Except for maybe Nanaimo bars, music is my favourite thing to gorge on over the holidays. I can’t get over how well it all works out—people ask me what I’d like for Christmas, I list off a bunch of albums, then I get them a week or two later! So excellent.
People were good to me this year. My sister got me Keith Jarrett’s Always Let Me Go, a live set recorded in Tokyo. Keith and band are free and easy on this recording, quite unlike the gig that the belter and I attended in October 2001 (one of the more stellar nights of my life), where they performed extended versions of jazz standards. Here they’re left to their own improvisatory devices, stretching 8 tunes over two discs.
My parents got me Chick Corea & Gary Burton’s Crystal Silence. I once borrowed this from my friend Chris Scum after he got it for two bucks at a swap meet and subsequently raved to me about it. I hadn’t been able to find it on CD or vinyl, but Sally hit the motherlode at The Magic Flute. The music is vibes and piano, sometimes laid back, sometimes laying down a holocaust. At their jauntier moments, I half expect them to launch into the Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood theme.
It was an ECM kind of Christmas.
My good man Smash gave me a tape with Masters of Reality Sunrise on the Sufferbus on one side, and Bad Brains on the other. That Masters album is a hoedown/meltdown proposition, sheer Beatles ‘n’ Cream goodness featuring Ginger Baker with a bellyful of tea and a brainpan bubbling over with grooves, laying lumber to the trap set. Haven’t listened to the Brains side yet.
JR, flyin’ the flannel, summoned the spirit of ’93 with a Pumpkins vid and a CDR of Nirvana rarities. Headless Kurt couldn’t keep himself away this year, in tandem with fellow dead celebs Elvis and Michael Jackson. Stay dead already!
Gary K came through with Shut Up You Fucking Baby!, 2 CDs of David Cross doing standup. It’s not music, but it still rocks. I saw him at a GBV show once.
Happy new year to all the Difficult Musicians out there!