1. Poncho Sanchez-Psychedelic Blues
2. Rodrigo Y Gabriela-11:11
3. Nelly Furtado-Mi Plan
4. Bebel Gilberto-All In One
5. Gustavo Cerati-Fuerza Natural
6. Mercedes Sosa-Cantora
7. V/A-Mata La Pena
8. Mahssa-Oyun Havasi Vol.1
10. V/A-Panama! 2
Poncho Sanchez tops the September chart, in part due to another successful in-store performance on Sunday. Poncho’s latest release, Psychedelic Blues, may not truly “psychedelic,” but then again, neither was The Lebron Brothers' classic album Psychedelic Goes Latin, or, for that matter, Ray Barretto’s Acid. What these three releases have in common is the marriage of soul music and Latin music, which many Latinos growing up in the U.S. during the sixties were influenced by. Psychedelic Blues contains a Willie Bobo medley, a version of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” and Freddie Hubbard's "Crisis."
This past week in Great Britain, in honor of their National Poetry Day, the BBC commissioned a poll to name Britain’s favorite poet. And oddly enough they chose the great American writer T.S. Eliot, best known for his landmark poems The Wasteland and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The 1948 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but moved to England in his mid twenties where eventually he became a British citizen.
According to the BBC, more than 18,000 people voted online. Eliot won by a narrow margin, just ahead of John Donne, the 16th and 17th Century metaphysical poet, with Benjamin Zephaniah coming in third. Zephaniah was the only living poet on the list. Born in 1958, he is a Rastafarian dub poet who last year was included in The Times' list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers. Coming in fourth was Wilfred Owen, the First World War poet who was killed in action at the Battle of the Sambre just a week before the war ended, and rounding out the Top Five was Philip Larkin, who was also renowned as a novelist and a jazz critic.
Many in academia’s hierarchy were a bit perturbed by the lack of rhyme or reason to the top ten finishers. No John Milton or W. H. Auden (maybe because he became an American citizen) or Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney or Ted Hughes or even this old guy named Shakespeare. Most of the great Romantic poets were also shut out: William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Carol Ann Duffy, the current Poet Laureate of Britain, didn’t make the top ten, nor did Rudyard Kipling, who back in 1995 was named Britain’s favorite poet.
The rest in the exclusively male top ten include William Blake, William Butler Yeats, John Betjeman, John Keats and Dylan Thomas.
According to those carrying out the BBC poll, for several months Wilfred Owen led in the voting, most likely reflecting the concerns over the rise of UK soldiers killed in Afghanistan this past summer. But very surprisingly, in the last few weeks, Eliot and The Wasteland pulled it out in the end.
While the results of the poll demonstrated a growing interest in contemporary poetry and that classic poetry still seems to have a strange hold on reader’s affections, the National Poetry Day event and Top Ten list comes on the heels of a survey conducted by the UK Literacy Association that found more than half of primary school teachers could name no more than two poets.
“I'm famous. Ain't that a bitch?”
“Wrong is right.”
“Sometimes it's to your advantage for people to think you're crazy.”
“If someone wants to play music you do not have to get a ruler or whips to make them practice.”
“Be-bop wasn't developed in any deliberate way.”
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”
“All musicians stimulate each other. The vibrations get scattered around.”
“If you really understand the meaning of be-bop, you understand the meaning of freedom.”
“Man, that cat is nuts.” (Monk’s comment about Ornette Coleman.)
“Jazz is my adventure. I'm after new chords, new ways of syncopating, new figures, new runs. How to use notes differently. That's it. Just using notes differently.”
“Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.”
“I don't have a definition of jazz... You're just supposed to know it when you hear it.”
“I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants -- you play what you want and let the public pick up on what you doing -- even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.”
“Miles’d got killed if he hit me.”
“Where’s jazz going? I don’t know? Maybe it’s going to hell. You can’t make anything go anywhere. It just happens.”
“Those who want to know what sound goes into my music should come to New York and open their ears.”
“I like to sleep. There is no set time of day for sleep. You sleep when you’re tired, that’s all there is to it.”
“I don’t consider myself a musician who has achieved perfection and can’t develop any further. But I compose my pieces with a formula that I created myself. Take a musician like John Coltrane. He is a perfect musician, who can give expression to all the possibilities of his instrument. But he seems to have difficulty expressing original ideas on it. That is why he keeps looking for ideas in exotic places. At least I don’t have that problem, because, like I say, I find my inspiration in myself.”
“At this time the fashion is to bring something to jazz that I reject. They speak of freedom. But one has no right, under pretext of freeing yourself, to be illogical and incoherent by getting rid of structure and simply piling a lot of notes one on top of the other. There’s no beat anymore. You can’t keep time with your foot. I believe that what is happening to jazz with people like Ornette Coleman, for instance, is bad. There’s a new idea that consists in destroying everything and find what’s shocking and unexpected; whereas jazz must first of all tell a story that anyone can understand.”
“Well, I enjoy doing it. That’s all I wanted to do anyway. I guess, you know, if I didn’t make it with the piano, I guess I would have been the biggest bum.”
Thelonious Monk was once asked what he thought of Downbeats jazz polls, he thought for a moment and replied, “I have a lot of respect for the Polish people, especially the way they can drink vodka.”