Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rest in Peace, Ravi Shankar 7 April 1920 – 11 December 2012

One of the greatest and most influential musicians in the world passed away yesterday, Ravi Shankar.

His long time friendship and collaboration with Beatle George Harrison is one of the enduring legacies of the world of music. George called Ravi the "Godfather of World Music,” having brought the musical and spiritual treasures of the East to a whole generation of Westerners. He was a virtuoso on his instrument, the sitar. It is through the Beatles and George Harrison that most of us heard of Ravi Shankar, but once we became acquainted with him, we loved his music. He is not only a pioneer of world music but of multiculturalism in the best possible sense.

Rest in peace, Ravi, you will be missed, but your spirit and music remain!


Two good friends of mine expressed some very beautiful thoughts about Ravi and George this morning, and since I cannot best them, I want to share them with you here.

"R.I.P. Pandit Ravi Shankar - you were one of the century's finest Indian classical musicians, and you did more than any other single individual to bring the beauty and genius of Indian classical music, largely due to your close association with the Beatles, to the ears of the West - I was fortunate enough to meet you and hear you play on many occasions, and you were the single biggest inspiration in life to my mother, who was an accomplished sitar player in her youth - your body of musical work will remain with us and inspire us for a long time to come."

"Ravi Shankar loved George like a son and vice versa. I thank him for his contribution to George's music and therefore, the Beatles' music. It wouldn't be the same without the enrichment he provided by teaching George the sitar. Also, he was just a good man. RIP Ravi Shankar."

Below is a link to a documentary on Ravi Shankar:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rest in Peace, Dave Brubeck

Jazz great Dave Brubeck passed away this morning. He was 91. His biggest hit was Take 5 in 1959, but he provided decades of innovative music, which appealed to many people beyond the world of Jazz.

He will be missed.

Eternal Rest grant him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. 

Live Performance of Take 5 by Dave Brubeck:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Remembering George Harrison + November 29th, 2001

On this date in 2001 (November 29th), former Beatle George Harrison passed away. At the time of his passing, his wife Olivia Harrison said, “George left the world in the same way he lived in it, in the consciousness of God…”

The Trailer for Martin Scorceses' Documentary on George, Living in the Material World:
George Harrison Youtube Channel

Friday, October 19, 2012

Attallah Shabbaz, Malcolm X's Daughter, Gives Inspiring Talk in St. Paul

Attallah Shabbaz

Last night, Thursday, October 18th 2012, I had the pleasure of hearing Attallah Shabbaz speak, and had the honor of meeting her at Metropolitan State University, in St. Paul Minnesota. Attallah Shabbaz is one of Malcolm X's daughters.

In an event sponsored by the university's Muslim Student Organization, Attallah Shabbaz gave an inspiring talk on spirituality, self-esteem, and community.

Attallah Shabbaz is an elegant, beautiful woman and warmly engages her audience. She presented her father, Malcolm X as a compassionate person, who had love and concern for all people. She explained that he his views were broadened before his trip to Mecca, and that his nationalistic phase was only one chapter of his life.

During the Q&A, I asked her how she felt about various parties and groups trying to claim her father, and how her father might view our current context were he alive. She said he had his own opinions, but she felt he could not be claimed by anyone's agenda or party. In answering this question, she made a clever statement which the audience enjoyed very much: “if you are pissed off, don't put my father's face on your flag, put your own face!”

Ms. Shabbaz's talk was not just about her father, or even primarily about her father. She invoked his memory fondly, yes, and provided some wonderful quotes from Malcolm X. She is her own person, and it is her message in her own voice that she presented to the audience.

I was very moved by her view of God. She said at one point “Allah is always with you, loves you unconditionally. Tell your self good things about yourself, God won't accuse you of being vain.” I got a little misty-eyed as she spoke these words. As a Christian, I felt this Muslim woman was speaking in the Holy Spirit. One of my friends who came late to the talk said he could feel the wonderful atmosphere in the auditorium as he entered it.

Shabbaz proclaimed herself an “Ecumenist,” who rejoiced “that God gave us many ways to reach him,” a reference to the various religious traditions of humankind.

Shabbaz presented her fathers slogan, “by any means necessary,” in a fresh light. It is not about violence but about doing whatever it takes to overcome the obstacle's in one's life, or, for a community. One of quotes she gave from her father was "The greatest tool of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." Her point is that we can imprison ourselves with our limited thinking, by accepting the narrative of the oppressor, or our own narrative of powerlessness. Her talk reminded me that Malcolm X's message was about empowerment.

Although part of her message was one of self-esteemed, based on God's presence in our lives, it was not an individualistic message. She exhorted us that we when we vote, “Make sure your vote is more than just about you.”

As she closed her talk, she said that one of the things her father said, is that we need to be concerned that others around have what they need.

Attallah Shabbaz's talk was a beautiful, inspiring one. I was glad and blessed to be at this event.

- Lance
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Shabbaz after the presentation

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Esperanza!

