Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Years Break

I will be off to Lebanon tomorrow, so don't expect any updates (unless there is something worth posting) until the 4th of January.

I wish everyone a bluesy 2013!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

How I Feel Kuwait is Like Now

34th Blues Music Award Nominees Announced

The Blues Foundation  has announced the nominees for their 34th annual Blues Awards, set to take place in Memphis, Tennessee on May 9, 2013.

It's a huge list so bear with me here, after the jump.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Blues Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all you
Blues fans, from me and Speakin' the Blues

'Christmas Christmas Blues' - Charley Jordan 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

'You's a Whiskey Headed Woman'

Don't you hate it when your woman can handle whiskey better than you?

Another pre-war blues, 'Whiskey Head Woman' was performed by country blues great Tommy McClennan in 1939. His songs such as "Bottle Up and Go" and "Cross Cut Saw" became blues standards and covered by artists such as Albert King.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cover Art for my Next Single 'Snake Oil Blues'

Look out for the next Avant-Garde-Music-Projects & Household Productions collaboration on 'Snake Oil Blues', coming out January 2013.

Design by Bachir Najjar.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Riot in Cell Block Nine - The Blues Brothers

"Scarface Jones said It`s too late to quit 
 Pass the dynamite, don`t you give me any shit"

This is one of the ultimate kick ass blues songs, originally written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in 1954, reaching No. 1 in the RnB charts by The Robins.

This version by The Blues Brothers features the sneering vocals of Dan Aykroyd (as Elwood Blues) with the usual New York horns and the Southern rhythm sound of the band.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where did the Blues Come From?

That was the question blues pianist Otis Spann asked in his song, "Blues Never Die".

His answer?

From the lowlands... the Mississippi Delta.

He also says  in the song:

"When you're in trouble
the Blues is a man's best friend
Blues ain't ask where you goin'
and it don't care where you been"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Pre-WW2 Blues to Satisfy your Soul: 'Poor And Ain't Got A Dime'

Floyd Council was a great bluesman of his time and ours.

By the way, did you do know how Pink Floyd got their name?

From Floyd Council, and Pink Anderson; both blues musicians. Take their first names and you got it. So you can already understand the greatness of Floyd. (Now you know which one is Pink... get it?!)

Here's an old song by Floyd from 1937 called " Poor and I Ain't Got a Dime"

The Dubai Jazz Festival Continues to Disappoint

Not much has passed since I wrote about the 2013 Dubai Jazz Festival. Deep Purple are headlining the event, and I was skeptical.

Well, somehow my pessimism has come true (for once).

So far, along with Deep Purple, 3 Doors Down, One Republic, and The Script (just announced  have been confirmed to perform.

Just by looking at the above bands, you know what direction this is going.

Not only are they some of the most un-jazz performers, they are not even remotely close to be even considered "guest material" for such an event.

Not only that, but the official Twitter account of the festival are arrogant enough to say this:

There has been a huge backlash against the organizers, whose headline as per their homepage is:

Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival® ROCKING THE CITY

If this is not a sign of things to come, then I don't know what is. Unfortunately what was considered (perhaps until a few years ago) a great event where fans can come and listen to all sorts of JAZZ music, the paradigm is to sell as many tickets by using non-jazz artists as headliners.

I will be following this closely and keep you updated.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Paul Butterfield!

Today in 1942, blues vocalist and harpist Paul Butterfield was born in Chicago.

Paul picked up the harmonica and started hanging around the famous bluesmen at the time, including Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, the latter which took him into his band for a while. After that he started his own blues band which indlucded guitar great Mike Bloomfield, and the 1965 debut album "The Paul Butterfield Blues Band" is considered of the best albums of all time according to Rolling Stone magazine.

He played at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 with his band, and also performed on Muddy Waters "Fathers & Sons" album, which also featured Buddy Miles, Mike Bloomfield, and Donald "Duck" Dunn alongside Muddy's band.

He was known for his distinctive harmonica playing and passion for the blues. Regretfully he died in 1987 on drug and alcohol abuse.

Here's one of the tracks performed at Woodstock 1969; have a great one Paul!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Albert King Inducted to the 2013 Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame


Albert King, the blues guitar legend, has been inducted to the 2013 Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, alongside Rush, Donna Summer, Quincy Jones, Public Enemy, Randy Newman, Heart, and Lou Adler.

This is a great addition, as Albert King was one of the pinnacles of the blues. He joins the current rank of bluesmen in the Hall of Fame, such as Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, BB King, Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, and others.

Congrats to Albert King... I think he was not born under a bad sign afterall!

Here's a live vid of King:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Historical Jazz Club, Lenox Lounge, to Shutdown.

The series of sad news in jazz keeps coming; the Lenox Lounge, a historical jazz club frequented by many greats including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday and more, will be shutting down after 73 years in business. This New York bar in Harlem was a monument to the city's culture.

It has also been featured in several movies, including American Gangster and Shaft.

It's always sad to see historical music landmarks being shutdown due to high costs.

Here's a live jazz video from the Lenox Lounge:


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Read my Article on!

I have written another article for Kuwait Music, and I hope you guys voice your opinion on the matter :)

The link to the article is below. Thanks again for the great team over at KM for their support and good work!

Kuwait's Music Scene: On Final Breath?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Guitar Slim!

Today in 1926, Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones was born.

