Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Everyone into the JWP pool

JWP had another one of their Dojo shows on July 29. These shows mean nothing in storylines and the main event is usually a silly gimmick match. This time it was a Texas Pool Side match, a JWP specialty. There was a large vinyl swimming pool set up at one side of a hall. Sometimes the put a small wading pool in the ring. I guess it makes a mess of the ring canvas and that's why Commando Bolshoi is trying to get fan donations to buy a new canvas. No, I'm not kidding.

The opener had Commando Bolshoi & ASKA Ohki vs Kei'to' & Arisa Nakajima. Apparently the loser of this match will be added to the Texas Pool Side match. Ohki & Nakajima look uncomfortable with this idea. Ohki & Nakajima begin by exchanging dropkicks. Nakajima follows up with a leglock & a battering ram. Kei'to' tags in and hits Ohki with kicks and an elbow. Bolshoi comes in and hits a dropkick on Nakajima. It's pretty even for a while. Then Bolshoi carries Kei'to' piggyback and Ohki hits a missile dropkick. Nakajima hits Bolshoi with a missile dropkick. But then Kei'to' kicks Nakajima by mistake. Bolshoi rolls her up in a cradle for the win at 11:52. So Nakajima is in the pool match.

Next was Azumi Hyuga vs Tojuki Leon in a Two Count match. Leon tries to get a quick pin but Hyuga gets free. Leon hits a pinwheel style back breaker. Hyuga comes back with a German suplex and a knee from the top rop to the back of the head. Hyuga gets the win with a Mexican roll at 10:02. Next is the Texas Pool Side match with Tsubasa Kuragaki, Kayoko Haruyama & Arisa Nakajima vs Kaori Yoneyama, Sachie Abe & KAZUKI. It looks like the object of the match is to drown your opponent. Yoneyama wears a red swim cap to the ring and Abe gives KAZUKI a snorkel. She doesn't use it. The match starts in the ring but of course it winds up in the pool. They go back and forth to the ring. There's a lot of splashing around abut Kuragaki hits a lariat on KAZUKI and holds her underwater long enough for the win at 16:45. Everyone had a swimmingly good time. The other main event theme of these dojo shows is food related. Maybe they'll do noodles next time.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Thelonious Monk

Artist:Thelonious Monk



It's Thelonious Monk's eccentricities that made him one of the all time greats of the jazz piano. His music is very rewarding. He was born Oct. 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, NC and grew up in New York. Stride piano legend James P. Johnson was a neighbour and very influential on Monk's style. So by the 40s, Monk's playing style was established and it was unique enough that he didn't have to change. So in the early 50s he wasn't that popular because he didn't play in the standard bebop style. But by the end of the decade he was back on top again. He signed with Columbia in 1962 and made a series of outstanding recordings. Pannonica is an excellent song from the 1964 album Monk. Columbia released it on CD in 2002 with some bonus tracks. Monk's standard quartet at the time was Charlie Rouse on sax, Larry Gales on bass and Ben Riley on drums. They worked very well together and their music is outstanding. Thelonious Monk suffered from mental illness and retired from music in 1973. He died Feb. 17, 1982 at age 64. Thelonious Monk ranks at the top of the jazz elite and his music is essential listening. Here's Thelonious Monk and his quartet performing Round Midnight in Oslo 1966.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hikaru to Hawaii

Pro Wrestling SUN has posted on their website that Hikaru is going to Hawaii on Aug. 11 to work a match for HCW. Her opponent is "Island Girl" Tracy Taylor. Tracy is married to former WWE developmental talent Mike Taylor. Tracy was under contract and was at Deep South Wrestling until she was released last year. Mostly she accompanied her husband's tag team to the ring and wrestled very occasionally. She's not very good in the ring so Hikaru has her work cut out for herself.

Ito/Hamada win NEO TAG Team Titles

NEO continued their SUMMER STAMPEDE 07 on July 29 at the Creation Pavilion in Ueda. It may be NEO's first show ever in Ueda. The main event had Yoshiko Tamura & Sakura Emi defending their NEO Tag Team Tirles against Kaoru Ito & Ayako Hamada. Tamura has had quite a run over the last couple of years. Is it time for that to end?

The opener was NEO rookie Aya Yuki against Ito Gym rookie Hanako Kobayashi. After several shoulder tackles, Yuki won with a hold down at 7:02. Next was Etsuko Mita vs Tanny Mouse. Mita won with the Death Valley Bomb at 12:12. Next was Haruka Matsuo vs Ray. Ray is becoming popular because of her high flying but Matsuo hits a frog splash for a two count and then a high kick for the win at 11:12. Next was Jaguar Yokota & rookie Nagisa Nozaki vs Misae Genki & Yuki Miyazaki. Apparently Nozaki is from the area. So the fans were really behind her. It didn't help as Genki pinned Nozaki after a lariat at 19:03.

The main event with Yoshiko Tamura & Sakura Emi defending the NEO Tag Team Titles against Kaoru Ito & Ayako Hamada has potential to be good. Tamura hits an ace crusher on Hamada. Emi & Ito tag in. Emi is feeling some pressure because of her comedy rep. This has been an ongoing issue in NEO for a while. Ito hits a lariat and a brainbuster. Then Hamada hits a backdrop. The two exchange moonsaults and Hamada hits Emi with several splashes in the corner. Tamura tries to help but is thrown out of the ring. Ito hits an avalanche style back flip on Emi. Tamura comes back with an ace crusher but Ito hits a power bomb followed by a Hamada missile kick. Tamura tries a plancha outside the ring but nails Emi in error. Hamada hits a quebrada followed by an Ito sliding kick. Back in the ring, Ito hits Tamura with an elbow. Emi hits a reverse DDT on Hamada followed by an avalanche style uraken. Hamada counters with a spin kick on Tamura. Ito breaks up a pin after Tamura's Patriot Buster on Hamada. Then a running elbow and a Patriot Bomb for another two count. Ito hits her diving foot stamp on Tamura and Hamada follows it with an AP Cross. Emi can't break things up and it's all over at 20:29. Kaoru Ito & Ayako Hamada are the new NEO Tag Team Champions after a hard fought match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Miles Davis

Artist:Miles Davis


Album:Complete Miles Davis In Person Friday and Saturday Nights At The Blackhawk

This early 60s version of the Miles Davis band isn't as well known as his other bands and these famous 1961 concerts have been released in various forms over the years. This will solve that puzzle. Basically John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley & Bill Evans left the group in 1960. After bringing in sax player Sonny Stitt for a short time, Miles brought in sax player Hank Mobley and pianist Wynton Kelly. Paul Chambers is on bass and Jimmy Cobb is on drums. This 4CD set chronicles Miles' complete date at San Francisco's Blackhawk Club Apr. 21-22, 1961. For years Columbia issued the two nights on seperate CDs and in edited form. But as part of Columbia's ongoing program of releasing Davis' recordings in comprehensive box sets, they gave this concert the appropriate treatment. This band was around until 1963 and then Miles formed his better known band with Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter. These recordings are essential for jazz fans. It's OK to compare his various bands but this is great music and stands on its own merits. So this box set is highly recommended to Davis fans. There doesn't appear to be any video footage of this band so you'll have to settle for this 1959 performance of So What.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Ledisi


Song:In The Morning

Album:Lost and Found

Ledisi is a young R &B/jazz singer set to make a big splash with her major label debut next month. Her name is Ledisi Young and she sang with the New Orleans Symphony at age 8. Her mom sang in local bands. The family moved to Oakland, CA and Ledisi followed her mom's lead. She performed in a San Francisco cabaret called Beach Blanket Babylon. Ledisi formed a band with songwriter pianist Sundra Manning. They got a lot of acclaim locally but were unable to get a record deal so they released the CD Soulsinger themselves in 2000. Ledisi also performed on the Earth, Wind & Fire tribute CD and the Ella Fitzgerald tribute CD & PBS special We Love Ella. She has finally signed with Verve and Lost and Found will be released in August. Sundra Manning continues write and produce with Ledisi and veteran producer Rex Rideout adds that smooth jazz vibe they will need to sell it to jazz fans. I like what I've heard from Ledisi so far and I'm looking forward to more. Here's Ledisi performing Blues In The Night from the PBS special We Love Ella. Take 6 is also on this.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sebastien Bourdais to NASCAR?

There are two big trends in NASCAR today; mergermania and bringing in accomplished open wheel racers. Yesterday's announcement of the merger between Robert Yates Racing and Champ Car owner Newman Haas Lanigan Racing addressed both issues. Of course we had the Dale Earnhardt Inc./Ginn Racing merger earlier this week and Roush Racing merging with the Fenway Group (Boston Red Sox) earlier this year. And you can expect Ray Evernham to announce his partnership with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. shortly.

Robert Yates Racing has been the subject of merger rumours for a while now. The hottest rumours had them merging with Dale Earnhardt Inc. This new team will be called Yates Newman Haas Lanigan Racing. NHL owns the Champ Car team driven by Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais (pictured). Could he come to NASCAR? Doug Yates & Carl Haas told the Tampa Tribune that Bourdais is interested and it could happen. Bourdais is interested in Formula 1 but it doesn't look like he can catch on with a competitive team there. Tom Jensen of Speed TV reports that RYR driver David Gilliland will return in 2008 but Ricky Rudd may not. He also says that M&M's & Snickers won't return as sponsors but Citi Financial probably will. Snickers will sponsor a different team next year.

It's not surprising that Bourdais is interested in NASCAR. He's done everything to be done in Champ Car and he's still a young guy. He also has to look at Juan Pablo Montoya's success in NASCAR and the possibility of Penske IRL driver Sam Hornish Jr. coming to NASCAR full time next year and figures he would be foolish to not come to NASCAR. Nextel Cup has the best racing and the most money. And he would be coming to an established team and could be competitive immediately. The wild card in this may be Busch Series driver Stephen Leicht as Citi Financial may insist that he drive any car that they sponsor. This could be very interesting.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Brenda Russell

Artist:Brenda Russell f/Joe Esposito

Song:Piano In The Dark

Album:Brenda Russell

Brenda Russell has had plenty of success as a songwriter but Piano In The Dark was her only big hit as a performer. She was born Brenda Gordon Apr. 8, 1949 in Brooklyn, NY and moved to Toronto at age 12. She married Toronto born songwriter musician Brian Russell and they hosted the Canadian TV series Music Machine. They moved to Los Angeles in 1973 to work as session musicians. They made records as a duo for Elton John's Rocket Records. Brian & Brenda split up in 1978. Brian married Cheryl Ladd and Brenda signed with A & M. The 1979 LP Brenda Russell was the first of several albums with producer Andre Fischer. He was married to Natalie Cole at the time and has produced a lot of female R & B singers. Brenda left for Warner Bros. in 1983 but returned to A & M in 1988 and Piano In The Dark was a big hit from the album Get Here. It features Joe Esposito from the group Brooklyn Dreams. He was married to Donna Summer at the time. As a songwriter, Brenda has had several hits but Oleta Adams' version of Get Here was monstrous. She never has to work again after that. This 2000 rerelease of the 1979 LP Brenda Russell throws in Piano In The Dark as a bonus track. It's a great album. These days Brenda Russell's music is categorized as "smooth jazz" but she sounds the same to me. Her most recent CD is 2004's Between The Sun And The Moon on Narada Jazz. Brenda Russell is an underrated performer but you have heard her songs by other artists. Here's the video for Piano In The Dark by Brenda Russell.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Brent Jones & The TP Mobb

Artist:Brent Jones & The TP Mobb f/Cheryl "Coko" Gamble



The influence of Kirk Franklin's mix of hip hop and gospel has had a big impact on the gospel music industry. Singer writer producer Brent Jones probably wouldn't have tried it himself first. Jones is from Salisbury, MD. He worked a lot as a choir director for the Gospel Music Workshop Of America. At some point, the folks behind the GMWA decided Jones should make his own record. The 1999 song Goodtime did very well and crossed over to the R & B charts with its concept video and traditional gospel style mixed with rap & hip hop. Jones signed with EMI Gospel and the 2002 CD Beautiful didn't do as well because they didn't do a video. That was a big mistake. They should have done a video for this great song Midnite featuring lead vocals by Cheryl "Coko" Gamble of the R & B girl group SWV. The CD is excellent. Brent Jones was based in Los Angeles a while back but he's moved back to Maryland and has a new CD called The Ultimate Weekend coming out in October on Tyscot Records. It's his first live CD. In the meantime, here is the video for Goodtime by Brent Jones & The TP Mobb featuring rapper Eddie Velez.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ayako Hamada wins Battlefield tournament

Sendai Girls had their first anniversary show July 22 at Sendai SunPlaza. There were 2396 fans in attendance. This featured the final of the Battlefield tournament. The opener had Ayane Mizumura over Chisako Kanari with a diving guillotine legdrop at 9:41. Mizumura was making her Sendai Girls debut but she worked for GAEA in 2004. Then Mizuki Endo, Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kyoko Kimura defeated KAORU, Toshie Uematsu & Yurie Kaneko when Endo used a diving BM crash on Kaneko at 18:02. The first semi final of the Battlefield tournament had Ayako Hamada over Aja Kong with the AP Cross at 16:05.

The second Battlefield tournament semi final had Meiko Satomura over Dynamite Kansai with a crossface at 9:37. Satomura posted on her blog on the Sendai Girls website that she got her bell rung by a Kansai kick to the jaw. I don't think she remembers much of that match after that. She's OK though. Next was a three veterans vs four rookies match. The vets win with Manami Toyota, Devil Masami & Mayumi Ozaki over Akari Okuda, Sachiko Kanari, Ayune Mizumura & Chisako Kanari when Ozaki used the Fire Ballet on Mizumura at 13:15. In the Battlefield tournament final, Ayako Hamada won over Meiko Satomura with the AP Cross at 18:57. Satomura was in tears after the match and wants a rematch with Ayako. What did you expect? The next show is Sept. 8 at Zepp Sendai. It remains to be seen if Satomura will change the promotion's direction. Some fans are eternally hopeful. I'm a little more cynical. She's going to have to show me something different.

JWP sets up title matches

The other day NEO GM Koda was whining on his blog about things being bad in the joshi business. Part of the problem is that some companies run too many meaningless shows. Sometimes less is more. This year NEO has been particularly guilty of this and so is JWP. Commando Bolshoi tends to follow his lead anyway. What Bolshoi is doing most of the time is running filler shows between occasional Korakuen Hall appearances. I'm not talking about their Dojo shows which are supposed to be silly. The July 22 Itabashi Green Hall show was a good example.

Part of the problem was that Tsubasa Kuragaki was working the Sendai Girls 1st Anniversary show and she's part of one of the angles. But they still tried to set up a JWP Tag Team Title match without her. Commando Bolshoi & Azumi Hyuga apologized to fans for her abscence. The opener was Shuu Shibutani vs ASKA Ohki. Ohki doesn't get nuch offense in and Shibutani wins with a DDT, senton, missile kick and Northern Lights suplex at 8:44. Next was your basic rookie match. Aoi Kizuki & Nagisa Nozaki vs Arisa Nakajima & Io. The whole point of the match was to set up a JWP Junior Title match with the champ Nakajima & Kizuki. After Nakajima hits her with a stretch muffler, a missile kick & a diving press, Kizuki comes back with a jumping lariat and a cross arm suplex for the win at 15:10. It seems Kizuki has some sort of belt too so it's being called a double title match on the Aug. 5 Itabashi Green Hall show. There sure are a lot of belts around.

Misae Genki uses several lariats and a G Driver to beat Kei'to' at 12:23. Kaori Yoneyama has worked a bit with Tojuki Leon in tag teams. Now they face each other. Leon knocks Yoneyama off the apron and then hits a plancha to the floor. Then a couple of back breakers. They go to the floor again and Yoneyama comes back with three back breakers of her own. A lot of near falls and blocked moves before the match went to a draw. The main event had Azumi Hyuga, Commando Bolshoi & Ran YuYu vs Kayoko Haruyama, Sachie Abe & KAZUKI. Ran currently holds the JWP Tag Team Titles with Toshie Uematsu. Haruyama & Kuragaki are number one contenders. Can you guess what happened? The was a sprint with Abe & Hyuga flying around a lot. The match comes down to Haruyama & Ran and Haruyama counters a lariat and hits an Orange Hammer for the win at 20:15. The title match will happen on the Aug. 12 Itabashi Green Hall show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jaheim


