Friday, October 12, 2007

Listenin' 'n Lookin'

Just a short list of some YouTubes that I've enjoyed repetitively viewing. While I certainly enjoy some of the jazz musicians' YouTube offerings, the limited sound quality and compressed screen sizes never seem to do jazz justice. It's frustrating, for me at least, to see the performances. What tends to happen when I see, say Lee Morgan in a YouTube clip, is to watch it for a bit and then run over to the CD stacks and see if there's a similar cut of his I can play on the stereo. I appreciate the folks who post the YouTubes of the performances; I'm just impatient with the sound quality.

In contrast, most R & R performers do well on YouTube. Is it the volume and the lack of nuance in the genre? A R & R band can get away with sloppiness, even thrive on it. A jazz group/performer can't and I think YouTube's methodology simply cloaks the light almost invisible touch that jazz has.

The Band w/ the Staple Singers (including Pops and Mavis) doing "The Weight". Is there any other bass player who plays the electric bass as if it was a stand-up acoustic bass like the late (and great) Rick Danko? Has there been a drummer with as distinctive and as captivating a voice as Levon Helm? The non-rhetorical answer to those rhetorical questions would be "No!".

Andrew Bird, violinist, guitarist, whistler, and quite witty wordsmith performing "Imitosis" from his album, Armchair Apocrypha.
When your lyrics include "Professor Pynchon", "machinations", "palindromes" and then the run:
"we were all basically alone
despite what all his studies have shown
that what’s mistaken for closeness
is just a case of mitosis
sure fatal doses of malcontent through osmosis
", one's ears perk up. A most interesting fellow is Mr. Bird; just consider that he's on Fat Possum records, a label usually associated with R.L. Burnside and Sleepy John Estes.

Little Feat, with the late Lowell George, doing his self-parody composition, "Fat Man in the Bathtub". IMHO, when Lowell George was alive 'n kicking, Little Feat was the best band of the '70's.

And the 1980's? Well, no better band than the

Talking Heads, doing "Road to Nowhere". Their stuff still sounds fresh and applicable these days. Jerry Harrison is a very under-rated guitarist. Quite the quippy notes and certainly a solid underflow for the T-Heads lyrics.

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