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Jukebox: Jazz fest had winners; will the Cloud be one?

Thursday, June 30, 2011
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Apologies to all jazz-heads: In my review of the Saturday edition of the Freihofer’s Jazz Festival, I mistakenly reported that “trumpeter Michael Brecker” played a fine version of “Body and Soul,” but of course it was Randy Brecker: Saxophonist Michael passed in 2007. Apologies, especially to Randy himself.

You’d think I’d remember: I just saw Randy play with some of our own local heroes; but it was a long day full of music with 10 acts on two stages for 10 hours plus and I had to write fast.

Award winners

That doesn’t let me off the hook, however; so I’m offering here my own personal Saturday Freihofer’s Jazz Festival Awards:

--  Best Band (Jazz): the Jack DeJohnette Group

--  Best Band (Pop): Michael McDonald’s band

--  Best Singer, Female (BIG Voice): Dee Dee Bridgewater and Eliane Elias (tie)

--  Best Singer, Male: McDonald

--  Best Singer. Female (Small Voice): Hilary Kole

--  Best Piano: Elias

--  Best Trumpet: Brecker (George Wein’s Newport All Stars)

--  Best Alto Sax: Rudresh Mahanthappa (DeJohnette)

--  Best Clarinet: Anat Cohen (Wein) She would probably have been the best even with more competition

--  Best Tenor Sax: Marcus Strickland

--  Best Bass: Jerome Harris (DeJohnette) and Marc Johnson (Elias), tie; Ben Williams, not far behind

--  Best Drums: DeJohnette and Lewis Nash (Wein), tie, with a huge honorable mention for Yvette “Baby Girl” Preyer (McDonald) who sang strong and drummed up a storm at the same time: Prodigious! Give THAT drummer some!

--  Guitar (Traditional): Howard Alden (Wein)

--  Guitar (Special Effects): George Fiuczynski (DeJohnette)

--  Charm: Kole

--  Overwhelm: Bridgewater

--  Outfit: Elias (spray-on dress/shorts thing to mid-thigh, red stilettos about THAT high

--  Trombone: None in sight

--  Best Innovation: Wider beer selection, opening the Hall of Springs for cocktails

--  Worst Innovation: Allowing tents at the gazebo stage: PLEASE!

A final note to jazz-heads: Don’t forget the Skidmore Jazz Institute started this week, with performances and workshops — all free — through July 8.

Blast from the past:

The Police

A crumpled receipt that popped up this week on Facebook set off lively recollections by local and once-local rock fans. It reads: “Kim Turner received on behalf of the Police, for one show at Albany Hulla Baloo $750 Cash.” Commenters noted that:

1. This was the second show by the Police at the Hulla Baloo (which was actually in Rensselaer) and they had earned just $250 for their first a few months earlier.

2. Another fan paid about the same amount as the Police’s $750 fee for four tickets to the Police at SPAC a few years ago.

3. Steve Cohen recalled his band the Units opened the second show, and the Police liked them, leading to the Units (re-named Fear of Strangers) signing with the Police-related Faulty Products record label.

4. They ate breakfast the day after the second show at the Howard Johnson’s on Route 9W where a fan, then 17, served them and said they constituted “quite the sight that morning.”

Blast from the future:

The Cloud

Is the Cloud great? Is it scary? Are we ready for it?

One of my wisest tech gurus sent me a New York Times story by Jon Pareles on this, but he still seems to be on the fence about the Cloud. (He’s older than I am — yes, there are such people! — yet way more hip about technology.) Pareles can’t wait: the Cloud would solve his embarrassment-of-riches problem of too much music to store and access easily. Read his story “The Cloud that Ate Your Music” for a pretty good comparison of pros and cons. But my guru and I kicked it around some by email, so I’ll bring you into the discussion.

I suggested that, generally speaking, the most convenient music-delivery format wins; regardless of audio quality, unfortunately. It was 78s to vinyl LPs and singles to eight-tracks to cassettes to CDs to MP3s.

Some interesting trends and counter-trends are fighting it out.

The listeners most interested in vinyl are (an admittedly small cohort of) teens and 20- or 30-somethings; such as my children Pisie (21) and Zak (30). They’re exploring their parents’ record collections — it’s delightful to see them play something at random and enjoy it — and buying turntables ($5-$10) and albums ($.50-$2) at garage and yard sales. Record companies with the vision to revive vinyl (Sundazed in Coxsackie is a great example) make better-sounding albums than the originals, and artists are now issuing new music on vinyl, and not just veterans, either. New, young artists are doing this.

The centralized music model (the Cloud) is bucking the distributed energy-generation model in which large-scale users and even households are jumping off the utility grid via solar, wind and geothermal development. We lag behind Europe and China in this, a crime akin to the myopia of U.S. carmakers in the 1970s gas “crisis.”

Then, there’s the possibility of devastating archive loss: Why would the IT industry be any more responsible in terms of infrastructure and backup, than telecoms and utilities? The Cloud could be a disaster waiting to happen.

My guru, of course, immediately saw through my latent Luddism. (OK, I admit it: I like vinyl. And CDs. And I just don’t get the same buzz of anticipation when a publicist or artist or “record company” emails me a link to download some music.)

So my guru made some much better observations.

He said he wasn’t surprised that people of my kids’ generation appreciate vinyl, because they can still hear; and his hearing has deteriorated so that MP3s sound as good as CDs to him. He still chooses the highest resolution MP3 ripping option, though he complains that converting vinyl into MP3s is too labor-intensive.

He also fears widespread and permanent archive loss less than I do, but he expects continued hacking issues, with attendant security breaches and identity theft, as well as intermittent failures and especially performance inadequacies. He’s SERIOUS about backup: He uses a Carbonite online backup in addition to his hot local backup and external drives in an offsite lockbox, backing things up twice a year. He complains about the slow pace of backing things up, though; so restoring from the Cloud seems practical to him only for incidental damage or deletion, and wholesale recovery (from fire or theft loss) will still depend on the lockbox. And for day-to-day access to new music via the Cloud, he doesn’t expect any problems other than occasional outage and coverage or performance problems.

We’ll see. The Cloud seems inevitable because it’s more convenient than any form of artifact-storage music. But I want to watch what happens after the first big failure.

Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at hochanadel@dailygazette.net.

 
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comments

June 30, 2011
10:35 a.m.
mstella says...

Innovation? They've allowed tents around the gazebo at the jazzfest for as far back as I can remember.

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