Saturday, May 30, 2009

Whispering Pines of Richard Manuel

I don’t remember anyone as close as late Richard Manuel to the spirit and music of Ray Charles in The Band’s last two neglected studio sessions. Is that something? Let me tell you brother that in context of American 20th century music, it could be everything and it is. Ray musically was a huge junction between long dusty roads of jazz, blues, soul, R&B and most important of them all, country and the rich and eternal music of Hank Williams.

The Band also was a big combo of all kind of American music plus new sensation, Rock ‘n’ Roll. You can hear everything, from sound of the swamps of Louisiana to elite urban voice of Tin Pan Alley cats in their rich structured musical journey. Maybe that’s the reason why the band always seems so archaic and so contemporary at the same time. They could ignore boundaries of time masterfully in the albums like Music from Big Pink, and it’s hard to connect these songs to a certain period of history. They elusive quality, more that surrealistic poetry of Robbie Robertson, came from the combination of the most old and the most recent. And Manuel, this Fallen angel (a song that Robertson wrote for Richard Manuel after his suicide for his first self titled solo LP), could recollect some of the most precious styles of American music. Hismournful, ragged sound and his brief moments of consolation make you feel that you’re hearing Hank and Ray in one sound. He seems very tired and lonesome in these last records and even in The Last Waltz you could feel his outness from the whole scene, like he is somewhere else and certainly not in this glorious farewell party. When Martin Scorsese’s camera, accidentally misses him in his last vocal part of The Last Waltz (I shall be released), it seems like fate has condemned him to his permanent solitude. You could hear:

“I see my light come shining/From the west unto the east./Any day now, any day now,/I shall be released.”
but you couldn’t see the man himself and he was behind a long line of music stars, too tired and down to be seen.

Vocals of magnificent Northern Light-Southern Cross (1975) is divided between Richard Manuel’s after-hour picturesque songs and Levon Helm’s New Orleanian ramblings that is accompanied with a great horn section. And of course Rick Danko has his unforgettable moments of grief in It makes no difference (In Last Waltz it created a moving climax in terms of Danko’s vocal and interaction between Robertson’s guitar solo and Garth Hudson’s response with Alto Sax.

Manuel has three unforgettable vocal pieces in this album. The first one is Hobo Jungle, the second Jupiter Hollow (only partially) and the set closes with the Rags and Bones, a musical description of a daily urban scene with lots of great vocal characterizations. It gathers all the best things in Manuel’s voice, the movement and the feeling of switching from one image to another, from one rich tableau to the second one, all as fast as a steam locomotive and without any tediousness or slackness.

The Band’s last album, Islands (1977), that actually was recorded after The Last Waltz due to an unfinished contract with Capitol (so The Last Waltz is not actually the end of The Band!), is a neglected classic. There are some of the brightest and cleanest rock recordings (in both Musical and engineering terms) of all times in this comely pack of songs. I must confess the connection between urban songs, sagas , love song and straight rock ‘n’ roll cuts in this particular album is somehow weak , but each song stands its own ground. Beside Rick Danko’s ennoble narration of Jesus birth in Christmas Must be Tonight (in my view it’s the best rock Christmas song ever), it’s Manuel that steal the whole set. I don’t know why this gentleman, Michael Gray in his Bob Dylan encyclopedia accuses Robertson of confining Manuel’s talent in The Band’s latter albums. Nowadays we are used to this kind of inaccurate commentary and I’m sure this statements result from simple reasons like “not listening to the albums” and only playing with words to win a irrelevant argument, for whom or why, I don’t know.

I can’t remember any opening track as easy going and comforting as Island’s Right as rain, and truly it is as "right" as rain! In Let the Night Falls Manuel reaches its Ray Charlsian peak with his yearning voice and when he begins to sing Georgia on my mind, it’s Ray himself.

Island ends with Knocking Lost John, the most unrecognizable The Band track in vocal parts, but as far as music in concerned a splendid example of songwriting and performance. At the end, Richard Manuel is a genius lost in drugs and alcohol. A fallen angel who reached the end too soon. He was one of the best vocalists of 20th century in the same class with giants like Ray Charles and Hank Williams and a hell of a musician on keyboards, drums and guitar. I can still hear his voice:

“If you find me in a gloom, or catch me in a dream
Inside my lonely room, there is no in between
Whispering pines, rising of the tide
If only one star shines
Thats just enough to get inside”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lee Morgan

دربارۀ لي مورگان

10 جولای 1938 فیلادلفیا – 19 فوریه 1972

براي اولين بار صداي سحرانگيز ترومپت لي مورگان را در اجرايش از I’m a fool to want you شنيدم. با آن كه استادي بلامنازع او در اين بالاد باشكوه نشانه هايي از مايلز ديويس در خود داشت، اما ترديد نبود كه گرماي مطبوع و دم كامل و رگمش به ساز او را اعجوبه اي متفاوت از بقيۀ نوازندگان بزرگ هم نسلش نشان مي داد. بعد از در بي شمار آلبوم هاي بلونٌت (Blue Note) شانس شنيدن ترومپت بي نهايت ريتميك و آتشين مورگان فراهم شد.

