We're proud to be a part of Make Music Day 2018, occurring on Thursday, June 21st.
For more information on this international event, please see here...www.makemusicday.org/
To register as a participant, please see here...http://www.makemusicday.org/nwct/
This is a great celebration of free music. Learn more and think about sharing your gift.
Gibson on the rocks....
As many of you know, guitar maker Gibson has been in financial trouble for the last few years. After taking the company in a new direction, which included electronics and software, the market went soft, and the federal government levied some hefty fines for importation of protected hardwoods.
It's anyone's guess whether or not Gibson will survive. We suspect it will. The brand is iconic and the products still highly sought after.
spring and summer will be interesting. There are debt payments due, and escalation of repayment if those payments fall short. There is maneuvering to oust the current CEO, and vulture capitalists are eyeing the company.
Some interesting articles from the last month or so...
These images offer a look inside the workshop where craftsmen are carefully constructing fanfare trumpets to be used at the royal wedding.
Richard Smith, 57, co-founder of brass instrument manufacturer Smith-Watkins, told how he was commissioned by the Ministry of Defence to create 20 state fanfare trumpets for a number of state and royal occasions.
Here's the company, with which I'm not familiar, but they do some nice work...http://smithwatkins.com/
with CHRISTINA ALLYN (B.A Mus.Ed/Mus.Perf., M.A. Mus.Ed.)
Learn and have fun with your child in a welcoming musical environment! Children will explore music by drumming, singing, and moving. In this six (6) lesson program, your child will sample different percussion instruments from around the world, learn music basics, make music in a group setting, and experience the joy of music through improvisation. Sign up with your child for the Pre-School Session (ages 3-6) or the Toddler Session (ages 1½ -3.)
Call (860) 482-9047 for more information and to register.
Cost: $120.00 Sibling Discount.
March 27th, April 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, and May 1st
Pre-School 10:30 – 11:00 am
Toddler 11:15 – 11:45 am
..."After almost two years on the market, the building that houses Avatar Studios has been acquired by Berklee. The studio — which originally opened as the Power Station in 1977, and where Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, David Bowie and the cast of “Hamilton” have recorded — will be renovated, expanded and rebranded as BerkleeNYC. The recording studios will continue to operate commercially as the Power Station at BerkleeNYC, along with new offerings including educational programs, performances and resources for local musicians."
Lot of fun happening...
After a hiatus of approximately five years, The Liddle Big Band is back in business! With Leo passing just over four years ago, the band went to parts unknown. Thankfully, many members still had an interest in continuing his legacy. New charts, some new members, some old members, and a slightly different feel have come together for two rehearsals to date. We've settled on a rehearsal schedule which can be found on the calendar page. Rehearsals are open to current and former students of The Music Shop. We endeavor to keep Leo's legacy alive and introduce our students, both young and old, to the modern big band. From Miller to Basie, to Maynard, Mintzer, Curnow, et al, we'll be swinging and having fun. Feel free to join us. Rehearsals are 7:00 - 9:00, the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month.
Just back from the Summer NAMM 2017 show. NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchants and they hold their summer trade show in Nashville. Four days of classes for the large and not so large music stores plus a giant trade show of what may be the latest in musical offerings. From guitars, drums, band instruments, accessories, electronics, amps, microphones, etc., it's all there to view. The dealers, ranging from small to mega-large, are more than happy to spend time answering questions and touting their products. It's very informative and we've made some good deals for new items in the shop. Come by and check out our new additions.
This years honorees at the American Eagle Awards were Crystal Gayle, Patti Smith, and Harry Shearer. All great artists that contribute to the betterment of music, be it in schools, in legal challenges, or community action. They all performed and it was wonderful to hear them. Learn more about those artists at http://www.crystalgayle.com/ , http://www.pattismith.net/intro.html , and http://harryshearer.com/
Lastly, artists perform for free during the trade show. There's everything from funk bands to the world's fastest drummer competition. On the last day, an icon of country music appeared. Charley Pride. What a gentleman and great performer. Check him out at http://splash.charleypride.com/ And check out his new album. Funny guy, humble, and sings his heart out.
Happy Birthday, America!
Have a safe and blessed holiday.
How to Listen to Jazz
Another great book that is fun to read and chock full of facts. Ted Gioia is a wonderful historian when it comes to all things jazz. He's a prolific author and his works are well worth your time. Here's a sample of reviews for this particular work...
“How to Listen to Jazz fills an important and obvious gap by offering a sensible and jargon-free introduction to what Gioia calls ‘the most joyous sound invented during the entire course of twentieth-century music.' The book deserves a place alongside such classic works of jazz criticism as Martin Williams's The Jazz Tradition, Will Friedwald's Jazz Singing, the books of Gary Giddins and Gioia's own The History of Jazz. His prose is brisk and well-paced, with many surprising insights along the way.”
“How to Listen to Jazz is a packed and useful introduction to the medium with suggestions and aids for the listener who wants to gain entrance to a rich and complicated body of work. Gioia aspires to ‘bare my own process of listening' by, among other things, proposing various strategies for making the music more available.... Before getting very far in this little book, you feel you are in good hands.”
Wall Street Journal
“[How to Listen to Jazz is a] satisfying new book.... A radiantly accomplished writer, a busy blogger and a pianist who has recorded several albums, Mr. Gioia conveys his passion for the music with vivid description and shrewd judgements, concentrating principally on the recordings made by jazz musicians rather than on details of their personal lives.... One of the best features of the book is a set of ‘music maps,' as Mr. Gioia calls them, that serve as a guide to individual recordings.”
