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Showing posts from 2009

The Line-Up for 12-25-2009 by retronius

I don't really have much to say. I did a regular show because Christmas is tiring and once you're done with family, it's just time to move on to the post-holiday rigmarole.  Plus, I think this evening's music is good "got the itis" music. Gerald Clayton - Scrimmage Medeski Martin & Wood - New Planet Joe Lovano Us Five - Song for Judi Jaspects - Chitlins & Chalupas Freddie Hubbard - Caravan The Bad Plus - Comfortably Numb (feat. Wendy Lewis) Ronnie Foster - Mystic Brew Henry Threadgill - Bermuda Blues St. Germain - Sure Thing

The Line-Up 12-18-2009 by retronius

Tonight's episode is all about collaborations.  This was a late realized concept but I sort of like how it worked.  I've been playing Gretchen Parlato's In a Dream  pretty constantly lately and I've become so engrossed with it that I wanted to share a few of my favorite tracks on the show, so this is really a big excuse for me to play a lot of her new work.  But what really got to me was noticing that Robert Glasper arranged her cover of SWV's "Weak" and that she sang backup for Esperanza Spalding and Justin Vasquez and that Aaron Parks did all the piano work on her album.  This little cluster fascinated me and since many of them are getting their attention in the modern jazz scene lately, I figured I'd play that cluster tonight. This type of collaboration is pretty common. Joe Sample is often produced by Tommy LiPuma. He'll work with George Benson, Michael Franks, Anita Baker, and others often.  Folks will move from album to album and quite ofte

The Line-Up 12-11-2009 by retronius

Tonight, I went with the theme of actually playing my Jazz Now list .  I think before I can even delve into the best albums of the year (I'm still trying to mull that over) or play a bunch of jazz Christmas music that I think would work in the auspice of this show (I actually have a show on  Christmas), I first need to truly define this show even more than I already try to do and make it clear to folks how jazz is truly growing and changing to this day.  I'd like to think I'm doing some good here already, but there's work yet to be done.  This show is a prime example of what The Line-Up really is, what I think jazz really sounds like today, and would be the example of what I think you should spread around to all your friends about why you think they should listen to jazz.  It's also the test to see if I'm pronouncing the name Jarenwattananon correctly. There's plenty of stuff that sounds really nice and springboard from tracks like these.  This hour shouldn&

The Line-Up 12-4-2009 by retronius

It's a hard job being a DJ.  You have to put together what you think would sound good whenever you construct a set.  Some sets are more inspired than others.  Still, the strength of a DJ's library makes a world of difference.  I'm blessed not only to have this show and the pleasure of putting on show I love to do every week (and that folks enjoy hearing), but also to have a strong library of music from whence this show originates, along with a few choice songs of my own that I bring to the station and hope others appreciate.  Sometimes I just let the computer that holds this library do the picking and after I hear what it has to offer, I'm pretty pleased with what it suggests.  Some shows are more dependent on the computer than others but for the most part, I put my seal of approval on each show, including the things I have to say (on which I'm extremely critical).  Tonight, ye olde KRTU library made a lot of the choices with the exception of me doing a  little swap

The Line-Up 11-27-2009 by retronius

I'd like to note this was a rather special episode of The Line-Up.  I recorded it on Thanksgiving Day because I spent this evening having the actual dinner with family.  It was generally enjoyable, at least as enjoyable as spending time with family can be before you get tired out. The concept for this show was originally going to be "I'm thankful to have covers."  Most of this episode of the show was covers and remixes or reinterpretations.  I didn't run with that line because it takes me ten takes to do practically everything and after a while, I try to keep things simple in order to not screw things up anymore.  That and a couple songs in this set were originals so that threw things off. Vijay Iyer - Galang Originally by M.I.A. Robert Glasper - No Worries Why don't I own this album?  Oh yeah, the station doesn't have any extras and I'm flat broke, that's why.  Still, I really want this album, Iyer's Historicity , and Aaron Parks&#

The Line-Up 11-20-2009 by retronius

1) Right off the bat, I want to note that I'm going with a new embedded player for the show.  We'll see if I like this better (SoundCloud while pretty had a limit on uploads that I found a little stifling).  Let me know what you think about it. 2) The theme for the show this week was big bands.  I mention this at the start of the show but I really want you to understand, I really don't like big bands.  They're too confining.  It's sort of like a "too many cooks..." scenario.  I like when a soloist has the chance to expand and go crazy.  It's also part of the reason why some of my friends find my music to be a little confusing.  Still, sometimes a big band works and that's what I wanted to do this week. Incognito - Solar Fire Incognito - She Wears Black Jaco Pastorius Big Band - Kuru/Speak Like a Child Darcy James Argue - Transit Darcy James Argue - Obsidian Flow Roy Hargrove Big Band - Requiem Roy Hargrove Big Band - Roy Allen