Happy Birthday, Esperanza! Esperanza Spalding, the beautiful, talented young bassist, vocalist, songwriter, bandleader, is 28 today! Here is Esperanza performing one of my favorite songs from her Radio Music Society CD, Smile Like That.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Does Having a Black President Signal the End of Racism?

The proposition that because we have an African-American president, we no longer have racism, is ridiculous. That might mean at best that the majority of people are not racist. If anything, the presence of a Black man in the White House has given occasion for some ugly if subtle racist attitudes to be expressed. When the unemployment rate is no longer double that for Blacks as it is for whites in some areas, when the prison population is no longer 2/3 people of color, when 39 percent of Black, non-Hispanic children, and 35 percent of Hispanic children are no longer living in poverty, among many other things, than, I might accept that racism is becoming a thing of the past.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour Revisited - Arena - BBC Documentary - 2012 - HD

Here is a documentary on the making of the Magical Mystery Tour, called The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour Revisited - Arena - BBC Documentary - 2012 - HD

This documentary features interviews with Paul and Ringo. The Magical Mystery Tour is a fun movie, and the American LP is one of my favorite Beatle Albums.

This documentary is broadcast on the occasion of the new release of the Magical Mystery Tour movie. You may purchase the deluxe version of the Magical Mystery Tour, which includes the DVD, vinyl EP, and 60 page book. 

A project largely conceived by Paul, the Beatles went out to the country side in a painted bus, and filmed the movie, which largely consisted of made-up adventures, psychedelic fantasy and dream sequences, and great videos of Beatle songs. The movie at the time was savaged by the critics, but since has become a Beatle fan favorite. As Paul McCartney once said, "What other movie can you watch and see John Lennon singing 'I am the Walrus?'"

In England, the six movie songs were released as a double 45RPM Extend Play (EP); in the United States, a full album was released, which in addition to the movie songs contained both sides of their last three non-album singles. It was a number one LP in the United States, and the Britain eventually put out the album version later, in 1978.

As an album, it is one of the Beatle's finest, but then again, all the Beatle albums are great. Such Beatle classics as the title track, I am the Walrus, and number #1 singles Hello Goodbye,  Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, and All You Need is Love appear on the album. The Magical Mystery Tour is a personal favorite of mine.

I had the enormous pleasure of watching Paul McCartney perform Hello Goodbye, Penny Lane, and Magical Mystery Tour in concert.

Here is the song list:

Magical Mystery Tour 
Fool on the Hill 
Blue Jay Way
Your Mother Should Know 
I Am the Walrus 
Hello Goodbye 
Strawberry Fields Forever
Penny Lane
Baby You're a Rich Man
All You Need is Love

Below I have both my Youtube play list for both the entire movie of the Magical Mystery Tour, and for the videos of all 11 songs on the album. Enjoy!

The Magical Mystery Tour Movie 

The Magical Mystery Tour album. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

LIVE VIDEO & Concert Review: Esperanza Spalding Wows Minneapolis with Performance of the Radio Music Society

Sunday night (09/30/2012) I saw Esperanza Spalding & the Radio Music Society perform at the State Theater in Minneapolis. I received my ticket as a gift, which was very nice to begin with!

The concert was great, what a terrific performance. Esperanza Spalding is a superb bassist on both electric and acoustic bass, and has a lovely, strong soprano voice. It was reported that Esperanza's friend and mentor Prince was in attendance, and that his Purpleness was "blown away," by the concert, as was the rest of the audience.

As a prop, a giant cut out of a boom box is on stage. The lights of the radio dial come on and we hear the sound of someone tuning up and down the dial, with sounds of music and static. Soon, Esperanza's band, dubbed the Radio Music Society for this tour, begins playing some funky instrumental music. A few moments later Esperanza herself steps out, dancing and playing her bass, and she introduces the band members at the beginning of show. They perform a Thad Jones tune, Us.

Esperanza proceeded to perform all the songs from the Radio Music Society album.

The first album song the band launches into after that is one of my personal favorites from the Radio Music Society album, Hold On, a big band -sounding song about obsessive love. Esperanza is in great form on upright bass.

Next she launches into her brilliant rendition of Stevie Wonder's I Can't Help It, which shows off Esperanza's bouncy bass guitar work. It is her best bass guitar song both on the CD and in this concert, but her electric bass playing was superb through out the show. She never ceases to amaze bass players by her ability to sing and play complex bass lines at the same time. Watching her it appears she left no note on her bass untouched throughout the night, she knows her away around the neck of her fretless Fender Jazz Bass.

Her virtuosity on upright bass was displayed on Smile Like That, a song about a relationship coming to an end, and on Vague Suspicions, a song about the war on terror and drone bombing. Although Esperanza has always been able to play fast and fluid, drawing comparisons to Charles Mingus, she seems to me that she has picked up some speed since the last two times I have seen her. She was playing some very Stanley-Clarke-ish type solos on her acoustic bass.

