Tag Archives: Instrumental

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Multani

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Indo-Jazz Fusions

It has not been a good week. First we lose two musical greats, Dave Brubeck & Ravi Shankar. And then we have the killings at Newtown, Connecticut

The world is less of a place today for having lost two “greats” who fulfilled their potentials in long, ground-breaking careers. And it is also less of a place for the loss of twenty six innocents in Newtown, many of them just starting on life’s journey.

I don’t have any Brubeck or Shankar in my collection but the Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet, Indo-Jazz Fusions will serve as a more than adequate tribute.

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Multani

Ástor Piazzolla – Adiós Nonino

Ástor Piazzolla - Essential Tango

I’m starting to go through my collection again, pausing at every thirteenth CD to pick a track to post. the difference this time round is that, instead of physically going to the rack and counting CDs, I am going through them as folders on my computer. And they are ordered differently – the first word is used to index them so that is the first name of an artist / group and possibly the word The for some groups. We will all learn what difference that will make in the fullness of time.

And so thirteen CDs in from the start of my collection we get to Ástor Piazzola – Essential Tango. I’m posting the last track on album 1 of this double album collection, Adiós Nonino. The tune was composed by Piazzola in 1959, in honour of his father, Vicente “Nonino” Piazzolla, who had died that year. To read more the writing of this composition, see here. There is also a lovely orchestral version on YouTube featuring Piazzola with the Cologne Symphony Orchestra.

Ástor Piazzolla – Adiós Nonino

Zakir Hussain – Ektala

Zakir Hussain - Sangeet Sartaj

Zakir Hussain – Sangeet Sartaj

More from India this week – a track from my double album Sangeet Sartaj by Zakir Hussain. For those who don’t know, Zakir Hussain is a tabla player – so those who always leave when the drum solo starts, you can head for the bar now.

But Zakir Hussain is not any old tabla player – he is “the most celebrated classical percussionist of modern times” in the words of the album notes. And this is probably not hyperbole either.

Zakir Hussain was born the son of another famous tabla player, and accompanist to Ravi Shankar, Alla Rakha and his younger brothers are also percussionists of some stature.

Apart from his playing of classical Indian music, Hussain is known for his many collaborations with western musicians. Amongst others, he has played with George Harrison, Bill Laswell, John McLaughlin, Mickey Hart, and Bela Fleck & Edgar Mayer.

He has also composed and arranged music for the cinema most notably the Merchant Ivory Film Heat and Dust.

Zakir Hussain – Ektala

N Ramani – Buntureethi

Music from Mystic India

Music from Mystic India

More Indian music this week. I’m posting a track from the compilation album Music from Mystic India. the track is Buntureethi.composed by Thyagaraja and played on the flute by N Ramani.

I’ve already confessed my complete ignorance in the matter of Indian music but, to my untrained ear, this is more authentically Indian than the music on my last post. And, consulting Google and Wikipedia, N. Ramani, or Natesan Ramani to give him his full name, is a famous and respected Carnatic flute player. I won’t copy across the Wikipedia entry but, if you find this week’s track at all interesting, hit the link above for a short but informative article on Ramani and the Carnatic flute.

N Ramani – Buntureethi

Shiv Kumar Sharma – Himalayan Dawn

Shiv Kumar Sharma - Music of the Mountains

Shiv Kumar Sharma – Music of the Mountains

Daughter dear has reached India on her round-the-world trip. She is now in the Himalayas, currently acclimatising to the altitude and enjoying the scenery. She is shortly to head off trekking with the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company – a moderate trek initially with a more strenuous one later if muscle, bone, heart and lungs stand up! Read this Guardian article and then, if your back and knees are more robust than mine, start planning your own trip.

I’ve a few Indian music CDs in my collection so I’ll feature them over the next few weeks. It is music that I don’t really understand and so I do not play them very often. However, when they surface through the miracle of the shuffle play feature of my music player, i really enjoy them.

I’m starting with Indian if not Indic music. (Can the word Indic be used for music or is it limited to language? Answers on a postcard …) It is from an album called Sound Scapes – Music of the Mountains by Shiv Kumar Sharma.

The interwebs tell us that “Shivkumar Sharma (born January 13, 1938) is an Indian classical musician, working in the Hindustani classical music tradition. He is a master of the santoor, a folk instrument from the valley of Kashmir. It is a type of hammered dulcimer whose strings are struck with a pair of light carved wooden mallets. Before him the santoor was regarded as only an accompanying instrument.

He is credited with single-handedly making the santoor a popular classical instrument, to the extent that the santoor and Pandit Shivkumar Sharma are synonymous. Sharma modified the Kashmiri folk instrument to make it more suitable for his classical technique, increasing the range of the instrument to three full octaves and making it capable of a smoother meend (the glissando or gliding between notes required in Hindustani classical music to emulate the human voice). Besides, he also created a new technique of playing with which he could sustain notes and maintain sound continuity. Sharma has performed many concerts with renowned musicians such as the tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain.”

See what you think.

