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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Top 10 Essential Jazz Albums

This is an article by Eric Yang that appeared in Gear Patrol on Wed, Apr 22, 2009. I am not seriously into jazz but I found the article quite interesting, as i do have some of the albums mentioned in that article. Anyway, I believe the albums listed in the article are very good and I shall be looking forward to get them and have some serious listening. You can actually read the entire full article here. Those in quotes are my comments/views.

Top 10 Essential Jazz Albums
Upgrade Your Jazz Music With These Essentials
By Eric Yang

Actually, if you want to argue semantics, maybe we should call this a cooperative list of individual Top 5s. We leave that choice up to you. Either way, what follows is a list of 10 albums selected by Gear Patrol crew members Jason Heaton and Eric Yang as essential albums in your current or about-to-be-started jazz album collection. After all, any man’s music collection deserves a few, if not many, jazz classics. Maybe you already have a few scattered songs here or there in your collection, but isn’t it about time you go full monty? Here are our suggestions on some classic (and unique) essentials to build upon.

Selections from Jason Heaton:

Kind of Blue by Miles Davis
Possibly the greatest jazz album ever. From the first note, this album started a whole new genre of jazz in the 1950s and confirmed Miles’s place as one of the great musical innovators. This is the album you play on vinyl. Make sure the lights are low.

..."I have this album and it surely is great listening to though it is not my favourite jazz album. It is definitely high up there and worthy of being in the Top 3"...

Live at Blues Alley by Wynton Marsalis
Jazz is music meant to be heard live. This album is the next best thing. This was Marsalis in his younger days, ripping through standards at a crowded club. You’ll work up a sweat just listening to it.

..."I don't have this album and have never heard any of its tracks, so i can't comment much on it. For sure, anything by WM is worth listening to. Deserves to be in the Top Ten, perhaps"...

Time Out by Dave Brubeck Quartet
Brubeck was a master of mood and this is him at his best. “Take Five” is the recognizable track on this album. Even people who don’t know jazz know this one.

..."Oh yes, I definitely agree... I knew Take Five way before I even heard the word jazz. I have this album, and I listen to it a lot. I love this album. Definite Top Ten."...

Winelight by Grover Washington Jr.
OK, purists, let’s be upfront, this is jazz fusion. But this ain’t no Kenny G. It’s smoky, early ’80s smooth and Grover played a mean saxophone. He got some help from Bill Withers on “Just the Two of Us” and won a Grammy.

..."This is my all-time #1 jazz album. It actually got me started into jazz way back in the early 80s. In fact, i still have that very same vinyl that I bought back then. Jazz is jazz, doesn't matter whether it's fusion, purists or what nots. Definite Top 3"...

Still Life (Talking) by Pat Metheny Group
Another fusion album, but this one has all the elements of great jazz - jamming improvisation, long solos, and great musicians. Metheny was a masterful guitarist. The track “Last Train Home” evokes a mood like no other song. Listen to it and you’ll agree.

..."I do not have this particular album but I love this guy. Surely, I must get this album soon. Worthy Top Ten, no question about it."...

Selections from Eric Yang:

Beyond The Missouri Sky by Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny
Repeat on Pat Metheny… “Beyond The Missouri Sky” will pull at the musical heartstrings of you men who clamor for a slower pace of life. Pair this one with your favorite brew on the patio and you’ve got something commonly referred to as bliss.

..."I have this album though it has been a while since I last heard it. On his own, Haden is actually very good but throw Metheny into it, it becomes magical. Definite Top 5"...

Somethin’ Else by Cannonball Adderly
Read the album cover. Cannonball Adderly’s quartet included Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Hank Jones, and Sam Jones. Wow. Sure, they come from different schools of jazz, but, in unison, lay down some incredible tracks. “Somethin’ Else” should be one of your first stops, even if you’re told otherwise.

..."With those master jazzmen in there, this must be a splendid album. Have not heard anything on this album although the names on the cover surely justifies its position in the Top Ten. Can't argue there."...

The Köln Concert by Keith Jarrett
Anyone who knows jazz knows that piano is one of the essential keystone instruments. Keith Jarrett has a following larger than the European Union and it all started with “The Köln Concert”. An absolute 88-key marvel.

..."I have this album and a few others, and KJ is my fav jazz pianist. This is definitely a must-have album... like a kit for all pianists. Definite Top 5"...

Empyrean Isles by Herbie Hancock
Sure, it’s known for the album that carried Cantaloupe Island, but damn, if this album doesn’t inspire gimlet martinis and a consideration for cigarettes, I’m not sure what does. Less celebrated than Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage,” but, to this writer, it’s the superior album.

..."Not too sure what gimlet martini is but definitely sure about consistently quality stuff produced by H. Hancock. I don't have this album and perhaps I will pass on this one. Could be a sleeper though"...

Sunday At the Village Vanguard by Bill Evans Trio
This album is a solid piece for those of you starting out your jazz collections. The choice is admittedly subjective, but unique is always good. It doesn’t take any ramp-up time to listen to the Bill Evans Trio with their accessible jazz style. The entire album can be listened back to front without a moment of hesitation.

..."I have always wanted to get this album and now I know I must have it. BE Trio is always nice to listen to. Definite Top Ten (and gotta hurry to the CD store to get one...MUST)"...