One of the most moving moments of the evening was the performance of Black Gold, Esperanza's song about African-American heritage and identity. She has said she wrote the song with the idea that mothers might sing it to their children. In her introduction for the song, she engaged in a banter with vocalist Chris Turner and she spoke of how African-Americans must find their affirmation within themselves, and not from the world. This garnered some "Amens" and "that's right!" from the audience. I dare say that we were on the brink of "having church" at that point of the show, the spirit was very positive and uplifting. Black Gold has a gospel feel to it, with gospel-tinged organ playing and vocal harmonies. This is the song that I believe will be associated with Esperanza 30 and 40 years from now. I keep searching Youtube to see if a church choir has covered it yet. Chris Turner trade lines with Esperanza on the song, and a local reviewer compared his voice to Stevie Wonder.
Esperanza's stage about 13 minutes before the show
Esperanza shared a strong social justice message with audience this night. She let her audience know of her advocacy of the Innocence Project, which tries to free people unjustly imprisoned. Her sad but beautiful song, Land of the Free, is about Cornelius Dupree, an innocent man who spent 30 years in prison. This song also has a gospel feel. Esperanza has a brilliant lyric in the song about Dupree being "Five fifths of a man, but the judge only seeing three," an unmistakable reference to the U.S. Constitution, which in its original form held black people as being only three-fifths human beings.

Endangered Species is a Wayne Shorter song, originally an instrumental, for which Esperanza wrote lyrics about the precarious nature of human beings and other life on the earth in light of the environmental crisis. This is yet another song in which Esperanza turns in a great bass guitar performance.

The last song of the regular set was the theme song for the Radio Music Society project, Radio Song. As the band began playing the song, Esperanza taught the audience the chorus, and she encouraged the audience to sing throughout the song. It was her "Paul McCartney/Hey Jude" moment, and a fitting close to the set.

For an encore, Esperanza and back up singer and trumpet-player Leala Cyr dueted on InĂștil Paisagem, accompanied only by Esperanza's upright bass.

Esperanza is an excellent performer. Not only is she an extremely talented vocalist and bass player, but has a compelling stage presence. She talks a lot to the audience and gives often humorous introductions to the songs. One of the natural beauties of the music world, she exudes a sexy wholesomeness, smiling often, raising up her arms for emphasis or to encourage the audience to sing, swinging and dancing gently with her bass back and forth across the stage.

I certainly enjoyed the show, it was one of the most entertaining concerts I have ever been to. If you have a chance, try and catch Esperanza Spalding and the Radio Music Society. You will be in for a treat.

Here are the remaining Tour Dates:

Radio Music Society Tour.

Esperanza signs autographs in the lobby of the State Theater, Minneapolis

After the concert, Esperanza sat at the merchandise table and signed T-shirts, albums, CDs, and posters. I would guess about 100 fans took advantage of her accessibility. Of course, I was one of them (see picture), and I had both my vinyl and CD editions of the Radio Music Society signed. I have had the pleasure of meeting Esperanza three times, and I have never met a celebrity who is more friendly and grateful to her fans as Esperanza Spalding seems to be.

I have my album and CD signed 
Purchase Radio Music Society:
Deluxe Edition with CD/DVD


So far, I have only found 3 videos from the performance on Youtube, and I have them posted here in a playlist:

1) Vague Suspicions
2) Cinnamon Tree
3) InĂștil Paisagem

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The House I Live In Trailer- the Racist, Expensive, and Ineffective "War on Drugs."

It is high time to end the war on drugs. It is a racist policy, that does not curb drug abuse, and it is a trillion-dollar failure. It feeds into the prison-industrial complex. Eugene Jarecki's film which won the documentary award at Sundance will be released October 5th. One of the judges interviewed in the film said "I have only seen 3 or 4 drug pins, we mostly send away poor, drug-addicted people." The drug war represents oppression with its systematic racism. It ultimately affects all of us and is one of the forces undermining our democracy. IT is simply bad policy. It destroys communities and families and is ineffective. - Lance

An investigative look at America’s war on drugs and its impact on the criminal justice system. Director Eugene Jarecki was Bill Maher’s first guest on Real Time tonight with a message that’s been obscured for decades: The so-called War on Drugs is effectively a War on Minorities, and the causalities of that war are predominantly young Black men, with a focus on the experiences of Nannie Jeter, a former employee of filmmaker Eugene ‘s family.
The House I Live In won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance 2012, and will open in limited release on October 5, 2012. 

“The war on drugs is bullshit...The war on drugs really is a war on minorities...we had slavery, and then we had the Jim Crowe laws, and I really believe that the successor to those two ways of putting down minorities, the black man is the drug wars.” - Bill Maher

Eugene Jarecki appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday evening, September 21st, 2012. It is an excellent interview, powerfully prophetic about the war on drugs and its racist dimension. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Favorite Albums: Chris Squire's Fish Out of Water

The Favorite album I want to recognize in this post is Fish Out Of Water, a solo  Album by Yes bassist Chris Squire, released in 1975. I probably bought my copy a few years later, perhaps 1979. I had gotten into Yes later on, after they were well established. One of the first concerts I ever went to was a Yes Concert, I believe in 1979. It was the first concert in the then brand new Cedar Rapids Civic Center. The gimmick Yes had for that tour was a revolving stage. I had just purchased a fender jazz bass, and I got to see my bass hero Chris Squire perform live in the arena.

