Category Archives: Music

“Rock ‘n Roll, son…”

GREAT story:

One time, a friend of mine’s dad was on a flight that landed at this tiny little airport in Southern Cal.

He gets off the plane, walks along the tarmac and enters a small building. He needs to go to the second floor so he gets into the elevator to go up, and notices a guy standing in there already. Her dad just walks in, but then something starts tugging at him.

It’s just the two of them in the elevator. The guy is kind of older, wearing sunglasses… but there is just something about him. Her dad gathers the courage to look up and take a good, long look at this guy. He definitely knows him from somewhere.

Then, he notices the hair. Auburn. Wild once, but reluctantly tamed in its later years…

And then it hit him.

He smiled. Looked at the guy one last time, tilted his head slightly back and said in a slow, descending, reverent cadence “Jerry-Lee-Lewis.”

Jerry Lee looked up at her dad, nodded his head slightly and answered: “Rock ‘n Roll, son”.

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New mixtape uploaded & available!

I like it all, ya’know…

Here’s a low-fat mix of bangin’ club action: DJ Adrian – Fire One!

Listen here: http://soundcloud.com/scruzdj/djadrian100331

… and enjoy!

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I Love Jazz: Part 2

Here are some albums that you should check out!

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Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy: Out There (f. Ron Carter on bass) – his 2nd album as a band leader and some generally more “accessible” groundwork before he broke down all the doors with “Out To Lunch” four years later.

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Bill Evans

Bill Evans

Bill Evans: Waltz For Debby (recorded live at The Village vanguard days before legendary bassist Scott LaFaro passed away) – Amazingly intimate, emotive sessions by a trio that could take you to another world. Amazing to hear the sound of the people clapping at the end of the tracks. To think that this heavenly art was available and happening and so few people were there.

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Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Roland Kirk: We Free Kings – His story alone is one for the ages: blindness, the dream/vision and playing three horns at once. You have to hear this to believe it.

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Art Blakey

Art Blakey

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Moanin – A drummer as band leader with the fabulous and under-appreciated Lee Morgan on trumpet. All tracks are great on this legendary session.

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Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus (f Max Roach on the skins) – the album that elevated “Newk” to the tenor major leagues.

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John Coltrane

John Coltrane

John Coltrane: Giant Steps – Buy this if you always wanted to know what all the fuss was about… And, if you want to see why he became the most important saxophonist of his generation and one of the great visionaries who began to take jazz and music into the highest, most spiritually experimental places, also see his album called “A Love Supreme”

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Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery

Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery

Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery: The Dynamic Duo – A cool jazz marriage made in heaven! Featuring Jimmy’s Hammond B3 and Wes’ inimitable, octave-driven sound. Waaaaaaaaayyyy cool, baby.

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Miles Davis

Miles Davis

Miles Davis & Gil Evans: Sketches Of Spain – Third stream indeed! One of the most soul-stirring marriages of the jazz soloist with supporting orchestra ever. Gil and Miles were really something else. Others tried to do similar things, but no one touched these guys… well, except…

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Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus: Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus – Legendary bassist? Yes. Accomplished pianist? Yes. Known eccentric and bi-polar personality? Oh, yes. One of the greatest composers of the 20th century? Y E S . That is Mingus’ truest legacy. This album is just a beginning of the depths at which one should explore Mingus.

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It is my hope that you will experience these albums for yourself soon, and that they will speak to you as they have to me.

: )

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I Love Surf Music (or, “Evidence herein shows that reports of Surf music’s death in 1966 were premature…”)

Take Some Guitar, Add A Little Bass, & Some WILD Tom-Toms…

Well, here I go again!

“Surf music” is something that you may miss entirely if you blink your eyes at the wrong time.

Now, most folks will knowingly nod their heads when you mention Surf music because to them, it instantly conjures up images of fun, sunshine, surf and sand; of tan young men and women without a care in the world somehow stuck in a snow-globed ’60s time warp that they can glance at very occasionally as if it were stuck away on some far up shelf in their mental bookcase. They see Jan & Dean, The Beach Boys, The Ventures and The Surfaris… they hear “Surfin’ USA”, “Little Old Lady From Pasadena”, “Wipeout” and “Walk, Don’t Run”… they think of “Gidget”, Frankie and Annette, or The Endless Summer.

