Tuesday, June 18, 2019 06:35

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Jazz Radio Here and Now

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

So there I am behind the bar at small club in Buffalo, doing my once a year Classic Cocktail Night event. It’s early in the evening with not too many folks around and a couple of the patrons who knew of my personal affinity for jazz listening so we chatted a bit.  They asked about what stations I tuned to these days.

wbfoIt was an easy answer.  I have two favorites, and you don’t have to be in Buffalo to hear them.  One is available over-the-air when I’m in the car where the radio includes HD Radio capability. It’s the HD2 feed that goes along with the main transmission of WBFO, a station that used to broadcast jazz most of the day but pretty much dropped it a few years ago. Now it sends out a 24 hour jazz feed provided by JazzWorks. It’s a fine service and when I’m not driving in Buffalo I can jazzworks-colorlisten via an Internet feed either directly from WBFO or through the good offices of TuneIn. I usually use a Roku player for that but computers, phones, tablets, smart TVs, Blu-Ray players, and other media devices will also serve.

logo-tsfThe other one, and the one that I head for first is TSF Jazz. That’s also readily available on TuneIn. It has its own mobile apps, too. Internet streaming is the only way for me to listen since TSF Jazz is based in France with headquarters in Paris an satellite stations around the country.

I ran into it first in a taxi from the Paris ariport last fall. When I got home, I was very happy to find it so easily available to me. The programming is as varied as any jazz nut could want. It’s totally up to date and has a significant world view of America’s music. It also reaches as far back as Jelly Roll Morton and Joe Oliver.

Here’s the last hour of programming on TSF Jazz as of this writing:

Jan Lundgren Mulgrew
Dave Brubeck/Paul Desmond Broadway bossa nova
Muddy Waters My captain
Ernie Fields Castle rock
Nikki Yanofsky Little secret
Teddy Edwards Nothin’ but the truth
Django Reinhardt Manoir de mes reves
Monty Alexander What’s going on
Mccoy Tyner Star eyes
Frank Sinatra Empty is
Laurent De Wilde Fe fe naa efe
Roy Hargrove I’m not so sure
John Coltrane Mr. Syms

And to let you make comparisons, here’s a similar JazzWorks playlist from this evening:



Gerry Mulligan Venus De Milo
Brent Jensen Just Squeeze Me
Roberta Gambarini Day In, Day Out
Al Cohn & Zoot Sims Emily
Count Basie Jumpin’ at the Woodside
Jan Leder (Female) Bluesette/All Blues
Andre Previn & David Finck Batter Up
Gene Harris Amazing Grace
Fraser Macpherson Quartet How Deep is the Ocean?
Quincy Jones/Sammy Nestico Orch. For Lena and Lennie

There’s plenty of good listening on both lists.

“There’s a Future in the Past,” so send money.

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Documntary FilmHudson West Productions is developing a full-length documentary about Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks. That’s Vince there at the left with the classy tuba.  He also plays a less shiny but still impressive looking vintage string bass with an aluminum body.  He’ll also wield a bass saxop0ne, an instrument which has long been considered unwieldy.  He sings, too.  Hey, so did Woody.

The Nighthawks is (are?) Giordano’s fine big band.  It plays music mainly from the Jazz Age and  Swing Era but also handles post-WW II modernism very nicely, thank you.   Giordano and associates are the go-to gang when movie and TV producers want period authenticity in pop and jazz musical performances.  But much more to the point, they play for listening and dancing at all sorts of venues for the immediate enjoyment of real people right now.  They’re doing, in other words, what Ellington, Whiteman, Goldkette, Henderson, Redman, and many more did, but it’s not a nostalgia trip any more than a current performance of Beethoven, Mozart, or Verdi would be.

Every time Giordano and the Nighthawks play, they are doing the real thing.  Yes, it’s a recreation but not in the sense of Renaissance Fair jousting or Civil War battle reenactments.  It’s more like the vintage rule baseball teams which play real games with real scoring and real rules from back then.

Now for the money part.  There’s a crowdfunding component to the production. Indiegogo is accepting donations.  They’re offering perks, too, for certain donation levels, like public media and like contributions to public media, your donation is eligible for a tax deduction.  The goal is $168,000.  At this moment (including a few bucks from me), the total stands at $40,763 with 27 days left.   Consider helping.

Pono? PONO! pono.

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

I’m a little late to the party. I hadn’t heard of Pono until reading Paul McGowan’s Righteous commentary. Paul is the CEO of PS Audio and produces daily musings, mostly dealing with music and audio.  Righteous introduced me to Pono.  It showed up yesterday.

I forwarded Paul’s comments to Bob Lefsetz. Bob is a music industry pro, commentator, and gadfly.  He sends out and posts the Lefsetz Letter, mostly dealing with music, artists, the recording industry, and technology.  Along with Paul’s Righteous observations, I included my own as follows:


Pono?  Paul McGowan says “You’ve no doubt heard of Pono.”  I hadn’t.

Apparently Neil Young’s going to try to roll his own digital music distribution service.  Apparently he figures he can do it better than Apple, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and all that.

The way I read it, Pono is going to sell files…okay license files…that sound better than current digital distribution (files or streaming).  That’s a damn low bar of course.

But selling rights to store files on one’s own hard drive, card, what have you is starting to sound like “been there done that.”  And I’m not going to buy another damn copy of “Kind of Blue.”  I picked up the original LP while in high school, bought two CDs since then.  That’s enough.

My phone’s loaded up with MP3 stuff that I listen to in the car via the Bluetooth link.  I wouldn’t do that except that the sound quality on SiriusXM is absolutely intolerable on so many feeds…the ones I care to listen to anyway.

In the house, I flip on Pandora more than anything.  The sound quality is decent, although not consistently so.  And over time I’ve fine-tuned my list of “stations” to produce what for me is a wonderful mix that’s mostly familiar and guaranteed enjoyable but often surprising, challenging, and enlightening.

And who needs a pay service because Neil Young thinks he’s getting screwed by the usual suspects?

A new Lefsetz Letter arrived as soon as I finished typing what’s immediately above and forwarding Paul’s post. Clearly Bob Lefsetz had already been typing his Pono views and sent them out to all his readers as I was forwarding my quick thoughts to him.

Of course I had to share  Lefsetz’s Pono comments with Paul McGowan.  I included the following:
I forwarded your “Righteous” email to Bob Lefsetz and found this in my inbox seconds later.  I’d guess he was preparing his take on Pono well before I sent your piece along.


Paul’s reply:

Then he’ll absolutely love tomorrow’s.  🙂
He certainly knows how to be a grump.


Finally (for now) here’s today’s Kicking Butt from Paul McGowan.  It’s the “tomorrow’s”  that Paul referred to.

Comments welcome.