As a young bassist, one of my favorite bass players was, and still is, Chris Squire of Yes. His classical sounding melodic bass lines are unmistakable and have influenced a couple of generations of bassists, including Rush's Geddy Lee. Squire is especially associate with the Rickenbacker Bass.

He is one of the founding members of Yes, one of the progressive rock bands of the late sixties and early seventies. Squire will always be associated with such Yes songs as Round About and Owner of a Lonely Hearts, and the Fish.

Squire's nickname is the Fish, which comes from a incident where he flooded a hotel room by accident while he was in a shower. He was also known for spending a lot of time in the bathroom when he lived with fellow Yes band mate Bill Buford.

Fish out of Water has only five tracks but they are sublime. This is a case of a very creative and interesting album, which while, not a great commercial success (#25 in UK, #69 in US), has had some longevity. The structure of the music blends rock, jazz, and classical in one cohesive sound. The album features a full orchestra as well as rock instrumentation.

The bass is made to be prominent in the mix of the album, and rightfully so. It is melodic but holds down the bottom. Squire puts on a clinic for bass work.

Squire's vocal work does not sound much different from Yes band mate Jon Anderson, singing in the higher register with a lot of power and discipline.

The first track, Hold Out Your Hand, is a opens the album with the organ from the London Cathedral, and then a stunning stereo bass riff by Squire.

The song flows into the next track, You by My Side.

Side one concludes with Silently Falling, an 11 minute track with full orchestration.

Side 2 opens with the track, Lucky Seven, so named for its 7/8 time signature. It has a jazz feel to it with minor keys and saxophone.

The album closes with Safe, a fifteen minute track that reprises a theme from Yes's song, Close to the Edge.

Fortunately, Fish out of Water is still available for down load, a little more difficult to obtain on CD, although an enhanced import is available but is pricey.

Fish Out of Water is a personal favorite of mine, by one of my greatest bass influences.

Track Listing 
All songs written by Chris Squire.

Side One
"Hold Out Your Hand" – 4:13
"You By My Side" – 5:00
"Silently Falling" – 11:27

Side Two
"Lucky Seven" – 6:54
"Safe (Canon Song)" – 14:56

Purchase Fish Out Of Water:
MP3 Download

Chris Squire Web Sites

Chris Squire 
Chris Squire My Space
Chris Squire Facebook

Video for Hold Out Your Hand and You by My Side:

Chris Squire – basses, lead and backing vocals, additional drum fills on "You By My Side", 12-string electric guitar on "Silently Falling" and "Safe"
Andrew Jackman – acoustic and electric pianos, conductor, orchestration
Bill Bruford – drums, percussion
Patrick Moraz – bass synthesizer and organ on "Silently Falling"
Jimmy Hastings – flute
Mel Collins – alto saxophone on "Lucky Seven", tenor saxophone on "Silently Falling"
Barry Rose – pipe organ on "Hold Out Your Hand"
Adrian Bett – woodwinds leader
Jim Buck – horns leader
Julian Gaillard – strings leader
John Wilbraham – brass leader
Nikki Squire – backing vocals on "Hold Out Your Hand"

Chris Squire: Producer
Greg Jackman: Engineer
Nigel Luby: Assistant Engineer
Phil Carson: Overdubs, Mastering
Trevor Spencer: Mastering
Graham Preskett: Mastering

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Upcoming Documentary: Free Angela

I am very excited to see a new documentary on Angela Davis coming soon. It will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival this month, and is being produced by Jay-Z and Will and Jada Smith.

Jay-Z joins Will Smith to exec produce Shola Lynch’s ‘Free Angela & All Political Prisoners’
Posted by Wilson Morales via read

Source: Deadline

Overbrook Entertainment and Roc Nation will lend their clout to the Realside Productions/De Films Aiguille-produced documentary Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, which was directed by Shola Lynch. They will become executive producers on a film that premieres at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival and marks the 40th anniversary of the acquittal of Angela Davis on charges of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy. The docu was produced by Carole Lambert, Shola Lynch, Carine Ruszniewski, and Sidra Smith.

The documentary chronicles Angela Davis’ activism that implicated her in charges of attempted kidnapping and murder. It features interviews with Davis, her lawyers, FBI agents assigned to the case, and journalists who covered one of the most volatile trials of the ’60s. Davis’ imprisonment sparked a worldwide movement for her freedom as a political prisoner, while she was simultaneously being labeled a terrorist. The film wrestles with the meaning of political freedom in a democracy negotiated between the people and its government.

