Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vinyl review : Felt – Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty

Mike at has been gracious enough to allow me to share some of his work with the CVR audience. Here we have an album review.  Be sure to stop by his site  and look around and welcome a new contributor to the CVR Blog!

Vinyl review : Felt – Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty

October 5th, 2010 Artist – Felt
Title – Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty

Format – Vinyl LP

Label – Cherry Red

Year- 1981

Felt was an early indie band from England that mostly made jangly stuff centered around guitar melodies. The lead singer and songwriter goes only by “Lawrence” and sings kind of like Bryan Ferry on valium.

…i’m not sure what else to say, really. Having listened through some of their 10 year discography, it’s all kind of samey : shimmering, atmospheric instrumentals paired with plaintive lyrics. They get a little poppyer and uptempo as they progress through the 80s, but this debut record is on the darker side..

The album opens with Evergreen Dazed, a 5 minute instrumental piece whose pained guitar lines evoke shuffling through chilly fall afternoons under steel gray skies. Unfortunately, the guitar on this track is kinda shrill, I mean I guess its meant to be high pitched and twangy but it’s still not as smooth as I expected from vinyl.

Our next song is Fortune, and the version on this album is  different than the one i’ve heard  before, it’s slower and has tribal-ish drums instead of porn music rim knocks. Wiki tells me it was re-recorded and re-released in 84 as a b-side, which is probably what I heard before. I prefer the single version.

Guitar harshness is reduced on the rest of the tracks, but still seems too jumpy and fake. On the tracks that have percussion, the drums are primitive style tomtoms and hand drums that have appropriate bass and a sense of being struck by a person. Lawrence’s vocals can get rather hissy and sibilant, especially on I Worship The Sun. In sum, the album’s sound isn’t terrible but it left me disappointed, especially since I had only heard the MP3s from the CD version before so I was expecting to be blown away by a rich sonic landscape. I guess if I had a tube amp it would mellow out the edges a bit.

Being that this is a fairly rare record, I can’t find it on Amazon for you guys. I got my copy from a guy on Discogs for about 55 dollars, which is fairly steep but at least it was in near mint condition.

Music – B-

Sound – C

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Dave Brubeck: Legacy Of A Legend



Kick-off of year-long Brubeck 90th birthday campaign at Legacy Recordings

Available at both physical and digital retail outlets starting November 16, 2010, through Columbia/Legacy

On December 6th, TCM to premiere new documentary, Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way, executive-produced by Clint Eastwood

NEW YORK, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- With every passing decade, the national treasure known as Dave Brubeck continues to amaze his millions of fans across the globe. His energy seems to transcend all bounds, as his quartet performed more than 50 concerts in 2010, and new compositions continue to pour from his fertile imagination. On Monday, December 6, 2010, the world will celebrate his 90th birthday, an event to be commemorated by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) with the premiere of Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way, a new documentary executive-produced by Clint Eastwood.

In advance of the film's premiere, Legacy Recordings will release Dave Brubeck: Legacy of a Legend, a new 21-track double-CD compilation with every track handpicked by Brubeck himself. The commemorative collection, featuring extensive annotation and anecdotal liner notes written by his son Darius, will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting November 16th through Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.

This significant package finds Brubeck reflecting on his 17 core years at Columbia Records. He opens in 1954 with "Jeepers Creepers" from his second Columbia LP (and first studio album for the label) Brubeck Time; and closes with a pair of tracks from 1970 with Gerry Mulligan, "Out Of Nowhere" and "St. Louis Blues" from the Live At The Berlin Philharmonie LP.

On CD Two, Brubeck dips into his deep personal archive of recordings for a previously unreleased live version of "Three To Get Ready" from the final concert of the classic quartet: Brubeck on piano, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright, and Joe Morello on drums. "Three To Get Ready" was a centerpiece of the breakthrough album of 1959, Time Out, one of the quartet's first LPs together, so it is an appropriate choice for Legacy of a Legend to include this version from their final concert together.

Over the course of CD One, Legacy of a Legend shows the evolution of the quartet. Brubeck, Desmond, and drummer Joe Dodge were together since 1953, with a succession of bassists through the mid-'50s. In late 1953, on a weekend 'field trip' to Helen Noga's Blackhawk nightclub in San Francisco, Columbia Records staff producer George Avakian heard the quartet and signed them (along with a young singer named Johnny Mathis, managed by Noga). The quartet already had made several successful live college concert recordings on Fantasy (in 1953), so Avakian extended the concept to their Columbia debut of 1954.

Brubeck was skeptical when Avakian decided to record the quartet in a proper studio later that year, Columbia's imposing 30th Street facility. The results, however, as heard on Brubeck Time (with Brubeck, Desmond, Dodge, and bassist Bob Bates), became a program comprised almost entirely of standards (including Johnny Mercer's "Jeepers Creepers"), proving that the quartet had little to fear from the absence of a concert audience. Within weeks of the sessions, Brubeck was featured on the November 8, 1954, cover of TIME magazine, a phenomenal coup, only the second jazz artist to appear on the magazine's cover.

Avakian returned the quartet to a live setting in 1955, New York's Basin Street East night club, for Red, Hot & Cool ("Taking A Chance On Love" from the Broadway musical, Cabin In The Sky). At that point, after several LPs mainly consisting of standards with the quartet, the time was right in 1956 for Brubeck's first solo piano album of original compositions, Brubeck Plays Brubeck ("The Duke").

