Saturday, August 5, 2017

" Valley in the Clouds " by David Arkenstone

Just sit back and relax! This is definitely chill music.

I only recognized one of the nine tunes on Valley in the Clouds by David Arkenstone. It was the final piece.  After listening to the new age CD with lots of nice, electronic sound, I was starting to feel disappointed that none of the tunes hit my memory. But then Lost Temple started. I was immediately taken back to a Saturday with Jim hanging out in his office.  Nice memory from a rather ominous sounding tune.

The electronic jazz composition of Arkenstone's work was released in 1987 by Narada Productions. It's a wonderful mix of  base, guitar, harp, piano, and synthesizer written by Arkenstone. You can read all about him at his Web site here. Or in a nutshell,  he was born in 1952 outside  Chicago and moved to California when he was 10 and never shied from music. Although mainly considered a keyboardist,  he is also proficient in many other instruments. 

Considered one of the best contemporary instrumental musicians and composers of our time, he has 45 albums, 20 Billboard hits, film and TV soundtracks, commercials and game scores, and three Grammy nominations to his credit. He delights in using technology to take music to new and exciting places. Arkenstone is still performing live and producing new recordings. 

Wikipedia has a nice biography if you are interested. Or just enjoy a sample of his music below.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Béla Fleck & The Flecktones

Bela Fleck and The Flecktones delivers a wonderful, funky repertoire of jazz-rock fusion.
At least that is what I am calling it. The CD, released in 1990 by Warner Brothers Records, is a show piece for Flecks fine banjo playing. Combined with base player Victor Wooten, harmonica player and keyboardist Howard Levyand, and Roy Wooten on synthesizer-based percussion, the group made, and still makes,  awesome music!

I like the names of the tunes, and the nice up-beat rhythm of each:

  • Sea Brazil
  • Frontiers
  • Hurricane Camille
  • Half Moon Bay
  • The Sinister Minister
  • Sunset Road
  • Flipper
  • Mars Needs Women (Space is a Lonely Place; They're Here)
  • Reflections of Lucy
  • Tell It To The Gov'nor
Kind of romantic sounding....

For those of you wondering, Béla Anton Leoš Fleck was named after Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, Austrian composer Anton Webern, and Czech composer Leoš Janáček, according to Wikipedia. Born in 1858 and raised in New York City, Bela's interest in the Banjo began listening to The Beverly Hillbillies theme song. In 1973 Bela's grandfather bought him a banjo, and he entered New York City's High School of Music and Art, and he began playing in local Blue Grass bands - and so began his career, He's earned 15 Grammy awards and nominations since 1998.

He's still performing with the Flecktones, and his wife, fellow banjoist Abigail Washburn, as well as solo performances. Maybe he'll play my favorite, Flight of the Cosmic Hippo! Jim would have enjoyed it. Learn all about Bela here