“We at Overbrook Entertainment are very proud to support this intriguing documentary about the life of Angela Davis. Filmmaker, Shola Lynch has done an incredible job in revealing a piece of American history we thought we all knew,” said Jada Pinkett Smith.

Roc Nation founder Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, added: “Shola Lynch has crafted an intricate and compelling film about Angela Davis. Roc Nation is honored to be a part of a creative collective that can present such a riveting story.”

According to Indiewire & Deadline

In this essential new feature documentary, legendary radical activist Angela Davis speaks for the first time about her 1970s imprisonment as a terrorist and conspirator, which became a flashpoint in the black liberation struggle and turned her into a revolutionary icon. Angela Davis, an associate of the Black Panthers and UCLA philosophy professor who was charged in 1970 with conspiracy in kidnapping and murdering Judge Harold Haley from the Marin County courthouse. The film will premiere at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival and marks the 40th anniversary of the acquittal of Angela Davis on charges or murder, kidnapping and conspiracy.

Jada Pinkett Smith said “We at Overbrook Entertainment are very proud to support this intriguing documentary about the life of Angela Davis. Filmmaker, Shola Lynch has done an incredible job in revealing a piece of American history we thought we all knew.”

Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, added: “Shola Lynch has crafted an intricate and compelling film about Angela Davis. Roc Nation is honored to be a part of a creative collective that can present such a riveting story.”

Sunday, September 2, 2012

John Lennon Introduces ELO's Showdown

John Lennon introducing the ELO single, Showdown on the Radio. John gives ELO high praises, saying that they picked up where the Beatles left off. I am a huge Beatle fan, and I have always like ELO too. Enjoy!

Friday, August 31, 2012

My Home-Made Videos of Esperanza Spalding Rarities

I have made some videos for Esperanza Spalding recording that I have uploaded on YouTube. I stuck with the rarer tracks, ones that are on other people's albums or compilation albums, or bonus tracks, ones that do not have official promo videos produced by Esperanza's record company.

1) The masterpiece, I think, is Esperanza's sublime Morning, which is a bonus track on the vinyl edition of the Chamber Music Society, and also a bonus track on the DVD for Radio Music Society. This is a bonus track on the Deluxe CD/DVD version of Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Society. It is a song with with sexy lyrics, about two people spending the night together, sung by Esperanza in a sultry, but disciplined voice. Musically, it is very interesting, combining Jazz with an experimental rock sound. The track features a tastefully cacophonous wall of sound, but Esperanza's upright bass lines cuts through the mix with some interesting fills. Its a great song and sounds terrific. Esperanza's voice is in top form. I fed the song into my computer from my vinyl Chamber Music Society LP to produce an electronic version. It is no doubt the best production on my part of a home made video.

2) Esperanza's recording of the Joe Lee Wilson song, Jazz Ain't Nothing But Soul. Studio version, featuring Joe Lovano on saxophone. This is a bonus track for the Radio Music Society album, available from iTunes. I think it is one of the very best tracks for the whole Radio Music Society project. It features one of her mentors, sax great Joe Lovano.  Esperanza opened up her 2009 Austin City Limits performance with the song.

3) Esperanza performs Sunlight. She did a terrific live version of this song on Austin City Limits in February of 2009. Both the live version and studio version feature some sinewy bass playing from Esperanza. This is the studio version, which is available a single for download on iTunes.

4) Esperanza covers the Disney Classic Chim Chim Cheree with help from her Chamber Music Society co-producer Gil Goldstein. Esperanza plays her upright bass, and bows a solo; Goldstein plays piano and accordion. Esperanza scats the song in a rather lovely, haunting voice, rather than sing the lyrics. A gem. This is available not only on iTunes, but in a 2011 Jazz compilation of Disney Classics called, Everyone Wants to be Cat.

5) Esperanza covers a classic Jazz Standard, Weaver of Dreams, with a very nice light touch on vocals and upright bass. It is available on iTunes and on a compilation called Mile: A Hush Collection.

6 )Esperanza sings with Stanley Clarke, another one of my bass heroes, on a song called All Over Again. The song appeared on Clarke's 2007 CD, Toys of Men. Stanley accompanies her with some melodic bass chords.

7 & 8 )Finally, I have too all too brief but precious Esperanza bass solos caught live with Joe Lovano & US5 at Hopkins Art Center in Hopkins Minnesota October, 2011. Unfortunately, I was a poor steward of my cell phone battery life that day, and my battery display just had the red outline when I captured these brief performances. I could not get much more, so tried to save the video time for her solos. The video is not real good (I am sitting in the second row, but the performers look like they are a mile away), but you can hear clearly Esperanza's tasty upright solos.

