The Battle of Spotsylvania

Today was a beautiful day for a battle…..a civil war reenactment that is. At a local park just outside of Madison city limits, the Union and the Confederate soldiers clashed. In the real event, the fighting started around 4:30 in the morning and lasted after the midnight hour, until the battlefield fell silent. The confederates retreated to a new line of works 800 yards to the rear. Suddenly the silent post midnight air was broken by the sound of a Confederate band playing “The Dead March” from Handel’s Saul, followed by a Union band playing “Nearer My God to Thee“. The Rebel band answered with “The Bonnie Blue Flag” with the South proudly sharing “Dixie Land” and the North ended the concert with “Home, Sweet Home,” which brought a tear to many an eye. The numbers of dead, wounded and captured combined for over 20,000 people for this one evenings battle with the fighting lasting about a weeks or so, with the numbers of those lost upwards to 70,000. The best part for me was that I arrived early and was able to stroll around both camps and pick the brains of the participants, and they were quite convincing in their roles. I learned about the many behind the scene aspects of equipment, artillery and certainly most of interest to me were the people and their facts….

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Almost too heavy to lift…MOCK RAWK!!

Because this is the Mood I am in:

Move Away- the Killers
Pleased to Meet you- Wolfmother
It’s so Easy- Willy DeVille
Beat on the Brat- U2
Do it for the Kids- Velvet Revolver
Sonic Reducer- Dead Boys
Take it off- the Donnas
Assassins- Whore Du Jour
That Great Love Sound- the Ravenettes
Form a Straight line- Sugar Shack
Summer (in B)- Buck-o-Nine
60 Revolutions- Gogol Bordello
The Small Hours- Metallica
Hey Joe- Body Count
Testify- Rage Against the Machine
Mic Check- Rage Against the Machine
Horny in a Hearse- Nekromantix
Flowers are Slow- Nekromantix
Flaming Cheese- Red Elvises (live)
Tummy Tum Tum- the Dollyrots
Sybil Vane was ill- Girl in a Coma
Cold War- the Charms
The Wolf- the Charms
Baby Blue- Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
I Drink- Southern Crush


Who Knew Charlie Shoe?

This is the title of the new release by guitarist Richard Leo Johnson and percussionist Gregg Bendian (known as the leader of The Mahavishnu Project and Interzone. Off the mind bending CUNEIFORM RECORDS label, these artists work with “junk” percussion, cheap guitars purchased off eBay, field recordings and simple tape effects to make a down home, psychedelic good time listen. Not only are the instruments odd and varied, but the genres are explored from jazz, blues, folk and a dab of classical at times are compellingly maneuvered within and around one another. You can here so many of Johnson’s influences in this release, from Ralph Towner, Burt Ives, Robert Fripp, Delta and Piedmont blues, American and Japanese folk and minimalism all get a chance to shine through the notes. This album is filled with eccentric tunings, awesome sound manipulations and the great presence of the guitar have you lifted out of your shoes and flexing your ears to get a complete listen, it is one to listen to over and over. This album could seriously have you pushing your favorite records aside and bring emotional connections to Jimi Hendrix and John McLaughlin back with a simple push on the play button.

A definite Must Have…IMHO

David Byrne to release Knee Plays on CD

“In the future, there will be so much going on that no one will be able to keep track of it,” David Byrne says during the final song from The Knee Plays, a series of vignettes backed by brass band orchestrations composed in 1985 for Robert Wilson’s opera the CIVIL warS. Perhaps this prediction is best applied to the “Rennaisance Man of Rock” himself, who – in the span of a single week – will soon host an event dedicated to New York Bikers (Oct 6) and contribute to a public discussion with evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller (Oct. 10). And on Oct. 30, the very Knee Plays that doubt us will be available on CD, courtesy of Nonesuch, for the first time. Originally conceived as interludes for a multinational, six-part work inspired by Matthew Brady’s American Civil War photography, intended for use during 1984 Olympic Games, featuring music from Philip Glass and other composers, Music For The Knee Plays was eventually released on vinyl after Wilson’s opus failed to transpire in its entirety. However, Byrne performed the largely instrumental pieces a handful of times, with one London concert recorded by the BBC and — happily yet probably illegally — available almost in full on YouTube. Here’s play four, titled “Social Studies,” in which he considers the effects of stealing other people’s groceries.
According to, the liner notes for Knee Plays states “This music was inspired by the Dirty Dozen Jazz Band of New Orleans” — a claim more apparent on songs like “In the Upper Room.” The upcoming CD will include eight unreleased cuts and a DVD with 400 black & white photographs of the production by JoAnn Verburg.

