Monday, September 22, 2014
Jazz fans are going to want to check out The Cookers. They are not to be confused with the Toronto based jazz group The Cookers Quintet. Trumpeter David Weiss formed The Cookers as sort of a tribute to his hero Freddie Hubbard but also to put the spotlight on underappreciated veteran sidemen. Weiss has been around the New York jazz scene since the late 80s. He has worked with tenor sax player Craig Handy since the early 90s. Weiss has also worked as an arranger for other jazz artists. He is the leader of The New Jazz Composers Octet and he has recorded as a leader since 2002. In 2006, he formed two bands. Point Of Departure Quintet features young musicians. The cookers features veteran sidemen who Weiss believes deserve more respect. The Core is a Freddie Hubbard song from the 2010 CD Warriors. Along with Weiss, there is Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Billy Harper on tenor sax, Craig Handy on alto sax, George Cables on piano, Cecil McBee on bass and Billy Hart on drums. Most jazz fans should recognize the names. Other than The Core, all the songs on Warriors were written by Cables, McBee or Harper and arranged by Weiss. The Cookers are currently on Motema Music and their brand new CD Time and Time Again was released last week. The only personnel change has Donald Harrison replacing Craig Handy. And I expect these guys to tour. I would go see them if they came to Toronto. They aren't getting any younger but they sure can play. Here's The Cookers performing The core in Germany 2008. This video is not on Youtube.
The Cookers - The Core 2008 by Half_Note_Jazz_Club
The Cookers - The Core 2008 by Half_Note_Jazz_Club
The Cookers - The Core 2008 by Half_Note_Jazz_Club
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Song:Love Will Find A Way
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection:The Best Of Pablo Cruise
Love Will Find A Way was one of two top ten hits for Pablo Cruise in the mid 70s. Pablo Cruise was not a person. It was a band from San Francisco. Lead singer and guitarist David Jenkins, keyboard player Cory Lerios and drummer David Price were members of the early 70s band Stoneground. Warner Bros. dropped Stoneground in 1973 after three unsuccessful albums. Jenkins, Lerios and Price formed Pablo Cruise with former It's A Beautiful Day bassist Bud Cockrell. They signed with A & M Records and released their debut album in 1975. Success came when Whatcha Gonna do reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. The album A Place In The Sun was certified Platinum. Cockrell left in 1977 and was replaced by former Santana bassist Bruce Day. The 1978 album Worlds Away was also certified Platinum and Love Will Find A Way reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. That was Pablo Cruise's peak and you can get all their hits on this budget comp. The band started to fall apart when Day left in 1980 and then Price left in 1981. The rise of New Wave didn't help and Pablo Cruise split up in 1983. After a 1985 reunion attempt failed, Jenkins was in the country rock group Southern Pacific. Lerios became a session musician. Jenkins and Cockrell led a version of Pablo Cruise in 1996. Then at David Price's 2004 wedding, Jenkins, Lerios and Price decided to reunite and they are still together. Bruce Day died in 1999 and Bud Cockrell died in 2010. They released a live CD in 2011 and they still tour. Here's Pablo Cruise performing Love Will Find A Way in 1978.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Here's the match video of Miesha Tate vs Rin Nakai from today's UFC show in Tokyo. It was on UFC Fight Pass so I know a lot of you don't subscribe. And the fight was in the middle of the night. I did watch it live so you could all get your beauty sleep. When this fight was announced, I said that Rin could win if she controlled the pace of the fight and be aggressive from the very start. Aggression in the first round has been a big problem for Rin over the last couple of years. So I knew after the first minute of round one that Rin would lose. She just didn't seem ready to me and I knew she wouldn't get away with that in this fight no matter what she did later. The one thing that Miesha worked on that seemed to pay off in this fight was her takedown defense. If Rin gets a clean takedown and top position early in the fight, that changes the tone of the fight. But it never happened. Single leg takedowns were not going to be successful. And though Rin got Miesha's back a couple of times later in the fight, she never got the position she needed to go for a finish. Rin won the third round. But she needed a finish and seemed a little desperate. She needed to do more than win that round. And she hadn't done enough earlier in the fight to wear Miesha down and set her up for a finish. So the start of fights is still a big problem for Rin Nakai. I scored it 29-28 for Miesha. Two of the judges scored it 30-27 and the other judge scored it 29-28 for Miesha. Leading up to this fight, all Miesha talked about was finishing the fight. But she never came close to a finish and by the third round, she seemed content to outpoint Rin. Obviously Miesha didn't want to get caught by Rin's ground game. But if she thinks a win like that will get her back into title contention, she's dreaming. She's still a gatekeeper which is what she was in this fight. Enjoy the video!
