Monday, December 17, 2012

Hey Mike (and the rest of you), I saw the Lennie show a couple of weeks ago as well.   I thought it was absolutely remarkable how he sustained hismelf throughout - it's no joke at 78.   He was a very professional performer which I didn't expect for some reason - at times to the detriment of the connection with the audience, as some of the between-song banter sounded pretty canned (and corny).  

My overall reaction (and rating if you will) was very positive but not completely glowing, because I have a strong preference for LC's earlier work (first four records in particular), and he's apparently not really able (or willing) to pull that material off, as it's mostly sung in quite a different (higher, not surprisingly) register  He did play three or four songs from that era (notably Suzanne and So Long Maryanne) but with the strength of the material from that period, I would have liked to hear more.   I find his work since about 1980 to be somewhat monotonous musically, though always enhanced by such depth of lyric that one often doesn't notice.  However when you play six or seven of that era (the second half of his carer, say) in a row, they all sound much the same, and so in a way expose the formulaic side of his songwriting.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I'm embarrassed to say that Leonard Cohen was the only concert I saw in 2012!!   I did see a few bands in bars here and there, but even those were few and far between.  I've got to get out to see live music more often!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Would you say that Cohen was in your top 5 best concerts of the year, Mike?

I ask because: 1) no one has commented or responded to your thoughtful post/mini review of the show in Ottawa and; 2) it's a lazy segue into this article, an argument against the Year End List.

While I agree that many of them can be uninspired and lazy (mine included), I do enjoy the roundup/summary, if only to confirm my own likes or to feel outraged that someone would actually praise a book, film, album I loathed.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Last night I saw Leonard Cohen play the Ottawa stop of his latest world tour.  It was a really great show - he played from 8 until 11:45 with a half hour break in the middle.  The guy's 78 years old!  He looks somewhat gaunt, but he is quite spry.  And his voice sounded great - well, great in a Leonard Cohen context.  He was backed by a 9 piece band full of excellent musicians, and the arrangements of his songs took full advantage of them.  The tour is supporting his latest release, "Old Ideas", which isn't as strong as his older material, despite the very positive reviews that it has received.  He played 3 or 4 songs from that album,  but he focused more on his back catalogue.  The staging was very simple, relying mostly on simple lighting techniques for visual effect, but it was very tastefully done.  But the visuals were understated, drawing attention primarily to the music, which was wonderful.  Cohen's words, sung in his deep and distinctive voice and accompanied by exquisitely played acoustic guitar, electric guitar, violin and organ solos - I enjoyed every minute of it, and the rest of the crowd was equally appreciative.  He's got to be approaching the end of his performing days, and I'm glad I had a chance to see him before he gives it up.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

I saw Brubeck just a few years back in Markham ...a pretty good show I'd say.  I also saw him in Paris in '85 ...pretty wicked.  I've always had a strong attachment to his music.   My father was a huge fan, born in the same year.  Time Out came out in the year my sister was born, '59, and i still remember my dad blasting the album on warm spring days in Montreal, the doors and windows open.  I think that the mathematical complexity of the album and its infectious swing were what appealed most to was fresh and complex and to my ear i have always thought it was structure like a good piece of modern architecture.  I'm not saying i understand it ...I just love it.

I'm not a list maker and would not be willing to select a cut off of Time Out as my favourite, suffice to say that it is one of my favorite albums.  Interestingly though, from my perspective, with great jazz musicians you don't often see one particular album or session rise so unequivocally above the rest of the body of their work. ...???

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Final Take

Oh, he finally kicked it.  Too bad.   And Derek and I didn't even see his (unintended) farewell tour.   

Favourite DB numbers?  

It's an obvious choice but I love love love Blue Rondo a La Turk.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Quote du jour: " it always take me by surprise how dark it gets this time of year"; First Aid Kit, "The Poet".