Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Birthday James Jamerson!

The Motown legendary bassist, James Jamerson would been 76 on January 29, 2012.

One of the most influential bass players of all time, Jamerson played "on more number-one hits than The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined." according to the 2002 documentary, Standing in the Shadows of Motown.

He's also the seminal representative of the Fender Precision Bass. That bass alone has so much legend and aura about it; it was stolen shortly before his death in 1983 and was never found.

One of the most famous tracks he plays on is Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On?", so here it is again for you to enjoy:

My Article Featured in Khaleejesque Online Magazine


The lovely folks at Khaleejesque have featured one of my articles regarding a hot issue, titled : "Jazz, For All or a Select Few?".

I wish to thank them for having me share my perspective with them and their readers.

You can read the article here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Baritone Sax: Chunky Sound of Love

If you ever heard a baritone sax, you will know that it's deep low tones are just a great pleasure to the ears.

In jazz, it's a popular but not frequent instrument.

A very important baritone sax record is Charles Mingus's "Moanin" from the album Blues and Roots from 1960, which was played by Pepper Adams; that little intro bit along with the main lead is just earth shattering!

So here's the clip with all that low end chunk! This live version in 1993 features Ronnie Cuber on the bari.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another WTF Car Accident

My good buddy Sami snapped this photo while driving back home.

Now I know sometimes things aren't in your control; but I don't think that's the case here.

Over 9 Minutes of Pure Guitar Love Making

SRV. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

9 Year Old Kid Plays Coltrane's "Giant Steps"!!!!

Giant Steps is considered one of Jazz's hardest tunes to improvise over due to the difficult and unusual chord progressions

Holy crap; this makes me wanna give up on music.

To compare, here's the original song:

Play each Day like Jazz (comic)

I'm in a comic mood today; enjoy!

Jazz is for WHAT?!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Song that Spawned Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love"

In 1969, Led Zeppelin's second album, "Led Zeppelin II" was released to much acclaim. The song "Whole Lotta Love" was one of the album's highlights and is one of the most popular rock songs ever.

However, the inspiration for this song was actually from Muddy Waters' song "You Need Love" which was written by Willie Dixon in 1962.

Here's both vids; and you decide!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Kuwait Concert Flashbacks

I've had a good run in Kuwait when gigs are concerned; here's a few I thought to share with all y'all!

Snooze Alarm Blues

Every morning, I wake up to the sound of my iPhone alarm clock (the standard one that comes with the phone).

Recently, either from my extreme drowsiness or clunkiness of the UI, every time I hit that snooze button, it "hangs" as if all I did was silence the alarm, but the phone still thinks the phone is giving off the alarm.

What that means is it doesn't ring again after the 10 minute snooze, and I stay sleeping and am late to leave the house.

It's been going on for ages; I have other phones in the house but for some reason I keep giving that damn iPhone a chance, and it always fails.

What's a good alarm app? Or should I just switch to the Nokia alarm clocks?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Now Here's an Idea! Jazz + Sushi = Yoshi's!

Combine two of the best things in the world, and you get Yoshi's Jazz Club & Japanese Restaurant in San Fransisco and Oakland, California, USA.

Seriously, this is such a good idea... everyone loves sushi; so combining it with live jazz is a great way to get people more interested in the music.

I know this concept would work miracles in Kuwait! Of course, once you get the licenses for the musicians ;)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Memorial Concert for Hubert Sumlin on 24th January

HUbert Sumlin Passed Away in December, and now a stellar lineup of musicians will perform a memorial concert for him in New York City on the 24th of January.

Some of the artists to perform: "Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr., Keb Mo, Doyle Bramhall, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dr. John, Levon Helm, Shemekia Copeland, Steve Jordan, Willie Weeks, Ivan Neville and more".



I am happy to announce the official launch of a new musical initiative, "AVANT-GARDE MUSIC PROJECTS".

A new way forward, my mission is to organize live music events in Kuwait, to collaborate with the local talents, to initiate recording sessions, and to seek gig opportunities for local musicians.

AVANT-GARDE MUSIC PROJECTS is the accumulation of years of performance by myself and all the musical knowledge I have learned through these years; I hope this initiative sparks a new interest in local music and to get things kicking back into high gear.

That said, I hereby announce my first project under AVANT-GARDE MUSIC PROJECTS:

On March 1, 2012, the BLEND MUSIC FESTIVAL, a mellow acoustic get-together of several local musicians, will take place in Bayt Lothan, the official sponsor, host, and curator of the event.

This event will be FREE OF CHARGE and open to everyone to attend.

