Thursday, December 29, 2011

They Call Him Muddy Waters

Don't you forget!


So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night (and Happy New Year!)

Disclaimer, the above are non-alcoholic :P

Well everyone I'm off to New Years in Dubai, so I wish everyone a great holiday with your friends and loved ones.

It's been an exciting start to the blog; hoping for a great 2012 with tons of more blues, jazz, and random crap no cares about.

Stay blue!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jazz, Freemasons and Templar Knights?!?!

OK I came across this crazy ad for a jazz concert in Detroit:

It's a concert "The Templar Jazz Series" inside the Detroit Masonic Temple.

Doesn't that sound a bit weird!! I mean; nothing is wrong with it I guess you don't see this very often.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cyndi Lauper Sings the Blues (!)

Remember Cyndi Lauper?

Yep... she sang the 80's hits "Time after Time" and "Girls want to have Fun".

(Anyone see a pattern here?)

She released a blues album in 2010 called "Memphis Blues".

I don't think it's that bad actually... Charlie Musselwhite and Johnny Lang are featured on the album too.

Here's the BB King classic "How Blue can you Get?" covered by Cyndi:

Smooth Jazz makes me Ill


Monday, December 26, 2011

Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder" was recorded 48 Years Ago

On December 21, 1963, jazz and trumpet great Lee Morgan recorded "The Sidewinder", arguably his most influential album on the Blue Note label (also his most successful commercially). It was released in 1964.

Out of all the songs, only one is not "blues" based (Hocus Pocus). This album is critically acclaimed and for good reason!

Here's the title track off the album:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Speakin' the Blues now Mobile Friendly

You can now view my blog in "mobilevision" whenever you are surfing from a mobile device.

Please send me your feedback :)


Miles Davis Headphones by Monster Cable

OK this whole "celebrity headphone" thing has to stop. We had Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and god knows how many others... but; Miles Davis earphones?!

They are also expensive; $300!! Having a nice case or a free CD (Sketches of Spain... I mean... try a bit harder at least) doesn't add much value to it!

But hey I guess the niche is there no?

Here's a detailed review:


Traffic Lights in Salwa were not working last night

I was on my way back to my home in Salwa yesterday, when I see massive chaos at the 206 exit from Fahaheel road.

The traffic signals at this intersection weren't working; however there were cops directing traffic to keep things flowing.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Muddy Waters' Son, Big Bill Morganfield sings his Father's Tune!

This is an awesome rendition of Muddy's classic blues megahit, "Hoochie Coochie Man" performed by his son Big Bill Morganfield, and I see Charlie Musselwhite on the harmonica and Bob Margolin (of Muddy's last full band) on guitar, who also does a slide solo in the style of Muddy. There might be more famous artists on the stage but I didn't recognize anyone else so far.

Big Bill is also playing a beat up '58 Fender P-Bass (drool).

Worth a listen to see a son carrying his father's legacy!


Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and I would like to dedicate this Christmas Delta Blues song to you on this occasion!

I hope to keep up the pace with 2012 and keep speakin' the blues to you!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Awesome Thesis on Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" & Avant-Garde Jazz

Scott Anderson wrote a great thesis back in 1996 on Avant-Garde Jazz and John Coltrane's "My Favorite Things". You can find it here.

If you like details and music technicalities and jazz history, this is a must read.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

WTF: Celine Dion performing @ Jamaica Jazz/Blues Fest

Call me whatever you want, but this is plain wrong.

If you read the history of the Jamaica Jazz & Blues festivals, you would see a diverse mix of genres, including reggae (of course mon) and R 'n' B.

But Celine Dion... I mean there's nothing jazzy or bluesy about her music; however listening to her croon "My Heart Will Go On", IS THE BLUES .

The festival is from 26-28 January 2012.

Jamaica Jazz & Blues

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Joan Osborne to Sing the Blues

Remember Joan Osborne?

Yep... she sang (What if God was) "One of Us"... her biggest hit.

She's going back to her roots with some blues music in her newest release "Bring it on Home".

