Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bebop Classic: "Night in Tunisia"

When you think of bebop, two legends spring to your mind immediately: Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

Today it's Dizzy's turn.

This classic track from 1942 is an example of how jazz was beginning to experiment with world music; "Night in Tunisia" has a Cuban feel to it; and Dizzy's horn is just piercing.

This song became an instant standard and has been covered by countless artists including Charlie Parker and Stan Getz.

Go back in time with this!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's Just Jazz Again (pic)

Blues gets Political : "Un-American Blues" - Popa Chubby

We all usually hear the blues talkin' about women, alcoholism, hard times and sometimes about monkeys (see Junior Wells song, "She Wants to Sell my Monkey".

However Popa Chubby, a great blues guitarist, wrote this very political blues record called the "Un-American Blues" from his album "Peace, Love, &; Respect". It's discussing Bush era (the song is from 2004) politics, the war in Iraq, and Islamophobia.

I heard this off of a CD of modern blues artists a while back. I love the guitar work and how he interpolates the American national anthem into the song. Chubby is a fine guitarist in his own right!

I don't have the original on me right now, however below is a very close live rendition of the song. Hope you enjoy this blues-rock number!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Isn't this Supposed to be a Cool Car?

I'm no auto geek but somehow I think this car is supposed to be a great machine... Mercedes AMG SLS.

My Latest PSN Trophy List

Besides music, you guys probably know by now that I also enjoy video games... so here's my latest trophy list.

I'm currently playing Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning. Looking forward to E3 next week for new announcements.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Birthday T-Bone Walker!

In 1910, Aaron Thibeaux "T-Bone" Walker was born in Texas.

He is one of the pioneers of blues guitar soloing. He started in jump blues, then to Chicago and Texas blues.

In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked him at #47 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time", was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

He's had many standards in his name; but the most famous is the one you probably heard, is "Stormy Monday Blues".

So here it is for you, and have a good one T-Bone!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kuwait Ordered to Pay $2.16 Billion to Dow Chemical

Yep... that's a crapload of money.

I didn't see any bloggers write about it, and since we've all got to face the blues eventually, here's the lowdown:

[SOURCE] - Kuwait Times:

the Kuwaiti government is scrambling to deal with the repercussions of a court order requiring the country to pay $2.16 billion compensation to Dow Chemical for a unilateral decision in 2008 to opt out of a deal signed between the two sides.

...Meanwhile, the news drew immediate reaction from lawmakers, who are demanding prompt procedures to contain the issue and to hold accountable those responsible for approving the penalty clause in the contract based on which the arbitration was made. The KPC has already denied rumors that the Oil Minister Hussein resigned after the news about the court ruling broke. The subject is expected to become the center of discussions between the cabinet and parliament next week. “Losing more than $2 billion in this case requires transparent and detailed research into the massive losses in Kuwait funds”, MP Obaid Al-Wasmi posted via his Twitter account on Friday


An international arbitration has granted US Dow Chemical $2.16 billion in compensation from Kuwait for pulling out of a multi-billion-dollar joint venture in 2008, the two sides said on Thursday.

The ruling was issued by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) after Dow and Kuwait's state-owned Petrochemicals Industries Co (PIC) agreed to refer the dispute to it.

"The ICC award holds that PIC was liable and awards damages to Dow of $2.16 billion, not including interest and costs," Dow said on its website.

PIC chairwoman Maha Mulla Hussein told the official KUNA news agency the company has been notified of the ruling, recalling that Dow had demanded much more than $2.5 billion.

She also said the company is "discussing with its lawyers all available legal procedures," without elaborating.

"This outcome brings resolution and closure to the issue," said Dow chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris.

"We remain focused on continuing to move forward with our transformation and profitable business partnerships both in Kuwait and around the world," he said.

In December 2008, the Kuwaiti government scrapped a $17.4-billion deal between PIC and Dow to create a petrochemicals joint venture due to pressure from opposition MPs citing the global financial crisis.

Under the deal, PIC was to pay $7.5 billion to form a petrochemicals firm known as K-Dow.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Before Dr. Dre, came the 'Trane with the Chronic

Off of his debut album "Coltrane". Kickin' it old skool!

Celebrate Miles Davis' Birthday

Another year, another birthday, but it's forever Miles Davis.

The cool, the eccentric, the ever innovating jazz pioneer continues to be a major influence to the world of music.

Here's a late 60's clip of "Walkin'", predating his electric years.

Have a good one in heaven Miles!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Archie Shepp!

