The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek

Looking Back At DOOM . . .

Hearkening back to a blog post from earlier this year, it looks like DOOM is up to his old tricks again. The Daily Swarm reports another fake show, leaving fans upset and confused. It may be true to his artistic vision of his character, but it's certainly not winning him any fans. And remember, it's the villains you love to hate that everybody gets behind - not just the bad guys in general.

Also, I've already mentioned it on Twitter and the Facebooks, but there have been some . . . interesting comments on the Indianapolis Star's Fountain Square article my wife and I appeared in over the weekend. So go over and have some fun with those.

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Indy Jazz Fest Lineup Announced

The main announcement came out last week, but I'm just now catching up with the time to post my thoughts about it. And they're mostly good thoughts:

  • The tribute to jazz giant and local hero Freddie Hubbard is the centerpiece of the festival, and deservedly so. This man was a monster of a player, and his contributions deserve to be recognized. That he actually played one of the jazz festivals before his death was a special event, and paying homage to his legacy in the Madame Walker Theater is the right thing to do.
  • The talent gathered for this tribute is a fantastic lineup, including bassist Rufus Reid and stellar horn players Nicholas Payton and Randy Brecker. Nice choices!
  • The inclusion of Charlie Hunter is a great move, even if it is on a "jam" night. He carries forth in the soulful side of jazz quite well, and it's nice to see his inclusion round out the offerings of the festival.
  • Headliners Branford Marsalis and Kurt Elling represent jazz heavyweights without dealing with smooth jazz like Dave Koz or Spyro Gyra.
  • Good local representation by artist like Brandon Meeks is much appreciated.
  • Multiple locations leading up to the main event are a great idea - it makes it feel more like a festival rather than just an elongated concert.

My only regret is that they didn't bring in somebody like Hiromi's Uehara (expansive fusion), or possibly some more funky jazz like Roy Hargrove or Christian McBride (who are both mining more traditional fare on their latest albums, but they're capable of killing on either side of that fence). But as it stands, it's a good lineup - can't wait for it to get here.


Michael Jackson Bass Trio Tribute

From the wonderful new bass info source No Treble, it's a jazz bass trio paying tribute to "Beat It." Enjoy. It's a small reminder of some of the great work that players like Louis Johnson and Freddie Washington did with Michael Jackson's bass lines. The public may not know the players' names right of hand, but the lines are instantly memorable.


Choose Your Music Supervisor Carefully

Twice this weekend, I was brought out of a movie's story line to confront some less-than-stellar music choices. One was simply unfortunate, and one was egregious. They're both lessons to music supervisors to choose carefully.

The simply unfortunate was the use of the Beastie Boys track "Sabotage" in "Star Trek." The scene had a too-young-to-drive (even in the future) James Kirk cruising along in car screaming along to the track - a track that would have been hundreds of years old by the time of the shooting. Would a young child appreciate (or even have access to) music that old? It was a misstep in an otherwise decent movie. At least they managed to avoid the trap of putting in generic-sounding nu-metal to signal the dark, dystopian future.

The egregious example came from Rosie O'Donnell's documentary "All Aboard." In one scene, following the touching marriage of two gentleman aboard the cruise ship, we're treated to Harry Nilsson singing . . . "Sail Away." Yes, that Randy-Newman-penned song that extols their new country to groups of African slaves, sung from the perspective of the slave merchant. They conveniently left out the part about watermelon and buckwheat cakes, and they never put into context the arrival of the ship in Charleston Bay - home of the slave auctions. The whole point of the song is glossed over for this one moment. Using the song in this way totally undercuts the message of tolerance and acceptance the documentary is trying to communicate. Everything I'd seen up to that point was ruined by one song.

Please, music supervisors - be careful. The wrong choice can be just distracting, or it can take down the entire project.


Recent eMusic Scores

It's a shoppin spree when my eMusic subscription rolls over, and this time I think I managed to use my allowance quite wisely.

El Michels Affair "Enter The 37th Chamber" is a fairly decent collection of instrumental Wu Tang Clan covers - I compare it to a twice-baked lasagna of instruments covering samples of instruments.

