Random Musical Opinions

1. I'm going to stake out a heterodox position here and say that my favorite Allman Brothers recording is Brothers and Sisters, a fine record mostly shaped by the writing and playing of Dickey Betts. AllMusic, who I link here, doesn't share my opinion.

2. The recording that has most influenced today's jazz is Andrew Hill's Point of Departure, his great Blue Note album of 1964. Every time it comes on I wonder if I'm hearing Ravi Coltrane or Dave Douglas or someone like that. The sound is melodic and soulful but coiled and a little knotty, angular, and dissonant, which is the essence of Eric Dolphy's sound.

3. Bonne Raitt has the sexiest singing voice around. OK, I'm really dating myself here.

4. Someone who was fairly acclaimed in the 70s and 80s, but fairly forgotten now is Bruce Cockburn. Well, forgotten here. He's a national treasure in his native Canada. A true triple threat, he's a brilliant singer, songwriter, and guitar player, and he doesn't know how to make a bad record.

5. Another Canadian treasure is the cosmic country band Blue Rodeo. They are one of the great "Americana" groups.

6. I love guitar-driven indie pop rock, especially Teenage Fanclub, but often the genre features idiosyncratic, nerdy lead vocals (this doesn't apply to TF). I've been able to get on board with that kind of singing from Sloan and Superchunk, but have a harder time accepting the singing of the leader of the Shins.

7. Whenever I hear that a new indie-rock recording is hushed and ancient-sounding I get agitated, or at least cynical. Even I sound good (enough) if I sing in a whisper and slather the sound with reverb and echo.

8. Hands down, Clifford Brown is the greatest jazz trumpet player ever. He died tragically at the age of 25 in 1956, not from drugs, but in a car crash.


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