PENNY’S FROM HEAVEN

No, I haven’t utterly lost my ability to proofread.  The title of this post is, however, a nearly unforgivable pun.  I couldn’t resist.

YouTube is neck-and-neck with potato chips as an addictive pleasure, and while looking around for something else jazz-flavored, I came across this.  Or, properly, I tripped over it — turning it on simply because I couldn’t believe it.  Perhaps you should turn it on before I describe it, as it might seem indescribable at first.  For the skeptical reader, I assure you, there’s a solid underpinning of jazz here: Bix Beiderbecke’s recording of SORRY.

The performer is Mike Penny, someone I knew nothing about except that he seems a string virtuoso with a hot attack and a swinging terminal vibrato.  And the instrument?  YouTube says that it is a Tsugaru shamisen.  It has three strings and no frets, and to me it resembles a boxy banjo.

Perhaps Mike Perry is somehow channelling Snoozer Quinn’s dextrous ghost?  Stranger things have happened!  But I went to his MySpace page and learned that he lives in Valencia, California, and is a master player of this instrument in every genre imaginable.  In fact, you can hear him play GRACE ANE BEAUTY there, too.  Check him out!

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=43981216

And BIX LIVES, by the way —

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