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Showing posts from November, 2012

Uncle Jimmy Thompson Karo 1926

Wax Cylinder Recording Session: Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour - "Old Sher": Se...

Two Great Brazilian Bands You’ll Probably Never See Outside of Brazil

Here are two very different contemporary Brazilian bands that have two big things in common:  they are exceptionally talented and will never tour America, probably because it would cost too much money for airfare to get them all here.  They are both large groups:  reggae supergroup Natiruts has 12 members, big for a reggae outfit, and the Spok Frevo Orchestra is a big band with 18 musicians.  Only a big grant from the Brazilian government or a carioca industrialist would get them to come north.  Embraer? Tap Airlines?  Brahma beer?  Can any of you help?

Frevo is a style of Brazilian music based in the Northeastern state of Pernambuco and centered in the capital Recife.  Reggae is immensely popular in Brazil;  you see more teeshirts with Bob Marley on it than you do Jay-Z Stevie Wonder, or Michael Jackson.  Both bands are energetic and exciting:  Natiruts is body music and fun to dance to, while Spok Frevo is an unbelievably tight jazz orchestra, with snapped tight ensemble work and g…

Charles "Papa" McCoy - Blues Mandolin

1909 - 1950

Charlie "Papa" McCoy is considered as one of the three most important mandolin players in blues (the other two being Yank Rachell and Johnny Young ).

He recorded with Tommy Johnson,Ishman Bracey, Mississippi Sheiks , Joe McCoy(his brother), Memphis Minnie, Tampa Red, Georgia Tom. All his recordings are listed here.  You can read more about him on his tribute website:

A Rockstar Violinist Was Just Named The Fastest Person On Earth

A Rockstar Violinist Was Just Named The Fastest Person On Earth:

Violinist Ben Lee, who can play Flight of the Bumblebee at an average of 15 notes per second, is declared the quickest human on the planet.

Judges and scientists working on the Discovery Channel show Superhuman Showdown unanimously voted the 32-year-old musician the fastest superhuman on earth, after he beat off stiff competition from a speed shooter and a base jumper.

Ben and his fellow competitors were tested in a controlled environment and researchers used magnetic electrical pulses to measure the contestants' brain activity during their tasks.

Among those vying for the title were the world base race champion Frode Johannessen, who can 'fly' unassisted at 170pm and speed shooter Jerry Miculek who can fire eight rounds on four targets in 1.06 seconds.

Head spinner Aicho Ono, who can perform 135 head spins in one minute, and speed eater Pete Czerwinski, who is able to eat a 12 inch pizza in 34 seconds, also …

Raga a good bargain

Raga a good bargain:

It is difficult to keep up with EMI's bargain boxes, and this 10 CD Ravi Shankar Collection - which is selling in the UK for under £20 - slipped under the radar. These highly desirable compilations are genuine limited editions and some are already deleted, so hurry. Collin Walcott was a disciple of Ravi Shankar's who went on to be the guiding spirit of the uncategorisable Codona - read more here.

Also on Facebook and Twitter. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

Tenor Banjo: A Little History

Banjo: from the Portugese "bandore", and Spanish "bandurria"

Since they were part of slave trade, musicologists see early banjo-like instruments made of gourds primarily as early as the 17th century.

The first white man to popularize the banjo was "Sweeney" in 1830.

Tenor banjos became popular in Irish music in 1962 with the Dubliners re-tuning the instrument in from a C,G,D,A tuning (like a viola, cello), to a G,D,A,E tuning (like a violin) for ease of playing by fiddlers.

Tenor banjos were also used in the early 1900s in New Orleans Jazz Bands and later Dixieland bands for their volume and chordal capabilities.

Today, tenor banjos are still quite popular in Irish music and you won't see a seisun without one!

A Mode Mnemonic

Remembering all seven of the church modes can be a challenge.  I remember them by using a mnemonic.  I've heard many different ones over the years.  This is my favorite:

I've Developed Perfectly Logical Modal Associations. Listen!
I've = Ionian (Major)Developed = DorianPerfectly = PhrygianLogical = LydianModal = MixolydianAssociations = Aeolian (Natural Minor)Listen = LocrianI also like this one: "I Don't Play Loud Music About Love"

Now the way to remember the notes in a mode is that the interval between the half steps on the white keys on the piano are the same: B>C; E>F first, and second, which note the mode starts on.  If you remember those two things, you have all the intervals of the modes!

C = Ionian (C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C)
D = Dorian (D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D)
E = Phrygian (E,F,G,A,B,C,D,E)
F = Lydian (F,G,A,B,C,D,E,F)
G = Mixolydian (G,A,B,C,D,E,F,G)
A = Aeolian (A,B,C,D,E,F,G,A)
B = Locrian (B,C,D,E,F,G,A,B)

Another way to remember the modes is to use all white notes, m…

Papa Charlie Jackson Volume 1 1924 1926 Shake That Thing

Was this the first rock and roll tune?

