Miles Davis On His 88th Birthday

Forever Miles Davis
Forever Miles Davis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are students of Miles. Miles Davis, mentor would have been 88 years old this day, Monday May 26, 2014. What a true Memorial Day it is for jazz fans everywhere!


It is right and just that Miles Davis should have a street named after him in New York City on his 88th Birthday. After all he lived and created his extemporaneous genius at 312 West 77th Street. From this day forward we will know this street as Miles Davis Way.

The digital music technologist in me honored Miles legacy today by listening to various Miles Davis full album recordings in HQ via YouTube over the InterWeb.

The technology configuration I streamed Miles music through:

1. The Google Chromecast* USB attached to the back of a Sony HDTV 61″ LCD display. The television screen displayed the various covers and other images which is cool. (*Aided and abetted by the Google Chrome Browser extension on a MacBook Pro I7 with Mac OS/X 10.9.3)

2. I also connected to Optimum Cablevision Internet via a NetGear 802.11ac Wireless Router. Chromecast was then secured over that Wireless Access Point (WAP)

3. The sound was represented by a Sony Blu-Ray Home Theater 7.1 Surround Sound system.

It sounded fantastic!


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Talk About, X-Box Music

I was acknowledged by Hypebot, one of several music news services I follow that X-Box Music and GraceNote have entered into a strategic alliance. GraceNote and The Echo Nest represent two of the biggest metadata solutions for cloud music.

It stands to reason that since Apple iTunes has at its core a GraceNote database, that Microsoft would follow suit with X-Box Music since it closely mimics iTunes for Windows users. X-Box Music also differentiates itself from iTunes in several distinct ways.

For example, X-Box Music is now available as a distributed cross-platform application. X-Box Music became available today for Apple iOS and Google Android. X-Box Music is also available as a Web application and as a Windows 8.1 Panel App. X-Box Music is highlighted on the X-Box One where you can take advantage of X-Box Smart Glass and the full-range Dolby® Digital N1 SurroundBar for maximum high performance audio.

You can free stream X-Box Music on the Web and Windows 8 for six months. I will resort to that option after I trial X-Box Music on my Apple iPhone 4s with the 30 day trial. This device option requires an X-Box Music Pass which translates into having to give Microsoft X-Box Music a charge card to hold your account reservation for the first 30 days. I will cancel on day 30 because I want to experience X-Box Music as a digital music service via AT&T 4G, but I’m not convinced to pay $9.99 a month.


Initial X-Box Music testing has been fun and immediate. It’s not cumbersome and distant like I found the Google Play interface and navigation experience. I was a Zune Music user for three years before I switched to Spotify North America, on Day 1, July 14, 2011. Quite frankly I would have stayed with Zune Music if they didn’t have such a disruptive and unfriendly (rude) non-transition strategy. I was never offered a transition from Zune to X-Box Music. I was orphaned by Microsoft as a Zune Music customer. I resent their lack of acknowledgement and appreciation of my customer loyalty.

I have enjoyed Spotify these past three and a half years. I realize as a technology professional that no technology is permanent. Spotify faces competitive challenges from Google Play and X-Box Music. I don’t see iTunes Radio as a competitive challenge for Spotify nor do I see Pandora, Rdio, Amazon Player or any of the other cloud music also rans as much of a joint threat for Spotify.

I do however see significant challenges for Spotify from next years cloud music solutions Beats Music and Neil Young’s PONO. To be quite honest with you I am leaning heavily towards PONO due to its promise of 100% high-resolution audio. I suspect that X-Box Music is MP3 320kbs just like Spotify but keep in mind Beats Music is sight and audio unseen for me. I am not one of the exclusive few who is testing Beats Music.

I appreciate the Beats Audio music chassis and how intelligent curation will expand and shape my listening experience. I have a great deal of respect for Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and Trent Reznor. I have yet to experience what the rest of the Beats Music team will bring us from the cloud.

Spotify is readying a December 11th New York City product and strategy announcement (supposedly it has something to do with a new feature that will allow users to pick specific tracks and listen to them on mobile devices for free?) I am eager to see if the 12/11 Spotify press conference will become a pre-emptive strike on Beats Music and You Tube Music (rumored but not formalized (announced) as of this writing) etc. Google Play should be integrated with YouTube Music if Google is smart, which they are 😉

So I continue to test X-Box Music with my ecosystem (iPhone, MacBook Pro (Web) and Windows 8.1 in VMware Fusion). I’d love to experience X-Box Music on X-Box One so I understand how that works and benefits listeners.