In 1937 on this day, tenor great Archie Shepp was born in Florida.

Shepp, who is still active today, is one of the prominent avant-gardists along side Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and John Coltrane. He participated in the recording of Coltrane's A Love Supreme, however his takes were not used in the final record, but they were released as extra tracks on the Deluxe Edition.

He also was part of the Ascension recording; a leading free jazz record lead by Coltrane.

He became a leading solo artist and in the 70's his music turned more Afrocentric and political.

His official website is [here]. Happy Birthday Archie!

And below is a recent 2011 live clip of him performing:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Miles Davis at John Lennon's Birthday in 1970

Such a bizarre video from John Lennon's birthday in 1970.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Skip James - Skip's Worried Blues (LIVE)

Skip James (guitar) with Mississippi John Hurt

Here's a clip from 1966, of the great Delta bluesman Skip James performing live.

Skip was born in 1902 and he died a few years after this clip in 1969. He was a prominent delta bluesman in the 30's and was rediscovered in the 50's after the blues became a widely popular genre.

Sun Ra, Avant-Garde Extraordinare - Happy Birthday!

Sun Ra, a controversial (if not THE most controversial) jazz musician, band leader, and avant-garde/free-jazz poineer, was born as Herman Poole Blount today in 1914.

Why controversial? Listen to this:

Of all the jazz musicians, Sun Ra was probably the most controversial," critic Scott Yanow said, because of Sun Ra's eclectic music and unorthodox lifestyle. Claiming that he was of the "Angel Race" and not from Earth, but from Saturn, Sun Ra developed a complex persona using "cosmic" philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism. He preached awareness and peace above all. He abandoned his birth name and took on the name and persona of Sun Ra (Ra being the Egyptian God of the Sun), and used several other names throughout his career, including Le Sonra and Sonny Lee. Sun Ra denied any connection with his birth name, saying "That's an imaginary person, never existed … Any name that I use other than Ra is a pseudonym.

Afrofuturism... cosmic philosophies.. it's all nuts.

But he was a pioneer of jazz; he started off in the 50's with a big band style but later in his career he turned into psychedelic "cosmic" music.

He was an eccentric character, but it's all about the music in the end. He passed away in 1993

So here's a track from the album "The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol. 2" (1965) If you're into that stuff, smoke a spliff before listening.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Top 10 Jazz Albums for People who don't Know Sh** about Jazz

LA Weekly [posted] a list of albums they think would get non-jazz fans to get into the genre.

In my opinion, 10 albums is not enough for such a broad style of music; you have atleast 10 mainstream styles of jazz... each having it's own masters and followers.

That being said, they did not mention the most influential of albums such as "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis (instead they mentioned "A Tribute to Jack Johnson"... I mean come on!) and NO mention of Charlie Parker or John Coltrane's solo albums (that alone is a crime). I also would have preferred Art Blakey's "Moanin'" over "Free for All". Nice to see Jaco Pastorius though!

Let the debate begin:
10) Sarah Vaughan
Live at Mr. Kelly's (1957)

9) Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers
Free For All (1964)

8) Ray Bryant
Alone with the Blues (1958)

7) Ambrose Akinmusire
When the Heart Emerges Glistening (2009)

6) Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius (1976)

5) Duke Ellington/Charles Mingus/Max Roach
Money Jungle (1963)

4) Miles Davis
A Tribute to Jack Johnson (1971)

3) Thelonious Monk/John Coltrane
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane (1957)

2) Wes Montgomery w/ Wynton Kelly trio
Smokin' at the Half Note (1965)

1) Dizzy Gillespie
At Newport (1957)

The Blues Lifestyle

While the "How to Sing the Blues" internet meme has been around for ages, there's another expanded guide about how to live the blues lifestyle at The Blues Cellar.

Of course you need not apply if you consider standing in a queue at Pinkberry the blues; or if that Burberry bag you always wanted is sold out is considered the blues to you.

Here's some tidbits:

There are very few blues about being a rich merchant banker whose position has closed two thousand points down on the day but there are any number of blues about less elevated forms of gambling with your own money.

Non-blues cars include any Volvo, Saab, or BMW.

Alcohol is the top-rated blues death closely followed by women.

Non-Blues Drinks: Snapple, Crème de Menthe Frappé etc.

See the rest [here].

Sunday, May 20, 2012

You know you're in Kuwait if you Feel like Luke Skywalker.

Jazz Legend Charlie Parker's Sax for Sale

The legendary bebop saxophone player Charlie Parker, AKA Bird, was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebop, characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique, and improvisation.

