make you tap into that, because when you leave space, you listen... When you hear what everyone else is doing you can answer them."

- Chris Wood


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