Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy International Jazz Day!

Today marks the second year of the official, UN sponsored, International Jazz Day, so I hope everyone can get some jazz in their lives on this occasion.

There will be a massive concert in Istanbul, Turkey, for this awesome day. Check out the roster on the official Jazz Day website [here], and here's the official blurb about it:

"The evening concert at Istanbul’s famed Hagia Irene will feature performances by stellar musicians from around the world, including pianists John Beasley, George Duke, Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Ramsey Lewis, Keiko Matsui and Eddie Palmieri; vocalists Rubén Blades, Al Jarreau, Milton Nascimento, Dianne Reeves and Joss Stone; trumpeters Terence Blanchard, Imer Demirer and Hugh Masekela; bassists James Genus, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding and Ben Williams; drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Vinnie Colaiuta; guitarists Bilal Karaman, John McLaughlin, Lee Ritenour and Joe Louis Walker; saxophonists Dale Barlow, Igor Butman, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter and Liu Yuan; clarinetists Anat Cohen and Hüsnü Şenlendirici; violinist Jean-Luc Ponty; Pedrito Martinez and Zakir Hussain on percussion and other special guests. John Beasley will be the event's musical director."

Looks like it's gonna be a great event; in the meantime, check out this awesome track I'm hearing by Clifford Brown and Max Roach called "Sandu", and happy jazzin' to you all!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Remembering the 'Father of the Delta Blues', Charlie Patton

Born in Mississippi On April 28, 1891 (the date is still disputed)  and on the same day died in 1934, Charlie (or as it's spelled sometimes, Charley) Patton was credited to being the founder and father of the Delta blues.

His legacy is an important one, as many of the great bluesmen of their time, such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and Howlin; Wolf among dozens of others.

His guitar showmanship and raspy voice sent sparks flying and his influence is evident, and travelled across several plantations in Mississippi and elsewhere spreading this new type of music. He also performed other types of music such ragtime and hillbilly music too.

The box set collection 'Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton'  won three different Grammys s in 2003,  for Best Historical Album, Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package, and Best Album Notes.

Here's one of his late songs called "Stone Pony Blues":

Saturday, April 27, 2013

TIME Article on Muddy Waters' Legacy

This month, the blues legend Muddy Waters would have turned 100. This great musician, and I keep saying it, was instrumental in changing Western music forever.

TIME Magazine has written as article about him, which you can read [here].

He also passed away on April 30, 1983. So we honor his legacy two times in one month, so here's a live video of "Hoochie Coochie Man', one of the songs that shaped rock n' roll:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blues Musical to Kick-Off on May 2

Creative Cauldron will be presenting the blues comedy musical Thunder Knocking on the Door starting May 2 - 26 on their premises in Virginia.

"Thunder Knocking on the Door is an intoxicating musical filled with humor and heart.  Set in Bessmer, Alabama in 1966, the story follows a mysterious, Blues-playing stranger named Marvel Thunder who shows up uninvited at the home of the Dupree family. Thunder is a mythic figure with supernatural powers.   He has come to challenge the son and daughter of Jaguar Dupree, the only man who ever outplayed him on the guitar in a “cutting contest.” Since its 1999 premiere at Arena Stage, Thunder has played to rave reviews and sold out houses in theaters around the country."

 The music is composed by blues musician Keb' Mo'. Looks like a fun show!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The 6 Most Ridiculous Guitar Designs

Over on one of my favorite websites,, Levon Ritter posted a list of the 6 most ridiculous guitar designs, such Pat Metheny's Pikasso Guitar:

So go over [there] and check the wackiness out!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

'Blues the Most' - Hampton Hawes

This great little piano/bass piece is from Hampton Hawes 1955 album Trio Vol. 1. Hawes was a reknowed jazz pianist, and was highly influential during the 50's  hard bop movement.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Fender Bass Models Announced

There have been several updates to the Fender lines in 2013, such as the American Vintage Series and just today a few new models have been announced:

Classic Player Cabronita Precision Bass

This bass was originally a product of the Fender Custom Shop, priced at over $4,500. Now it's available in a lower price as it's made in Mexico. Love the pickup, reminds me of the older Guild basses.