The BLEND MUSIC FESTIVAL will be the first of many concerts to be held; there are a handful of musicians on board, and more will be added to the sets at a later stage.

Here is the program for March 1, 2012:

1- Ali Sleeq with Gary Ruston & Kevin Owen = JAZZ
2- Hadi Sarieddine, Bader Nana, & Sarj = ROCK
3- Lewis Chapman - FOLK / ROCK

Sound will be provided by DoubleD Sound & Light Rentals.

More details will be announced soon; in the meantime please free to contact me (see Contact page) for any information.

Hope to see you all there, and here's to a great start to 2012!

Ali Sleeq is the bassist of the Mojolaters Blues Band and the Lounging Criminals, Former Bassist of Evergreen Blues Band (Lebanon), Bluesman, Blogger @ Speakin' the Blues, Jazz Nut.

Busking: What's the Policy in Kuwait?

Busking, or street performance, is very popular in the USA and Europe, and many parts of South America.

There are some regulations of course; like in the London Underground you need to obtain a busking license, or in the US there are designated areas for busking, such as parks and such.

What would be the policy to do something like that here? Like if me and a buddy of mine took our acoustics and jammed out some blues, would it be OK? Or would we be asked to leave the place by the authorities?

Monday, January 23, 2012

And Now: Folding Portable Guitars! have designed a portable guitar, which stealthily slides into a nifty portable stick.

Interesting? Or not?

US Post Office to Issue Miles Davis Stamp

The Alton Telegraph has reported that the US Post Office will be issuing a Miles Davis stamp this year as part of a joint effort with France; Edith Piaf will also be commemorated.

Alton, Illinois is the birthplace of Miles.

*the photo is my creation, not the actual stamp*

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saving the Home of John Coltrane

The BBC have posted a great video about John Coltrane's home and how a fan saved it from being demolished, including a small talk with his son Ravi.

Worth the watch!

Robert Johnson's "Crossroad Blues" as Analyzed by Literature Class

Never seen a person take this too seriously!

LOL here

Here's the original song:

Cutest Tube Amp Ever!!

I'm in love with this Fender amp... it's a 2012 Pawn Shop Special Greta; a 2 watt all tube amp!

Awesome for the house as decoration, or an iPod speaker, and of course, tube crunch! All at $200!

See the specs here,

and a video demo here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What is Jazz? (Infographic)


Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Importance of Jazz

Martin Luther King, Jr Day was last week the 16th of January; so to honor this great man I am posting his speech on the importance of Jazz. Great words!

God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create — and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations.

Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.

This is triumphant music.

Modern jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.

It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of racial identity as a problem for a multiracial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls.

Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.

And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith.

In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Opening Address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival

Kuwaiti Roastery sells... BONES?!

Talk about mistranslation.

Blues Legend Etta James Dies at 73

Another sad day for the blues; the blues legend Etta James has died today from leukemia.

Etta James will be remembered for her soulful powerful voice, and a legacy of amazing music.

RIP Etta, you will always be remembered!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" - THE BLUES VERSION


Over on overthinkingit, Mark Lee posted a remixed version of Ke$ha's megahit, "Tik Tok" as envisioned as a 12 bar blues, harmonica and all.

I think if this was the original recording done in the '50's in Chicago no one would have minded it at all.

It's fucking brilliant!!

Listen to the MP3

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Even LOLcats get the Blues

Cute Dogs Living on a Project Site!!!

Yesterday I was on a project site in Sulaibiya; and while I was there I noticed a pack of very cute dogs; a mother and about 5 or 6 puppies!

I was worried about their safety but apparently the workers feed the dogs and they have been living on the premises for a while now!

Cute yet very sad!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just In: "Ascension" Complete Edition - John Coltrane

My dad was in Dubai (another reason to love that place) and got me the complete edition of 'Trane's "Ascension".

Ascension is the album that changed the course of Coltrane's music (and fans and critics). Released in 1965, this album features 11 musicians, of the most prominent free jazz players of the time.

Two takes were recorded; only one was released. It's a 40 minute suite of free form music; little to no melody... very chaotic soloing by Coltrane, Pharoah Saunders, Archie Schepp, and features 2 bassists... so imagine what's going on.

This edition comes complete with the alternate take.

Today; I will attempt to hear both tracks without interruption. That's a feat that many have not done.

Breaking Free from Restriction


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Aramex Price Hike Sucks

So I bought some stuff online on clearance; 3 sets of guitar strings (comes with a free baseball) and guitar polish for 10$ (about 2.8 KD).

It's not a heavy package; only 1.74 pounds (.78 kg).

