Music Diary

Jeff Beck – Emotion & Commotion Review

Just over a month ago I wrote about the special launch-day deal Amazon.com was having on the MP3 version of Jeff Beck’s new Emotion & Commotion CD. Over the last six weeks I’ve kept the CD on my iPod in heavy rotation. Needless to say I have found something to like in the first studio release in seven years from the 65-year old legendary guitarist. At the same time, this…


1000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die

OK, so who is crazy enough to put together THAT sort of list? Apparently the folks at Groove Notes! The image I highlighted was of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s 1967 recording The Inflated Tear. This is my favorite recording of his, mixing free jazz elements, traditional hard-bop, and soul-flavored pop elements he’d later explore on Blacknuss and Volunteer Slavery. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t feel bad, because while it…


Cool Mashup – ‘What a Wonderful World’ Meets Death Metal

Image courtesy of Wilson-Benesch I have been a huge fan of Louis Armstrong for decades, even having ‘What a Wonderful World’ as the dance I did with my mother at my wedding. The song was a huge hit for Satchmo at the end of his legendary career, and was re-released upon his death in 1972, as well as gaining huge success as a featured song from 1987’s movie Good Morning…


Herb Ellis, An Accessible Jazz Guitar Great, Dead at 88

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Think back to the first time you met a ‘big celebrity’ – not a sighting in a massive crowd, or perhaps getting an autograph scrawled on whatever you could grab, but when you had some actual human contact with someone considered a legend in their field; contact in the form of sharing kind words, having that person take an interest in you as a person and…


After 9 Months of ‘Variable Pricing’ … Music Sales Are Down

Image Courtesy of HardwareZone I think we all recognized the REAL intent last year when Apple finally caved to the music industry to allow for a new price structure in exchange for getting the same DRM-free music they were already giving everyone else: it was to make more money from every type of consumer. Anyone who didn’t get the message that day saw the truth soon enough – like my…


Mass Effect 2: Video Game Soundtrack Review

I recently reviewed the full soundtrack for Dragon Age: Origins, and a large part of my criticism was that it wasn’t a great value – it released well after the game was out, and suddenly made folks who paid for a ‘deluxe’ version aware that the ‘Soundtrack’ they got was really a sampler. Now the Mass Effect 2 Soundtrack has arrived, how does this one measure up, both musically and…


Pat Metheny – Orchestrion (Jazz CD, 2010) Review

A few weeks ago I posted a video of Pat Metheny announcing his Orchestrion project. The video – and all of the machinery – were quite cool, but what really matters is the final product. Well, Orchestrion was released on January 26th, and I’ve had the chance to give it several listenings and separate the coolness of the technical accomplishment from the actual musical results.


Dragon Age Origins: Video Game Soundtrack Review

Back when I wrote about the various packages available for Dragon Age: Origins, one thing I didn’t worry about was the soundtrack. Why? Because on the graphic that accompanied the article it said ‘Digital Soundtrack’. So I assumed it meant we got the whole soundtrack – since most games with samplers are pretty clear and up-front about the whole ‘selections from the soundtrack’ thing (most recent example is Dissidia Final…


Common Grounds

I was walking down the hall in my office the other day and found two coworkers engrossed in a discussion about their iPhones. They were comparing apps and enthusiastically discussing Dragon Dictation, Google Maps, and a barcode scanner app. What was really shocking is that while one of them is a big techy, the other one was definitely not. But they both were excitedly talking about their smartphones and comparing…


Review: Vijay Iyer – Historicity (Jazz CD, 2009)

Because of – or perhaps in spite of – the fact that my musical tastes fall well outside of the mainstream, I have always been suspicious of something that has become the ‘latest critical darling’, even when it is from an artist I love. In recent years I remember buying ‘River: The Joni Letters’ on release because of the artist making the recording (Herbie Hancock), his guests (Wayne Shorter, Michael…


How much is that MP3 Download Worth? How about $80,000?!?

I am a staunch anti-piracy fighter: I engage in forum discussions about it on a regular basis, and also being a hardcore PC gamer I see the direct impact of piracy on that hobby. I see how it has impacted where developers target their games, how many top-level PC games are released, and the increasingly draconian DRM schemes used to try to thwart piracy … most of which simply punish…