Monday, February 8, 2021

Rockin' at Vandy

 Valentines Day 2021 is fast approaching. So I decided to share a piece my forever Valentine, Jim Fisher, wrote a few years back for his Wazopia Blog. The pictures for the 2003 and 2004 posts have been eaten by  the Internet.  However the text is still good. 

It brings back memories of a very special day. I'll even throw in a link to Rock Lobster at the end. (Or down, down...)

Rockin' at Vandy by James D. Fisher, May 2004

"My son graduated last week from Vanderbilt University. Mary and I went to the ceremony.  It was very hot as you would expect from middle Tennessee in May. 

"Vandy gives the parents a Big Party the night before commencement.  It's held on the lawn at Peabody College.  The featured band was the B-52's, which, amazingly, was one of our favorite bands when Mary and I graduated from Kent State in 1980.The B-52's played a two-hour set with all our favorite songs,-- Love Shack, Deadbeat Club, Topaz, and Roam. Their finale was Rock Lobster. At Kent, we would always slink down as low as we could get when lead singer Fred Schneider commanded, 'Down! Down! Down!'. 

"It was great. The best part was seeing this new generation singing and screaming to the greatest of all party bands from this past generation.  Afterwards, I met up with Fred and thanked him for the show."

There were pictures taken by Jim. But as I said earlier, the Internet ate them. Instead, please enjoy the Youtube link to Rock Lobster.







 

Monday, January 11, 2021

First Impressions by Eric Essix

 


Smooth. Very smooth.

I remember listening to this as we drove along.  I definitely remember the music.  But once it is played, the tunes leave me.  'Kinda like the perfect background music. A piece of piano lines or guitar strands may jump into thought at times. It's nice to have bits and pieces drop in as I go about my day.

First Impressions by Eric Essix was recorded in 1989 on the Nova Records label, on both album and CD formats. The contemporary jazz playlist includes:

  1. First Impressions
  2. Twilight
  3. Cool Breeze
  4. Brown Blood
  5. Contents Under Pressure
  6. Off the Clock
  7. Sparrow
  8. Watching Over Me
Cool Breeze is my favorite, with a touch of seagull calls included.  I wish I could remember more than a few sounds. I've been listening to it off and on for six weeks, and it just doesn't stick. Just knowing that I like the music and where I can find some good tunes will have to be enough.

Eric Essix, 61, credits his style first being brought up with gospel music in Birmingham, Alabama. His grandfather gave him his first guitar at age 10, from which he taught himself to play. His career grew and he became a noted guitarist and band leader. He and his band have performed extensively throughout the world. Members include saxophonist Kelley O'Neal and bassist Sean Michael Ray.  Extending his talents, he is now Director of Programming at The University of Alababma's prestigious Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. 

Get to know a little more about Eric Essix through his biography on his Web site here.  Listen to one of his more recent piece,  Late Night Drive on Youtube.  I really do enjoy his music.

Friday, November 20, 2020

TriCycle by Flim and the BB's


 So that's where that came from! I always enjoyed the piece TriCycle by Flim and the BB's.  Learning the name, what CD it came from,  and who composed  it was too much trouble. Now I know! I love this modern jazz CD. The tunes are all instrumental, but happy and catchy.  I've been humming them as I go about my day.

TriCycle, the first tune on the list and the albums namesake, is my favorite. I can close my eyes and imagine a three-or-four-year-old peddling around the basement, stopping and starting as the music does. The only thing missing is the sound of a bell or horn. 

Next on the list is Cakewalk.  I'm not sure what a cakewalk is, but the music holds my attention. Lunch Hour Wedding is a very happy piece which moves you along from beginning to end, followed by Sweet Winds of change - even more happy music.  Thunder and Birdies, and Tell Me follow with clear, easy to follow beats. And High Wire! Oh my I like this one.  One can imagine a dare devil working the wire at a carnival or circus. Oh watch your step! The 8:29, Sam's Samba, and Eden complete the list.

 As I mentioned earlier, I really enjoyed this CD.  You can listen to it here on Youtube. Flim and the BB's formed in the 1980s. The band included bassist Jimmy "Flim" Johnson, keyboard artist Billy Barber, percussionist Billy Berg  (the BB's), and reeds player Dick Oatts.