Listing (the number of "views" listed here are as of August 31st, 2012).
  • Esperanza Spalding - Morning by Lance Goldsberry 106,224 views 2  3:37
  • Esperanza Spalding - Jazz Ain't Nothing But Soul by Lance Goldsberry 279 views 3  5:22
  • Esperanza Spalding - Sunlight by Lance Goldsberry 261 views 4  5:05
  • All Over Again - Stanley Clarke and Esperanza Spalding by Lance Goldsberry 610 views 5  2:22
  • Esperanza Spalding performs Weaver of Dreams by Lance Goldsberry 5,735 views 6  3:44
  • Esperanza Spalding Performs Chim Chim Cher ee by Lance Goldsberry 22,147 views 7  0:29
  • Esperanza Bass Solo 1 with Joe Lovano and US5 by Lance Goldsberry 217 views 8  1:06
  • Esperanza Bass Solo 2 with Joe Lovano by Lance Goldsberry 193 views 9  6:05  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Christian McBride and Dee Dee Bridgewater -It's Your Thing

What a great track, It’s Your Thing, a duet by Christian McBride and Dee Dee Bridgewater on McBride's 2011 CD, Conversations with Christian. Just Christian and his percussive bass playing, and Dee Dee Bridgewater's sultry singing.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bruce Cockburn performs Blind Willie Johnson's WHAT IS THE SOUL OF A MAN?

Bruce Cockburn peforms a blues tune by Blind Willie Johnson. WHAT IS THE SOUL OF A MAN?

Won't somebody tell me, answer if you can!
Want somebody tell me, what is the soul of a man
I'm going to ask the question, answer if you can
If anybody here can tell me, what is the soul of a man?
Won't somebody tell me, answer if you can!
Want somebody tell me, what is the soul of a man
I've traveled in different countries, I've traveled foreign lands
I've found nobody to tell me, what is the soul of a man
I saw a crowd stand talking, I came up right on time
Were hearing the doctor and the lawyer, say a man ain't nothing but his mind
Won't somebody tell me, answer if you can!
Want somebody tell me, what is the soul of a man
I read the bible often, I tries to read it right
As far as I can understand, its nothing but a burning light!
Won't somebody tell me, answer if you can!
Want somebody tell me, what is the soul of a man
When Christ stood in the temple, the people stood amazed
Was showing the doctors and the lawyers, how to raise a body from the grave
Won't somebody tell me, answer if you can!
Want somebody tell me, what is the soul of a man

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Esperanza Spalding Performs Hold On Me Live for IHeart Radio

This is a great live performance by Esperanza Spalding of her song, Holding On, from the Radio Music Society CD. The song features clever lyrics about obsessive love. It is a very traditional jazz arrangement on the CD, and this live one is even better. Esperanza starts out singing with just her bass, and lays on us a Mingus-like bass solo. There are plenty of opportunities for the musicians in her band to solo as well. You can see why Esperanza is blowing away live audiences this summer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Courageous, Prophetic Stand of Muhammed Ali

I was only nine years old at the time Muhammed Ali resisted the draft. Still, I am very moved by his courage in doing the right thing and standing up to the American government. The Champ takes a prophetic stance in this inspiring video - Lance 
Muhammad Ali’s Courage by Ed Brayton via
Much has been written and said about Muhammed Ali's legacy in sports and as a global celebrity, but I want to highlight his refusal to fight in Vietnam. Here’s the transcript and video of the speech he gave explaining, quite reasonably, why he would not go to kill people who had done nothing to him:
“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father… Shoot them for what? …How can I shoot them poor people, Just take me to jail.”
On another occasion he said, “No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end…Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”
I know we like to think that those who refuse to fight in unjust wars are cowards, but Ali was being courageous here. He didn’t run to Canada, he stood up in public and declared his opposition to the war and his entirely valid reasons for not fighting in it. And it cost him dearly. He was arrested and put on trial, stripped of his championship and denied a license to box and lost 4 years of his career when he was in his prime. He was targeted by the FBI and the CIA. That took courage. What he did was honorable and right. And he deserves to be praised for it. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An Entire Beatles Concert Live in Japan 1966

Set List:
1. Rock'n'roll Music
2. She's A Woman
3. If I Needed Someone
4. Day Tripper
5. Baby's In Black
6. I Feel Fine
7. Yesterday
8. I Wanna Be Your Man
9. Nowhere Man
10. Paperback Writer
11. I'm Down