با جان كولتِرِين

در عالم واقع اين استاد استادان، نت هنتوف (Nat Hentoff) بود كه او را در اجرایی شبانه از گروه آرت بلیکی (Art Blakey) در بردلند و هنگام اجرای «شبی در تونس» کشف کرد و پدیده ای حیرت انگیز خواندش. او در مدتی کوتاه با حمایت های کمپانی بلونت که از موفقیت آلبوم های او به وجد آمده بود به ستاره ای بزرگ در ساز خود بدل شد. در موسیقی او ریتم های عامه پسند روز مانند "ریتم و بلوز" و اولين نشانه هايFunk - كه در اواخر دهۀ 1960 طرفداران زيادي پيدا كرد – به آساني قابل تشخيص است. لي نوازنده ای پرزرق و برق با تکنیکی نفس گیر و خلاقیتی آنی و عیان در ترومپت بود که از زمان دیزی گیلسپی (Dizzy Gillespie) کم تر شنیده شده بود. او از اواسط سال های 1950 وارد دنیای موسیقی شد و در ابتدا صدایش بسيار شبيه به بتش کلیفورد براون (Clifford Brown) بود، اما به مرور و با پيوندي بین سنت های بی باپ و ریتم ها و هارمونی های مدرن و گرایش به بلوز، صدای واقعی اش را پیدا کرد.

او درخانواده ای اهل موسیقی به دنیا آمد. از 15 سالگی نوازنده ای حرفه ای بود و در 18 سالگی ، یعنی تابستان 1956 با پیوستن به ارکستر بزرگ دیزی گیلسپی درس هایی اساسی از این معلم بزرگ ترومپت گرفت. در 1958 به آرت بلیکی پیوست. در 1956 اولین آلبوم خودش با نام « معرفی لی مورگان» (Presenting Lee Morgan) را برای بلو نت ضبط کرد. و پس از آن حدود 30 آلبوم برای این کمپانی ضبط کرد. در 1961 برای ترک اعتیادش به هرویین به زادگاهش بازگشت و در آنجا با جیمی هیث (Jimmy Heath) نوازندۀ ساکسفون کار کرد. در 1963 آلبوم بسیار موفق Sidewinder را ضبط کرد. در 65-1964 مجدداً به بلیکی پیوست. نزدیک به سال های پایانی دهۀ 1960 او آشکارا از موسیقی راک حمایت می کرد و اگر مرگ زودهنگامش نمی بود، احتملا آلبومیfusion هم از او می شنیدیم. در سال 1972 و در حال اجرای برنامه در کلوب اسلاگ Slug در نیویورک به ضرب گلولۀ شليك شده از تفنگ يك زن از پا درآمد و همان جا روي صحنه و در كنار سازش جان داد، قاتل او به يك روايت همسرش و به روايتي ديگر يكي از دوستانش بوده است. لي در اين زمان فقط 34 سال داشت. او از بزرگترین ترومپتیست های سبک هاردباپ بود. استاد در نواختن لاین (Line) های طولانی با تکنیک و سرعتی مثال زدنی و در عین حال استادی مسلم در نواختن بالادها.

ديسكوگرافي لي مورگان :


Lee Morgan Indeed! Blue Note
Introducing Lee Morgan Savoy


Lee Morgan Sextet Blue Note
Lee Morgan Vol. 3 Blue Note
City Lights Blue Note
The Cooker Blue Note
Candy Blue Note


Here's Lee Morgan Vee-Jay
Lee-Way Blue Note
Expoobident Vee-Jay


Take Twelve Jazzland


The Sidewinder Blue Note


Search for the New Land Blue Note
Tom Cat Blue Note


The Rumproller Blue Note
The Gigolo Blue Note
Cornbread Blue Note
Infinity Blue Note


Delightfulee Blue Note
Charisma Blue Note
The Rajah Blue Note


Standards Blue Note
Sonic Boom Blue Note
The Procrastinator Blue Note
The Sixth Sense Blue Note


Taru Blue Note
Caramba! Blue Note


Live at the Lighthouse Blue Note
The Last Session Blue Note

در اين جا مي توانيد ويدئويي از كنسرت 1958 لي مورگان با گروه آرت بليكي يا همان جز مسنجرز (Jazz Mesengers) را ببينيد. اين كنسرت به احتمال زياد در توكيو فيلم برداري شده است. بقيۀ گروه عبارتند از: بني گولسون ساكسفون تنور، بابي تيمونز (پيانو)، جيمي مريت (بِيس) و آرت بليكي به عنوان درامر و ليدر گروه. اسم قطعه هست I remember Clifford كه بدون شك يادآور بٌت لي مورگان، كليفورد براون است.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

100 Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Albums of all times

Few years back, I composed a list of my favorite rock albums and put the list and some sample tracks in a CD and then sent it all over the country to my friends. My taste in Rock music hasn’t changed much since then. Here and now, comes the third edition of that list (February 2011) -- My 100 favorite rock ‘n’ roll albums of all time:

