The second annual International Jazz Day takes place Tuesday, April 30. Amoeba has made available signed copies of Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project on vinyl for sale in-store or on Amoeba.com for $35. Released in 2010, the double-disc Imagine Project features collaborations between the jazz legend and artists including Pink, Seal, John Legend, Susan Tedeschi, Tinariwen, Los Lobos, Dave Matthews, Chaka Khan and many others. The versions recorded of standards and classics incorporate musics from around the world, including a version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” boosted by the beats of Congolese group Konono No. 1 and a version of Bob Dylan’s “The Times, They Are a Changin’” featuring the West African kora, the Celtic flute and Uilleann pipes. The album was complemented by a documentary about the recording process called Herbie Hancock: Possibilities, which Amoeba screened last year.
If you don't already know, we here at Amoeba are very much underway with our monumental archiving project for our website Amoeba.com, simply called the "Vinyl Vaults". It's a really spectacular beginning to what is and will be a huge undertaking in offering to the public digital transfers of the most remarkable older, oblique and hard to find works of creative peoples around the globe throughout the history of recording. I myself, am curating a large part of this, and have been very excitedly pulling out many, many unique pieces of vinyl out of the used LP buys that we take in at Amoeba's buying counters, and sending them into the ether (ie,our great team) to be archived and considered for sale on Amoeba.com. Our sound team takes these copies of the LPs, 7" singles and 78 rpm discs and digitizes them via ProTools, into 24-bit files, and then make mp3, mp4 and 16 bit .wav files (CD quality) from the 24-bit master and split up the sides into tracks for folks to download. We sometimes offer of the highest resolution 24-bit file as well for a certain title. And in many cases the original LP or 78 or 45 we used to digitize the sides is available right there next to the download.
How do I decide what we save to digitize and offer to the public as I go through all these LPs? The records almost speak to me as I sift over the aquisitions we've purchased in the collections we buy. If I don't know the record, I'll see the look of the cover, the paper texture, and the era of manufacture as the first things revealed. Even the weight and smell of the "thing". Exotic LPs have a feel to them, a way they communicate to the holder that they are something interesting, distinctly special, and a thing to be investigated further. If you've held a phonograph record in your hands you know what I mean. Often the packaging will tell me what's inside, but how many records say "vocals" or "guitar" or "piano", and yet how different can all these records be? The actual sound on the disc is an exciting mystery of immense promise before I hear it. So then, to play a little bit, I "needle-drop" (sample bits of) so many records in a day. And it just so happens that Amoeba offers 1 1/2 minutes of free sample listening for all the records' songs, so this is comparable to how I listen to potential pieces for the Vaults. Once chosen, a disc will undergo a discerning ear's analysis and judgement for condition, and a little research to see if folks already know about this record. Ultimately, the bliss of finding a transcendent musical performance by a deceased or obscure artist or on a long-defunct label is intoxicating. And to think that others can later enjoy these provocative sounds via the "Vinyl Vaults" is exhilarating.
For this special edition of the New York State of Mind Amoeblog, I'm posting a series of pictures (mostly taken in recent weeks around Manhattan as well as a couple of other spots not far from Manhattan) that tell a story of what New York City has to offer. If you move your cursor over the photos most of them have some accompanying text that will identify their location or offer other related information.
Jazz icon Dave Brubeck, who died yesterday (Dec 5th) in Norwalk, Conn of heart failure, just one day shy of his 92nd birthday, may well always be most remembered for his huge crossover hit of his long-time musical partner, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond's composition "Take Five" that he and his quartet recorded for the groundbreaking 1959 album Time Out. But the Bay Area born jazz pianist/composer's legacy goes far deeper than that one incredibly popular song from an equally popular album Time Out, which also featured "Blue Rondo a la Turk" - another song that would go on to become a jazz standard, was the first jazz album ever to sell a million copies. Time Out was just one release in an incredibly prolific and rich recording career by the artist who recorded over 50 albums (many more when you include all the compilations and collections such as Dave Brubeck: Twenty Classic Albums that was coincidentally released on Tuesday this week by Real Gone/Primetech). Check the JazzDisco.Org site for a complete listing of Brubeck's long discography and check the Amoeba online store for what is currently available from Brubeck's back catalog: about three dozen Brubeck releases in total, found under the three categories: Dave Brubeck solo, Dave Brubeck Quartet, and Dave Brubeck Octet. Above and below are a few videos capturing some great moments in the artist's long illustrious career including that song that he will be most remembered for. Rest in peace Dave Brubeck.
As with everyone whose lives have been touched by Austin Peralta - the gifted young LA jazz pianist / composer whose sudden death last week shocked everyone who knew him - we here at Amoeba Music are similarly saddened greatly by this tragic news of the loss of our good friend who played at the Hollywood Amoeba just a few short months ago.
Austin is gone way too soon. But despite his young age, the talented artist had accomplished an incredible amount in his all too short time on this earth. He was only 15 years of age when he recorded and released his debut album of mostly jazz standards Maiden Voyage (on Sony/Japan) with respected jazz sidemen Billy Kilson (drums) and Ron Carter (bass). Then at age 16 the young jazz artist recorded another acclaimed album, Mantra for Sony/Japan, with respected seasoned jazz musicians Steve Nelson (vibraphone) and Buster Williams (bass).
Peralta, the son of skateboarder and film director Stacy Peralta, proved to be a tireless performer (check out this link to hundreds of YouTube clips) and recording artist. Two years ago he recorded his most attention getting album (Stateside) Endless Planets which was released by Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder Records imprint back in March of 2011. Six months ago Ireland's All City Records released his Views of Saturn Vol. 2 - a shared vinyl-only 12" release with the late great Sun Ra who inspired the record. It was four months ago when Austin stopped by Amoeba Hollywood to perform as part of our Brainfeeder series (picture above was taken at that Amoeba in-store in July). A week ago on November 22nd just four weeks after his 22nd birthday Peralta died - the result of as yet unknown causes. At this sad time our thoughts here at Amoeba are with his family, friends, and fans. Rest in peace Austin Peralta.