Saturday, March 31, 2012

Now Men can Rock n' Roll while Urinating


April 13, 2012 is JAZZ DAY

International Jazz Day is April 30 (as designated by UNESCO), but in the US it will be April 13.

A statement by Jazz Forward Coalition stated:

To further ensure the successful outreach of this one day celebration, Jazz Forward Coalition has taken on the role as facilitator to supply branding materials, contact resources and expertise in developing jazz activities in your community. As you know, jazz, America's gift to the world, is a powerful cultural force and a source of national pride which led the U.S. Congress to pass HR 57, declaring Jazz a national treasure. However, its tremendous economic impact is less understood. Jazz Day aims to celebrate this economic impact by shining a spotlight on how jazz is an integral part of building community by providing both a link to our national musical heritage while delivering a creative workforce which spreads economic opportunities to multiple sectors throughout our cities. The goal for 2012 is to present and document the multitude of jazz events on Jazz Day. Once tallied, we will have an eye-opening look at the true awareness and participation in Jazz in America and present it as a true cultural and economic energizer in communities throughout the United States.

See the post [here.]

Hear 2 Hours of Music from Coltrane and Monk

Over on American Routes, a 2 hour program has been posted to celebrate two jazz giants: John Coltrane and Theolonious Monk.

The first hour focuses of Monk, while the second is on 'Trane.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Article about Jazz in the Soviet Union

Master & Margarita have an interesting article about jazz in the Soviet Union (USSR).

The part I liked the most:

In 1947, under influence of the Zhdanov doctrine, the Soviet propaganda started a large anti-cosmopolitanism campaign which lasted until 1952. The core message was that the Western culture degenerated. Soviet citizens had nothing to learn from the West, on the contrary, the progressive Westerners had much to learn from the Soviet people. The jazz bands were the victims of this ideology. Jazz and related music was described as bourgeois music and many bands were disbanded. Those who remained tried to avoid to be labeled as a jazz band, or joined the bards in the magnitizdat.

View the full article [here.]

The REAL Use for a Guitar Stand

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pink Floyd got it Right in 1977

I'm not keen on bringing politics into this blog; but something occurred to me when I was listening to the Animals album by the Floyd released in 1977.

It's a political satire concept album; talking about the three main pillars of society: the Dogs, the Pigs, and the Sheep. Each represents the classes of society, with the pigs being in control and the dogs doing their bidding, and the sheep are the mindless masses.

So why is this relevant?

Well starting in 2011, the Arab Spring brought down many tyrants of the Middle East (Hosny Mubarak, Muammar Qaddafi, Bin Ali etc).

The story of the song "Sheep" (written by Roger Waters) on the album discusses how the mindless masses collectively turn against the pigs and dogs, and then control their own fate... until:

Bleating and babbling we fell on his neck with a scream
Wave upon wave of demented avengers
March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream.

Have you heard the news?
The dogs are dead!
You better stay home
And do as you're told
Get out of the road if you want to grow old.

The sheep are now taking over the role of the pigs; it's also inspired from George Orwell's "Animal Farm" where the pigs and humans become friends despite being enemies in the beginning.

Now the movement of all the "freed" Arab countries is to choose and elect political Islam into power; one wonders if after all this pain, bloodshed, and strife was worth something in the end.

Here's the track:

Sad Day for the Blues: The House that Chess Built under Big Dispute

Chess Records, the ultimate blues label of it's time, whose roster included Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Etta James, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, just to name a few, is now under a huge dispute between the Chess family (Marshall Chess, son of the great Leonard Chess) and the current owners, the Willie Dixon estate.

Willie Dixon's estate purchased the property in 1997 to save it from being demolished from it's historic location in Chicago. Since then they have renamed it "Blues Heaven Foundation" and have removed the Chess logo and any mention of the Chess Family.

Marshall Chess is obviously upset, and Marie Dixon, daughter of Willie Dixon and current owner of the building, has said they did this since the Chess family refused to donate money to renovate.

Either way, it's a sad day to hear this about one of the world's most important music labels.

You can read the full article [here.]

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Great Read about Miles Davis in the '80's

Over on Burning Ambulance, Phil Freeman wrote a great article called "Miles Davis In The ’80s".

If you have the time read it... it's a reflection of the electric moods of Miles at the time.


Want to Dress like Miles Davis?

The artists at Moxy Creative have designed some prints of what popular artists wear so you can mimic them (some of the artists include Prince, Michael Jackson and others)

So if you want to look like Miles Davis during what looks to be the late 50's, look at the picture and get to shopping!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Father, Jamal, Receives 2nd Guinness World Record

Jamal Sleeq, my dad, was awarded a Guinness World Record in 2007 for Largest Rosary Bead Collection (masba7a).

