The Record Store of the Mind – Josh Rosenthal

Josh Rosenthal is a record man’s record man. He is also a musician’s record man. He is in the line of Samuel Charters and Harry Smith. In this age where we have access to everything and know the value of nothing, musicians need people like Josh to hear them when no one else can.” T Bone Burnett

Grammy-nominated producer and Tompkins Square label founder Josh Rosenthal presents his first book, The Record Store of the Mind. Part memoir, part “music criticism”, the author ruminates over unsung musical heroes, reflects on thirty years of toil and fandom in the music business, and shamelessly lists some of the LPs in his record collection. Crackling with insightful untold stories, The Record Store of the Mind will surely delight and inspire passionate music lovers … especially those who have spent way too many hours in record stores.

The Record Store of the Mind is available as a pre-order. It will launch on October 27th, 2015.

Digital pre-orders: 

 

Arvo Pärt – Musica Selecta: A Sequence by Manfred Eicher

One of the many musical blessings I have received over the decades is the music distributed by Manfred Eicher and ECM Records. The label goes beyond innovation with its rich tapestry of artists, compositions and sounds. I wish I could own the entire library that ECM has produced and made available.

The great Estonian composer Arvo Pärt celebrates his 80th birthday today, Friday September 11th. And on this occasion, ECM releases a special double album, Musica Selecta: A Sequence by Manfred Eicher.

Happy Birthday Arvo.


Composer Arvo Pärt and producer Manfred Eicher have maintained their creative partnership for more than thirty years. Eicher launched ECM New Series in 1984 as a platform for Pärt’s music, bringing the Estonian composer to the world’s attention with Tabula Rasa. Since that epochal release, all first recordings of Pärt’s major works have been made for ECM, with the composer’s committed participation. In this special double album, issued on Pärt’s birthday, Eicher revisits episodes from their shared musical quest, evoking fresh associations from juxtapositions of pieces in his dramaturgical sequence, as we are invited to hear the music anew.

Compositions heard here include the legendary ECM premiere recordings of Es sang vor langen Jahren, Für Alina, Mein Weg, Kanon Pokajanen, Silouans Song, Fratres, Alleluia-Tropus, Trisagion, Beatus Petronius, Wallfahrtslied/Pilgrims‘ Song, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, Magnificat, Festina Lente, Lamentate, Stabat Mater, Da Pacem Domine, and a previously unreleased version of Most Holy Mother of God.

JALC Launches Blue Engine Records

Jazz at Lincoln Center takes a profound step in the evolution of their brand. Today marks the beginning of Blue Engine Records, the JALC record label. This will be an exclusive arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment. Jazz at Lincoln Center will release recordings as CDs and digital downloads and to streaming music services, with a few titles in vinyl format, through an agreement with RED Distribution, a division of Sony Music, for distribution in the United States and overseas. RED’s ’stache media, a marketing company, will offer publicity, branding and social media support.

The first release from Blue Engine Records is, “Live in Cuba,” featuring Mr. Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, to be released on Aug. 21 (available for pre-order online). Recorded over three nights at the Mella Theater in Havana in October 2010, “Live in Cuba” explores the connections between American jazz and Afro-Cuban music, from bebop to bolero.

 

The Bottom Line Archive, Harry Chapin Live

One of my regrets even with all the live music shows  I have attended in the tri-state area (425 concerts in 46 years) was never getting to a live show at the Bottom Line. This famous club was located at 15 West 4th Street in Greenwich Village. It was owned by Allan Pepper and Stanley Snadowsky, the Bottom Line opened February 12, 1974 and enjoyed a 30-year run.

The Bottom Line would broadcast live shows in conjunction with top NYC progressive rock radio station, WNEW-FM 102.7. A historic milestone in the club’s history was The Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Bands 10 night “Born To Run” engagement in August, 1975. I recall listening to the raw excitement of those sold out shows on the radio that evening.

Thankfully to Allan Peppers credit and ingenuity I can cancel that regret because we have the Bottom Line Archive.  The treasure trove of live recordings that Alan Pepper is housing is mountainous, over 1,000 live recordings.

Allan Pepper is working with Greg Bendian, formerly of The Mahavishnu Project a jazz-rock fusion cover band that we saw perform at Toad’s Place, Lily Pad room in 2011.

I am very interested in the Harry Chapin recording, HARRY CHAPIN: LIVE AT THE BOTTOM LINE (JANUARY 8-10, 1981) 35th Anniversary Expanded Re-master. The release includes the original set, as released in 1998, PLUS an extra offer a previously unreleased 88-minute show.

