Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Blues: 'Blood Thirsty Blues' - Victoria Spivey

While many or most of you will be dressing up as pirates, prostitutes, or the ever so cliche zombies, while asking people for sweet delicious candy, Victoria Spivey sings about the true horrors of love, more fitting to this dark festival.

I can tell you, if you're in love with a blues woman and you treat her wrong, you're gonna get what's coming to you.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

John Coltrane's 'Love Supreme' in Graffiti Art

Made by German artist MTO in Paris a few years back. 

Author Tony Whyton had a few words to say about this artwork. You can read the full text [here]. Below is an excerpt:

 "MTO’s image is inspired by Coltrane but also acts as an alternative to everyday representations of the icon. This is not an official reading of Coltrane’s masterpiece and, arguably, it conveys a certain politics: the graffiti artwork itself can be read as an act of subversion. Similarly, some of my research interests involve challenging official or dominant narratives that have become associated with Coltrane, trying to seek out underlying agendas which might play a role in the changing representation and interpretations of his music, and offering an alternative means of understanding the Coltrane legacy."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Legendary Chicago Blues Get-Together

In 1966, Canadian CBC Television invited some of North America's greatest blues performers to gather in a studio in Toronto, recording together and individually in sessions that lasted three days. The result was originally televised as part of the CBC "Festival" series, and now the session video tapes have been found, restored and re-edited.

The great Muddy Waters and his band perform "You Can't Lose What You Never Had" and "Got My Mojo Workin'," the latter with James Cotton on harmonica. Willie Dixon goes solo on "Bassology" and (helped by a little '90s technology) performs "Crazy for My Baby" with host Colin James. Plus rare appearances by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Mable Hillery singing "How Long This Train Been Gone," and delta blues piano player Sunnyland Slim, introducing a whole new generation to this inspiring, soulful music.

For the closing song, Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Mable Hillary, Sunnyland Slim, Otis Spann, and Willie Dixon perform "Bye, Bye, Bye Baby, Goodbye" in an all out ensemble.

Ironically, or cryptically, this would be the last time such a gathering would happen. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Blues Brothers Video Game

In 1992, Titus Software released a platform game based on the popular Blues Brothers film on PC, NES and other platforms.

It's a strange game, with almost nothing to do with the movie apart from the characters Jake and Elwood Blues, and a midi soundtrack related to the film's music. The rest involves picking up boxes and using them to climb to platforms to damage opponents.

I guess it's part of how licensed material goes; take a popular movie or series and milk it to merchandise. Star Wars makes billions of dollars annually on merchandise like toys and t-shirts. Usually, licensed franchise video games don't turn out well, the only exception being the latest Batman games on the PS3/360.

The Blues Brothers game play demo on the first level of the game

Sunday, October 20, 2013

'Freight Train Blues' - Roosevelt Charles

Roosevelt Charles lived a blues life; not only do we not know his birth date, place or his death, but he was recorded while he was serving time in Louisiana's Angola prison in the early 60's by a blues historian, Dr. Harry Oster.

There's one album (a compilation of that recording) called 'Blues, Prayer, Work, and Trouble Songs' in 1964 on the Vanguard label. 

Here's a very low down dirty blues called 'Freight Train Blues', a homage to the hobo life:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

'Big Town Playboy' - Little Johnnie Jones

Jones (left) with Otis Spann (center) and George Buford, late '50s

Little Johnnie Jones, from Mississippi, traveled to Chicago like many of the other major blues acts, and was most famously known for playing the piano with Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf  and many others.

He was a heavy drinker, had a wild character, and used to always get in fights, indicative of his pure blues life. He died at the early age of 40 in 1964 from illness.

He did record a few solo tracks and his most famous is 'Big Town Playboy' recorded in 1949 and released in 1950:

The Mockery That Is The Dubai Jazz Fest [UPDATE]


Boy band The Wanted (who?) have been announced today:


Oh boy; it seems that the 2014 Dubai Jazz Festival, as I expected, will be a major disappointment yet again for jazz fans.

This whole story began last year when I pointed out my skepticism about having major rock and pop acts headline a supposedly jazz-centric festival. The major acts were Deep Purple, Three Doors Down, The Script, and One Republic.

This year, it seems that things will be worse, as this photo from the official Facebook page of the festival indicates: 

Eight pop (!) acts will be announced, two of which (Olly Murs and Jamie Cullum) have been revealed. I only expect things to get worse.

I also want to mention that the organizers need some lessons on how to use the social media, as they have been deleting comments and banning users from their Facebook page, and even making ridiculous statements like the one below (thanks to Anonymous for the screenshot). It has since been removed but remember, nothing on the internet is removed:

This farcical display and the fact that there is basically little to no jazz in this festival, several websites, such as the Pan-Arabian Enquirer, have taken to mock and troll the festival, as well as a new parody Twitter account has been created, with great tweets like: 

With this developing story generating some sweet scandalous internet sensationalism, and the disappointment  of the treatment of the music called jazz in efforts rake in sales and attendance, I expect this to go on for a while until (or if) some more JAZZ music is announced. 

Stay tuned for more on this story soon!

Monday, October 7, 2013

High Price For Extremely Rare Tommy Johnson Record

Who says that blues music can't have it's share of high priced valuables?

An extremely rare Delta bluesman Tommy Johnson Record was sold at  winning bid of $37,100 on eBay, which is about $33,000 more than the original asking price. You can see the actual item bidding [here].

The original record, called "Alcohol And Jake Blues', was released on the Paramount label sometime in the late 20's or early 30's. 

This could be the only one to exist. What a fantastic find!


Here's the song in question!