Friday Favorites 5/6/2011
One of the possible Security Questions offered on some websites I’ve visited is What is your favorite music genre? My tastes are quite eclectic … I try to give it all a chance, although several supposed-music genres, like rap and hip-hop, have had their chance. My mother loved music, exposing me to Big Bands, classical, opera and Broadway musicals. My years are perfectly aligned with the birth and development of rock and roll which makes it a primary component of the soundtrack of my life. But were I to use said Security Question, I’d answer jazz. That puts me in a very small group. According to a white paper on Dyske (a website offering cultural critiques) titled Why Americans Don’t Like Jazz, The current market share of Jazz in America is mere 3 percent. Dyske Suematsu, who is Japanese, suggests that Americans tend to focus on lyrics, while people in other countries like Japan (where jazz is still very popular) tend to listen to melody. He also suggests that Americans are less comfortable with abstraction than Japanese, whether that be in music or painting, and that because few Americans play an instrument or write music, they don’t appreciate instrumental music like jazz. I wonder if I could be Japanese? It’s an interesting article if you can get past the tone of superiority.
So, here I am, sixty-six and a jazz fan in an age when a major market like L.A. has only two FM jazz stations. Sirius XM radio has only two as well, Watercolors – Smooth Jazz and Real Jazz … these days, I tend to tune to Watercolors because I enjoy acoustic guitar-centered music like Craig Chaquico, Earl Klugh and one of my real favorites, Acoustic Alchemy. This British group has been recording since the 1980s and pioneered the dueling acoustic guitars sound, originally Simon James on nylon and Nick Webb on steel. Webb passed away of pancreatic cancer in 1998 and was replaced by Mike Gilderdale. In the nine recordings since Webb’s passing, their music has become more diverse and moved beyond the primary focus on two acoustic guitars. My favorite this week from The Beautiful Game album, recorded in 2000, is The Last Flamenco. Please, this piece is meant to be played LOUD so you can feel the driving bass and let the Flamenco-tinged guitar work reach your soul.
In the process of writing this post, I found on The Acoustic Alchemy Website that they will be in Socal in August. Yay!! Maybe I’ll see you there. Yeah, I know. 3%. Socal. Well, enjoy the video.