Monday, March 26, 2012

Woody Shaw - The Moontrane

I looked on Amazon: no MP3 album available for Woody Shaw's 1974 release, The Moontrane. Used copies are being sold for big bucks, but no MP3 yet.

There was a Thursday night radio show in the late 1980s on WBAB called Moontrain Jazz (maybe Moontrane Jazz is more correct, but web references are few), and it always began with the title cut from this album. A rock station got me hooked on jazz - go figure! I wish my memory were better; I'd give the radio guy credit. Some DJs have great taste and enough personality to sway the corporate machine in the right direction. The long-winded genius of Phil Schaap comes to mind.

Speaking of geniuses, Woody Shaw was a musical genius. Certified. Check out his biography here. There are many albums in addition to this one to explore.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Moondog (1916-1999)

Happy spring! I keep saying to myself I'm going to post Moondog, so here he is - an American original with a one-of-a-kind musical story, which you can read here.

I'd say more, but I'll let the music speak for itself. Here is another piece:

Keep searching YouTube. You will find lots. Albums I have that are outstanding include Sax Pax for a Sax, A New Sound of an Old Instrument, and Rare Material - all great stuff. Maybe it's minimalism, but I find it hard to pigeon-hole this guy into a single category. Check out this 1998 interview - excellent read.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Alan Hovhaness

Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) was an American composer born in Massachusetts to an Armenian chemistry professor and a mother of Scottish descent - more here. His ancestry and interest in Asian music give his music plenty of exotic sound.

The album I'm sharing here with David Amos conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, not currently in circulation, contains an excellent introduction to his work. It features And God Created Great Whales, scored for orchestra and recorded whale song. It is inspiring to hear whales in such a setting, since the language of whales is something we're not privy to. There is a kind of awe that emanates from the music that accentuates the strange sounds.

The other pieces include Concerto No. 8 for Orchestra,  Elibris (Dawn God of Urardu), Alleluia and Fugue, and Anahid - all beautiful stuff. I always feel transported to distant places when I hear these pieces, particularly by the woodwinds. From here, other compositions to explore are the Mt. St. Helens and Mysterious Mountain symphonies, just two among hundreds of his works. Check out Amazon; there are plenty of recordings and reviews to peruse. In the mean time, enjoy.

Download here (no password):