Give the Drummer Some's
Favorite Downloads from the MP3 Blogosphere
Eschewing the typical end-of-year "Best Of" or "Top Ten" conceit, today's final Mining the Audio Motherlode of 2010 is content with sharing just another quintet of standard-issue high-quality recordings. (Plus it's always fun to work "eschewing" into any sentence.) So chew on these virtual licorice pizzas while you chill the bubbly for New Year's:
Spinning Los Strwck's fuzzed out pop on the radio always draws raves from listeners, but how the hell do you pronounce the name? • • • If Mother Earth had a voice, it would sound like Ola Belle Reed's. Weather-beaten and wise, Ola Belle's clarion delivery hangs in the air long after the music stops. A primal force of nature. • • • Kent Gomez's My Ghetto, from 1968, is a non-stop salsa thrill-ride: While the roiling horn section slashes and burns, and the driving percussion unit infuses hypnotic clattering, it is pianist Gomez's own montuno-drenched vamping that propels the fiery mix through breathtaking swoops and swells. • • • Coined by Gunther Schuller in the late '50s, the term Third Stream came to identify a burgeoning development in music synthesizing composition-driven jazz with concrete "classical music" elements. While much of the coverage of this "serious" or "academic" style of jazz has been overtly condescending, a tremendous body of provocative and, at times downright revolutionary, sounds were produced during the movement's heady early days. Released in 1963, the rather self-importantly titled collection Outstanding Jazz Compositions of the 20th Century is a landmark collection of vital works. Do not miss this one. • • • The music on this last selection isn't jaw-unhinging, but the album's cover is! The recording presents the sounds of Pastoril, the stylized theatrical celebration of the birth of the baby Jesus—common at Christmastime in Brazil's northeastern Pernambuco region—which involves, inexplicably, the profane buffoonery of a character in the person of a clownish, dirty old man. (If you're dying to know more, go here.)
Happy gnu ears from your friends at the Motherlode...
Los Strwck ~ "La Doctoriza"
Do Drink the Water in Guadalajara
"For the last 15 years I have been trying to find out what Los Strwck translates to in English to no avail. I suspect it loosely means "Mariachi Fuzz Box." I found this LP in East L.A. in the early '90s and it's dropped many a jaw over the last 15 years. The tunes start innocently enough, sounding like a band that might walk in to the local Mexican Restaurant on any given Friday night, hoping for tips from half drunk patrons. But the guitarist has a surprise in store. He is ELECTRIFIED……and he has a fuzz box, and you can bet he's gonna use it Amigo. I'd pay big bucks to have seen the faces on those unsuspecting diners as chainsaw sounds lurched out and strangled them mid-enchilada.This band has other LPs….lots of other LPs….but none of them sound like this. Grab some chips and the hottest of hot sauces and enjoy." (HawthorneWingo, from Waxidermy)
Bonus: Hear tracks from Los Strwck's 1970 LP La Suegra here.
Ola Belle Reed ~ "Ola Belle Reed"
(Blog: Bill's Blog: Great Bluegrass Music)
Voice of the Ages
"Ola Belle Reed possesses the rare ability to see the natural unity of an ideal and of its necessary translation into life-action. All her idealistic verbal expressions have their counterparts in the practices of everyday life.... Since any true radical's battlefield is provincialism and bigotry, Ola Belle has come to deplore many of the recent tendencies of country musicians to become ardently chauvinistic about their tastes in old-timey, bluegrass, etc. to the exclusion of all other music. This development runs directly counter to Ola Belle's affirmations of music as a unifying and comradely tie among people." (From the liner notes)
Kent Gomez & His Orchestra ~ "My Ghetto"
"Kent Gomez's "My Ghetto" is a seriously whacked-out descarga-type thing where Kent's piano moves all over the place as he charges from classical to jazz then back to Richie Ray style over a pounding rhythm, very acid jazz."
(Dave Hucker, from The Beat ]
Various ~ "Outstanding Jazz Compositions of the 20th Century"
(Blog: KingCake Crypt)
Close Enough for Jazz
"Outstanding Jazz Compositions of the 20th Century brings together the compositional genius—and perhaps in some cases the directorial and planning genius as well—of J.J. Johnson, John Lewis, Jimmy Giuffre, Duke Ellington, Teo Macero, Teddy Charles, George Russell, Bob Prince, Harold Shapero, Charlie Mingus, Milton Babbitt and Gunther Schuller. It is a group from greatly dissimilar backgrounds who, ten years back in their careers could not have conceived of this collection of performances. What brings them all here in this two-record album is a common dedication to creativity, to vitality, to life and to a posture dead set against the banal, the orthodox and the predictable." (From the liner notes by Ralph Gleason)
Faceta ~ "Pastoril do Faceta"
(Blog: Flabbergasted Vibes)
"Ever since my narrow escape from John Wayne Gacy's ice-cream truck in the 1970s, I have had a phobia of anything that mixes clowns with music. So it took me a while, many months if the truth must be told, of having this album sitting in my house propped up against a stack of other records, with its delirious clown face staring up at me, before I could bring myself to play it." (Flabbergast, at Flabbergasted Vibes)
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