Morello was introduced to the lineup on Jazz Impressions Of The U.S.A. ("Ode To A Cowboy"), a program of Brubeck originals inspired by his travels across the country with the quartet. (Bates' brother Norman had taken over on bass.) Brubeck was similarly inspired by a trip to Disneyland with his family in 1957. The result was a concept album, his final LP with Avakian, comprised entirely of tunes from four of Walt's animated features, Dave Digs Disney ("Someday My Prince Will Come," from Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs).

The quartet headed overseas in 1958, for a grueling tour of 80 concerts in 14 countries, and a State Department-sponsored trip that took them to Poland, India, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq. Brubeck captured the spirit on his original compositions for Jazz Impressions Of Eurasia ("Thank You"). The 20th anniversary of Gone With The Wind in 1959 inspired an LP of southern-rooted songs, including Stephen Foster's "Camptown Races" and the timeless MGM movie theme.

With new bassist Eugene Wright now fixed in the quartet lineup, and new producer Teo Macero, the stage was set for the 1959 recording of Time Out. An incalculable watershed moment in jazz history, with every cut in a different time signature, it brought modern progressive jazz into the mainstream. Time Out hit #2 in Billboard and became the first jazz album to sell a million copies, while the single "Take Five" b/w "Blue Rondo A La Turk" changed all the rules, played on jukeboxes around the world.

As if in counterpoint to Time Out, Brubeck accepted an offer from Jimmy Rushing to do an album with the 57 year-old singer, 'Mr. Five By Five,' the former front man for the Count Basie Orchestra in the 1930s and '40s, who was still at the top of his game ("Evenin'"). Working with a singer proved so delightful that Brubeck organized a musical revue in 1961 called The Real Ambassadors, which rallied against racism (on songs written by Dave and his wife Iola) sung by Carmen McRae ("My One Bad Habit"), Louis Armstrong ("Summer Song") and others.

The ongoing success of 1959's Time Out – 164 weeks on the Billboard chart – called for a 'sequel' in 1961. Time Further Out hit the Top 10 on its way to a 46-week chart run, and earned jukebox singles play with "Unsquare Dance." Another sequel to the Jazz Impressions series was inspired by the Big Apple, Jazz Impressions Of New York ("Something To Sing About").

Brubeck disbanded the quartet in 1967, to concentrate on composing. In 1998, Legacy compiled Buried Treasures, a CD of previously unreleased material from 1967, recorded live in Mexico City. "Mr. Broadway" and "Three To Get Ready" are swan songs to one of the most important aggregations in jazz history. Within a year, of course, Brubeck was back with the first of many new groups, this one featuring old friend, baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, plus bassist Jack Six and drummer Alan Dawson, a lineup that stayed together until 1973. One of their finest sessions was recorded in 1970, Live At The Berlin Philharmonie ("Out Of Nowhere," "St. Louis Blues"), which brings this collection to its conclusion.

Throughout his long career, Brubeck has received numerous national and international honors, including the Living Legacy Jazz Award from the Kennedy Center (2007), the National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Medal, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He holds numerous honorary doctorates from American, Canadian, English, Swiss, and German universities. He is a Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale University, and in the year 2000, the National Endowment for the Arts declared him a Jazz Master. On December 6, 2009, Brubeck was awarded Kennedy Center honors.

Turner Classic Movies will dedicate an afternoon to the legendary artist with the December 6 premiere of Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way. The film, which will premiere at 5 p.m. (EST), takes its name from "In Your Own Sweet Way," one of Brubeck's most famous tunes. The song has been recorded by countless musicians, including Miles Davis. The documentary is produced and directed by award-winning jazz filmmaker and longtime Eastwood collaborator Bruce Ricker, whose credits include Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends, Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser, The Last of the Blue Devils, and many other titles.

TCM's premiere of Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way will be accompanied by two classic films featuring Brubeck himself. At 1 p.m. (EST), Brubeck is among a number of legends performing in All Night Long (1962), a jazz update of Shakespeare's Othello starring Patrick MacGoohan, Marti Stevens and Betsy Blair. Then at 3:15 p.m. TCM will present Southern Crossing (1981), a fascinating chronicle of the five-day jazz festival held in Sydney, Australia.


(Columbia/Legacy 88697 80563 2)

CD One

1. Jeepers Creepers
Brubeck Time

2. Taking A Chance On Love
Red, Hot & Cool (live)

3. The Duke
Brubeck Plays Brubeck

4. Someday My Prince
Will Come
Dave Digs Disney

5. Ode To A Cowboy
Jazz Impressions
Of The U.S.A.

6. Thank You
Jazz Impressions
Of Eurasia

7. Camptown Races
Gone With The Wind

8. Gone With The Wind
Gone With The Wind

9. Blue Rondo a la Turk
Time Out

10. Take Five
Time Out

11. Evenin'
(vocal: Jimmy Rushing)
Brubeck & Rushing

CD Two

1. My One Bad Habit
(vocal: Carmen McRae)
The Real Ambassadors

2. Somewhere
Bernstein Plays Brubeck Plays Bernstein

3. Unsquare Dance
Time Further Out

4. Summer Song
(vocal: Louis Armstrong)
The Real Ambassadors

5. Something To Sing About
Jazz Impressions Of New York

6. You Go To My Head
(live at the Newport Jazz Festival)
Time Out - Legacy Edition

7. Mr. Broadway (live)
Buried Treasures

8. Three To Get Ready (live)
previously unreleased

9. Out Of Nowhere
(with Gerry Mulligan)
Live At The Berlin Philharmonie

10. St. Louis Blues
(with Gerry Mulligan)
Live At The Berlin Philharmonie
SOURCE Legacy Recordings

Pink Floyd Contest Over

I have the three winners for the Pink Floyd book contest.  Congrats to the winners!