Song:Could It Be

Album:Ghetto Love

Could It Be was R & B singer Jaheim's first smash hit in 2001. He's had great success and is currently switching record labels. He was born Jaheim Hoagland May 26, 1978 in New Brunswick, NJ. His father died in 1981. Fortunately his grandfather Victor Hoagland was a one time member of The Drifters and encouraged Jaheim to sing. He won the talent contest at New York's Apollo Theatre at age 15. Then his mom died. Jaheim started sending out demos and caught the ear of KayGee of Naughty By Nature. KayGee was just starting his new label Divine Mill Records and Jaheim was his first signing. His 2001 debut Ghetto Love and the first single Could It Be were big hits. Jaheim is a crooner in the tradition of Luther Vandross but he doesn't look like a crooner. Could It Be is a great song and samples an old Willie Hutch song from the 70s. His subsequent CDs have sold well but it seems Jaheim was unhappy with Warner Bros. promotion of his 2006 CD Ghetto Classics so he is moving to Atlantic Records. Both are part of the Time Warner family. Jaheim will continue to be a major player in the R & B market and KayGee has a good handle on his sound. Here's the video for Could It Be by Jaheim.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dale Earnhardt Inc. merges with Ginn Racing

When Florida businessman Bobby Ginn (pictured) bought MB2 Motorsports last year, he made a lot of noise about becoming an elite team in NASCAR Nextel Cup. But now the reality of getting sponsorship has forced Ginn to scale back his ambitions. It was announced today that Dale Earnhardt Inc. has merged with Ginn Racing. As of this weekend's Allstate 400 at Indianapolis, DEI will run four cars. Two od ginn's drivers are out of work and one other has an uncertain future. And Ginn just signed another driver two weeks ago.

The four cars that will run on Sunday are #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., #1 Martin Truex Jr., #15 Paul Menard & #01 Mark Martin. This is where it gets a little confusing. Sterling Marlin was released from the #14 last week and rookie Regan Smith was supposed to drive it starting this Sunday. They have now taken the #14 owner points and transferred them to the #15. Paul Menard is now in the top 35 and is guaranteed a starting spot in the race. Smith will drive in the Craftsman Truck race on Friday but nothing has been determined past that. Smith could replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the #8 in 2008.

Joe Nemechek has been released and the #13 has been closed. As a result, the #21 driven by Bill Elliott is now in the top 35 and guaranteed a starting spot in Sunday's race. Ginn signed Aric Almirola a couple of weeks ago and and he will split #01 driving duties with Mark Martin as planned. Ginn Racing has a brand new shop and DEI will move in there immediately. They were looking for a new facility anyway and the Ginn shop is larger than theirs. Ginn also has Kraig Kinser & Ricky Carmichael signed to driver development deals. So there are still some things to be resolved. The biggest thing is Regan Smith's future and the rumours of Kyle Busch talking to DEI. So Bobby Ginn got quite the reality check and I wouldn't be surprised to see other teams close at the end of this season.

Ladies Ring Festival August 4

I have mentioned recently that the editor of Ladys Gong has restarted the magazine as Ladies Ring. The debut issue came out last month. It is being distributed for free right now but he'll charge for the August issue. He is putting on a special joshi show to promote the magazine on Aug. 4 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. The details of the show have been dribbling out for the last couple of weeks. Some of the matches are convoluted in nature but now that the main event has been set, here are the basic details.

The show will begin with a greeting from the injured Ayumi Kurihara (pictured). He hasn't announced the opening match yet. The second match will be for the POK title belt. I can't remember what that is because it's been inactive since it was held by Tsubasa Kuragaki last year. It's a handicap match with Fuuka against Io & Bi of the Maheken promotion. Apparently it's a best of three falls and the belt goes to whoever gets two pinfalls. So it reads more like a three way than a handicap match. Next is a match between Kyoko Kimura & Bullfight Sora. Of course this might have potential if it was Atsuko Emoto instead of the cow.

Next is a Midsummer Princess Battle Royal featuring younger wrestlers. Already announced ASKA Ohki from JWP, Nagisa Nozaki & Aya Yuki of NEO, Misaki Ohata & Hiroyo Matsumoto of Ibuki, Ayako Sato & Hanako Kobayashi of Ito Gym, Makoto of Ice Ribbon, Cherry from Union and Io & Bi from Maheken. More participants to be announced. Next is a tag team match for wrestlers over 30 years of age. The participants will be determined by a fan vote. That vote is in progress and the leaders are Toshie Uematsu, Ran YuYu, Tsubasa Kuragaki & Michiko Ohmukai. Yuu Yamagata & AKINO aren't far behind so this could change. Finally, the main event will be Azumi Hyuga, Fuuka & Arisa Nakajima vs Yoshiko Tamura, Shuu Shibutani & Aoi Kizuki. That's not exactly what we were looking for.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Sam Cooke

Artist:Sam Cooke

Song:You Send Me

Album:Greatest Hits

You Send Me was Sam Cooke's first pop hit in 1957. He was already famous as lead singer of the gospel group The Soul Stirrers. Specialty Records released him from his contract and You Send Me was released on Keen Records. It sold two million copies. There are two important things to remember about Sam Cooke. He invented soul music and is proof positive that all black music begins in the church. The other thing is he owned the rights to all his music at a time when record companies routinely took advantage of young singers. So he was a visionary as a businessman too. This Greatest Hits comp from RCA covers his pop hits. It doesn't include any Soul Stirrers songs and the ABKCO comp Portait Of A Legend is better for that reason. Sam Cooke was a genius and it's just sad that he died so young. Here's Sam Cooke performing You Send Me on American Bandstand in 1958.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New computer

A funny thing happened yesterday. I have a new computer. Well, it's not new, just not as old. My friend Mohamed asked me on Sunday if I wanted his old computer. He recently upgraded to a laptop. My first response was "Huh?". But he knew that my computer was old and slow and I use it a lot so he said he would just give it to me. This Compaq computer is only two years old. It has a 2GB hard drive and 512MB of RAM. So it's going to be much faster than my computer. He gave me a 17 inch monitor too. Fortunately, Mohamed is very tech savvy so last night he installed the computer and helped me install Windows XP and set up my modem. The bottom line is it's so much faster I'm going to get a lot more done in a shorter period of time. Also I now have enough RAM to use the Rogers Yahoo browser and their security package from Norton. It comes with a virus scanner, a spyware scanner and a firewall. I'm going to download some additional security programs like CCleaner & AVG Anti Spyware & Super Anti Spyware. You can never have enough of that stuff. And I am planning to give my old computer to someone in the co-op who doesn't have a computer. Mohamed's kindness was unexpected and I greatly appreciate it. I sure can't afford to buy a new computer. I'm very happy with this one.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Deitrick Haddon

Artist:Deitrick Haddon

Song:God Didn't Give Up


Deitrick Haddon is one of today's top contemporary gospel artists. He was born in 1973 in Detroit and is the son of preacher Clarence Haddon. He started out with his group Voices Of Unity in 1998 on Tyscot Records. The group also features his wife Damita Haddon, a tremendous singer in her own right. They had success to a point but it became obvious that Haddon would have to sign with a larger label to get better distribution. So he moved to Verity/Zomba in 2002. The Voices Of Unity continue to record on Tyscot and Haddon continues to produce their CDs. With the 2004 CD Crossroads, Zomba made a determined effort to cros Haddon over to mainstream R & B and he even performed on Soul Train. Haddon writes and produces a lot of his own material with his brother Gerald Haddon. God Didn't Give Up is a fabulous song and if one didn't already know Haddon is a gospel artists, his sound is very marketable to a mainstream audience. On his most recent CD 7 Days, Haddon works with veteran R & B producers Tim & Bob. Deitrick Haddon is a very talented guy and we will hear plenty from him in the future. Here's the video for God Didn't Give Up by Dietrick Haddon.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Cassandra Wilson

Artist:Cassandra Wilson

Song:I Want More


Cassandra Wilson's vocal style evokes a smoke filled jazz club. But she likes to take chances with her music and that makes her sound very rewarding. She was born Dec. 5, 1955 in Jackson, MS. She moved to New York in 1982 and was lead singer of Steve Coleman's M-Base Collective. She started recording solo in 1985 but was somewhat inconsistent until Bruce Lundvall signed her to Blue Note in 1993. Blue Light Til Dawn was her first successful CD. She became known for her fresh interpretation of standards and really hit a home run with the 1999 CD Travelling Miles. With 2003's Glamoured, she does some covers but wrote more of her own songs than ever. I Want More is a song Cassandra wrote with guitarist Fabrizio Sotti. Other musicians include Reginald Veal on bass and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums. Cassandra Wilson continues to explore the boundaries of her music with 2006's Thunderbird. Here's Cassandra Wilson performing Bob Dylan's Lay Lady Lay in 2004.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pro Wrestling WAVE debut announced

The one thing joshi fans tell me all the time is they really wish GAMI would retire already. Especially since her attempts as a promoter have been dismal failures. THE WOMAN was terrible and GAMI LIBRE never really took off. So maybe now would be a good time for her to retire. Yeah, right. She claims that she was ready to retire when she was approached by businessman Tatsuya Takeishi to start a new company called Pro Wrestling WAVE. That's the whole problem with the joshi business. One zombie fed closes and two open to replace it. Also, it doesn't look like GAMI has learned anything from her failure as a promoter. WAVE looks to be even sillier than THE WOMAN.