Album:...This Is The Place!
The Hammond B3 organ has been a big part of jazz since the 50s with legends like Jimmy Smith, Groove Holmes and Jimmy McGriff. Organissimo is one of several bands that continue that tradition. Organist and group leader Jim Alfredson is from Lansing, MI. His father played the organ so not surprisingly, Alfredson learned to play at an early age. He formed Organissimo in 2000 with guitarist Joe Gloss and drummer Randy Marsh. There is no bass in this trio. Gloss is also from Lansing. He started out in bluegrass but later turned to jazz. Marsh is from Grand Rapids. His father Arno Marsh played tenor sax with Woody Herman and Stan Kenton and his mother Mary Lou Marsh was a jazz singer. Organissimo has been recording on their own label since 2003. Smokin' Section is from the 2005 CD ...This Is The Place!. Gloss left in 2010 and their current guitarist is Larry Barris. Alfredson was in the band Root Doctor and he has toured with singer Janiva Magness. Marsh also plays with singer Paul Vornhagen. Organissimo's latest CD Dedicated was released in 2013. Fans of the Hammond B3 organ should check them out. Here's Organissimo performing Smokin' Section at For The Music Only in New Hope, PA June 17, 2009.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Album:Children Will Listen
Betty Buckley has had a long career on stage, screen, TV and music. But she is probably best known for winning a Tony in 1982 for her portrayal of Grizabella in the musical Cats. Memory is her signature song. She was born July 3, 1947 in Big Spring, TX and grew up in Fort Worth. Her mother was a dancer. She was crowned Miss Fort Worth in 1966 and was spotted by a talent scout at the Miss America pageant. She moved to New York City in 1969 and immediately won the role of Martha Jefferson in the musical 1776. In 1977, she joined the cast of the TV series Eight Is Enough after Diana Hyland died. Betty also starred in the 1976 film Carrie. When Eight Is Enough ended in 1981, she decided to go back to Broadway. Cats was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is based on the TS Eliot book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. When the musical was a success in London, they decided to move it to Broadway and bring the crew with them. But all the roles were recast for the Broadway production. Elaine Paige played Grizabella in London and also played the role in the 1998 film. And her recording of Memory was a hit in England. So it was risky to recast that role. But Betty won a Tony and Memory became her signature song. Cats became one of the biggest Broadway hits of all time. Betty left Cats in 1984 and continued to appear in movies, on TV and on the stage. Probably her most significant role was as Norma Desmond in the musical Sunset Boulevard from 1992-94. She also started recording CDs in the mid 90s. Children Will Listen was her first CD in 1994 and is a collection of Broadway favourites including Memory. Jazz pianist Kenny Werner is her musical director and he works with her in clubs as well. Normally I would recommend the Cats Broadway Cast CD. But it's expensive and Children Will Listen is budget priced. Betty Buckley still appears on Broadway and on TV and in movies. But this week she released her new CD Ghostlight produced by her old pal T-Bone Burnett and she will play a week at Joe's Pub in New York City in October. And I'm sure a short tour will follow. Here's Betty Buckley performing Memory and I believe that is Kenny Werner on piano.