“I wanted to make a recording like the one you’re holding now.” With vocals that growl and soar, Osborne alternately cries out with heart-wrenching soul and foot-stomping grooves. The voices of Otis Redding and Al Green soothed a troubled soul, the power of Etta James and Tina Turner gave me courage, and the depth of feeling of Muddy Waters and so many other great blues artists allowed me to find and express my own depths." [SOURCE]

Here's a sampling off that album; sounds better than the mid-90s that's for sure!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012 Dubai Jazz Festival Lineup

The lineup has been announced for the Dubai Jazz Festival which starts Feb. 16-24, 2012 in Dubai Festival City. It's also the 10th anniversary of the festival. As usual it has a wide range of jazz styles, including R&B and soul.

I might go to the first day of the events (16th Feb):

- Michael Roach

- Acoustic Alchemy

- James Blunt

Of course the third performer being the compromise to get my wife to listen to jazz :P

The rest are as follows (follow the jump)

Two Essential Jazz Books

Click the picture for large size in high-rez

I read two great books on Jazz recently.

Both books are by Ashley Kahn, who has written other music books and was a road manager for several bands and various other music related jobs.

The first is "Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece", which also includes a forward by the only surviving member of the quintet that performed on that album, drummer Jimmy Cob.

This album is one of, if not the, most essential jazz album to have in any collection, noob or pro. So obviously there is a lot of history behind the lead up to how and why this album was made.

It goes into detail the history of each band member and how the writing process went down, how the sessions were recorded, and who composed what. It also includes the reactions and accolades after the album was released.

The second book is "A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album", another behind the scenes book about this essential album (and many might consider it the superior album).

This album was when Coltrane took a new spiritual direction and moved much closer into free jazz (indeed, his next major album Ascension split the fans because of it's atonality and controversial decisions).

Again, it delves into the history of Coltrane, who the classic quartet members, the shape of jazz in the mid-60's and how the recording took place. It also describes the alternate takes that were made but not used and only released recently on a reissue album, and how free jazz became after the album was released.

If you are a jazz fan, and a fan of music and details of recording, these are the best places to start. I also recommend to buy these 2 albums immediately!

Monday, December 19, 2011

"A Love Supreme" - Recorded in December 1964

Everyone knows I love this album by John Coltrane. That article is still ranked the most popular post on Speakin' the Blues.

It wasn't released until February 1965, but it was recorded on Dec. 9, 1964 in one session and it remains one of the best jazz albums of all time. If you want more read my article in the link above.

Few can match musical genius like this anymore.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

T-Bone Walker gets a Mural in his Honor

Local artist Brad Attaway has painted a mural honoring the blues guitar legend T-Bone Walker.

The town of Linden, Texas is home to where T-Bone was born (Bear Creek Community).

It's great to see a city commemorate their local artists, including T-Bone Walker, who was a staple in shaping the sound of blues and rock n' roll, as well as representing Texas in a see of other musicians from Mississippi.


Soul Blues Singer Etta James Gravely Ill

The famous blues and soul singer Etta James, the singer of the immensely popular "At Last' is very sick according to her doctor and manager. She's been diagnosed for dementia and leukemia since 2010.

Our hearts to Etta, who was won many accolades including Grammy awards for her contribution to music and the blues.


Massive New Miles Davis Collection

Got 550 bucks?

This collection is now on sale, however another site has a discounted rate for $300.

This huge selection comprises of the entire span of Davis' career at Columbia Records (1956-1975) which included his biggest sellers, such as Kind of Blue, Walkin', Miles Ahead, and Bitches Brew (considered the first jazz-fusion/rock record).

Plus, a trumpet case, a replica of his trumpet mouthpiece, t-shirt, lithographs, and 43 CD's.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

NPR's Top Ten Jazz Songs

National Public Radio (NPR) has asked it's listeners to rank their favorite songs in Jazz.

Of course Jazz's history is so deep that no definitive "best" can be made; however the way I see it these songs represent Jazz as songs that sparked trends, or broke new grounds in music.

Here's the list:

Dave Brubeck, “Take Five”
Miles Davis, “So What”
Duke Ellington, “Take The A Train”
Thelonious Monk, “Round Midnight”
John Coltrane, “My Favorite Things”
John Coltrane, “A Love Supreme (Acknowledgment)”
Miles Davis, “All Blues”
Weather Report, “Birdland”
Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto, “The Girl From Ipanema”
Benny Goodman, “Sing, Sing, Sing”

I think this list is pretty good; it's great to see Miles Davis and John Coltrane each take two spots on the list; however I might disagree with "All Blues"; I would have preferred something from Mile's older catalog such as "Walkin'".

