Category: Music

The Rolling Stones: I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

The 40th Super Bowl was held this weekend, in case you’ve been in Antarctica and were successfully shielded by the foghorns of mass culture blaring the news at you from every possible media outlet. There was, as usual, a not very compelling football game, expensive advertising, and a gala entertainment spectacle before during and after...

The Tierney Sutton Band: An Appreciation

Last night, the Tierney Sutton Band gave a Grammy nomination celebration concert at Catalina Bar & Grill, in Hollywood. The place was packed with music lovers, some of whom “knew her when” she was performing in front of six people, others who had been faithful fans since her first Telarc album, and some recent converts...

The Prize Industry

Our friend Tierney Sutton’s latest album, “I’m With the Band,” has been nominated for a Grammy award in the category of vocal jazz. Although she probably won’t win, simply being recognized by the recording industry has been (and will continue for some time to be) a boon to her career. It’s effective shorthand: Grammy nomination...

2006 Resolutions

Welcome to 2006, a new year that will offer more of the same if we let it (and probably even if we don’t). Despite our collective helplessness in the face of Nature — Human and otherwise — we can, however, resolve to do things differently, and better, and with more care. I join everyone else...

A Tale of Two Singers: How Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Two professional singers live on my street. One is an emerging star named Mae who both critics and fans praise for her soulful and passionate vocals. The other is Sheryl Crow. While there’s no accounting for taste — which is another way of excusing America for preferring Janet JacksonĀ to Tierney Sutton — it must be...

Rosa Parks, Shirley Horn, and America’s Enduring Schism

Rosa Parks, an unintentional maker of history, was buried this weekend. She was an ordinary citizen of the United States who did something extraordinary, something that today seems so normal and reasonable that the courage Parks must have summoned at the time is easily forgotten. She refused to abideĀ a transparently unjust law, and she was...

Poem: Bach

Where mathematics meets God, where the cacophony of every human voice is harnessed into an ordered and purposeful whole — that’s where you reside. Yet how unlikely, how perverse even, that your name should sound like someone clearing his throat, preparing to expectorate in a most unmelodic way.

Poem: Music

The joyful noise that scrapes away the accretions of malaise that reliably accompany any life lived without privilege is a pitcher of aural nectar, poured directly to the soul, which, like oil to an engine, needs the sweet sounds of pain and joy and remorse and hope to function properly.   You claim you cannot...

The Blues Revisited

Not long ago, I wrote a Thought about the Blues, and I said: “Even the ‘living legends’ of the genre, like Buddy Guy and B.B. King, are best enjoyed in limited doses, like ice cream or recreational drugs. Too much and you go into a coma.” I was wrong about that. What I should have...

Nothing But the Blues

Not long ago, a knowledgeable musicologist we know declared that jazz was dead — and had been for more than 30 years. We recall circa 1978 Johnny Rotten (nee Lydon) of the spectacular punk band the Sex Pistols announcing that rock and roll was dead. Opera, of course, has been consigned to the cemetery for...