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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

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Today Saturday September 23

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Day two of three.
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Evening
Bradley Johnston (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 7:30pm. No cover charge.
Rockafellas - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
Tobie Carpenter Organ Trio - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. £10.
Thin Man + Jon Gordon - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. Free.
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Nikki Iles & Stan Sulzmann - Great Hall, Hexham Abbey, Hexham NE46 3NB. 10pm. £10/£8.
Pat McMahon Trio - Tannery, Gilesgate, Hexham NE46 3QD. 01434 605537. 9pm. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

2016 – The Year in Vinyl by Steve T.

Apparently, 2016 was a good year for vinyl; having failed to persuade us to buy the 2 million target in 2015, we cracked 3 million in 2016, though I wonder how many of them were to play on all the cheap record players bought as presents the previous Christmas?
However, in 2016 the BBC and several broadsheets broke ranks with the official narrative (to (mis)use a current favourite (mis)used word (alongside post-truth). On Record Shop Day the BBC reported that almost half of vinyl records never come out of the gatefold sleeve, apparently a feature of every vinyl record ever made. In the last couple of days, they acknowledged the existence of something called CDs, though pointing out sales had dropped, which isn’t that surprising. They also pointed out that sales of vinyl compared to other formats remain way beneath minuscule.
During the year at least two broadsheets questioned the received wisdom that vinyl sounds better, claiming the evidence is, at best dubious and, at worst gaga. Of course, enthusiasts claim that the artists liked the snap, crackle and pop. Another broadsheet suggested that people buy vinyl - that’s buy, not listen to – as just another middle-class accessory. No, surely not, who would have thought it?
It seemed to escape the Saturday crowd at Gateshead International Jazz Festival who didn’t appear to give a fast 'n' cheap Wetherspoons' breakfast that it was Record Shop Day. I spent the morning walking around Newcastle observing people brandishing yellow bags like religious placards (which in a sense they were) telling anyone who cared that they’d bought a record from the record shop on record shop day, just like on the telly. Incidentally, I’ve seen Ravi (son of John) Coltrane twice and on both occasions he pointed out that CDs are records, short for recordings.
I remember the first time I spent a nightshift on Amazon and by morning I had a basket of eighty albums I’d never found on vinyl, some of which I’d been chasing for over thirty years. An unforeseen side-effect of 180g is that they have made original vinyl, with the usual suspects among a few exceptions, all but redundant, on average fetching less than on CD. I recall selling a CD to Vinyl Exchange in Manchester but they left a vinyl copy of the same album.
A few years ago I was told the going rate for second-hand CDs was 10p but I’ve just sold a box set for £54. It features six tracks, only two of which might squeeze onto a side of vinyl, and then only with drastically reduced sound. Vinyl is fine for sticking on the wall or playing 3 or 4-minute pop songs off the TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, but not much use for anyone with an unquenchable thirst for more music.
While I don’t have a problem with downloads per se, I worry about the resilience of the fortyish minute album, the common currency of music through its C20th Golden Age, and fear that all that will survive will be catchy tunes, singles and radio hits.
Steve T.

5 comments :

  1. An interesting viewpoint Steve. CDs, and other forms of compression are great for slotting in the car stereo although, of late, I've been gambling on DAB Jazz FM for my driving [dis]pleasure. Like all gambling you win some you lose some although, in my particular case the bookies [jazz FM} would win but it would be a photo finish.
    If I could replace my LPs with CDs it would create space for my wife to have a new wardrobe and if I saved the whole caboosh on-line [assuming I'm going to live until 2025] then we'd have space for a second car. So, for the present, I'll enjoy listening to whatever the format takes. I even listen to 78's - you want snap, crackle and pop? you got it. Yet I know folks who claim shellac to be better than vinyl, CD or the industry's latest gimmick.
    I'm still not convinced about stereo! What I do know is that you don't need 20-20 vision to read the notes on an LP.
    But, at the end of the day, who cares? As long as the players deliver the goods.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cats know the score!

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  3. I'm actually old enough to remember 78s. and I don't personally get hung up on sound quality; great music always shines through. Having said that, Country Blues from the twenties and thirties and Studio One recordings have been improved massively on CD. Most of my music listening was done on scratched records on cheap record players, often with a penny on the needle. For a time I lived in a room in a nurses home (or is that nursing home) mostly playing cassettes, where I earned the name 'the Cassette King' from a certain record shop owner in Manchester.
    I remember my old mate the late Peter Waites reading the liner notes to 'Black Saint' with a magnifying glass. I'm quite belligerent about this cos it always lead to new discoveries, but I let that one go. Most soul/blues/rock/reggae vinyl didn't have liner notes and with jazz, CDs generally have updated notes too, which I can generally read though sometimes it takes 2 pairs of glasses.
    I agree entirely that cats know the score but unfortunately the media insists on telling people who like vinyl more than music that they are the cats.
    Of course the best way to listen to music is live.

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  4. A penny on the needle? Explanation please!

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  5. If a record started jumping, putting a penny on the arm above the needle sometimes enabled the stylus to plough through the scratch; it was a short term solution. Told you I had cheap record players (and couldn't afford to change the stylus often enough) and scratched records.

    I also had a cat named Mingus, which must be the coolest name in the world for a cat. I wanted another to call Dolphy so they could play together but we moved back to the North East and left Mingus in West Yorkshire.
    We now have 3 cats (and 2 dogs): 1 named by number 2 son, another we inherited from my mother-in-law and another called Dizzy, so no prizes for guessing who named him. We thought about a fourth but Bird didn't seem appropriate.
    My wife loves Bryan Ferry and we saw him shortly after he brought out an album of Roxy Music in the style of twenties Jazz. He kept referring to the musicians as the Jazz cats and I think this was the first time my wife realised where Mingus and Dizzy came from.
    Number 1 son says, if he ever has a place of his own, he'll have Mingus Two.
    Years ago I had a friend with a hamster named Chan, after Charley Parkers wife. I have no idea whether hamsters know the score.

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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