The Line-Up 11-13-2009 by retronius

I'm probably going to need some other service to upload my show. I'm open to any suggestions. Let me know you like what I'm doing. Or even if you hate what I'm doing. Seriously. Ramsey Lewis - Rendesvous Aaron Parks - Peaceful Warrior Javon Jackson - Inner Glimpse Christian McBride & Inside Straight - Theme for Kareem George Braith & Grant Greeen - Boom Bop Bing Bash Stefon Harris - African Tarantella Jaco Pastorius Big Band - Good Morning Anya Eric Alexander - Island

On Art, Craft, and Trusted Criticism

I was having a talk this evening with a friend of mine about grammar.  Really the talk was about head injuries (Ever bang your head against a wall really hard? Geez!) and things sort of devolved into the proper use of lay vs. lie.  You see, while I graduated cum laude from Morehouse College with a degree in English, I can still never remember the difference between lay and lie.  I figure I'll get it one day when my brain can keep that information in check (telling me in the comments of this post still likely won't make much of an impact, trust me), but for right now it's just one of those things that I'll miss from time to time, especially in unedited, extemporaneous conversational English.  The thing with this friend of mine is that he's a bit of a grammar fanatic and will correct any mistake made in the middle of a conversation.  I've come to accept this and ignore him immediately afterwards because I find this behavior to be rather gauche.  I doubt I'm al

The Line-Up 11-6-2009 by retronius

Here is the show for November 6. This show involved a lot of switching things around in the system and each song I played had a rather specific reason behind it which I'll explain in the notes here. You may want to follow along... Kneebody - Never Remember This band out of Austin has been on my radar here and there and I figured I'd start off the hour with them just because the name sort of stuck out in my head.  That's really just it but it was still a pretty good start to the show and I like that decision. Robert Glasper - No Worries The other day, I was talking with a friend of mine about Robert Glasper and his work with folks like Mos Def and Bilal.  Because of that conversation, I felt compelled to play Glasper again this week.  Beside the fact, Double Booked  is a really good album and I knew I would want to play something from it again.  "No Worries" was one of the songs I played this week that stuck out in my head so that's why it's the speci

The Line-Up 10-30-2009 by retronius

Herein lies my radio show for October 30th, 2009. It should be here for a little while. I'm trying to do what I can to get this out better and I hope you have a clearer idea of what I do. Oh, and it's really hard to make a Halloween themed jazz show. Quincy Jones - Theme from "Ironside" Esbjörn Svensson Trio - Tide of Trepidation Chick Corea - The Great Pumpkin Waltz Justin Vasquez - Invitation Grant Green - In the Middle Christian McBride - Say Something Miles Davis - Spanish Key The Bad Plus - Iron Man

The Line-Up 10-23-2009 by retronius

I've found a better way to post past episodes of my show. In time, I hope to have all of them here. This is last week's show but tonight's show will be live in a couple of hours and I hope to probably have the stream of it here tomorrow. I'll also post the list of tracks here soon as well.

To Be Young, Gifted, Black, and a Jazz Enthusiast: Apparent Needle in a Haystack

About a month ago, Patrick Jarenwattananon of NPR's A Blog Supreme  put together a group of lists of recent gateway jazz albums from prominent young jazz enthusiasts and bloggers.  The Jazz Now Project was a rather brilliant idea and opened up a lot of discussion and awareness about the future of jazz and really shows what the field looks like right now.  Early on the the culmination of this project, Jarenwattananon opened the submission of suggestions not only to those he specifically asked but also to other readers of the blog and on the email list.  So it didn't take me long for me to submit my own Jazz Now list .  (And special thanks to him for linking the post on the compilation of Jazz Now submissions. I got my highest hit count yet of 29 readers because of him. I really need more readers.) When I emailed him the link to my blog for submission, Jarenwattananon thanked me for my list and mentioned that I was the only black guy to have sent anything.  He figured that this

Late Deference to Taste and the Re-Imagining of the Big Band

For a preposterously long time, I've held to a rather peculiar rule as it relates to music recommendations. All recommendations that come from friends are ignored for at least three months. For example, a friend of mine told me about a year ago, "Hey, you should check out Esperanza Spalding ." I gave my usual, "Um... yeah. Sure." Shrugged the whole thing off and continued on my merry way. Time passes and she's playing the Newport Jazz Festival this past summer and I decided to give her set a listen on NPR. Sure enough, my friend was right and now I pay her attention. I've even played her a few times on my radio show . The thing is, it took over a year for his wise words to sink in, partially because I like discovering stuff on my own or through the internet. As our parents always say, "Oh, so you won't listen to me but you'll do whatever your little nappy-headed friends will say!" (Okay, so maybe not all our parents say that.)