It will be an exciting time ahead for cloud music filled with new solutions, increased functionality and dimension from existing players and the anticipated fall-out in a crowded, competitive arena.

To the victors go the spoils!

I suspect that Beats Music will partner with GraceNote too. I’d love to be pleasantly surprised to see a Beats Music and The Echo Nest partnership. Beats Music open music architecture could make it real interesting cloud music battle.


Google Play Music All Access Is Version 1.0

Google announced and demonstrated Google Play Music All Access at the Google I/O Conference today. A logical phase in the evolution of the Google Cloud Music strategy.

I signed up for a 30 day “free” trial. If I decide to pay for a monthly subscription it will cost me $7.99 a month ($9.99 if I decide to buy later).

Google positions Google Play as a Version 1.0 cloud music store. Google Music released in May 2011 translates Google Play into two-year beta. The question you may be asking is what did Google do in two years with Google Play? My direct response is “parity” with the rest of the cloud music players Pandora, Rdio, iTunes and Amazon Cloud Player. I respect “parity” can be an enormous undertaking but this makes Google Play a follower not a leader in the crowded cloud music marketplace.

She’s Not There

Three “natural” technology competitive advantages Google failed to capitalize on with Google Play 1.0.

1) YouTube integration (limited to Share YouTube Video now). This is a trump card for Google, especially since Google announced a YouTube subscription model just recently.

2) Google+ integration. Social networking with Google Play should be a slam dunk. Google Play Hangouts as a listening party makes perfect sense.

3) Voice activated Google Play is missing. “Okay Google. Play me Three Dog Night’s Celebrate.”

Google Play as the “Spotify” killer greatly exaggerates the situation.

High on my list is to hear Google Play on an HTC Beats Audio so I can better discern Google Play’s sound on a smart phone.

That’s my first take on Google Play.

Rod Stewart – Time

Rod Stewart was the first British Rock lead vocalist I ever saw in concert. I saw Rod Stewart as lead vocalist for The Jeff Beck Group on July 3, 1969. I remember he was quite the dandy. He was tall and strutted across the Fillmore East stage wearing a long white scarf. His voice was very commanding to match his stage presence.

So here we are later in time and I am writing about Rod Stewart’s soon to be released new album, Time (May 7th).

It’s interesting how much has changed in 44 years. I discovered Rod Stewart by accident actually as my goal that night at The Fillmore East was to see my favorite band at the time, Jethro Tull. I didn’t own a lick of Jeff Beck or Rod Stewart’s music before the show. I purchased Beck-Ola on the way to the Subway at The Gramophone.

Today I receive an e-mail from the Rod Stewart mailing list that informs me of the forthcoming album. I navigate with my Web browser to the Rod Stewart Official Website and I become informed about Time and its contents there. I also see that YouTube serves as the video preview point globally for Rod Stewart’s Time. Last but not least I don’t have to leave my easy chair to buy the recording because I can pre-order it  on iTunes or Amazon. Rod Stewart in Internet Time indeed.


Natalie Maines – Mother

Natalie Maines stopped by The Howard Stern Show today. I was surprised and pleased to learn she is an official Howard Stern Celebrity Superfan 🙂

Natalie Maines@1NatalieMaines

If you don’t like Howard Stern then you shouldn’t follow me.

Natalie performed the song, “Mother” (Pink Floyd) live in the studio with Fred Norris playing guitar. I love the edge she creates for this progressive rock classic from The Wall.

Copyright 2013

Mother will be available as a track on West of Memphis: Voices of Justice which I reported about yesterday.

Mother is also the name of the new rock solo album by Natalie Maines, produced by her friend and fellow musician, Ben HarperMother, the album will release on May 7, 2013, Mothers Day 😉

Here is the YouTube video of Natalie Maine performing “Mother” with Ben Harper and his band from last summer.

Thinking About Buddy Miles

I saw a video of Buddy Miles on my Web page side bar and clicked on the YouTube video to watch the performance.

This is how I remember Buddy Miles best. Giving off that great soul vibe, singing his heart out for his fans. Notice he is wearing a Fillmore East staff shirt 😉


The band shown in this video was who I saw him play with in December of 1970. I loved that he was playing with Charlie Karp and David Hull from Westport, Ct. The word of mouth on these local musicians was that they were stellar and that proved to be true.  They are featured in this Helsinki 1971 broadcast television video.

