Thursday, September 29, 2011

This Friday Night: Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project CD Release Party



There are numerous worthy events in the San Francisco Bay Area to promote, and if I wrote 365 entries each year, I still would not get to all of them. While this weekend features the behemoth Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park, the best stuff to check out is invariably the smaller gigs in smaller venues the evenings after these performances.

Friday's record release party at The BeatBox Club on 11th Street & Folsom is particularly cool. Ralph Carney, known as one of the co-founders of the wonderful, original and indescribable Akron band Tin Huey, as well as a presence on recordings by The B-52s, Tom Waits, and a fellow whose signature sound on numerous instruments can be found in a gazillion bands and soundtracks, will be leading the Serious Jass Project at 10:00 p.m., and then its offshoot ensemble, The Cottontails, for the 11:00 set.

Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project has a new CD, Seriously, out on Smog Veil Records. This band, featuring Michael McIntosh on piano, Ari Munkress on bass and Randy Odell on drums, pays tribute to the music of Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman, Benny Moten, Henry "Red" Allen, Coleman Hawkins, Andy Kirk and Ben Webster - with touches of Sun Ra and Spike Jones thrown in for good measure.

I'm bias when it comes to Ralph Carney; he and approximately 47 musical instruments were involved in several shows I produced. Although my company-on-a-shoestring, Reet Spleet Productions, certainly could not afford a symphony, we could hire Ralph and Beth Custer to essentially provide a two-person orchestra. If you're running a 1921 Felix The Cat cartoon and need someone who can improvise the perfect sound effect, on the spot, something sonically amazing that you would never think of - Ralph is your man!

Ralph's encyclopedic riffology and swing will be in the spotlight this Friday night. There will be fun and stellar musicianship with good humor (but no ice cream that I know of).

Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project's Gala Record And CD Release Party
The BeatBox Club
314 11th Street (cross street is Folsom)
San Francisco, CA
9pm - Rob Reich Trio
10pm - Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project
11pm - The Cottontails
Buy advance tickets here

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How To Feel Miserable As An Artist


I more accurate name for the following list would be How To Feel Miserable As A Human Being.

Of course, what one is supposed to do is not admit publicly to having actually done any of these ten things, not now, not in the past, not ever.

Alas, #1 ("constantly compare yourself to other artists") invariably leads to #5 and the not mentioned #11 "beat the shit out of yourself repeatedly and unrelentingly for no reason" are particularly lethal bear traps and time holes to be avoided. I don't mind doing #9, provided the pay rate is decent, the check is good and the parameters are well-defined.

And I haven't done all of these ten things. . . really!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Week From Tonight At Alameda's Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge: Tikitronic Film Festival

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the (shudder) real world, Will "The Quill" Viharo, Sci Fi Bob Ekman, Psychotronic Paul and The Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge present The Tikitronic Film Festival, featuring trailers, drive-in snack ads, Scopitones, commercials, cartoons, industrial films and cinematic ephemera in glorious 16mm on the big screen!


The Tikitronic Film Festival
The Date: Thursday, September 22
Showtime: 7:30 p.m.
The Place: The backyard parking lot of The Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge
Where: 1304 Lincoln Avenue, Alameda, CA


Reasons To Go: Mixed drinks in the lounge, customized tiki door prizes and, outside, delirious entertainment that will have you un-squarely way deep in WTF Land within the first 137 seconds. And, of course, Scopitones like this one:


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eternal Music From The Incomparable Mel Tormé

Born on September 13, 1925: legendary vocalist-arranger-actor-drummer-author Mel Tormé.









Although Mel (lucky for us earthlings) lived long enough to record tons of albums and tour the globe many times over six decades - boy, do we miss him!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Yesterday, September 9, 2011 Was. . .

Yesterday would have been the 70th birthday of rhythm-and-blues vocalist and architect of The Stax Sound, the incomparable Otis Redding.



With Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield, Otis was one of the giants of the field, towering figures in 20th century popular music - and gone far too soon.



Karla Redding-Andrews wrote an excellent tribute to her dad in the Huffington Post. There is also the Legacy Of Otis Redding DVD compiling his performances.



Although he died in a plane crash with four members of backing band The Bar-Kays, at the end of the same year that claimed John Coltrane, 1967, Otis recorded and toured prolifically in those few years of his performing career and, like fallen jazz trumpeters Clifford Brown and Booker Little, left a legacy of amazing music behind.



I don't care if some tunes are repeated in these clips. Can't get too much of Otis tearing it up with the mighty Booker T and The MGS in support.









Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Patsy Cline, Otis Redding, Rick Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughn and (much later) John Denver - DAMN!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Psychotronic Paul Ponders The English Language: Observation #17

(Imagine Andy Rooney voice here) Do you ever notice that there is only one letter of difference between "deprived" and "depraved"?

Just one letter. . . the lives of King Henry VIII, wordsmiths Lord Byron and William S. Burroughs, not to mention countless never broke but ever libidinous hedonists from 1965-1980 notwithstanding.

A product of emotional deprivation, perchance?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Ladies And Gentlemen: The One And Only Spike Jones (And His City Slickers)

Need a laugh? Call on Spike Jones. Enjoy the following half hour compilation of mayhem-filled excerpts from The All-Star Review.



If that was simply not enough, more barely-controlled chaos by Spike Jones and The City Slickers is available on DVD.





Spike's"Musical Depreciation Revue" can be found on two multi-DVD sets: The Best Of Spike Jones and Spike Jones: The Legend.