Melvin Gibbs's Elevated Entities is an intriguing meld of hip-hop and funk with Afro-Brazilian rhythms and melodies. He's a criminally underrated bassist and strong composer. Get it now.

And finally, Greg Tate's Burnt Sugar The Arkestra does a great job of updating the 70s Miles Davis sound and the hinted-at Sun Ra influence. It still has a power and freshness to it, so it's definitely worth a listen.


A Little Worn Out

Aside from carrying a new amp through a torrential downpour, the weekend turned out fairly well musically. Highlights included the Playboy Psychonauts at a Muncie house party (I threw in the Bass Whammy pedal on this gig, just for fun, and the chorus sound fit in well with some of the songs) and the Hold Steady show down in Bloomington. I'm not sure there's a better just-that-much-fun rock show out there right now than those boys. Aside from the occasional problems with the PA, it was a great event.

After a little recovery time, I'm going to play a little bit with Pd, just 'cause I don't have enough to do and I'm a little curious about this particular bit of open source music software.


Brown-Eyed Girl

One of my recent tweets detailed my rule that once the band plays "Brown-Eyed Girl" at any function, I'm out the door.  In this case, said tweet was prompted at a charity event downtown over the weekend.  The band started out tolerably with "What A Wonderful World" and Bruce Springsteen's "Fire," but the third song killed out.  The charity already had our money, so I felt no remorse about calling it a night and heading home.  The band didn't even make the lead singers handle the tune - it was instead turned over to the pony-tailed keyboardist, who probably mastered the tune at a smooth lounge somewhere.  The song was too much of a chore for the regular singers - they had to call in backup.

It seemed to hit a nerve, too.  I got responses uniformly in support of my personal rule, so it made me wonder why the song is still played so frequently.  It's a song so bad, not even a bass solo could save it.  Van Morrison has infinitely better material, so why not go for that?  The only thing I can come up with is:

  1. Instantly recognizable.
  2. Drilled into your head.
  3. Easily identifiable with the majority of the population.
  4. Fast enough to dance to, slow enough to not present a challenge.
  5. Some kind of brainwashing and desensitization at birth.  Probably involving needles.

I'm going to stop thinking about it now.  Sorry for the burden. Just stop playing it, please.  That's all I ask.


Jazz Bass All Over The Place

eMusic is helping me put some more Mingus on my iPod right now, so it's a good time to take a look at bassists and their place as jazz bandleaders. The good folks at AccuJazz have put up a bass-centric channel called Covering All The Bassists that feature Mr. Mingus and many, many more. NPR has also gotten in on the act with their Take Five sampler. Some of the best are up there, and it's a shame there's only five tracks to peruse. Enjoy.


Daptone Gear Stolen

When Gabe Roth writes that recently stolen items from his studio include "A whole bunch of condensor and dynamic microphones (I still need to figure out exactly what's missing)," that's potentially a huge loss. Roth is one of the masterminds behind Daptone Records, and their recording philosophy includes a reliance on older gear. Even if it didn't cost that much, it can't be easy to find and replace some of the more unique items. A complete list of the stolen gear can be found here, among other places. Here's hoping they get their gear back soon. And if this doesn't serve as a cautionary tale to get insurance and security, I don't know what does.

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Duke Spirit @ Radio Radio 12/2/08

Most notable about this night at Radio Radio was the packed house.  It's a tough sell to get people out on a weeknight in Indianapolis once the temperature dips below freezing, but this band managed a big crowd on a otherwise unremarkable Tuesday.  Nice work.

The fact that the performance justified the crowd level was a bonus.  The Duke Spirit had an instant rapport with the audience despite the singer's admission that they were wracked with some form of respiratory ailments, and they put on a high-energy show nonetheless.   Trashy, driving fun.

Also, I just found out that Dick Dickinson died Monday, and it's a huge loss for the Indianapolis music community, jazz or otherwise.  The Chatterbox downtown will have a memorial show Wednesday, December 10th.