R.I.P. Johnny Alf

Johnny Alf, a pianist, singer and songwriter, and one of the creators of the sensationally popular bossa nova sound, died on March 4 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was 80. Mr Alf had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer for several months at the time of his death, which was said to be caused by multiple organ failure. Born Alfredo Jose da Silva on May 19, 1929, in Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Alf was a jazz lover who adapted several elements of the music to Brazilian samba sounds. His most popular songs included ‘Rapaz de bem’ and ‘O Tempo e o vento,’ both from the mid-1950s and considered by some musicologists to be the first in the bossa nova style. Mr. Alf recorded nine solo albums and appeared on 46 recordings in total. It has been reported that Mr. Alf never cared for the term bossa nova, despite his crucial role in the creation of the genre. Among Mr. Alf’s disciples was Antonio Carlos Jobim, often considered the greatest bossa nova composer of all time.

May he always hear Brazilian Sounds.

1STBANK Center Grand Opening

Colorado’s new state-of-the-art entertainment facility will celebrate its Grand Opening on March 5 and 6 with a two-night stand by Furthur featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. Scalable for audience capacities from 3500 to 6500, the Center fills a niche as the state’s premier mid-sized venue, and will change the way patrons currently think about a venue of this size. No matter the occasion for visiting, 1STBANK Center’s first priority is the patron experience. Morris explains, “1STBANK Center promises to offer all of what we love most about music and entertainment: quality, creativity, community and fun.” improvements that promise to mark 1STBANK Center as the newest addition to an already impressive list of landmark Colorado music venues, such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre, The Paramount Theatre, and the Fox Theatre. Gone are the white walls, bright lights, and soul-less signage of the typical modern arena. Patrons of the 1STBANK Center will enjoy rich colors, creative textures, and artful touches throughout the venue. At the center of the entertainment experience is a state-of-the-art video screen that hangs over the stage. Measuring 130 feet across, this versatile feature offers limitless ways to transform the venue’s main space. Spaces throughout the concourse have also been transformed. The upper lounge, open to all guests, is now a premier viewing area with direct sight lines to the stage. Additionally, several previously enclosed bars have been remodeled to be inviting and welcoming gathering spots.
Grand Opening weekend show details are as follows:

1STBANK Center Grand Opening
Furthur featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir
Friday, March 5 (8pm) Limited number of tickets still available
Saturday, March 6 (8pm) SOLD OUT

(doors open at 6:30pm both nights)

Wanna buy Abbey Road Studio?

LONDON—Cash-strapped music company EMI Group Ltd. is seeking a buyer for Abbey Road, the London studio where the Fab Four recorded some of their most famous songs, a person familiar with the situation said Tuesday. The person said talks had been going on for several months but a buyer had not yet been found. A spokesman for EMI refused to comment on the sale bid, which could raise tens of millions of dollars for the struggling label. Some analysts say the sale price would be far short of the $165 million EMI needs to survive, and would mean giving up one of its most high-profile assets – not just a recording studio, but a tourist attraction and shrine for Beatles fans. EMI, whose artists include Coldplay, Lily Allen & Robbie Williams, has struggled financially since it was bought in 2007 for 2.4 billion pounds by private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners. EMI has fared worse than the other major labels – Universal, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group – amid the decline of CD sales and the rise of digital music downloading. Several big-name acts, including Radiohead and the Rolling Stones, quit the label amid the cutbacks & restructuring that followed the takeover. EMI’s predecessor bought the Georgian town house at 3 Abbey Road in London’s residential St. John’s Wood neighborhood for 100,000 pounds in 1929 and turned it into one of the world’s most sophisticated recording studios. Edward Elgar recorded “Land of Hope and Glory” with the London Symphony Orchestra there in the 1930s. It is still used by orchestras; the soundtracks of the “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” films were recorded at Abbey Road. Since the 1960s it has been one of the world’s most famous rock music studios. Albums recorded there include Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” Wings’ “Band on the Run” and Radiohead’s “OK Computer.” Most familiar to some is the crosswalk in front of the studio which was immortalized on the cover of 1969’s “Abbey Road,” the final studio album The Beatles recorded. “Let it Be” was the band’s final release, in 1970, but it was recorded before “Abbey Road.” Paul McCartney still lives nearby.
Potential buyers beware, however: the famous black-and-white crossing is not included in the deal.

a new member for fOURPLAY

fOURPLAY has had the distinct privilege of enjoying the past 12 years of its 20 year history with legendary guitarist Larry Carlton. As Larry takes his leave to delve further into his solo career, the band extends their heartfelt gratitude for his contributions and wishes him continued success in all his pursuits. Larry will remain an integral part of our musical family & legacy.

fOURPLAY now welcomes its newest member, multi-faceted virtuoso guitarist, Chuck Loeb. His musical contributions will undoubtedly enhance the creativity and pursuit of excellence fOURPLAY has enjoyed in the studio and on the stage.

fOURPLAY thanks its many loyal fans and promises that this latest incarnation will inspire the band to explore new avenues of creativity while maintaining its core musical values. (I know I am looking forward to this new endeavor)

-from our friends in fOURPLAY!

Flat Track Roller Derby

Today I got the chance to cross something off the list of things i have never done before..a little Roller Derby. Here in Madison we have this fantastic league….The action was super and the personalities were believable, with a play by play over the speaker system it made for a humorous way to spend an afternoon. Here a few photos from the event.





