re-inventing the 12 days of xmas

The TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS has long been a favorite holiday song. I especially love this version. Reinvented by singer Dianne Reeves and French jazz percussionist Mino Cinelu. This version was released in 1995 on the WORLD CHRISTMAS compilation with proceeds benefitting Special Olympics.

holiday music 1

Starting off the Christmas season with a relatively new song.     Wanting To Believe, a reinterpretation of the classic O Holy Night by Brian and his brother Roger Eno.     Wanting to get away from the archaic religiosity of the original and make more applicable to our contemporary world, The Eno brothers have completely redone the lyrics and given this classic melody a new arrangement.   A decisively more ambient arrangement which oddly enough lends to a quiet reverence that the original lyrics suggest.

This song is from a great holiday album by classical label, Deutsch Grammophon, that was released last year titled WINTER TALES.  

***If you are unable to play this video please search YouTube for "Wanting To Believe" by Brian Eno. 

The most fortuitous album in Jazz?

The Year: 1958
The Place: Paris, France
The artist: Miles Davis.
The Film: Ascenseur pour l'échafaud, (English: Elevator To The Gallows) directed by Louis Malle.

Nineteen fifty-eight was a very special year.   
But let's go back. a year earlier.   Miles Davis was at a musical crossroads even contemplating retirement.  He needed something different, something new.   None of the projects his label and management suggested were of interest at the time.  He did settle on  recordings with Gil Evans which would turn into a 5 album collaboration over the next few years.   Albums who's style would also be informed and influenced by the experience Miles would soon gain. 

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  We're still stuck in 1957 and miles is still "stuck" in his predicament.   In November 1957 He travelled to France at the invitation of film director, Louis Malle, and was asked to compose the soundtrack for the director's first feature length film  Ascenseur pour l'échafaud.   Miles had never recorded a soundtrack before - let alone been asked to compose the score.

Perhaps with nothing to lose or perhaps nothing to be gained,  Miles launched himself forward.  He had an interest in modal jazz and was at the vanguard of that movement which was just being developed in the mid 1950s.  With Miles success, it would be a guaranteed influence on generations to come.  Miles was totally free.   Free from the expectations that had come to fall on him from the jazz world.  Film Director, Louis Malle, has suggested that he and Miles only discussed a few ideas before recording started in December 4, 1957.  Miles was joined by French jazz musicians Barney Wilen, Pierre Michelot, and René Urtreger, and American drummer Kenny Clarke.  Nothing was written down (composed).  Nothing was planned. 

The musicians sat in a darkened studio and watched the film unfold.   With Miles leadership they completely improvised the score to the film based solely on the mood in the film.  A film that would be a star vehicle for the smokey and dreamy Jeanne Moreau.   It is a pure delight to listen to the different takes of the various themes as they each reflect the freedom of complete improvisation with nothing tied to paper.  With no distractions or expectations Miles created a sound that would lead to some of his greatest work in the years to come.   Coloring both his collaborations with Gil Evans but also having a huge influence on his solo recordings starting with MILESTONES (1958) and A KIND OF BLUE (1959) (arguably his greatest solo record).   I'd go so far as to say that these albums would not have existed if it hadn't been for his experience in creating the score for this film. 

I'd strongly encourage you to purchase a copy of the complete recordings of this amazing soundtrack Ascenseur pour l'échafaud. 
Listen to what would be a nursery for the development of a new sound, new approach and new way of thinking about Jazz for generations to come.  

October

It's October.   Fall is in full swing.   The leaves are changing fast animated by colder temperatures, cloudy skies, wind and rain.  A beautiful time of year.  
October is also the month we celebrate Halloween 10/31 before All Saints Day on 11/1.   With this new series of images, that will go on for a few posts, I've been thinking of differences between aliens and angels (hence the image's subtitles).   I don't really think there is any difference between aliens and angels.  Was the virgin Mary visited/impregnated by an angel?  Or did she have an alien abduction experience where she became impregnated?   There are so many stories in the Christian Bible that could be attributed to alien interception/experience from the birth and ascension in the New Testament to the Exodus of the Old Testament.   Angels are not of this earth and neither are aliens so it seems to me that they are one and the same.    I suspect that angels and aliens are the same they just appear to us in ways we can best comprehend them:  Whether they are little gray humanoid figures or winged/robed figures.    Both aliens and angels are often depicted as intersex (neither male nor female) or androgynous (both male and female).  It only makes sense that we understand things according to our own experience/knowledge.    We live in a technological age so it makes sense that in the wake of our experience with machines that fly that we would experience alien life as flying through space on machines (space ships, rockets, saucers etc).   But back in ancient times of the bible; machines that fly were completely inconceivable and could not even be imagined.  So beings that travel through air/space were described as having wings like that of a bird which is something the people of that era COULD comprehend.      So are aliens really angels and angels really "little gray men"?  I suspect this is something I'll be thinking about for a long time and time will tell as our understanding of the universe and our place in it continues to evolve.    As our knowledge and experience grow, as we continue to evolve as a species we may end up having a completely different view of aliens/angels in the future.  You may start to see some similarities between my images in this series and figures in prehistoric cave paintings that depict alien life. 
The three images posted here today from left to right are:
Ascend To Lightning (aliens & angels)
The Hand Around The Corner (aliens & angels)
Three Eyes and One Mouth (aliens & angles)