Since most of the groups were from Southern California, Surf music and surf culture were immediately identified with our great Golden State, but, ironically, the 1964 hit “California Sun” by The Rivieras was penned in that group’s home town of… get this… South Bend, Indiana!

From its birth in 1959 all the way into the mid ’60s, Surf music had a great run, but by the time of the birth of psychedelia and the Hippie movement, the carefree good-time vibe of Surf was passe, and the socially-conscious, introspective themes of those newer movements ushered away the innocence of Surf seemingly overnight. But, like any good music that has a relatively brief heyday, it never dies or goes away, it just goes underground. And the man who took it there for safe keeping was Mr. Dick Dale, one of the pioneers and true originals of the genre.

Dick Dale - Surf Music Pioneer

Dick Dale - Surf Music Pioneer

(Note: If you are curious, there is a decent article at Wikipedia on the history of the genre)

Now, Add Reverb…

Reverb is the phenomenon of reverberation: a prolonged resounding succession of echoes. In the case of Surf, what could possibly be a more fitting signature for both the sound of the music and its enduring cultural relevance? In the early 1980’s, long-time Surf Music aficionado Phil Dirt re-emerged as a DJ on the influential Northern California college radio station KFJC 89.7 fm. Phil had a stint there in the early 1960’s but left due to “irreconcilable differences”. Upon his return, however, Phil began a journey into the deepest recesses of the genre that turned him into the world’s undisputed #1 Surf Music fan and keeper of all things Surf. You want to really check him and this Surf stuff out? Simple: go to Phil’s website at http://www.reverbcentral.com/ and live a little!

In 1985, under the influence of Dirt, the Bay Area’s Shockwaves were born from that very same scene at KFJC. On-air personality Jeff “Stretch” Reidle joined Randy “Rude Rudy” Hyden and Frank Novicki to form a formidable and authentic Surf band who scored a minor radio hit with their Surf reinterpretation of the Batman theme crossed with the Surf hit “Wipeout”, creating the infectious and fun “Batwipe” – a mash-up decades ahead of its time! The Shockwaves eventually put out a vinyl EP called “Primal Twang” which preserved their sound and influence on the local scene for posterity. Yes, I have one : )

Fast forward now to 1994 and influential filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s landmark film “Pulp Fiction”. Thanks to this man and his film, Dick Dale’s career catches fire again and Surf music is formally introduced to the 20-something “quasi-hipster crowd” (i.e. hip enough to see the movie, not hip enough to know much about Surf music) who immediately embrace its wild, unbridled sound. Dale’s signature version of “Miserlou”, a traditional Greek song that is also popular throughout the Middle East, became the movie’s signature track, and other Surf songs from bands like The Tornadoes, The Revels and The Lively Ones added to the soundtrack’s Surf leanings that Tarantino described as “Rock ‘n Roll Ennio Morricone music, Rock ‘n Roll Spaghetti-Western music”.

And Dale’s “Miserlou” wasn’t done yet, because in 2005, the Black Eyed Peas took the song and transformed it into their multi-platinum hit “Pump It”, which begs the question: what exactly IS the shelf life of a Greek traditional song made into a Surf music classic back in the late 1950’s?!

What Now? Is That It?

One song, a cover song at that, being re-made and re-synchronized over and over again?

NOPE.

FAR FROM IT.

Which is why I bothered to sit down and type up this mess.

When Dick Dale took this thing underground, he planted seeds in all the subsequent generations of musicians and corners of pop music. So many bands of all styles have traceable Surf music influences, it’s amazing if you really look and listen.

But even more interesting are the keepers of the flame for this past couple of decades… the instrumental-peddlers and reverb-mongers who tirelessly tour the small clubs and occasional festivals. The bands who have not just been inspired by their forebearers, but have committed themselves to elevating and expanding the art form, sometimes even pushing it beyond its reasonable boundaries just to see what’s possible. These are the bands that have me curious and inspired.

