Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bass Desires

Here's some more Bill Frisell, this time from 1986 in the group Bass Desires with Marc Johnson on bass, Peter Erkskine on drums and John Scofield dueling on guitar. The only bad thing about this clip is that it cuts off mid-performance.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bill Frisell solo and together

The great guitarist Bill Frisell works in so many formats I had to put a couple of his clips up.

First some of his hypnotic solo Appalachian folk-jazz picking...

Then a brilliant group jam with a band including Greg Leisz on dobro and Jenny Scheinman on violin.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lee Konitz

Since I haven't posted in a while, here's an extra for today: some beautiful playing by the ageless master Lee Konitz.

Surprise Package

I'm gaining a lot of respect for the multidisc DVD collection of old public doman work that Mill Creek puts out. I bought a 12-disc set called Dark Crimes and that has turned out to have in it not only a few classics like The Naked Kiss, and D.O.A. but rare Oscar Micheaux and James Whale films and five episodes of the legendary 50's TV series, Studio One.

The other day I ran across a collection of old cartoons by the company called "Super300 Cartoon Colection". I studied the cover for a minute and around familiar faces like Popeye, Clutch Cargo and Felix The Cat, I saw some surprising figures. In one corner was Hoppity Hooper, the one Jay Ward cartoon star the world seems to have forgotten about. An even bigger shock was the presence of Calvin And The Colonel, stars of a one season ABC prime time cartoon show from the Sixties where the creators of Amos 'n' Andy, Freeman Godsen and Charles Correll, tried reviving their famous characters as animated animals.

This was all a shock as I had given up hope of ever seeing either of these obscure series on DVD. Needless to say I knew I had to have this set either if there was only one episode each of the shows. I bought it and though I haven't watched any of it yet, I'm very happy to see there are eight Calvin and The Colonel episodes and ten of the four-episode Hoppity Hooper adventures. There's also a bunch of various other series like Gumby, Clutch Cargo, Van Bueren Studio's Aesop's Fables, some Disney Alice cartoons and stuff by characters I've never heard of like Fraidy Cat and Wacky And Packy. It will be fun going through all this I hope.

And wouldn't you know it? Mill Creek has put a Calvin & The Colonel excerpt on YouTube to plug this collection. I've always thought some of the Jay Ward staff must have worked on this but I've never seen any confirmation of that.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Swinging 60's As Seen On Television

I'm interrupting the usual flow of jazz videos to share two clips I found that show how downright bizarre rock songs were often staged on 60's and 60's TV shows.

The first clip is Kenny Rogers And The First Edition doing their initial hit, "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In)" on the Smothers Brothers show in what I guess is supposed to be an approximation of the song's wigged out lyrics although Kenny looks about as psychedelic as an insurance salesman. The drummer is Mickey Jones was doing Bob Dylan's legendary electric tours with The Band whenever Levon Helm wasn't around.

Next is The Mamas and the Papas doing "California Dreamin'" on NBC's Hullabaloo show. You might wonder why they were doing the song on a set full of plumbing and bathtubs. Then halfway through the song, you find out and the answer makes even less sense. From the few clips I've seen of Hullabaloo in recent years, it's obvious the show was out to make as much use of its dancers as possible no matter how goofy that made things.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jim Hall

Here is a taste of the quicksilver beauty of the great guitarist Jim Hall.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

C. T.

I read a few days that Cecil Taylor had to pull out of a festival appearance in Australia due to an unspecified health problem. He did play a well-reviewed birthday concert in New York two months ago but he is 80 now so when you hear "health problems" you start to worry. I hope he returns to full health soon but anyway here's a little bit of Cecil solo from the 1981 film "Imagine The Sound" with particular attention paid to the blur that is Mr. Taylor's hands.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kenny Wheeler at the BBC

Here's another jazz TV program, this one from the BBC on British trumpeter and composer Kenny Wheeler. Norma Winstone and Henry Lowther are two of the other people in the group.