Elvis Presley (1935-1977) was the King of Rock and Roll, and as king he led not just with his hips, but by example. Below is one of these examples that's been getting some play around the internet lately where Elvis, "Mr. Everett", shares his thoughts on atonality in jazz music. I want to believe that like Tom Cruise, Elvis Presley only played himself in his films and that this conversation was exactly how Elvis really felt. His facial expression in the moment before his quip is priceless. Long live the King. You dig?
Yesterday, we premieredJamie Block's music video for "Show You Mine" from his new album White Caps on the Hudson. Today we have a guest post from Jamie called "How We Listen," which nicely connects with our mission.
Good afternoon Dig Nation. I spent the morning digging through the interwebs admiring videos from one of my favorite female singer/songwriters Laura Gibsonwhen I found a new video for her beautiful song Milk-Heavy, Pollen-Eyed. The song is from her album La Grande which can be purchased here.
Regardless, watching this video set me off on a bit of a diatribe about the clarinet that starts at Laura Gibson and weaves through Glenn Miller, Eric Dolphy, and the Low Anthem. Read on for lots of clarinet laden music listening and then hit up the comments section to let us know what your favorite song featuring the instrument is. You dig?
Recently, friend of the Dig as well as badass free thinking cellist for The Ballroom ThievesRachel Gawell sent me a video she shot of theSirius Quartet performing a composition entitled Spidey Falls. The piece was written by Fung Chern Hwei who is also the first violinist in the quartet. The additional members of the ensemble are JeremyHarman, GregorHuebner, and RonaldLawrence.
In his astounding biography, Fung Chern Hwei writes that although he is a traditionally classically trained violinist, he grew up deeply influenced by Chinese pop, Indian Bollywood tunes, Malay dance music, and in his younger years even took to imitating the sounds of the electric guitar and saxophone on his violin. With this in mind, I have always believed that one of the major components necessary for success in the field of classical music in the 21st century is a breadth of language. Truly successful musicians are the ones who are not limited by their language or technique, only their creativity. Nevertheless, it is sometimes the case that trained musicians will sacrifice language on behalf of technique and become compartmentalized in their thinking and ability to compose or improvise. This is not Fung Chern Hwei. This is not Spidey Falls, and this is absolutely not the Sirius Quartet.
Read on for my full thoughts concerning, the quartet and the composition. You dig?
Listening to CharlesMingusis my definition of a cathartic experience. I can name only a few artists whose music can cut to the core of me in the same way that his does. It is an earthy, roots-based, bawdy expression of life's emotional range - rapture, euphoria, despair, contemplation, anger, indignation, desire, and on and on.
It's not just the melodies and harmonies that accomplish this, it's the human element of performance personality that solidifies these ideas. It is the musical gestures and shapes. It is the way his musicians embraced production noise as a tool of expression. It is the way the community of performers in the band didn't hold back if they felt compelled to yell, or sing, or vocalize in any capacity during a set. It is an expression of life. Sometimes it is sloppy, seemingly disorganized, and even cacophonous, but Mingus's pen had a direct line to his soul, and his musicians performed with every ounce of vim and vigor they could muster.