A press conference was held on July 17. In attendance were Tatsuya Takeishi, GAMI and Yumi Ohka. Ohka will join WAVE. They announced that the debut show will be Aug. 26 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Yumi Ohka & Michiko Ohmukai vs Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu is the first announced match. It looks like they're planning to run 3-4 shows per month. GAMI will produce the shows and as she was in THE WOMAN, she will be assisted by Toshie Uematsu and Uematsu will be in charge of training recruits.

The problem with WAVE is it would probably be better if anyone but GAMI was in charge. She's hung up on comedy matches. The failure of THE WOMAN proves that doesn't work. She even plans to label the matches as "serious" or "comedy" beforehand. Is she going to label any matches "crap"? This is ridiculous. She also plans to have matches themed by technique. I'm looking forward to the "Greco Roman eye poke" match.

WAVE is somewhat of a new beginning for Yumi Ohka. She's been out for almost two years with a serious knee injury. She says she is completely recovered and is looking forward to wrestling again on a regular basis. GAMI said she seriously considered retirement but decided to take one last shot when this opportunity came up. She knows that having Uematsu in charge of training means the basics will be properly taught. I don't disagree with that. But the basic problem with Pro Wrestling WAVE is that GAMI is in charge and she has already proven to be a poor promoter. I guess we may find out what kind of deep pockets Takeishi has.

JD Star closes...sort of

JD Star held their final show called Jeanne D'Arc on July 16 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. But to the surprise of absolutely no one, the management of JD Star announced the start of a new promotion based around their ace Fuuka. That's the pattern of the joshi business today. One zombie fed dies and two emerge to replace it. It's not a good thing. Through their 11 year history, JD has always been uneven at best but anyone who thought that the end of JD Star would signal the end of idol wrestlers is fooling themselves. I'm not surprised by any of this.

Many JD wrestlers from the past and present appeared at the show including Lioness Asuka & Jaguar Yokota. But the opening match marked the return to the ring of original Athtress Yumi Ohka since blowing her knee out almost two years ago. It was a five minute exhibition match against Misaki Ohata. Ohka says she will return to joshi full time the new company WAVE. The second match was supposed to be Ayumi Kurihara & Cherry vs Yuri Urai & Hiroyo Matsumoto. But Kurihara is out with a broken collarbone and was replaced by Kyoko Kimura. Kimura won the match with the Big Boots over Urai at 12:09. The next match was supposed to be the JD Regular Army vs the Super Terrors. But because all of the Super Terrors have retired, KAZUKI was left to face Sachie Abe, Haruka Matsuo, Hiroyo Muto & Obacchi Iizuka alone. Yuk yuk. Abe won the match with the Astro Scissors at 18:23.

Joshi puroresu living legend and original JD trainer Jaguar Yokota was up next teaming with Fuuka against Shuu Shibutani & Misaki Ohata. It was what you would expect and Jaguar won with a piledriver on Ohata at 13:09. The final match in JD Star was a Royal Rumble style battle royal called Beauty MIX Rumble. A wrestler would come in at 45 second intervals. It started with Cherry & Yumi Ohka. Here's the order of elimination: Obacchi Iizuka, Fake Echisera (Shibutani), Caribbean KIM, Emi Tomimatsu, Ranmaru, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Kyoko Kimura, GAMI, Yuki Miyazaki, Misaki Ohata, Yumi Ohka, Fuuka, Haruka Matsuo, Yuri Urai, Cherry, Kei Akiyama, KAZUKI, Hiroyo Muto, Sachie Abe, Aya Koyama, Bullfight Sora, Fake Keiko Saito (Shibutani). After this, Shibutani would return as herself. MARU and then Asami Kawasaki was eliminated. Then the final joke as Shibutani won over Megumi Yabushita with an inside cradle at 24:35. Oy!

They finished with a closing ceremony. Cooga & Bison Kimura were among those in attendance. A lot of tears as you would expect. For fans curious about Shibutani, she will freelance. But on July 17, Hiroshi Ogawa held a press conference to announce the debut of Fuukamats. The first show will be Sept. 30 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring and a second show was announced for Dec. 22. Guess who the ace is. She will also appear for other companies. She is scheduled to appear on the Aug. 4 Lady's Ring show, the Aug. 5 SUN show and the Sept. 6 Smackgirl show. Ogawa said something about wanting to expand Fuuka's fanbase and Fuuka wants to sing and dance. Doesn't she already do that in the ring? Just kidding. She also said she wants to wrestle Amazing Kong...if she comes back to Japan. Please, AK. Go back and squash her. Yeesh!

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Herbie Hancock/Michael Brecker/Roy Hargrove

Artist:Herbie Hancock/Michael Brecker/Roy Hargrove

Song:D Trane

Album:Directions In Music:Live At Massey Hall

Over the years, Herbie Hancock has liked putting together all star tribute tours mostly in tribute to his days in the mid 60s Miles Davis Quintet. He had VSOP in the 70s and the Tribute To Miles band in the 90s. 2001 was the 75th birthday anniversary of Miles Davis & John Coltrane. So Hancock put together this all star band called Directions In Music. Hancock chose to co-headline with tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. John Patitucci is on bass and Brian Blade is on drums. They started the tour in the fall of 2001 and went to the spring of 2002. This CD was recorded at Toronto's Massey Hall in Oct. 2001. The music is mostly covers of Coltrane & Davis songs though D Trane is a Brecker original. He clearly wrote it as a Coltrane tribute and Brecker shines throughout this CD. They're not trying to break new ground but they succeed in making enjoyable jazz. Here's Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker & Roy Hargrove performing in Vienna 2002.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Etsuko Mita's 20th Anniversary show

NEO held Etsuko Mita's 20th Anniversary show July 16 at Korakuen Hall with 1,031 fans in attendance. Etsuko Mita is one of the all time greats of joshi puroresu. Of course she's best known for her tag team with Mima Shimoda. This may be one of the longest running tag teams in pro wrestling history and one of the greatest heel teams too. Mita also invented the Death Valley Driver. The big news is that Mima Shimoda did appear at Mita's ceremony. NEO GM Koda said only three people knew Shimoda was coming, Mita, Manami Yoyota & Toshiyo Yamada. Of course anyone reading Shimoda's blog would have known that she was already in Japan for Ultimo Dragon's 20th Anniversary show. She never said she would be there but she didn't have to. There was also an injury and a title change.

The opener had Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Aya Yuki (in a new costume). I believe this was close to Matsumoto's first anniversary in wrestling. Yuki escaped an STF but Matsumoto got the win with a backdrop at 9:02. Next was Ayumi Kurihara & Shuu Shibutani vs Nagisa Nozaki & Aoi Kizuki. Nozaki & Kizuki hit a double missile dropkick on Kurihara. Kurihara won the match over Nozaki with her own missile dropkick at 12:27. But it appears the double dropkick broke her collarbone. Kurihara will be out for a month. Next was a comedy match with Jaguar Yokota and preteen Ice Ribbon wrestlers. Jaguar teamed with Sakai vs Miki Ishii & Mushroom. The finish had Mushroom thrown on top of Ishii and both were pinned at 11:32.

It was time for Etsuko Mita's 20th Anniversary match. It was Etsuko Mita & Manami Toyota vs Kaoru Ito & Ayako Hamada. Mita got to use all her trademark moves like her chops and the Death Valley Driver. But Ayako hit her with a spin kick and the AP Cross and Ito finished Mita with the diving footstamp at 21:26. With her injuries due to a recent car accident, I guess Mita was rusty. Afterwards was the ceremony. Mita's father was there. So was Manami Toyota, Toshiyo Yamada and of course Mima Shimoda (picture from Shimoda's blog). Her appearance did get a big reaction.