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Here's the video of episode 2 of The Ultimate Fighter 20. This week's fight has Joanne Calderwood of Team Pettis vs Emily Kagan of Team Melendez. Joanne is the favourite. I think Emily is ranked a little high. The episode begins with Randa Markos' victory celebration at the TUF house. The Team Pettis coaches bring her lunch. It becomes obvious that the drama in the house will focus on Felice Herrig and Heather Clark and we all know they hate each other and they will fight each other in round one. It appears Heather is being set up to be very annoying. She complains there is no blender in the house to the point where the other girls mock her. Then on the way to the gym, she tries to take a leadership role and tells the other Team Melendez girls not to be friendly to the Team Pettis girls. Rose Namajunas says she won't go along with that and the others follow her lead. At the gym, there are complaints that the Team Pettis coaching is inconsistent. Felice suggests a team meeting and it is hashed out. Meanwhile, Heather and Rose literally butt heads during Team Melendez training and both need stitches. Gilbert Melendez says it's no big deal. Before the fight, we see Joanne with her family in Scotland and Emily talks about leaving her family in Israel to train in New Mexico. Now it's time for the fight. Joanne gets off to a slow start in round one. But Emily doesn't get much offense in either. Joanne finally lands some punches towards the end of the round so I scored it 10-9 for her. But it was close. Joanne told Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports that Emily kept backing up and refused to engage. I understand the strategy but Emily needed to do more and didn't. Joanne caught her stride in round two and scored a takedown, some elbows, a kimura attempt followed by a triangle attempt. Emily was on top but Joanne had control. I scored the round 10-9 for Joanne so I thought she won 20-18. Two of the judges scored it 20-18 and the other scored it 19-19. Joanne Calderwood wins by majority decision. I still believe Joanne could have problems with an opponent with a high level ground game. She could face Rose Namajunas in the next round. That could be a tough fight for Joanne. I like Joanne's standup but her frustration with Emily made this fight closer that it should have been. I liked Emily's strategy but she needed to get more offense in. Next week Jessica Penne will face Lisa Ellis. They are selling it as an Invicta rematch. Enjoy the video!
Album:Wired: The Best Of Haywire
The hard rock band Haywire had modest success in their native Canada. Their biggest problem was they weren't able to get a US record deal and that's what killed them. Dance Desire was their biggest hit in 1987. Haywire were from Charlottetown, PEI. They have always had a strong following in the Maritime provinces. The lead singer and main songwriter was Paul MacAusland. Other members were Dave Rashed on keyboards, Marvin Birt on guitar and Ronnie Switzer on bass. They went through three drummers before settling on Sean Kilbride in 1986 and he was the drummer on all the albums. Haywire won the 1984 Q104 Homegrown contest. The prize was the chance to record a single but they added their own money and released an EP. Then in 1985 they won the Labatt's Battle of the Bands. This led to a deal with Attic Records in Canada. They recorded their first two albums with producer Brian Allen who produced the group Toronto. The albums Bad Boys and Just Don't Stand There did well in Canada. Dance Desire reached #10 on the Canadian charts in 1987. It would turn out to be Haywire's biggest hit. They had two big problems. One is they couldn't seem to get a US record deal. The other was conflict with Attic over promotional support and money. When Attic refused to finance music videos, Haywire would use their own money. And then when Chrysalis Records expressed interest in signing Haywire to a US record deal, Attic wanted too much money. With their 1990 album Nuthouse, Haywire tried to soften their sound to appeal to an older audience. When that didn't work, the 1992 album Get Off received no promotional support from Attic. Haywire split up soon after and Attic immediately released this comp CD. They have reunited occasionally but I'm not sure if they are active right now. Their website is mostly empty. Here's the video for Dance Desire by Haywire.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Song:Nine Pound Hammer
Album:I Am A Pilgrim