Bob Dylan & The Band
The Basement Tapes (1975)

Neil Young
Tonight’s The Night (1975)

The Band
The Band [AKA Brown Album] (1969)

Bob Dylan
Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)

The Rolling Stones
Sticky Fingers (1970)

Grateful Dead
American Beauty (1970)

Van Morrison
Astral weeks (1968)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Déjà vu (1970)

The Rolling Stones
Exile on Main Street (1972)

The Who
Who’s Next (1971)

Derek & the Dominos
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

Neil Young
On the Beach (1974)

Bob Dylan
Blonde on Blonde (1966)

The Band
Cahoots (1973)

David Crosby
If I only could remember my name (1971)

New Riders of the Purple Sage
New Riders of the Purple Sage (1971)

Van Morrison
Veedon Fleece (1974)

Jethro Tull
Aqualang (1971)

Crosby, Stills, Nash
Crosby , Stills, Nash (1969)

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Zuma (1975)

Jerry Garcia
Garcia [AKA the Wheel] (1972)

Van Morrison
Moondance (1970)

The Band
Music from Big Pink (1968)

Blind Faith
Blind Faith (1969)

Bob Dylan & The Band
Planet Waves (1973)

Graham Nash
Song for Beginners (1971)

Bob Dylan
Blood on the Tracks (1975)

Neil Young
After the Goldrush (1970)

Crosby Stills Nash
CSN (1977)

Bob Dylan
Time Out of Mind (1997)

Gordon Lightfoot
Sundown (1975)

Bobby Charles
Bobby Charles [AKA Small Talk Town] (1972)

Stephen Stills
Manasas (1970)

Steely Dan
Countdown To Ecstasy (1973)

Warren Zevon
Warren Zevon (1976)

Traffic (1968)

John Hartford
Aereo-Plain (1971)

Bob Dylan
Oh mercy! (1989)

Fire & Water (1970)

Joe Cocker
With a Little Help From My Friends (1968)

Grateful Dead
Wake of the flood (1973)

Van Morrison
Saint Dominic Preview (1973)

Jimi Hendrix Experience
Electric Ladyland (1968)

Grateful Dead
Workingman’s Dead (1970)

Bob Dylan

Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Rick Danko
Rick Danko (1977)

The Allman Brothers Band

Eat a Peach (1972)

Neil Young
Harvest (1972)

The Who
The Who by Numbers (1975)

Leon Russell
The Best of (1970-72)

Disraeli Gears (1967)

Graham Nash
Wild Tales (1973)

Lou Reed
Transformer (1973)

David Crosby & Graham Nash
Crosby & Nash (1972)

Johnny Cash
At Folsom Prison (1968)

Neil Young
American Stars ’n’ bars (1977)

Bob Dylan
Bringing it all back home (1965)

Electric Warrior (1971)

Eric Clapton
No Reason to Cry (1976)

Velvet Underground & Nico
Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

George Harrison & Friends
Concert for Bangladesh (1971)

Shawn Phillips
Second Contribution (1970)

Grateful Dead
Aoxomoxoa (1969)

Bob Dylan
John Wesley Harding (1968)

Steely Dan
Can't Buy A Thrill (1972)

The Beatles
Abbey Road (1969)

The Byrds
Greatest Hits (1968)

Leonard Cohen
Songs of Love and Hate (1970)

James Taylor
Sweet baby James (1970)

Joe Cocker
Cocker! (1969)

Merl Saunders & Jerry Garcia
Live at Keystone Vol.1 (1973)

Little Feat
Feats Don't Fail Me Now (1974)

Janis Joplin
I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! (1969)

Jefferson Starship
Red Octopus (1975)

Dave Mason
Dave Mason & Cass Elliot (1971)

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Willy and the Poor Boys (1969)

Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser
Wanted! The Outlaws (1976)

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Pronounced 'Leh-'Nérd 'Skin-'Nérd (1973)

New Riders of the Purple Sage
The Adventures Of Panama Red (1973)

Leonard Cohen
New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974)

David Crosby & Graham Nash
Wind on the Water (1973)

Dave Mason
Alone Together (1970)

Dennis Wilson
Pacific Ocean Blue (1977)

Old And In The Way
Old And In The Way (1973)

The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers Band (1969)

Bob Dylan
The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs (1989-2006)

Fleetwood Mac
Rumours (1977)

Gene Clark
Winter Light (1971)

Jethro Tull
Benefit (1970)

Chuck Berry
The Great Twenty Eight (1955-65)

Blood, Sweat & Tears
Blood, Sweat & Tears (1969)

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley (1956)

Beach Boys
Pet Sounds (1966)

Al Kooper
New York City (You're A Woman) (1971)

Jerry Garcia & Howard Wales
Hooteroll? (1971)

The Rolling Stones
Aftermath (1966)

David Bowie
Hunky Dury (1972)

The Marshall Tucker Band
Greatest Hits (1973-79)

Robert Hunter
Tales of the Great Rum Runners (1974)

Joe Walsh
But Seriously Folks (1978)

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (1969)