Sunday, August 17, 2014

ABBA Babble

Last night, on a beautiful fall-like night, I went to Wolf Trap's night of ABBA the Concert, with a cheery knock-off group of game ABBA impersonators. They even had a real ABBA side man sitting in on most of the ABBA like songs to lend some credibility to the performance--a nice touch. But as with other cover band performance, such as the Dark Star Orchestra's Dead on performances, you were conscious of their limitations. They would not permit themselves to extend their performance to anything outside of the originals and this group performing ABBA the Concert stayed within their concert lanes reasonably well. They did dig deeply into the ABBA catalogue of songs and did not stay with the hits, which made it a little interesting, but unfortunately, some of the deeper cuts were rather thin and formulaic, and ironically, knock offs of other's hits of the 60s and 70s. ABBA's music (at least the hits) lives on comfortably on the stage, in film, and in recorded music, and streaming and steaming in the exercise rooms of the boomers and gen xers and yers, and in the hearts of their againg audiences.

Earlier in the year Part 2

jaunary 13--It is time to pass on a pleasant tribute to Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers who recently died. The tribute was in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday and was written by Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, who recently rerecorded an early Everly Brothers album with Norah Jones. The tribute is at:http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/01/04/green-days-billie-joe-armstrong-the-dark-traditions-of-phil-everly/ 

Billie notes the beautifully straight up and often elegant harmonies of the Everly Brothers that were a great influence on groups such as the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Beach Boys. In addition to offering a pleasant contrast to the hard rocking rockabilly of Elvis in "Bye Bye Love" and "All I Have to Do Is Dream," the Everly Brothers also provided some innocent fun, and comic relief in "Wake Up Little Susie," and "Bird Dog" (although some parts of the country were not quite ready for "Susie" being up so late and not being home by 10, so they banned the record). Phil Everly was a key pioneer in the early days of rock and Billie Joe's tribute nicely captures the mood of that time.


December 14, 2013--Paul Simon shares some wonderful memories about his work on "Graceland" with South African musicians, and his connections to Nelson Mandela through Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba in today's NY Times. He is indeed "sharing diamonds on his soul," It is at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/arts/music/paul-simon-on-mandelas-role-in-graceland.html

For background, you may also want to read a Tom Friedman piece at: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/opinion/friedman-paul-simon-takes-us-back.html?_r=0


11/11--Music continues to flow through my veins after a great weekend of music in the Big Apple--Melissa Etheridge, Joan Osbourne, Counting Crows, Katharine McPhee, and Barbra ('like Butter') Streisand on Friday, and on Friday night and Saturday, wonderful folk and Israeli music, horas, and random spinning for the mind, body, and spirit at Romemu at a ruach-philled family bat mitzvah.

October 30--Winning pitcher John Lackey said it best: "A great team win for a great team." And it was great win for a great city--"Boston Strong; Boston Proud" First time in Boston for ninety-five years. Almost worth the wait.

December 8--
I want to recommend an interview with Santana that was on the PBS news hour tonight coinciding with his Kennedy Centers honors. He talked wonder-fully about the heart and power of good music of all kinds, and his remembrances of Nelson Mandala. The interview is at:http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2013/12/music-legend-carlos-santana-talks-to-jeffrey-brown-on-mondays-pbs-newshour.html

Earlier in the year 2014

July 5--It was a beautiful afternoon for the next to the last day of the 48th Anniversary Folklife Festival on the nation's lawn, the Smithsonian mall. It was in the 80s for the first time in recent Festival history--probably the first 80s day in early July since the 80s. There were the interesting crafts, food, and beverages of the two guest nations. But it was the mesmerizing Kenyan and Mongolian music that filled the mall with joy, rhythm, movement, and discovery. Whether it was Mongolian ofkhoomei throat singing, the mystical Mongolian stringed instruments, or the smooth Afro-popping Kenyan fusion, Benga, or coastal sounds, there was no way to keep from feeling the joy, and swaying to the beat, and dancing. Tomorrow is the last day of the Festival and I recommend it to anyone in the DC area.