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Silver and Gold by U2

In the 1980’s I discovered one of my favorite bands of all time, U2. I got into them before they got real big, and I remember buying the ground-breaking Joshua Tree album and its follow up, Rattle & Hum, which consisted of new studio songs and live cuts from the Joshua Tree album. I remember how exhilarating U2’s music sounded to my 27 year old ears.
One of the songs that capture my imagination was "Silver and Gold," written in support of the Artists United Against Apartheid project, which protested the South African apartheid. The lyrics speak of the history of oppression Africans have gone through, from the slave trade to Apartheid in South Africa. The song was originally featured on the project's 1985 album, Sun City, performed by Bono with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones. It was re-recorded by U2 for the single while the band returned to Dublin during in May 1987 during a break between the first and second legs of The Joshua Tree Tour. The song was described by Musician as "tough and raw, with Bono in husky and confident voice, underpinned by a sinuous bass line, and with The Edge demonstrating his newfound prowess in blues-based guitar. “Silver and Gold" was played live on The Joshua Tree Tour several times, one performance of which was featured on the band's 1988 album and rockumentary, Rattle and Hum. Both the studio recording and the Sun City versions were later featured on the bonus disc of the 20th anniversary edition of The Joshua Tree. The studio version was also included on the limited edition B-sides bonus disk of the band's first compilation album, The Best of 1980 - 1990.
At the end live version of the song on the Rattle & Hum LP and movie, Bono gives a small sermon about Apartheid:
“Yep, silver and gold. This song was written in a hotel room in New York City 'round the time a friend of ours, Little Steven, was putting together a record of artists against apartheid. This is a song written about a man in a shanty town outside of Johannesburg. A man who's sick and tired of looking down the barrel of white South Africa. A man who is at the point where he is ready to take up arms against his oppressor. A man who has lost faith in the peacemakers of the west while they argue and while they fail to support a man like bishop Tutu and his request for economic sanctions against South Africa. Am I buggin' you? I don't mean to bug ya. Okay Edge, play the blues!”

Lyrics to Silver and Gold:
In the shit house a shotgun
Praying hands hold me down
Only the hunter was hunted
In this tin can town
Tin can town

No stars in the black night
Looks like the sky fell down
No sun in the daylight
Looks like it's chained to the ground
Chained to the ground
The warden said:
"The exit is sold.
If you want a way out,
Silver and gold."

Broken back to the ceiling
Broken nose to the floor
I scream at the silence, it's crawling
It crawls under the door
There's a rope around my neck
And there's a trigger in your gun
Jesus say something
I am someone, I am someone
I am someone

Captain and kings
In the ships hold
They came to collect
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

Seen the coming and the going
Seen them captains and the kings
See them navy blue uniforms
See them bright and shiny things
Bright shiny things

The temperature is rising
The fever white hot
Mister, I ain't got nothing
But it's more than you got

Chains no longer bind me
Not the shackles at my feet
Outside are the prisoners
Inside the free
Set them free
Set them free

A prize fighter in a corner is told
Hit where it hurts
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Angela Davis speaking in Colorado Springs on the Prison Industrial Complex

Angela Davis speaking in Colorado Springs on the Prison Industrial Complex. Angela is truly one of the most prophetic voices of our times. She is a prophet in the Old Testament sense, calling us to social justice. In the United States we incarcerate more of our people than any other country, including China. We have a large number of non-violent people in jails and prisons, largely as a result of the misguided "war on drugs." Also there is a racial dimension to the prison industrial complex, as a very large percentage African-American males are incarcerated. It costs more to incarcerate people than it does to send them to college. It is more expensive to incarcerate a drug addict than to pay for his or her rehabilitation. The Prison Industrial Complex is classist and racist, and it is economically inefficient. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Paul McCartney at 70: Honoring His Musical Legacy

Today, Monday June 18th, 2012, is Paul McCartney's 70th birthday. Paul McCartney is my favorite musician of all time, of any genre. He is the most successful songwriter in history, one of the greatest bass players of all time (probably second only to John Entwistle), and a member of the greatest band of all time, the Beatles. With John Lennon, he formed the greatest songwriting team ever.

Recently, Rolling Stone Magazine listed their top 500 albums of all time. The Beatles have four albums in the top 10 of all time, including Sgt. Pepper at #1. Eleven of their thirteen albums made the list, a testimony to the greatness not only of the Beatles as a band, but to Lennon and McCartney as a songwriting team. Paul's Band on the Run also made the list.

Paul McCartney has written some of the most memorable music of all time. Although Lennon-McCartney were a team, they wrote most of their songs separately, sometimes with small contributions from the other partner. So songs like In My Life, Strawberry Fields Forever, Help!, Don't Let Me Down, I am the Walrus, are identified with John Lennon, and songs like Hey Jude, Let it Be, Yesterday, Michelle, the Long and Winding Road, are identified with Paul McCartney. Some songs, such as We Can Work it Out, are a product of the songwriting partners sticking two separate songs together; its considered a Paul song, but John wrote the bridge.

The Beatles had 20 number one songs on the billboard charts, all Lennon-McCartney compositions (Something by George was a double A-side along with Come Together by John). Paul's Yesterday is the most recorded song of all time.
Paul as a solo artist and with Wings enjoyed another nine number one songs. Paul's band Wings had the second most top ten singles in the 1970's, with only Elton John having more (27 to 26). When Paul goes on tour, he has an amazingly strong and expansive catalog to draw from. He has not only all the Beatle classics, but solo and Wings classics like Maybe I'm Amazed, Band On the Run, Jet, Coming Up, Venus and Mars/Rock Show, and many others. Paul cannot even include all his classic hits on each tour. I have all his live albums, and although there are a core group of songs that show up on each one, there is vastly different song list in total for each tour and live album.