Music for the Knee Plays track list:

1. “Tree (Today Is An Important Occasion)”
2. “In the Upper Room”
3. “The Sound of Business”
4. “Social Studies”
5. “(The Gift of Sound) Where the Sun Never Goes Down”
6. “Theadora Is Dozing”
7. “Admiral Perry”
8. “I Big You Goodnight”
9. “Things To Do (I’ve Tried)”
10. “Winter”
11. “Jungle Book”
12. “In the Future”
13. “Tree (Reprise)” (previously unreleased)
14. “I’ve Tried (Things To Do)” (previously unreleased)
15. “Tic Toc 2 (In the Future)” (previously unreleased)
16. “Whisper” (previously unreleased)
17. “Misterias” (previously unreleased)
18. “Faust Dance” (previously unreleased)
19. “Ghost” (previously unreleased)
20. “Super Natural” (previously unreleased)

A few more before the real show

Zona Mona- Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
Shuba Yatra- Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
Ralph’s Banjo Special- D. Grisman/S. Bush
From the Bottom up- Dayna Kurtz
Midnight Man- the Allman Brothers
Christy Leigh- Pedro Arevalo & Friends
Nebula- Intergalactic Transmitter
No Better Way- Donna Jean & the Tricksters (live)
High Guy- David Gans
Good Luck Chuck- the Dandy Warhols
Bela Lugosi’s Dead- Bauhaus
Crystallize It- Strings of Consciousness
In a Hole- Brazz Tree
Yako- the Afromotive
Envy no Good- Mercury Dana Band
Sweeper Soul- Super Mambo 69
Baba- Global Drum Project
Bamana Niya- Toubab Krewe (live)
7 Seconds- Youssou N’Dour/Neneh Cherry
Softly as in a Morning Sunrise- Bring Back Pluto
Golden Isles Groove- Skeebo Knight
Technicolor Nightmare- Christian McBride
NY:Insane Inside the City- Stan Harrison
Baby Elephants n’ Thangs- Baby Elephants w/George Clinton
Ghetto Street- DumpstaPhunk (live)
Don’t Mess With Mr. T- James Taylor Quartet


re-FLECK-ting on the Flecktones show.

What can be said that hasn’t been….for me, the show usually begins when Victor Wooten gets his bass some “alone time” on stage. Not to disappoint, this bass space was far-reaching, oft-exploratory and bone-a-fide funky at times. Jeff Coffin kept reminding me why sax is so damn good. Just imagine the Flecktones without it. Yeah, I agree. Where o’ Where are you tonight….Futureman is one cool cat (check out my past interview with Roy Wooten) with his unique blending of percussive magic from this world and beyond I found myself happily lost from thoughts other than “the moment” while he worked his art in front of our eyes. Speaking of right in front of our eyes, Bela Fleck can make his fingers appear like they wiggle and jive right in front of you, wherever you sit or stand at a show. He not only uses those banjo strings to play to us, but thankfully has found a way to use those strings to bring us to the music…with so much to take out of a Flecktones show, I really got a kick out of the rendition of the BeatlesCome Together“, just so perfectly true on that night.


Strings of Consciousness-Our Moon Is Full

In September of 2007 Central Control International will be unveiling Strings of Consciousness onto the wider-world. The first breath for this being started as a small group of musicians from Marseilles, France, the ensemble expanded by recruiting like-minded musicians from across the Globe. Their unique sound has been likened to latter-day Talk Talk, Angelo Badalamenti, Do Make Say Think, Tortoise and Arab Strap ñ often in the same sentence. Our Moon Is Full features vocal collaborations from J.G. Thirlwell (Foetus), Scott McCloud (Girls Against Boys), Eugene Robinson (Oxbow), Lisa Smith-Klossner, Pete Simonelli (Enablers), Black Sifichi and BA. There are minutes during this album where I consumed more than I was ready for and had to start over, it made for an interesting listen, like when your teacher was taken with a cold and lead class with a whisper. You were compelled to listen MORE. This is an album to let yourself swim inside of, go towards the deep end and float away.

Strings of Consciousness-Our Moon is Full

Zack De La Rocha’s debut

Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha has completed his debut solo album, which was seven years in the making. De La Rocha collaborated closely with The Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore, and quotes a source that says it sounds like Led Zeppelin meets Dr. Dre.” Since leaving the band in 2000, De La Rocha has worked with several artists including DJ Shadow and Trent Reznor, but it is not yet known if these artists will feature on the album. The report also reveals that some of the album was recorded at an eco-friendly studio in Los Angeles, owned by Jack Johnson. Since De La Rocha is currently unsigned, a release date is unconfirmed.

Meanwhile, reunited Rage Against The Machine play the following shows this fall:

New Orleans, LA City Park (Voodoo Music Experience) (October 27)
Las Vegas, NV Sam Boyd Stadium (Vegoose Festival) (28)

Something to look forward too times two.


