#Writing #MusicMonday: Live at Blues Alley by U.S. Army Blues

coverOK, before we get to the album, a few things.

Yes, I am aware that I’m weeks behind on my Writing Music Monday posts. Seventeen weeks, to be precise.

The weird thing is, I’ve had albums selected for the entire time, with fifteen permanently recorded on my WMM 2016 playlist, and several more lined up but not transferred over to it yet.

I don’t know exactly what the problem has been. Partly, it is depression, which saps the motivation to transition from having made a decision to actually completing a post. But it feels like there was some kind of a mental clog adding to that lack of motivation. Whatever it is, I’m finally pushing through it. I hope.

So, for the next almost-three-weeks, there will be daily (or mostly-daily) music posts, to catch back up to where I am supposed to be as quickly as possible.

This album should have been posted on 4 July 2016.

Meet U.S. Army Blues, a part of the U.S. Army Band (“Pershing’s Own”). This live performance recording is all I currently know about them, but it’s more than enough — these cats swing! They even have a certain amount of the requisite cheese and too-polished sound of the swing bands that survived the forties, such as Ellington’s and Calloway’s. Not too much, but enough to know that it’s there by intent.

The performance is noted as a particular tribute to Duke Ellington, and most of the original compositions absolutely put me in mind of Ellington recordings from the mid to late 1950s. Loud, brassy, exuberant, and sophisticated.

In fact, my only real complaint about the whole performance is that I, strangely, have just never cared for Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust”. That puts me in a minority of one, perhaps, but there it is. The band’s orchestration of “Stardust” is very good, but even so, I tend to skip that track when listening.

Apart from that, it is excellent, and mostly original, big band swing. Of which there is vanishingly little in the Creative Commons, so it’s nice that this one, at the least, is so very good.

Download Live at Blues Alley free from the Free Music Archive, or get just the public domain tracks from the U.S. Army Blues site itself.

You can also find pictures taken at the event on the US Army Band’s Flickr account.


CC0

To the extent possible under law, U.S. Army Blues has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Live at Blues Alley.

The tracks that are not public domain are “Main Stem”, composed by Duke Ellington, “Stardust”, composed by Hoagy Carmichael, and “Barbra”, composed by Horace Silver. Those tracks are probably best treated as if they were CC BY-NC-ND licensed.

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#Writing #MusicMonday: Tumbling Dishes Like Old-Man’s Wishes by Jahzzar

CoverWhat!? Six whole months have passed since I shared some of Jahzzar’s music!? Outrageous! Let me remedy that immediately. 🙂

This unusually-titled album is another of Javier Suarez’s explorations of an “Americana” sound, along with previous Music Monday album Blinded By Dust, and one or two that I’ve not shared here. It’s interesting that a Spaniard does such good things with American sounds.

And not only do they sound American, but they’re fun. Cool, groovy, expressive. Lots of words apply, really.

But it’s Jahzzar, so you (should) already know that it’s really good stuff.

You have several options to download Tumbling Dishes Like Old-Man’s Wishes. You can get it free from Jahzzar’s official site, Better With Music.

Or you can get it from BandCamp, with an option to send as much money Jahzzar’s way as you see fit.

Or, finally, you can get it from the Free Music Archive.


Creative Commons License
Tumbling Dishes Like Old-Man’s Wishes by Jahzzar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Changeover by Sim Band

[cover] Sim Band - ChangeoverBack in 2013, I shared Sim Band’s first album, today I share his last. Someday I’ll probably also share the one that came in between.

Sim Band is a German fellow named Simon Brenner, who plays all five instruments in these albums of bluesy instrumentals. He writes that they constitute a “musical diary”, and it’s unfortunate that he never continued the diary. This last album was first released in 2006, and he’s never added to his body of work.

Changeover is bluesy and jazzy, as with Sim Band’s other work, and while there is occasional cheese, it somehow fits the overall mood of the album. The whole thing is pleasant and relaxed, and makes excellent background music for writing in general.

Download Changeover by Sim Band free from the Internet Archive.

You can also download it directly from Simon Brenner’s website.


Creative Commons License
Changeover by Sim Band is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: handmade by Bruce H. McCosar

CoverMellow. That’s the one-word summation of this album. It’s just mellow.

Bruce McCosar has appeared here twice before, and all of his appearances in Writing Music Monday post-date his apparent disappearance from the internet. His music is still extant, and all under the free culture Attribution-Share Alike license, so his legacy will continue regardless, but when they say “the internet is forever”? It’s not really true.

Of the three McCosar albums I’ve shared to date, this is the second for which he prepared extensive “liner notes”. For La vie sous la mer, he prepared a PDF with everything he wanted to say. Unfortunately, that seems to have been lost when he closed up his blog, and I’ve not been able to find a copy.

For today’s album, archaeologists and musicologists of the future are somewhat more fortunate: McCosar did his notes as a series of pages on his blog, and a portion of them are preserved by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Basically, any multi-part note has the first part preserved, and the rest seem to be gone.

Apart from that, on the album’s page at Jamendo, he says:

I named this album handmade because all the rhythms were performed using hand percussion instruments: three conga drums, two maracas, and a cowbell. Against this background I have highly melodic improvisation, jazzy chords, and of course a groovin bass line.

