Monday, September 25, 2006

Bruce Hornsby + Friends

Another long-lost gem recently brought back to life on DVD, this 1995 PBS special features guests Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Gregory Hines, Bob Weir and especially Pat Metheny, who shows some of his best playing ever recorded on "White Wheeled Limousine". Henley provides the vocal on the co-written "End Of The Innocence". One hour.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Christine Lavin - The Best Folk Singer Of The Last 20 Years

Not enough people have heard of Christine Lavin...she's a great songwriter that like Loudon Wainwright III, can be very funny, and yet write beautifully poignant songs too. Below is a tune from her Web site...a link...of a song called "What Was I Thinking?"...with three different can vote too.

"What Was I Thinking?"

Bruce Hornsby - A Night On The Town

This video was produced in conjunction with the CD of the same name, and reportedly RCA spent huge dollars renting a soundstage in L.A. and flying in music critics from around the world for the event. And although either "A Night On The Town" or "Across The River" could have, maybe should have, been huge hits, they weren't. However, this video remains, and the lighting and audio are of great quality, even if the director was overly enamored with trucking/arcing the front camera to death at times, partially missing some important solos in the process - if you have good musicians, it's not necessary to make every shot move to keep things more "interesting" - take a lesson from Stanley Dorfman of the BBC. Jerry Garcia's playing on two tracks on this DVD, recorded in 1990, is simply amazing - the solo on "Across The River" is the single best summary of Garcia's playing I've ever seen (I confess to not being a genuine DeadHead), the chemistry between Hornsby and Garcia is obvious. Shawn Colvin also does an excellent duet of "Lost Soul" with Hornsby here, and Bela Fleck and the late Joe Henderson appear as well. Finally available on DVD - buy will play it to death.


"The End Of The Innocence" With Joe Henderson

Roy Orbison - A Black And White Night

Roy Orbison was a unique talent...he wrote great simple songs that told stories, and had a voice of amazing range...I think I heard him once described as the "Pavarotti of Rockabilly" or words to that effect. This is from the "Black & White Night" originally done for Cinemax in 1988. Among the all-stars on this video are Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, Tom Waits, and a female backing trio of Bonnie Raitt, Jennifer Warnes and K.D. Lang, if you can believe that one. The band with Orbison here is Elvis's long-time backing band, led by James Burton, who basically explains how to play rock guitar with his part of the solo duel with Bruce Springsteen in this video. Bruce isn't at that level...but he has a lot of fun here. This is now available on DVD on other advanced video and audio formats - a great find.

"Pretty Woman"

Jean-Michel Pilc - One Helluva Pianist

In the summer of 2006 I was poking around jazz Web sites looking for club info in New York City...and saw a number of raving reviews for a French pianist named Jean-Michel Pilc. Which isn't something I'm used to seeing from New York reviewers. I found some snippets of him on the Web, and decided I needed to go to NYC to see him. A couple of weeks later he showed up in Philadelphia at Chris' Jazz Cafe with the drummer Ari Hoenig. The kind hostess at Chris', who had gotten used to seeing my face, seated me next to Pilc's right hand at the piano. I was, frankly, boggled. Especially by the left hand. The most ambidextrous playing I have ever seen - the fact he's self-taught, like Allan Holdsworth of guitar fame, may help explain his radical approach. I talked to him outside between sets, and he's a very interesting guy with some not surprisingly very independent thinking. There are links below to his Web site and to one of his song videos, a Monk medley. And the video doesn't do him justice. If you can find this guy, go listen, and watch.

Jean-Michel Pilc Web site

"Monk Medley"