Amoeblog

The Amoeba Jazz Blowout

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 24, 2009 02:04am | Post a Comment

In celebration of the Amoeba Hollywood Jazz Blowout sale, I’ve been spending time on my computer checking out older Jazz videos. In the process, I have rediscovered the many great performances from the Montreux Jazz Festival, which is held in Switzerland during the month of July. The festival, which started in 1967, was originally held at the old Montreux Casino until, of course, it burned down in 1971. The fire was apparently caused by “some stupid with a flare gun” while Frank Zappa was playing. You might heard about it in a little ditty by Deep Purple called “Smoke On The Water.” The casino was rebuilt but due to the enormity of the festival, it is now held at the larger Convention Centre in Montreux with two main stages and several small stages.

Perhaps every legendary jazz artist you can think of has played Montreux. Over the years the festival has become less about jazz and has opened its doors to all kinds of music. Still, for any musician, this is the place to be seen. Over two hundred thousand people attend the festival every year and even more see the performances via television, web casts and through the many DVDs that have been released over the years.

Just watching the highlights of the forty-two year history of the festival on Youtube was overwhelming. There have been thousands of solos of all kinds and excellent musicianship throughout; however, it's the vocalists that provide some of my favorites performances. I picked three videos that feature Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Elis Regina.

Continue reading...

(In which Job learns he is no chicken.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 10, 2008 03:17pm | Post a Comment
gustav dore
The view from my window. That store in the middle is Linda Thai - they have great food.

It’s a beautiful, autumn day in Hollywood. I’m sitting in my underwear at my open French doors which overlook my bustling community and writing this sentence. Well, I was. Now I’m writing this sentence.

Suddenly, I begin a new paragraph and with it, a faint sense of dread seeps in, because I realize I’m writing about writing, and there’s only so long that that is cute. It could quickly descend into obnoxiousness.

So I choose to focus on your face. Your sweet, shining face reading this blog entry. I can feel your eyes gaze on these words, and my heart grows warm. A little too warm. This is uncomfortable, actually.

I think I might be having a heart attack.

Which reminds me of that age-old question: What music would you like to be listening to when you’re experiencing myocardial infarction (or, as they call it on the East Coast, Hellmann’s)?

It’s a tricky question because you want something that will keep your spirits up as you endure the occlusion of your coronary artery following the rupture of a vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, but you don’t want anything too loud and jarring when an unstable collection of lipids and macrophages ruptures the wall of your artery. Plus, it should be catchy. Anything that meanders like, say, late Scott Walker or Laura Nyro is going to annoy your nurses every time. Nurses hate Laura Nyro when they’re working. Also  they don’t like it when you call them “mommy”.

“My pain scale is a 5, Mommy,” is all you have to say and they’ll shoot you a look so cold you’d think you were in the E.R. for hypothermia. It doesn’t matter that you’re trying to make things more cozy and homey. Ask them “Why are you hurting me with that needle, Mommy?” and forget about it. No good pills for you. (This is different if the nurse is male, however, in which case they not only think it’s cute that you call them “mommy” but will often scribble their personal home phone number on your electrocardiogram.)

(In which Job strays, but remains Faithfull in his heart.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 16, 2008 09:10am | Post a Comment
Dresden Germany
My apartment. ...Or wait - No, this is a picture of Dresden after the bombing.

I’m looking around my apartment for a conversational starting point. My apartment is a mess right now, so there’s a lot to see:

A full hamper of clean clothes that I haven’t yet folded and tucked away.

The (amazing and important) Paul Robeson DVD box set that Criterion released. On top of that is the Nina Simone “Four Women” anthology that Charles loaned me.

My stereo, upon which some Marianne Faithfull recordings of Kurt Weill is playing.

Books everywhere, the closest of which, to me, is “Scum Manifesto” by that blithe and sparkling literary pixie, Valerie Solanas.

A drop-leaf table from Ikea that’s nearly completed construction (since February).

A computer upon which I’m writing an, as yet, trite and aimless blog.

I really should clean this place up.

You know, speaking of Marianne Faithfull, she came into Amoeba Hollywood not that long ago. Normally, when celebrities shop our store (every hour, it seems) I turn a blind eye. I don’t want to be “that guy” that demands some stranger’s time because I “feel” like I “know them” because they played some teen star’s mom on some trite and aimless sitcom.

However, when Kim and Logan came racing back to the soundtrack section to tell me they spotted the glorious Ms. Faithfull inside, I dropped everything and gave chase. I knew, from friends’ stories, that Ms. Faithfull was gracious; besides, I admire her so much that it would be an honor just to have her snub me, so I couldn’t lose, either way.

My soul be lifted and sanctified.

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 12, 2007 10:06am | Post a Comment
I look around every day and see people being awful to one another, I see everything from violence to rude. I have to say to anyone who reads this: there is no excuse for it. Not a one. Ever.



For myself, Nina Simone is the high priestess of kicking your ass, among many other talents. My day required this video, and I hope it touched your day as well.


 -The Insomniac
BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  >>