Tops of 2009

When you play so many types of sounds on a show, it makes compiling a list like this such a challenge…I believe this is a high quality example of my own and the show’s beliefs in what the tops of 2009 look like. I apologize if I left something out, didn’t receive or just don’t agree with what you see as tops…here’s this year’s list:
* indicates a hard fought tie.


97. These are the Days- Albert Castiglia
96. The Move- Eric Biondo
95. Live in Louisville- Carrie Rodriguez
94. Vol. 2-Truckin’ Sessions- Dale Watson
93. Este Mundo- Rupa & the April Fishes
92. Throw Down Your Heart,Tales from the Acoustic Planet,3:Africa Sessions-Béla Fleck
91. Missy Anderson-Missy Anderson
90. Me not Me- Marco Benevento
89. Solid Ground- Sara Wasserman
88. Coward- Nils Cline
87. Never Going Back- Shemekia Copeland
86. Choices- Terence Blanchard
85. Live- Jake Shimabukuro
84. Quartet Live-Gary Burton,Pat Metheny,Steve Swallow & Antonio Sanchez
83. My World- Lee Fields & the Expressions
82. Pulse- Jim Weider’s Project Percolator
81. Haih Or Amortecedor- Os Mutantes
80. One Day in Brooklyn- JFJO
79. The Lost Southlake Sessions- The Radiators
78. In the Mood for Life- Wax Tailor
77. En’ A-Free-Ka- Shafiq Husayn
76. Awake- Julian Marley
75. Historicity- Vijay Iyer Trio
74. Rishte- Najma Akhtar and Gary Lucas
73. Burn it Down- the Dynamites
72. Trova- Marta Topferova
*71. Piety Street-John Scofield/Bright Mississippi-Allen Toussaint
70. Blueprints Of Jazz Vol. 1- Mike Clark
69. Spiritual Dimensions- Wadada Leo Smith
68. Us- Brother Ali
67. Tell No Lies-Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara
66. Eagle- Mamer
65. Turned Up Turned On-Michael Bellar As-Is Ensemble
64. For this I Rise- J. Russell
63. To Obscurity & Beyond- Afroskull
62. Abyss- Jacques Schwarz Bart
61. Pot of Gold Remixes I/II- Alice Russell
60. Musically Massive- David Last vs Zulu
59. The Blow Sven Theory-Sven Barth & Induce are Casual Sax & The Saxual Revolution
58. Across the Divide: A Tale of Rhythm/Ancestry-Omar Sosa
57. Light a Candle- Forro in the Dark
56. Call My Name- Daby Touré & Skip McDonald
55. Daptone Gold- Daptone Records
54. Dr. Boondigga & the Big BW-Fat Freddy’s Drop
53. Radiolarians II/III- MMW
52. Strange Cousin- Tribescastan
51. Solid Ground- the Black Seeds
50. Secret Song- DJ Spooky
49. Keep it Hid- Dan Auerbach
48. Well Hung- Various Artists
47. Playing for Change
46. Plateau- Soname
45. Magnolia Land- Davis Coen
44. Here I Am- Groundation
43. Future will Come- the Juan Mclean
42. Pigs Feet & Potted Meat-Ivan FUNKBOY Bodley
41. Making Love to the Dark Ages-Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber
40. Barracuda- Kinky
39. Small World- Tony Bunn
38. A Modest Proposal- Gutbucket
37. Metamorphosen- Branford Marsalis Quartet
36. La Revolte Des Zombies- Boukman Eksperyans
35. Trio B.C.- Girl in a Coma
34. Tangled tales-Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks
33. Future Past- Lovespirals
32. Purgatory Hill- pat mAcdonald
31. New World- JTQ
*30. Power Patriot-Garage a Trois/Melvin’s Rockplie-Out to Lunch
29. Rise Up- Dr. Lonnie Smith
28. Jazz Around the World- Putumayo
27. Songs for the Queen of Bohemia-Eldad Tarmu Chamber Jazz Ensemble
26. Diaspora Remixed- Watcha Clan
25. Fondo- Vieux Farka Toure
24. Rivermudtwilight- Les Triaboliques
*23. Hard Times EP-Bonerama/This That & The Other Thing-Skeebo Knight
22. Making a Statement- the JMC Project
21. Ancients Speak- Melvin Gibbs’ Elevated Entity
20. One Ticket One Ride- Geoff Achison
19. Espana- Putumayo
18. Eclecticism- M. Nahadr
17. Eddy Loves Frank- Ed Palermo Big Bang
16. Tales from the Earth- Mark Weinstein/Omar Sosa
*15. Rhythm Method-Cadillac Jones/Aguilas & Cobras-Brownout
14.Re: Generations- Nat King Cole
13. Prester John Sessions- Tommy T
12. After the Air Raid- Zevious
11. Plug ‘N Play- the New Mastersounds
10. The Great American Soulbook- Tower of Power
9. Exotic on the Speaker- Soulico
8. Imidiwan: Companions- Tinariwen
7. Waxed Oop- Fast ‘N Bulbous
6. Taketron- Slavic Soul Party
5. The New Gold Standard II- Fort Knox Five
4. Chaal Baby- Red Baraat
3. Dusk Til Dawn- Breakestra
2. Already Free- the Derek Trucks Band
1. Drumquestra- Larry McDonald