I also disagree with "My Favorite Things"; the song, while is a great free modal rework of the classic song (and I posted an intense version here before), but I believe "Blue Train" would be the better choice.

Also, nice to see some jazz-fusion up there (Weather Report); not my favorite of styles but it shows the power of forward thinking jazz.

NPR's Jazz & Blues site

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The 2012 New Orleans Jazz Festival

Possibly the biggest Jazz festival in the world, the New Orleans Jazz Fest has announced it's lineup for the upcoming event from April 27 - May 6.

Oh you thought I was going to post the lineup?

Well since there are over 200 acts playing, why don't go see it yourself :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The 2012 Blues Music Awards Nominations

Another year, another Blues Foundation award! The 33rd Blues Music Awards will take place on May 10, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee.

The 2012 Blues Music Awards nominees have been announced! See the list after the break:

Ze Germans are Coming!!!

No seriously... they are. An official visit!

But I think this video is very relevant:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beirut Winter Festival

While we in Kuwait are begging for some music action, Lebanon's next big event is the Beirut Winter Festival, which will take place between Dec 17 - 23, Gefinor Plaza, Clemenceau, Beirut.

Of note, my former band mate in the Evergreen Blues Band Jawad Chaaban will be opening the event:

Brothers and my neighbors Buddy and Jeff Ayache will be performing as well, as the Dockside Blues Band:

And my AUB buddies Ziad & Ramzi Ramman, Ghassan Bouz, along with Joe Moqbel and Boudy Boustany of JLP will be performing too.

Among music there are also other activities.

Good time to be in Lebanon :( Homesickness!!!

Beirut Winter Festival - Featured Artists

Monday, December 12, 2011

Concrete Jungle: A View from Dubai

Click for large size photo

I was in Dubai recently, and I took this (crappy) cellphone pic.

This was the view from the Hilton Jumeriah balcony (which faces the strip).

I love Dubai, but sometimes it can be overbearing not to see the sun!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


If you are, don't hesitate!

(seriously though, these Waseet ads can get really freaky.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kuwait's Virgin MG: Poor Jazz/Blues Collection

took the photo as a video by mistake; took a screenshot of it

I'm not gonna beat on a dead horse here and compare Kuwait's Virgin MG to Lebanon's or Dubai's...

(ok i will)

however being seen as a major (or THE major) retailer of electronics, books, etc you would think they could put more effort into their selection of music, specifically Jazz & Blues. It's all mostly generic compilations and like a 100 Michael Bublé albums, nothing remotely satisfying.

I love CD's; even though I burn them to my MP3 player, I love having the original retail copy in my collection. I love reading the booklets and all that.

But if there is nothing to buy... then my thirst for music is only quenched by buying them online (granted it's cheaper, but the shipping costs even via Aramex Shop&Ship is not really that big of a bargain anymore).

I urge that more effort is put to these selections of "non-pop rock/electro" genres. What's funny that the heavy rock/metal/alternative selections are even bigger... and that says something (considering we're in Kuwait).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Actor Harry Morgan, AKA "Col. Sherman Potter" from MASH, dies

I'm DEEPLY saddened by this news... Harry Morgan, who played Colonel Sherman Potter on classic comedy/war drama MASH has died at the age of 96.

I loved MASH, it was such a moving show and I think I watched almost every episode.

When the 2 1/2-hour "MASH" finale aired in 1983, 77% of Americans watched it, making it the most widely watched show in history. It was that great.

This is a sad day for me really.

via LA Times

"Study": Kuwaiti Girls Domestic Violence Rate at 97.5%

I dunno if this is a joke, but seeing this article in the newspaper by some "family development organization" that according to their study, 585 out of 600 girls in Kuwait are victims of domestic violence.

That means: 97.5% of 600 girls are abused.

Sorry but I don't know how they came up with this.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Blues Return: Oakland, CA

          (Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times / December 6, 2011)

Oakland, California. 7th Street was the place which was bustling with shipyard workers and sailors, musicians and locals meeting up at the soda fountains and soul food restaurants, shops and other businesses that lined the street, back in 1950's after World War Two.