There was a Contemporary Christian Musician that wrote a wonderful song titled U.F.O.   And while it is about Jesus it blurs the lines between religion and extra-terrestrial nicely.   Enjoy.
https://youtu.be/gjd265vNIlQ
Bubbling Rust – A gritty brew to be sure
A few licks of this photo will slough off any "hair of the dog" that's accumulated on your tongue.  So go ahead, give me some tongue.  LOL 
https://youtu.be/UVfJo07pNIc
DRIFT
Drift or drifting is often referred to in unappealing terms.   But drift can be a force of nature, like when lava from a volcano is drifting down it's sides carrying chunks of rock that drift along in the molten lava.   For me this image captures that slow drifting movement.

https://youtu.be/cEU-dXsnNF0
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
A HARD TRUTH!
"You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well, you might find, 
You get what you need"
https://youtu.be/krxU5Y9lCS8

At Days End

AT DAYS END (2022.08.22)

The setting sun
creates fire in the sky.
Flaming yellow, orange and red. 
Filling heaven's dome on the westward rim.
A quiet slow burning…
that if you allow it…
will slow down time,
transforming burning consumption
into transfixed wonderment,
as the day is calmly destroyed
in brilliant visibly-changing color.

Birds fly to their nests
creatures burrow in their dens
and other resting spaces.
And I, heart-harnessed
to Phaethon's Chariot
as it recedes over the horizon,
am humbled by the beauty.
My eyelids, growing heavy with the fading light, 
also find solace and rest.
An ending for some.
A beginning for others. 

The chirping of birds gives way
to the chirping of crickets
and lightning bugs twinkle at twilight
in the shadow of darkness 
like stars on the wing
that children can chase
and catch with their hands
then marvel at the magic
within their grasp.
Letting go to see the stars take flight.
Dreamtime has come again.

I wrote this poem while listening to this music and watching the sun set. https://youtu.be/O41y9vuVT3s
Best if not played to loud and even better if reading the poem out loud (slowly with a sense of longing and wonder) while the music is playing. 

My plea to the world.

My plea to the world.
Check out the link for Brian May (of Queen) classic solo track BACK TO THE LIGHT.  The lyrics are really powerful - especially for the times we are living in. 
https://youtu.be/Zvmp8YhEgQk

Far, far from the light 
Hear the night creatures call 
With a cold breath they howl 
All the hollow hours 
They're calling you

I'll be there 
No matter what your going through 
In the dark I care 
I'm holding on, I'm hoping on 
It's still the same old me inside

Back to the light 
Back to the streets that are paved with gold 
Back to the light, yeah 
Back to the land where the sunshine heals my soul

Deep, deep in the night 
When the world fills with tears 
And the wind blows 
Colder and colder it grows 
And the fire dims with the same old fears

I'll be there 
Though maybe you don't hear me, babe 
I still care 
No matter when and I still be there 
When you make it to the other side 
And I'm going back

Back to the light 
Back to the streets that are paved with gold 
Back to the light 
Goin' back to the land 
Where the sunshine heals my soul

On and on, searching for a clearer view 
Winning and losing an inner war 
Wonder what we do it for 
Though the road seems never ending 
Hold on to the hope I'm sending through 
Yeah

No, no matter what your going through 
In the dark I care 
I'm holding on, believe it 
We'll be walking in the light 
'Cause they'll be no place left to hide

Back to the light 
Back to the streets that are paved with gold 
Back to the light 
Oh, I'm goin' back to land 
Where the sunshine heals my soul, hear me babe 
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Back to the light

Back to the light

Back to the light

Back to the light, yeah, yeah

Babe, come with me 
Back to the light 
Yeah

Are we living in the “underworld”?

Orpheus’ entrance to the underworld
It's easy to get sucked into the vortex of negativity that we perceive, witness; and turn it into our own personal suffering.   While this life is made of suffering - we should not add to our suffering that which we do not have the power to change.

Árstíðir - Hvenær kemur sól (When will the sun come) 
fyi: Árstíðir translated means Seasons.  Also next to Sigur Ros they are my favorite icelandic band. 

waste not…

WASTE NOT…
Sadly we live in a time of outrage.   Everyone is outraged at something or someone.    Media is outraged.  Politicians are outraged.  People are outraged in the name of religion.  Regular citizens are outraged.  Will it take destroying ourselves to stop the madness?   For all it's advances in technology humanity is still living in the dark ages emotionally.  In fact I think the case could be made the humanity is not evolving but devolving to the most base animal instincts.   

In fact if you watch the opening section ("The Dawn of Man") in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY https://youtu.be/ypEaGQb6dJk the only difference between us today and the animals portrayed in the film is technology.  The behavior is the same.    Outrage causes reasoning that is only used for destructive purposes.   

What do you think?  Do you have hope?  Why?  What can you provide that will make me believe?  Your considered thoughts and questions are welcome.