Sunday, February 07, 2016

A Winter Sunset

One of the winter sunsets near where I live appear in these pictures. Playing with the settings on my camera varies the amount of light that is visible. I think I prefer the darker shots to the lighter ones.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Eberhard Weber at his Best

Eberhard Weber, a few months before his stroke, was performing the music that appears in this video, which also features Enrico Rava and Reto Weber. Eberhard Weber reveals himself as the master of his instrument, playing it in such a way that no one before him had done. It's unfortunate that this trio, to my knowledge, never entered the studio to record their music.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Let It Snow: A Christmas Video

One of my favorite videos features Adam Baldych and Mika Urbaniak, daughter of Michal Urbaniak and Urszula Dudziak. Urszula Dudziak actually appears in the background of a few shots.  This video features the present generation of jazz musicians in Poland, both of whom are descendents, literally and figuratively, of that period of time in which Michal Urbaniak and Urszula Dudziak created jazz that not only revealed their cultural roots in Poland but also that desire to break free from history.

This video captures the Christmas spirit for me; it was something that I played on Christmas morning this past year.

Although I try to enjoy all of the seasons, I am not terribly fond of snow. It used to be exciting getting pictures of the snow creating patterns on the tree trunks when I was in my teens. I am happy now watching it from my window without having to get out into it. Not having to experience the weather is one of the benefits of teaching online from home. I would not have relished digging out from, say, twenty-eight inches of snow if I were living on the East Coast last weekend during winter storm Jonas. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Quick List of Jazz Favorites for 2015

Part of my 2015 was spent under the influence of Gordon Hempton’s book One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Quiet. Reading that book led to my seeking silence more often during those occasions when I would have normally listened to music--fixing a meal or washing dishes, getting dressed before going out, and grading essays. At night, when working on my classes, I often wore my headset without having anything come through the earphones. The headset simply served to filter out any other sounds.

A few things within my house kept me from hearing as much music as I normally would have. My wife’s health wasn’t as good as it could have been. Unwilling to visit a doctor, she often was in a great deal of pain and relied on over-the-counter painkillers for several months. Fortunately, our visiting the gym on a regular basis has helped. Our son’s girlfriend also started living with us and has her own taste in music, so I didn’t subject her to mine very often.

Another part of  the year went toward discovering what I had overlooked. Having missed Brad Mehldau’s concert in Kansas City during the previous year, partly because of the expense, I devoted some of my attention to Brad Mehldau’s Places (2000) and Day is Done (2005), two albums that I had not listened to as closely as I had other albums by Brad Mehldau--Ode (2012), for example.  My Internet subscriptions led me to discover music by Adam Baldych and Verneri Pohjola, both of whom were new discoveries for me. That initial introduction led to my listening to Pohjola’s Ancient History (2012) and Baldych’s Imaginary Room (2012) and The New Tradition (2014), a duo album with Yaron Herman.

Those albums that came to my attention during the year and that I have come to think of as favorites appear below in no particular order. 

1. Bridges, Adam Baldych and Helge Lien Trio (ACT)

2. Slow Eastbound Train, Daniel Herskedal (Edition Records)

3. Intervals, Einar Scheving (Valrun)

4. Oscalypso, Erik Fiedlander (Skipstone Records)

5. Midwest, Mathias Eick (ECM)

6. At the End of the Day, Pauseland (Self Produced)

7. Bullhorn, Verneri Pohjola (Edition Records)

8. Desire, Yuri Honing Acoustic Quartet (Challenge)

9. Everblue, Yelena Eckemoff (L&H Production)

10. Never Ending January, Espen Eriksen Trio (Rune Grammofon)