Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Art Fowler And His Ukulele
I thought it would be a good idea to share an exceptional recording, a rare example of a uke-strumming singer whose appeal is almost entirely musical. He's not pouring on the charm in the manner of the master entertainer, but he's really delivering an adroit and nuanced performnce. He makes it sound mighty easy.

No Wonder She's A Blushing Bride - Art Fowler And His Ukulele

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Beth Custer
Beth Custer, composer, clarinet goddess, called this morning while I was at a rehearsal at Max Ventura's. She wanted me to sign a letter she's sending to Kurt Weill's people, explaining that she can't send them the score for my setting of Song Of The Brown Islands (it's about Petroleum!) because I misplaced the pages. So we just met around the corner over mint tea; I signed the letter, and Beth gave me a copy of her clarinet quintet's new CD, "agony pipes and misery sticks." This is track nine of sixteen; on vinyl it would open side two.

Beth's web site is an inspiration to me. Use the link in my right sidebar and check out her awesomeness. When her home page comes up, you hear a subtly funky groove, then she starts singing to you as if from the next pillow, huskily urging you to wake up and piss a ring around yourself because the world is on fire. The subject of the song? OIL.

I didn't even ask her permission to post this track, but it's not as though anyone who personally knew and loved Kurt Weill is going to pay for their kid's tuition with the money they're charging her for playing his tune on her album.

Like a dork, I gave her the URL of this blog before the air kisses. I had her write it down. Hi, Betty.

Das Lied Von Den Braunen Inseln - Clarinet Thing

Enclosed please find an improvised (mostly) duet for mandolin and 'ukulele, recorded in Berkeley by Derek Bianchi. This comes from "Strings And Wings," Radim Zenkl's CD of improvised duets with players of every kind of stringed instrument Radim could get across from. In my sidebar to the upper right of this page I've placed a link to his home page, which will likely reward your visit.

Radim Zenkl
Don't hate the player: mandolin marvel Radim Zenkl

I'll edit this post soon and fill in some background. There's an angle. For now, though, just groove on the Stravinsky-inspired ancient Eurasia peasant vibe.

Tribal Callings - Radim Zenkl, mandolin, with Steven Strauss, 'ukulele

Radim Zenkl's home page

Monday, November 28, 2005

Kurteus Maximus
San Francisco's Kurt Stevenson is either the most trustworthy person playing beautiful guitar or the greatest guitar player you'd ever want with you in a tight spot. As far as I'm concerned, he is both. He backs up my electric 'ukulele playing so judiciously, you can't tell how hard I'm leaning on him. Recorded by the legendary Bruce Koball in the summer of two thousand four, we assay an obscure Chet Atkins take on a cajun two-step with our hat out in front of the Fourth Street Peet's Coffee in Berkeley (low notes from the 'cello of Mrs. Kerry Parker).

In my right sidebar there's a link to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about a project Kurt recently graced with one of his more obviously unusual talents. The reporter barely scratches the surface.

Cajun Stripper - Archer String Band