January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

You know your musical career is on the skids when you're not working New Year's Eve! C'est la vie. I had a great night at home. Riza bought two concert DVDs. We saw live jazz Thursday and stayed home last night to watch:

Norah Jones and the Handsome Band Live in 2004
The new jk everything theory of life dictates that there are two good pop performers and two good tv shows every decade. Ms. Jones has the first half of the '00s nailed.

This performance shows a little more maturity than her earlier work without losing the freshness and joy. The instruments are pure, clean and acoustic. Her voice is not smothered in effects like a pop diva. And the music draws from the whole American spectrum, from Duke Ellington to Tom Waits and John Prine.

The music is textured, with subtle layers of dobro, mandolin, flute, and a drummer who is as likely hitting a box with mallets as playing a kit.

Awesome.

Harry Connick Jr. - Only You in Concert (Live from Quebec City)
Another who's had success on the pop charts in spite of actual talent! This is a good show. Harry leads a very large ensemble with stellar players (including Leroy Jones and John Allred, both of whom I saw last year).

He is playing the new CD here, which includes a lot of 50s and 60s pop songs. He does a great job and sneaks in a few standards to keep me happy.

I loved the stories from Ken Burns's Jazz series about Harry getting beat up every week by Wynton and Branford Marsalis; Papa Ellis was teaching the young lad piano.

His success does keep him from getting more attention from the jazz community, but in a lengthy piano cadenza he kicks a syncopated beat on the hard floor, snaps a contrapuntal rhythm on his left hand while playing a blaring and rhythmically interesting solo with his right hand.

jk-jo-bob gives 'em both five stars! Happy New Year!

Posted by jk at January 1, 2005 10:32 AM
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