The Queen Extravaganza – Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, Ct

I wanted to see this performance due to an article I had read in Rolling Stone Magazine about The Queen Extravaganza on the Web. I have never watched a single minute of American Idol during its broadcast schedule. I’ll grant you I may watch a YouTube video after the fact to see what all the buzz is about. I have developed a reserved judgement on American Idol and its role, its place in music. I felt American Idol was overhyped. I can safely say after attending last night’s Official Queen Tribute Show a production sanctioned by the surviving members of Queen (Roger Taylor, Brian May and John Deacon)  and American Idol, I can now lift that sanction in my heart and head.It was a very convincing night of solid entertainment.

My wife was surprised we were going to see a Queen “tribute” concert. I can assure you we saw, felt and experienced much more than a tribute to Queen last night.

It was infectious to experience the music through this young ensemble of artist/fans who put their heart and soul into an evening of Queen’s music. My appreciation for these young musical performers who were so in earnest has reawakened a deeper love for Queen inside the music of our heart.

Our major complaint was the sound system was excruciatingly loud, it really hurt our left ear drums, trust me they could have cut back on the loudness factor and still have achieved their stated goal.

The Queen Extravaganza - Rob Sinclair

But aside from the crushing sound the two act performance was a joy to witness. Queen fans were out in force last night. The first act centered on early Queen as the backdrop featured a poster of Queen on a brick wall in a club somewhere in England. That set ended on a high note with Bohemian Rhapsody taking us to intermission.

The second act was more multimedia /visual, using concert footage from Wembley Stadium, official MTV videos (Under Pressure a personal fave). The greater Queen hits such as Another One Bites The Dust, Somebody To Love and Radio Gaga (love that song and Metropolis the sci-fi movie, they showed some great black and white clips from the 1927 classic) appeared in the second act.

The song that rose everyone to their feet first was Fat Bottom Girls. Connecticut concert audiences are sedate and laid back, the Queen Extravaganza performers had to work that much harder to get the Oakdale crowd into the experience. This song did just that.

It was an exciting variable to have four different lead singers represent Freddie Mercury‘s vocals. I think each vocalist was very polished  and vivacious evidencing lots of charisma. Marc Martel was my favorite vocalist and when he sang it felt the closest to Freddie Mercury’s voice and style. The musicians were very capable and enthusiastic. It was a wise choice to have two guitarists to approximate Brian May’s licks and runs. The keyboardist also served as the music director. The drummer was top-notch and handled a vocal lead, with his stellar drumming admirably.

The singers and musicians of "The Queen Experience," which will come to the Oakdale in Wallingford on Saturday, June 9, were hand-picked by Queen drummer Roger Taylor. Photo: Contributed Photo / CT

We want to thank the Queen Extravaganza for pulling out all the stops last night in Wallingford, Ct. You were the champions and to you as the victors we happily shared the spoils of your conquest.

Please have a great rest of the tour everyone! We love you!

A Conversation with Neil Young and Patti Smith

Waging Heavy Peace is the title of the Neil Young autobiography due later this year (October 2, 2012)

Neil Young is scheduled to appear at BookExpo America in New York City on June 6th at the Special Events Hall at the Javits Center. He will be interviewed at lunch time that day by poetess, author, singer/songwriter Patti Smith. Many people don’t know that Patti Smith first got her start in the music industry as a music journalist for CBS Records. Her deep affection for Neil Young and his music should make this an insightful discussion.

I find this public appearance to be sympatico in that both artists have a new recording coming out the day before June 5th. Patti Smith does a Neil Young recording on her next album Banga. I wrote about the synergy between Patti Smith and Neil Young last month on this blog, click the link in Related articles to review that post.

“A Conversation with Neil Young and Patti Smith” is free to all convention attendees.  Seating will be provided on a first come, first served basis.  Lunch will not be provided but guests are free to bring their own lunch. For more information about BEA, please visit and connect with BEA on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube. Best Brown Bag Luch Ever!

Coachella 2012, the High Tech Music Festival

The Coachella Festival being held in the California desert in two parts begins tomorrow. Weekend 1 is April 13-15.

There is strong high tech participation for this event. Google will be streaming the event live on YouTube on the Web. I received an email from Google Play offering free music from Coachella All-Stars.

Coachella attendees are encouraged to bring their Apple iPads to the event. There is of course an Official Coachella 2012 iPad App available.