Bourbon Princess – The Waiting Noon

Deep-voiced lead singer/songwriter/bassist Monique Ortiz, who leads the group Bourbon Princess, with original Morphine drummer Jerome Deupree, Either Orchestra saxophonist/leader Russ Gershon and guitarist/pianist Jim Moran, describes their sound as “blue wave: new wave with a little bit of blues and jazz thrown in.”

At times jazzy, other times more rockin’ and hypnotic, this first video release from Dark of Days, the band’s third album (recorded at the legendary HI-N-DRY Studio) has been compared ” in spirit to The Doors, Patti Smith and Nico-era Velvet Underground, as well as the Boston band Morphine.”

Interviewed at Well-Rounded Radio by Charles McEnerney, Ortiz reveals the life of the contemporary working musician in the 21st Century.

Click here for that interview.

Dark of Days
Dark of Days

Opium, Morphine, Heroin

Illegal Drugs: Opium, Morphine, Heroin Pt. 1

The recent awarding of Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar for The Dark Knight made me think about his accidental death from “acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine” as reported by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York. This made me think of how deeply the use, and abuse, of opiods have become a part of global and popular culture: in history, art, music.

This three part documentary (Part 2, Part 3), which first appeared on the History Channel as “Hooked: Illegal Drugs”, shows the history of Opium and how it evolved into Morphine and Heroin, from a completely legal substance to an illegal one.

Let There Be Drums

As Terry Bozzio explains in his introduction to “The Black Page“, the modern trap drum set is a very young invention (it was first created in the 1700s), and little has been taught at the post-secondary or university level about it and even less actually written for it. I recall just missing the opportunity to meet Ansley Dunbar in the mid-90s when he was in town teaching a workshop in Jazz Drumming to Jazz students at a local community college (I’m still kicking myself, even now).

The following ten tracks include some of my favorite drummers, drum solos and drum oriented tracks (I’d be interested what other drummers, solos, and tracks KUR readers have as favorites):

Terry Explains – Terry Bozzio (Oosterpoort, Groningen, NL, 4 Apr 2001)
The Black Page – Terry Bozzio (Oosterpoort, Groningen, NL, 4 Apr 2001)
Electric Cheese – Mats & Morgan (The Teenage Tapes, 1998)
Uncle Meat – Kroumata Percussion Ensemble (Roots, Avantgarde & Freaks, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, 3 Feb 1996)
Awakening – Mahavishnu Orchestra (Inner Mounting Flame, 1971)
Moby Dick – Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin II, 1969)
Stratus – George Duke/Billy Cobham Band (McAlister Auditorium, New Orleans, 18 Feb 1976)
Drum Solo – The Tubes (What Do You Want From Live, 1978)
The Orange County Lumber Truck – The Grandmothers (Eating The Astoria, 1998)
Let There Be Drums – The Tubes (Wild In London, 2005)

[Note: if we are infringing on anyone’s copyright, contact KUR and we’ll remove the offending material.]


A mix of things that you may or may not already know…

Mahavishnu Orchestra at Wolfgang’s Vault

Recorded on the second night of a two-night stand at New York City’s Avery Fisher Hall, this recording captures one of the last performances by the legendary original lineup. Although missing the beginning of the set, what is available is a fascinating glimpse of the Mahavishnu Orchestra at the tail end of their existence:

This night’s recording begins in progress, with the group exploring the infectious groove of “You Know, You Know,” one of the most popular compositions from their debut album, The Inner Mounting Flame.

Next up is Jerry Goodman’s composition, “I Wonder.” Recorded during the Trident sessions several months prior and recorded again in 1974 by Goodman and Hammer for their Like Children album following the breakup, this version features expansive improvisations, beginning with an emotional solo from McLaughlin that relies more on bluesy string bends and a fat biting tone as opposed to speed. Goodman and Hammer both take impressive solos as well.

Shortly after the nine-minute mark, Cobham launches the band into a furious version of “Awakening.” A tape change misses a few seconds of this (approximately 1:15 in), but it is otherwise complete. “Awakening” is divided into three distinct sections, each focused around an outstanding solo from one of the band members, bridged together by reinstatements of the original theme.

The version of “Hope” that follows unfolds in an elegant, magisterial way and provides listeners with a brief break in the relentless intensity that preceded it. However, this lasts less than two minutes before Cobham signals one of their classic turn-on-a-dime transitions.

To fully pummel the audience into submission, they close the set with “Vital Transformation.” In 9/8 time, this contains some of the most furious playing that the band would ever achieve.

This is one ferocious concert. Click here to listen to it at Wolfgang’s Vault.

This version of Mahavishnu Orchestra are:

Billy Cobham – drums

Jerry Goodman – violin

Jan Hammer – keyboards

Rick Laird – bass

John McLaughlin – guitar

Conceptual Continuity, Anyone?

A while ago, I was sent a link to a course on the music of Frank Zappa, given between 2001 and 2007 by one Jason Klein of the University of North Texas. Browsing around, I stumbled across this PDF (caution: 23MB download), in which one page meticulously visualizes Zappa’s notion of Conceptual Continuity:

Conceptual Continuity Chart

The above is just a thumbnail. To study the graph in all its glory, download the big version here (3MB jpg). If bandwidth is no issue, I’ve also uploaded the chart to Flickr for online viewing. Fascinating stuff — someone make a poster out of this!

Zappa, YouTube, Censorship

The above video was posted by flowerpunkchip on YouTube April 15, 2008. Along with the video he posted the following statement:

CENSORED. Music replaced.

Gee thanks Gail, if i ever do make money from your husband’s genius, I’ll let you know and I’ll send you double. Censoring Zappa’s music on awful mono sound youtube is not a good idea.

Frank Zappa interview + I’m so happy I could cry, early version of “Take your clothes off when you dance” (thanks for the correction StereoM)+ Get a little + Orange County Lumber Truck + oh no, lumpy gravy version (the songs/tunes are not in that order)

well, i hope this video doesn’t get taken off by the Zappa Family Trust, or should I say Gail?

Frank Zappa ~ “I resent encroachment on the 1st amendment because I’m a constitution fundamentalist”

Everyone knows my position and opinion in regards to a lot of what the ZFT does, so I am usually not the one to leap to their defense. Yet, in this case, I certainly do.

The Frank Zappa music being muted of late on YouTube is not a result of the actions of the ZFT (though it might seem to be). These are the actions of WBG (Warner Brothers Group of Companies). Because Warner Brothers and YouTube do not have a contract, they have demanded that the music of all their artists be muted. As you recall, when Warner Brothers bought Rykodisc, Frank Zappa’s catalog once again became property of Warner Brothers.

It seems like it was only a matter of time before YouTube succumbed to corporate pressures (as has much of the internet). Though it does make one question crystal clear: if Zappa’s music isn’t being played on the radio, or on YouTube, then where? How do these actions effectively promote this artist if the avenues for promotion are so limited?