Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2013-06-03 - Dexter Gordon (USA) - "Major 7ths"

In a Jazz mood late into last night, actually way past "Round Midnight" - needed a  tenor sax fixin', but couldn't immediately find one of my all time favs, Sonny Rollins' 1957 "Way Out West" an album I played almost nonstop when it was re-issued in 1988. 

But the switch was easy, too easy actually and I got lost in a ten hour listening and movie journey.... as there was "Long Tall" Dexter (due to his towering height) Gordon, who not only influenced Rollins as well as among others, Stan Getz and John Coltrane (who later returned the favor). 
Dexter Gordon, who would have turned 90 in February (* 2/27/23), started to play professionally - just as a teenager - first as a sideman in big bands, like Chico Hamilton, Buddy Collette and between 1940 and 1943 as a member of Lionel Hampton's band, sharing the saxophone section with Illinois Jacquet and Marshall Royal and therefore hardly ever soloing. 

Although still playing in other big bands in the coming years, with Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson and then Billy Eckstine (with a terrific duel with Eugene Ammons on "Blowing The Blues" away), he also started to record under his own name, in smaller combos, so for instance as a twenty year old alongside Nat King Cole and Harry 'Sweets' Edison

After moving to New York - he was originally from Los Angeles - he performed and recorded with Charlie Parker (in Sir Charles Thompson And His All-Stars) and after returning to the west coast with fellow tenorman Wardell Gray (see the "Chase" below)  and under his own name. "Long Tall Dexter" is from a recording session in 1946 with among others Bud Powell on piano. 

"The Chase"

After some run-ins with the law because of drug problems and spending some time in jail in the 50ies, he signed with renowned Jazz label, Blue Note in 1961 and released the debut for that label "Doin' Allright" with Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Horace Parlan (piano) and others. He was able to reestablish himself and to celebrate the first of three comebacks during his career. 

A year later, Gordon decided to move to Europe. Over the next 15 years, he was splitting time between Paris and Copenhagen and became almost forgotten in his homeland. 
(More about Dexter Gordon - in the next blog - 2013-06-04 - Dexter Gordon (USA) - "11ths & 13ths")

Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013-06-02 - Bracken Hale (USA) - Hangover Sundays

"Similia similibus curantur" or better, paraphrased in modern English - "The Hair Of The Dog That Bit Me." offers hangover cures since the medieval ages, after a night of indulging to much alcohol. If you are suffering from a Honky Tonk hangover on Sundays, well now you have the possibility to cure that, either with or without alcohol, by listening to the music of Bracken Hale.

©Winker Withaneye - used by permission
Oklahoma born/Austin based Bracken toured as a sideman for over a decade with people like Gary P. Nunn, Chris Wall, Danni Leigh and Chaparral and  honed his own craft as a singer/songwriter during this time. 
All of the thirteen songs appearing on his self-titled debut album (iTunes, Amazon, his webstore) are originals. As another Texas legend, Tommy Alverson said: "The CD is great from front to back. Love it!"
There is no overexposure here, intelligently produced by fellow musician Eric Hisaw, these are simple songs dripping with nice nostalgic Fender twangs and tones, keeping your boots scootin' the floor. 
The following video shows Bracken doing "Over Fort Worth" at PoodiePalooza @ Poodie's Hilltop in Spicewood, honoring the late owner and former Willie Nelson manager, Poodie Locke. 

"Over Fort Worth" is probably the strongest song of the whole collection and I could really see King George adding another number-one-hit (his 61st) to his collection, if he wouldn't be retiring and would record it - that song has "early Strait" written all over it. 
Not that the other songs aren't worth mentioning, just listen in the widget below; "Nothing Worth Having" and "Colder" are from that debut album as well. 
A second album is soon to be released and I hope that "Should've Cried For Me" which is offered here in a Live version will be on that second album. 

While waiting on that new album, go see Bracken play every Sunday in June (2013) from 4-7 pm @ Giddy Ups in South Austin and from 8-11pm @ Poodie's in Spicewood. Now you don't have an excuse for not having a cure for a solid Honky Tonk hangover on Sundays. See you at one of the shows!

Source: http://www.reverbnation.com/brackenhale - http://brackenhale.com/ - youtube - wikipedia - Winker Withaneye (photography)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

2013-06-01 - Drømmere & Drankere (N) & Ida Jenshus (N)

Always on the outlook to find more inspiring music, my journey often takes me around the world. First to start this blog, I would like to share two Norwegian artists, I stumbled upon recently, both deeply rooted in Americana music.

Drømmere & Drankere (Dreamers & Drunks) describe their mix as 60% Country, 10% Cajun, 9% nostalgic pop, 6% Irish Folk music, 15% Rock'n' Roll and 3% psychodelic. That this adds up to over a 100% speaks for the band, who seems to simply have fun since the late Eighties, playing their kind of "roots" music with their own motto: "Ikke så verst når du blir vant til dem - (Not so bad once you get used to them)"
I wish I would understand more of the lyrics of this "train bound to hell" song, called "17th of December 2009," written by main writer and lead-singer Dag Tufte of their second album "Båten Blir Til Mens Du Ror - (Boats Are, Till Men Do Row)" You can contact the band either through their website (see above, their facebook-page) or purchase an album directly at amazon.com

Here is another track, that can be downloaded from their website, the title track, that promises that life in itself will be better: 

Ida Jenshus is a sensation in Norway, just 20 years old she sang an Emmylou Harris cover "Boulder To Birmingham" on national TV, won a talent contest and was immediately signed to a major label.

The rest is history, all of her three albums so far won Norwegian Grammys (Spellemann-Award) in the Country category as best albums of the year, the title track of her last album, "Someone To Love" was last years most played song on the popular state-owned NRK P1 program chain and she was chosen to open for the Eagles at the prestigious "Norwegian Wood" music festival. The now 26-old hails from the small town Steinkjer, about an hour north of Trondheim, the city she now calls home. I was immediately smitten by her voice, when I heard her do the title song of her debut album "Color Of The Sun," an album comprised of all original songs.  
The following video, recorded by national TV broadcaster NRK in the "office" presents the young singer/songwriter with four strong songs: "Not For Love Anymore," "Marie (What Happened To The Music?)," "Someone To Love" and the somber and very poignant "Loneliest Time Of The Year." 

In "Marie..." she actually blasts music realtiy shows as detrimental to the songwriters own creativity. 

All we never hear are Marie's own songs 
The reason she is playing 
Seems to be long gone 
If we don't support her 
Would that set her free 
We're still voting 
For this stuff on TV 

Ida Jenshus - Live At The Office from MusicNorway on Vimeo

Unfortunately her international distribution system is not where it's supposed to be, her debut album is available through amazon and itunes, latter actually having her newest album as well, but both missing out on the middle album "No Guarantees." Unfortunately the Norwegian internet distributor Platekompaniet does not sell its wares abroad. I guess - make that blog viral, so she becomes available everywhere.