Bob Burnett: A kind c60 reader has graciously made a copy of LaMonte Young's The Well Tuned Piano available to me for which I am ever thankful.
I realized while I was flipping through tons of stacks of CDs this past week in the Bay Area that even after 30 years the music store environment is still an exciting place for me to be in and how appreciative I am for all the retailers who keep making the "browse the bins" experience happen. I don't think I'll ever be completely satisfied with the download or online experience. Don't get me wrong--it sure is nice to have as an option---but nothing matches the buzz of walking in a well-stocked shop with a staff who know their stuff. I've been to a bunch of music places over the years and try to mention favorite haunts (such as NYC's Downtown Music Gallery and Other Music, Amoeba Music in the Bay Area and LA, Melody and Olsson's in DC) when it seems right.
So, as a c60 "public service" please mention your favorite shops or new discoveries as you go from place to place so we can all go to them too when we travel.
Bob Burnett: I've just spent the last few days in the bay area and made swings by Amoeba Music in San Francisco as well as Berkeley. I picked up a wide range of things--from Neil Young & Crazy Horse to a Criterion DVD of Grey Gardens. I'm sure your own personal bin scanning and buying excurions to great stores like Amoeba brings you offerings performed on guitar, piano, possibly saxophone and maybe even a theremin or two--but how're ya doing with accordion? Now you can say "well--quite well thank you! I just bought some Guy Klucevsek and the Bantam Orchestra!" I've been meaning to mention this album for some time. Yesterday, I flipped by it in a bin and reminded myself to write something up because it's something to keep an eye out for.
Guy Klucevsek is a master of the Titano Royal Converter Piano Accordion --he's comfortable playing "straight" but where he really shines in his ability to bring the avant garde to the accordion. He's been a "downtown music" guy for a long time-playing with innumerable players in NY's adventurous music scene. If you want to know more check out his webpage. One album in particular that I enjoy is Stolen Memories which is a quartet that goes by the name Bantam Orchestra. The Bantams include Achim Tang on bass and sisters Sara (violin) and Margaret (cello-voice) Parkins along with Klucevsek on accordion, piano and melodica. Stolen Memories is a chamber effort--it moves effortlessly from soft, floating klezmer music to minimal avant garde-tinged compositions. "Wave Hill" is a particularly striking Eno-style composition where chord patterns and melodies gently overlap in a peaceful manner. I also enjoy Tesknota (for John Cage) a long, fluid, drifting composition. In fact, since we're on accordion and John Cage, Teodoro Anzellotti created Three Compositions by John Cage, a beautiful solo take on Cage that I suggest looking into too if you enjoy Cage solo piano such as Sonatas and Interludes or The Seasons.
Time to catch a Jet Blue plane and watch the US Open.
Bob Burnett: (with apologies to those flooding in the midwest) It finally rained in the Washington, DC area. It has been dry and dusty all summer. Thank goodness for the rain.....I can now play "rainy day music" and Tati qualifies as such. Tati is a trio made up of trumpeter Enrico Rava, pianist Stefano Bollani and stalwart c60 living legend Paul Motian on drums. This, being an ECM album, means there are very telltale ECM qualities about it--stark but clear compositions, rich sound, room-filling (but thankfully subtle) echo. I happen to like "that ECM kind of stuff" so it works for me.
Enrico Rava has had a 40+ year career in jazz. He's most known for his steady Miles Davis meets Chet Baker-rooted playing with a variety of people such as Gato Barbieri, Mal Waldron, Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd. I've always found his sound and Kenny Wheeler's to be similar in nature. ECM's Manfred Eicher first discovered Rava in the early '70s and was on several of that era's albums. Tati was released in 2005 and was the follow-up to 2004's Easy Living, his first ECM album in 30 years. The trumpet-piano-drums trio format on this album creates an interesting dynamic; it's a spacious, and spare effort. The players are able to restrain themselves quite well, add punch when it counts and never lose focus on keeping the "calm waters run deep" ECM-style of playing intact. The album mixes original compositions (by Rava as well as Motian and one by Bollini) with a couple of interesting covers. Tati opens with a beautiful take on George and Ira Gershwin's "The Man I Love" and they also perform a rendition of Puccini's "E Lucevan le Stella" from the opera Tosca.
