Annapolis Tuesday

Yesterday Morning we showed up at Echoes to record a few songs and do an interview with the host, John Diliberto. Since our bus could not get close enough to the studio, and it was raining, we slimmed our instrumentation down and were able to move into the studio with just three car-loads.

Michael played cajon, dumbek and shakers, Jon played bass and his laptop (((the live/performance page of the new Logic 8 looks very good… now, how nice would it be to be able to use the rumored Apple Netbook, and to be able to create some buttons – e.g. a round red button called “Three Days”, to play the intro sound from “Three Days Without You” – on the touchscreen… Can you imagine what a great live performance instrument that would be?!?!))), Stephen played Flamenco guitar and Rusty played djembe and shakers.

As soon as the mics were set up we started playing a bulerias, but I don’t think that was recorded. It’s a good sign when a band enjoys playing, whether they are being recorded or not, whether there is an audience or not! Jon quickly set up key-commands to trigger different sounds and a few times I watched him pluck an open bass strings with his left hand, in order to use the right hand to trigger a sound from his laptop – all in time with the music, of course!

We performed “Morning Light”, “Sao Paulo”, “Three Days Without You” and “Streetlight”.

Back at the bus, I showed John Diliberto a painting by Van Gogh I had found on Wikipedia that morning:

It’s a surprising image, isn’t it? Van Gogh copied this wood print by Hiroshige:

John thought it was an internet hoax, so I sent him a bunch of links… Apparently, the painting by Van Gogh hangs in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Hiroshige print hangs in the Brooklyn Museum. Well, I’ll be in Manhattan for five days and will make an effort to visit the print. I love this sort of East-West communication. Every artist is a multi-linguist. Some of those languages are not spoken.

There is a wikipedia page that shows both paintings next to each other.

51st Grammys: After

From John Diliberto @ Echoes today:

The Echoes Blog
But after I got home, as I booted up my DVR to catch the awards show, I opened an email from Will Ackerman with the news that Jack DeJohnette had taken the New Age Grammy. It’s a crime that this amazing drummer has never won a jazz Grammy for any of the extraordinary albums he’s authored over the last 40 years or so. But it’s a sad day that when he finally wins, it’s for a generic New Age album that would’ve been cliched 30 years ago. DeJohnette getting this award is akin to Jethro Tull getting the heavy metal Grammy in 1988 for Crest of a Knave and Yusef Lateef for getting the New Age Grammy in 1987 for his hackneyed Little Symphony, an album which will be joined by DeJohnette’s Peace Time in the dustbin of forgotten Grammy Award winners. One would hope that the New Age category may get a bit more respect when a musician of this caliber wins, but not for this album. As a member of the Academy, my regrets to Peter Kater, Will Ackerman, Will Clipman and Ottmar Liebert, all of whom released superior albums.

Random Observations:
Brian Eno, all he does is win Grammys for other bands. I don’t believe Coldplay even mentioned him in any of their three award speeches.

I was not going to mention it, but I have received so many emails that maybe I should explain why “The Scent of Light” did not win a Grammy yesterday.

I told Jon at our weekly breakfast together that I thought DeJohnette would win, not because his album is good – it is not – but because Grammy members can vote in any category they want. Yeah, that’s how Jethro Tull once won a Heavy Metal Grammy! (((funny that John and I were both reminded of that glorious piece of history)))

It means that any Jazz musician who sees DeJohnette’s name in the New Age category can vote for him, either because they think the great drummer deserves a Grammy at last, or because they think it would be a hoot to have him win in the New Age category. It did not help that somebody in the New Age category did not approve of iTunes streaming their music for Grammy voters. Per Grammy rules that meant that none of the New Age category nominations would be streamed and voters had to find the music elsewhere or vote without hearing the music

Every time I get nominated we receive calls from publicists who specialise in Grammys. For thousands of dollars they offer to run “a campaign”, which means they send out CDs and letters and emails and solicit votes. I can never agree to that sort of thing, because it makes music feel like politics or at least business. Yes, I make a living from my music, but still, music is what I love doing and I find that politics and business need to be kept at arms length.

And now I shall get back to practicing and playing guitar.

PS: thanks for the emails and this and this

51st Grammys: Before

John Diliberto at Echoes discusses his Grammy picks for this year:

51st Grammys: Echoes at the Edges « The Echoes Blog
Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra: The Scent Of Light

That would leave Ottmar Liebert’s The Scent of Light as the winner. He pushed his Nouveau Flamenco sound by expanding his compositions into quietly epic tone poems that are cinematic in scope and contemplative in form. The Scent of Light was an Echoes CD of the Month and I think it should win and I suspect it will.

The Scent of Light

John Diliberto’s review for The Scent of Light: Ottmar Liebert + Luna Negra: Music
With one of his two 2008 releases, The Scent of Light, Nouveau Flamenco pioneer Ottmar Liebert opens up his music into horizons that are new, yet also recall his 1993 CD, The Hours Between Night + Day. Like that album, many of the songs here are inspired by Liebert’s travels, and similarly, rather than fiery flamenco, he takes a more introspective path with subtle, spacious arrangements. Ambient music, which he explored in the 1990s on Opium, remains an influence in Liebert’s music. He uses electronics to gently shape the acoustic space around his guitar and band with reverse percussion echoes on “Firelight,” call and response guitars on “The River: Writing in Water,” and a tamboura drone and tabla on the haunting “Candlelight.” Mellotron flutes and reverse guitar bring “Moonlight,” the most arresting melody on the album, to a haunting close as it dissolves into birds and wind. The centerpiece of The Scent of Light is “Silence, No More Longing.” It’s an 11 minute excursion that builds from a solo flamenco alap to multi-tracked guitars adding ambient electronics, bass, percussion, and finally unleashing a quiet electric storm from guitarist Stephen Duros. Like the album, it takes you from a world of interior ruminations to exterior vistas.
– John Diliberto