Beats Antique Bassnectar ’08 tour

A short movie of several performances spliced together from the 2008 east coast Bassnectar Tour, to the original track Dope Crunk, off their newest album, Collide. Video by videolicious,, editing by David Satori
Note from Zoe: for you bellydancers out there, this video represents many different dances to different songs all put into one piece. So David, who was editing it, essentially was rechoreographing me…putting a shoulder roll from video of me dancing to something fact, this entire video, other than the first 10 seconds..was originally of me dancing to completely different things!!! It goes to show you what you can do with technology these days….

R.I.P. Vic Chesnutt


In a two-decade career, Vic Chesnutt sang darkly comic and often disarmingly candid songs about death, vulnerability, and life’s simple joys. A car accident when he was 18 left him partly paralyzed, but he has said that the accident focused him as a musician and a poet. “It was only after I broke my neck and even like maybe a year later that I really started realizing that I had something to say,” he said in a recent radio interview with Terry Gross. Discovered in the late 1980s by Michael Stipe of R.E.M., who produced his first two albums, he has been a mainstay in independent music, collaborating with the bands Lambchop and Widespread Panic. In 1996 his songs were performed by Madonna, the Indigo Girls, Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M. and others for “Sweet Relief II: The Gravity of the Situation,” an album that benefited the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, a nonprofit group that offers medical support for musicians. Recently he had had a burst of creativity, releasing two albums in 2009, “At the Cut” and “Skitter on Take-Off.” In the song, “Flirted With You All My Life,” off “At the Cut,” he sings about suicide, which he had attempted several times….and apparently finally had success if he was ready, or not.

R.I.P. James Gurley

In the summer of 1965, Chet Helms brought James to 1090 Page Street to meet Peter Albin and Sam Andrew. James proved to be the missing component to the embryonic Big Brother and the Holding Company. A charismatic figure, James immediately developed a large and devoted following. Many came to the Big Brother shows simply to experience his loud and passionate guitar playing. James was looked upon by his fans as something of a spiritual leader. His innovative trailblazing style did not go unnoticed by his contemporaries in San Francisco. Mickey Hart first heard James playing in the Matrix in 1966. Hart remembers; “I’d never seen anything like it. It was magnificent, the best solo I’d ever heard. The amplifier was just pulsing on the floor”. Barry Melton said, “James Gurley was the first man in space! He’s the Yury Gagarin of Psychedelic guitar”. James was a fusionist in the truest sense of the word. Along with his “weird” blend of blues, country, western and jazz, James employed a finger picking style that he used all the way through the Cheap Thrills sessions. With his guitar mate Sam Andrew, they produced some of the best Psychedelic guitar solos in history. Guitar Player magazine recently listed James’ and Sam’s work on “Summertime” as one of the top ten Psychedelic solos. Along with his work with Big Brother, James has been involved in a number of independent projects. He has recorded with New Age drummer, Muruga and has also been actively involved in writing and recording some very innovative solo work. In May of 1997 James stopped touring with Big Brother to devote his full attention to these projects. The first offering is entitled “Pipe Dreams” and was released in January of 2000. Now, more than thirty-five years after introducing his pioneering style, James is still a marvel and a mystery to watch. One recent concert goer noted; “I love loud weird guitar a la Hendrix, Santana and so on, and on that night what James was doing completely floored me. I have no idea what he was doing to make those sounds. Incredible!” But what else would one expect from the “Father of Psychedelic Guitar”.