This is the first time I've had extended exposure to pianist Stefano Bollani--and I really like what I hear. He seems rooted in the Bill Evans/Keith Jarrett lineage however he is able to find his own voice and has an admirable ability not to overplay--reminiscent to me of the ECM recording Storyteller Marilyn Crispell did with bassist Gary Peacock and Paul Motian. I discovered Bollini has an album of solo piano on ECM; I just ordered it to further explore his body of work.
Manfred Eicher produced Tati however, instead of it being recorded in Tonstudio Bauer like many ECM albums it was done in New York's Avatar Studio--(I stuck an image from their webpage on the right---nice!) and I really like the sound. There is something "live"about the environment of Avatar Studio that sometimes gets lost in the sonics of other ECM albums. One slight indiscretion from my perspective is that Paul Motian at times seems buried in the mix--granted, I like the "sound" of the drums. I'm a big fan of Motian's textured playing so I'm always looking to hear every color in his approach to a composition.
Ah well---in the big picture I'm not complaining; I really enjoy how this group gels . Plus, there are plenty other opportunities in my ever-growing stack of Motian cd's to make up for this one's low-key approach.
Mike Johnston: Apple (the computer company) obviously just reached an agreement with Yoko Ono, because John Lennon's entire solo catalog has just gone up on iTunes.
This seems like an event, but I'm not sure. I bought a handful of these albums when they were new and listened to some of them heavily (although some of them, such as Menlove Avenue, I had never heard once), but it was hero-worship more than anything else. I liked the anger, too, I think. Plastic Ono Band in particular is not nearly as good in retrospect as I thought it was at the time; Bob says it "worked when he made it because it was just the cathartic album he needed to make at the time," and he's right, but it seems like a period piece now. I'm not saying it doesn't hold up at all, but it's not as powerful now as it was then.
It's interesting how little of John Lennon's solo output I've forgotten, considering that most of it is forgettable. All of it is very spotty—as songwriting, as singing, stylistically, and in terms of production.
I recommend the new Acoustic compilation, however, which I bought. It's generally terrific. Some of it redefines the "lo" in "lo-fi," aspiring to but not reaching the standard of cheap demo-tapes, but the roughness and simplicity helps; it reminds us that we're listening to a ghost. Nice time capsule and some interesting takes on semi-familiar tunes. Most of it was probably recorded on the cassette deck Lennon allegedly carried around to "jot down ideas" on, although a few might have involved an actual microphone, and there are a couple of live things probably from bootlegs. Nothing fancy anywhere.
The song choice on Acoustic is good. It's painful to listen to John's Yoko-isms on "Cold Turkey," but then, that was all part of the gestalt of the whole post-Beatles scene back then. Of course it contains a version of "Imagine," which is Lennon's "Yesterday." (Though not as good.) "Imagine" is one of those horrible afflictions that you like when it is new, quickly get tired of, then arrive at the point where you definitely never want to hear it again...and then have to listen to it 400 more times, because it's everywhere and you can't fucking escape. On Acoustic it's the inevitable encore that the audience won't be talked out of—so just "imagine" all the happy pseudo-fans swaying along to the quasi-Utopian, faux-commie treacle and smile. Or program it out.
The only solid criticism of Acoustic I can think of is that Lennon wasn't a very good acoustic guitarist. Not as good as someone like, say, Willie Nelson, who is similarly known as a songwriter and singer and not as a guitarist. Most of Lennon's guitar work here falls into the category of "strumming along."
John Lennon's solo career is very similar in my book to Michael Jordan's career after the Bulls' sixth championship. Unnecessary, for the most part, and yet you follow it because, well, he was John Lennon. While not really a success, it's noteworthy in that it wasn't worse. And while it would have been good for the legend if he'd abruptly left music altogether at the pinnacle of his game, on the other hand you really don't begrudge him his subsequent labors—posturings, missteps, and failures and all. He earned it.
I just don't like to imagine Lennon in Las Vegas, like old Elvis, in a white suit. (There are worse things than death.) It could have happened, too—Lennon always had that goofy, spoofy undercurrent to him. And maybe he would have steadied his wavering musical compass if he'd lived. Frankly, it wasn't looking that way. What I like to "imagine" is something else Bob suggested—that he would have reinvented himself, and found something entirely new to do, outside of music altogether. It's a thought.
