My New Think Again column is called "Why Do the Mainstream Media Like the Tea Party More Than Occupy Wall Street?" and it’s here.
So the Grammys are out, and not that I care, but I would just like to point out on behalf of my argument that the Allman Brothers Band are the best collection of musicians playing togther regularly, anywhere, that in the blues category, three of the five nominees are in the band. I’ll bet that never happened before. I would also like to say that while I love Derek Trucks, he is crazily overrated in the new Rolling Stone poll of the 100 best guitarists, while it is criminal that Warren Haynes would be left off all together. Also, being dead is not a good idea if you want to be high on this list (unless your name is “Hendrix, of course.”) My guess is that if Jann had to worry about getting hassled by Jerry Garcia, he would have been in the top fifteen, rather than way down, I can’t even remember where he is. There’s a bunch more about which to complain: (Lou Reed? Are you serious?) But I agree with the top five.
Chick Corea celebrated his 70th birthday with a month of shows at the Blue Note in Manhattan where he was joined by more musicians echoing more styles than I care to enumerate here. I’m not sure there has ever been a more eclectic composer and performer than Corea. And the weird thing about him is that he is not a jack-of-all trades, but actually a master of them. Part of the secret, apart from obviously, talent and longevity, appear to be egolessness. Corea throws himself into combinations with different kinds of musicians and then becomes just a member of the band. This works better with different combinations depending both on the combination in question as well as the taste of the listener.
The night I went was a flamenco night (and I believe it was Corea’s actual birthday). Since “My Spanish Heart” is perhaps my favorite of Corea’s albums, I was pretty excited about this. So too were a lot of other people as I’ve never been in a more tightly packed room in my life. I got to see some of the most renowned flamenco musicians in the world, many of whom could fill large halls elsewhere in the world (and one of whom, Concha Buika can apparently fill Carnegie Hall on her own today). It was a quite exciting night for all concerned, though alas, perhaps overly authentic for your relatively philistine blogger (in matters flamenco) than for many others in the audience, who acted as if they were witnessing their own private little miracle. I’m sure I would have felt the same way had I gone on the nights he played with the Miles alumni, or with Herbie Hancock, or Gary Burton, or the acoustic RTF, etc. In any case, if you are new to Chick’s incredible legacy, there’s a fine two-cd collection out on Concord to get you started, called the The Definitive Chick Corea on Stretch and Concord, but only as long as you promise not to stop there.