The bags are (mostly) packed, tire pressure checked, tank is full, and the windows are clean. We’re about ready to hit the road for a small vacation in San Diego – finally. This marks our first vacation as a family, believe it or not. We’ve been cooped up in this house for the last two years and we actually haven’t had a vacation at all in 3 and a half years! (I won’t count my near disasterous trip 2 and a half years ago to SD to see U2 that resulted in extreme foot pain that I endured for months as a “vacation.”) But being Amanda’s 2nd birthday, this calls for a celebration – that, and I really, really think we need a break from regular life about now.
Of course, my Ipod is stocked full of stuff from my 187gb Itunes selection, but there are a small handful of things that, for whatever reason (being brand new, or me being very lazy) that will travel with us in the form of CDs.
The newly acquired:
- Wynton Marsalis: Marciac Suite – I wrote off too much of Marsalis’ music for too long due to his completely short-sighted views of jazz (basically, it seems to end in 1965, even while the genre soldiers on and has created some amazing works in the 42 years since then.) I admit it – I let his appearance and close-minded commentary about new jazz on Ken Burns’ Jazz color my view of the man’s music, which is something I rarely let happen. Hearing this, I realize my mistake. He may not make particularly forward-looking music, but for keeping the older forms of jazz, he’s doing an amazing job. Beautiful, fun album – even Amanda agrees, as she bops her head and feet in time with the music (this girl’s “Got Rhythm,” for sure!)
- Andy Summers & Robert Fripp: I Advance Masked – Somehow this remaster slipped past me. I never saw it listed anywhere and so imagine my surprise the other day when I saw this sitting on the shelves at Zia. I didn’t even think about it – it was a must-purchase item. And it’s a beautiful remastering. Fripp and Summers can be heard in beautiful, sparkling sound now. Pretty neat little album, too – Fripp doing his midi guitar and Frippertronics while Summers finds ways to weave his signature sound around him. There are times when I’m not sure who I’m listening to, actually.
- Kurt Rosenwinkel: Deep Song – Finally, the album that really lands a connecting punch from this guy. He’s an incredible young talent at guitar, but up until this album, there have been things that just got in the way of fully enjoying him. Not here! Along with basically Brad Mehldau’s trio, Joshua Redman adds his saxophone and Ali Jackson drums on the tracks that Jeff Ballard doesn’t. It’s a beautiful, powerful album. I hope we hear more like this from Rosenwinkel.
- Crickets – The Best of the Fading Capton Series – Robert Pollard is one prolific dude. He created Fading Captain to put out the stuff he couldn’t fit into Guided By Voices releases, or was just so out there that it made no sense to force it upon the less adventurous listeners. However, with this series, ever release had something fantastic on it, and as some were limited editions or vinyl releases, a lot of things slipped through for fans like me who joined the game late. Here we get 56 tracks culled from the 40 some-dd releases in the series, along with some new ones that never found a home. HIGHLY recommended – this set is as good as any GBV release.
- Circus Devils: Sgt. Disco – Amazingly, this isn’t anywhere near as weird as their earlier albums. In fact, this is one of Pollard’s more satisfying first-listens since he disolved Guided By Voices. Weird, yes, but not off-puttingly weird for non-fans, which I’m assuming Alissa and Amanda aren’t.
- Heaven & Hell: Live at Radio City Music Hall – Damn! This is friggin’ great. Stunning, powerful recording, and Dio is in amazing voice. Not sure I’ll get to hear either of these last two much on the trip – they might be a bit overbearing, and this one especially benefits from loud playback – but they’re going along just in case.
- Liars – This self-titled album is incredibly fun. Pop-rock by guys who don’t really know what “pop album” means (they call this their “easy listening, pop album.”) They also don’t really know how to play their instruments, and while that’s usually a huge turn-off for me, they “don’t know how to play” in a spectacularly entertaining fashion – and have an ear for weird-yet-catchy songs. Look for this one to be showing up in strange places this year – I think they may have a shot at some success with this one.
Example of lazy:
- Wynton Marsalis: Live at the Village Vanguard – For whatever reason, this escaped conversion to mp3. Probably that whole grudge-thing I had against him. But I grabbed it off the shelves when I got Marciac Suite and have been slowly making my way through the 7 discs again. And, again, what was I thinking ignoring this?! Jesus, what a bunch of great, great music. And it’s still dirt cheap – something like $35 new for this thing. Worth every penny, and probably more.
And, with that, I’m ready to go print off some maps to places we want to go – San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, and, of course, the fantastic Lou’s Records (kind of the retail home of Mike Keneally, which is how I first got to the store back when Dancing came out in 2000 – we were there on vacation and stopped to see him do an acoustic set on the release date. I got to meet the man and he’s incredibly cool. I doubt I’ll run into him this time, but you never know – they are having a “sidewalk sale” of $1 and $2 CDs. Who can resist that? Surely not Mike.)
Back for a report in a 5 or so days!