Thursday, April 05, 2007

Musically... something old, something new...

... something borrowed, something blue.

Thanks to the wife of a friend and colleague, I've been infected with an earworm.

I haven't been able to get rid of an old tune from between my ear canals for several days. Her husband's jazz trio was performing last weekend, and she said that they should add the 1972 Focus tune "Hocus Pocus" to their repertoire. And, if they can pull it off, musically, it would knock everybody out... because that song just rips! But it's also one of THOSE songs. Think I'm joking? Can't quite remember what that song was like? Go to iTunes and listen to the brief demo. You can thank me later.... and you can also hate me even later than that after you struggle to erase the song from your brain cells. It got so bad for me that I had to pick up a copy of The Best of Focus at my local CD shop (it's also available via

Focus is an old progressive rock/classical/jazz fusion band from Holland, and "Hocus Pocus" was their big hit that mixed blazing guitars with... yodeling, and what can only be described as a vocal visitation from the "Family Guy's" character Quagmire. You come away with both jaw-dropping awe at their sheer talent and yet also a strange queasiness at their infusion of oddball whimsy.

That was the "something old." The "something new" was a copy of John Legend's latest CD, "Once Again." I've only listened to it once, so far. It's got some nice grooves and John has good chops, vocally (when he stays within his pocket). A couple tunes were a bit repetitious, but for the most part it appears to be a good CD. It's nice to finally hear more of these neo-soul artists as they finally edge out the tired and way-past-it's-expiration-date rap/hip-hop scene.

The "something borrowed" was also the "something blue"... a used copy of Duncan Sheik's "Brighter/Later" best of double-CD. I already have his 1996 self-titled CD as well as the 2002 CD "Daylight". This collection includes some tracks from those releases, as well as a few from Humming and Phantom Moon (and a few unreleased tracks). A few of the tracks are a bit too esoteric and maudlin (it's his style, and he doesn't shrink from it), but you always come across a nice handful of hauntingly beautiful tracks, including a cover of Joni Mitchell's "Court and Spark."

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