This is great footage of Wilson Simonal singing this great song that my wife introduced me to (which her mom used to sing to her). The actual song doesn’t start until about 1:45, so, you know, feel free to fast forward to listen in.
With the exception of the parade of nations, which I always get a kick out of, and maybe the cauldron lighting, I can really do without the Olympic opening ceremonies. But this moment, k.d. lang singing Hallelujah, just gave me chills:
The official video is on the NBC Olympics site.
One of the great discoveries of living in Melbourne was the music. Everyone knows INXS, Midnight Oil and AC/DC. But the there are many lesser lights in the Australian rock diaspora that never escape from the shores of Oz. I’ve been listening to this music for years. Now, with the help of Muxtape, I’m going to share some of it with you. Enjoy the Forgotten Legends of Aussie Rock:
- The Badloves – Green Limousine
- Cruel Sea – Woman with Soul
- Weddings Parties Anything – If You Were A Cloud
- Things Of Stone And Wood – Single Perfect Raindrop
- Baby Animals – At the End Of The Day
- Meanies – Emulator
- Hoodoo Gurus – Death Ship
- Tumbleweed – Rainbow Waterwillow
- Spiderbait – ShaShaVaGlava
- Cosmic Psychos – Dead Roo
- TISM – Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me
- Hunters & Collectors – Throw Your Arms Around Me
I can’t remember the last time I made a mixed tape. For that matter, I can’t remember the last time I owned a cassette player that could record. Must have been in high school and I need some serious hypnotherapy to remember most of what went on there.
But no matter. Don’t need any of that analag shit to make a mixed tape these days. Just need Muxtape. It’s as simple as you can imagine. Open an account. Upload MP3′s. Share. When I get home tonight, I’ll set one up and share it will ya’ll. In the mean time, check out the Resurrection of Cool on Pandora if you want to hear some cool jazz.
Check out my station Winter Wonderland on Pandora. It’s got Elvis, Sinatra, Connick, jr., Martin, Como, Crosby, Diana Krall, Ray Charles, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash and whole lot more. Even this atheist, organized-religion hater, can get into Christmas tunes.
Pandora is one of the sites that makes the web worth having. The site is a direct result of the Music Genome Project where a group of “a group of musicians and music-loving technologists” came together to perform a complex analysis of all music and codify songs based on hundreds of musical attributes or “genes”. With Pandora you can benefit from the fruits of their Herculean labor.
At it’s core, Pandora is a jukebox. It plays music. The genius of this jukebox is that you have the ability to create your own stations of music based on an artist or a song. Say for example, you like Chet Baker. Then you can create a Chet Baker station. The station will play Chet Baker songs, of course, but it will also try to find jazz tunes similar in melody, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, etc. to play.
The system isn’t perfect, which is to be expected, and sometimes you’ll hear songs that you don’t think belong. All you have do is give the thumbs down and you’ll never hear that song again. Similary, you can give a song the thumbs up and it will become a permanent part of the station’s play list. Pandora will continue to refine your station based on your selections.
You can create as many stations as you want. You can share them friends. Buy the music if you are so inclined. And the service is free. If they could just figure out a way to get the songs on my IPod or in my car radio, I’d be set.
Here are some of my stations:
If you only take one piece of advice from me, it should be this: If someone, anyone says to to something like, hey, I’ve got an extra ticket to U2, would you like to come? Say, yes. Do yourself a favor and say yes.
Stern Grove. I have lived in the Bay Area for most of the last 17 years and until this weekend I had never heard of Stern Grove. Either I’m completely oblivious and I have no idea what’s going on around me or there’s so much going it’s hard to keep track of everything.
The odd thing is I had driven by the grove dozens of times over the years. It’s a stand of tall eucalyptus trees in the southwestern corner of San Francisco right off 19th Avenue, the main thoroughfare into the city from the south, one that I used to take whenever I drove up to town from Santa Cruz and Burlingame. I can remember seeing banners hanging there in the trees promoting some event or another, but I never paid much attention, probably because I was too anxious or excited to get to the city to pay attention to what the trees were saying.
On Sunday Jennifer and I went to see some opera music at Stern Grove featuring mezzo-sopranoDenyce Graves who was a last minute replacement for Carol Vaness. But, damn, she was impressive.
The concert started around 2pm, but we arrived at noon to get a decent spot to sit, eat lunch and watch the music. Even two hours before the concert, the place was packed. All the tables and chairs were spoken for. People laid out blankets all across the terraced grass and the granite steps. We had to climb up the hill above most of the spectators to find a seat just beyond last stone wall. We threw down some blankets and settled in, enjoying a leisurely picnic while we waited for the program to start.
I was responsible for all the food and drink. Here’s what we had:
I usually don’t like live music. Well, let me qualify that. I love the music. With a few notable exceptions, I hate the crowds, the waiting and generally the whole experience. But when I went to see the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra at Yoshi’s last Wednesday, I loved it. It was awesome.
I had been to Yoshi’s in Oakland before, but only to eat. I had never been to see a show. I didn’t even really know what we were going to see. Jennifer had danced at some party at an art gallery run by a friend of hers and Marcus Shelby was there with a few guys from his band providing music. That’s how she found out about the show.
I figured it would just be a few guys on stage, but it was a full 15 piece ensemble in the intimate quarter circular venue. 5 saxophones. 4 trumpets. 3 trombones. A drummer. A piantist. And Marcus Shelby directing the whole thing with his double bass. I hadn’t anything like since I saw a jazz band in a tiny place in New York City over a year ago.
The show was a celebration of Duke Ellington’s Birthday, which was a week or so back. Shelby and the band played all these standards (Ain’t got a Thing, Take the A-Train, etc.) and gave some history of the band and its members. I was mesmerized. I watched Shelby’s fingers work the bass. He was so cool, so assured in his movements. Under his stewardship, the band pumped out the huge Duke sound, one classic song after another. It was great.
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