Thanks to my friends at WORT FM for this first time flat track experience.



for Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band LIVE ‘Dress Rehearsal’ show
at Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York.
From Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band:
from the original Plastic Ono Band:
from Scissor Sisters:
from Sonic Youth:
And also:
or phone 718-636-4100
Tickets: $19.90 – $65.00
Most at: $29.90
Gilman Opera House
Brooklyn Academy of Music
30 Lafayette Ave
New York 11217
Tickets: http://bit.ly/YObamtix
More info: http://bit.ly/YOPOBbam


FRONTMAN/FOUNDING MEMBER IBRAHIM AG ALHABIB RETURNS TO NORTH AMERICA WITH TINARIWEN. Perhaps the most recognizable member of touareg band Tinariwen, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, has been unable to join his fellow bandmates on their most recent North American tours. World Village is pleased to announce that he will join them this month and in March for the group’s concerts in the U.S. and Canada. Check out the tour here. I might have to get myself to one of those Chicago shows.


Also, TINARIWEN has been added to the Bonaroo line-up…more info here.

Farewell Howard Zinn

For Dr. Zinn, activism was a natural extension of the revisionist brand of history he taught. “A People’s History of the United States” (1980), his best-known book, had for its heroes not the Founding Fathers — many of them slaveholders and deeply attached to the status quo, as Dr. Zinn was quick to point out — but rather the farmers of Shays’ Rebellion and union organizers of the 1930s. As he wrote in his autobiography, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train” (1994), “From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than ‘objectivity’; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble.”…..and that I think is why so many of us have a special spot in our hearts for Howard Zinn, and may we all live up to the lessons he taught us and the reason we hold him in such an admired state. Whether he was thinking or speaking for us, or saying and doing the things we always wished we had the willpower to attempted, I am not quite sure, I just know that he is hero material (for me) in a world of few choice.


Stand with Haiti

Some of Madison’s finest musicians get together to benefit those affected by the tragic events rendered by mother nature in Haiti. On Sunday January 24th from 3-9pm CST at the Barrymore Theatre, join the Gomers, Honor Among Thieves, Sean Michael Dargan Band, the Stellanovas with Chris Wagoner & Mary Gaines, members of the Piper Road Spring Band and Mr. Tony Brown & the 608 Riddim Section. These musicians from Madison will be putting those in need ahead of themselves, as i have learned is certainly an ongoing trend around these parts.


It’s not like Haiti hasn’t been a nation in need for some time now, it is just now more people are noticing.

R.I.P. Teddy Pendergrass

Teddy Pendergrass, who became R&B’s reigning sex symbol in the 1970s & ’80s with his forceful, masculine voice and passionate love ballads,later becoming an inspirational figure after suffering a devastating car accident that left him paralyzed, died Wednesday at age 59. Mr. Pendergrass suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down in the 1982 car accident. He spent six months in a hospital but returned to recording the next year with the album “Love Language.” He returned to the stage at the Live Aid concert in 1985, performing from his wheelchair. He later founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, an organization whose mission is to encourage and help people with spinal chord injuries achieve their maximum potential in education, employment, housing, productivity and independence, according to its Web site. He gained popularity first as a member of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes on songs including “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” but it was his solo hits that brought him his greatest fame. With songs such as “Love T.K.O.,” “Close the Door” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore,” he came to define a new era of black male singers with his powerful, aggressive vocals that spoke to virility, not vulnerability. His lyrics were never coarse, as those of later male R&B stars would be, but they had a sensual nature that bordered on erotic without being explicit. “Turn Off the Lights” was a tune that perhaps best represented the many moods of Teddy Pendergrass — tender and coaxing yet strong as the song reached its climax. He made women swoon with each note, and his concerts were a testament to that adulation, with infamous stories of women throwing their underwear on stage for his affection.


more than sounds…cool creatures

From the “COOL CREATURE” feature:
A green sea slug appears to be part animal, part plant. It’s the first critter discovered to produce the plant pigment chlorophyll. The sneaky slugs seem to have stolen the genes that enable this skill from algae that they’ve eaten. With their contraband genes, the slugs can carry out photosynthesis — the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. “They can make their energy-containing molecules without having to eat anything,” said Sidney Pierce, a biologist at the University of South Florida in Tampa….more here

R.I.P. Willie Mitchell

Willie Mitchell, who shaped the elegant yet gritty sound of Al Green, Ann Peebles and other stars of soul music as the house producer at Hi Records in the 1960s and ’70s, died Tuesday in Memphis, where he lived. He was 81. The Willie Mitchell sound — prominent horns, delicately strummed guitars, some sweet organ and a steady, straightforward beat — is instantly recognizable on records by singers like Mr. Green, Ms. Peebles, Syl Johnson and O. V. Wright, and on the instrumentals Mr. Mitchell recorded as a bandleader. Both raw and sensuous, it became Hi’s signature sound as the label rose to prominence with Mr. Green in the 1970s. Although its legacy has been less celebrated than those of Stax or Sun, two other pioneering record labels that got started in Memphis in the 1950s, Hi was an integral part of the development of the Memphis soul sound, and Mr. Mitchell is widely credited as one of its architects.