Shiv Kumar Sharma – Himalayan Dawn

Miles Davis – Flamenco Sketches

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

This week Martin Carthy gets a well earned rest and we’re back to Miles Davis.

I sometimes wonder if, when I grow up and become a “proper” man, I’ll have a complete collect of everything that an artist / group has recorded. If I ever do reach this stage, I will not have assembled the complete works of Miles Davis; Amazon is currently listing 1059 albums. June Tabor (59 albums), Martin Carthy (30 albums) or James Carr (14 albums) are more likely candidates!

Today I’m posting Flamenco Sketches from Kind of Blue. If I had posted this a month or so back I could have dedicated it to the fabulous Spanish football team that lifted the Euro 2012 trophy. As I’m posting it now, a little while after the tournament, I’ll dedicate it instead to all those in Spain who are suffering in the fall out to the financial crisis, especially those who would dearly love a job and cannot find one.

Miles Davis – Flamenco Sketches

BJ Cole – Gnossienne No. 5

Various Artists - Instruments

Various Artists – Instruments

An instrumental this week from an album called, appropriately enough, Instruments. It is one of two samplers put out in the ’90s by Hannibal Records, the other being Voices. The track I’ve chosen is the Erik Satie composition Gnossienne No. 5 played by BJ Cole. So, it is a piano piece adapted for pedal steel guitar.

BJ Cole is little known as a front man but if you look at the breadth of music he has created over the years, you wonder why he is not better known. Wikipedia have an enormous list of bands / acts that BJ Cole has played with or recorded for and I know that this is only a partial list! They name Cochise, Marc Bolan / T.Rex, Elton John, R.E.M., Cat Stevens, Kevin Ayers, Billy Connolly, Richard Ashcroft, The Verve, Luke Vibert, Graham Coxon, Roger Waters, Juno Reactor, Rockin Dave Taylor, Depeche Mode, Doll by Doll, Devon Sproule, Björk, Chumbawamba, David Gilmour, Hanson, Ian Siegal, Jah Wobble, The Stranglers, Sting, Icebreaker, Brian Joseph Friel, David Gilmour, The Moody Blues. Wow!

BJ Cole – Gnossienne No. 5

Danny Thompson & Whatever – Major Escapade

Danny Thompson & Whatever - Elemental

Danny Thompson & Whatever – Elemental

This week Lucky Thirteen takes us the double album Whatever Next & Elemental from Danny Thompson & Whatever. Choosing a track based on favourites would have been a hard task as all the tracks are great – in my opinion. Choosing one on the basis of the title was easy. After Frances’s adventures in Mali, it could only be Major Escapade!

Even before instigating the Lucky Thirteen series, I usually managed to include a Danny Thompson track around this time on the basis that he had been spotted in the Transatlantic Sessions tv series. This year, Danny was again featured and was, it goes without saying, fantastic. Great music and great fun – he looked as if he was loving every minute. And who wouldn’t, when invited to play with some of the greats of folk and country music.

Oh, and by happy co-incidence, it was Danny Thompson’s birthday last week – many happy returns, Danny.

Danny Thompson & Whatever – Major Escapade

Martin Simpson – The Banks of the Bann

Martin Simson - Leaves of Life

Martin Simson – Leaves of Life

Enough of Bamako, Lucky Thirteen takes us from the River Niger to The Banks of the Bann.

Today’s track, called The Banks of the Bann, is taken from Martin Simpson‘s 1989 CD Leaves of Life. In the sleeve notes, Martin tells us that “Leaves of Life is a collection of acoustic guitar pieces based on the melodies of traditional ballads and songs from England, Ireland, Scotland and Australia”. He says that all of the songs were learnt from singers and goes on to thank Dave Burland, Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, Bobby Eaglesham, Dick Gaughan, Andy Irvine, Jessica Simpson, June Tabor and the Watersons “for their various inspirations”.

I’m not sure where Martin learnt this song, but it was certainly in the repertoire of Dick Gaughan so he may have been the inspiration. The album Leaves of Life is still readily available as a CD and also as an mp3 download. It is certainly recommended to all but especially to acoustic guitar fans. It is delightfully understated but, after only a couple of listens, the tunes get lodged in the mind. Earworms, quiet but compelling.

And for UK readers, Martin Simpson has a full schedule of concerts lined up for 2012, so drag yourselves away from the tv (you can always record the Transatlantic Sessions, The Only Way Is Essex etc.) and get out to see a gig.

Martin Simpson – The Banks of the Bann

Carlos Núñez – The Moonlight Piper

Carlos Núñez – Brotherhood of Stars

Back to Lucky Thirteen again after a couple of weeks dedicated to Mali. And we are back with our old friend Carlos Núñez, the Galician bagpiper. I’ve chosen to post The Moonlight Piper as, in my mind there is a small link to Frances’s trip to Mali. In the evening her group have taken to meeting at the apartment block where some of the volunteers are staying. There they cook a communal meal and then sit out on the apartment’s roof terrace and enjoy the (relative) cool of the evening. I don’t think they are serenaded by Galician pipers but you never know!

Carlos Núñez – The Moonlight Piper