The Wikipedia article on Paul McCartney neatly and concisely summarizes Paul's objective success as a song writer by the numbers: "McCartney has been described by Guinness World Records as the "most successful composer and recording artist of all time", with 60 gold discs and sales of over 100 million albums and 100 million singles, and "the most successful songwriter" in UK chart history. His Beatles song "Yesterday" has been covered by over 2,200 artists—more than any other song in the history of recorded music. Wings' 1977 release "Mull of Kintyre", co-written with Laine, was one of the best-selling singles ever in the UK. He has written or co-written thirty-one songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2012 he has sold over 15.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States."

In my view Paul McCartney has made some of his best music in his golden years. At a time when many artist would be retired or doing a modicum of work, Paul is still selling out stadiums, releasing top 10 albums and receiving gold and platinum certifications for CDs and DVDs. I think some of his recent albums, such as Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard, rank among his best.

A recent U.K. Guardian article criticized Paul for honoring the Queen, and not being more socially conscious with his songwriting. But I say nonsense. Paul has written social conscious material (Give Ireland Back to the Irish, Looking for Changes, How Many People?), but also, people need music that is simply enjoyable and life affirming. There is nothing wrong with filling “the world with Silly Love Songs” as Paul once sang. Life is hard, we can't always be serious all the time. Paul's music has a lot of joy in it. It is very life-affirming. We need that, I need that.

Paul has a great voice. He is known for his vocals on ballads such as Yesterday, Michelle (for which he won a Grammy in 1966), the Long And Winding Road, Let it Be. He is known for his gritty rock vocals on songs like I'm Down, Long Tall Sally, Get Back, I've Got A Feeling, and Helter Skelter (for which he won a Grammy in 2011 for Best Male Rock Vocal for the Live In New York City CD version of the song).

I remember a teacher in my Grad School talking about popular culture and the individual psyche, and she related how as a young teenage girl, she was enthralled with Paul's vocals on And I Love Her.

Billy Joel, who had Paul join him for the last concert at Yankee Stadium, was amazed at how good Paul's voice still was, how he could still sing I Saw Her Standing There in E, and do the Little Richard “Wooos” at nearly 70.

Paul has received high marks for his skillful, light vocal touch on his most recent album of jazz standards, Kisses on the Bottom. 
Paul is considered one of the best bass players in music. Bass Player Magazine had him ranked #3 behind John Entwistle and Flea. I have seen other polls where he has been ranked #2 only behind John Entwistle.

Paul's bass playing is very melodic. Good examples of his melodic bass playing can be heard on Silly Love Songs, Lucy in the Sky Diamonds, Savoy Truffle, Hey Bulldog, Paperback Writer, Goodnight Tonight, and Something.

Paul's trademark Hofner Violin Bass has accompanied him on every Beatle tour and every solo tour since 1989. He has used other basses on stage and in the studio, such as the Fender Jazz, Wal 5 String, and the Rickenbacker. On the 1976 Wings Tour, Paul's blond Rickenbacker became as much a signature for him as the Hofner Beatle bass was in the 1960's. Paul also played the Wal 5 String, a gift from Linda, on stage during his 1989-1990 tour as well as his Hofner.

I still at my age aspire to be as good a bassist as Paul is. My bass teacher said that no one holds a band together like Paul McCartney does on bass.

Paul is not only a great bassist, but a solid guitarist and keyboard player as well.

His piano playing on Lady Madonna, Let it Be, and George's For You Blue is superb. Billy Preston was really impressed with Paul's playing in the Let it Be sessions.

Paul also has done some great guitar work, including memorable solos on George's Taxman and his songs Sgt. Pepper, Helter Skelter, Drive My Car, and The End from Abbey Road (in which Paul, John, and George all take turns soloing).

Paul is also an accomplished drummer. He played drums on some of the Beatles songs, such as "Back In The USSR", "Dear Prudence", "Wild Honey Pie", and "The Ballad of John and Yoko". He also played all the drum parts on his first and second solo albums McCartney and McCartney II, as well as the Wings album Band On The Run and most of the drums on his solo LP Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.

Paul is a musician's musician, and a great band leader. When I think of “professional musician,” Paul comes to mind instantly.

A Fan of Paul
I am a big Paul McCartney fan. The Beatles are my favorite group, and Paul is my favorite musician of all time.
Some of my earliest memories as a child are watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan when I was barely four years old. My young hip mother took me to see A Hard Day's Night at the Paramount Theater in Cedar Rapids Iowa and I made her stay and watch it twice.

I am a bass player in part because of him, he made it cool to be the bass player in the band.

I have all the Beatles, Wings, and solo Paul McCartney albums in electronic form, and the great majority of it on vinyl as well. I have seen Paul play live several times the last 20 years, and each show has been memorable.

I want to recognize such a marker as Paul McCartney's 70th birthday.


Paul performs Helter Skelter at Citifield, which is included on the CD, Live in New York City. Paul won a 2011 Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal for this performance.