I preordered this recording on Amazon which is due to drop on June 30th.

We spent several magic moments in concert and discussion with Harry Chapin in the day. Looking forward to hearing  Harry live in concert once again.

Marking his 2000thperformance (January 8-10, 1981) this release provides a unique snapshot of an artist at the peak of his career – intimate and intense.

I think I will be buying more Bottom Line Archive recordings in the future.

Dan Aykroyd Launches Blues Brothers Record Label

This is one Mission from God I support fully! What a public service for dedicated blues enthusiasts like myself. I am pumped to say the least.

Billboard Magazine reports that Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s widow Judy are starting Blues Brothers Records through an A&R and distribution arrangement with Blue Note Records.

The new record label is dedicated to development of blues artists. Blue Note Records President Don Was will be handling A&R duties for Blues Brothers Records, Judy Belushi will be the creative director and Blues Brothers manager Eric Gardner will run the administrative side of the label.

I respect the thought process given to the multi-prong distribution strategy. 1) The label’s music will be distributed by Capitol Music Group’s Blue Note Records.

2) Using BluesMobile to help tell, sell and promote the artists and their music. Elwood’s BluesMobile is the syndicated radio show Aykroyd has hosted for 22 years. A radio show I was completely unaware of until today.

3) Once the roster is large enough to produce a revue-style show, the Blues Brothers Records team envisions the artists traveling as a road show to Live Nation’s House of Blues. Aykroyd was one of the founders of the venue.

According to Billboard, still performing with Jim Belushi as the Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd hopes the label can generate new audiences for blues and vintage R&B the way Briefcase Full of Blues did in 1978 when it reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 3 million copies shipped.

Rosanne Cash, The River & The Thread, Blue Note Records

Blue Note Records continues to extend the panorama of their artist portfolio by signing, “Americana” artist Rosanne Cash to the label. I view this signing as a healthy sign that Blue Note Records is widening their artistic purpose as they diversify from their historic role as a “venerable jazz label”.

I first reflected upon the jam band initiative that Blue Note Records was embracing in  July.  I wrote about the significance of the Elvis Costello and The Roots collaboration, Wise Up Ghost, as well as new recordings from Robert Randolph Family Band and Gov’t. Mule forging a new Blue Note product line.

The second phase of Blue Note Record’s distribution strategy is Americana music with Rosanne Cash’s collaboration recording, The River & The Thread leading the way.

Courtesy of Blue Note Records and Rosanne Cash 2013

The River & The Thread, Rosanne Cash’s first album in more than four years, will be released on January 14, 2014 by Blue Note Records. Cash wrote the album’s 11 original songs with her longtime collaborator (and husband) John Leventhal, who also served as producer, arranger and guitarist.

The River & The Thread is sweeping in its breadth, capturing a unique, multi-generational cast of characters – from a Civil War soldier off to fight in Virginia to a New Deal-era farmer in Arkansas to a contemporary Mobile, AL couple. While Cash and Leventhal found inspiration in the many musical styles associated with the South – swampy Delta blues, gospel, Appalachian folk, country and rock, to name a few – this is a completely contemporary collection. Cash’s crystalline voice and Leventhal’s compelling guitar work are at the heart of the album, and they bring in more instrumentation to suit the tone of each particular song – from the delicate orchestral passages of “Night School,” (which nods to Stephen Foster, who also had a deep affection for the South) to the ghostly keyboards of album closer “Money Road.”

She was joined in the studio by a cast of friends and fellow musicians who also have a deep affection for and/or roots in the South, including Cory Chisel, Rodney Crowell (who also co-wrote one song), Amy Helm, Kris Kristofferson, Allison Moorer, John Prine, Derek Trucks, John Paul White (The Civil Wars), Tony Joe White and Gabe Witcher (The Punch Brothers.)

Rosanne Cash and her band will preview some of the new material from The River & The Thread tonight  (Sept. 19) at Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley as part of the Americana Music Festival.

Rosanne Cash – The River & The Thread – Track Listing

1.      A Feather’s Not A Bird
2.      The Sunken Lands
3.      Etta’s Tune
4.      Modern Blue
5.      Tell Heaven
6.      The Long Way Home
7.      World Of Strange Design
8.      Night School
9.      50,000 Watts
10.    When The Master Calls The Roll
11.    Money Road

I love when multifaceted artists like Rosanne Cash (singer-songwriter, writer and author) take on research pursuits that add to their core values and strengths. On December 5, Cash will begin a three-day residency at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Events will include a concert, a round robin with Leventhal, Crowell, Cory Chisel and Amy Helm and a conversation with Natasha Trethewey, U.S. Poet Laureate. For additional details, visit http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2013/13-141.html.

