RIP Walter Becker (1950-2017), age 67

This is truly a very sad day in music. Along with Donald Fagen, Walter Becker created Steely Dan. Their music, the musicians they utilized, and the fans that listened to their songs will know this duo as inovating and incorporating pop, jazz, and blues to such a level of sophistocation and lyricism to easily be named as many a music-lovers favourite band.

Their songs are wrapped in American history. Their influences are the best. And Walter’s subtle guitar solos, floating bass lines, and teamwork with Fagen cement him as one of the legends of American music.

More here:

“And Die Behind The Wheel” . . : Steely Dan’s Deacon Blues

and here:

 

and here:

 

and here:

 

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Internation Jazz Day

International Jazz Day.pngThree posts in one day?! A wonderful day for music education!

In fact, the UN has made April 30th International Jazz Day! So make it a point to set some time to listen to and appreciate some wonderful jazz music. I’m listeing to the ‘Classic Jazz’ channel right now on jazzradio.com.

 

Edmonton Folk Fest 2017

Edmonton Folk Fest 2017 poster.pngAugust 10th through the 13th, it’s off to Edmonton, Alberta’s Gallagher Park for some live music during the Edmonton Folk Fest. I just got an email talking about four of the musicians that will be performing. The rest of my day will be listening and most likely buying some amazing new music. Thank you, Edmonton

Bruno Mars’ Tribute to Sting – and a bonus

Every year, the John F Kenedy Center for the Performing Arts puts on a show. One or these days, I’d like to go. I don’t think I’ll sell 100 million albums like Sting, but I’d settle for spectator.

“The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates the spectacular talents of artists whose brilliance has left a lasting impact on our society,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.

“Reflecting on the powerful commitments these artists have made to their crafts as well as the cultural contributions they have made over the course of their illustrious careers is a humbling experience,” commented Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter.

In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, hosted by Stephen Colbert, the 2016 Honorees were saluted by artistic colleagues and friends, including some of today’s leading performers and living legends. Seated with the President of the United States and Mrs. Obama, the Honorees enjoyed the recognition and gratitude of their peers through performances and tributes.

This was just on FB, and was from 2014:

 

https://www.kennedy-center.org/artist/A119931

 

Here’s your bonus…

A year before, at the Grammy Awards, Bruno Mars and Sting performed together for a tribute to Bob Marley.

RIP Rudy Van Gelder (1924-2016)

Jazz can be intimidating to the average music listener who is not a muscian. When I studied classical saxophone at the University of Alberta, I would oftentimes have to field questions about how I could possible play jazz. Classical musicians are trained to read music on paper to such a high level that I’ve even seen a pianist flip his music UPSIDEDOWN and site-read the notes. That’s what you get with years of practice.

Playing jazz is not the same on that level, but it’s not so completely different. In the practice room, you practice scales, then work on licks (short phrases of notes) and you train your ear to listen for the chord changes that work with the scales you’ve practiced long and hard at. The improvisatory nature of jazz is fundamentally different than only reading the notes on paper, and that is where the mystery lies with the non-player.

What Van Gelder did was record in the most beautiful, natural, clear way the magic that existed between the players. It’s not like a mathmatical equation. If you put together a group of musicians, they listen to each other, react to each other, and the output is an audable product greater than the sum of its parts. That was Van Gelder’s legacy, and the marvelous technology and technique that he pioneered is the glorious fact that you can hear those players RIGHT NOW if you wanted to on your stereo.

That’s what I’ll be doing today, starting with Song for My Father.

Rest in Peace, Rudy.

New York Times

The New Yorker

Song for My Father via iTunes

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