He has influenced countless musicians, and was always avid to have younger musicians on his band... one of them being no other than Miles Davis.
Bird & Miles

So how much would his sax go for?

A saxophone identified as belonging to Charlie Parker is being offered as lot 1185 ($30,000-35,000).

Damn... well it is a piece of history.

You can read more stories about the sax in question [here.]


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kuwait City: Relics & Wonders

Kuwait City is a collage of old and new.

The old still clings on while the new tries to take a slice of the pie.

This leads to a state of dystrophy and confusing landscapes, not to mention ugly and unfinished sidewalls (as seen in that tower).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jaguar Facelift

Following my recent post about adding a pickguard to my Jag, here's the result (please note that I am no photographer) standing next to it's Precision cousin:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

VW to Produce a Fender inspired Beetle...

I don't see what's so Fender-y about this Beetle... maybe we need more pics.

Just a note that Fender Audio has installed car audio systems in certain VW cars in the US markets.


"Baby Please Don't Go" - Big Joe Williams

Covered by hundreds of blues and rock musicians, "Baby Please Don't Go" remains one of the ultimate blues standards.

It was written by Delta blues singer/guitarist Big Joe Williams in 1935.

Here's a video compilation of the song by various artists, including Williams, Muddy Waters, AC/DC and Aerosmith:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Got a Tortoise Shell Pickguard for my Jag Bass

As you recall in February I got a Fender Jaguar Bass:

The 2011 versions come with a mint green pickguard; and while it doesn't look bad I want it to look like the older versions with the tortoise shell 'guards that make it look vintage like this:

So thanks to eBay I got a genuine Fender one:

Will post results tonight!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Jazz Event You Want to be In: Playboy Jazz Fest

Got your attention did I!

Well it's actually been going on for 34 years!

This year's event will take place on June 16 & 17 at the Hollywood Bowl; see the lineup and more at their official website.

Check out some of the artists who have performed at the at this festival (courtesy of Playboy Jazz Fest) :

Miles Davis

Benny Goodman & Dave Drubeck

Dizzy Gillespie

RIP Donald "Duck" Dunn (UPDATE)

(Update) : Confirmed.

Donald “Duck” Dunn, who played on hundreds of rock and soul classics as the bassist for Booker T. and the MGs, and later as a session player, passed away Sunday morning at the age of 70. Steve Cropper, the MGs guitarist, broke the news on his Facebook page at approximately 12:30AM Eastern time.

“Today I lost my best friend, the World has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live,” Cropper, his lifelong friend, wrote. “Duck Dunn died in his sleep Sunday morning May 13 in Tokyo Japan after finishing 2 shows at the Blue Note Night Club.

Original article:

I just heard that legendary bassist of Stax, Booker T and the MGs, and Blues Brothers fame, Donald "Duck" Dunn has passed away today.

I don't have much information yet but I will post it when I do.

This is very sad news and Duck was one of my main inspirations on the bass.

A sad day indeed. Hope you're enjoying green onions in heaven Duck!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

33rd Blues Music Awards Winners

The Blues Foundation has announced the winners of the 33rd Blues Music Awards.

Here they are after the jump:

Wanna Quit Whiskey? Listen to Sunnyland Slim

An easy way to quit is to hear blues piano great Sunnyland Slim sing to his woman about how it affected him; in this number called simply; "Woman, I Ain't Gonna Drink No More Whiskey".

After a short rant, he begins wailing and moaning, only him and his piano.

Sunnyland is one of the core Chicago blues greats.

Pay attention!

Random Kuwait Bits


So now, as if we really needed to keep the jitters going, this Red Bull energy shot has been released. I was in Sultan Center and found them; they cost 850 fils per shot; I was tempted but being concentrated and also not cold (and apparently you don't need to chill them) I decided against it.


Speaks for itself.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nice Try Coltrane!

By me; hope you like it! (click for large size)

The Legacy of Robert Johnson on his 101st Birthday

In 1911 on this day, the legendary bluesman and guitarist Robert Johnson was born.

I have discussed Johnson in the past many times; yet no matter how many times I do, there is always an aura of mystery that shrouds his legacy that keeps me coming back.

From dying at the young age of 27, recording only a handful of songs (which most became standards and rock n' roll influences), to the legend of selling his soul to the devil, and his hypnotic guitar playing, Johnson reigns as the supreme deity of the blues, as he lived it in it's purest form.