This list will inevitably inspire some argument or suggestions. If you’ve got an addition, change, or otherwise, we want to hear it. Leave a comment and let us know. --- end of article --

...OK, let's see... I am agreeable to all of them except maybe (BIG maybe), one (by HH). Overall, splendid choice of albums and you definitely can't go wrong with this list. And out of 10 albums, I only have 5 of them... must go and get the rest of them now!!! And I must say, this has been a very enlightening and helpful article. Bravo to the writers! Cheers!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Must See : Body Painting by Guido Daniele

Included in my daily internet routine lately has been to login to Twitter and 'tweet' away. Among those that i follow is instantShift, a site dedicated to truly amazing designs, and some of them are truly out of this world. Among their tweets today led me to another another site with astonishing designs, slodive.

The topic tweeted today was Amazing Body Painting by Guido Daniele, a look at some very life-like paintings that were done on human hands. Guido Daniele re-defined the art of hand-puppets and the results were intoxicating, to say the least. Shown below are some of his work for your enjoyment

For further viewing pleasure, take a look at the original article,

Inspiration Dose 3 – Body Painting by Guido Daniele

Sunday, September 20, 2009

To Be A Blogger.. Part I

Is blogging fun? Not for me right now, perhaps later when things are getting more handy.  Is it bad for your health? Absolutely, as i have been deprived of much needed sleep for the last couple of days trying to figure this thing out. Come, let's go through this together on the frustrations and enjoyment (?) of a super-brand-new blogger-wannabe...

Everyone spend a fair bit of time on the internet and so do i, perhaps a little bit more than i should. Daily routine includes checking the mail, facebook, visit a couple of blogs/sites that i regularly frequented... on cars, photography, sports and a bit of this and that. You know, the usual stuff that zillions of people are doing it. I am actually quite amazed (and grateful too) to these people for the tremendous efforts that they put in on such regular basis. And the knowledge that they shared with total strangers (for what returns... i cannot see) actually inspired me to do the same, or at least try to. That;s when real trouble started...when i start thinking!!!

I talked to some friends (strangely enough, strangers are not that cooperative in the real, non-cyber world) on setting up my own blog. Nearly all of them said that it is super-easy... even their kids have their own blogs! So much so, one of them said that you could not cash in on the late-delivery offer of Pizza Hut (get free pizza if not delivered within 30 minutes)... you could set up your own blog for less than 30 minutes!!! Those lying friends... they will have to pay for this!!!

And i hurried home, eager-beaver and wide-eyed, boot up the pc and did a google on setting up a blog (i am still amazed at how these people get their brains to think of something as magical as google...just incredible). From the earlier briefing (LIES!!!) i knew that basically there are 2 popular platforms, Blogger and WordPress to set up a blog. Again, the magical google told me of some sites that could give me some help on that. After a while, i decided that Wordpress would be the choice (popular and favourable among bloggers, it seems). Now here comes the REAL PROBLEM (#1)... after downloading a set-up file from WordPress and trying to go thru the instructions, it got to me that it wasn't as easy as i thought. There were things that you needed to fill up and i was just lost.... precious time wasted.

I went quickly over to one of the many Blogger sites where they offered free templates. My goodness, there were so many designs to choose from..and they were all extremely nice. Which one should i choose? Which one really represents me and the things that i wanted to write? i.e. (problem #2). Finally (i could have gotten my free pizza by this time now!), i decided on one that i liked. It was a flexible 3-to-5 columns template that would really fit my intended purposes.

Since that day until now (i will write about it more later), it took me a full week (7 non-sleeping days) to finally be able to write this post and do away with my first real posting (mark the date). Think of the dozens of pizzas that i could have had...heck, i could have had the whole outlet by now!!! Anyway, now that i have started, i shall be posting my heart out for a very, very long time... that i am sure!

Well now, for wRITE and/or wRONG... let's blog away!!!

Thanks & Happy Days

p/s: the blog still need tweaking here and there... thanks for your patience. i shall continue to work on it and i am much obliged for any help and advise from each and everyone of you. cheers!

Eric Bibb & Needed Time ~ Good Stuff (HDCD) [1997]

Eric Bibb's debut album, Good Stuff, is a clever fusion of contemporary folk and classic country-blues and classic gospel that emphasizes the guitarist's skill at fusing genres, as well as his flair for writing solid bluesy songs. Not all of the material really catches hold, but it all shows promise, and the very best moments on the record confirm that he's one of the more intriguing new bluesmen in the late '90s.  - by Thom Owens, AMG -

Eric Bibb & Needed Time ~ Good Stuff [HDCD] [1997]
Artist :    Eric Bibb & Needed Time
Album :    Good Stuff
Genre :    Blues
Year :    1997
Label :    Opus 3  [HDCD] 
Tracks :    14
Playtime :    00:56:29
Size :    94.21 MB
Codec :    Lame 3.98 / VBR [-V 0]
Bitrate :    225 kbps VBR


1. Good Stuff (Eric Bibb) 3:24
2. Saucer 'n' Cup (Eric Bibb) 3:51
3. Shingle By Shingle (Eric Bibb) 3:36
4. Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down (Eric Bibb/Charlotte Höglund) 6:56
5. Where The Green Grass Grows (Eric Bibb) 4:35
6. Blacksmith Island (Göran Wennerbrandt/Christer Lyssarides/Janne Petersson/Olle Eriksson) 2:22
7. New World Comin' Through (Eric Bibb) 3:31
8. Too Much Whisky (Eric Bibb) 3:26
9. Nothin' Like You Used To Do (Eric Bibb/Wayne Cohen) 4:35
10. All Of My Love (Eric Bibb/Göran Wennerbrandt) 3:39
11. A Simple Song (Eric Bibb) 3:51
12. Happy Home Recipe (Eric Bibb) 2:51
13. Done Laid Around (Traditional/add. lyrics by Eric Bibb) 5:05
14. Rough Waters (Eric Bibb) 4:40

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