I've always been into piano. I love Sonny Clark's spiky, complex, but melodic style of playing, which seems to me full of ideas while at the same time staying unpretentious at all times. This album as a whole is a nice, relaxed high-style hard bop date (if you're not up on your jazz terms, "hard bop" is, despite what you might assume from the name, a gentler, more tuneful, easier-to-listen-to evolution of bebop), equally useful as background or up-front listening—merely a very good record, but from a truly great period.
Unlike Tin Hat Trio and Tied & Tickled Trio, Sonny Clark Trio really is a trio. Clark is joined by George Duvivier on bass, who's very solid and contributes several solos, nicely projected, and of course Max Roach on drums, which is how I got here. There are four alternate takes, none of which are quite as smooth as the album selections, which to me seems to improve them, if only marginally. If you just want a taste—of the album, not just the alternates—try "Nica (Alternate Version)," which swings with rough edges and spirit from Sonny. Listen to it kinda loud so you get the percussiveness of the piano. If anyone, it's Max Roach who's reticent on this record, although as usual you can't fault his tasteful gentility. Apart from some tape hiss, the recorded sound is on the high side of fine.
Sonny Clark recorded a lot if you're willing to look for him on other peoples' records, and he died just before the Beatles and the "British Invasion" dealt a body-blow to the popularity of bop. (It's never good to die young, but at least Clark's timing was right.) He didn't pack as much into half a lifetime as Lee Morgan did, but then again he left us a lot more than Tina Brooks (another heroin tragedy) was able to. I'm pleased to have this addition to his legacy.
Chappaqua Suite: Ornette Coleman I first heard about this album while working in Haffa's, a record store in Athens, Ohio, in the early '80s while in college at Ohio University. The store's owner, and fellow Ornette Coleman afficionado Ron Esposito, was purported to have a coveted pressing of this rare gem--however I never saw or heard his copy played--I only heard his hushed, respectful reference to it. The reason it was so coveted was because it was a long out-of-print, Europe-only release of a rejected soundtrack for the film by Conrad Rooks. I looked for this one for about 15 years. I finally got it as a reissue on CD--which is once again out-of-print and on Amazon for $65 used.
Fly: Yoko Ono This was another fascinating mystery album for me in the early '80s because it was purported to be a difficult listen and because Yoko Ono annoyed everyone. Plus, it was a two album set which I found commendable in a Metal Machine Music difficult listen kind of way. I looked for this one for a number of years and finally found it, for something like $30 and played it a few times.....and now have no memory of it whatsoever. Ah....well....it's easily available now for about $20 re-issued on CD. Seems that makes it too easy to even return to.
Lumpy Gravy: Frank Zappa I heard a French pressing of this gem in the '70s while in high school and was smitten. I loved the layers of sound, abstract "fly on the wall" dialogue, clanging percussion, noise, chaos, rapid changes. This was when Zappa was known mostly for Apostrophe by a certain minority of shaggy, semi-geeky-but-hip Marlboro and weed smoking high school boys--and in the case of my high school by one additional girl known as "Susie Creamcheese". I finally found this one and dropped $25 of hard earned $2.35 minimum wage salary at the Long John Silver's on this one. I later sold the vinyl version for a profit and replaced it with a CD version.
LaMonte Young: The Well Tuned Piano My biggest heartbreak. I had the vinyl box set. Some time ago I was liquidating a substantial part of my vinyl collection and I sold it thinking it would be easy to get on CD. I was wrong. I've never been able to find it. I even wrote Gramavision and begged them to sell me one--after all it was discontinued from their catalog and surely there must be a few in some warehouse. Nope. Oh--in case you were curious, it's available on Amazon for only $850 used. The only thing I ever was able to recover was about 52:00 of it off of Napster. Thank you benevolent law-breaking soul who illegally posted that for me.
Bob Burnett: Tied & Tickled Trio, like Tin Hat Trio, are not a trio. But that doesn't matter. It just seems to be one of those things that for some reason needs mentioning. Maybe it's because I used to get the two bands mixed-up. Why? I don't know.
Tied &Tickled Trio sometimes are six, sometimes twelve or some other number and regardless of their line-up they never sound the same. On their current release Aelita the Tied & Tickled Trio happen to be Caspar Brandner, Andreas Gerth, Markus and Micha Acher and Carl Oesterhelt. In one form or another they've been something since 1988. Just like previously reviewed Contriva, they are part of Morr Music's artistic roster.
