Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reminder: Tomorrow is the Blend Music Festival

I hope (and urge) you all to attend the Blend Music Festival tomorrow at 7:30pm in Bayt Lothan/


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

Sound and Lighting is provided by Double D Sound and Light

Flyer & Logo Designs by Bachir Najjar


Facebook Event Page

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Johnny Cash 80th Birthday Concert!!!

An 80th birthday concert will be held for country legend, the late Johnny Cash.

The event will take place on April 20, 2012 at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

Some of the performers will be: Kenny Chesney, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Cornell, Ronnie Dunn, John Hiatt, Amy Lee, Shooter Jennings, Lucinda Williams, Ray LaMontagne, and Jamey Johnson with more still to be announced.

Johnny Cash's real birthday was two days ago on the 26th of February.

I was actually on a Johnny Cash binge; listening to the simply amazing American Recordings (Mostly IV and V). So this is appropriate to hear!

The official concert website is [here.]

What Do You Get when You Cross a Telecaster with a White Falcon?!

Fender Telecaster:


Gretsch White Falcon:



Guitar made by the Fender Custom Shop

Monday, February 27, 2012

An Old Newspaper Article about my Band in Lebanon

Here's a n old newspaper article about the band I was in, Evergreen, back in my AUB days in Lebanon.

It was in "Al-Balad" Newspaper, and they ran an entire series on local bands, in 2003.

For those who can't read Arabic, basically it talk about how we got together, the kind of music we play, and that we love to hang out in Hamra street and it's pubs.

Shout out to the band: Jawad, Nadim, Fouad, and Abed!

Good times!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

John Coltrane’s "A Love Supreme" among Titles Remastered for iTunes

The seminal Coltrane album A Love Supreme has been remastered for iTunes, under the "Mastered for iTunes" series, a collections of high quality audio specifically made for iTunes.

Among other music includes Madonna, Paul McCartney and more.

Now you can hear this amazing album in superb audio quality!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Happy National & Liberation Day Kuwait!

I would like to congratulate my Kuwaiti readers, friends, and citizens a happy National & Liberation Day.

Forgive me if I do not go out and celebrate, I'll be at home the next few days to avoid the rush!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Great Score: Dire Straits' "Communiqué"

Even though Kuwait's Virgin Megastore is now in the dustbin of history, it never had good music to begin with.

There's not many music shops left, but I found a lost jewel in one of Salmiya's shops.

It's as if you went back in time; hundreds of CDs that range from jazz, blues, classic rock, hip hop etc from our memories.

If I had the money I would have bought a lot more than just this classic rock album, Dire Straits' "Communiqué", which is a great mellow album showing off Mark Knofler's awesome guitar playing and piercing Stratorcaster sounds.

Here's a track off the album, "Once Upon a Time in the West":

Fender Announce American Standard Hand Stained Ash Basses/Guitars


How About a Ballad for a Change?

For the last year I've bombarded you with blues of all variations, hard-bop, avant-garde, free-jazz, cool jazz, and other styles but never a slow ballad.

So here's one of my favorites, the standard "I'm Old Fashioned" originally written by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer, performed by John Coltrane for the "Blue Train" album.

It's the only cover song on that album; a nice shift some the hard-bop artillery.

Have a good weekend everyone, enjoy this song and relax!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Welcome the Newest Family Member: The Jag

No not the car! The bass!

The Fender Jaguar Bass is a sleek (sleeq?) instrument; it's got 2 Jazz Bass pickups, an active/passive switch with bass and treble EQ, and a series/parallel switch along with the usual volume and master tone knobs.

I haven't had too much time with it yet but MAN I can tell you it sounds sweet with a million tone combinations.

I will make a video soon; in the meantime, I wanna thank my beautiful wife for this great anniversary gift; I love u honeycakes ;)

The Experience Hendrix Tour Kicks off in March

The Experience Hendrix Tour, a set of tributes to the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix will kick off in the USA on March 6, 2012. It's also sponsored by Fender Guitars.

Featured artists who will perform on the tour:

Billy Cox
Buddy Guy
Eric Johnson
Robert Randolph
Bootsy Collins
Johnny Lang

and more!

Here's the official website.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gingerbread Man Massacre / Horror

I opened up my new gingerbread man cookie box and what do I see...


Zara on Sale = Price Increase (photo)

The economy must be doing good eh?!

Thanks to Rami A. for submitting this pic!

President Obama Sings the Blues Classic "Sweet Home Chicago"!!

Remember the White House Blues Gig I told you about?

Well President Obama thanked the artists (who included BB King and Buddy Guy) and then after a request by Buddy Guy, he sang the song briefly.

I wonder if one of our presidents can be this fucking cool.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Like" Avant-Garde Music Projects on Facebook!

Follow Avant-Garde Music Projects on Facebook for latest music project updates!