Next was an idiotic comedy match with Tanny Mouse, Yuki Miyazaki & Shiryu vs three masked wrestlers from All China Womens Professional Wrestling. Who were they? I dunno but one of them was supposed to be a boar and was wearing a cow mask. Guess who. Finally the main event had Misae Genki & Haruka Matsuo defending the NEO Tag Team Titles against Yoshiko Tamura & Sakura Emi. Genki used her power with an avalanche style Uraken and a G Driver on Tamura. But the tide turned and Emi won over Matsuo with a Majistral cradle at 15:56. Toshiko Tamura & Sakura Emi are your new NEO Tag Team Champions. Afterwards, Tamura suggested that Kaoru Ito & Ayako Hamada would be worthy challengers and that match will happen on July 29. On behalf of all joshi fans, I want to congratulate Etsuko Mita on her 20th anniversary in joshi puroresu.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Sweetback

Artist:Sweetback f/Amel Larrieux

Song:You Will Rise


There's been a long history of R & B in England influenced by American music. The trio Sweetback is best known as backing band for popular singer Sade, someone I never cared for. They call their music "global soul music". It has a lot of neo soul elements mixed with jazz. The group consists of guitarist/saxophonist Stuart Matthewman, keyboardist Andrew Hale and bassist Paul Spencer Denman. They use electronic instruments to reproduce the drum sound. Their music is very similar to better known groups like The Brand New Heavies & Incognito. This is from their 1996 debut CD on Sony. They use various guest vocalists including Maxwell. You Will Rise is an excellent song featuring Groove Theory vocalist Amel Larrieux. It did well on the R & B charts. Sweetback returned in 2004 with the CD Stage (2). Matthewman seems to have a fondness for film music and he wrote the score for Twin Falls Idaho. He has also recorded under the name Cottonbelly. Hale is the producer for British jazz singer Corinne Bailey Rae. I wouldn't be surprised to see them record again under the Sweetback name but it looks like they all have plenty to do to keep themselves busy. Here's the video for You Will Rise by Sweetback.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tara LaRosa wins Bodog Fight title

Bodog Fight made their US debut on July 14 in Trenton, NJ. The semi main event was a match for the 135lb. title between Tara LaRosa & Kelly Kobald. Kobald was a last minute replacement for Laura D'Auguste. Considering that, Kobald gave LaRosa a tough time. Kobald probably won the first round with combinations and some counters to LaRosa's leg attacks. But by round three, LaRosa turned the tide after an illegal knee to the head. After a rest and a point deduction to Kobald, LaRosa took control with several takedowns. She finally won with an armbar at 2:50 of round four. Tara LaRosa has had a lot of success in Bodog so far. Maybe she needed an unexpected tough fight to teach her a little humility.

Lisa Ward defends FFF Flyweight Championship

Fatal Femme Fighting had their second show on July 14 at the Crystal Casino in Los Angeles. For the most part, the featured fighters also appeared for FFF on the first show. So they're trying to build an in house roster. They also brought several fighters over from Japan. Most of them are associated with Megumi Yabushita's Tomoe-gumi dojo. The main event had FFF Flyweight Champ Lisa Ward defending against the less experienced Taeko Nagamine. She replaced Misaki Takimoto. Ward wasted no time overpowering Nagamine. She took her down, mounted her and proceeded to hammer her with head shots (pictured). Ward finished her with a rear naked choke at 2:37 of round one. Lisa Ward is building a strong reputation. With Megumi Fujii coming to Bodog, Ward wants to fight her but there is a significant weight difference.

In other bouts, Ginelle Marquez dominated Megumi Yabushita and won an easy unanimous decision. Yabushita tried to come back with strikes in round three but it was so bad that fans were yelling for the ref to stop the match. Yabushita will be back in action next week at a Smackgirl show. Brazilian Vanessa Porto was knocked down early by Tanya Evinger but she came back and hooked an armbar for the win at 2:14 of round one. Porto will now get a shot at Roxanne Modaferri's FFF 135lb. title.

Angela Samaro easily won her MMA debut over Crystal Harris with an armabar at 1:08 of round two. Pro wrestler Sumie Sakai tried to use judo throws on Jessica Pene but an attempted arm drag turned into an armbar and a win for Pene at 33 seconds of round three. Sophie Bagerdai won over Stephanie Palmer at 1:07 of round one. The ref stopped the match when Palmer suffered a foot injury. She was carried out on a stretcher and taken to hospital. Yoko Takahashi defeated Keiko Tomai at 2:27 of round one with a kneebar. The main thing to come out of this show is we all need to keep an eye on Lisa Ward's activities. She is rapidly becoming a top tier fighter in a weight class normally dominated by the Japanese.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Billy Childs

Artist:Billy Childs

Song:The Hunted

Album:The Child Within

Jazz pianist Billy Childs is an excellent composer & arranger. He's another one of these guys who prefers to stay in the background. He was born Mar. 8, 1957 in Los Angeles. He has a composing degree from USC. He started out touring with JJ Johnson and was in Freddie Hubbard's band from 1978-84. He has also had a long association with singer Dianne Reeves. Childs recorded as a leader for several years on Windham Hill Jazz. He hasn't been as active as a leader since leaving that label in 1994. But this 1996 CD The Child Within on Shanachie is great music with a standout band. Musicians are Terence Blanchard on trumpet, Ravi Coltrane on tenor sax, Dave Holland on bass and Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums. That's a great band by anyone's standards. Childs last recorded as a leader in 2000. In recent years, he has been commissioned to compose a lot of classical music. Last year he toured with trumpeter Chris Botti and he still works with Dianne Reeves occasionally. Here is Billy Childs with Dianne Reeves performing How High The Moon.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jamie Dee going to Japan

Pro Wrestling SUN held another one of their press conferences Thursday to announce the card for their Aug. 5 Shinjuku FACE show. The big news is that a new gaijin will challenge Nanae Takahashi for the AWA World Womens Championship. They announced that the AWA determined that JWP's Azumi Hyuga is not a worthy challenger for the title. Uh huh. They decided to have Amazing Kong personally choose a new member of REM to challenge for the belt. Amazing Kong said she was too busy to come so she sent a letter. Her choice is Jaime Dauncey AKA Jaime D AKA Sirelda in TNA. She will be called World Standard Jamie Dee. Uh huh. Of course it's silly to pass over someone the calibre of Hyuga for someone this green. Why am I not surprised? It was described as the biggest surprise since Afrika 55. Don't remind me.

Hikaru was late to the press conference. She got a little help when she was absucted and stuffed in a bag by Kyoko Kimura & Aja Kong. They rolled her in on a cart (pictured). SUN teased last fall that Aja might be coming. She will team with Kimura against Hikaru & Atsuko Emoto. Hikaru escaped and their was a bit of a brawl at the press conference. They also announced a mixed match with Saki Maemura & El Braza vs Toshie Uematsu & THE*ZEST. And they also announced Natsuki*Taiyo vs Fuuka. I can't wait for their next press conference.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Oscar Pettiford

Artist:Oscar Pettiford

Song:Burt's Pad

Album:The Oscar Pettiford Sextet

Along with Charles Mingus, Oscar Pettiford was the top bassist in bebop's formative years. He was born Sept. 30, 1922 in Okmulgee, OK. He learned piano as a child but switched to bass at age 14 and played in a family band. He was with Charlie Barnet's band in 1942 but became famous in jazz circles for his days with Coleman Hawkins in the mid 40s. He succeeded Jimmy Blanton as Duke Ellington's bassist from 1945-48. In the 50s, he recorded as a sideman and a leader. This 1954 recording is part of a series he did for the French Vogue label. Burt's Pad was written by French pianist Henri Renaud. He travelled to the US to produce jazz albums for Vogue and led The Birdlanders. It was released in the US on Debut and Prestige released a version at one time. The current CD release is on the Vogue label through RCA. Other musicians incluse Al Cohn on tenor sax, Kai Winding on trombone, Tal Farlow on guitar and Max Roach on drums. The whole Vogue series is worth seeking out. Oscar Pettiford played in Thelonious Monk's band in 1955-56. He moved to Copenhagen in 1958 and died on Sept. 8, 1960 at age 37. There's no telling what Pettiford could have done if he had lived. I've posted this clip from the 1945 film The Crimson Canary before but it's the only known footage of Oscar Pettiford in action along with Coleman Hawkins & Howard McGhee.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Akari Okuda accepts invitation to hell

For most of this year, OZ Academy has seemed like they've been in a bit of a fog. It's like they're just going through the motions. That seemed to happen a lot in GAEA too. But if the July 8 Nagahama City show and the July 14 Korakuen Hall show are any indication, things are starting to heat up again with Wizard Of OZ champ Aja Kong in the middle of it. We now have a firm date for Sugar Satoh's return and a special appearance by Meiko Satomura along with one of the Sendai Girls rookies. And she's in big trouble.