"Twenty-one years. That's a bite out of anyone's life," says Ronnie Stewart, a local blues artist who also founded the city's blues society; that's how long it took him to get the city's musical past recognized.

84 musicians will have plaques in their names lined up 7th street soon, as a historical nod and an honoring, to the city's bustling blues & Jazz scenes.

Maybe I'll have a walk of fame in Kuwait's Salwa street someday? :P

via L.A. Times

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kuwait Music ft. Ali Sleeq: Core Conviction

Core Convictions #2: Ali Sleeq

Another initiative taken by Kuwait Music, Core Conviction is the place to vent out about the music scene in Kuwait; I'm featured in this mini forum. I hope everyone can participate to get your voices heard.

Cheers to KM as usual.

Jazz is Not Cool Anymore - Nicolas Payton

See why here.

It's a sarcastic article of course; however the message here is about people being stuck in one place with a closed mind.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Newspaper Article from '83 on Muddy Waters' Death

This is an interesting time piece that was written in the Milwaukee Journal, at the time of Muddy's passing away.

The archived news article is here.

Hubert Sumlin, blues guitarist in Howlin' Wolf's band, passes.

Another great loss to blues and music world... guitar great Hubert Sumlin, best known for playing in Howlin' Wolf's band, and with many others including Muddy Waters, a fine solo artist in his own right, has passed away yesterday in New Jersey from a heart failure. He was 80 years old.

He helped shape Chicago blues with his guitar playing and spot on rhythms, performing on many blues standards that are timeless until today.

Here's a sampling of his work with the Wolf; RIP Hubert!!!

[Official Site]

[News Article]

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Ill Street Blues" - Kool G Rap

I was listening to some old school hip hop, remembering my high school days.

This track is a classic gangsta rap record that embodies the sound of the early '90s perfectly. The video contains a few vintage images of blues / jazz musicians and some bluesy piano loops sampled from Joe Williams "Get out of my Life Woman".

Check rap legend Kool G Rap and DJ Polo in this bangin' track, and the original song by blues & jazz musician Joe Williams.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fun Lovin' Criminals: A Seriously Underrated Band

I'm probably one of the biggest fans of the Fun Lovin' Criminals (FLC) in the region.

I have all their CDs (legit) and I've followed them ever since their first album Come Find Yourself came out in 1996 until now.

Their style incorporates blues as the root, but with hip-hop vocals sung by Huey Morgan, keyboards/bass/electronic production by Fast, and drumming by Frank from the UK (their 3rd drummer), blending in lounge and rock all in one.

They have a hardcore, mafioso/criminal and social based themes in their songs; they also represent their hometown of New York City, and many of their songs pay tribute to the Big Apple, as well as common themes of inner city lifestyle and issues, as mentioned in one of their songs "I Can't Get with That": We all bleed red even racist motherfuckers.

They have found big success in the UK and Europe; it's unfortunate that their native USA have not been as welcoming; however it's mostly due to the way the music industry there is.

They came to Dubai in 2007 once but I was in Lebanon at the time and I was unable to go, which is a real shame given how much I love these guys.

I really would like to all of you to check out their music... it's witty, comical, and serious at the same time.

Much love to the FLC, with the mucho grande style!

Offical Site

Select tracks:

Sonny Rollins Spotlight in the Washington Times

Jazz and sax great Sonny Rollins has a three page article in the Washington Times, where he discusses many aspects of his life and his history. See the full article here.

Rollins is one of the leaders and originators of the "hard bop" style of Jazz which kicked off in the early '50s, and has played with legends Charlie Parker and Miles Davis amongst many others.

He's written some of the greatest jazz standards and he remains active today, and has been nominated for 2 Jazz Grammy Awards for Best Solo and Best Album.

Here's a classic track by Rollins for your enjoyment:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Jazz & Blues Grammy Nominees

While most of the world will only look at "Best Male, Female, Pop, Rap and Rock" awards, this is a reminder that the Grammys cover the entire musical spectrum.

The nominees were announced yesterday, and here are the Jazz & Blues nominees (after the jump)

My Badass Skyrim Warrior

I have crafted Legendary Daedric Armor for my warrior knight. Besides looking like a boss, it has the highest armor rating in the game. Cost a fortune to get the materials and hard to find rare items but it was well worth it.