Toubab Krewe at High Noon

West Africa never felt so close as it did on Sunday night when Toubab Krewe took the stage at the High Noon Saloon in Madison. There is some kind of wonderful happening when the cultures of a roots-centric West Africa and the rockin’ of the rolling hills in North Carolina collide in a rhythmic force so powerful you can feel the earth take a breath of contentment. The soles of people bare feet were in step with the beats of a sound so “in the now” that you could almost see people embark as if they stepped foot in the transporter room on Star Trek. The band sweats out exploration and expansion, and the music that follows them on the stage beams with excitement and demands that you move along whichever way you choose. They have been features at venues such as the Bonnaroo and Vegoose festivals to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Their live shows and self-titled debut album have won international acclaim from the New York Times, Global Rhythm, fRoots, NPR and more. The members of Toubab Krewe developed their unique sound over the course of numerous extended trips to Mali, Guinea, and Ivory Coast, where they immersed themselves in the local culture and studied and performed with luminaries such as Lamine Soumano, Vieux Kante, Madou Dembele and Koungbanan Conde.

Opening the show was Yawo. The set was an elaborate blend of afro-cuban beats and funky scales which took potions of his Togo, West African homeland and global rhythms which manage to combine luscious melodies with a get-up-and-groove music that won over the crowd easily.

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Yawo at High Noon Saloon

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TOUBAB KREWE 9/16/07 Madison WI

Weather Report..and all that Jazz

Leugdeu Monhzeu- Gino Sitson feat. Ron Carter
La Shea’s Walk- Carl Allen/Rodney Whitaker
Cut & Paste- Ron Carter
Footprints- Michael Wolfe Trio
Smokin’ a Half Note- Mark Mosley
Experience in E- Weather Report
Directions (take 1) Weather Report*
Cosmic Strut- the Mahavishnu Project
Vector Patrol- Projekct Two
Hoarded Dreams (part1)- Graham Collier
12 Planets- Doctor Phibes
Station 9- Nebelnest
Not From Around Here- Far Corner
Chinese Twilight Zone- the Microscopic Septet
Mofongo Raincheck- Secretary
Miller Time- Victor Wooton/Marcus Miller (live)
Tease- G.Howe/V.Wooten/D.Chambers
Game is Rigged- Vernon Reid & Masque
Floratone- Frisell/Chamberlain
Pemble’s Tremble- Mark Elf
Clinton Park- Melvin Sparks
Chaung Tzu’s Dream- William Parker/Hamid Drake

* Previous Unreleased


Secretary – Secret Life of Secretary

This is the solo project by Moist Paula Henderson, frontwoman and baritone sax player from New York’s all-instrumental trio Moisturizer. On the album, she plays all the instruments…she is the sound. Secret Life Of Secretary is improvisation, vocal layering, Garage Band loop manipulation, and total avant-electro. It is easy to relate to if you have a pulse that beats to a different drummer, or in this case a Baritone Sax. This album not only takes sounds and makes them fit into empty spots on a puzzle left behind when others could finds the pieces, but it provides the listeners with a collision of olfactory stimulations and a smash of unseen colors that I believe she created alone in her room with a “typing” effect that is true to herself. On this album, I feel that Paula has explored herself and found that not only can she play a saxophone that can knock your socks off and leave marks that you brag about to your friends, but also she is an exceptional writer that keeps perspective in her life. I had the chance to meet Paula when Burnt Sugar was in my neighborhood and we got to hang out a bit, and let me tell you this….the person is as keen as the sound is remarkable. Her aura swept me off my feet and her playing keeps me dancing with open thoughts about where music, THIS music, can take me.

You’d do yourself right by getting a copy of this album. It is available NOW via mail order and at cdbaby, itunes and all the regular outlets of your choosing.