Previously that would have cost me 4 or 5 KD max.

This time though... it's 8KD!!

So what I thought was a bargain ended up costing me almost triple in shipping charges.

As it is now, it's not worth buying things online if you will be overcharged for shipping.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Governments Supporting Jazz; Lessons to Learn

In the UK, it's Jazz Services:

In Norway, it's Norsk jazzforum:

There's even the Europe Jazz Network for the entire continent:

Those are just some of the examples where public funding is spent on music (in this specific case, Jazz).

Music is a public art that we all enjoy; I hope in Kuwait more care is given to support local music.

It's all about Perspective.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Honest & Sad Truth about the Blues

via user Crimini

Low, Down, and Dirty; THIS is the Blues

In the Mississippi Delta, the home of the music that is the blues, is considered to be the "real" blues; where music was the only way to relieve those in hard times. It's sounds are gritty, usually also played with "bottleneck" slide and finger picking styles, and played solo.

African-Americans who were slaves at the time of the early 20th century combined African music rhythms with church hymns to create this wonderful music.

In 1978, Alan Lomax, who also discovered Muddy Waters and other bluesmen in the 1930s-1940s in Mississippi, recorded another documentary about the Delta blues. One such performer was Belton Sutherland, who I cannot find enough information about online. I guess this adds to the blues mystique.

This is too good; to hear raw and real blues.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Relics of War: Beirut's Holiday Inn Still Standing Despite Desolation

The Lebanese Civil War ended more than 20 years ago, and many structural repairs and construction took place that hide the ravages of that bloody war.

However, until this moment, the old Holiday Inn in Downtown Beirut stands as a stark reminder of the conflict; and it yet is to see it's future.

It's situated right next to Phoenicia Hotel, considered the best hotel in Lebanon, which haunts the beauty of the area.

Another Strange Designed Building; Lighthouse Included?!

Another strange building popped up in Salmiya yesterday; this one comes with complete with a lighthouse!

I think I should start a series on these buildings; send me any buildings you find odd or strange!

Strange Design #1

Friday, January 13, 2012

Miles Davis + John Lee Hooker = Hot Spot Soundtrack

In 1990, a movie came out called "The Hot Spot". Perhaps the most interesting part about the movie was that the soundtrack features Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker, with Taj Mahal and Roy Rogers, in it's entirety. The result is a mix of jazz, blues, folk, in a somber and spaced out mood.

It's an interesting blend of characters; here you have (by this time) Miles Davis fusing styles and genres together and sometimes erratic trumpet playing and John Lee Hooker with his wailing vocals and dark guitar licks, on the same album; jazz and blues united again.

It's worth listening to how these guys bring their style into each track; here's a vid for ya (a fast number):

Junior Wells - "Stop Breakin' Down"

Junior Wells was one of the best blues harp players, performing on countless standards and played with the best musicians, including Muddy Waters.

Here's a great slow number for y'all; enjoy the late night blues.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marcus Miller funks up Miles Davis' "So What?"

Marcus Miller is one of the best bassists of our time; he's played with everyone you could think of, from jazz to fusion, and revolutionized bass playing.

Here's a live performance of Miller playing a funky cover version of "So What?" by Miles Davis' (of who he played with in one of his bands).

Good music right there!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Video: Hound Dog Taylor & Little Walter "Wild About you Baby"

Two blues legends, slide guitarist Hound Dog Taylor and harp player Little Walter in the same video jamming?

Oh yes.

Has Jazz Become Hipster Music?

A while back, I wrote a lengthy article about how Jazz is not a genre for certain segments of society (in that case, I was referring to the social elite), but rather everyone.

But now something crossed my mind:

Has Jazz become hipster music?

Urban Dictionary defines "hipster" as (put very simply): Typically a Hipster can be identified by vintage or thrift-store bougt clothing, a taste for obscure or underground music, a penchant for irony and an elitist attitude.

So there you have a basic idea what kind of person this is.

Now, to Jazz.

Red Bull Shisha?!

It seems it's hip to create new and exotic shisha (arguileh, hookah, hubbly-bubbly etc) flavors... but wtf is Red Bull shisha made of? Is it actual flavor or artificial?

I should have tried it but I was also wondering what the difference in taste "Black Grape" and "Grape" could be.

I think I'm gonna create a Pepsi flavored shisha; think of all the money I could make!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gentleman Grill

For some reason, this sign on the back of a grill made me laugh; it's as if it was talking to me in such an eloquent manner.

Or I was just hungry and thought it was funny.

FYI it reads: "To regulate the spring screws to your wish, feel free to to take off this steel part".