Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Hills Are Alive...

A few soon-to-be released albums of note:

Progressions: 100 Years of Jazz Guitar -- This is going to be a four-CD set with a guide. It looks great! I love anthologies like this. It looks like the earliest recording will be 1906's "St. Louis Tickle" by Vess Ossman, with whom I must confess I am not familiar. It runs up through Bill Frisell in 2001, which raises one obvious criticism: If it starts in 1906 and ends in 2001, then it's not 100 years, now is it?

Genius of the Electric Guitar

It features some of my faves -- Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery -- as well as some guys I have never heard (that I know of). Rockers Jimi Hendirx, Jeff Beck, and Carlos Santana appear as well. Why these musicians and not others? The material is drawn from the RCA and Legacy archives, so (for example) stuff from Blue Note or Original Jazz Classics would be omitted.

"I've never heard a more beautiful and perfect guitar player in my life than Wes Montgomery."

-- Joe Satriani

I must confess that I don't get worked up about Eminem (or Howard Stern, or David Mamet, or Dick Cheney) using bad words. (BTW - What did Ford think they were getting themselves into?) As I said the other day, the book of Ecclesiastes has it right that "there is nothing new under the sun."

The reason I mention this is the soon-to-be-released eight-disc Rounder collection Jelly Roll Morton: The Complete Library of Congress Recordings. Mr. Morton is universally credited as one of, if not the most, important figures in the creation of jazz. And guess what this new collection has? A Parental Advisory for Explicit Content! No surprise, when you take a look at the etymology of the phrase "jelly roll." The origins of the word "jazz" itself are debated, as with this alternative view of the etymology given in the previous link.

I'm not saying that Mr. Mathers is of the same stature as Mr. Morton. [Although I do think Mr. Mathers is talented and clever, and who knows what insights mid-21st Century musicologists might glean in (what will then be) retrospect, which we can't now predict?] But I am saying that his lyrics might not be worth getting all riled up about given that a few years ago we honored Morton, a bordello musician with a prurient, euphemistic nickname, by putting his image on a postage stamp.

I wonder if the FCC knows about this.

So I like jazz a lot, but since I am a product of the 80s, I have to at least mention the upcoming releases from sweet-album-cover-art stadium rockers Journey and Iron Maiden. OK, I've mentioned them.

Last but not least, the Ɯbercool Liz Phair has a new album due out in October, "Somebody's Miracle." I love girls that rock (her, The Donnas, Aretha, The Go-Go's, The Breeders, Veruca Salt, The Andrews Sisters, many many more). The only possible stumbling block that I see is the new Liz album doesn't have a Parental Advisory sticker.

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