Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hear the Bija Concert in Full!

The Bija Orchestra ; me on the far right looking serious.

Remember the Bija Concert I told you guys about?

Well Nawaf AL-Gheraibah has mastered the live concert and released it in full on Soundcloud!

The link to the concert files is [here], however I have embedded below my favorite track "Bakhti", which I perform on as well as I get a bass solo at 3:29 ;)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another Souvenir from Turkey

click for hi-rez
Who would have thought you would find this! I was in an old souk in Bodrom, Turkey and when I paid in US dollars they gave me back 2 bucks in change, in a single 2 dollar bill! A rarity and I've always wanted one of these!

Lifesize LEGO Darth Vader

How fucking cool is that! I saw this in Turkey... totally rad!

The Buddha Blues Brother

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: Hugh Laurie (of House fame) and the Blues - "Let Them Talk"

I know you would not really associate Hugh Laurie as being a singer... and even more peculiar, a Blues singer!

But it's true; last year he released his debut blues album called "Let Them Talk", and was the best selling blues album in the UK in 2011.

I was not sure what to expect; was it going to be a blues rock album? Chicago style?

Well it turns out it's a mellow acoustic album akin to something Tom Waits would do. I found so much similarity in the late night inspired moods, piano playing, and soft guitar work.

The songs are all blues classics reworked and arranged, and while the moods are great, the vocals are a bit of a let down. For some reason I could not take the singing seriously as all I could see in my head was House singing and it kinda took me out of the music and into the TV show.

However when I did pay attention, there were spots of greatness. But Hugh's voice is not convincing enough; his piano playing is great and the team of musicians on board (mostly New Orleans greats) are top of the line.

I found "You Don't Know My Mind" to be the standout track. There are 15 songs on the album but by the half point it starts to drag. Not a bad effort at all, but the style is less blues, more Tom Waits with a fake accent (Hugh is from the UK afterall). 

You can read more on the album's official website here.

And here's "You Don't Know My Mind":

I'm Back!

So if you were following the blog in the last fortnight (always wanted to use this word in a sentence) then you'd have known I was in Turkey.

Well I'm back in Kuwait and boy; Turkey is a beautiful place. I don't have the landscape/scenery photos just yet; but of course I did have the random stuff!

So here goes a few:

Apparently the Batcave is not so hard to find:

And for only 25 Turkish Lira you can shave your bread:

And full body painting is free apparently:

They had Robert Johnson at the Turkish Airways on-board entertainment! As well as dozens of on-demand movies!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Greetings from Turkey!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Most Epic Concert Ever?

An Actual Good DJ Remix of Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy"!

Sounds great!

Mad skills and nice show put on by these dudes... definitely worth watching and hearing!

Palace of Justice Parking Sign Accident

I guess you could say... justice was served!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'm Off to Turkey!

Summer is here... so I'm off to Turkey this Tuesday morning.

I'll be back at the last week of June, then off to Dubai again to see Pitbull (the joy of marriage folks!)

Until then it'll be a bit quiet around here... if I feel I just MUST post something I'll try.

So here's my farewell to you until my return!

What better than a super blues collaboration of Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Mable Hillary, Sunnyland Slim, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon!
Goodbye everyone!

The 3 Secret Problems Of Jazz (And Jazz Is Not Alone) by GuitArchitecture

Want a great article about the state of jazz and other struggling genres of today?

Check out this article on GuitArchitecture. Well worth the read.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Awesome Bluesy/Jazzy Wallpaper

Click for hi-rez and enjoy!

Happy Birthday Les Paul!

Les Paul was born on this day in 1915; he has done a lot to the music industry, besides being a great jazzman but he also is the inspiration behind the Gibson Les Paul guitar.

Hope you have a good one in heaven Les!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Exclusive Interview with Local Trip-Hop Duo Soma Verse!

Soma Verse is a local trip-hop/electronica duo comprised of  Riad Al-Qabandi and Noora Kassem. I have worked with both of them in different capacities; with Riad, a talented producer and composer, I did about 5 recording sessions; he's a real professional in the studio with a great vision.

With Noora, I performed alongside her at Nawaf Al-Gheraibah's Bija Concert. In that link you can see her take the spotlight and shine ... she has perhaps the most powerful voice in Kuwait.

Both are also very good freinds of mine... and to this I decided a full interview with them would be awesome to showcase their talent with the Kuwaiti music community. So here's the interview after the jump:

44 Years Ago: Miles Davis' Last Acoustic Album "Nefertiti"

On June 7, 1967, Miles Davis started recording his last acoustic album, "Nefertiti". It features the second great quintet (Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums).