I play every instrument you hear on this album—guitar, bass, Hammond organ, keys, and drums.

And as I say above, it all comes off as very mellow. It’s fifty-six and a half minutes of melodic, relaxed tunes that fit in the background very nicely as you’re typing along. OK, maybe not the thing to have playing if you’re writing a horror novel or a nail-biting thriller. But aside from those, I’d say it’s simply one of those perfect writing albums, one that can fit almost any story mood so you can bang away at the keyboard.

You can download handmade by Bruce H. McCosar free from Jamendo or from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
handmade by Bruce H. McCosar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Songs From The Lake Air by Bert Jerred

CoverFourteen solid tracks of bluesy, vaguely-’80s-sounding goodness, and lyrics are all on the individual song pages, free to quote under a straight attribution license. What more could you possibly ask for?

Bert Jerred appears to be dedicated to increasing the volume of Free Culture music. He has three albums (at least), split betwen this one on Jamendo, and two others on Bandcamp, and they are all CC BY licensed. Which makes Jerred a mensch, in my book.

It does not hurt that he has chops, and that his music is very, very good.

Shake down the chambers of my skull, maybe;
soaked to my bones, the pain is dull, baby.
I see your Wall Street, and I raise you ninety-nine.

Don’t touch my children or I’ll get you, baby.
Touch my religion and I’ll hit you, maybe.
It’s Dharmapala on the phone and your freedom on the line:

So you say, “I don’t need a name;
I don’t need a name.”

So you say, “I don’t need a name;
I don’t need a name.”

That’s from his song “Anonymous“, the second track on this fourteen-track album.

Download, listen, and use the lyrics for inspiration in your next book.

Download Songs from the Lake Air by Bert Jerred free from Jamendo.


Creative Commons License
Songs From The Lake Air by Bert Jerred is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Writing Music Monday: Impact Valentine by Lobo Loco (WMM Edition)

CoverHere’s where you can see a small benefit of the Creative Commons. I’ve had this album on my android forever. Every now and then, I go back to it, and begin with the thought “This is great! Why haven’t I put this up on the blog yet?”

And then one of the vocal tracks plays.

And then I don’t try listening to the album again for months and months.

I won’t get into whether the vocals are good or bad, but they yank me right out of the mood the instrumentals put me into, every single time. This, for a collection of music to write to, is Not A Good Thing.

So I have taken advantage of the Attribution-Share Alike license and “remixed” the album — if by remix you understand me to mean that I just dropped the vocal tracks entirely and let it go at that.

This is “modern” jazz in the sense that it’s the sort of thing that I usually do not enjoy, much like last week’s album. And much like last week’s album, this is a strong exception to the rule. I really enjoy these tracks, having them in the background while I’m writing or outlining or just thinking through structural problems with a story. It works for me, in some way I can’t explain, or differentiate from other albums in similar style.

Lobo Loco appears to be a German individual (go figure, again), and has contributed quite a lot of music to the Free Culture movement. His musical and melodic sense, in the instrumentals I’ve listened to, are quite good. His vocals, alas, are not for me. Even so, what he has contributed is good stuff, and all licensed to be used just as you see fit.

You can download Impact Valentine (WMM Edition) from either the Internet Archive or from this playlist page at Jamendo.


Creative Commons License
Impact Valentine (WMM Edition) by Lobo Loco is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.jamendo.com/en/list/a120046/impact-valentine.

Writing Music Monday: A Lil Sumthin’ Sumthin’ by The Good Lawdz

[cover] The Good Lawdz - A Lil Somethin' Somethin'Round about this time last year, I was afraid that RawBounce Records had been a shooting star. They released several albums in a short span of time around 2009, all of them great (and most already shared through Writing Music Mondays here), and then… nothing. I figured they must have closed shop and all gotten straight gigs, like The Blues Brothers Band.

Then I found The Good Lawdz on BandCamp.

Whoa, Nelly!

This is not yet another Organ Trio.

While deeply rooted in the Hard Bop and Soul Jazz tradition of Grant Green or Jimmy McGriff, don’t be misled: The Good Lawdz are not stuck in the past.

Combining the street attitude and Southern HipHop influences of Slikk Tim on guitar and the cutting edge Urban Gospel stylings of actual church organist Yoann Turpin, it only needs the versatile yet always swingin’ drumming of Yvan Keller to bring these 3 fellas to a very authentic mixture of old & new that’s sure not to disappoint.

Now, typically, I hate organ jazz. Or, at least, I’m grudging about it. Not sure why, and there are exceptions, but for the most part it sounds cheesy to me.

This is one of the glorious exceptions. It’s long, over an hour and all of nine tracks. And not a bad one in the bunch. Just amazing, amazing stuff.

So if you want to buy Slikk Tim and crew some beer, or want non-mp3 formats, head over and get it through BandCamp.

And if you just want a straight mp3 download, then it’s on Jamendo, too. (You can always throw money at them through BandCamp later. 😉 )


Creative Commons License
A Lil Sumthin’ Sumthin’ by The Good Lawdz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.