Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Greatest Amphibian

Once again, I bring you Jim McAuley. This time in a fantastic smattering of duets with several other exquisite musicians. On this two-disc album Jim is paired up with the late violist/violist Leroy Jenkins, fellow guitarist Nels Cline, Bassist Ken Filiano, and percussionist Alex Cline. This album has some of the most hauntingly beautiful music I have heard in a very long time, if ever. In particular I really am drawn to those tracks done with Filiano, there is such a sonorous feel with these two that really excites me about what is going on. I highly recommend this album, you can buy it at The Jazz Loft, among other places. 

Here is a pretty wicked video of Nels Cline and Alex Cline from YouTube:

Not to be outdone, here is a nice video of Ken Filiano with his group:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Guitar Extraordinaire

Recently this gentleman came to an art gallery near me and I was unable to go. But I was able to acquire an album and it is amazing. The first time I listened to it I had one of those rare moments in listening where you say to yourself "what in all that is holy was that... and how long before I get to listen to it again?" 

I have since listened to it several times and if anyone happens to be passing by and reading this, I highly recommend checking Jim McAuley out. There are some nice videos of him playing on YouTube that I recommend giving a go. 

It is some of the most amazing solo guitar work that I have ever heard and I am utterly disappointed that I was not able to see him play. If the physicality of his playing comes through on the record, I can only imagine what it is like live, especially in a more intimate setting like the venue where he played. I could site cliché comments such as "genre bending" and "non-classifiable" but who needs that stuff. Just listen and be blown away.

Thanks to Kris Tiner for bringing him here and even if I didn't get to hear him personally, I am sure it was a very educational exposure for those who did. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This has been such an exciting and even exhausting election. I am not one that has ever been overly political, but I found myself getting, not just caught up in all the excitement, but deeply concerned about what was happening and what was going to happen to me. 

Dealing with our economy, war stuff, and all the other problems we face, and now our new president-elect faces, I found myself getting informed about what things meant, what they did and why it is the way it is. And by association, I felt it necessary to exercise my right to vote for one of the very few times I have ever done so. In fact, this is my first time ever voting for president. It was extremely exciting for so many reasons.

Obviously, it is amazing, and quite the statement that we have elected our first african-american president. And it was just exciting to be apart of that of course, but also, that it was the first time I didn't feel like a candidate was just feeding me political rhetoric and buzz phrases like "Maverick" and such garbage. It really was the first time I took this bizarre, interesting and unique process seriously. In the aftermath of the election I actually feel, not only relieved, but proud that I got involved, and did my part. 

His acceptance speech was celebratory, and yet sober with an undertone of "ok, now that we have made this happen, now the hard work really begins." I think it showed that he is fully aware of how hard it will be to deal with and recover from our current state of being in this country. And there are so many things that are weighing heavy on our society it will truly be an uphill battle. But I feel that the right candidate came along at the right time, and was able to be victorious in the way that he should have been. 

I am also not an overly patriotic fellow either, not that I am not patriotic, I just have a different idea of what that word means than most. But I feel, really for the first time in a decade, that I am not ashamed to be an american in the face of the rest of the world. Having dealt with a rootin'-tootin' Yosemite Sam for president the last eight years I have become very cynical about the whole thing. But I feel like I can change that outlook for the next four years, if not eight more years and I am looking forward to Obama's presidency.

I am sad that Prop 8 passed here in California, but I feel like that is the least of our problems at this time in our society and why we wasted so much time and money on this I don't understand.