~biography by Todd Bolton

The Hour of Two Lights

by Terry Hall & Mushtaq, released in 2003 on the Honest Jons Record label. Terry Hall and Mushtaq’s album couldn’t be more in tune with this time period’s headlines, fusing the Jewish and Arabic musical cultures which draws upon the duo’s own lineage — Terry Hall being a Polish refugee with a Jewish background and Mushtaq being a Middle Eastern Muslim. In some ways, the album is a return to Terry Hall’s musical roots (The Specials’ breakthrough hit “Gangsters” was based around a Middle Eastern-influenced melody).But, together with Mushtaq, the album breaks bold new ground by creating a stunning topical tapestry of music. This melting pot of sounds features Jewish Gypsy music (from the group Romani Rad), a Mongolian throat singer, an Egyptian violinist, an Algerian rapper, a Turkish percussionist, a Syrian oud player, an Arabian pianist, and a Jewish Clarinet player whose resume includes being a sessions musician on the original “Pink Panther” theme! Even Blur & Gorillaz front man Damon Albarn provides guest vocals and instrumentation. The Hour Of Two Lights is truly a visionary record of extraordinary boldness in which music, politics and humanity are fused as one. And it always seems that the time is NOW to try to fuse humanity and politics together and if music can make a difference….it might start with music like this.

Happy to you Jaco

As birthdays come and go for so many without me posting a single word, this one is different, and in these words expressed by Pat Methany…..the importance is so well capture:
“Jaco Pastorius may well have been the last jazz musician of the 20th century to have made a major impact on the musical world at large. everywhere you go,sometimes it seems like a dozen times a day, in the most unlikely places you hear Jaco’s sound; from the latest TV commercial to bass players of all stripes copping his licks on recordings of all styles, from news broadcasts to famous rock and roll bands, from hip hop samples to personal tribute records, you hear the echoes of that unmistakable sound everywhere.”
And so, with this I celebrate the sounds, the inspiration to others and the unmatched innovations that Jaco Pastorius left us with, and am thankful to the rest of the musical world who carry’s it on.

Gracias to Omara Portuondo

Illustrious Cuban singer Omara Portuondo has made history twice this year. In October, the remarkable vocalist, and only female star of the Buena Vista Social Clubâ„¢, became one of the first Cuban artists in six years to obtain a visa to perform in the U.S., marking a cultural breakthrough in the strained relations between her homeland and the U.S. On November 5, she also became the first Cuban resident to present at the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards, where she delivered the prestigious Song of The Year award. She was honored again as the winner for Best Contemporary Tropical Album or “Mejor Álbum Tropical Contemporáneo” with her latest release Gracias produced by Montuno Productions and released on World Village. Although Portuondo is a four-time Latin GRAMMY nominee, and won a “Prémio Música Brasileira” Brazilian Music Award last year for her duets album with Maria Bethania, as well as a Billboard Latin Music Award in 2005, this is her first GRAMMY award. Gracias was produced by Alê Siqueira, with musical direction from Swami Jr., and it features “some striking collaborations” (Songlines), with such guest artists as Jorge Drexler, Richard Bona, Cachaíto López, Chico Buarque and Chucho Valdés. It is a special gift from the artist to herself and to the songwriters for whom she feels the highest regard. As the Montreal Gazette writes, it is “a highly personal collection of ballads… she packs a lot of feeling into this tender and nostalgic album.” These are the songs she has always longed to sing.
Feb 24 Lisner Auditorium Washington DC
Feb 26 Harvard University: Sanders Theater Boston, MA
Feb 27 Town Hall New York, NY