It's a subdued album...low key yet has that hard bop influence. Miles did not compose any of the tracks.

His next album, In a Silent Way, would mark his transition into electric jazz fusion... and he would never look back to acoustic jazz.

Here's a select track called "Hand Jive" from the album:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Miles Davis' "Freddie Freeloader" ... in Vocalese!!

You put a bunch of great jazz vocalists together to sing over the solo parts and you get this... awesome stuff! It's note for note!

Jon Hendricks & Friends sing Miles Davis' "Freddie Freeloader" from the Kind of Blue record.

Villa Moda Kuwait Shutdown?!

I saw this in the paper...

It seems that the Ministry of Justice is holding an auction for all of Villa Moda's stuff in their Free Zone location. It includes over 4000 assorted clothes, including office equipment!

So what's the deal here?!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gripes about Lebanese Passport Renewal

Tomorrow I'm going to the Lebanese embassy to get my passport renewed.

I do have some complaints about the process... and of course being Lebanese and interacting with Lebanese authorities and institutions is always a bag of laughs.

My main complaints:

1 - Did you know you can only renew your passport for either one or five years? And it's not cheap; it's LL 300,000 (or approx. KD 60) for five years (KD 12 for one). I think that's unusually high... other countries pay much less and get more than five years!

2 - When they renew it, the stamp is written in Arabic and French only (yes they are the official languages in Lebanon but we are in a globalized world and English is necessary!)

3 - They don't mention the expiry date; they say and quote "This passport has been renewed for X years in Kuwait starting from so and so date" like this (sorry to my English speakers):

I find that very unintuitive. Too many times people thought my passport was expired when I told them no, its valid one year (or five) from that date" and everytime I see so much confusion and they think I am lying.

The only good thing about this whole process is that I get it renewed in the same day.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sarcastic List of Ways Jazz Can Build Audiences and Remain Relevant

Over on Ian Carey's blog, a sarcastic post was posted about some of the discussions happening online about the state of jazz today, which I found pretty funny.

You can check out the post [HERE], so I won't put all the points but here are a few:
- Reinvigorate jazz by incorporating elements of rock, hiphop, Salsa, polka, Bluegrass, Tango, Death Metal, Tibetan throat-singing, New Wave, Death Bluegrass, Drum and Bass, Drum and Bass and Mariachi, Thrash Electro-Industrial Housegrass, anything with tubas, the “Dukes of Hazzard” Theme, jazz, and Paul Anka.

- Book non-jazz acts to headline every major jazz festival in the U.S. for several years, until audiences forget what jazz is

- Save yourself the time and effort of practicing by just running “Kind of Blue” through the house speakers while your band pretends to play

Sunday, June 3, 2012

49 Years Ago: Joe Hendersons' "Page One" is Recorded

Previously I posted a video from this classic album from sax player Joe Henderson. Well it also just so happens that today marks the 49th anniversary of it's recording in 1963.

From this album was the track which became a jazz standard, "Blue Bossa".

So here's the song from this hard-bop staple:

Fender Release Antigua Finish Guitars/Basses

In the 70's, Fender released guitars / basses in this unique color called Antigua. Some people called it the "barf finish" due to the strange color of the body and matching pickguard. It's kind of a love/hate thing.

Anyhow Fender just announced a special run of their instruments in that color. Still not my cup 'o tea though!




Saturday, June 2, 2012

Blues meets Electro - "Sure Thing" by St. Germain sampling John Lee Hooker

There have been attempts to fuse electronic music with other forms of music like jazz and blues.

Not many have succeeded to get a nice sound; however Saint Germain's attempt with "Sure Thing" from his Tourist album was very nicely made. The album was released on legendary jazz label Blue Note Records.

The song samples a song from the Hot Spot soundtrack (which features John Lee Hooker and Miles Davis throughout), called "Harry's Philosophy".

Hooker's voice and guitar is highly hypnotic as usual... and the mixing by Germain is clever and it sounds great.

I recommend the album as well if you are into chillout/lounge music. Another track called "Rose Rouge" samples Take Five by Dave Brubeck and features jazzy trumpet soloing.

Here's "Sure Thing":

Friday, June 1, 2012

Brace Yourselves... Kuwait Summer has Arrived

BB King is Going to Lebanon!!

This is amazing news! Living blues legend B.B. King is going to perform in Lebanon at the Byblos International Festival on July 5.

If you are in Lebanon or going there for the summer, do not miss this!!