July 5--I just wanted to capture and share a magical moment. It is a gorgeous Fifth of July, beautifully sunny and cool under the swaying trees (my parents anniversary playing in the background, with oh-so pleasant memories; it would have been their 78th). Playing in the foreground is "Sleepy Hollow" on XPN.org (a magical mix of music from every genre and decade narrated gently and wisely by a pleasantly-voiced host and tour guide), (right now a wonderful, cross-generational Woody and Arlo Guthrie duet on "This Land is Your Land" is on, in honor of the Fourth). The show gently wipes away the cobwebs out of my awakening blue eyes, as they turn their attention on Steely Dan's Donald Fagen's book of his life, "Eminent Hipsters." It is almost paradise for just a moment that I wanted to share. I hope you do not mind my intrusion into your life. I hope you are enjoying some magical moments of your own. Happy Fifth.

June 28--Meeting with a law school friend for dinner one night this week was a real treat. The DuPont Circle food was blandly average, but the night was just short of electric. We have not seen each other for 12 years or so, but instantly it was like we were in touch all along and did not miss a beat. We rediscovered so many mutual interests and opinions we shared, and even found new mutual interests that we have in common. And perhaps most amazingly, we newly discovered that we were likely at the same Bob Dylan performance that weekday night in May of 1963 at Gerdes Folk City in Greenwich Village, NYC, well before he hit the big time. Appreciatively,we both put a quarter (that was big money at the time; not really) in the hat he passed around, that obviously helped finance the rest of his career. And the rest as they say is his-story,

June 15--I love the intersection and confluence of Father's Day and the anniversary of my dad's passing this year. It makes the wonderful memories even more powerful. I wore one of his ties to the Yahrzeit service at which I commemorated the anniversary and his memory. In the years that have passed since his passing, I continue to learn more and more about the person he was and the times he lived in, and it brings with it wonderful and insightful feelings. I hope that all who are celebrating Father's Day today have a wonderful day being with their father or recalling those wonderful memories of their father.

May 15--It's a new morning, and a new re-do-over with Dylan doing Sinatra doing Rachmaninoff; the singer/artist ever changing and rearranging--from bobby sox to blue jeans and Bach again. There's an interesting articlle at:http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2014/may/14/bob-dylan-and-frank-sinatra-twin-titans-american-music

March 22--
What fun to watch baseball's opening day game from the Sydney (Australia) Cricket Ground between the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks. The world is shrinking as the sun sets on the baseball/cricket empire. 



http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2014/03/22/1226862/219995-e6100fd4-b15c-11e3-995d-6099a80e173b.
resources3.news.com.au




March 1--After an amazingly busy and rewarding work week, it's great to unwind with a night time replay of today's relaxingly lazy, non-consequential, spring training opener with the NYC/Port St. Lucie's Amazin's hosting DC/Viera's Matt-itudinal Nats. I feel an exciting comeback win coming on for DC's Natty Nine. The Kinks and Ray Charles had it right singing, "lazing on a sunny afternoon" (replayed "in the night time, it's the right time....")


February 22--So Facebook asked its usual question--what's on your mind. I usually resist, but today since brain research is on my mind, I thought maybe it might be a fitting question. There is very interesting research being done on education matters such as how we learn and are there greater or lesser aptitudes for learning certain subjects or languages at different ages. Today, in response to the usual FB question, I want to pass on some recent results of brain research on how male and female brains may work differently and on jazz improvisation. The first research is discussed at 
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2013/12/verma/ 
The second research is discussed at 
http://www.sciencenewsline.com/articles/2014021923480012.html
and is detailed at:
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0088665

I welcome your thoughts on any of this, or whatever is on your mind.


Feburary 17--
On a cool crisp and sunny winter morning, I wonder about our ear-podded world in which we close ourselves in to listen just to the music and views that we like, and we often shut ourselves off from the beauty and diverse world around us. While commercial radio is not the greatest, it (along with public radio) provide an element of surprise in our lives, and a chance to discover new things and open ourselves away from just our comfort zones. There is a recent article in the NY Times that raised this issue and I wondered what my FB friends (and their friends) thought about it The article is at:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/opinion/sunday/driving-to-the-music-of-chance.html?ref=opinion&_r=0 I am opening myself up to other views and welcome your thoughts and views...
Janurary 2014--
Touring Munster — with Phil Rosenfelt and Zell Berman Rosenfelt in M√ľnster, Germany.
Photo: Touring Munster
The MHS Philharmonic Orchestra in Amsterdam in January 2014! — with Phil Rosenfelt in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Photo: The MHS Philharmonic Orchestra in Amsterdam in January 2014!
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