They describe themselves as "a band that listens very carefully to what their sounds do. A band that permits them to be surprised by themselves." They continue to surprise me too. I probably have about 4-5 of their various releases and they all strike me as incredibly diverse and very different from each other. I hear smatterings of On U Sound, Miles Davis, King Tubby, Peter Brotzman, Terry Riley, Gong, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Cluster, on and on and on. They take all these pieces and many others and make incredibly interesting music.
I was originally drawn to them in 1998 when they were one of the strongest contributors on Derek Bailey's album Playbacks. If you have any interest in improvised music and you've never heard Playbacks I suggest you do something about that--and head straight to cut 5. The story on Playbacks is that New Yorker magazine music critic Sasha Frere-Jones assembled a number of musicians to "create an active rhythm track that (guitar improvisor) Derek would like playing with". The participants on the project included Henry Kaiser, Jim O'Rourke, John "Plunderphonics" Oswald and nine others. Tied & Tickled's rhythmic offering was infectious and Bailey quickly caught their bug. (note: I later heard the Tied Tickled Trio's stand alone version used on Playbacks on a CD compilation c60 pal Kim put together for me. And by the way, Sasha Frere-Jones wrote a very controversial review of The White Stripes that caused fevered discussion amongst the c60ers)
So, after several albums that touch more on driving, jazz-based rhythms and textures of energetic sonic concrete overlays they came up with "Aelita"--a quiet, meditative, slowly pulse-based effort. They write about Aelita on their myspace page as music that was quickly created for a concert. "That's why this album exists today" they write and continue by saying the music was, "created only in three days. Recording, arranging, mixing. As rough and open as possible and still very concentrated, minimal, melancholy and excessive. A slow and well-travelled dub, "tamaghis", echo-chamber-music, the orbit as sounding space. "
I find Aelita to be an obsessive listening experience; I've probably put it on twice a day since I got it last week. It is quiet and contemplative; touching on electronica but is not a genre-fitting electronica effort. It features slowly building vamp-based grooves, melodic layers and gentle rhythms. I am amazed that this came about as a sudden effort--it sounds very complete, polished and thought-through.
There are soundtrack-like elements in it which makes me wonder if it was influenced by its namesake--a long lost and practically forgotten 1924 Soviet era science fiction silent film .
Whatever the intriguing mystery may be, this is an excellent effort--by the way pay no attention to Pitchfork's 5.2 rating. They missed the mark on Aelita.
The following is from a recent Wire Magazine review of a Fennesz/Sakamoto duet album:
the now, dripping with efflugent nostalgia and irradiated with palpably
Bob Burnett: I have Ben Bailes of Chessie to thank for leading me to Contriva's 2006 release, Separate Chambers. Contriva is a Berlin-based group made up of Masha Qrella, Max Punktezahl, Rike Schuberty and Hannes Lehmann, who have known each other since their youthful school days where they became a band in 1997. After several 7" and 10" vinyl releases and a few previous albums, "Tell Me When" (2000) "8 Eyes"(2001) and "If You Had Stayed..." (2003), on Monika Enterprise (CD) /Lok Musik (LP) Separate Chambers introduces them to the like-mindedness of the Morr Music label with colleagues such as Tied and Tickled Trio, B. Fleischmann, Lali Puna and the American Analog Set. At this point I could describe how their low key, delicate pop-instrumental sound works well for me, or I could let them speak for themselves on myspace:
"Its just singer / songwriter music mostly without a singer. Our actual interest is to create pop music that makes a human voice unnecessary. It may be never 100% like that, but this is what keeps us trying... Even if there are no stories or statements, pictures can bloom in someones mind. From the very beginning, people tended to bring our music in the context of travelling."
I especially like the "singer/songwriter music mostly without a singer" line because they achieve the qualities of a singer's voice---melody, bridges, etc. but from the perspective of an instrumental ensemble. Granted, there are a few instances of Masha Qrella's subtle vocals on the album--and when they appear they work well within the framework of the songs and the overall feel of the album.
Separate Chambers is also a meandering, day-dreamy listen. As with the band's description of themselves I am reminded of taking trains across the countryside in Europe ---albeit not because this plays as a soundtrack for such a journey but Contriva ties into the feeling of the actual journey itself--the look and sense of a place very different from what I am used to and the curiosity that comes from the overall experience. Contriva brings to mind the feelings I got from listening to early '80s bands like Young Marble Giants and Durutti Column---granted the music doesn't sound like those bands; there's just something about their vibe that connects them together for me. As another sidebar, I am occasionally reminded of Andrew Coleman's Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt as well as the Chessie duo of Stephen Gardner and Ben Bailes.