I’d love for us to attend this event.

December 5 through 7, 2013, Rosanne Cash Residency

“The Long Way Home: Songs of Travel and Longing”

Rosanne Cash is a major advocate of the arts. She has appeared twice at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in nearby New Haven, CT. We especially love her appearance on the PBS-TV advertisement for the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. She has performed 13 acoustic Cash concerts at the Rubin Museum of Art since 2004.

Blue Notes Records Embraces Jam Band Artists

ElvisQuestLove Blue Notes Records is the cornerstone of recording excellence. For seven decades Blue Note has produced award-winning jazz artists for global listening pleasure. Their advertising logo states: “The Finest in Jazz Since 1939”. I see a trend forming that Blue Note Records is investing directly in the jam band genre. Blue Note has signed Gov’t Mule and Robert Randolph and the Family Band to their roster of artists. They will also be releasing a collaboration between Elvis Costello and The Roots later this year. I view this as an encouraging milestone for jam band music and its loyal legion of fans. It is significant that jam band artists are roosting under the roof of venerable Blue Note Records. Jam band music like jazz is at the music of our heart an improvisational experience.

Blue Note Records Jam Band Artists

Robert Randolph and the Family Band

Last Tuesday, July 16th Blue Note released the latest studio album from Robert Randolph & The Family BandLickety Split features the group’s current lineup with Robert joined by Marcus Randolph, Danyel Morgan, Lenesha Randolph and Brett Haas. Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin) engineered the album, which also includes guest appearances from Trombone Shorty and Carlos Santana

Gov’t Mule

Gov’t Mule and will release Shout!, the group’s first studio album in four years on September 24. In an unprecedented twist and gift to their fans, a special bonus CD will also be included, which includes the 11 tracks from the album but in different versions with each one sung by a different world-class special guest and friend of the band. Elvis Costello and The Roots

Elvis Costello and The Roots announced that a collaborative album entitled Wise Up Ghost will be exclusively released by Blue Note Records on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. A small number of test pressings were distributed as white labels on Record Store Day on April 20 but the full release will follow later in the year. Most of the sessions took place in secret at Feliz Habitat Studios in the dead of night, while others were in plain sight at Costello’s Hookery Crookery Studios. Elvis described the record as “the shortest distance between here and there” and containing “both rhythm and what is read”. Ahmir says, “It’s a moody, brooding affair, cathartic rhythms and dissonant lullabies. I went stark and dark on the music, Elvis went HAM on some ole Ezra Pound shit.” It promises to be one of the most unexpected and surprising releases of 2013. Notice the cover art for Wise Up Ghost below. The image was inspired by the City Lights Pocket Poets Series, in homage to the cover of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. The video pays tribute to the significance of vinyl, the turntable and bohemian poetic pentameter.

Music Journalism A-Z – Gail O’Hara

Gail O’Hara is the letter O music journalist in this month’s Music Journalism A-Z series. She provides an introspective glimpse that has added expansive quality to my music listening and viewing habits.

Gail O’Hara is an US editor, writer, photographer, recording label owner, and filmmaker.

Gail O’Hara co-founded Chickfactor Magazine in 1992 with indie-pop singer Pam Berry. Today Chickfactor is a Web Blog.

Time Out New YorkO’Hara was the Music Editor of Time Out New York where she hired Stephin MerrittLD BeghtolClaudia GonsonBob BannisterFranklin Bruno and other musicians to write along with the regular critics. She has also worked at SPIN magazine, theWashington City PaperELLEgirl magazine, Entertainment WeeklyMonocleCNN TravellerHappyModern PaintersInterviewCMJ, and had a regular pop music column in the Times of London.

She is a gifted and multifaceted creative. Gail is an advocate for the indie music and arts scene. I have benefited vastly in my relative short exposure to her published multimedia expression.

“These essays make the reader want to explore the music of these artists if they have not been fans before. That is what good music writing should do—it should pull the reader into the music.” – New York Journal of Books

My first related discovery is the music that Gail O’Hara is focused on sharing,  Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic Fields. It didn’t take me but two listens to know I had a new rich vein of music to mine.

From the first few tracks right through to the film Gail O’Hara made, Strange Powers  Stephen Merritt and The Magnetic Fields I became hooked immediately.

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