Thursday, May 29, 2008

For Doze Dat Slept

This is for those of you who missed the --dv--l-ny Original Samples when it was posted all over the message boards and hip-hop sites a couple months ago. Most of these were taken down because someone claiming he's the artist in question sent a random message on Myspace and requested that the files be taken down. After scouring the web for a couple hours, I finally hit the jackpot with a Sharebee link on Google that was cleverly disguised as a random title. I am being vague about the actual artist, because I don't want these files to be removed right away. However, those of you who know what the artists look like will recognize them in the photo above.

I'm not trying to go against the artist's wishes, but damn if these aren't the most obscure samples to ever be incorporated into a hip-hop record.

Further, I don't believe that it was the artist who actually sent the message. It's probably just some disgruntled fan of his music who felt that posting these original sample sources served as an injustice to his name. I mean let's think about this for a minute. How many musicians, movie stars, etc. actually run their own Myspace page anyway? These songs are public domain, so just think of this as being another eclectic batch of tunes that just happen to be related to this hip-hop maven. I will remove these sample sources if I receive a special request from the artist's record label to do so.

I'm not going to post a trackslist or tell you where the samples are used. You can figure out most of them if you listen to the artist's album. Sorry for being so cryptic, but I think you guys can figure it out.

Hope you enjoy this!

Link in comments! Please leave a comment while you're there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Songs of Appreciation

Well.. The past few weeks have been difficult for me, as I've been in and out of urgent care twice, and put on two different types of antibiotics all within the same week. I'm still not sure if the infection is getting any better, but I have to keep the faith. I have still been thinking about posting on the blog, but the level of discomfort has kept me from doing this until today.

Life is a strange thing. One day you have a job and steady money coming in, and the next one you find yourself looking for work and heading to the doctor with a serious infection that needs immediate attention. Whenever I experience something like this, I think of other people who have to deal with pain on a regular basis, and I thank my lucky stars that I have generally been in great health throughout my life. My friends, girlfriend and family have been extremely supportive of me over the past few weeks, and I am eternally grateful that they are a part of my life. This post goes out to all of those people who are dealing with pain and discomfort in their lives. I hope these songs bring a smile to your face and a spring in your step.

Also, thanks to all of you who have visited Eclectic Grooves over the past two years. Your thoughtful comments and suggestions have definitely made a positive impact on my life.

Here is a little mix of songs that express the gratitude and appreciation that I am feeling right now. Enjoy!

Beastie Boys- Gratitude
From: Check Your Head [Capitol Records, 1992]

Led Zeppelin- Thank You
From: Led Zeppelin II [Atlantic, 1969]

Sly and the Family Stone- Thankful N' Thoughtful
From: Fresh [Epic, 1973]

Eugene Blacknell- I'm So Thankful
From: We Can't Take Life For Granted [Luv N' Haight, 2007]

Big Star- Thank You Friends
From: Third/Sister Lovers [Ardent, 1975]

Got to Be Thankful zip

Monday, May 05, 2008

Cecil Taylor- PDX Jazz Fest 2008

Cecil Percival Taylor is world renowned for being one of the progenitors of the free jazz movement that took the jazz world by storm in the mid 1960's. After working with Hot Lips Page and Johnny Hodges for a short duration, Cecil formed his own quartet in 1955 featuring Steve Lacy on soprano sax, Buell Neidlinger on bass and Dennis Charles on the drums. From 1961 to 1986, Cecil primarily performed and recorded with alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons, drummer Sunny Murray and Andrew Cyrille. Over the past two decades his recordings have mainly been released on European record labels, with the rare exception of a few select recordings that can be found in the US.

Cecil's approach to playing the piano is with a visceral percussive style that evokes the drumming of Milford Graves or Sunny Murray. I was first introduced to Cecil's music when I heard his fantastic debut album Jazz Advance featuring Steve Lacy on soprano saxophone. While it's been awhile since I've listened to this record, I'll never forget the amazement and wonder of hearing this muscular, violent and earth-shattering music for the first time.

You can imagine that I was ecstatic when I learned that Cecil was playing the PDX Jazz Festival this year. I have often heard that his live performances are one of the most intensely beautiful things to witness in the world of music, and now I could see it for myself.

I opted to get the cheapest tickets for the show, because I was unemployed at the time. However, despite hearing negative things about the Marriott Ballroom, it turned out to be an acoustically perfect place to witness the artistry of Cecil Taylor. My seat was in the back of the ballroom, but I was able to capture an authentic reproduction of the performance on my Olympus recorder. I restrained myself from clapping too closely to the microphone, because I didn't want to create a clipping effect. Unfortunately, you can't control the environment around you, so there are moments of people coughing and rustling in their seats.

After Cecil was introduced, he entered the stage, dressed in all white, shoeless and ready to captivate this sold out audience with a dazzling display of talent and creativity. What we witnessed was nothing short of jaw-dropping. Cecil painted elaborate sketches of sound with his nimble fingers as he hammered at the keys with a fevered intensity. During most of these songs, there are moments of quiet and space that demonstrate the dynamics of his compositions perfectly. At times the piano sounded like a trickle of rain on a windowpane that quickly emerges into a frenetic volcano of tonal clusters. His compositions transported the audience into a winding, twisting labyrinth of sound that is evocative of the surreal sketches of MC Escher. Towards the end of the performance, Cecil performed a humorous spoken-word piece dealing with complex scientific theories about the universe. He played one more piece to end the regular set, but the audience gave him a standing ovation. Without leaving the stage, Cecil proceeded to play a short, pretty song to end the concert on an uncharacteristically quiet note.

This concert was a thing of beauty that seemed to be over in the blink of an eye, but it will resonate with me long after the curtain has been closed. I didn't recognize any of the compositions that Cecil played during the performance, so I am going to assume that they were all untitled improvisations. If any of you were there and can shed some light on the titles of the songs he played, please let me know. This ranks as one of my top three favorite live performances ever.

Link in comments! Please let me know what you think.