He has just received a certificate for his second Guinness World Record, for Largest Opaline Glass Collection.

Congrats to Jamal and the Sleeq (Slik, Sleiq) family in Lebanon and abroad!

Example of Opaline:

Are there even Jazz Fans in Kuwait?

Call me whatever you like... but it bugs me when I hear someone tell me "oh I love jazz too!" and then think what they hear on 92.5FM is the epitome of jazz.

Guys please; when there is something I have no clue about, I shut the hell up. I expect the same in return.

I had a few discussions recently online and one person even said that, and I quote:

there is jazz danceing with women wearing tight and short clothes.

Then of course there's the Gulf Jazz Festival ; don't get me started there!

I have met a couple of people who know what they are talking about; true fans of the genres. I also was happy to get the positive reaction when we played jazz at the Blend Music Fest:

Jazz is not an easy genre to get into; mostly because of the many variants and mostly is technical. However the rewards are plenty.

But please, if you aren't a fan, that's fine... just don't come to me and say Kenny G or Yanni are the best thing since sliced bread.

I wish that FM 99.7 has a dedicated jazz hour (similar to Jazz America of VOA).

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Blues Brothers were Hipsters

Jeff Beck Plays Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" , Crowd Unpleased

I've never seen so many death stares in one room...

Arab Times Review of Blend Music Festival 2

(Click for high rez photo)

Many thanks to the Arab Times team!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kuwait Music & Avant-Garde Music Projects BBC Interview

Kuwait Music (Caesar, Narine), Avant-Garde Music Projects (me) were interviewed last week by BBC about the local music scene; below is video (can't be viewed on Apple products).

Features Aziz on guitars from the Mojolaters Blues Band!

Share this and state your thoughts!

7th Gulf Jazz Festival: More of the Same?!

For it's 7th year, the Gulf Jazz Festival is set to take place in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.

For the Kuwait run, it will take place in Radisson Blu Hotel (again) from April 25-29, 2012.


- FULL DRIVE from Poland (funk and blues)
- VIVIAN BUCZEK from Sweden (vocal jazz)
- MICHAELA RABITSCH & ROBERT PAWLIK from Australia (fusion, latin, jazz)

Remember my review of the 2011 festival? It also spawned one of my well known articles "Jazz: For all, or the Few?" and was featured also in Khaleejesque magazine.

I won't rant again... but I am not going this time; for me it's another black tie affair at a high price.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Word "Jazz" Came from... Baseball?!

Matthew Callahan/Globe Staff

The Boston Globe have posted an interesting article that suggests that recent research shows the earliest time the word "jazz" was used was by a baseball pitcher, Ben Henderson:

One hundred years ago, a hard-throwing but erratic minor league pitcher named Ben Henderson was getting ready for his opening day start for the Portland Beavers against the Los Angeles Angels. Henderson had pitched well for the Beavers the previous year, but he began the 1912 season with a well-earned reputation as an unreliable drunk.

Henderson gave a Los Angeles Times reporter a preview of what he had planned for the game. “I got a new curve this year,” he explained, “and I’m goin’ to pitch one or two of them tomorrow. I call it the Jazz ball because it wobbles and you simply can’t do anything with it.” The headline for the item, from April 2, 1912, was simply “Ben’s Jazz Curve.”

From the diamond fields of baseball to the smoky bars of New York, Chicago, and New Orleans, the word "jazz" is still a hotly debated term to define.

And somehow, all this talk about baseball makes me want a New York hot dog...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Incredible 20 Minute Version of "My Favorite Things"


Blend Music Festival 2 a Great Success!

The Performers and I take the stage for a group shot!

Blend Music Festival 2 was another great success for Avant-Garde Music Projects!

The crowd was great, the vibes were great, and most importantly, so was the music.

Jelly Shot perform and I make an appearance!
I want to thank Bayt Lothan for supporting the local music scene and allowing us to do these concerts; to Double D Sound, to Jelly Shot, Earplit, and Sounds of March, and most importantly to the audience; you guys rocked!

Stay tuned for more announcements from Avant-Garde Music Projects; visit us on Facebook!

Miles Davis was a Hipster

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Herbie Hancock Launches International Jazz Day!

It's official; International Jazz Day is April 30 of every year.

UN Goodwill Ambassador and legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock got the UN approval to announce International Jazz Day.

This year’s inaugural event — organized by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which Hancock chairs — will include star-studded concerts in Paris, New Orleans and New York as well as jazz-related events in several dozen countries from Algeria to Uruguay.

Hancock said he had little difficulty lining up support for his proposal from the 195-member U.N. cultural organization “because so many countries have been affected in crucial ways over the years by the presence of jazz.”

