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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

the year in review- music

2004... the year the rock died...or i died....i definetly transitioned more into jazz, brazilian music and other genres...i couldn't tell you what my top 10 records of the year were because i'm not sure i could even come up with 10..... the new record that really knocked my socks off was the loretta lynn one (van lear rose)...which at times sounds like loretta with the white stripes.. no surprise given jack white's production/guitar slinging.... i have a particular soft spot for the track "portland, oregon" where loretta and jack crow about getting "another pitcher to go..."...concert wise i saw some great shows this year and my favorite show was Jorge Ben at the birchmere...i never thought i'd get an opportunity to see this guy much less in such an intimate venue...the fact that the show was in the bandstand and a ton of brazillians showed up to dance away made it so much fun... meeting jorge ben, getting him to sign my record and receiving a hug iced it as one of the more special nights i can remember..another show that will forever be etched in my mind will be joao gilberto...we travelled up to new york city and caught his show at carnegie hall which in it of itself was an experience (how many of the greats conquered this place at one point or another? from duke ellington to benny goodman to billie holiday to miles davis..)...joao, in his 70s, one of the key forces, together with jobim, behind the rise of the bossa nova or samba cancao in the late 50s plays about two shows a year... you do the math!.. in any case there we were as joao walked out on to the stage armed with just a guitar...after solving some sound issues joao played all the classics including the song that forever changed the american music scene: "girl from ipanema" was truly precious to be in his presence.... that very summer we saw a third legend who i always feel fails to get a fair shake from the critics and fashionistas.... tom jones.. when i mention jones' i invariably draw a laugh here or a joke there but the guy can perform and if you don't believe me check out his "live in las vegas" lp from 1969.. as always he was backed by a very professional tight band and he ran through some real classics including prince's "kiss" which i think he now owns, the song that launched him into stardom "its not unusual" and many others....we had a blast on the wolftrap lawn with our picnic and bottle of wine...its interesting to note that no lesser a figure than elvis the king presley would attend jones' vegas shows to see how its done (wether elvis' "vegas" resurgence owes something to tom jones is beyond my knowledge but certainly deserves a look).... on the rock side of things my second my morning jacket show was not as good as the first.. and the final dc guided by voices side while bittersweet and meaningful (i caught them at the black cat about 10 years ago when they were starting to tour and have checked them out ever since).. but on this nite bob pollard and gang, in my opinion, seemed weighed down by rhythm guitarist nate farley's absolutely pathetic spectacle and a few too many flat jokes from pollard who should have focused a bit more on the rawk...of course, all was not lost.. hearing classic GBV cuts particularly from alien lanes and bee thousand was fun as always.... franz ferdinand put in one of the better rock shows i caught this year....with a sound marrying new romantic elements (duran duran) with post punk (joy division) and a little of roxy music they put on a very very tight fun rock show... we can't wait to see the dvd they were filming that night...when i think of what i like about dc i have to mention ben andrews who the blues the way they are meant to be played, tuesday after tuesday, at madams organ on 18th street... the pixies, yes i finally got to see them, put on the strongest rock show i caught this year....i wrote some words about it a month ago so feel free to look in the archives for my write up....sloan put on a fun show at the black cat but i can't in all honesty say that it has turned out to have been all that memorable...another brazilian artist, cibelle, performed at iota's over in arlington and i enjoyed her show but not the crowing about brazil having beaten argentina to take the copa america futbol championship....lastly, aside from jorge ben my other favorite show this year was the vote for change concert finale held at the mci center.. aside from what the show meant.. what we were trying to do.. why we were there.. there were great turns from john mellencamp (wonderful pink houses), bonnie raitt (lady oozes class through the slide guitar and has the commanding presence of an elephant in a one bedroom manhattan apartment), james taylor, dave matthews, REM, pearl jam and JOHN FOGERTY (it was a treat to see him happy performing HIS song- thats right no publishing house and no lawyer can take it away- "fortunate son".. it was really wonderful to finally get to catch bruce the boss springsteen.. thats what he was at this show. THE BOSS..ovviously badlands, born to run (with house lights coming on as song starts roaring), the star spangled banner, born in the USA were all incredible.. but the perofrmance that really captivated me was, i've subsequently learned the name of the song, "mary's place" which is a song off of his "the rising" album.. but lo and behold i found out recently its actually a sam cooke song.... now i love sam cooke and am not surprised bruce does too as his music is so positive.. anways bruce played a very extended jam of this song with a little ministering to the undecided voters watching on sundance channel..i can see why people follow this guy like the prophet and next time he's in town i'll be there.... bruce, we gave it all we had but it wasn't enough this time around..see you in 2008!

i'm sure i'm forgetting a lot but i thought i'd put some remembrances down.. this year i'm looking forward particularly to trying to catch two jazz greats.. sonny rollins (kennedy center) and herbie hancock (warner)...

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