Ceiba Funkraiser

Funk for the forest! All proceeds support the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation. Ceiba works with rural landowners in Ecuador to help create and sustain locally-run biodiversity reserves. The Lalo Loor Dry Forest and El Pahuma Orchid Reserve are two examples of our lands-in-private-hands approach, which empower local people to successfully manage their own resources. Ecuador is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, so every penny raised in the US has an enormous conservation impact there. Tonight’s terrific entertainment line-up will start at 8:00pm. With an auction and other events to be held throughout the night — you could walk home with a fabulous tropical orchid! Check out the awesome lineup: “If Chafo was a stew: Funk would be the broth, Reggae, Blues and Hip-Hop would be the ingredients, and Latin would be the spice.” No tropical party would be complete without a heavy dollop of musica latina, you can feel the equatorial heat! The Gomers – “One of the best bands I ever saw, a legendary and inestimably important band, but more than that. Not so much a band as – well, more like a squad of gods. A God Squad. A full-on, balls-out God Squad of Rock.” These cats can do just about anything, and this evening they will purr out some of the funkiest tunes in the forest. Tani Diakite & the Malian Blues Band’s rootsy, danceable groove earns the band most of its accolades. But the group…is also about producing good vibes.” An original blend of African sounds, Tani and friends put out a groove that’s irresistable. WADOMA is a West African Dance troupe that “brings the colorful fabric of African life to the Midwest.” Drum-laden rhythms pour from this group, they are sure to get your tail wagging!



See what some folks are calling: “The most important international professional market of world music of every kind. This international fair brings together professionals from the worlds of folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music and also includes concerts, conferences and documentary films. It contributes to networking as an effective means of promoting music and culture of all kinds across frontiers.” UNESCO Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity

“WOMEX, the biggest world music trade fair on the planet” The Australian

“World music fans and professionals must etch one event permanently into their diaries: the WOMEX conference, exhibition and festival! […] It was my first time attending this world music expo in Sevilla, and I am totally addicted now! In addition to meeting hundreds of bookers, labels, cultural promotion agencies and musicians, the highlight is catching 45 [49!] bands from around the world live in concert.” Madanmohan Rao, World Music Editor at Rave Magazine & RJ, India.

Check out the Hip Happening at WOMEX

More Eoto for Me

It was a Friday night and I was feeling alright!!! EOTO was back in town and with that spontaneity Jason & Travis create, the vibe was way out there. The 18+ crowd was deep in numbers and deeper in their groove. The sonic sounds were immeasurably gigantic in ways only retold by stories, moments unique to the time be shared by those in the room (on this night the fantastic High Noon Saloon was the room). You cannot help but feel the newness of the seconds as the flurry of sound passes by you and circles back for a second nibble on your ears, I just found myself smiling and remembering what it is about live music that I love. When Jason and I chatted last week, he nailed it on the head~the explorations are rewarded with nights like this one. I am sure when EOTO is in your neck of the woods and if you take the time to find out~you might share this common with many yet, the show might just hold you captive to yourself and you’ll have no reason to want to be released. New York’s Sub Swara took the stage first and was mixing beats that brought the right attitude of harmony and danceable tunes into our togetherness on this night. This was one of those live electronica events that took the new level and had it re-sized and made the evening’s morning come a lot sooner than expected….


Congrats to Jeet

Congratulations Derek Jeter on becoming the New York Yankees all time hits leader.


Being a Red Sox fan doesn’t stop me from recognizing greatness. Derek Jeter represents baseball the right way and I am proud to have watched his career blossom, proud to have rooted against him and happy he is on top of this incredible honor in the big leagues. The Yankees are no doubt a historic franchise, and with this honor—DJ is stil barely in the conversation when talking about the top 5 Yankees of all time. The sounds of a crowd, and an opponent cheering on a major accomplishment, is music to my ears. GO SOX.