The Blend Music Festival is our first event.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Custom Guitar made for Arabs

Comes with a large bottle of Pepsi and a family sized coleslaw.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blend Music Festival : Final Details

Following my announcement previously, the final details and official flyer have been released for the Blend Music Festival.

The event will take place on March 1, 2012 at 7:30pm @ Bayt Lothan (Opposite Marina Mall).

The event will be free of charge; so tell your friends and family to come along!

Jazz, Rock, and Folk music by the best of local talent; support your music scene!

Sound And Light provided by Double D Sound.

The Facebook event is here.

Follow me on Twitter @ AliSleeq

Flyer and logo designs: Bachir Najjar

See you all there!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lifes' Pleasures: Beef Jerky

Let me set the record straight: I fucking love beef jerky.

It's not always available, but when it is, I get me a whole month's worth in stock.

Anyone else share my love to this fatty snack?

Friday, February 17, 2012

What People Think I Do Meme : Music Edition

This month, the What People Think I Do Meme was started and became viral. Thousands of such photos have been created.

I found a couple music related ones that I thought I'd share with y'all:

Sh*t Guitarist's DON'T Say

You heard the shit they say, now hear the stuff they DON'T ever say.

Stupid Guitarists ;P

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jazz or BAM?

Jazz might have a new name:

Black American Music (BAM).

According to the Black American Music Movement, their aim is to change the name of jazz to BAM, as a throwback to the originators of the music.

The whole movement started when musician Nicholas Payton wrote an open letter when he said "jazz" was not called that before it became popular. In his words:

I am not a Nigger and I am not a Jazz musician (...) ”Jazz” is an oppressive colonialist slave term and I want no parts of it. 
If Jazz wasn’t a slave, why did Ornette (Coleman - Ali) try to free it? 
Jazz is not music, it is an idea that hasn’t served any of us well. 
It saddens me most that some of my friends can’t see that. 
Some of y’all who know me and I’ve even employed, stood on the bandstand with, know how important tradition is to me.
 My work speaks to that.

I understand the main concept that jazz, blues, and soul were originally conceived by African Americans, as do millions (if not all) of music listeners, and I do not think anyone out there actually believes otherwise. But music is ever evolving and we while can chase down the roots, we cannot keep it exclusive.

There are just as many non-Black musicians who play jazz and blues as there are Black musicians, some of whom are and were important to the music.

Would Miles Davis' best selling album "Kind of Blue" be the same without Bill Evans?

How about Stevie Ray Vaughan? He revived blues in the '80's almost single-handedly.

The list can go on forever. The music has inspired everyone worldwide, and some musicians from the UK (Rolling Stones,etc) were who actually introduced jazz and blues musicians to Americans (who never heard or paid attention to them)!

If you would like to take the music back to it's roots, fine... but to change the name of the music is and will be a very controversial decision.

Jazz at Salwa Redux

Yes, I'm short.

We had another rehearsal for the Blend Music Festival last night at my place; I think it was the hippest night Salwa has seen in ages.

Look out for me performing with trumpeter Gary Ruston and sax player Kevin Owen (who by the way has a soprano sax... talk about Coltrane-ish).

We'll be playing some jazz standards; more info next week!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rare: Live Footage of John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme"

Further to my popular post about John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, arguably his best album and one of the best albums of all time, did you know even though it was popular it was only performed live once?

Well now some vids have popped up on Youtube; here's the only recorded live version at the Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes of the first album track "Acknowledgement". Mind blowing.

My Funny Valentine

I had a great time with my wife last night; however why was the entire country stuck in traffic?

It took me 45 mins to enter Kuwait City from road 50 (starting from 2nd Ring Road!!!)

So anyways that's over and done with, maybe I was a bit harsh on you yesterday for suggesting "Blue Valentine" by Tom Waits... so here's a cheery Miles Davis rendition of the classic song "my Funny Valentine", off the great "Cookin" album.

B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Mick Jagger to Perform at the White House


On February 21, blues legends B.B. King and Buddy Guy will go on stage to perform for President Obama; but that's not all!

The "Red, White and Blues" performance will celebrate blues music; and there's a full awesome line up, including Mick Jagger, Keb Mo, Booker T, Jeff Beck, Sehemekia Copeland and more!

It's nice to see the government involved in supporting music heritage, and the blues is certainly deserving.

Good show!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine Blues!

I know you lovebirds out there already have your day planned (I know I do! I love my wife and we're going out on the town tonight!) but for you hopeless romantics out there stuck alone today, here's a song for you guys to ... I guess get drunk to?


Monday, February 13, 2012

The Blues & Jazz Winners of the 2012 Grammy Awards

Here we go, the Official List of Winners of the 2012 Grammy Awards.