So, with that, here is some more suggested listening for you!

Slacktone - Holy CRIPES, these guys can play!

Slacktone - Holy CRIPES, these guys can play!

Artist: Slacktone
Suggested Tracks: Rell Sunn Aloha, Mysterioso, Reflection: Life Or Lemming, Rosarito 3 Day, Nocturne, The Bells Of St. Kahuna

Artist: Laika & The Cosmonauts
Suggested Tracks: Crosstown Canyon, Fadeaway, NY 79

Artist: The Mermen
Suggested Tracks: With No Definite Future and No Purpose Other Than To Prevail Somehow, Quiet Surf, Ocean Beach

Artist: The Penetrators
Suggested Tracks: Deception Bay, Checkpoint Echo

Artist: The Vanduras
Suggested Tracks: In The Dark, Dinner With Robert

Artist: Los Straitjackets
Suggested Tracks: Pacifica, Dreamland, Challenger 64

And – be sure to keep your eyes & ears open because Fascinating Creatures Of The Deep are coming soon!
Enjoy : )

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I love Jazz…

You may see more of these posts periodically…

Music.

It’s a funny thing.

It’s my love, my profession, my obsession…

When it comes to music, I am like a jigsaw puzzle made up of thousands upon thousands of pieces. In the end, you see the picture, but the vast array of individual pieces that make it up can be very difficult to understand on their own.

I think, and hope, that this is one of the things that makes me interesting as a DJ, particularly as a wedding and special event DJ. You see, most wedding and special event DJs have a relatively narrow palette when it comes to music. If you don’t believe me, I would recommend that you look across as many play lists and suggested song lists on the websites of these folks as possible and then try to argue that point.

The reality is that the kind of DJing that I and people in my profession do is (and should be) client-focused and service-oriented. That is to say that if my clients want straight-up mainstream music programming, I am happy to give it to them because I know it makes them happy, which in turn, makes me happy. That’s a whole lot of happiness, isn’t it? And all from just playing music that people like and want. See? I told you: I love my job! But the funny thing is that, perhaps not coincidentally, so many of my clients are complete music hounds. I guess it takes one to know one.

Since I have already confessed the almost(?) ridiculously deep role that music plays in my life, it will come as no surprise that I have some pretty strong likes, as well as a few dislikes, when it comes to music.

Let’s start with dislikes: I dislike bad music. It’s that simple. To me, style is incidental: good music is good music regardless. I always tell people to try to not close their minds to any music. Let it in, let it rattle around a bit and look for the good in it. It may not be there, but why not look? And don’t forget, some music is so bad that it is actually good, so try not to get confused ; )

Of course, some music is so obviously good that you don’t need to look very hard. As an example, I have a hard time with people who roundly dismiss The Beatles. I mean, really, what does that say about their ability to understand and appreciate well-done music? You don’t have to like it, but you can’t deny its quality. Or how about people that say “I don’t like Opera – it’s boring.” Well, if you insist, perhaps you may find the librettos boring or an individual rendition of a given opera poorly-acted or sung, but to hear Puccini emanate from the soul of a genius like Luciano Pavarotti is such a triumph of humanity that I find it difficult to understand how anyone could not be emotionally moved by the experience.

Now, regarding likes, or in my case, mostly “loves”?

Seriously, you don’t have the time.

Which is why I warned of more posts like this to come.

So, with that, I’ll leave you with two absolutely stunning, awe-inspiring Jazz albums to check out if you’d like. One is quite conventional but in an oft-overlooked style, and the other is just plain other-worldly and gives us hope that the boundaries of Jazz have yet to be set. One is a nod to the past, the other a bold javelin being thrown into the future.

They are:

Dave Holland Big Band - What Goes Around

Dave Holland Big Band - What Goes Around


Dave Holland Big Band – What Goes Around

and

Eivind Aarset - Light Extracts

Eivind Aarset - Light Extracts


Eivind Aarset – Light Extracts (click here for a review that says it all!)

I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Please feel free to let me know if you end up buying these!

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