"The Complete Recordings" tally Johnson's songs to 41; but 29 of them are the originals, and the rest are alternate takes. That's miniscule compared to the thousands of records cut by the likes of John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins... but these 41 tracks have resonated to the deepest souls and have become and immortal and integral selection to the genre.

From Eric Clapton to the Rolling Stones and everyone in between, the few recordings of 1936 - 1937 caused a great revolution in Western music. Johnson never got to see this fame in his lifetime.

Here's to another year of the Robert Johnson legacy.

Here's one of his select records, "32-20 Blues".

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Jazz Entry in Uncyclopedia

If you want a laugh about stereotyping Jazz, then head over to Uncyclopedia's jazz entry page and have a few giggles.

Some bits:

- Jazz, not to be confused with jizz, is a thick stream of sound that is produced by blowing on long tube-shaped things.

- Louis Armstrong. First man to win the Tour du France with only one testicle while being on the Moon.

- John Coltrane. Player of the SEXaphone, which was originally used in the same capacity as a blow-up doll until Coltrane decided to put his supreme love into it.

- Jazz is being threatened by this supposed form of "jazz". Smooth jazz is not jazz. It is more like some sort of damned soul music that wrote a poorly worded letter to the devil asking to be a rock group, thus resulting in their damnation.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Vintage Posters of the American Folk Blues Fests in Europe

Between 1963 up to the mid-80's the "American Folk Blues Festival" was an annual event that toured many of the blues greats around Europe (UK, Germany, and Scandinavia mostly).

Some the main stars include Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Sonny Boy Williamson, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, Willie Dixon, Otis Rush, and many others.

I have a few DVD's of these shows (from 1964-65) and they are simply great to see.

Here's what a collage of the live video looks like:

And I picked a few posters of those concerts for your enjoyment (all taken from

Saturday, May 5, 2012

53 Years Ago - Coltrane's "Giant Steps" is Recorded

On this day in 1959, John Coltrane recorded the seminal "Giant Steps" album, which was his first album with Atlantic Records and his first album of full original material.

The recording shows the height of Coltrane's sheets of sound technique, and features his explorations into third-related chord movements that came to be known as Coltrane changes.

Incidentally this album was recorded just 2 weeks after the "Kind of Blue" sessions with Miles Davis.

The title track remains one of the most complicated jazz standards; and another standard off the album is "Naima", which you can hear below:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bija Concert : A Moment of Enlightenment

I am not a spiritual or a religious man by any means. Most of the time my mind and beliefs tend to stay on Earth; realism has always been the way I do things. I prefer to see things as they are.

However, yesterday, at Nawaf Al-Gheraibah's Bija Concert, it clicked.

I was invited to play the electric bass on 3 of the 7 songs performed. As most of you know I am a bluesman at heart; during my music path I've done blues, rock, covers, folk, jazz, but never world music.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is always a challenge; however through the rehearsals in the last month I felt like all the musicians became one big family and it made things much easier.

But the main center of this event is the music itself. Fusing world, blues, Arabic folk and Indian music into one performance is no easy task. However Nawaf, who IS a spiritual man with a brilliant mind, made it all come true by directing his vision into the hearts and souls of the musicians.

I have confirmed that through music you CAN achieve spiritual guidance. The feeling I got playing that music yesterday was something I cannot explain... I truly did ascend into heaven, just by listening and playing the music.

John Coltrane was canonized as a Saint for his spiritual and best selling album " A Love Supreme"; and I believe that Nawaf is a sage, a seer, and a mystic who stands as one of the finest composers and musicians I have worked with, who deserves such recognition. He is also a great friend.

I want to thank all the talented musicians who performed with passion and also went through a grueling rehearsal... it was well worth it.

Even though it is not goodbye, I still feel sad that I am not with the team right now.

So enough with the emotional crap...

Here's a video taken by Kuwait Music (check out my bass solo, shameless plug) who also have a review [here.]

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bija Concert TODAY

Today is the Bija Concert, directed by Nawaf Al-Ghraibah, who will conduct the show of his original music.

I'll be on the bass for a few songs.

Again here's the preview.

Gonna be a sweet event; thanks to Bayt Lothan again for their support of the music scene!

Fender Pawn Shop Series Expanded

The 2012 Fender Pawn Shop series has been updated... here are the new models:




See the series site [here].

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Parrot Headbangs to Death Metal. No Joke.

Jazz & Comics: Louis Joos

I stumbled across about Louis Joos, a Belgian artist who draws many comics and art about jazz among other things. I found the style to be very intriguing!

His official website is [here], and below are a few art samples taken from his site: