By Donnell Hilton
The song is the thing, at least for me. I seek them out, they are treasure. Not all of them, of course, but there are indeed enough to last a lifetime. I’ve always looked to music to bring color to the world when it didn’t seem to have much and also to accompany its brightest moments, hopefully making them that much more luminous. The search for these Bright Moments (thank you Rahsaan Roland Kirk) continues to be a most worthwhile endeavor. Just recently, whilst listening to an album I love -- Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige (Columbia/Legacy), I found myself drawn to the fifth song on the album and not the fourth. The fourth is one of Ellington’s seminal compositions, “Come Sunday” sung by legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. The fifth song is the same composition with a shorter arrangement and instead of vocals it features one of best Jazz violinists of the ‘40s, Ray Nance. The performance is subtle, beautiful, and yearning…yet another reminder that multiple plays of an album can reveal more over time.
Some songs and albums are so good that they need sharing, especially if I know of someone who would enjoy it as much as I. Recently while trolling the internets for music, I stumbled across Benjamin Clementine, a British-born singer, songwriter, poet, and pianist whose voice drew me in immediately. His album At Least for Now (Capitol Records) is all that I hoped it would be and more. After hearing the first single, “Condolence,” I hoped it would be as good and it is. Clementine’s piano playing and vocals, peppered with some strings and percussion, make for a remarkable first outing. The album is populated with line upon line of a poetic sensibility that is passionate, urgent, and revealing, such as “London” with the lyric, “Though my preferred ways are not happening, I won’t under estimate who I am capable of becoming." There are so many good songs: “Adios,” “Nemesis,” “Cornerstone,” “Quiver a Little.” The follow up can’t come soon enough. I’d love to hear him do a rendition of Weill’s “Pirate Jenny.”
By Donnell Hilton
Amoeba Music sponsors four nights with Japanese-born contemporary jazz pianist Hiromi and her Trio Project at SFJAZZ Center, September 24th - 27th.
Hiromi is an utterly original improviser and composer who turns each piece into a thrilling ride. Her powerful Trio Project features electric bass master Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips, whose resume includes stints with Brian Eno, Jeff Beck, Stanley Clarke, Toto, and The Who. Despite their obvious musical firepower, what’s most impressive about this band isn’t their matchless instrumental technique; it is instead their cohesive group approach in which no instrument is confined to its traditional role.
“I want to treat the three instruments as three pieces of an orchestra, and extend the sound,” says the pianist. She worked with Jackson on her first two albums and had long thought about bringing him into the studio again. After playing several shows as a trio, she knew Phillips was the right drummer for her this incredible trio. “He’s got a very diverse, very unique sound,” Hiromi says. “He has an amazing understanding of all kinds of music, the same as Anthony, and that’s what I was looking for.”
The San Francisco Great Society presents Gathering of the Tribes Festival, an epic one-day psychedelic happening that is bringing local bands, artists, vendors, and fans together at Public Works on September 13th. Between the hours of 12pm and 12am, 18 bands including The She's, The Gentle Cycle, The Spiral Electric, LSD and the Search for God, Down and Outlaws, Cellar Doors, and many more will perform continuously on two stages with visuals provided by Mad Alchemy, White Light Prism, and Andy Puls.
Works by local artists Yasamine June (who designed this amazing poster), Galine Tumasyan, Robert Quinn, Doug Rhodes, and Matt Leunig will also be on display as well as the wares of many far out vendors.
This be-in is going to be the ultimate sonic and visual experience. We can't think of a better way to celebrate being in San Francisco.
Get your tickets now!
|Down and Outlaws|
Amoeba Music is proud to be an official sponsor of the 58th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival and to once again be on-site with the Mini-Amoeba store! Each year, we have a magical time meeting jazz fans and seeing the world's best musicians.
This year's festival welcomes more than 500 artists performing nonstop on eight stages for three nights and two days! Come see amazing sets from Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea, Trombone Shorty, Monty Alexander, Pete Escovedo, Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti, Snarky Puppy, Lizz Wright, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and so many more!
Be sure to visit us at the Mini-Amoeba between sets for tons of rare, collectible, and out-of-print CDs and LPs for sale from our vaults. Plus, look for a host of artists who will be signing copies of their albums at our booth.
Oxford, England's FOALS release their fourth full-length album, What Went Down, this Friday (8/28) and we at Amoeba San Francisco are gonna celebrate the momentous occasion with a free, all-ages album listening party at 4:00pm, and you are all invited!
Besides getting to hear What Went Down in its entirety, you will also get a free FOALS poster with purchase of the new album (only while supplies last) and partake in some yummy FOALS cake! But that's not all! Making the scene at this very special event will allow you to enter to win a fabulous FOALS gift pack containing a limited edition hand-stamped cassette, a portable cassette player, and both What Went Down and Holy Fire on vinyl! The only way to enter is to come on down. See you there!