Goree Carter Rock Awhile

Debate surrounds which record should be considered the first rock and roll record. Contenders include Goree Carter's "Rock Awhile" (1949)

How To Play Smokin by Boston - Verse - Adam Smith Guitar Lesson

Boston - Hitch a Ride (solo cover)

Punch Brothers: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3

There's a lot of space in your music, but it's all you need

There's a lot of space in your music, but it's all you need:

I remember at Tassajara [San Francisco Zen Centre] once talking to a classical composer and musicologist named Lou Harrison. I apologised to him for the lack of music there and for the fact that there was even a rule against having musical instruments. "Nonsense!" he said. "This place is full of music. You have all the musical instruments and music you need. I hear your bells, that thick hanging board and the drum going from morning to night. There's a lot of space in your music, but it's all you need".I was reminded of that passage from David Chadwick's book Thank you and OK! An American Zen Failure in Japan by last night’s resignation of the BBC director general George Entwistle. This blog's criticism of the BBC predates the current Murdoch press witchhunt by some years, and On An Overgrown Path has repeatedly expressed concerns about the management controls within the BBC – the…

10 steps to learn the bass fretboard...

1. Stop feeling confused about the bass guitar fretboard. Just do it!

2. Understand that when divided in half, a string produces the same note, but an octave higher.

3. Understand that there are only 12 possible tones on a bass guitar. They repeat in lower and higher registers, but a C is a C whether low or high.

4. Link tip 2 and tip 3 together: The octave is subdivided into 12 steps. Each is represented on the bass guitar by a fret. If you keep counting after 12, 13 will be the same as 1, but an octave higher.

5. Understand the "distance" between the strings (the fancy word is intervallic relationship. Each pair of adjacent strings is separated by a perfect fourth. If you have problems understanding intervals, go back to that, and come back when you are ready.

6. Learn how a major scale is played on any single string. For now it does not matter if it sounds good. Just focus on where the notes are ON A SINGLE STRING.

7. Say the names of the notes out loud as you play the m…

Evolution of the Bass in A Nutshell

The earliest use of the bass in the USA was with Dixieland music, performed from the 1917s in the south, also known as New Orleans Jazz Music.  Dixieland was originally played with a tuba (patented in Germany in 1838), or Sousaphone.  Later the stringed double bass was used when bands started playing in whore houses and were able to stay in one position.

The Dixieland sound is a mixture of musics including Marches from John Phillips Sousa and Ragtime (1850s).  Sousa's parents were from Portugal and Bavaria (Germany), where the Tuba was invented.  Marches were commonplace in Germany in the 1700s and 1800s, especially in classical music by Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven and others; and also in the military to assist in transportation of troops from one place to another.  Sousa was heavily influenced by this music, and his marches have become quite famous in the world of Dixieland and origins of Jazz (1920s USA), and Swing (1930s USA).

The 1940s brought Jazz to Europe, where it was reinte…

Róisín O Teaspora

Róisín O Teaspora: Marking new wave of emigration with cups of tea The Irish group Róisín O grew up with the mighty roar of the Celtic Tiger as Ireland’s economy went from strength. For the first time in centuries, it looked as though emigration from Ireland was at last a thing of the past. Sadly, that wasn’t the [...]

Great art has come forth from masters of public relations

Great art has come forth from masters of public relations:

The ongoing claims that government support is necessary to shield true artists from the commercial world’s philistine demands is a hangover from the Romantic version of the creative genius. Certainly much great art has been produced by artists who thought of themselves as solitary geniuses, warring against an unenlightened public, and great art has at least as often come forth from masters of public relations and in response to demand.As classical music's funding crisis deepens that quote certainly provides food for thought. It comes from Roger Evans' newly published biography of Xavier Montsalvatge, and the Catalan composer - who lived from 1912 to 2002 - was a latter day master of public relations. In contrast to fellow Catalan Pau Casals, Montsalvatge chose appeasement and not exile when Franco came to power in 1936. He composed for the dictator’s political films while consorting with Catalan separatists, and balan…

JAM with Chrome

Tim Maia: Brazilian Soul Wizard’s Star is Rising

Tim Maia: Brazilian Soul Wizard’s Star is Rising:
Tim Maia has a new cd out on David Byrne and Yale Evelev’s superhip Luaka Bop label.    It’s called The Existential Soul of Tim Maia.  He started the Black Rio music movement, a genre based on American soul and funk music.  Maia’s biggest influences were not Brazilian but rather American soul and funk music from the 60s and 70s.  Today his nephew Ed Motta–an amazing multi-sided talent— is one of its current practitioners, sounding like George Benson classics from back in the day.  Unfortunately Tim Maia isn’t here anymore, but his legacy and influence is stronger than ever in Brazil and elsewhere too.  He died in 1998.  And now, 15 years later, comes the first stateside release.
My friend Robert Rogness of Wine Expo ( an authority on Brazilian music and many other subjects, told me this after reading the article on Tim in the latest New York Times Magazine:
I always joke that Tim Maia used the Bob Marley Method t…