Nevermind what I say, there are also a few cuts on their previously mentioned myspace site so you can get a sense of what I'm attempting to describe.
I just looked and discovered their Monika releases are on emusic. I'll use some of my downloads to check-out those releases as well as Masha Qrella's highly regarded solo work. Separate Chambers is on iTunes (where I found it after not finding it in local music store bins) and by the way, Morr Music has some excellent additional offerings from other groups on emusic too.
Blueprints For The Black Market (2003)
Never Take Friendship Personal (2005)
Kim Kirkpatrick: I have hundreds of CDR’s on various spindles, all from numerous, kind friends trying to expand my musical interest. I get to them all eventually, embarrassingly, it might take a year or two, but I do hear them all. In particular, I put off listening to Anberlin’s Blueprint’s For A Black Market for so long I could not track down who sent it to me*. One of the more amazing parts of this experience was seeing this disc pop up in the iTunes genre column as Gospel & Religious -- say what?
Anberlin was formed in 2002 in Florida and quickly released a full length CD on Tooth And Nails Records, a label known for Christian Rock releases. Personally I don’t get the religious link, not only for Anberlin but several other bands I have explored on the label. Ya know what, I am going skip most of the specific facts, and background this time around. Rather then figure out how they fit in to the history of Rock (or Christianity, Kings X anyone?) I want to just write about the music, how I reacted to all three releases as a whole.
Fast, tight, high-energy rock n roll, with an intense appeal to teenage boys and young men (I imagine), Anberlin is full of musical chops, emotion, and thoughtful perspectives on life. In spite of three different guitarists in the line up, they have matured, maintained, and refined themselves over five years and three full length CDs. Granted, I had to listen to the newest one (Cities) several times to appreciate it as much as the other two releases, but at this point I think all three present a logical and improving progression.
One powerfully consistent element, in sound, philosophy, and attitude is the founding member and vocalist, Stephen Christian (...coincidence?). He sings all of the lead and significant back up vocals, practically a call and response experience on many of the songs. His vocals remind me a bit of Jon Anderson but I shall not explore that thought, going back to Yes’s catalog would probably be too painful. Christian is way up front with his vocals and he projects a personality of being an intelligent young man with an underlying sensitive nature. His intensity and strength as a singer and leader is sure to make the girl’s swoon (with a complete absence of any cock rock attitude).
Christian’s vocal delivery is high pitched on their debut, Blueprints For The Black Market, (2003) he is clearly young and in comparison to just a few years later, inexperienced**. The guitar playing on the first release is straight ahead rock n roll, bit of that '80s MTV sound but also displaying an awareness of the straight edge movement and much of the guitar work of recent origin. Never Take Friendship Personal (2005) has more of a progressive metal sound, with deeper, heavier playing from all of the members. The title came from the exit of guitarist Joey Bruce, this due to creative (and lifestyle) differences with Stephen Christian and the band. It is admirable to hear Anberlin step up their intensity and skills on this second release, in spite of the loss. Also surfacing on this release are a couple of songs with a slower ballad style, showing Christian’s sensitive side***. This is an expansion in their sound, with cascading (even chiming) guitars, vibes, romantic atmosphere, a shift away from the relentless speed and push of the debut release. More positively, I’d have to say this is just one example on Never Take Friendship Personal that reveals the maturity and diversity the band had grown into, in just two years! Move ahead another two years and Cities (2007) continues the rise in strength and improvement of Anberlin. Stephen Christian’s lyrics are emotionally more interesting and his singing voice is much stronger, superior to the hard rock vocalist that generally make me cringe and wish for an instrumental version****. Anberlin’s drummer, Nathan Young really shines on this latest release. He pushes the band now, with more powerful, complex patterns and accents. Deon Roxroat on bass is forceful as well, with occasional bursts worthy of John Entwistle. The lead guitarist, Joseph Milligan is more on the edge then ever, with incredibly tight, highly compressed playing, and excellent spot on interaction with the other guitar player, Nathan Strayer*****. The soft side reappears on a track or two, and the CD has an overall more atmospheric sound, one that is darker and heavier (by far) in tone. Cities shows a powerful and improved ability to change the dynamics of Anberlin’s sound to serve the music, both the pace and volume are tightly under control. Anberlin is a fine example of a band that has played together and worked really hard for years. Four of the five members have been together from the start, and you could hear their maturity and seriousness from the start. But with the release of Cities the band’s progress towards a tighter, more powerful destination or expression is palpable. I’ve said it before in other musical reviews but once again with feeling, these guys rock!
