“Sexual Healing” as Done by the Hot 8 Brass Band

As long as I’m in a jazzy, funky mode today (see today’s earlier blog entries featuring Branford Marsalis and Thelonious Monk), I thought I’d point to one of the tunes currently getting heavy rotation on my iPod: Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing, as covered by New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band, who give the classic track some gumbo-flavoured gusto. I’d love to see these guys play live:

If you like the cover, there’s an excellent studio version on their album, Rock with the Hot 8. Here are some links:


Thelonious Monk’s Advice

Even if you’re not a jazz musician or even a jazz fan, you might still get some mileage from the advice that legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk gave to jazz saxophonist Steve Lacy. Lacy took down some notes, which appear below:


Here’s a transcript of the notes:

1. MONK’S ADVICE (1960)

  • Just because you’re not a drummer, doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep time.
  • Pat your foot and sing the melody in your head, when you play.
  • Stop playing all those weird notes (that bullshit), play the melody!
  • Make the drummer sound good.
  • Discrimination is important.
  • You’ve got to dig it to dig it, you dig?
  • Always know….(MONK)
  • It must be always night, otherwise they wouldn’t need the lights.
  • Let’s lift the band stand!!
  • I want to avoid the hecklers.
  • Don’t play the piano part, I’m playing that. Don’t listen to me. I’m supposed to be accompanying you!
  • The inside of the tune (the bridge) is the part that makes the outside sound good.
  • Don’t play everything (or every time); let some things go by. Some music just imagined. What you don’t play can be more important that what you do.
  • A note can be small as a pin or as big as the world, it depends on your imagination.
  • Stay in shape! Sometimes a musician waits for a gig, and when it comes, he’s out of shape and can’t make it.
  • When you’re swinging, swing some more.
  • (What should we wear tonight? Sharp as possible!)
  • Always leave them wanting more.
  • Don’t sound anybody for a gig, just be on the scene. These pieces were written so as to have something to play and get cats interested enough to come to rehearsal.
  • You’ve got it! If you don’t want to play, tell a joke or dance, but in any case, you got it! (To a drummer who didn’t want to solo)
  • Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along and do it. A genius is the one most like himself.
  • They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along and spoil it.

Branford Marsalis’ Take on Students Today

Here’s a great clip from the documentary Before the Music Dies in which saxophonist Branford Marsalis tells us what he really thinks about students today:

Here’s my transcript of the video:

What I’ve learned from my students is that students today are completely full of shit.

That is what I’ve learned from my students. Much like the generation before them, the only thing they are really interested in is you telling them how right they are and how good they are.

That is the same mentality that basically forces Harvard to give out B’s to people that don’t deserve them out of the fear that they’ll go to other school that will give them B’s, and those schools will make the money.

We live in a country that seems to be in this massive state of delusion, where the idea of what you are is more important than you actually being that. And it actually works just as long as everybody’s winking at the same time. If one person stops winking, you just beat the crap out of that person, and they either starting winking or go somewhere else.

My students – all they want to hear how good they are and how talented they are. Most of them aren’t really willing to work to the degree to live up to that.

Don’t dismiss this as just a statement about jazz or even about music. I see the attitude of Marsalis’ students everywhere.

The trailer for Before the Music Dies is really intriguing. I’m going to have to watch it:

[Thanks to Pete Forde’s entry in Rethink for the video.]


Big Talk for a Dude Who Wears a Dress

This BBC headline/photo pairing is priceless:


Alas, they’ve since changed the photo for the story, which is a crying shame. It was fun while it lasted.


Off for the Holidays

The aftermath of a Santa/U.F.O. collision with Santa filing a report and the cops hauling an alien away

It’s Christmas Eve and I’ve got a lot of family stuff to do over the next couple of days. You never know, I just might get the chance to sneak in a blog entry or two, but I’m going to play it safe and say that The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century (and its nerdier, little sister blog, Global Nerdy) will return on Monday, December 29th.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Joyous Festivus, Happy Holidays – however you choose to spend the next couple of days, stay safe, enjoy yourself, and I’ll see you soon!


And the Dreidel Will Rock

First of all, to all my Jewish friends and relatives, Happy Chanukah! In honour of the eight-day holiday, here are a few Chanukah-related tidbits.

Mastiyahu onstage with a dreidel disco ball in the foreground

Pictured above is Matisyahu, the musician who mashes up his Orthodox Judaism with reggae, at his concert on Sunday, the first night of Chanukah. The Rastas – and hence reggae culture — borrows heavily from Judaism,  so it was only natural that someone would borrow in the opposite direction. There’s more in this New York Times story.

Latkes frying in a pan of oil
Photo from BlogTO.

See the frying pan in the photo above? They’re latkes, which are potato pancakes. The story of Chanukah involves lamp oil miraculously lasting much longer than it should have, so the holiday tradition is to eat fried food – and what’s better than fried potatoes?

While I was aware of competitive hot dog eating, I was unaware of competitive latke eating until I saw this link in BlogTO to a story about a citizen of Accordion City winning one. Bodybuilder “Furious” Pete Czerwinski won by eating 46 latkes – seven pounds in all – in 8 minutes at the National Potato Latke Eating Championship in Grove Lake, New York.

Cover of the book "Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe"

And finally, a gift idea: Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe, which I gave The Missus for Chanukah this year. My favourite bit so far is the comparison between Jewish and Goyish things, especially the last item:

Jewish Goyish
Mama Cass
(she died eating)
Karen Carpenter
(she died starving)

Happy Chanukah!


The Many Facial Expressions of Keanu Reeves, Master Thespian

For your enjoyment, here’s Master Thespian (and former schoolmate) Keanu Reeves showing his versatility through his 2.5 facial expressions, as seen in his many films:

A montage of stills from many Keanu Reeves movies, showing his 2.5 facial expressions.
Photo montage courtesy of Turbanhead via Miss Fipi Lele.
Click the montage to see it at full size.