Nothing Like a Little Sinatra

There’s nothing quite like a little Sinatra to make your day better.

Advertisements

People Worth Listening To- Wes Montgomery

Wes Montgomery was an Indianapolis born jazz guitarist who is considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time.  He influenced not only jazz music, but other forms of popular music as well.  His playing style included a lot of single note lines and octave figures. He played with his thumb instead of a pick, giving his playing a mellow and expressive sound.

I fell in love with his music and his playing when I purchased his 1960 album “The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery”, which he recorded with pianist Tommy Flanagan, drummer Albert Heath and bassist Percy Heath.

 

People Worth Listening To- The Protomen

The Protomen are an American indie rock band based in Nashville, Tennessee.  I’ve posted about them before.  Their music is loosely based on the “Mega Man” video game series.  However, their 2005 album “The Protomen” (Now entitled Act I) as well as their 2009 followup “Act II: The Father of Death” tell a darker version of events that differs greatly from the existing “official” story line.

I became a fan of this band when I was first introduced to their second album “Act II” by a cousin of mine.  To me it seemed to be highly influenced by the sounds of the 1980s, but still was something completely fresh and new sounding.  From this jumping point I also fell in love with their debut album “The Protomen” (Act I).

The band maintains a certain mystique surrounding their identities.  Little is known about the members other than their creative stage names that are generally pop culture references.  Their live performances are quite theatrical and they like to play cover versions of 70s and 80s songs that go along with the themes present in their own music.

People Worth Listening To- Tom Waits

Tom Waits is certainly among the most unique of singer-songwriters.  His voice is one of the most distinctive and recognizable voices I’ve heard.  While not technically “good” by any means, I’d say his voice carries his music very well.  He may not be a great vocalist, but he’s an amazing singer of songs.  His voice flows with raw emotion.

In his music he incorporates rock, blues, jazz, experimental, vaudeville along with various other traditional styles and even some pretty experimental techniques.  The result is music that sounds like nothing else, which is an art in itself.  That can’t carry the music by itself, it’s also got to be enjoyable to listen to.  And although Waits can be an acquired taste, I assure you that it’s a taste worth acquiring.

People Worth Listening To- Big Bill Broonzy

Perhaps one of the most prolific blues performers of all time, Big Bill Broonzy (Lee Conley Bradley) began his career in the 1920s playing country blues.  Broonzy draws influence from the many styles of music he heard growing up in the rural south.  The folk musics, spirituals and blues that he heard locally.

Moving to Chicago, Broonzy’s sound became tougher.  This paved the way for later “Chicago Blues” artists such as Muddy Waters.  There is no denying Big Bill Broonzy’s importance in the world of music.  One of my favourite Broonzy tunes is “Key to the Highway”.  It’s a wonderful “8-Bar Blues” and has been covered many times by many artists.

This recording of “Key to the Highway” Is also available on a compilation entitled “The Big Bill Broonzy Story”.

The Clash Band

The Charlottetown Community Clash Band is an uncanny group of music makers that performs in my city’s annual “gold cup and saucer” parade.  Made up of local professional, amateur, experienced and inexperienced musicians, this group comes together once a year to dress up in strange attire and make music.  I have had the pleasure of performing with this group in the last three parades, the most recent being this past Friday.

A shot of last year's parade

Normally the group has two rehearsals.  One sit down reading rehearsal the Sunday before the parade, and another marching rehearsal the evening before the parade.  Although I missed the sit down rehearsal this year and contemplated skipping out on the parade entirely I decided to blow the dust of my trombone case and give it a shot.  My chops were (and are) seriously out of shape as going 3 months without so much as a note can often do.  I managed to blow through a few scales and warm-ups the afternoon before the marching rehearsal and was feeling as prepared for the parade as I was going to be.

We finished the parade blowing through Kenneth Alford’s “Colonel Bogey” and I’ll tell you, I was super glad to be finished. The parade was hot, sweaty and exhausting, and by the end of it my chops were dead.  It was all worth it though, because it was a butt-load of fun.  I removed my camelbak and closeted my sombrero and began to look forward to next year’s parade.

Robbie Robertson Releases First Album in 13 Years

 

Robbie Robertson, formerly of the Band released his first album in 13 years Tuesday.  I find hit has a modern feel, but still holds true to his roots in the Band.  It includes guitar and vocals from Eric Clapton and organ from Steve Winwood.  It was a good record and I really enjoyed listening to it.

You can read a review, and listen to it here:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/how-to-become-clairvoyant-20110404

The Protomen

These guys are awesome.  I first started listening to them about a year or so ago.  They have two albums out, their self titled The Protomen(2005) and their follow-up Act II- The Father of Death(2009). There style is hard to pin down.  They draw influence from a number of genres including 70’s-80’s rock, metal, spaghetti western, blues etc.

Their albums are rock operas with a very distinct story line that is loosely based on the megaman video game series.  The band presents a much darker and grittier story line than is presented in the game.  Even if you haven’t played the megaman video games, the music and story are quality enough to speak for themselves.

http://www.protomen.com/