TriCycle  made its appearance in 1982 at the beginning of the compact disc craze, and the BB's  were sought after by people first recording digital. Band members were happy to oblige, but not able to quit their day jobs. Read a little more about the BB's on Wikopedia here.

Listen to some of ye YouTube recordings.  I'm sure you will enjoy Flim & the BB's.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Phil Colllins Serious Hits Live


Every now and then my Jim would take pity on me, and not play jazz as we were driving along. He would add a CD of what he called "pop trash" to appease me. I WAS grateful for a little Phil Collins after weeks of commuting to one modern jazz piece after another.

Phil Collins Serious Hits Live filled the bill quite nicely. Toe-tapping tracks include:

  • Something Happened On the Way to Heaven
  • Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
  • Who Said I Would
  • One More Night
  • Don't Lose My Number
  • Do You Remember
  • Another Day in Paradise
  • Separate Lives
  • In The Air Tonight
  • You Can't Hurry Love
  • Two Hearts
  • Sussudio
  • A Groovy Kind of LoveR
  • Easy Lover
  • Take Me Home
All tracks were recorded live and produced by Phil Collins and Robert Colby. Engineered by Paul Gomersall, and mixed by Gomersall and Colby. the CD was released in 1990 by Atlantic Recording Corporation.

My favorite piece is One More Night - not for the romantic ideas the song presents - but for practical matters. If I had one more night I would ask Jim "What is the password for such-and-such site," "Where did you put the safe deposit box key," and "which button do you push to get the CD player to work." 

I would also tell him about Downton Abbey.  He was always asking what the show was about.  I never took the time to tell him. He was too busy watching basketball games to care about a period piece soap opera. So sorry I never told him. I would also tell him about his kids and grand kids and what great people they are. Oh, we would talk all night! But back to Phil Collins....

Philip David Charles Collins was born in 1951 in West London.  He started playing drums at age five, and grew into international fame.  He landed in with 70s band Genesis as the drummer, and moved on to vocalist after lead singer Peter Gabriel left. He expanded his career to include solo work, and earned  numerous awards. His work is also featured in several Disney productions Of late,he is performing in his Last Domino Tour in and around England - but currently on hold because of the pandemic. 

Learn more about Phil Collins at Wikipedia . Watch In the Air Tonight reaction video by twins Tim and Fred  Williams.Watching them react to the awesome drum solo which begins in the middle of the song is a hoot. I'm glad they appreciated it. Hmm the music fades out.  Guess Youtube thought I was stealing.  You can go directly to youtube and listen here.





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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Return to Forever by Chick Corea


I knew it would come to this.  Chick  Corea was one of my Jim's favorite artists - often playing his tunes in the car as we drove along. But to be honest, I did not like or particularly enjoy the new jazz music.  Yes, there are many sections I enjoy, however the sections change quickly  without any rhyme or reason. To me, it is just a mish-mash of pleasant sounds thrown together. Splat!

There are four tracks on the album, first published in 1972 and later transferred to the then new CD format:

  • Return to Forever
  • Crystal Silence
  • What Game Shall We Play Today
  • Sometime Ago - La Fiesta
One moment I am enjoying Return to Forever. The next I can't understand why the tunes are yelling at me. Crystal Silence is enjoyable at first,but makes a quick change, and I feel like my once 4-year-old at his sister's grade four band concert.  "Make them stop.Make them stop!" he cried. What Games Shall We play Today is my favorite.  It carries on in a sing-song way, kinda' like it's title. Sometime Ago - La Fiesta  rattled me.  At first I am humming along, an then a quick change into - to me - discordant sounds.

Oh well.  I will have to just agree to disagree with Jim on this album.

Armando Anthony "Chick" was born in 1941 in Chelsea, MA and grew up in a musical family. He said, "There were always musicians around. My dad would come home from a gig...he'd bring the band back, they'd have their tuxes on and they'd loosen their ties and my mother would cook some pasta."

Chick began studying piano at age four.  His love for that grew as his love for jazz, and he became known as a piano and keyboard expert. He took jazz to new levels. Read more  about him. Learn more about the 23-time Grammy-Winning Jazz Legend, Pianist and Composer at his Web site.Dig in and you'll find schedules for concerts, training for professionals, a blog, and store for all your Chick Corea CDs and T-shirts. Or, listen to some of his music on Youtube.

I enjoyed listening to the music, and remembering how my Jim used to tease me with it. "Shall we listen one more time?"  Mwa ha ha?