Morehouse Puts Its Freshly Polished, Stacy Adams-Covered Foot Down

A few friends of mine have called me to the carpet on a certain issue pertaining my alma mater, Morehouse College. The school that I so dearly love is instituting a new dress code this month. While I saw many of my fellow alums complain vehemently about the new dress code, I frankly didn't care much about it. I felt like many upper middle class Americans in their 40s and have well-paid jobs with health benefits. Huh? What do you mean there are 25-30 million people who don't have healthcare in America? They're probably just lazy and not suffering as a result of a price-gouging system and the worst economic conditions since the 1930s. Like a libertarian, I simply thought, "I got mine, and I don't care who hasn't gotten his yet." But as time wore on, friends of mine have wondered what I thought on the subject, and the more I thought about this new " appropriate attire policy ," the more I thought how wrong this was. Of course, I'm not t

The Rape Tunnel

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A good friend of mine sent me an article that he wanted me to blog about. Frankly, I had a lot on my mind at the moment to write here and I'll be sure to have those ideas here soon, but after sitting with the idea for a little while, this post sort of wrote itself in my head. What is a rather shocking, terrible subject just sort of came out as preposterously humorous to me. I hope you share the same sentiment, otherwise this may get a little uncomfortable. ---------------------------------------------------- Richard Whitehurst of Columbus, Ohio, is working on his next artistic piece to open at the William Strunk, Jr. Museum of Contemporary Art in Akron. This piece is... get ready now... The Rape Tunnel . Those who crawl into the 22-foot long, steadily shrinking tunnel will eventually find themselves in a small room in which Whitehurst will do all he can to rape those who cross his one-way path. Ooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeooooooooooooo Whitehurst claims he's undertaking thi

On Notice: Black People are Banned from Satire

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While spending some time on the evermore ubiquitous Twitter, I ran across a story from The Root 's feed. Black students at the humorously-named Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania are complaining about an editorial cartoon depicting a black man hanging from a noose, asking the white crowd below, "You're doing this because I'm black, aren't you?" Those in the white crowd then say the black man is playing the race card. While I haven't seen the cartoon (can a brotha' get a jpeg?), that description sounds pretty funny. But when you read the story , many seemed to disagree. If you read the story, you'd also find the artist of the cartoon is black. A black man made a comment through satire about how white people can at times persecute blacks and then say blacks are calling the race card, but so many of us see a black guy in a noose and start to call Rev. Sharpton (just wait). When I heard about this story, I could only immediately think abo

Jazz Now: Retro's Selections

Folks who know me know I've loved jazz since I was probably five years old. I'm said time and again that jazz was my first love after Jesus. Qualitatively, I mean that. Quantitatively, I'm not sure. That's probably right. I think I got saved at 3 and started bugging kids about jazz stations come the first day of kindergarten. Anyway, folks who know me know I love jazz and always have. They also know me for being young but relatively wise before my years. Well, I'm not alone in these attributes. Since I've tried lately to learn more and more about my first love, I've been following all sorts of music blogs. My favorite is NPR's A Blog Supreme (Although, I've followed Ethan Iverson for much longer). This blog is a recent invention by NPR intern (though he's so much more than that) Patrick Jarenwattananon. Jarenwattananon is but 24 years old and cognizant of jazz's need to spread to the masses. He currently put together an effort t

I have a radio show

I've been absent for some time now. I apologize for that but it's been hard for me to gather the motivation to write. Even now, I'm probably not going to write anything here. Instead, I am going to plug something. Some folks may know, I've been volunteering at San Antonio's jazz station, Trinity University's 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio . I'm taking over The Line-Up, which airs Fridays at 9pm Central Time. My first show was last night and while I wasn't able to pick out the music, I'm hopefully putting personal touches on the show already while not deviating from the great show that was before me. There should be writing here soon once I get out of this slump but in the meantime, listen to my show .

Death and Reshaping Legacy

Last night at around midnight (Central Time), I learned on Twitter that Sen. Ted Kennedy had died . It was one of those things that was rather disheartening to see but not that unexpected. His health had been failing for a little while now. On top of that, seeing all the hullabaloo about the polarizing health care debate can't exactly give a champion of health care the additional will to live. After that initial half-shock came over me, I thought about where this would leave the health care debate. Sen. Kennedy's passing does leave the democrats without a filibuster proof 60 seat majority. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post noted last week that Sen. Kennedy's passing could be perilous to health care reform without special circumstances put in place in our now current situation. But after all that, I noted things in the big picture. I kept seeing folks reference " the Chappaquiddick incident ." In fact, as of this writing "Mary Jo Kopechne" is t

The Homeless: True Americans

I've been working on some ideas in the back of my head for a couple of days but while I've wanted to seriously tackle some newsworthy ideas, I'm still mulling stuff over. Still, it's been a week since I've written something and I've consciously tried to post something once a week to show some consistency and frankly, I've been thinking about this idea a lot lately. Where do homeless people get the markers to make their signs? At what point in your desperation do you realize, Hey, I think I'm about to end up pretty destitute. I'm going to have to come up with an idea pretty soon to bring in some income. Purchasing a Sharpie and getting a piece of cardboard at some point shifts from being something you think about conceptually to an actual reality. You have to consider obtaining these things. Getting a marker and cardboard for a sign are now investments in your future. And then you have to consider your begging technique. This becomes a bit