OZ Academy got 1,010 fans to their July 8 Nagahama City show. Looks like the crowd was hot too. Apparently it was the first ever appearance of a joshi company there. The opener had AKINO & Ayumi Kurihara vs Carlos Amano & Sonoko Kato. Lately Kato has been on a winning streak and she pinned AKINO with a schoolboy at 15:22. Next was Dynamite Kansai vs Chikayo Nagashima. They played up the size difference and Kansai won with the Splash Mountain at 8:44. Next is Mayumi Ozaki vs Ayumi Kurihara. A typical Ozaki match with Mika Nishio doing her impersonation of Police wrapping a chain around Kurihara's throat. Ozaki wins with a Shining Yakuza at 12:35.

Next was Manami Toyota vs Carlos Amano. Amano was in a belligerant mood but Toyota flies from the top rope. She also hits Amano over the head with a chair. That doesn't bother Amano. Toyota wins with the Japanese Queen Bee Bomb at 20:44. The main event was Aja Kong, Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU vs Dynamite Kansai, Chikayo Nagashima & AKINO. I guess it was sort of a D-FIX revival. KAORU & AKINO wowed the crowd with aerial tactics but Ozaki won over Kansai with a Shining Yakuza 17:31. Afterwards, Aja Kong thanked the fans for coming.

The July 14 Korakuen Hall show set up a couple of specific angles for the Aug. 16 show. The opener was Aja Kong & KAORU vs Meiko Satomura & Chikayo Nagashima. Sendai Girls rookie Akari Okuda was at ringside. Satomura doesn't disappoint and wins over KAORU with the Scorpion Rising at 21:41. After the match, Okuda comes up on the ring apron and wants to talk to Aja. Satomura tells Okuda that she'll do the talking. Aja says it's been a year since her debut. Satomura mentions that Aja is having a Wizard Of OZ title match on Aug. 16. Satomura says that Okuda wants a title shot. Aja says only an OZ wrestler can challenge for the title. Satomura says "Give her a chance." Aja tells Ozaki that it might be interesting. Aja says to Okuda "Are you sure you want to do this? You can change your mind." Okuda wants to do the match and Aja says "Then I would like to invite you to hell." There you have it.

Next was an OZ Men's match. El Braza won over Masaru Obata in 8:47. Next Dynamite Kansai threw Cherry around and won with the Splash Mountain at 8:01. The show finished with two Masquerade Tag Matches. It didn't look like cosplay. I think they all wore little masks into the ring. The first match had Mayumi Ozaki & Ran YuYu vs Carlos Amano & AKINO. Ran won over Amano with the European Clutch at 21:45. Then it was Mayumi Ozaki & Sonoko Kato vs Dynamite Kansai & Chikayo Nagashima. Nagashima won over Kato at 11:13. Afterwards, Kato asked Meiko Satomura to be her partner on the Aug. 16 show. The opponents will be Chikayo Nagashima and the returning Sugar Satoh. So two big matches are ready to go for that show.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Red Rodney

Artist:Red Rodney

Song:Red Wig

Album:Prestige First Sessions Vol. 3

Trumpeter Red Rodney is best known as part of Charlie Parker's band during a key period. But he also recorded his own great music and made a comeback in the 80s. He was born Sept. 27, 1927 in Philadelphia. He started out as a teen in various big bands emulating his idol Harry James. Hearing Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker inspired him to embrace the bebop sound. After stints with Gene Krupa, Claude Thornhill & Woody Herman, Rodney was a member of the Charlie Parker Quintet from 1949-51. Drugs got him into trouble and he was in and out of jail for most of the 50s. Red Wig is from Rodney's 1951 debut album as a leader Broadway. Musicians are Jimmy Ford on alto sax, Phil Raphael on piano, Phil Leshin on bass and Phil Brown on drums. Prestige First Sessions is a series of CDs chronicling Prestige Records sessions from 1950-51. It contains the entire album Broadway along with music by Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Dizzy Gillespie & Bennie Green. It's a must for jazz fans. Red Rodney left jazz after he got out of jail and played in Las Vegas shows for several years. He returned to New York in 1972 and eventually formed a band with sax player Ira Sullivan. This band was very successful in the 80s and after it ended, Rodney formed a new band with young sax player Chris Potter. Red Rodney died on May 27, 1994 at age 66. Red Rodney was very important in the formative years of bebop and it's good to see that he still made great music in his later years. Here's Red Rodney performing in the early 80s.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

NEO & Jaguar in Niigata

NEO was in Niigata for a couple of days. It was sponsored by Niigata University. They were at the university on July 14. Jaguar Yokota was made a special appearance and she was holding some sort of wrestling seminar at the school. NEO usually does this trip annually. The opener was Misae Genki vs Nagisa Nozaki. The rookie doesn't have a chance against Genki and Genki won with the Big Boots at 11:15. Next was Azumi Hyuga vs Tanny Mouse. Tanny does her usual comedy shtick with a Rita Romero Special and then she runs around outside the ring. Hyuga catches up with her but Tanny uses a head butt. Tanny tries to get Hyuga in a brain buster but Hyuga turns it into a small package for the win at 11:13.

Next was Yoshiko Tamura & Aya Yuki vs Yuki Miyazaki & Haruka Matsuo. Miyazaki starts out with a hip attack on Tamura but Tamura comes back with a shoulder block. Matsuo comes in and is greeted by chops and a missile kick. Matsuo comes back with a missile kick of her own. The end comes when Tamura mistakenly nails Yuki with a shoulder block. A high kick, a frog splash, and a German suplex and Matsuo pins Yuki at 12:56. Jaguar Yokota got a great reaction when she came out. She was teaming with Arisa Nakajima vs Tojuki Leon & Ayumi Kurihara. Nakajima has a good battle with Kurihara at the start. Leon & Kurihara double team Nakajima but she escapes and after a stretch muffler and a Cutie special attempt, she tags Jaguar. Jaguar blocks Kurihara's back throw and hits a top rope pile driver for the win at 16:37.

The main event was Yumiko Hotta & Kaori Yoneyama vs Manami Toyota & Sachie Abe. Hotta & Toyota were shoving each other before the start of the match. Hotta gets Abe in a camel clutch and Yoneyama hits her with a dropkick. Toyota gets Yoneyama in the rolling cradle. Abe hits her lucha moves like a plancha & tope. The end comes when Abe occupies Hotta allowing Toyota to hit an avalanche style Frankensteiner on Yoneyama for the win at 15:37. Toyota & Hotta scuffle after the match. I guess the legends doing their thing is what the fans want to see.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Third World

Artist:Third World

Song:Try Jah Love

Album:You've Got The Power

The Jamaican group Third World has been around for over 30 years. And their biggest hit came from a most unlikely source. The group was formed in 1973 by keyboardist Michael "Ibo" Cooper & guitarist Steven "Cat" Coore. Both were members of Inner Circle. They brought bassist Richard Daley with them along with percussionist Irvin "Carrot" Jarrett, singer Milton "Prilly" Hamilton and drummer Cornell Marshall. Because they were a self contained band, they had difficulty getting a record contract in Jamaica. So they went to England, signed with Island Records and went on tour with Bob Marley & The Wailers. Their 1977 album 96 Degrees In The Shade introduced new drummer Willie "Roots" Stewart & new lead singer William Clarke. Third World had a big R & B hit in 1979 with the O'Jays song Now That We've Found Love. At the 1981 Reggae Sunsplash festival, Stevie Wonder joined them on stage to perform Master Blaster. He liked them enough to write & produce a couple of songs for their next album. Try Jah Love was one of those songs and was a big R & B hit in 1982. Though Third World is categorized as reggae, Try Jah Love is more of an R & B song. They've strayed from reggae over the years and caught a lot of flack from purists. I find their music is uneven in quality but they are capable of great music and Third World is still around. Their most recent CD is 2005's Black Gold and Green. Try Jah Love is great summer music. Here's is Third World performing Try Jah Love at the 1983 Reggae Sunsplash festival.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Whatever happened to Bionic J?

One wrestler I get asked about all the time is former ARSION gaijin Bionic J. She's currently in Tokyo on holidays and did a brief interview. First a little history. Her real name is Jessica Soto and she's from California. She was in ARSION beginning with their debut in 1998. First she was Reggie Bennett's cousin Jessie Bennett but later was Bionic J. She left ARSION in April 2003 when Yumiko Hotta bought the company. Fans and even promoters have asked me about her ever since. I had heard various things but knew that she quit the wrestling business. She lived in San Francisco for a while but now lives in San Jose and works as a customer service manager in the home building industry. She went to a JWP show while in Tokyo and said it brought back a lot of memories. Jessica says she doesn't watch wrestling in the US and has retired from the business. Good luck to her in her future endeavors.