“Jazz has been the voice of freedom for so many countries over the past half century,” Hancock said in a telephone interview ahead of Tuesday’s official announcement of International Jazz Day.

“This is really about the international diplomatic aspect of jazz and how it has throughout a major part of its history been a major force in bringing people of various countries and cultures together.”

Time to celebrate!!


Miles vs 'Trane Pic

by me.

Happy Birthday Son House!

Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. was born on March 21, 1902 in Mississippi.

Son House was one of the most important Delta bluesmen; his style and music has been imitated by countless musicians, and was the primary influence on Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson.

It was Son House who spread the legend that Johnson had sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads.

He's got a great deal of blues standards, like "Death Letter Blues", "John the Revelator", and "Preachin' Blues".

He passed away on October 19, 1988.

Here's a video of Son House performing "Death Letter Blues" in the '67:

Reminder: Tomorrow is Blend Music Festival 2

I hope (and urge) you all to attend the second Blend Music Festival tomorrow at 7:30pm in Bayt Lothan. This my second event under Avant-Garde Music Projects.


1) Jelly Shot - BLUES-ROCK
2) Earsplit - HARD ROCK
3) Sounds of March - ALT. ROCK

Sounds & Lights by Double D

Logo/Flyer Design by Bachir Najjar

The event will take place on Thursday, March 22, 7:30pm at Bayt Lothan

Once again, this event is free of charge.

Facebook Event Page

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Astronaut in Space Sings the Blues!

You don't have to be behind a dumpster in a parking lot to sing the blues; NASA astronaut Ron Garan sings the blues from the Soyuz spacecraft.

I shit you not; skip to 3:30.

New Cameras to be Installed in Kuwait Streets

There's a new tender out by MOI; it's requesting 50 cameras for catching emergency lane users, and 150 "fake cabins" (كابينات وهمية)... whatever that means.

Looks like the pressure is on to curb the accidents!

John Coltrane's A Love Supreme : Deluxe Edition

I already reviewed this album previously; however this is the Deluxe Edition, which I got from Beirut's Virgin Megastore (thanks Mom!).

This edition is 2 CD's; the first being the original release, and the second being all the extras, which are:

1) The first authorized released of the only live performance of the album at Antibes, France. This performance is not a faithful rendition of the original; the album was released nine months earlier, and they never performed it since. It's a lot more raw, and Coltrane's soloing is more out there (upper register screams and the like).

2) Four unreleased tracks from the recording session; 2 alternate takes of Resolution, and 2 alternate takes of Acknowledgment. The latter song was performed with tenor sax player Archie Shepp and bassist Art Davis with the original quartet, which leads to a lot more frenzy.

3) Photos, and an expanded booklet by Askley Kahn, who wrote "A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album", including the original liner notes from the 1965 LP.

Truly the complete story of this signature album.

Spring Equinox Today!

Today marks the official first day of spring (Spring Equinox).

To celebrate this equinox, here's the Coltrane version!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Interesting Jazz Novel: "Half-Blood Blues"

via Oregon Live

It has come to my attention that there is a book that seems to be interesting; I just might buy it off Amazon.

Esi Edugyan's novel "Half-Blood Blues" is about a group of American jazz musicians stuck in Nazi occupied France, and their subsequent lives after the war.

Here's a synopsis from

Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize

Man Booker Prize Finalist 2011

Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction
Berlin, 1939. The Hot Time Swingers, a popular jazz band, has been forbidden to play by the Nazis. Their young trumpet-player Hieronymus Falk, declared a musical genius by none other than Louis Armstrong, is arrested in a Paris café. He is never heard from again. He was twenty years old, a German citizen. And he was black.

Berlin, 1952. Falk is a jazz legend. Hot Time Swingers band members Sid Griffiths and Chip Jones, both African Americans from Baltimore, have appeared in a documentary about Falk. When they are invited to attend the film’s premier, Sid’s role in Falk’s fate will be questioned and the two old musicians set off on a surprising and strange journey.

From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris, Sid leads the reader through a fascinating, little-known world as he describes the friendships, love affairs and treacheries that led to Falk’s incarceration in Sachsenhausen. Half-Blood Blues is a story about music and race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art.

Coltrane's "Blue Train" Solo Transcribed for.... Recorder?!

Remember the recorder? That annoying instrument they made us play in school?

Well, Benoît Sauvé has transcribed John Coltrane's solo from "Blue Train". I never knew it could happen! It still sounds annoying but it's impressive nonetheless.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kuwaiti Dust Bowl?

The current weather we are experiencing reminds me of the Dust Bowl of the 1930's in the US.

It seems this year will be filled with them; just something that ruins the mood.

