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Like Elton

tunerev: The Red Piano by Elton John

Last year, it was a trip with our friends Monte and Margaret (from Munich) to Oxford,Like Elton England to see Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds…and a fantastic trip it was.

This year, it was Vegas and Elton John at the Coliseum at Cesar’s Palace. A shorter trip for my wife and I, but a longer trip for our traveling companions….but, again, well worth the air miles. This wasn’t just a concert, but a multi-media event. Elton and his band were fronting a huge screen, which showed a video or photographic collage for each piece played. David LaChappelle, a somewhat surrealistic photographer and film director, designed the set and the movies. (more…)

bookrev: 101 Masterpieces of Music and Their Composers by Martin Bookspan

Spring cleaning…the only part I enjoy about it is finding things I’d forgotten about or thought I’d lost. Luckily, I found my 1973 copy of Martin Bookspan’s brilliant compendium of classical music. Though the references to recommended LP and Tape recordings (LP and Tape!) are dated, the biographies and descriptions of the pieces are not.

This is an excellent introductory guide to classical music, and is also a thorough reference to the great composers and their works. Unfortunately you will have to look at your local used bookstore or on eBay, as this book is no longer in publication. It is well worth the hunt, however. (more…)

converting LPs to MP3s

I have almost every album Rush has put out…on LP, including a pristine 1975 Fly By Night. I have signed copies of several albums now considered “Classic Rock”, including a Black Sabbath Album signed by Ronnie James Dio (the singer who took Ozzy’s place, and led Rainbow…remember them, kids?), plus copies of albums that are hard to find on CD or iTunes (remember Riot’s album Narita?).

As of last night, I have my old Fly By Night album on my new iPod.

And I am slowly but surely getting many of my LPs moved to MP3 and onto my iPod, through a USB Turntable and software called Audacity, one of the coolest geek gifts my wife has gotten for me. The turntable is from ION; setup and use is a breeze; this type of technology has been around for a while, but because of how simple this configuration is, I highly recommend it. (more…)

Tomball Cougar Pride

Tomball Cougar Pride Band

Tomball Cougar PrideA LARGE shout-out to the Tomball High School Cougar Pride Marching Band. They had a very successful October contest season, including: (more…)

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds

tunrev: Dave Mathews and Tim Reynolds at Radio City

Dave Matthews and Tim ReynoldsThe dynamic due put together a phenomenal acoustic album, for Dave and Tim fans, DMB fans and accessible to music lovers of all genres

Yes, I’m a Dave Matthew’s fanboy. I purchased both the CD, the DVD and bought early so I would get the extra Europe 07 CD (my wife and I met Monte and Margaret from Munich in Oxford, UK to see the boys, and I’m sure I can hear the girls screaming on those tracks).

UPDATE: Since many folks have asked, I’ve started adding links to the lyrics on the DMB site.

I’ve had this album since it first came out, and have worn it our on road trips around Texas…maybe it’s the reason my iPod disc drive crashed (just in time for Christmas…hmmmm). Why should you own this album? The Dave Letterman Matthews Top Ten: (more…)

Live Earth. Huh?

As a music spectacle, it was pretty spectacular. But as a rallying cry and mustering of political might, I question if Live Earth actually made things better or worse.

  • These types of “benefit concerts” are old news, leaving most people to sleep through them; I would have except my wife saw Dave Matthews on and we were hooked (go Dave, where was Tim?);
  • Many of the artists and organizers themselves were wondering if the concert was hypocritical, if, in fact, the act of fans, artists and organizers traveling to and putting on these concerts used a “larger carbon footprint” that it was worth (excellent brief Time magazine article here); (more…)

tunrev: Live at Luther College – Dave Matthews, Tim Reynolds

5 stars: Two virtuoso’s captured live

Unfortunately, you cannot capture the brilliance of Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds live on an album. But this one comes close.

We saw this dynamic duo in Oxford England March 2007, as they played for more than three hours. Their performance live is unmatchable.

This album demonstrates yet again what an amazing songwriter, singer and acoustic guitar player Dave Matthews is…and it shows glimpses of the amazing talent that is Tim Reynolds. Dave’s lyrics shine in this acoustic set more so than in DMB studio albums, as his voice becomes the third instrument in this duo. Through Dancing Nancies, #41, Dancing Nancies and Cry Freedom, Dave’s songwriting expertise is more visible than with the full band. Tim Reynolds is amazing live and in person, and my one issue with this album is that his contributions aren’t noticeable unless you know what you are listening for. But you can certainly hear his lead licks on #41, Dancing Nancies and Say Goodbye.

And it took me awhile, but I recognized the acoustic “Little Thing” (something “Dave and Timmy had been working on”) as “An’ Another Thing” from Some Devil…both versions are great.

An excellent album, see them in concert if you get the chance.

Music Evolution

tunrev: Music Evolution – Buckshot LeFunque (Branford Marsalis)

Great music, whether you call it jazz, fusion, rap, R&BMusic Evolution

This is one of those rare albums that you want to listen to over and over again, where you keep hearing new pieces you never heard before.

Like on the track “James Brown Part I and II”: Carl Burnett’s starting guitar, followed by a drum machine? then the horns, with Branford on tenor and David Sanborn on Alto, point/counter point all the way through. One of my favorite driving songs. Then part II goes into record scrachin’ rappin’….then back to the horns. Fantastic.

“Another Day” slows it down, smooth. Then “Try These On” is one of the best mixes of jazz, rap, everything, that I’ve heard…always with Branford’s horn.

“Samba Pop” starts out with a descriptive lyric: “Even if it’s jazz in the quiet storm/Bebop converted in a hip hop form”. That describes this track perfectly.

And don’t miss the unnamed unmarked bonus track (#17 on the CD)…a very tight 4+ minute jazz tune.

I keep wishin’ for a 3rd Buckshot album. How ’bout it, Branford? PLEASE!

tunrev: Autumn – George Winston

5 stars: His best, and one of the most enjoyable solo piano albums ever

I first heard this album when I was taking classical piano courses in college. It was, and still is, an inspiring album for a piano player, as much for the mixture of styles as it is for the sheer pleasure of the tunes.

This is my favorite George Winston album, even though I have worn out December over the holidays. The songs evoke so many mental images.

The initial track, “Colors/Dance” always makes me picture a ride through the woods, with it’s simple melody and background chord progression.

“Longing/Love” is one of those songs you want to play, even if you don’t know how to play the piano.

My favorite track is “Moon”, starting out slightly fast paced that the other tunes with a little sustain pedal, then slowing down but still with the echo and answer.

I’ve seen Mr. Winston in concert once, delightful if you get the chance.

Great for piano students, lovers of jazz or classical music, or just for a relaxing rainy Sunday afternoon.

tunrev: Rural Renewal – The Crusaders

5 stars: Joe Sample fan becomes a Crusaders fan

I found Joe Sample before I found the Crusaders, even through the original Crusaders have been around longer in Houston. But, when Joe and the new Crusaders came to Houston when this album first came out, I bought the album, went to the concert as was hooked. You can hear Joe’s heavy chords on his rhodes and wurlitzer in the background…but this is a team effort, with great a great horn section led by Wilton, and cool guest appearances. And Ray Parker, Jr. does a stellar job on guitar on the album (and was great at the concert too).

The first two tracks (Rural Renewal and Creepin’) start great, with Eric Clapton guesting on the album (although Ray was great on them in concert). But Heartland and Viva Da Funk are my favorites, because of the blend of Joe Sample’s keyboards, the outstanding horn section, tight rhythm and the subtly overlain guitars.

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo

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