Legendary country singer Merle Travis is best known for his innovative guitar picking technique. But he was also a great singer and songwriter and he had some chart success mostly in the 40s. He was born Nov. 29, 1917 in Rosewood, KY. This is in the coal mining area of Muhlenberg County which was also a fertile area for music. Travis learned to play guitar from local legends like Arnold Shultz, Kennedy Jones, Mose Rager and Ike Everly, the father of The Everly Brothers. Travis' picking style got some attention when he was a regular on the radio show Boone Country Jamboree on WLW in Cincinnati. He worked with Grandpa Jones and The Delmore Brothers. He and Jones signed with King Records in 1943 and recorded as The Sheppard Brothers. After a brief stint in the US Marine Corps, Travis formed The Brown's Ferry Four with Jones and the Delmores. He left in 1946 and signed with Capitol Records. He had several top ten country hits with Divorce Me C.O.D. and So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed topping the country charts. His novelty songs seemed to chart higher than his serious songs about coal mining like Nine Pound Hammer. Travis' best known song Sixteen Tons was a monster hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford in 1955. While Travis was having chart success, he appeared in several B-western movies. And he appeared a lot on radio and TV. His career faded in the mid 50s due to alcoholism that resulted in several violent incidents in the Los Angeles area. He was also notorious for suffering from stage fright though you wouldn't know it by watching him perform. This comp from the Dutch label Country Stars is a good intro to his music. Travis left Capitol in 1969. He revived his career in the 70s appearing frequently on TV and recording for CMH Records. Merle Travis died of a heart attack on Oct. 20, 1983 at age 65. Many guitarists including Chet Atkins credit Travis as a guitar innovator and his techniques are still widely taught. Here is Merle Travis performing Nine Pound Hammer from the 1951 film Cyclone Fury.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Song:I Need Your Glory
Album:The Very Best Of Earnest Pugh: The E Factor
Gospel singer Earnest Pugh took the long road to stardom. His 2011 single I Need Your Glory firmly established him and he's now one of the more popular artists in gospel. He was born Nov. 23, 1971 in Memphis. His father worked at a Firestone plant in Flint, MI and came home on weekends to spend time with the family. His mom worked several jobs and she encouraged Pugh to sing. As a teen, he was in the choir O'Landa Draper and the Associates. Then Pugh enlisted in the US Army. After 15 years, he retired and became worship leader at the Ebenezer AME Church in Maryland. Pugh wanted to record but he couldn't get a record deal. So he starts his own label and released the 2006 CD Earnest Pugh Live: A Worshipper's Perspective with distribution by Crystal Rose Records. Pugh was happy with the CD but he wanted better distribution. A chance meeting with Blacksmoke Worldwide Gospel owner Kerry Douglas got him the results he needed. At the time, Blacksmoke was having success with artists like Keith "Wonderboy" Johnson and James Fortune and FIYA. Douglas told Pugh he could take him to the top of the gospel charts. And he did exactly that with the 2009 CD and single Rain On Us. Pugh's 2011 CD Earnestly Yours did even better. Though Pugh writes a lot of his own songs, Douglas suggested that Pugh cover the James Fortune song I Need Your Glory which Fortune recorded on his 2007 CD The Transformation. Pugh rewrote the song to suit his singing style. It topped the gospel chart. So now that he's established, Pugh left Blacksmoke and returned to his own label. Blacksmoke immediately released this comp CD after he left. Pugh signed with E1 for distribution and he moved to Texas to pastor The Lighthouse Church. His latest CD The W.I.N. (Worship In Nassau) Experience was released Sept. 2013. Like a lot of gospel artists, Pugh appears frequently on religious TV and travels to sing in churches across the US while also running his own ministry. Pugh has the talent to be a mainstream artist. But I don't think he wants that. He seems to be exactly where he wants to be in gospel music. Here's the video for I Need Your Glory by Earnest Pugh.