He didn't have a long career; (he passed away at the age of 32 in 1959) however short lived it was, he did make a name for himself.

After leaving Mississippi and going to New Orleans, he recorded "The Things That I Used to Do" in 1954, which became a number one hit (famously, Stevie Ray Vaughan covered this song).

He became an alcoholic and unfortunately died of pneumonia. He is still remembered for his guitar tones, which were distorted enough (remember this was the 50's) to cause a ruckus. Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy really learned a lot of Slim.

Here's a song fitting to tell the tale of Guitar Slim, called "Bad Luck Blues".

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The 2013 Grammy Awards: The Blues & Jazz Nominees

Another year, another Grammy Award Ceremony. On February 10, 2013, artists will be awarded for their achievements in the various genres of music.

As usual, I'll only be bringing you the blues & jazz nominations.

If you remember, there were some changes to the awards last year (see my previous post on this [here]), and it continues to this year, where the awards for the jazz and blues categories were downsized dramatically.

Anyhow, here is the list for the 55th annual Grammy Awards. See the entire list [here].

Best Improvised Jazz Solo 
Cross Roads
Ravi Coltrane, soloist
Track from: Spirit Fiction
Hot House
Gary Burton ; Chick Corea, soloists
Track from: Hot House
Alice In Wonderland
Chick Corea, soloist
Track from: Further Explorations (Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez & Paul Motian)
J. Mac
Kenny Garrett, soloist
Track from: Seeds From The Underground
Brad Mehldau, soloist
Track from: Ode (Brad Mehldau Trio)

Best Jazz Vocal Album 
Soul Shadows
Denise Donatelli
1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project
Kurt Elling
Al Jarreau (And The Metropole Orkest)
The Book Of Chet
Luciana Souza
Radio Music Society
Esperanza Spalding

Best Jazz Instrumental Album 
Further Explorations
Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez & Paul Motian
Hot House
Chick Corea ; Gary Burton
Seeds From The Underground
Kenny Garrett
Blue Moon
Ahmad Jamal
Unity Band
Pat Metheny Unity Band

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album 
Centennial: Newly Discovered Works Of Gil Evans
Gil Evans Project
For The Moment
Bob Mintzer Big Band
Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You)
Arturo Sandoval

Best Latin Jazz Album 
Flamenco Sketches
Chano Domínguez
The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band
Bobby Sanabria Big Band
Duos III
Luciana Souza
New Cuban Express
Manuel Valera New Cuban Express

Best Blues Album

33 1/3
Shemekia Copeland

Locked Down
Dr. John

Let It Burn
Ruthie Foster

And Still I Rise
Heritage Blues Orchestra

Bring It On Home
Joan Osborne

Again, the blues category is slimmed to only one, mixing both traditional and contemporary blues. The jazz categories are also slimmed out to only five. It's nice to see Ravi Coltrane (son of John Coltrane) in the list, as well as hard hitters like Chick Corea and Pat Metheny.

I'll be posting the results when they come out!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jazz Legend Dave Brubeck Dead at 91

Story Link]

Dave Brubeck, the famous jazz pianist, composer and band leader, most know for his groundbreaking track "Take Five", has died yesterday Wednesday Dec.5, a day before his birthday (today). I was looking forward to write a happy (in a literal sense) birthday, but it was never meant to be.

 Brubeck was known not only for his great sense of music, but also for his universal approach to composition and experimentation with different meters. He was also the first ever jazz musician to have an album sell one million copies (the seminal "Time Out" from 1959), is was the second jazz musicians to have his face on the cover of Time magazine after Louis Armstrong.

 He also broke the barrier of racism, where he would employ African-American musicians to perform with him, despite anger from society at the time.

 He carried on playing through the 60's all the way till 2011, where despite old age, managed to wow the crowd at every occasion.

 Here's his classic, undying track called "Take Five", which is in 5/4 time. Rest in Peace Dave...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Coltrane Challenges You

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ruthie Foster - 'Runaway Soul'

I heard this song on internet blues radio... and damn this woman got a kick ass voice!

Ruthie Foster has gone far since her debut in 1997.  At the 2010 Blues Music Awards, Ruthie won the award for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year.

I love the raw power of this track... listen to it loud!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

56 Years Ago, Muddy Waters Records 'Got My Mojo Workin'

Muddy and his ever famous blues band recorded one of his signature tunes, Got My Mojo Workin' today in 1956.

Muddy Waters was at his peak during this time, scoring multiple chart hits, and this would be one the four songs of his that was inducted to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame's "500 Songs that Shaped Rock n' Roll".

Here's the original 1956 version, and below it the earliest live video version from the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960. Now I'm gonna go back to Louisiana;

Happy Birthday Jaco Pastorius!

Today in 1951, John Pastorius, also known as Jaco, was born.

He was the prime influence in bringing electric bass to the forefront of music, and in his case, jazz-fusion / electric jazz.

His favorite bass, the Bass of Doom as it's called, is a 1962 fretless Fender Jazz Bass, and his "growl" was done by using the bridge pickup only and playing over the bridge, creating a nasal, almost voice like sound. Topping it off with some serious skills and bass was changed forever.

His influence has reached to all bassists, including Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, and many many others.

Unfortunately he died at a young age of 35 in 1987 due to a fight with a bouncer at a club in Florida.

He is the only electric bassist to be inducted at the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.

Here's an early live solo with the band Trilogue... enjoy and have a great one Jaco!