Vivaldi: Recomposed by Max Richter…..Thank Goodness

Vivaldi: Recomposed by Max Richter…..Thank Goodness:
I love Vivaldi’s music.  His lesser-known sacred works had a big influence on Bach, too.  What I hate, however, is calling somebody up and getting the v/m greeting, “Please enjoy the music while your party is being reached”.  Then it’s “Spring” from the Four Seasons.  I won’t enjoy the music, I’ll hate it!     It’s already irritating enough that your call is being screened and maybe its recipient will decide it’s not important enough to answer, but having to listen to this well-worn classic on hold just brings on Clockwork Orange moments for me.  (for those who don’t remember, it’s the 1971 Kubrick film where the lead character–Malcolm McDowell– is brainwashed to the point where his beloved Ode to Joy, the great choral passage from Beethoven’s 9th, makes him retch and vomit.
Can’t we at least get some remixes?
Such tokenism is done with other music too:  Miles’ Kind of Blue, Brubeck’s Take Five, and others.  Why must we always list…

David S. Ware, Jazz Avant Garde Saxophonist, RIP

David S. Ware, Jazz Avant Garde Saxophonist, RIP:
Tenor saxophonist David S. Ware just died on October 18th at the age of 62.  Most people, even jazz fans, have never heard of him.  He was an uncompromising avant-gardist who wouldn’t appeal to most people.  And he never tried or wanted to.
In this age of mediocrity and hype people like him become more singular.  I’m thinking about certain fixtures of smooth jazz but won’t mention any names.  You know who they are.  Ware followed in the wake of other progressives like Steve Lacy, John Tchicai, Frank Wright, and of course the late Albert Ayler, whose 1970 death by drowning in the East River at just 34 remains a mystery til this day.
If I played his music on KCRW I’d probably lose 90% of listeners and only keep those who were distracted or doing something else and not really tuned in.  Henry Rollins would fare better, because he regularly features musicians who lived and played on the outer edges of the musical universe;  listeners will …

Dezoriental: Orientalism Influenced World Music from France

Dezoriental: Orientalism Influenced World Music from France:
Today I would like to write a band from France. If you like to hear colorful world music, Dezoriental is a band for you. From the name of the band, you could guess their musical understanding. The multicultural band consists of French and Algerian members that their music root is Algerian music. Do not think that it is an Arabic band. Sometimes, you could hear melodies from Sahara Desert; sometimes, you could hear Arabic influenced Indian rhythms; sometimes, you could dance with hot Balkan music and gypsy music melodies. Is it only traditional music? Absolutely, no! Dezoriental also use Jazz, European music, gypsy music, French ballads, and the other world music elements. It is a good fusion of traditional eastern music and contemporary western music. The colorful band Dezoriental brings you a funny and cheery trip with their hot oriental rhythms and influences.
Dezoriental, World Music from France, Vesoul. Dezoriental consi…


My 32nd wedding anniversary was no milestone.
But it was, sort of, because I got my wife, Alice, to go to synagogue — a major accomplishment.  I used the come-on of a free bottle of wine.
My temple passes out Israeli wine to all the anniversary couples.  For example, every married couple with an October anniversary gets a bottle of vino on the first shabbat in October.   Alice and I took our places on the bima (altar), next to eight other couples, while the congregation sang and clapped along to “Simon Tov,” a song of congratulations.  Thirty-two years of marriage was worth something — a bottle of wine.   The “winning couple,” as the rabbi put it, was celebrating 55 years of marriage.
It was like a Reverend Moon ceremony. The congregants read aloud: “These couples have come to the synagogue to give thanks for the institution of marriage and for their mutual love and devotion.”
No preening bat mitzvah girls on the bima. No nervous bar mitzvah boys.  Just married c…



Yiddishe Cup has played in 19 states and Ontario.

Our most recent state is Massachusetts.

I didn’t tell anybody about our Massachusetts gig, except Ari Davidow, the dictator of Klezmershack, a Boston-based website.

I didn’t shout, “We’re playing Boston!”  Wouldn’t be right.   I didn’t want to drive the Mass. bands crazy. There are so many good Jewish wedding bands in Massachusetts.

How did Yiddishe Cup get the Massachusetts gig?   Connections.  My cousin Margie.  She hired us for a wedding.

Mass. football huddle The band stayed at the Marriott near the Natick mall.  The food court at the mall had take-out Indian food; you don’t see that very often in Cleveland.

Yid Map Notice, we haven’t played Kentucky.  That irks me!

Daniel Ducoff — Yiddishe Cup’s Sir Dance-a-lot — collects refrigerator magnets of states Yiddishe Cup has played.   Twelve years ago, I gave Daniel magnet-investment advice.  I told him to buy “Kentucky.”

Kentucky is ridiculously, ab…