Monday, August 27, 2012

Chicago And The Doobie Brothers Rock The House In New Jersey

Fans of Chicago and The Doobie Brothers enjoyed a real treat on Sunday August 19 when both groups performed together at the PNC Bank Arts Center. This performance was part of a national tour, and I thought you might enjoy some live shots from the show. Even though these bands have been performing for more than 40 years, they are still musically right on their game. The Doobie Brothers performed first, and I thought they were just outstanding. They performed many of their classics and also covered some newer songs.  Their vocal harmony was simply great, and they received a friendly and loud response from an audience made up of people in their 50s, 60s and 70s. It's clear that these age groups still like to rock!

Chicago performed many of their classics which included their unique arrangements. Chicago is considered a popular rock band by many but their roots have always been and still are in jazz. Chicago still has a few of the original players in the band as you can see from the pictures above. If you are a Chicago fan you don't want to miss this concert tour when it gets to your area. I have to say that I did miss the voice of Peter Cetera in some of the older songs.

The level of musical talent from the musicians in both Chicago and The Doobie Brothers is outstanding; well worth the effort and cost of the ticket.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Review" "Buddy Guy, When I Left Home, My Story" with David Ritz

When blues guitarists talk about the blues, especially the Chicago blues, Buddy Guy's name will always be mentioned.  If you're even a casual fan of the blues, this book is a must read for you.  Buddy Guy tells his story just like he plays the blues, with honesty that incorporates deep personal insights from his early life in Louisiana right up to his present life in Chicago.

This book is more than an autobiography of one of the greatest blues guitarists of all times.  The book also details the story of a black blues musician starting out playing in Louisiana, moving on to Chicago and dedicating his life to playing the blues. 

The story is upbeat although there is a sadness the reader will experience when Buddy takes us through his early years of picking cotton with his family. Guy and his entire family lived and worked on a farm.  The family that owned the farm got half of everything Guy and his family produced. The Guy family got to live on the farm and keep half. 

The work was long, hard and six days a week.  But Buddy's words show no bitterness. He talks about working in the fields all day at age 9 with his family, "Depending where you coming from, you could feel sorry for that little boy, thinking he's being misused. You could feel he was too young to work like that. You could decide that the world of sharecropping was cruel and unfair.  And you wouldn't be entirely wrong.  Except that if that boy was me and you were able to get inside my little head, you'd find that I was happy being out there with my daddy, doing the work that the big people did. I wanted to be grown and help my family anyway I could." Buddy Guy had it tough for much of his life and yet he never complained, he always did whatever kind of work he could find and then played his guitar all night where ever he could get a gig. 

Buddy Guy is a remarkable talent who even at age 75 is still performing and delighting blues fans all over the world including in his own Legends Jazz Club in Chicago.  I was able to find two great Buddy Guy live performances on YouTube and have attached them below.  Please enjoy these two classic performances.  

The coauthor of this book is David Ritz who always does a wonderful job of capturing not only the works of great musicians but also their spirit.  David also co-wrote "Hound Dog", the Leiber and Stoller autobiography that was reviewed on this blog on 4/16/12. Keep writing David, you are producing outstanding word pictures of the musicians we love.

The Music Man Awards This Book "4 Quarter Notes"

                4 Quarter Notes= Excellent, Must Read
3 Quarter Notes= Good Read
                2 Quarter Notes= Somewhat Interesting
                         1 Quarter Note= Save Your Time and Money

Buddy Guy Live at the Jazz Lugano Festival in 2008
Medley of "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man"/"Love Her With a Feling"

                                                                                 Buddy Guy Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 

Friday, August 10, 2012

CD Review: Sylvia Herold and the Rhythm Bugs Sing "The Spider and the Fly"

Sylvia Herold, Jennifer Scott, Jason Lewis, Ed Johnson and Cary Black

Jennifer Scott, Sylvia Herold and Ed Johnson
This CD takes the listener back to the best music of the 40s and 50s.  How great is it that today we can still get great new music that has its roots in swing and folk? Sylvia Herold has been singing professionally since she was 16 when she fell in love with traditional folk songs and began singing, collecting songs, and honing her guitar skills. The title of this CD comes as a result of the title song, "The Spider and the Fly" a song written by Fats Waller.  Sylvia Herold's voice is smooth, silky and always in perfect pitch.  The vocal arrangements are new and terrific, and yet still true to the best three part harmonies of past years. Jennifer Scott's and Ed Johnson's voices fit perfectly with Sylvia's voice and at times it sounds almost like one voice singing three part harmonies.  If you were a fan of the Pied Pipers or the Boswell Sisters, then you will love this CD. The three great voices of Sylvia Herold, Jennifer Scott and Ed Johnson are supported by a highly skilled rhythm section of bassist Cary Black, drummer Jason Lewis and  Sylvia Herold also joins in on guitar with Jennifer Scott playing piano and Ed Johnson playing guitar. There are some special guests that also add greatly to the final sounds on this CD, Christian Tamburr, vibraphone, Charlie Hancock, accordion, John Worley, trumpet and Flugelhorn, Evan Price, violin, Orville Johnson, dobro and Tony Marcus, voice.

All and all, this is one highly talented group of skilled musicians, and I would like to personally thank Sylvia Herold and her group for keeping these wonderful sounds of yesteryear not only alive but fresh and new.  Sylvia Herold produced this CD with skilled experience, resulting in a fine and musically wonderful product.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Claude Berger Loved by the Crowds in Quebec City, Canada

Claude Berger

In the middle of a very hot summer in 2012, I traveled to Quebec City, Canada  to spend a few days in this beautiful and romantic city.  This city celebrates the first two weeks of July with a city-wide music festival where you have lots of great free music playing all day and night.  The two major groups participating in this festival were Bon Jovi and Areosmith.  However, the subject of this blog is a focus on the wonderful street performers that show up every day and night and play on the streets for tips from the groups of listeners who gather to hear the sounds.  These performers must get approved by the City of Quebec, but they receive no monetary support from the City.  They make their money from tips that individuals give them.

I was most impressed by Claude Berger who told me that this was the third summer he was playing on the streets of Quebec.  Claude is a classically-trained trumpet player and produces wonder sounds from his trumpet.  Claude also has a wonderful "New Orleans" sounding voice that is loved by the crowds who come to listen to him.

I have attached a "YouTube" video that Claude put together and posted with his playing "Autumn Leaves" that is a sort of tribute to the great Miles Davis that I know you will enjoy.

CD Review: Jenny Davis, "Rearranged"

Composer, Arranger, Bandleader and Jazz Vocalist, Jenny Davis has just released her 4th album as a leader.  This CD spotlights Jenn...