Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Distrust Of Power

The downtrodden are merely well worn tools used by the skilled politician to appeal to many shallow pockets, predetermined by habit to open their hearts (and wallets) to give to their fellow man, for a sense of relief that they have done their part, and for their efforts, a small carrying fee is attached by their benevolent government.
What is it about liberal (liberated?) writers and their obsession with the downtrodden? How many times have I turned on the radio to NPR and heard about the downtrodden or prisoners’ dilemmas?
The key is that they do not trust power. We find it incomprehensible when hearing about a twisted comparison between the downtrodden Palestinians under the thumb of the Israelis. We can understand why Jews don’t trust power. The West also, contemporaneously, senses an incongruity to Israel’s military response, due to the practically infinite patience we see as Israel appears to put up with so much violence perpetrated against people. From our detached vantage point, we can have a sense of denial that there ever will become a true breaking point for the Israelis.
The Palestinians have been effective in launching rockets into civilian areas for so long that the Western psyche has been deadened to the day to day news in Israel. The West can draw parallels with the ongoing debate in this country as to whether or not “make believe” television violence has an effect on our youth. There is no comparison! The low rumble of consistent violence has lulled those in denial of the reality that the rockets and suicide bombers cause real damage to innocents and their way of life, marred as it is by random acts of terrorism. Subsequently, the very real response of Israel to a “disproportionate” attack on Gaza engenders a reaction on the desensitized Westerner, who, incomprehensively, sympathizes with Palestinians for the apparent imbalance. Yet, evil Palestinians purposefully use their neighbors, Mosques and families as shields that they can use by extension against westerners for sympathy through worldwide press! The blind denial was, as I say, incomprehensible until I realized the distrust of anyone with power, which has morphed into unlimited “sustenance” for the Hollywood film industry.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Musical Cafe rocks!

I've been a camera guy for Musical Cafe for awhile, but, I admit, it's been awhile, with excuses like the holidays (excuses!). Just look at what a great experience it is! This New Year I'm going to make sure I drop those excuses and get back with it!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pat Metheny , Joni Mitchell and Jaco Pastorius

Then there was when Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays joined Joni for a tour that I caught up in Portland Oregon. I believe the scenery here looks like The Greek in LA. Jaco Pastorius left The Weather Report to join them on the same tour that here looks like The Santa Barbara Bowl. Like a Black Crow flying in a blue sky..... That tour spoiled me for awhile.

Early Musical Influences

This afternoon I was listening to a local blues & jazz radio station. The DJ was playing some choice music from The Paul Butterfield Blues Band from the “East Meets West” album mastered in the late 60s. Around 1970, I spent some time at The Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, Ca. listening to the Paul Butterfield’s Band play, since they were there often There were influences of sitar in some of Elvin Bishop’s and/or Mike Bloomfield’s scales as well as minor and major scale runs. I noticed the counterpoint of major to minor scales for tension and release. Later on I noticed the same technique used by Jerry Garcia in his long jams.

What impressed me after all these years was how accessible the music sounded. It had a raw energy that was always appealing, brought soulful blues to the coast and helped to inspire a generation of musicians. I would keep the style of the music in mind when playing my guitar, jamming with friends often after classes and on weekends while in College.

My style included many influences over the years. I used a few open tunings since I learned Stephen Stills, Joni Mitchell (plus) and blues slide for practice. I was in a fusion band during my college years with a clarinet and piano player, while I also worked on Bach's Brandenberg concerto with flute and piano and thrown in there somewhere was a sitar effect in another genre of guitar using an open "E" tuning a la John Fahey and later Leo Kottke, with the base "E" dropped down an octave to approximate a droning sound. Blues was my mainstay with some Jorma Kaokonen thrown in, from The Jefferson Airplane

It was sad to see many years ago The Golden Bear had been closed.