SUN introduces trainee at July 12 show

There wasn't much happening at Pro Wrestling SUN's July 12 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. But they did introduce trainee Yoko Hashizume to the fans. And it was Hashizume's 22nd birthday too. She was accompanied by her manager. Though it is unusual for young joshi wrestlers to have a manager, it's not unprecedented. His name is Yoshiharu Noda. His company is called Suns Entertainment Company. Apparently he has been the owner of Yellow Cab in Tokyo and he manages a pop singer. According to her blog, Hashizume will continue to play on her soccer team while training for wrestling.

In SUN, usually the big angles are advanced at Korakuen Hall shows. That trend continued and the main event hyped as the start of a SUN vs JWP war didn't resolve anything. Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo vs Azumi Hyuga & Kayoko Haruyama went to a 30 minute draw. SUN has three shows in August so we'll see where this goes. In a SUN vs REM tag match, Hikaru & Atsuko Emoto defeated Toshie Uematsu & Kyoko Kimura when Hikaru used a face kick on Kimura at 13:04. Manami Toyota defeated Saki Maemura with the Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb at 17:59. Shuu Shibutani defeated Misaki Ohata with a half hatch at 12:14. The next SUN show is Aug. 5.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Fats Waller

Artist:Fats Waller

Song:Ain't Misbehavin'

Album:Jazz Signatures

Thomas "Fats" Waller was a pioneer of black music. He was a master pianist, a great songwriter and showman. He was born May 21, 1904 in New York City. He took up piano at age six and as a teen studied with legendary stride pianist James P. Johnson and also took classical piano lessons. He first recorded for Okeh in 1922 but signed with RCA Victor in 1926. Waller started getting attention as a composer in the mid-20s and his songs started turning up in Broadway shows. Ain't Misbehavin' was in the 1929 show Hot Chocolates. It was covered by other artists but Waller didn't have a hit with it until later. This version is from 1937. This various artists comp is good for beginners and features songs by Duke Ellington & Dizzy Gillespie among others. RCA has released several Fats Waller comps. He became more popular as a performer in the 40s especially in the 1943 film Stormy Weather. Several jazz pianists have credited Waller as a major influence and Count Basie studied with him. Fats Waller was a big man and continued to indulge in food & booze. He became ill during a gig in Los Angeles and died on the way home of pneumonia in Union Station in Kansas City on Dec. 15, 1943 at age 39. Here's a 1941 Soundie of Fats Waller & Myra Johnson performing Ain't Misbehavin'. Fortunately, we still get to see how talented Fats Waller was.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Eddie Harris

Artist:Eddie Harris


Album:The Artist's Choice:The Eddie Harris Anthology

Sax player Eddie Harris had a surprise pop hit with Exodus in 1961. Of course later on he would establish his jazz credentials. He was born Oct. 20, 1934 in Chicago. He learned to play piano in church and also took up the tenor sax. After a stint in the Army, he moved to New York. Harris decided to move back home in 1960 and signed with VeeJay Records. VeeJay was not really a jazz label. The film Exodus was very popular at the time and Harris' version of the theme became a huge pop hit. The album Exodus To Jazz was the first jazz album ever certified gold. Obviously it was a fluke. Attempts to follow it up didn't work. VeeJay went out of business and Harris went to Atlantic in 1967. He always had the talent but he was able to establish credibility as a jazz artist with songs like Feedom Jazz Dance. He also experimented with electric sax and even tried stand up comedy. He also tried more commercial music at times. This 2CD comp from Rhino has a lot of his Atlantic sides and some early VeeJay music chosen by Harris. Harris left Atlantic in 1978 and continued to tour until his death on Nov. 5, 1996 at age 62. Eddie Harris was never a favourite of jazz critics but his music is worthwhile. Here's Eddie Harris performing Listen Here in 1970.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bill Withers

Artist:Bill Withers

Song:Use Me

Album:Greatest Hits

Bill Withers was a very popular R & B singer songwriter in the 70s and his music is still covered today. He was born July 4, 1938 in Slab Fork, WV, a coal mining town. His father died when he was a child and he was raised by his mother & grandmother. After nine years in the Navy, he moved to Los Angeles to persue a music career in 1967. He made toilet seats at Boeing Aircraft while sending out demos. His big break came when he met Sussex Records owner Clarence Avant. His 1971 debut Just As I Am was produced by Booker T. Jones and Ain't No Sunshine was a huge hit. His 1972 LP Still Bill contained an even bigger hit in Lean On Me. Use Me was on that LP and was a top five R & B hit. It has a darker tone than some of Withers' other songs and has a great electric piano groove by Marcus Miller. He wrote it after his marriage to actress Denise Nicholas (Room 222) ended. D'Angelo did a cover of Use Me in 1997. Withers had several more hits and successfully sued Sussex for back royalties in 1974. He was their biggest artist so they went out of business and Withers signed with Columbia. Withers' last chart hit was Just The Two Of Us, a guest shot with Grover Washington Jr. in 1981. It was on Elektra so Columbia released this Greatest Hits comp in 1981 to take advantage of that. There are better comps available. Bill Withers last recorded in 1985 and has retired from the music business. His songs have continued to be performed by others so he gets a good income from that. He did turn up on a Jimmy Buffett CD in 2004 and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2005. Bill Withers' best songs are timeless classics that are still fresh today. Here's Bill Withers performing Use Me in 1972.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Milt Hinton

Artist:Milt Hinton

Song:Just Friends

Album:Laughing At Life

In his 60 year career, bassist Milt Hinton probably played on more recordings than anyone but rarely as a leader. The Judge was born June 23, 1910 in Vicksburg, MS and grew up in Chicago. As a youngster, he learned the "slap" bass technique from Bill Johnson and that's what he's famous for. He made his recording debut with Tiny Parham in 1930. In 1936, he joined Cab Calloway's band and was instrumental in updating Calloway's sound in the late 30s. After leaving Calloway in 1951, he worked in various bands until he became the house bassist at Columbia Records in 1954. He literally played on hundreds of records of every kind of music over the next 15 years. After that, Hinton continued to tour into his senior years. Laughing At Life is a 1994 CD on Columbia. This is a guy who rarely recorded as a leader and never on a major label, except this. He uses a couple of different rhythm sections including Richard Wyands & Derek Smith on piano. He also toured with the senior citizen band The Statesmen Of Jazz and at age 85 he wasn't the oldest member of the band. Milt Hinton also has published two books of jazz photography. He died Dec. 19, 2000 at age 90. Milt Hinton remained an all time great as a senior and here he is performing Ol' Man Time in Denver in 1995.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Louis Jordan

Artist:Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5

Song:Five Guys Named Moe

Album:The Best Of Louis Jordan

In retrospect, Louis Jordan turned out to be a pioneer of R & B. Back in the 40s, he was just a lot of fun to listen to and was a consistent chart topper. He was born July 8, 1908 in Brinkley, AR. He majored in music at Arkansas Baptist College. Jordan moved to Philadelphia in 1932. His two years in the Chick Webb Orchestra prepared him for his solo career. He signed with Decca in 1938 and formed The Tympany 5 in 1939. His music was a combination of jazz, jump swing & humour. From 1942 to 1951, Louis Jordan had 57 R & B chart hits and plenty of musicians came through his band. Many of these songs are standards of black music including the 1942 hit Five Guys Named Moe. Musicians are Dallas Bartley on baritone sax, Eddie Roane on trumpet, Arnold Thomas on piano, Jesse "Po" Simpkins on bass and Shadow Wilson on drums. This comp has all his hits and is a pretty good introduction. Louis Jordan's career petered out in the 50s. He made some good records. It just wasn't what people wanted to hear at the time. There is also a musical called Five Guys Named Moe based on his music. Louis Jordan died of a heart attack on Feb. 4, 1975 at age 66. Louis Jordan's music was an important bridge between big band and modern R & B and his innovations have earned him iconic status. Here's Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five performing Five Guys Named Moe in a 1942 Soundie.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Kirk Franklin