I will skip the boring stuff and get down to business:

Best Improvised Jazz Solo:

500 Miles High

Chick Corea, soloist
Track from: Forever (Corea, Clarke & White)

Best Jazz Vocal Album

The Mosaic Project

Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists

Best Jazz Instrumental Album


Corea, Clarke & White

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

The Good Feeling

Christian McBride Big Band

Best Blues Album


Tedeschi Trucks Band

Pillsbury Cake = Devil's Food?!

Just came back from Sultan Center; but I just noticed that this chocolate cake mix is labeled in red as Devil's Food.

Is that some culinary joke or what? And how did that pass customs :P

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Blues Musicians Signature Guitars - A Quick Look

The Blues was the father of rock n' roll; so it is of no surprise that many blues musicians have their own signature guitars made by the top guitar makers.

Here's a couple of them!


Muddy Waters Telecaster

Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster

Buddy Guy Stratocaster


B.B. King Lucille

Keb Mo Bluesmaster

Jimmy Page “Number Two” Les Paul

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Gang Starr's "Jazz Thing" - Rap Tribute to Jazz

Taken from the soundtrack from the 1990 movie "Mo' Better Blues" by Spike Lee and featuring Denzel Washington, this hip hop track pays tribute to jazz music; from Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Theolonious Monk, Charles Mingus and more, this is a great tribute.

Jazz, Blues, and Hip-Hop all started as the the social movement of African-Americans. Perhaps the core message of rap is dead these days, focusing on the club scene; but this track pays homage to the genre that is jazz.

Guru, one of the two member team along side DJ Premier, died in April 2010.

Worth a listen; respect.

Compilation of Bob Dylan Songs Released to Support Amnesty International

A 4 CD compilation of re-worked Bob Dylan songs (about 80 songs!!) by various artists has been released to honor 50 years of Amnesty International.

Called "Chimes of Freedom", this album will support Amnesty International's cause; and what better to do it with some Bob Dylan songs?! He was perhaps one of the best known protest songwriters.

Some the artists on the album include: Miley Cyrus, Adele, Kesha, My Chemical Romance, The Gaslight Anthem, Pete Townshend, Seal, Jeff Beck, Elvis Costello, Mark Knopfler, Darren Criss, Eric Burdon, Sting, Patti Smith, My Morning Jacket Pete Seeger, Dave Mathews Band, Tom Morello and others.

See the official announcement [here] and the liner notes [here].

Thanks to my man and guitar extraordinaire Aziz for the tip.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Did You Know? Miles Davis' Final Album was a Jazz-Hip Hop Experiment

Miles Davis died on September 28, 1991; a few months before his death he recorded a few tracks against hip-hop beats.

Hip-hop you say?!

Yes; Miles was always an innovator. He fused many genres and styles and instruments together. His album Bitche's Brew is considered the first jazz-rock album, and late in his career he recorded with synths, drum machines, and tried out funk and combined it with jazz concepts.

This album was not completed when he died; it was released in 1992 after his death. Produced by Easy Mo Bee, one of the best old school rappers of the time, it's an interesting perspective of how jazz and rap work.

The album won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance.

Here's a track off the album featuring Easy Mo Bee.

54 Years Ago: Ornette Coleman's Debut Album is Recorded

Ornette Coleman is the lead innovator of avant-garde and free jazz; and this was from the onset with his debut album, "Something Else!!!!", recorded on February 10, 1958.

While it did not cause the massive controversy as his third album "The Shape of Jazz to Come", this album did cause a stir as he was doing something less conventional from the jazz going on at the time.

Later on in the years, Ornette would be considered the godfather of free jazz; many others, including John Coltrane, took his inspiration of breaking free from musical restriction.

Here's a track of the album; remember at the time, the sax sound and tone was considered unconventional.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Protest Rally & Concert to be Held on Grammy Night

A while back I posted about the Jazz & Blues Grammy Nominees and discussed how they canceled several categories from the event.

In reality 31 categories were cut (more than I thought), and many musicians are upset about this. Some of the cut categories are "Latin jazz, contemporary jazz, Native American, Zydeco, Cajun, classical, Hawaiian, regional Mexican and world music as well as contemporary blues, polka and other ethnic music categories."

To protest this racist attitude, concerned musicians and community leaders will hold an all star Latin Jazz concert and a protest rally to show their displeasure of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences' (NARA) decision to cut these categories., the same day of the Grammy Awards.

You can see the details [here.]

Jazz at Salwa!

There was some jazz going on in Salwa last night; laying down the groovy trumpet was Gary Ruston, who will be performing with Kevin Owen and myself at the Blend Music Festival.

Here's a quick sneak peak at the jam sessions; in this shot Gary is deep in thought, and I think he's wondering which mode will match the chord progression.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sleeping with Dave Brubeck.

Adding to my post about "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck, here's a filthy joke about it: