Thursday, August 10, 2006

Music Overload

And I thought I was experiencing music overload. I talked to my friend Jason last night, who is the Music Editor for Paste Magazine. He passed along the fun fact that he has to sort through approximately 200 new CDs per week. Of the approximately 800 CDs that arrive in between issues, about 70 - 75 actually end up being reviewed in the magazine. But that's up dramatically from the 1,600 that used to arrive between issues, one of the fringe benefits of going from bi-monthly to monthly.

This means that your nephew's four-track demo that he recorded in his bedroom has a slightly higher chance of being reviewed than it did before, perhaps even doubling from .0001% to .0002%. Keep hope alive.

Me? I have to listen to two 4-CD box sets and write two reviews before the end of the weekend. Work and family keep getting in the way of these quality listening experiences. I don't have time to listen to 4 CDs per day, let alone listen to them and attempt to form coherent thoughts about them. Anybody wanna give me a crash course on Bruce Hornsby and John Lee Hooker?

12 comments:

Fred Kohn said...

Anybody wanna give me a crash course on Bruce Hornsby and John Lee Hooker?

Bruce Hornsby is good. I've heard that John Lee Hooker is good too.

nikkip said...

i saw bruce hornsby open for the others (the grateful dead after jerry died). i'd always enjoyed his music, but that show made me appreciate it.

interesting fact: everybody in the crowd would shout "bruce!" between each song. at first, i though everyone was booing him, until i realized they were just saying his name.

that's my bruce hornsby contribution.

mg said...

what happens to all those cds that don't get reviewed?

Andy Whitman said...

What happens to all the other CDs? Coffee coasters? Skeet shooting? I don't know. I assume the clutter gets unbearable at some point and they get tossed.

By the way, Kate reached that point at our house long ago, but I have yet to reach it. Music is slowly taking over every nook and cranny, and the Music Room, that holy shrine designed to inspire awe and covetousness, can now only handle about half the music. But I am an unreconstructed pack rat, and I can't bring myself to throw anything away. It's bad.

But I can now officially say that Bruce Hornsby is good. I know him from his handful of hits in the late '80s, but he's bigger than that. His piano playing reminds me of Keith Jarrett, and he plays, and plays well, with everybody from Jerry Garcia to Bonnie Raitt to Ornette Coleman to Pink Floyd to The New York Philharmonic. Good stuff.

Andy Whitman said...

What happens to all the other CDs? Coffee coasters? Skeet shooting? I don't know. I assume the clutter gets unbearable at some point and they get tossed.

By the way, Kate reached that point at our house long ago, but I have yet to reach it. Music is slowly taking over every nook and cranny, and the Music Room, that holy shrine designed to inspire awe and covetousness, can now only handle about half the music. But I am an unreconstructed pack rat, and I can't bring myself to throw anything away. It's bad.

But I can now officially say that Bruce Hornsby is good. I know him from his handful of hits in the late '80s, but he's bigger than that. His piano playing reminds me of Keith Jarrett, and he plays, and plays well, with everybody from Jerry Garcia to Bonnie Raitt to Ornette Coleman to Pink Floyd to The New York Philharmonic. Good stuff.

Brother-in-law Bill said...

Boogie, Chillun.

That's just the way it is.

Regarding your comment on Hornsby, I suspected from his playing on his hits that there was more there than he was letting on. Keith Jarrett wouldn't have occurred to me, however. So what's the name of this 4-CD collection?

mg said...

if you ever wanted to pass along some rejects to me, i'd be happy to take them...

Andy Whitman said...

Bill, the Hornsby box set is called "Intersections: 1985 - 2005."

The hits are there, but they're in previously unreleased or live versions where Hornsby really gets a chance to stretch out on the piano. A lot of these tracks are in the 8 - 12 minute range. It sounds like it could be boring. It's not, because of Hornsby's virtuosity. He's a fine player.

I don't know if you're familiar with Jarrett's solo piano box sets from the early-to-mid '70s (Koln Concerts, Sun Bear Concerts). He improvises for 25 - 30 minutes on songs, and they're much looser than the tight jazz he plays in his trio settings. I do hear something similar from Hornsby. He has prodigious technique, and he wraps it all around a classical/jazz/pop framework is very appealing. It's a nice box set.

jackscrow said...

BH - Same piano scale/rift/time over and over. Cool for the 1st 20 times. Still got a little movement.

JLH - Same walking bass line and off time hammer ons. Cool for the 1st 400 times. Still moves way down there. Cool forever.

And that's just the way it is. Boom Boom.

Fred Kohn said...

Andy's mention of Keith Jarrett brings some thoughts to mind.

As a pianist I'm sometimes asked if I play jazz and I wonder if people's opinion of me hinges on my response- as though the ability to play jazz separates the real pianists from the wannabes. When I revisited the Koln Concert recordings I was surprised at how unjazzlike they sounded to me. But that may be just the impression they made on me as a pianist- I think of jazz as being highly chromatic, and the Koln concerts definitely are not that. That particular recording is still filed under jazz, but I wonder if that is only because of Jarrett's already made rep as a jazz player.

Probably like most I know Bruce Hornsby only from his handful of pop hits, and there is a part of me that buys into the whole business of "well, he's a pop pianist- can he really play jazz- is he for real?" And when I hear that he sounds like Keith Jarrett I think, "oh, you see- that isn't real jazz- not very chromatic." Of course that it all ridiculous. Guitarists don't have to jump through that hoop. They can be taken seriously even if they only play power chords and pentatonic (5 note) scales.

The one thing I can appreciate as a pianist even in his pop tunes is that he seems to have a touch. It goes beyond what notes he is playing or anything technical like that. When I hear him play I believe that he is being really who he really is- he's not just doing his pop thing or his jazz thing for the crowd.

Andy Whitman said...

I agree with you, Fred. The easy, convenient labels don't really work for Keith Jarrett. Or for Bruce Hornsby, for that matter.

Jarrett's Koln concerts sounds like improvised classical folk, to coin a ridiculous label that even I don't like. Whatever it is, it's not jazz. It doesn't swing, and it doesn't use standard jazz chord progressions. It sounds like somebody trying to improvisve on a theme from Rachmaninoff, with lots of nice, ear-friendly arpeggios thrown in.

That's how Bruce Hornsby sounds to me, too, albeit with maybe a little more of a pop influence. Whatever it is, it's quite lovely.

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