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What Else Can Be Said?

1 Jun

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (often shortened to Sgt. Pepper) is the eighth studio album by the Beatles. It was released on June 1 1967.

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The Great Charles Mingus

5 Jan

On December 5 ,1979, jazz musician, composer and bandleader Charles Mingus died aged 56 from Lou Gehrigs disease.

His final, but uncompleted  project, was ‘Mingus’ . This was a record collaboration with Joni Mitchell.

Happy Birthday Frank

21 Dec

Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer,and performer.  Zappa composed music in the genres of rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète .  Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band The Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. While in his teens, he acquired a taste for 20th-century classical composers such as Edgard VarèseIgor Stravinsky, and Anton Webern along with 1950s rhythm and blues  and doo wop.He began writing classical music in high school, and at the same time he played drums in rhythm and blues bands. He would soon switch to electric guitar.

Frank Zappa

Celebrate by listening to Civilization Phaze III is the sixty-third album by Frank Zappa, released posthumously as a double album on October 31, 1994.

The album marks the third part of a conceptual continuity that started with We’re Only in It for the Money (1968), with the second part being a reedited version of Zappa’s 1967 album Lumpy Gravy. The storyline of Civilization Phaze III involves a group of people living inside a piano, and the menacing reality of the outside world. The album’s themes include personal isolation and nationalism.

Ravi Shankar 1920- 2012

12 Dec

Labeled “the godfather of world music” by  George Harrison, Ravi Shankar inspired many professional musicians as well as millions of lovers of music to explore the traditions of Indian music.

“He was legend of legends,” Shivkumar Sharma, a noted santoor player who performed with Shankar, told Indian media. “Indian classical was not at all known in the Western world. He was the musician who had that training … the ability to communicate with the Western audience.”

I am one of many that met Ravi Shankar through the Beatles, and Shivkumar Sharma has a point. But I rather think this notion is more accurate for popular music and it’s audience. All types of  music from the east was making inroads into the western sound-scape. Many composers in the west were influenced by Asian and middle eastern music long before George Harrison of the Beatles became entranced with it.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)  was one western composer of many. Debussy’s principal influences included the music of Russia, the exotic colors of Asian music (which he first heard at the Paris International Exposition in 1889), and the ideas of writers and poets like Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine, and Charles-Pierre Baudelaire.

An introduction to Indian music by Ravi Shankar.

Shankar on music.

Chants of India. George Harrison produced Shankar’s album Chants of India (1997), in which classical Indian forms (mantras and chants based on Sanskrit prayers) were combined with a choir and Western instrumentation including vibraphone, harps, violins and cellos. Harrison also edited Shankar’s autobiography, Raga Mala (Garland of Ragas, 1999), and once dubbed him “the Godfather of world music”.

The Yellow Shark

2 Nov

On November 2, 1993, ‘The Yellow Shark,’ an album of Frank Zappa conducting the Ensemble Modern, who perform 19 of his compositions, is released. It is the last album by Zappa released in his lifetime.

In 1991, Zappa was chosen to be one of four featured composers at the Frankfurt Festival in 1992 (the others were John CageKarlheinz Stockhausen and Alexander Knaifel).[3] Zappa was approached by the German chamber ensemble, Ensemble Modern, which was interested in playing his music for the event. Although ill, Zappa invited them to Los Angeles for rehearsals of new compositions and new arrangements of older material.[4]

Great Video of the performance!

Electric Ladyland: A real landmark in the history of rock and roll.

25 Oct

On October 25, 1968, Electric Ladyland is the third and final album of new material by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, released  on Reprise Records. It is the only Hendrix studio album professionally produced under his supervision. It topped the Billboard 200 album chart for two weeks in November 1968.[1]

A  real landmark in the history of rock and roll.

From Classic Albums

Good Vibrations, Rocks First Masterpiece

10 Oct

On October 10, 1966,the Beach Boys released the single “Good Vibrations.” It is known for its many unusual instruments such as the prominent use of the cello and theremin. It is a  mile stone in the development of rock and roll as an art form and the use of the the recording studio as an instrument.

Single by The Beach Boys
B-side Let’s Go Away for Awhile
Released October 10, 1966
Format 7″ single
Recorded February–September 1966
Genre Psychedelic pop
Length 3:39
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Brian WilsonMike Love
Producer Brian Wilson
 

“Good Vibrations” earned The Beach Boys a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Group performance in 1966 and the song was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994. It has featured highly in many ‘Top 100 Records of All Time’ charts and was voted #1 in the Mojo Top 100 Records of All Time chart in 1997. Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Good Vibrations” at No. 6 in “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time“, the highest position of seven Beach Boys songs cited in the list. It outranked The Beatles‘s highest ranking song, “Hey Jude“, which was placed at No. 8. The song was also voted No. 24 in the RIAA and NEA’s listing of Songs of the Century. “Good Vibrations” is currently ranked as the No. 3 song of all time in an aggregation of critics’ lists at acclaimedmusic.net.[11]