Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Post: Wendy Waldman & John Scofield

First posted on October 17, 2007

OK, so it is autumn, not really too bad once you get used to it. I thought I’d devote a little blog to music and music related stuff here on the site. I do most of my music criticism and review for Cadence Magazine, which is a truly independent periodical for anybody serious about Jazz, Improv and Blues. They are good folks. You should subscribe because you’ll be hooked into the world of upcoming and established artists that don’t always (or sometimes, ever) get radio play. But my musical tastes and interest go beyond what I cover there to other things. As Ornette Coleman once said, “there is no bad music, only bad musicians.” I believe that. I also believe that one shouldn’t forget music that came out a while, or even a long while ago. So I’m going to cover things I think are worth attention and talk a little about music and instruments too if it seems like a good time.

First off, if I'm not playing or running my guitar shop, you should know that I listen to music day and night, whenever there’s a chance. Let me tell you about a few I’ve been listening to recently. Like for example, this one, which was easy to miss: Scorched by Mark-Anthony Turnage and John Scofield (DGG). It was recorded in 2002 and features guitarist Scofield’s electric trio and orchestral music penned by Mark-Anthony Turnage. Now Scofield played with Miles and a bunch of others and he is in top form here playing funky electric music. He gets such a tone on his instrument. I’m jealous. He does some very hip, rhythmic playing, chords and lines and you know what? For one of those rare occasions, the orchestral music and the electric music really work together, thanks to both Turnage and Scofield’s compositional skills. The music meshes together and it’s very, very cool.

Now I like everybody else went through the classic singer-songwriter age of the seventies and some of it no longer sounds current. But as someone who still has vinyl and combs the various places where that lurks, I must say I was very happy to rediscover Wendy Waldman the other day—specifically her Gypsy Symphony that came out on Warner Brothers in 1974. What a treat! She wrote some very memorable songs and had a knack for putting it all together. There is a very cool, blues soaked “Cold Back on Me” and a really driving “My Name is Love.” She was unique and I now miss her a little. She has some newer recordings and I should check them out.

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