Daily Archives: January 29, 2013

“EVERY NICKEL HELPS A LOT”

If you’ve been reading the dolorous saga of the Red Knapsack, you know that I have come to a decision.

Against the advice of my invisible accountant and my nonexistent financial staff, I have ordered another (identical) camera, batteries, tripod . . . the minimum.

Frankly, I have become so attached to the idea of video-recording the best music for JAZZ LIVES and for posterity that if I thought I couldn’t do it, I would be seriously depressed.

More than a dozen of my pals have suggested that I should start a Kickstarter program to raise money; I should solicit contributions.  “If there’s anything I can do, please let me know,” a number of dear people have written.

I am so uncomfortable asking people for money that it is nearly a phobia.  It may be that I am truly aware that I am a member of a privileged class, and that millions of people across the world would consider my privations to be an indescribable luxury.  How many people, after all, don’t have computers, cameras, blogs — you can finish the list.  A video camera is a serious luxury to people who aren’t warm or well-fed or well-housed.

But enough people have asked me to set something up, so I have.  It is a PayPal account, and I’ve seen that it works.

Now — in deep seriousness and sincerity — I am not counting friendship and love in dollars.  I will love you no less if you can offer nothing.  But I can promise you gratitude for anything you can do, comfortably.

So here it is.  And I will say no more about this subject.  Except THANKS TO EVERY ONE OF YOU.

Extra credit if you can identify the source of the title, too.

Here’s an appropriate soundtrack, I think — Henderson’s jaunty 1925 MONEY BLUES — with help from Louis, Joe Smith, and Hawkins:

TO MAKE A DONATION, PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW!

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=VBURVAWDMWQAS

And my readers and listeners and emailers have already increased my happiness a millionfold, so it is natural to write

May your happiness increase.

ANDY BROWN ADDS BEAUTY

What is the task of the Artist?  One answer is Joseph Conrad’s: “I want to make you see,” which to me means a clarity of perception, a heightened awareness of patterns and details never before observed.  I applaud that, but my parallel idea may strike some as more sentimental: that the Artist’s job / chosen path is to make the world more beautiful, to bring beauty where there was none a moment before.

In these two quests, guitarist Andy Brown succeeds wonderfully.  When he is playing the most familiar melody, we hear it in ways we had never thought of before — not by his abstracting or fracturing it, but because of his affection for its wide possibilities.  And we go away from a note, a chord, a chorus, a whole performance, feeling that Andy has improved our world.

Andy Brown CD cover

He is obviously “not just another jazz guitarist” in a world full of men and women with cases, picks, extra strings, and amplifiers.  For one thing, he is devoted to Melody — understated but memorable.  He likes to recognize the tune and makes sure that we can, also.

This doesn’t mean he is unadventurous, turning out chorus after chorus of sweet cotton for our ears.  No.  But he works from within, and is not afraid to apply old-fashioned loving techniques.  A beautiful sound on the instrument.  Space between well-chosen notes and chords.  An approach that caresses rather than overwhelms.  Swing.  A careful approach to constructing a performance.  Wit without jokiness.  Medium tempos and sweet songs.

His TRIO AND SOLO CD — pictured above — offers a great deal of variety: a groovy blues, a Johnny Hodges original, Latin classics, a George Van Eps original, some Thirties songs that haven’t gotten dated, a nod to Nat Cole, and more.  Although many of the songs chosen here are in some way “familiar,” this isn’t a CD of GUITAR’S GREATEST HITS, or the most popular songs requested at weddings.  Heavens, not at all.  But Andy makes these songs flow and shine — in the most fetching ways — with logical, heartfelt playing that so beautifully mixes sound and silence, single-string passages and ringing chords.

In the trio set, he is wonderfully accompanied by bassist John Vinsel and drummer Mike Schlick — and I mean “accompanied” in the most loving sense, as if Andy, John, and Mike were strolling down a country lane, happily unified.  The CD is great music throughout.  You’ll hear echoes of great players — I thought of Farlow, Van Eps, Kessel, Ellis, and others — but all of the influences come together into Andy Brown, recognizable and singular.

And he’s also one of those players who is remarkably mature although he is years from Social Security.  We hops he will add beauty to our world for decades to come.  To hear more from this CD — rather generous musical excerpts — click here.  To see Andy in videos, try this.

May your happiness increase.