If you are interested in the dust bowl, you may want to read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. A great book to read!

Coincidentally, there's a concept album by prog rock band Camel called "Dust & Dreams" that was inspired by that book.

Stay clean!

In Memory of Robin Harris

Today marks 22 years since the passing of comedian Robin Harris on March 18, 1990.

I found out about Robin Harris after watching the cartoon "Bebe's Kids" when I was a kid. Since then my curiosity led me to found out more about him.

He also did some acting in the 80's and 90's. He was in the first "House Party" movie, who played the role of Kid's dad, and also in the Spike Lee movie, "Mo Better Blues".

But he will be mostly remembered for being a great comedian. Here's one of his sketches:

RIP Robin!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mini-Review: CIK Folk Music Night

I'm usually up to date about music events; I should be!

But it was by coincidence that my good friend and music buddy Lewis told me about the Folk Music Night that took place in Cinemagics last night. It wasn't advertised anywhere!

It was organized by the Canadians in Kuwait (CIK). Obviously it's not a good place to make fun of their accents ehhh!? (kidding fellas)

Anyhow being a lover of music and not liking to miss a new experience, I went there and took the elevator to the rooftop.

The weather was great; and there was a BBQ going... the smell of smoky beef just made wanna eat every burger.

The ambiance was nice and so was the crowd. Modest turnout; about 60 or 70 people; who all were great fun and I met a few of the audience. The Canadian ambassador was there too.

However, the worst part of the night had to be the sound problems.

The event was to start at 7, but until after 8 the sound was not yet working and I couldn't hear the band. The band was obviously very frustrated.

Once the sound was up and running, an understatement, the band proceeded to play several folk and country songs. Too bad for me I could barely make any words or music through the shoddy sound system.

I took my leave early; which is a shame since I was enjoying the atmosphere. Perhaps after I left the sound got better?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Oud Shredding (video)

This is an ad for MTV Arabia; I might be late to this but I usually watch VH1 instead.

Brilliant vid!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Lightnin' Hopkins!

Sam "Lightnin" Hopkins was born in Texas on March 15, 1912.

His legacy of blues music lives on till today.

I hope you enjoy the below video like I always do.

It's Called: BASS FACE

via Tarek Ibrahim

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bluesman in Therapy


The first Blend Music Festival was met with high praise and great coverage.

As owner of Avant-Garde Music Projects, I am happy to announce "Blend Music Festival 2" , continuing the example set by the prequel; which is getting various great bands in Kuwait to play to a wide audience.


1) Jelly Shot - BLUES-ROCK
2) Earsplit - HARD ROCK
3) Sounds of March - ALT. ROCK

Sounds & Lights by Double D

Logo/Flyer Design by Bachir Najjar

The event will take place on Thursday, March 22, 7:30pm at Bayt Lothan

Once again, this event is free of charge.

Facebook Event Page

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rolling Fork, Mississippi: The Home of Muddy Waters

The Home of Muddy Waters

There's a nice article about Rolling Fork, Mississippi, the birthplace of legendary bluesman Muddy Waters.

It talks about the simplicity of life there and how it's most famous town hero keeps it relevant today.

Worth a read!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Battle of the Saxes! John Coltrane VS Cannonball Adderley

On the Miles Davis album "Milestones", the opening track "Dr. Jackle" features Cannonball Adderley on alto sax and John Coltrane on tenor sax have a "sax battle", where each musician takes a few bars to improvise then switching to the other.

If you have a problem knowing who is who, Cannonball's sound is more high pitched, while Coltrane's sound is lower pitched.

Enjoy the onslaught!!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kurt Elling Sings Coltrane's "Resolution" from A Love Supreme

A Love Supreme remains John Coltrane's masterpiece.

There has only been one live performance of this album by Coltrane, which ads to it's mystique.

But have you wondered how it would sound if someone transcribed the sax solo into a vocalese?

Well, you have an answer! Kurt Elling did it; it sounds great. It's the exact solo note for note except it's got lyrics instead!

I have put the original album version and then the sung version.


The Cool (Miles Davis)

Joshua Budich designed a cool screenprint of the king of cool (get it?), Miles Davis.


Couldn't they Just Say "Rooster"?

Thanks Rami A!

Useless Facts: Notorious BIG's Death, Ornette Coleman's Birthday was March 9.

One celebrated with life, one mourned for death.

Ornette Coleman was born on March 9, 1930:

Notorious BIG AKA Biggie Smalls was shot dead on March 9, 1997:

This has been a useless fact update.

Next Event Teaser

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bacon Love Blues

Let me set the record straight.


But it seems someone loves it more than me.

Not only did he sing a song about bacon, he also decorated his guitar with it.

See for yourself:

Thursday, March 8, 2012