Joe Zawinul..the man & the music

Pioneering Austrian jazz pianist Joe Zawinul was one of the front runners in the development of jazz fusion along with Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin and Miles Davis. Best known as the founder of the band Weather Report, with Miroslav Vitous and Wayne Shorter with whom he had previously recorded two albums as part of Davis’ studio band, in his final years he headed the ensemble called The Zawinul Syndicate.Mr. Zawinul is often credited with aiding revolutionary fretless bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius rise to popularity by giving him the position as bassist for Weather Report in the mid 1970s. Pastorus debuted on the track Cannonball, which is a tribute to Cannonball Adderley.Several artists have honoured Zawinul with songs, notably Brian Eno‘s instrumental “Zawinul/Lava”, McLaughlin’s instrumental “Jozy” and Warren Cuccurullo’s “Hey Zawinul“. Zawinul, along with Corea and Hancock, was one of the first to integrate electric pianos and early synthesizers like the ARP 2600 in 1973’s Sweetnighter. He was among the first to use a Fender-Rhodes with a Phasing effect and a Wah-Wah pedal. His creativity and attention to detail resulted in a very contemporary and modern sound. He also has played the kalimba on Weather Report’s Mysterious Traveller and Mr. Gone. Classically trained at the Vienna Conservatoire, Zawinul played in various broadcasting and studio bands before emigrating to the U.S. in 1959, where he played with Maynard Ferguson and Dinah Washington before joining the Cannonball Adderley Quintet in 1961. Zawinul’s biggest commercial success [citation needed] came from his composition “Birdland”, a 6-minute opus featured on Weather Report’s 1977 album Heavy Weather. “Birdland” is one of the most recognizable jazz pieces of the 1970s, covered by many prominent artists from The Manhattan Transfer to Maynard Ferguson. Even Weather Report’s version received significant mainstream radio airplay — unusual for them — and served to convert many new fans to music which they may never have heard otherwise.

Zawinul was hospitalized in his native Vienna on August 7, 2007, only one week after concluding a six-week tour in Hungary. He died of cancer on September 11, 2007.

Mr. Joe Zawinul

What it is…and what Will be.

Here is this weeks mock set list by request from overseas. Hopefully the weather where you are is conducive to smiling faces and a creative mind-flow….Maybe some of this will help:

Zitherbell- Natacha Atlas & Marc Eagleton Project
Sexual Alchemy- LadyBug Mecca
Centre of Nowhere- LadyBug Mecca
Nickel Bags- Digable Planets
Impossible & Overwhelming- Bassnectar
What’s the Time- The Littlemen
Cosmic Melody- Mark Farina
Make Love to Dub- Mad Professor/Ariwa Artists
So ma guisee- Mo’ Horizons
Shakara- Fela Kuti
Mali Sadjo- Toubab Krewe
Late Night Call- The Pietasters
Fozzy (part 1)- The Pietasters
Papa- Angelique Kidjo
Maria Jose- Kinky
Nivedan- Anoushka Shankar (healing the divide)
Disciples of Funk(return of the Funkateers)-Bootsy’s Rubber Band
Los Bandidos- Cameron Mizell
The Whipper-Cameron Mizell
Swimming Pool of Bliss- Green Light
Something at my Feet- Davis Coen
Treat Yo Mama- the John Butler trio
Slow Down Sugar- John Lisi & Delta Funk
Bright Lights, Big City- Umphrey’s McGee*
Atmosfarag- Umphrey’s McGee*
That Old Black Magic- Dr. John
Moonchild- Cibo Matto
Know Your Chicken- Cibo Matto
Big Bang- Swati
Believe in Love- Jacnique
Little Bird- Sara Wasserman/Christian McBride
Numb- Portishead
The Pusher- Nina Simone (live)

* Denotes Show in Madison on Sept. 13th


The Chicken Chokers.

The signature sound of The Chicken Chokers combines a string pounding 4-man rhythm section, ever-crazed fiddling, infamous ‘air-raid siren’ vocals, and the hallmark Chicken Choker Big Boy Chorus. Throughout the 80’s the Chokers entertained many, influenced a select few, and recorded 2 albums for Rounder Records before exploding in all musical directions. Recent twenty year reunions reveal that the Choker Drive survived the explosion. Combining the unvarnished, primitive energy of the early years with sound scrapbooks from 5 separate musical journeys, the band endures, still inspiring amateur dancers and professional revelers to higher states of consciousness. This album is kind to your ears and your feet at the same time. It is a blend of ten recognizable tracks with one original, yet with the Chokers’ twist to some of these ole favorites, you’ll be heading off on your own musical explosion. Be warned…this album comes complete with strings attached.

Muddy River release ’07

Check out UNA’s One.

Talk about down-tempo tres chic pop that can chill out the warmest of listeners. This eclectic, multi-instrumental SoCal-based trio that likens their distinct sound to “an experiment in Latin, blues, trip-hop and soul.” UNA has left a mark with me by the Portishead/Morcheeba sound-a-like moments with just as much trip as hop and soul. If UNA is the focus at any local or near -enough-bye chillout club, get there and be ready to groove graciously, with slow rhythms and conscious beats…aware yet never over dominant. Who/What is UNA? Jazz/electronic explorers combining the sultry voice of Jennifer Cook with the inspired keyboards and guitar of The Mighty One (Richard Larsen), and the down-tempo turntables of Eddie Barajas. I have a good feeling and a sneaky suspicion that listening to this album, ONE by UNA, will make you the cool kid on the block.