Classic 50's Precision Bass Lacquer

Continuing the Classic Series line, also made in Mexico, this bass is finished in nitrocellulose lacquer (or nitro for short) just like the old vintage basses, unlike the modern finishes which are polyurethane (poly for short). It is thinner than poly, and will wear out faster, giving a vintage sound and vibe. Only in black.

Classic 60's Jazz Bass Lacquer

Same as the 50's Precision Bass; only in 3 Color Sunburst.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Fender P-Bass & The Blues

Clavin "Fuzz" Jones backs John Lee Hooker, from the Blues Brothers movie.

It is of no secret that I am a huge fan of the Fender Precision Bass; I have 3 of them for god's sake. It's simple, classic, old school sound that has been featured on millions of recordings and it's enduring legacy lives on till today (it is the most selling bass in the world).

When Leo Fender designed the electric bass in 1951, his vision was to give bassists the opportunity to use a smaller and more amped version of the upright bass.

My P-Bass with it's ancestral father.
What followed was a huge explosion in the music world; bassists can now be heard just as loud as their guitarists, and music was never the same since then.

It quickly caught on, but it wasn't until 1957 when the first (and only) redesign of the Precision was made, using the split coil humbucking pickups which is now the standard in electric bass.

Of the first bands to embrace and use this bass were the blues bands. The blues is the father of rock n' roll, and it was the electric Chicago blues that started it all. From Muddy Waters to Howlin' Wolf to BB King and all in between, it was the P-Bass that held the low end, and the foundation was set in stone.

Muddy Waters was one of the first to embrace the Precision Bass in his band once we went full electric; and one of the key performances where it was brought to nationwide recognition was the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival, where bassist Andrew Stephens is seen holding a 57 or 58 Precision on the backline.

Another important recording in blues, which I rated at no 5, is 'Born Under a Bad Sign' by Albert King, which had the legendary Donald "Duck" Dunn on the P-Bass. The title track, and other songs like "Crosscut" are among the top blues tracks. This also led to huge recognition.

Turnin' goat piss into gasoline.
Another notable P-Bass in the blues world, with a rock edge, is Dusty Hill of ZZ Top. Their infectious grooves and riffs (and beards) set the stage for a new era in music.

One of their most famous tracks is "La Grange" and you can't get anymore hardcore than this:

The simplicity of the P-Bass and it's sturdy build has been a favorite of blues bands and musicians, and I don't expect this relationship to die down anytime soon.

Here's to more thumpin the blues on the down low!

'Flood Water Blues' - Lonnie Johnson

This song from 1937 talks about the great flood of the Mississippi of 1927. Many blues musicians of old sang about hardships of nature as well, not just about money, race, women or alcohol.

Lonnie Johnson delivers great slide guitar work for this haunting track.

Monday, April 1, 2013

'Some Kind of Mean' - James Clay & David "Fathead" Newman

This song from the 1960 album "The Sound of the Wide Open Spaces!!!!" album by James Clay and David "Fathead" Newman is just pure hard bop joy.

The album was produced by the great Cannonball Adderley, and features drummer Art Taylor and pianist Wynton Kelly (of later John Coltrane Quartet fame).

Hope you have your moods and volume high!

First Ever Blues Reality TV Show Being Campaigned on Kickstarter

What possibly is a late experiment, a new campaign has started on Kickstarter for the first ever Blues music reality TV show.

It'll be called "Moonshine & Mojo Hands", being developed by hosts Jeff Konkel and Roger Stolle.

 They will "travel Mississippi’s back roads in search of juke joints, house parties, moonshine and the musicians who keep this uniquely American art form alive. Weekly episodes of Moonshine & Mojo Hands will stream for FREE on this website beginning this fall."

View the Kickstarter page [here]!