Artist:Kirk Franklin

Song:Looking For You


Kirk Frnklin's mix of traditional gospel themes, old school R & B and hip hop has made him the best selling gospel artist today and has paved the way for black gospel artists to cross over to mainstream music. He was born Jan. 26, 1970 in Riverside, TX. He didn't know his father and was abandoned by his mother so his Aunt Gertrude raised him in the church. She collected aluminum cans to pay for his piano lessons. By age 11, he was musical director at the local church choir. Of course he was rebellious as a teen but when one of his friends was killed, he returned to the church. Franklin put Vicki Mack Latandaille's tiny GospoCentric label on the map with his group The Family. Franklin did sing at first but he's not a good singer and now he hires real singers and sticks to composing & arranging. The 1997 smash hit Stomp from the God's Property CD was his first crossover hit. Everything since then has gone straight to the top of the charts. This includes his latest CD Hero and the first single Looking For You. Looking For You is a reworking of a Patrice Rushen disco hit from the 70s. I've heard the original and Franklin's version isn't much different except for the gospel message and vocal arrangement. It crossed over to the top of the R & B charts. He also won two Grammys for Hero. Kirk Franklin's next project will be a biopic called Church Boy for Lions Gate Films. He's currently writing the script. And I'm sure he's working on a new CD too. He's the first artist I recommend if you're looking to get into contemporary gospel. Here's Kirk Franklin's video for Looking For You.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

People In Motion 2007

The 2007 People In Motion show was on June 1 & 2 at the Queen Elizabeth Center at the CNE in Toronto. Once again, the show was a one stop shop for the disabled. Many of the booths were regulars at the show and for the most part were not offering anything I haven't seen before. However, I'm always on the lookout for new products & services. So here are a few that you can check out.

New Products

The Chillow

If you're anything like me, it can get very hot and sweaty especially when sleeping. That's exactly why I bought an air conditioner last year. Now there's a low cost solution called The Chillow. This is a cooling insert that you place inside your pillowcase and it keeps you cool. I can't explain how it does that, only that it does. There are various ways to use this but the bottom line is it works and retails for only $39.95. The manufacturer is called Katoby. They are in Quebec. They also produce a similar product for dogs called Canine Cooler along with wheelchair cushions. For more info, you can call them at 1-888-996-2665 or go to their website at http://www.katoby.com/

Portable Scooter

Folks see me in my power chair and they're always asking me about wheelchairs and scooters. If you can walk a bit, chances are pretty good you're going to need a scooter. But you're still going to need a van equipped for wheelchairs. Most scooters aren't very compact. Travel Scoot is the world's only compact folding scooter. It only weighs 49lbs. and it folds up and fits in the trunk of a car. I've seen other attempts at this type of product but putting the scooter back together can be an issue. The product is manufactured in Florida and the Canadian sales office is in Kitchener. Check out their website at http://www.travelscootcanada.com/

Modular Accessible Homes

The biggest issue with building an accessible home is the length of time it takes for the average contractor to build it. We're talking about months, maybe even years. Quality Engineered Homes in Kenilworth, ON is offering a breakthrough in the design and construction of accessible homes. Instead of building the home on site, Quality manufactures the home in modular form and assembles it on site. The main benefit of this is it only takes a month to construct the home. Of course it's still a custom built home. To learn about the many features available, you can contact Quality at 1-800-265-2648 or visit their website at http://www.qualityhomes.ca/ and visit their showroom.

New Services

Christopher & Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center

Of course we all know the story of the late Christopher Reeve and his wife Dana. It was their misson to find a cure for spinal cord injuries in their lifetime. They're both gone but their legacy continues with the Paralysis Resource Center. Not only is this designed to assist in spinal cord injury research but aims to help ordinary people deal with paralysis. They will also help fund special projects. At the show, they were giving out a 319 page Paralysis Resource Guide. To get your copy, you can call them at 1-800-539-7309 or visit their website at http://www.paralysis.org/

Media Access

There was a booth at the show that had two seperate but connected organizations with similar goals of making employment in the media accessible to the disabled. As a trained broadcaster and writer, I'm interested in that. Lights, Camera, Access is run by Leesa Levinson. She is an actress who is also in a wheelchair because of multiple sclerosis. She has a lot of experience in the entertainment industry and is trying to break down barriers in that industry. Her website is http://www.lightscameraaccess.ca/ The Media Access And Participation Initiative is attempting to break down similar barriers in the broadcasting industry. The goal is to make all media organizations accessible to the disabled. They can be contacted at 416-410-2491.

The People In Motion show continues to be a valuable resource for the disabled. And I get plenty of free pens. The only problem with the show was waiting for Wheeltrans afterwards. Next year the show will be on June 6 & 7 at the Queen Elizabeth Center at the CNE. Be sure to attend and I'll see you there. I can be contacted at frankp316@rogers.com

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Duke Pearson

Artist:Duke Pearson


Album:Sweet Honey Bee

Pianist Duke Pearson made some very good records but he's probably better known as producer of many of Blue Note's best recordings of the 60s. He was born Columbus Calvin Pearson Jr. Aug. 17, 1932 in Atlanta. His uncle was a Duke Ellington fan and thought young Calvin was a piano whiz. He moved to New York in 1959 and joined Donald Byrd's band and was Nancy Wilson's accompanist. He produced and arranged several songs for Donald Byrd's 1963 album A New Perspective. This earned him a contract with Blue Note as a recording artist and producer. 1966's Sweet Honey Bee is very typical of his recordings. It's very good jazz that's helped by having some great musicians like Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, James Spaulding on alto sax, Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Ron Carter on bass and Mickey Roker on drums. He used his Duke Pearson Big Band to introduce young musicians like Randy Brecker & Chick Corea. Pearson left Blue Note in 1970. He would accompany singer Carmen McRae for several years but then became ill with multiple sclerosis and died on Aug. 4, 1980 at age 47. Duke Pearson is mostly forgotten today but he was a big part of Blue Note in the 60s. There is no video footage available.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Full card for July 14 Fatal Femmes Fighting show

The full card for the July 14 Fatal Femmes Fighting show has been announced courtesy of Ad Combat News. This show will be at the Crystal Casino in Los Angeles. The main event will have Lisa Ward defending her FFF Flyweight Championship against Taeko Nagamine. Nagamine replaces Misaki Takimoto. Ward's record is 8-2 and her last win was over Masako Yoshida on the last FFF show Feb. 17, 2007. Nagamine's record is 2-2 and her last fight was a win over Mamiko Mizoguchi on the May 19, 2007 Smackgirl show. This is her first trip to the US.

Other bouts include Stephanie Palmer vs Sophie Bagherdai (1-0), Angela Harris vs Crystal Harris (2-2), Jessica Pene (1-0) vs Sumie Sakai (1-0). Of course pro wrestling fans are familiar with Sumie. She's been a pro wrestler since 1997 and is a close friend of Megumi Yabushita. She currently lives in Philadelphia and made her MMA debut last year. There's also Tanya Evinger vs Vanessa Porto (5-2), Clarissa Calibusso vs Cassandra Blaso and Sarah Oriza vs Yoko Takahashi (11-8). Takahashi is the current Smackgirl Lightweight Champ. Japanese veterans Tama Chan & Megumi Yabushita are also scheduled to appear with opponents TBA. A lot of these girls are either newcomers or their first fight was on the last FFF show. And all of the Japanese fighters are closely associated with Yabushita's Tomoegumi dojo. Takahashi is her training partner and was on the last FFF show. I guess FFF is trying to build an in house roster. Ward is definitely worthy of a main event. Personally, I don't think there are enough experienced fighters on this show. It could be entertaining.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jackie McLean

Artist:Jackie McLean

Song:Khalil The Prophet


Alto sax player Jackie McLean was a great musician equally comfortable playing straight ahead bop or a more avant garde style. He was born May 17, 1932 in New York City, the son of guitarist John McLean. As a teen, he was friends with neighbours like Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins. He made his recording debut in 1951 with Miles Davis and played in various bands in the 50s including a two year stint with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. McLean really hit his stride with several Blue Note recordings of the 60s. 1963's Destination...Out! is a very strong recording with trombonist Grachan Moncur III as co-leader. Other musicians include Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, Larry Ridley on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. It's a very adventurous recording. McLean left Blue Note in 1968 for the Danish label Steeplechase and like a lot of jazz musicians, went into teaching. With his son Rene on tenor sax, Jackie McLean made a big comeback in the 90s and continued to tour regularly until his death on Mar. 31, 2006 at age 73. All of Jackie McLean's Blue Note recordings from the 60s are worth checking out. Here's Jackie McLean with Freddie Redd, Michael Mattos & Steve Ritchie performing Who Killed Cock Robin? from the film version of the 1962 play The Connection.