Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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4Play: Herbie HAncock, Esperanza Spalding, Stanley Clark Band, Lee Ritenour

Kristi Kates - August 2nd, 2010
Herbie Hancock - The Imagine Project - HH Records
Hancock took “collaboration” to the nth degree on this, his latest album. No less than 18 fellow musicians assist Hancock in his goal of sharing themes of global peace and universal responsibility on these songs, which blend world music with Hancock’s own distinctive electronic sounds. Highlights include an “Imagine” suite on which Hancock works with Seal, Jeff Beck and India Arie; “The Times, They Are A-Changin’” with Irish talents The Chieftains; and a left-field assist from Dave Matthews on Hancock’s version of “Tomorrow Never Knows.”




Esperanza Spalding - Esperanza - Heads Up
An older album that is just now starting to gain momentum (due to Spalding’s performance at last year’s Nobel Peace Prize concert at the request of President Obama), Esperanza’s eponymous set is a great introduction to the jazz bassist/singer. Melding old-school jazz with modern sensibilities, her impressive voice and innate sense of arrangement are showcased on tracks like the folky “Ponte de Areia” and the samba-scat “I Adore You.” Spalding has a second album on the way this August, and you can bet jazz fans will be lined up for it.




Stanley Clarke Band - The Stanley Clarke Band - Heads Up
Clarke, much like Hancock, also collaborates on his current release, on which he works more in a band format than as a solo artist. He brings along his usual drummer, Ronald Bruner Jr., and his longtime keyboardist Ruslan Sirota, and adds in musical seasoning in the forms of saxophonist Bob Sheppard, drum programmer Chris Clarke, and The Manhattan Transfer’s Cheryl Bentyne, among others. “Bass Folk Song No. 10” has a chill feel, “Labyrinth” is appropriately complex, and “Soldier” adds a percussive, marching feel to the bass lines.




Lee Ritenour - 6 String Theory - Concord Records
Ritenour celebrates the guitar itself on his latest album, bringing in almost as many musical pals as Herbie and Stanley do. It’s a fete for several different genres of guitar music, actually, from rock and blues to jazz and classical, and those aforementioned pals help decipher it all. The vocal/musical talents of B.B. King and Jonny Lang (“Why I Sing the Blues”), Keb’ Mo’ and Taj Mahal (“Am I Wrong), and George Benson (“My One and Only Love”) are among the most standout tracks on the set, although they’re all worthy of the guitars they champion.

 
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