The Police, back in the day, were my favourite pop band. I first heard them in early 1979 on the radio station Q107, Toronto – playing ‘Roxanne’ live at the El Mocambo. As a 14 year old raised on a musical diet of Kiss and Aerosmith, The Police were revelatory. Of course, they were part of the ‘New Wave’ of UK music, making itself present in Canada and the USA in the late 70s, that included Elvis Costello, The Records, Gary Numan etc. and coincided somewhat with American ‘skinny tie’ bands like Cheap Trick, The Knack and The Cars, whom I loved as well.
We’re all Michael Brecker fans here, aren’t we? I mean, what’s not to like?
The man was regarded as one of the greatest saxophonists of his generation, and has a back catalogue of albums, both as leader and sideman, that is largely unchallenged both in its diversity and musical accomplishments.
OK, so I admit it, hip-hop passed me by in the late 80s and early 90s. I was much more concerned with contemporary classical music, rock and jazz. I mean, I had De La Soul’s Three Feet High And Rising and have long had Gil-Scott Heron’s Moving Target and Reflections LPs on the player for years, but I’ve never really known my MCs from my DJs, let alone my Run-DMCs from my EPMDs.
Last weekend, while on holiday in NYC with the fam, I went to see the Willie Jones III Quintet in The Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at the Lincoln Centre. The Dave Holland Trio (w/ Kevin Eubanks) were at the Village Vanguard downtown on the same evening but they don’t let kids in, at Dizzy’s you can be over 7 years old and they’ll take your money.
1979: Growing up in southern Ontario in the 70s, FM radio was the soundtrack to your existence. The music came in from Toronto (CHUM FM, Q107) and played a mix of stadium rock (Styx, Journey, Kansas) and AOR (mainly the Westcoast type like Toto, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan and so forth). Fleetwood Mac were all over the place – there was a fair share of disco, too.
See if you can guess the book from these five opening lines…
1. I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, tho’ not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first in Hull.
I first became a fan of Ornette Coleman back in the early 1980s, when I took out At The Golden Circle Vol. 1 from the local library. What appealed to my cold and distant teenage soul was the Blue Note-designed LP cover. The icy backdrop, the too cool for jazz-school threesome, the black & white of it all.
Those of you out there who know their stuff will no doubt be familiar with the topic of today’s blog: the paradigm analysis. And those of you with a bit of knowledge of linguistics, and what-not, will recognise the name Ferdinand de Saussure, the French structuralist and semiologist. If you do, you’re probably more prepared than the average blogger for what is about to come and can skip over a few paragraphs below. If not, read on, grasshopper…