Thursday, March 31, 2005

Cielo Norte - The very first Bill Payne solo record

Something I've longed hoped for but had pretty much given up hope on has just landed in my email box. The very first Bill Payne solo record (Cielo Norte). Bill Payne the legendary keyboard player of Little Feat. You can order it here. I just placed an immediate order.

I have a long history with Little Feat but after seeing Lowell George's last concert I seemed to lose interest in the broken pieces of the remainder of Little Feat. In recent years they seemed to have regained some momentum. I've sampled some of their albums but none of them have clicked with me.

I have always wondered what a Bill Payne solo record would sound like. One hint was the beautiful tune, Gringo, from one of the miscellaneous compilations. It will be very interesting to hear what form this album has now taken. Bill Payne, in my mind, is one of rock's most underrated talents. I can't wait to hear this.

[Listening to: Radio Free Radio - Digital Flotsam 11 - P.W. Fenton - Digital Flotsam - The One Pound Edition (24:41)]

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pat Metheny Group, Lisner, DC - Full Report

Here's my report to the Pat Metheny Group list on Yahoo! Groups:

Hi folks,

Sorry for my very curt message about the great PMG concert at Lisner in Washington, DC on 3/29. It was just so great, I was still in a post concert glow. I was speechless.

I'll just add a few tidbits that might amuse the fans out there.

First of all it was a beautiful early spring day and evening in the nation's capitol. Daytime temps got into the mid sixties and were still in the fifties at nightfall.

Lisner, the concert venue, is on the campus of George Washington University in Northwest DC. Being an active school, there were hordes of collegians roaming around seemingly oblivious to the musical maelstrom about to be unleashed in their midst.

I did miss one opportunity while hanging outside about an hour before the concert. I saw Steve Rodby walk by but he was so unassuming and I was shy enough that I couldn't bring myself to accost him. I would have loved to have babbled on with him about how much I love his duo albums with Ross Traut or his production work with Oregon but I didn't. Sigh.

Lisner is a very special concert hall. IMHO, it is the best sounding concert hall in DC. I believe it seats about 1200 so it is very intimate. I have seen Pat here at least a half dozen times. There's a reason he keeps coming back. I've lived in the DC area for 40 years and have seen so many memorable concerts at Lisner. Some of you will be interested to know that more than half of Little Feat's "Waiting for Columbus" live album was recorded at Lisner. Some consider it one of the better live rock recordings. I was at those concerts. Lisner was also the site of Lowell George's (Little Feat leader) very last concert before he died the very next day. I was in attendance as well. So many memorable moments: Weather Report, Bela Fleck w/ Danny Gatton (local DC guitar legend), David Sylvian, Chick Corea.

When PMG plays DC, I always try to go to day two of their run on the theory that they will be very relaxed since they have a day off the road and have a relatively easy day. As far as I can tell, this seems to be the case. The concert was one of my best in memory. The only concert that still competes in my memory is the very first one from about twenty five years ago. I first saw the original PMG at a now defunct but infamous club in Georgetown, DC called the Cellar Door. This 100 seat club was also the site of many great performances. I still can visualize the PMG shoe horned onto the ridiculously small stage with Danny, Mark, and Pat packed like sardines around Lyle's grand piano and Oberheim. This was a turning point for me and I've been along for the ride ever since.

Speaking of my first PMG concert leads to mention how much I enjoyed hearing PMG play Lone Jack at last night's performance. I've lost track whether this has been played much in recent years but it really hit home to me last night. While PMG has evolved so much over the years and I love every minute, it's still a tune like Lone Jack that reminds of what first attracted me to PMG in the first place. There's an airiness to the sound that is just ethereal - mellifluous as one early PMG press release once said.

Pat's solo's were all just so spot on. I had to laugh when I saw Pat's teeth shining brightly on more than one solo. I couldn't help thinking of Gary Burton's quote about his first meeting with Pat - "All those teeth".

I was also glad that "Roots of Coincidence" has stayed in the set. I may be off base, but I consider it in some ways a spiritual ancestor to TWU. I also love the garage band rock out that others have mentioned. I don't know why but I get a real kick out of seeing Lyle strap on his guitar and rock out. It's a real "Wayne's World" (SNL allusion) moment for me. Is it true that all keyboard players secretly want to be guitar players?

You probably can't believe I've gotten all this way without mentioning TWU. What can I say? It's a tour de force. I've listened to it at least a dozen times. Listened to it driving to the concert. Listened going home. I still keep discovering new things. Seeing it live just seared it into my mind. Little things like the Steve Reich "Vermont Counterpoint" repeating guitar motif impressed me when I saw both Cuong Vu and Pat playing this live. I always thought this would be some kind of guide track. Or, how I waited on the edge of my seat for the Eberhard Weber interlude that Steve just nails. It's quite a sight to see him balancing the stand up bass while playing the fretless bass at the same time. Gregoire was transcendent. I can see why Pat, in the Wash Post article, raves so much. Vu was spot on as always. Antonio just propelled every song into the stratosphere. The only curiosity was how little Nando was spotlighted. I have his solo albums and I think he is a tremendous talent. It seems every member but Nando got a solo spot. Nando certainly is up to it. I guess there's only so much time. He certainly is a team player.

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings. I am certainly a die hard fan, so my views are highly skewed.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Music events today

Tonight I attend the Pat Metheny Group at Lisner here in DC. I've been attending Pat's concerts for about 30 years now. I first saw him at the Cellar Door around 1979. It's always a great event.

I also just found out about Steve Tibbetts appearing at the Freer Gallery on 4/8/2005. It's a free event as well - except for the $4 ticketmaster tax to reserve a ticket.

Springtime seems to be here!

A new beginning

Okay, I decided to set up my own website domain today. It only cost a total of $13 for a year of hosting so it wasn't a big investment. I've decided to go with a blog based website this time. Since I hope to be moving from Comcast to Verizon Fios sometime this year, I thought it would be a good time to get my own domain. It was very painless. I'll put a redirect page on my Comcast site to get things moving over to my new domain: