Friday, August 29, 2008

What One Says When Told Of Sarah Palin Pick

1. Why didn't he just pick his wife Cindy if he just wanted a beauty pageant winner?
2. Why not Anita Bryant?
3. Sarah Palin, oh yeah, she makes great desserts, doesn't she?
4. Her foreign policy experience is that Alaska is adjacent to Russia.
5. Is that the best he could do?
6. Hey, anybody can be President in America!
7. Beauty Queen, Hockey mom, Mayor of a town of 5-thousand people, Governor of a rural state; hasn't she satisfied the Peter principle of being elevated to her highest level of incompetence yet?
8. Proof that McCain thinks with his guts; like a man with no head.
9. McCain, the next morning: "I'm sorry; what was your name? I was a little drunk last night."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Considerable Sounds: Gongzilla Invades - The Monster Returns!

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By DC Music Editor Benjamin New

Go to the shelter my baby, my baby...go to the shelter...
What do you find between the toes of Gongzilla?
Slow runners.

Run, don't walk to the nearest venue featuring the band! (But do so in an orderly fashion).
I can not recomend this band highly enough, their recordings are phenomenal documents in themselves, but live? Live they lay more than Tokyo to waste, certainly the show I attended at Philadelphia's World Cafe (one of the nicest places on the east coast to see live music by the way) was simply one of the best performances I have ever had the pleasure to experience. All these performances in August are CD release partys, which means aside from the mind expanding presentation of superb music many special guests will be joining the band for some of the numbers.

And the band will be available after the show for conversation, autographs, etc.

August, 15 2008 09:30 PM - Sarah Street Grill
550 Quaker Alley, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18360 - (570) 424-9120
August, 16 2008 10:00 PM - Capital Ale House Downtown Music Hall
619 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219 -

An evening with GZ!
August, 19 2008 10:00 PM - The Pour House Music Hall
224 S Blount St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601 -

August, 20 2008 09:00 PM - Double Door Inn
218 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte, North Carolina 28202 -

Two big sets at 9:00pm and midnight!
August, 21 2008 10:00 PM - Empty Glass
410 Elizabeth Street, Charleston, West Virginia 25311 -

An evening with GZ! Two big sets
August, 23 2008 03:15 PM - 3 River Progressive Rock Festival
565 Rt. 18, Burgettstown (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania 15021 -

Full GZ show (1.5hrs)
September, 11 2008 11:00 PM - Nectar’s
188 Main Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401 -

with Bad Suit
September, 13 2008 01:00 PM - Wormtown Music Festival
Camp KeeWanee Leyden Road, Greenfield, Massachusetts 01301 -
September, 19 2008 10:00 PM - Main Pub
306 Main Street, Manchester, Connecticut 06040 -
September, 20 2008 10:00 PM - River Street Jazz Cafe
665 North River St., Plains (Wilkes-Barre), Pennsylvania 18701 -
CD release party!!!!!!!!

The New CD (release Date Sept 4th)
But if you attend a CD release party,
you can get an advance copy!

The music on Five Even took me a bit by surprise at first. Not in any negative way. I have come to expect the unexpected from this band. I had no idea they were such good vocalists. Most of the early albums had more in common with the Mahavishnu Orchestra than the Manhattan Transfer if you know what I mean. So add great lyrics, precise harmonies, and some excellent vocal stylings from Hansford Rowe to the overflowing list of accomplishments of Gongzilla.

You can hear some of the tunes at the bands home page, but listen to more one - as any one tune might give you a idea how to categorize them, and could be quite misleading.

Hansford Rowe and his Warwick Just Intonation Bass

As luck would have it, my party (my son- who introduced me to the excellent recordings of this band many years ago, 2 of my guitar students, and my lovely wife) had the best seats in the house, literally at the front of the stage. Even though we had high expectations of the musicianship, we were all stunned and speechless. Certainly every musician who appeared on that stage was a monster. Some musicians who have recorded with the band include Percy Jones, Gary Husband, Allan Holdsworth, Chuck Garvey, Jake Cinninger, David Torn, David Fiuczynski, Ben Perowsky, Kai Eckhardt, Lionel Cordew, Benoit Moerlen, Pierre Moerlen, Bobby Thomas Jr., Phil Kester, Todd Barneson, Jameison Ledonio, and Sam Aliano. You never know who will be showing up at these CD release parties to do a guest spot. "Nadeen" came up and contributed some highly stylized transcendent vocals to a few tunes in Philadelphia and was given quite an appreciative reception from the audience.

The core band members are:
Hansford Rowe - bass, vocals
Bon Lozaga - guitar, vocals
Mike Miz - guitar, vocals
Nate Laguzza - drums

I had the chance to hang with Hansford and Mike a bit after the show, and they assured me they would be back in the area soon. I can't wait. Do yourself a great favor, and get to one these shows if you can. You will not be disappointed. If you miss them live, pick up some CD's:



Abstract Logix


Wayside Music



Counterpoint Music

Music By Mail (Denmark)

JPC (Germany)

CDS (Scotland)

Vorticity (Australia)

P.O. Box 207 Roxobel, NC USA 27872

From the LoLo records Bio of the band:

Journalist Bill Milkowski called GZ “simply mind-boggling”. The group is a mass of contradictions in perfect balance. A band with international roots (USA, Quebec, Philippines); GZ has a reputation for concise songs and transcendent jams. All this emanates from the fusion origins of Bon Lozaga and Hansford Rowe who met while playing in one of the idioms seminal groups – Gong. Bon and Hansford decided to tinker further with the Petri dish that was Gong, and begat a further evolution. They formed Gongzilla and released a series of Mahavishnu-esque improvisational rock albums featuring second guitarists on each one, including jazz fusion legend Allan Holdsworth, David Torn and David Fiuczynski, and a number of drummers, including Pierre Moerlen and Gary Husband.

More recently, Gongzilla has included some U.S. jamband heroes in its live performances like guitarist Chuck Garvey and percussionist Jim Loughlin of moe., and has emphasized vocals, crafting songs which fuse with improvisational rock. Fans who have heard some of the more recent tunes have described them as Steely Dan-ish at times. The new studio record includes the aforementioned Garvey as well as Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee plus guitarist David "Fuze" Fiuczynski (Screaming Headless Torsos) and bassist Kai Eckhardt of Garaj Mahal! Contradictions and balance; Rowe and Lozaga sing cool songs that will singe your soul while balancing both the hyper precision and the rockin’ mayhem this band is capable of live.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Considerable Sounds: The Triumphant Return of - Return To Forever

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By DC Music Editor Benjamin New

Field Report: Intelligence
Gathered On Artistic
Insurrection Dossier

Return To Forever...08
Return to Forever's show on Tuesday night at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia received more standing ovations than than than the combined scores of teams in the average (or above average) Super Bowl.

The enthusiastic ovations were to be expected - after a 25 year drought, the rain is welcomed as royalty. The legendary jazz fusion quartet rose to fame in the 1970s, with it's groundbreaking recordings that documented the concussions of jazz and rock colliding, but have been absent for 25 years, leaving behind fans who've remained hungry for more of their unique pioneering music.

Chick Corea on piano and keyboards, Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Di Meola on guitar and Lenny White on drums, have all had important roles as band leaders, composers, and producers since Return to Forever -- but the band was simply outstanding. There is something no less than magic, a synergy where the whole becomes greater than the sum of it's parts in great bands. Such is the case with RTF.

This is no "comeback-cash in" tour where a band's legacy is muddied. Instead these performances affix the band's place in the jazz pantheon for a new generation, who never heard the band live. The audience was probably 2/3s fans who were there at the band's seminal shows in the 70's but easily another 1/3 were not. While waiting for a fine libation, (did I mention I love the Mann? It's in Fairmount Park and has wonderful amenities - simply the best place I know of for summer concerts) a fellow concert goer mentioned (gushing with excitement) that he never thought he'd ever experience this band live, though he had their recordings. I suspect this was a fairly common story.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
The show opened with a wonderful performance from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Just in case you've been duct taped in your basement for the last couple decades- Bela Fleck has reinvented the banjo and the Flecktones (Victor Wooten on bass, Jeff Coffin on woodwinds, and Futureman [Roy Wooten] on percussive devices) have left a trail of dropped jaws wherever they perform. This show was no exception. A dazzling performance well received.


Return To Forever took the stage and after a jovial greeting from founder Chick Corea, launched into "Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy" ( This brought a smile to my face because it is probably my favorite tune from their catalog, the original recording featured the great Bill Connors on guitar but Al did a fine job interpreting the song.)

Chick addresses the crowd

Each band member had a few pertinent words to say between tunes. Lenny White suggested that it was time we took the music back, that he found it implausible that people had "bands" in which no one actually "played" an instrument. ( "This is no boy band", he said of RTF, "...this is a man band." Stanley Clarke (who is from Philadelphia) praised the city's commitment to the arts, and asked the question that one only asks when in the city of brotherly love... "Genos? or Pat's?" Chick Corea, who hails from Boston thanked the crowd from coming out for this "historical or perhaps hysterical evening". Al (a Jersey guy) talked about how great it was to be with his buddies and praised the spirit of the 1970's era of music to some degree.

Stanley Clarke ... more than "Bass- ics"

Stanley Clarke was figuratively and literally the center of the band, standing in the center of the stage, anchoring the music's rhythms along with Lenny White's flawless battery. Clarke launched into miraculous solos. Muscular yet ethereal and sweet. Al DiMeola is simply one of the finest guitarists on the planet by any standard. His soloing was blazing, oozing technique, yet organic and inspired. Chick Corea was in top form, soaring effortlessly on both state of the art digital synths and his "of the era" instruments- the Fender Rhodes Piano with a Mini Moog perched on top. Needless to say, some of the finest moments involved his acoustic piano as well. The band was soulful, elegant, but POWERFUL!

Al remains one true master of guitar

The first half of the show was electric but the acoustic instruments came out for Romantic Warrior and the 2nd half of the show. The encore returned to an electric set. For those of us who invested our adolescence listening to this band, the program was familiar. However they didn't stick to the original recordings note for note. In jazz form, they laid down many of the themes and then took off for improvisation heaven. Many of the Corea compositions are similar to symphonies in terms of movements or themes. The band moves in and out of these themes, embellishes it all with improvisational solos, hits some more themes, more solos and in general creates new living, breathing, sentient versions of their classic music.

Al, Lenny, and Stanley whipping it out!

Interestingly enough, this music, conceived of in the 1970s, remains" futuristic". Why?

The same reason Charles Ives, Harry Partch, and other visionary music remains relevant. It has a quality of intelligence, a depth. It transports us. It opens doorways It takes us beyond the dimensions we normally perceive. It inspires and enlightens.

Aside from this, the band sharply executes the pieces, with improvisations that refresh, renew, and inform. This makes the music a living entity that constantly is adapting to the moment.

Brilliant compositions, players who know their instruments inside and out, playing on an intuitive level, a night to treasure and remember...forever.

Return To Forever

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