This past summer Anberlin were on the Warp tour and if I’d had an idea when they’d be on stage I would have happily gone to see them. I would have taken my thirteen-year-old Punk/ Goth daughter to see them as well. She is into the heavier aspects of the band, not the softer ballad material, just like her mother. I have made sure she does not know Anberlin previously toured with her fav band My Chemical Romance, not sure she would ever recover. I hope to see Anberlin soon, while they are still on the rise, possibly at the peak of their creativity. I’d expect them to have a blow you away intensity live. These guys are smart, musically talented, technically adept, and I suspect perfectionists. Finally praise to Aaron Sprinkle who has superbly produced all three releases for Anberlin.
Having asked numerous friends I now believe it was a brief contact I had with a young guy from Oklahoma. I had outbid him for a CD on eBay and he offered to pay me for a copy. We subsequently had a short but intense exchange of ideas and music.
Roll through the videos from each release chronologically, you’ll see Christian and the entire band mature in just a few minutes:
"A Day Late"
Christian and Anberlin have more going on then what is on the surface, more diversity and interests then a casual listener might note. Check out these various cover songs they have recorded:
“Like A Rolling Stone”, Bob Dylan
“Love Song”, The Cure
“There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”, The Smiths
“Enjoy The Silence”, Depeche Mode
I could write pages about this subject but I will make it brief. I have always been attracted to hard rock guitar, AC/DC to Death Metal, etc., but 98% of the time I cannot handle or ignore the vocals. Must be the macho nature of it, or the growling, seemingly possessed singing… I don’t believe them, their darkness and bad boy personas, so it makes them silly and really annoying. Anberlin and Stephen Christian’s excellent singing voice are a big exception to this chronic problem for me.
Strayer left the band as Cities was being released, replaced by Christian (...coincidence?) McAlhaney.
Another c60 music cohort, Marc, has just waxed enthusiastically on his blog about the 2 cd re-issue of Seefeel's early '90s work Quique. Marc is well versed in the "shoegazer" "dream pop" genre. (he's also quite good at playing it himself on guitar, bass and drums)
Marc occasionally blogs on music he likes----plus---if you ever need a source for My Bloody Valentine or Sonic Youth guitar tunings and treatments then you've found someone who can help.
Bob Burnett: A quick nod to our friends Brendan Canty and Christoph Green over at Trixie DVD. The music/music documentary production duo recently updated their webpage to include hi-quality video clips from some of the music DVD releases they have produced in the recent past. In addition to being able to screen a great clip from an upcoming October release of a spirited live gig with Bob Mould (featuring Brendan's driving drums) there is the trailer from the DVD they did with Wilco for the Sky Blue Sky album (reviewed here a few months back), a clip from Jeff Tweedy's solo tour, Sunken Treasure, a Decemberists clip from a concert that is currently unreleased and the big prize of all--the full 12 minute performance of Wilco percussionist Glen Kotche's solo composition "Monkey Chant"--which isn't available anyplace else. I raved about Glen's solo album Mobile (where "Monkey Chant" was initially released) back in January on c60. The video clip gives you a great look at the ingenuity,skill and creativity of Kotche. The Trixie team had great angles for shot selection--they are able to reveal the hardware store-like menagerie of cricket sounds, springs, mounts, etc. sound enhancers used in the score. c60 cohort Kim and I saw him perform this composition in DC at the Black Cat back in the springtime and were both smitten. As I've said before, Glen Kotche is in a league by himself--and this video shows why.
Take some time and check the clips out--and by all means visit their store! They have some terrific work on DVD available.
"Look, I'm not going to lie to you. Nobody ever just woke up one morning and thought, "Of all the things possible in the vastness that is life, what I'd really like to do is play smooth jazz 250 nights a year." It just doesn't work that way."
The rest of this telling confession is available in the online version of The Onion. A must read. (Thanks to DROP! for this.)