New York Times Book Review
“In How to Listen to Jazz, the music critic and historian (and pianist) Ted Gioia confesses: ‘I've offered both praise and putdowns to make an artist over the years, but I've never actually outlined in detail the standards I apply in making these evaluations.' His new book is an effort to correct that, and to teach casual listeners how ‘careful listening can demystify virtually all of the intricacies and marvels of jazz.' As part of his instruction, Gioia points readers to certain recordings, including inferior ones. ‘You can perhaps learn more about swing from listening to the bands that fail to achieve it,' he writes.”
Kenny G raises some money for cancer
A lot of people like to pile on to Kenny G.
Well, okay, I suppose. Because it makes you feel good. I suppose.
But here's Kenny G. raising two grand in cancer charity donations in a matter of minutes to help a woman's charity on behalf of her recently deceased daughter. See this article at the Daily Mail...
Truth is, I've seen Kenny G. for years. Back in the 80's, when he was then known as Kenny Gorelick, he played tenor in the wonderful fusion group, The Jeff Lorber Fusion. They played regularly at Toad's Place in New Haven and were a great funk/fusion band. Kenny was playing tenor back then, and he could blow. The crowd loved the music, and the band was on the cutting edge of some really happening music. In person was perfect.
Fast forward to Kenny G. moving on to soprano, different hair, and the wildly popular Duotones album. And everything since then. To give you a grasp of his album sales, check this out...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 27, 2016) – The Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA) has certified several Kenny G albums diamond (10 million units sold), multi-platinum, platinum (1 million units sold) and gold (500,000 units sold). Kenny, one of the most iconic instrumental musicians of the modern era, has also racked up an impressive 75 million total worldwide album sales.
I had the pleasure of meeting him briefly years ago at Radio City Music Hall. A good friend, then an A&R exec for Arista, got tickets for the two of us, including backstage passes. Kenny was a true gentleman, gracious, and humble. It was a pleasure to meet him.
He recently appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival for the release of "Clive Davis, The Soundtrack of Our Lives" premiere and concert. Clive Davis made some of the most important artists of our time. And he made Kenny G. I look forward to seeing the documentary.
He's had a huge impact on "smooth jazz" over the years and his record sales reflect that. He's been a player, notwithstanding any snooty derision by "more established" musicians, and he does the right thing when needed.
Good for him.
Everyone loves music
Meet Buddy. Buddy Mercury. Freddie's animal kin?
How much joy does music bring to everyday life? Well, just check out his tail. And his soulfulness!
From a Mental Floss article http://mentalfloss.com/article/70539/7-scientific-studies-about-how-animals-react-music
"Music is pretty universally enjoyed ... when it comes to people. Animals, on the other hand, have diverse reactions to tunes. For every Ronan the head-bopping sea lion, there are plenty of creatures that can't keep the beat. Here are seven scientific discoveries about how some animals react to music, either created by humans or themselves."
From the Journal of Veterinary Behavior to the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science, there's some interesting work being done. Is music something inherently human, or can our animal friends appreciate it too?
See this for further background https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoomusicology
What do you leave playing for your pet when you leave the house? When my brother-in-law takes care of my wayward greyhound, he swears talk radio keeps her calm. I swear she likes jazz stations when at home. Maybe it's mood. Maybe it's not. Maybe we project our preferences on them, and maybe they associate that with us.
Maybe it's just noise. Maybe one day we'll find out. In the meantime, Buddy looks pretty happy.
Well, John Warren Geils has passed. Better known as J. Geils, of the great J. Geils Band of the 70's. They always had fun music and had a string of hits in the 80's with "Centerfold" among others. I always remember "Musta Got Lost" for the wonderful intro. A precursor to rap, I suppose. I had the pleasure to see Mr. Geils at the Bridge Street Cafe in Collinsville a few years ago. He was a straight ahead blues musician who had a strong interest in jazz. There wasn't any of the hits in the set, but everyone loved his enthusiasm and musicianship. In later years, he was known as a diehard mechanic who restored vintage sports cars. His songs always had humor, and that's something that I think is sorely missed nowadays. A little tongue in cheek goes a long way.
Here's the live version of Musta Got Lost, with Peter Wolf doing the intro. It still makes me laugh.
Summer Jazz Festivals
Down Beat magazine has been the reference for all things jazz and blues since its inception in 1934. They serve the jazz enthusiast with album reviews, blindfold tests, transcriptions, and interviews. Thankfully, as they have done for years, they chronicle all the jazz festivals for the upcoming year. The list is broken down by region, and the East section (with New England and northern Mid-Atlantic states) is chocked full of great festivals, many for free, and most within easy driving distance. Check out the list at:
The History of the Saxophone
Check out the video on The History of the Saxophone.
Collective Cadenza (CDZA) was a New York City based band that did some incredible videos on the history of music and musical instruments. They are quite entertaining. Alas, they haven't made any more since 2014, rumored in part to have secured full time gigs in other bands. All the videos are worth a watch and hold their value well. Their YouTube channel can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/collectivecadenza
Spend some time looking around, and be sure to check out the truly funny History of Men Moving On, History of Women Wooing Men, and An Abridged History of Western Music in 16 Genres.
Building the Home Studio
A two-part article on building a good and functional home studio from Ed Driscoll. While you might not take the design build to this level, there are great tips on sound isolation, construction materials, and audio engineering equipment. Both are worth a read.