Though Monk cut many superb records with bands large and small I’ve always loved his solo excursions best and discovering these recordings, particularly the Black Lion sessions from quite late in his performing career, is a great pleasure. Last night I watched a documentary about György Ligeti wherein he spoke of his lifelong quest for a music that would be completely static and “always there”, like the landscape outside a window that is open for the duration of listening. For me Monk’s music has that quality, changeless and hypnotic, revolving slowly forever.
Archive for the Music Category
Ten years ago today the untimely death of Ol’ Dirty Bastard robbed hip hop fans of one of the music’s most unique and most beloved artists. With a successful solo career alongside his founding and inimitable role in the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, ODB was one of the freakiest and funniest performers ever to score a top ten album. In a group packed with big personalities ODB’s was XXL: he seemed to be truly deranged. By no means a virtuoso rapper or rhymer, ODB instead cultivated his own style, which as his stage name reflected “had no father”. Groaning and warbling, frequently incoherent, often hilarious, always unmistakable, few rappers have inspired as much affection. He would have celebrated his 46th birthday in two days time.
Russell Tyrone Jones
15 November 1968 – 13 November 2004
The legendary Paramount Records (no relation to the famous film studio) began business as an offshoot of, of all things, a chair manufacturer. The label operated at a loss until it began to tap into the burgeoning African-American market for popular music, launching its series of “race” records in the early 1920′s with recordings of some of the biggest black stars of the era including Ma Rainey and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Though the sound quality of these cheaply produced records is notoriously poor the Paramount catalogue forms an indispensable archive of early blues and jazz and is currently the subject of a comprehensive re-release project by the late John Fahey’s Revenant Records. Dangerous Minds has the story.